I had a feeling, just from the cover blurb, that this book was going to be disappointing. If you want to read a lot more of the exact same stuff from...moreI had a feeling, just from the cover blurb, that this book was going to be disappointing. If you want to read a lot more of the exact same stuff from the second book then please read on. We've got the same villains and, lo and behold, our hero finds himself again (to review, this is the third time) in the African jungle where he must let his bestial instincts take hold.
The only fun addition in this book is that, as the title suggests, Tarzan gets some beasts. (view spoiler)[Yep, he tames himself a panther and a tribe of apes to do his bidding and help him fight battles against evil African tribesmen and the villainous enemies who have kidnapped his wife and child. (hide spoiler)]
The growing downside is the racism pervasive in Burroughs' works. The African tribesmen are frequently referred to as "blacks" rather than "natives," particularly when speaking toward their brutish natures and minimal cerebral faculties. Tarzan is always the master, never just a companion or friend, of the one or two African natives he always recruits to do his bidding in each book. I can't ignore the fact that the natives are constantly criticized for their brutish natures when Tarzan is clearly the most brutish of them all. Clearly white skin and an English title made all the difference to Burroughs.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was really not in the mood for this, but it was the shortest audio book on my iPod. I've been slowly working my way through all of Burroughs's Tarza...moreI was really not in the mood for this, but it was the shortest audio book on my iPod. I've been slowly working my way through all of Burroughs's Tarzan books. This installment, in the form of eight or nine short stories, goes back to Tarzan's adolescent days as a young man-ape. Before he learned to speak, while he was still fawning over she-apes and terrorizing (and murdering) the Gomangani--the black tribal men of the jungle.
Burroughs's racism and class-ism often subtly nuance the Tarzan books. But I found them much less subtle in this book--or maybe I was just paying more attention to that this time around. I felt like he constantly reminded his readers of the Gomanganis' (see definition above) inferior intelligence and imaginations. And we were also reminded (hypocritically in my opinion) that Tarzan's innate virtues, intelligence, and potential were all due to his high English breeding. That he had, in fact, inherited his innate sense of human culture, of reading, of morality from his genes. Hypocritical because Tarzan, before he learns to speak and interact with humans, is much more wild and blood-lusting than his black-skinned jungle counterparts.
How can Burroughs refer to his refined breeding in one sentence and then have Tarzan murder another human being in the next? Burroughs may try to justify these acts by discrediting the Gomangani, comparing them to little more than animals--and they're cannibals, to boot, so...don't they deserve death anyhow? But the only real justification for Tarzan's often brutish acts is that he was raised by wild animals; he doesn't know any better. Which effectively discredits his claim to superior genes.
Enough with the ranting...other than the infringement of Burroughs's own annoying beliefs, I liked these stories, particularly those that illustrated new moments of self-discovery for Tarzan.(less)
Kushiel's Scion is the first book in Carey's second Kushiel trilogy, continuing the saga with the adventures and coming of age of Phedre and Joscelin'...moreKushiel's Scion is the first book in Carey's second Kushiel trilogy, continuing the saga with the adventures and coming of age of Phedre and Joscelin's foster-son Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel. The first few hundred pages are similar to those in Kushiel's Dart-- where we watch Phedre grow up in the midst of the Night Court in the City of Elua. Only, in Imriel's case, he grows up under the shadow of his traitorous parentage, splitting his time between the peaceful countryside of Montreve and the scheming court in the City of Elua.
In the second half of this book, Imriel travels to Tiberium as a kind of "coming of age" journey. I found little of Imriel's time in Tiberium intriguing or tension-filled, and struggled with a lack of inspiration to read on. This entire book is essentially a set up for the rest of the trilogy. It's a little bit of a slog in itself, but sets up a lot of very high potential conflicts for the next two books.(less)
Reality tv, survival in the woods, impossible love, corrupt government, and fights to the death. What more could you ask for in a tear-jerking, page-t...moreReality tv, survival in the woods, impossible love, corrupt government, and fights to the death. What more could you ask for in a tear-jerking, page-turning young adult novel? Obviously, I walked away utterly fulfilled. The only thing that bummed me out about the book is that I didn’t come up with such an amazing premise myself. (Although, in reading some other Goodreads reviews on the book, it seems that perhaps Collins didn’t actually come up with the premise herself, either. You bet I’ll be checking out Battle Royale soon.)
