I wanted to enjoy this book, and for many parts of it I did. Terry Goodkind erred, and he did so by making one of the most obnoxious and unbelievable...moreI wanted to enjoy this book, and for many parts of it I did. Terry Goodkind erred, and he did so by making one of the most obnoxious and unbelievable character. The protagonist.
Richard is perfect. Well, he's someone's version of perfect. The book seems to think he's perfect, and it spent a long time convincing me that he was. The book convinced me that Richard was the least interesting person in the world.
Oh, it tried to trick me by throwing in Arcane rules. A codex of mysterious power? Check. A damsel in somewhat less distress than we anticipate? Check. An insane old codger that supposedly holds a wealth of wisdom? Check. There's even an uncomfortably Aryan antagonist that is hoping to conquer the world!
And then there's a single man of no real importance who manages to be the most important man in the world. He's so forgiving I almost thought the whole book was some twisted attempt to make Mohandas Ghandi seem heartless in comparison to the glory that is Richard.
The book isn't a terrible read. It's even enjoyable at times. But the perfect protagonist is an unforgivable mistake that will banish this book into the realms of mediocrity.(less)
This is a very uncomfortable book. I recommend it to everyone who is considering joining the military. Catch-22 is a critique of most facets of war. T...moreThis is a very uncomfortable book. I recommend it to everyone who is considering joining the military. Catch-22 is a critique of most facets of war. The characters are caricatures of the soldiers I've met, but they're not so far off from those men and women. I saw specters of those characters in my own murky crevices. This book made me squirm.
The book suckers you in with humorous anecdotes of people you can't believe are soldiers. There isn't a clear timeline in the beginning. You have a hard time believing any of these characters are really fighting a war. A quarter of the way through the book and you'll think the cast is insane. By the end of the book you'll know that they are, and it's grim and disturbing.
Laugh when you read about Yossarian's antics. But when you get to the end I hope you feel a twist in your gut. There's a monster hidden in these pages, and it sires the worst in every one of us. Make no mistake, strange reader. This book has teeth.(less)
Robert Heinlein has the burden of eccentricity. Fortunately, he's proven it can be put to good use in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Every one of his...moreRobert Heinlein has the burden of eccentricity. Fortunately, he's proven it can be put to good use in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Every one of his characters sports mannerisms of speech and character that set them far apart from the norm. It takes a page or two to adjust to the dialog of the Lunar population, but once you get the swing of it the speech is very charming and in no way obstructive.
I took a personal shining to this book because frankly, I'm an anarchist at heart. If you've ever had thoughts of revolution, espionage, lunar colonization, or how wars might REALLY be fought in the future you should definitely give this book a once over.
The Great Hunt is a solid sequel to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. The descriptions of each setting are vivid and unique without seeming to be...moreThe Great Hunt is a solid sequel to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. The descriptions of each setting are vivid and unique without seeming to be one long exposition. The characters are familiar and comfortable, even endearing. The pace of the book seems a bit awkward at first as there is quite a bit of excitement early on in the novel, and a long stretch of what I can only call "dogged determination".
Much like the first novel there is quite a bit of travelling on the part of the main characters, but instead of fleeing and seeking salvation they are in pursuit. The time spent tracking said thing makes the reader feel like they are on their own trail to find the climax of the novel. This isn't a bad thing as it is a worthwhile climax, but it may seem a bit drug out the first time you page through this novel.
Aside from this one criticism The Great Hunt performs well. Character's develop, villians show their true nature, and treachery is abound. There is even romantic tension to round out the full ensemble of fantasy plot devices.
The book isn't phenomenal or visionary, but it's a good read that most any fans of he fantasy genre can enjoy.(less)
The Wheel of Time saga starts off with a very tried and true formula of meager beginnings. The book "The Eye of the World" is the first part of this s...moreThe Wheel of Time saga starts off with a very tried and true formula of meager beginnings. The book "The Eye of the World" is the first part of this series, and Jordan does a fantastic job in hooking a reader. I'll admit the first 50 or so pages were rather dull to me, but that gets solved relatively quickly as Jordan jumps from slowly building suspense to absolute peril. His three protagonists (Rand, Mat, and Perrin) are drawn into a world outside of their safe little haven, and the reader is instantly drawn into it as well.
