Pious is a book about forgiveness. Throughout the story, we see so many different things that mask themselves as peace and forgiveness, but this isn't...morePious is a book about forgiveness. Throughout the story, we see so many different things that mask themselves as peace and forgiveness, but this isn't a book that lets you walk away thinking redemption is all niceties. In fact, if I had to summarize the story in a sentence, I'd say Pious is a book that teaches us that forgiveness is not about forgetting sins, but about accepting them, living with the consequences, and slowly building a bridge across the chasm that those sins create.
I applaud Mr. Bivins' first foray into novel writing. The characters pop, the message is clear, the dialogue is quite intense at times, and the book leaves you thinking about what happened for days afterward.
This was the weakest of the Belgariad books so far. Most of the book seemed like a rambling Dungeons and Dragons game filled with random encounters an...moreThis was the weakest of the Belgariad books so far. Most of the book seemed like a rambling Dungeons and Dragons game filled with random encounters and new, made-up monsters described on the spot and forgotten about just as quickly. There was a smattering of character development, the introduction of a few new party members, and a short but satisfying showdown.
I'm not really sure why the book was titled Magician's Gambit. There wasn't much of a gambit at all. Perhaps David Eddings should have named this book, "A Chorus Line of Gods and Random Monsters." At least then I'd know what I was going to run into.
The series still has life in it, though, and I'll press on. Here's to hoping book 4 is better than book 3.(less)
I think the place these books succeed is at the very end. For the majority of the read I find myself confused, bored, and really not connected to the...moreI think the place these books succeed is at the very end. For the majority of the read I find myself confused, bored, and really not connected to the characters at all. Then Steven Erikson slaps me around with a solid ending with great pacing and a series of cliffhangers that makes me want to go through it all again. I feel like an abused lover.(less)
Not as bad as a lot of the reviews made it out to be. Sure, this is a total X-Men ripoff in theory, but since the mysterious M-Squad is never around,...moreNot as bad as a lot of the reviews made it out to be. Sure, this is a total X-Men ripoff in theory, but since the mysterious M-Squad is never around, it's more a mutant origin story. I think the biggest weakness of the book is the character herself. How amazingly angsty and cutting she is for someone who was basically a beaten down prisoner. It wasn't believable.
The book is just a setup, though, and for that it did a fine job. We have a sense of who the main character is now, and how she came to be such a complex creature. It's almost enough to make me want to read the next one. Almost.(less)
I don't feel like spending a long time tearing this book apart, so I'll just say it briefly. The writing is just very poor.
"All of a sudden" and its like are overused. The drama is summarized and told rather than shown. The characters are flat and seem to be the author's favorite D&D personas, not real people. Descriptions are filled with mad-lib-esque adjectives of a poor, and often repetitive, nature. Nothing pops.
I'll be honest. I picked it up because of the cover art, and it just wasn't worth it.
I had to take a few days to think about how I should review this book. I received it in a Goodreads Giveaway, which I entered based almost entirely on the cover design and title. I knew nothing of the subject matter or format and that would have greatly affected my desire to pick it up in the first place.
Next, I should be clear that my rating is, and must be, true to my own experience in reading the book. It does not necessarily depict the independent value or quality of the writing, the impact of the themes or subjects, or any other fancy writing concepts. On Goodreads, two stars means, "It was ok," and that is exactly how I felt after reading it. I suspect that those who pick this book up based on its content with an honest desire and interest in it will find the book much more enjoyable.
The format is also very hard to critique. This is a collection of extremely short stories. Some are no more than a single scene. It felt, at times, like the author was sharing a bunch of writing experiments with us. I can't very well critique them on lack of character development or anything like that because that's not the form of writing we're dealing with. For what they are, they are very well written. In a few stories the use of the second person perspective is a bit annoying and feels like the type of gimmick I'd expect from a college-level writing class.
There are a few moments of clear inspired writing in here, which is commendable. My overall impression was that of a small art exhibit in a big city, which spends more effort on being different and niche than on the craft itself.
The jacket notes mention that Ms. Matthews is currently writing a novel. I'd be interested in reading that to see how she handles the larger work and the many aspects of writing that come with it.
This was hands down one of the very best technical books I've ever had the pleasure to read. Drew Neil has found a way to organize the book into a tip format without making it lose focus or seem endlessly unimaginative. Rather, by organizing the tips into themes, he gives the editor itself structure where before there was only the grey void of endless features.
I was an intermediate vim user before this book. It was my primary editor, and I used navigation keys and some basic yank and put operations regularly. I knew how to jump to lines, zip between words, and some mediocre regular expressions. After having read this book, I don't bother opening up gvim or macvim anymore. I'm so comfortable working without the mouse, I prefer to keep myself in the console all the time. My speed has increased dramatically, as has my confidence. I participated in vimgolf for the first time just last week.
If you are a vim user with a strong basic understanding, this book is for you. Don't pick it up if you are brand new to the editor, though. Complete the vimtutor first and give it some time to sink in.
Wouldn't you know it... Just this short review was incredibly painful to write since I'm not using my favorite text editor. What a snob I've become!
One of the Four Books and Five Classics, this book is pretty enlightening regarding Chinese culture and history. The actual content gets a bit repetit...moreOne of the Four Books and Five Classics, this book is pretty enlightening regarding Chinese culture and history. The actual content gets a bit repetitive, but that's to be expected of these type of classics. It's also not quite as thought provoking as the Tao Te Ching. Still, it's a solid book and really has a lot to say.