The hunger games were created by the corrupt leaders of Panem after its thirteen districts tried and failed to rebel against the capital. Now, two names are drawn from each district at the annual reaping, and the girl and boy who are chosen must compete in the televised and sensationalized hunger games to try and win honor and much-needed food and supplies for their districts or, at the very least, try to stay alive in a game where only one may survive.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen's struggle for survival after she takes her younger sister's place in the hunger games. But the other contestant from her district, Peeta Mellark, was the boy who, many years ago, saved Katniss and her family from starvation when she had almost no hope left. Now she has to find a way to survive the game, decipher her feelings about Peeta, and figure out how to win without having to kill him.(less)
The premise of The Lost Gate is that all the ancient gods were actually beings from another planet, Westil, with special powers that allowed them to m...moreThe premise of The Lost Gate is that all the ancient gods were actually beings from another planet, Westil, with special powers that allowed them to manipulate nature. Centuries ago, the trickster Westilian, Loki (who's power was to manipulate time by making Gates that you could essentially use to teleport through space or between Earth and Westil), closed all the interplanetary gates, trapping many of the Westilians on Earth for good. Since then, the Westilians' powers have gradually waned, and gate mages have been banned and sentenced to death if they are identified. The main story follows Danny, of the North tribe (aka, Loki, Thor, etc.), as he discovers his gate magery abilities, has to flee from his family, and then finds allies to help him hone his new-found abilities. But I much preferred the secondary storyline following the mysterious gate mage Wad in a kingdom back on Westil.
My rating is probably more around 2.5 stars, but I listened to the book in audio, which makes anything easier to get through and generally more entertaining. I did like The Lost Gate enough to want to continue on with the series. But it definitely was not good enough to upgrade to the print format.(less)
In Bloodshot, the first in Cherie Priest's newish Cheshire Red Reports series, Raylene Pendle (aka, Cheshire Red)--a vampire uber thief to the rich an...moreIn Bloodshot, the first in Cherie Priest's newish Cheshire Red Reports series, Raylene Pendle (aka, Cheshire Red)--a vampire uber thief to the rich and often less-than-moral--recounts the events of a particularly difficult case, and one that promises to send her on a series of new adventures to come.
While, yes, this is another book about vampires, it appears--at least from this first installment--that the Cheshire Red Reports are less about vampires and more about the action and mystery of the cases themselves. Priest does an excellent job of laying the groundwork for more books to come, leaving enough clues to make me curious for more and anticipate certain characters' larger roles in future novels. I particularly enjoyed several of the colorful secondary characters--the ex-Navy Seal, drag queen Adrian (aka, Sister Rose), and the orphan squatter kids Domino and Pepper--and how they helped flesh out Raylene's character through their interactions with her.
Ian Stott, the only other vampire character and the client who sends Raylene on the Bloodshot mission, had a little less depth. And I hope he is better fleshed out in the next book. I thought Ian's ghoul, Cal, was the least likeable and least developed of all. But perhaps I just felt that way because, in the audio version, the reader used the same voice for both Cal and Domino, so that Cal came off sounding like a 14-year-old boy. My lack of connection to Ian resulted in a few false emotional notes in the book. First, (view spoiler)[Ian's very strong emotional reaction to Cal's death, when the relationship between Ian and Cal had never been truly defined to the reader but left rather ambiguous. I couldn't sympathize with Ian more than I would with any stranger, so the whole part felt a bit forced (hide spoiler)]. The second was when Raylene (view spoiler)[finally kisses Ian. Yes, we could all see it coming. But with sexy Adrian by her side, I had stopped rooting for the blind vampire ages ago. Ian just had no personality. And the timing was all wrong, at least if Raylene actually wanted anything to last. I just couldn't get on board with the choice (hide spoiler)].
My only other complaint was the complete disregard for human life. Nameless, faceless "men in black" were dying left and right, and there was not even a tip of the hat to their deaths or a thought for their families waiting back home. Raylene was all bent out of shape over (view spoiler)[vampires being imprisoned, experimented on, and dying during the course of experimentation (hide spoiler)]. You can bet she killed a heck of a lot more people during the course of this case, people who may have just been doing their jobs.