Jordan keeps a very keen attention to detail throughout his series. There are very few errors in the general canon of the books, and of the few I've found I was forced to actively search for them. Jordan paints a vivid mental picture of his characters and their mannerisms, yet doesn't set the physical characteristics in stone. Instead the reader has the chance to flesh out Jordan's general descriptions in their own mind, which believe me is a blessing.
The only detractors from the book are not severe enough to spoil the experience. Jordan has a tendency to deliver exposition either in the characters thoughts or through dialogue. That's common, but because it is a high fantasy with a very detailed world there is quite a bit of it. Luckily he takes the time to break it up throughout the book so that it doesn't come out lopsided.
Lastly, and this is more noticable in a few of the later books, Jordan tends to emphasize the differences in opinions between men and women. The "comedy of errors" motif is used often, and it adds to the story and detracts from it at the same time. There are moments when the characters are so entrenched in sexist views that they lose credibility as actual people. Often times Nynaeve will come across as a fairly dedicated feminist. Small flaw, but it is there.
For parents worried about any violent or sexual content their children may experience by reading this book I offer the following. Relax. Jordan is almost puritanical in most of the writings, having the men occasionally note a woman's pretty ankles, or full pouting lips. The violence isn't horribly graphic, and what violence does exist Jordan paints with a very broad brush. Horrifying details and morbid subjects are not fleshed out. This makes it a fairly "family friendly" read.(less)
Starship Troopers is listed amongst the recommended books by the United States Air Force for a reason. For those who plan on pursuing a military caree...moreStarship Troopers is listed amongst the recommended books by the United States Air Force for a reason. For those who plan on pursuing a military career, this book exhibits the very ideals upon which our current military standards are based. Camaraderie, Sacrifice, and Responsibility are more than mere words to the protagonist. The distinction between a fighting man and a soldier is made. The distinction between a superior rank and a true officer is made. Johnny Rico is a soldier in more than merely name, and the reader discovers this through this narrative.
For those of you who have seen the film incarnation of this story, simply forget it. It won't aid you in understanding or predicting the outcome of this book. The tempo, messages, and level of seriousness are completely different. Most of you know the pitfalls of watching the movie first, so I implore you to read this book before seeing the movie. If you have already seen the movie, as I stated before, forget it.
There is one thing I would mention that is perhaps the fault of this book. Heinlein shapes a militaristic, possibly even oppressive society, out of the remaining nations on earth. He touts the virtues of citizenry only being earned through dedicated service. At the same time, he manages to skirt by some of the more practical and realistic attitudes of people. The society could very well work if it was implemented exactly in the fashion it is described in his novel, but the transition from our current societal structure to this system of government is EXTREMELY unlikely. It takes the edge off of the bold concepts, making this book only a 4 star.
To end on a positive note I'll say this. When I finally finished this novel I had a brief spark inside of me. For once in my entire career, I felt a sense of pride in being a soldier. No military training, no officer, and certainly no civilian has ever made me feel as proud of my profession as that novel has.(less)
If ever there was more helpful a phrase in the history of all that is written, that phrase should be terminated. "Don't Panic" should be re...moreDon't Panic
If ever there was more helpful a phrase in the history of all that is written, that phrase should be terminated. "Don't Panic" should be reason enough to give this book a five star rating, but since you're probably not going to read it solely on that bit of information alone I will be forced to expound on the subject. (And I'm not quite so happy about that)
Douglas Adams presents us with Arthur Dent, your proverbial "every man". This makes Arthur Dent very ordinary, very accessible, but otherwise very boring to the majority of readers like me who need merely to wander to the local pub to find a dozen of these fellows and instantly lose interest. However, should any of those fellows at the pub raise their thumb in an expert pose and suddenly be whisked away into the oblivion of the cosmos to argue with paranoid androids, endure the abusive prose of very, very, very, very, very horrible Vogon poets, and you'd have something altogether not quite unlike a cup of tea. Or this book.
If you enjoy British humor of the unbelievably silly and clever nature then you should find yourself right at home with this book on your lap in your...well...home. My recommendation? Go out and grab this story of the universes general mish-mash, brew a cup of tea, and enjoy the tales of Arthur Dent. He's just a regular guy stuck in a rather irregular and unhealthy universe.