I tried grabbing quotes from it via my Kindle as I was reading, but the Project Gutenberg version I was reading didn't support it. It's probably for the best, though. I would have had entirely too many quotes.
What is it really about? What's the central message, you might ask? It's a book about virtue and how to live. It's a book about propriety and "good".
"If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of the shame, and moreover will become good."
1) Definitely dense, but with a lot of action. I think Erickson did a fine job introducing us to his world without too much exposition. Granted, it wa...more1) Definitely dense, but with a lot of action. I think Erickson did a fine job introducing us to his world without too much exposition. Granted, it was a little confusing in parts, but by the time things really came to a head, I had it pretty well sorted out.
2) His characters are fairly strong, which is good since there are so many.
3) The balance of the "epic" scale was a little skewed. It was really hard to tell which God or God-like being was going to suddenly be more powerful. In this it reminded me a bit of Dragonball Z, with the characters suddenly powering up and showing new hidden strength, but with Malazan, it was harder to tell which was actually more powerful. Perhaps further reading will reveal that balance a bit more.
This wasn't a book. It was the introduction to the book. It was a hint at character development in a really tiny way with a bit of unrelated plot driz...moreThis wasn't a book. It was the introduction to the book. It was a hint at character development in a really tiny way with a bit of unrelated plot drizzled on top. I don't know if it's the author to blame or the publisher for slicing it this way. However you look at it, that's the main reason this got such low marks.
Still, I should say something about the writing itself. Mr. Rothfuss has a pretty good handle on his world and writes most of his characters with a careful and accurate brush. There's little danger in getting folks mixed up because of their dialogue or actions. It's less the mechanics of his writing that bothers me than the organization of it.
This book is written in the third person, but most chapters are first person retrospectives of the main character's life. It's a story being told, and as such the author gets some leeway in commenting on things with the benefit of that character's hindsight. It's a neat structure and I didn't mind it at all. It became distracting later on, though, when these interludes (not the whole-chapter breaks, just the short commentary ones) would creep in and kill the pacing of the story. It seemed to happen most when the main character would remember a specific woman, when once again (for the 300th time) words were not sufficient to describe something and he has to have a quick flashback within a flashback to make a poetic metaphor.
Most disconcerting to me was that by 60%, I no longer cared for the main characters. They annoyed me. My sympathy was lost and try as I might to find it again by the end, it just wasn't there.
I have the second book laying around here, but I have a strong suspicion that it won't see the top of my to-read list.(less)
(I'm going to murder Goodreads for just deleting the huge, detailed review I just wrote. Let's see if I have the patience to do this again)
City of Bon...more(I'm going to murder Goodreads for just deleting the huge, detailed review I just wrote. Let's see if I have the patience to do this again)
City of Bones, the first Mortal Instruments novel, is about as unremarkable as anything I've read in the past five years. The characters are flat, the plots are lifted from well known tropes (and implemented ungracefully), the descriptions are hammy and ill-timed, and the narrative voice will convince you that your author would rather be nerding-out watching anime than really writing a book.
The main character, Clary, is prototypically insecure as a regular mortal thrust into a magical world that's all new and shiny. The concept makes you roll your eyes, and it only gets worse from there. What surprises lay in store for our young heroine? Will there be a love triangle? Perhaps someone will betray her, or maybe someone will reveal that they aren't who they claimed to be? Yeah, you'll see it all coming a mile away, and you won't really care.
The main supporting male lead, Jace, is a fantastic example of an author falling in love with her character. If I read one more paragraph about how amazing and infinitely talented he was, despite being a tormented bad-boy who must be forgiven his caustic personality, I think I might have hurled.
All-in-all, City of Bones is formulaic, mediocre, and boring. It reads at a young-adult level, so perhaps that audience will be more taken in by it. For myself, I will not be continuing the series.(less)
I saw this sitting on my Kindle and decided to give it a shot. I guess I can blame most of the character differentiation on the age of the book, and t...moreI saw this sitting on my Kindle and decided to give it a shot. I guess I can blame most of the character differentiation on the age of the book, and the fact that they were dealing with season one characters. Still, it gave me the feeling that the author just didn't "get it" in parts. Oh, and warp 13? Hrm....(less)
This is the first Doctor Who book I couldn't even finish. It was pretty awful. I couldn't tell who was who at all. None of the characters were distinc...moreThis is the first Doctor Who book I couldn't even finish. It was pretty awful. I couldn't tell who was who at all. None of the characters were distinct, even the Doctor. It didn't sound like the 10th Doctor in the least, and many times I found myself reading his dialogue thinking he was one of the African scientists only to learn my mistake after he finished speaking. Totally confusing, not engaging.(less)
Ok, a few other notes. To those who will try to read it, don't go in expecting some classic high fantasy. This boo...moreI loved it. How's that for a review?
Ok, a few other notes. To those who will try to read it, don't go in expecting some classic high fantasy. This book has no dragons or epic quests, well at least not of the typical hero journey variety. It has been compared to Jane Austin and quite aptly. This is a story about people, about courts, about relationships, blood, titles, hopes and survival. The characters all have a wonderful firmness to them. One might say--if I venture an inside joke for those who have read it--they are all made of matter.
Read it and enjoy the smile it leaves you in the end.(less)