On the whole, Bloodshot was fun, fast-paced, and funny. A good, easy read with a strong narrative voice.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Gardens of the Moon follows a multitude of players on both sides of a continent-spanning war involving magical floating cities, demons, the ancient un...moreGardens of the Moon follows a multitude of players on both sides of a continent-spanning war involving magical floating cities, demons, the ancient undead, god-possessed young women, and good old thieves, assassins, and kooky mages.
Before reading this first novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, I heard that most people didn't even really get a good grasp on what was going on until two-thirds of the way through the book. I'll concur with that. Erikson throws you right in, providing very little explanation. This requires being a smart reader, really paying attention, and taking mental notes (and probably rereading the book a few times down the road).
The novel is rich with hidden meaning and foreshadowing of things to come, the complicated plot is intricately and masterfully interwoven, and the world of Malazan et al is made flesh to the most minute detail. A perfect example of world-building at its best. And Erikson pulls no punches in his language usage either. I think I learned more new words in this one novel than in a year's worth of other books.
I wasn't really drawn to any of the characters (except perhaps Paran) until we reached Darujhistan in Book 2, which introduced a bevy of new and very likable characters. It also revealed new sides to previously introduced characters, like the Bridgeburners, endearing me to them as well. I loved cheering for both sides equally.
My only other qualm was with the relationship between Paran and Tattersail. Their moment of intimacy was so awkwardly written (with no proper tension to speak of), it was almost embarrassing to read. Though, thankfully, brief.(less)
Last time I tried to read Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, I got through this book only to throw the next one across the room half way through. The r...moreLast time I tried to read Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, I got through this book only to throw the next one across the room half way through. The reread of Stone of Tears, this time, was more painful (despite listening in audio, where I find mediocre writing easier to get through). I don't think I could ever make it through a third time.
Stone of Tears picks up where Wizard's First Rule left off: The bad guy has been defeated, and Richard and Kahlen are headed off to visit the Mud People and live happily ever after. Goodkind then proceeds to bore the reader with nearly 500 pages of dialogue where the characters discuss what they've already done and why (recapping the first book) and what they plan to do and why. Here are the things that actually happen in the first half of this way-too-long book: Richard and Kahlen visit the Mud People and talk about getting married; Richard has some very bad headaches; Zed visits Addy. I'm pretty sure that's it. And when we finally get to the actually plot of Book 2, around page 501, it turns out to be quite unexciting.
Besides the very blah pace and plot of this book, the other thing that really gets under my skin is the derivativeness (okay, yes, I know that's not a word). I can't help comparing this series to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the first book of which (The Eye of the World) was published only a few years earlier. Goodkind's very original ideas impressed me in Book 1. His very unoriginal ideas really bog down the second installment:
Here is just a sampling of the things that wreak of hand-me-downs: Baka Ban Mana name for Richard, their "chosen one": Caharan (Sword of Truth) Seafolk name for Rand Al'thor, their "chosen one": Caraharn (Wheel of Time) [Did Jordan and Goodkind plan this together?!] Very similar female wielders of magic in both worlds (Aes sedai - WoT; Sisters of the Light - SoT) People who've sworn their souls to evil (Dark friends - WoT; banelings - SoT) A religious sect of anti-magic soldiers (Whitecloaks/Children of the Light - WoT; Blood of the Fold - SoT) A female clan of elite fighters who self-declare themselves the personal bodyguards to the main protagonist (Far Dareis Mai/Maidens of the Spear - WoT; Mord-Sith - SoT)
I'm not saying Goodkind can't use this same sorts of elements (in the end, everything is iterative of everything else). For my taste, though, he needed to make them more uniquely his own. I seem to remember that this is the reason why I threw the next book across the room...I'm crossing my fingers that I can get through the third book on this second try.
As far as Goodkind's unflinching use of violence and rape, I don't mind that so much. Though I do find it funny and somewhat unbelievable how blood-thirsty the protagonist, Richard is. Always with rage at the ready to slay whoever gets in his way--evil or not. But I've read that Goodkind doesn't really think of his books as fantasy because they're about character. I beg to differ. I care much less for all the characters, after this second book, then I did after the first. In more than 900 pages, very little character development took place.(less)