Has any kid who stood on the lawn pretending to be an adventurer resisted the pull of Tolkien? I know many who never finished, but I think everyone IHas any kid who stood on the lawn pretending to be an adventurer resisted the pull of Tolkien? I know many who never finished, but I think everyone I know at least gave this book a try.
These books are worth reading if only historically -- geekdom as we know it was forever altered, some say generated. They are not without flaws, though: Eowyn is a poor consolation to me, now, though luckily my younger self was used to the idea of having to work hard or wait until the end of the book for a cool female character.
This is what I know: humble hobbits persevered, and noble people walked and fought beside them. I stayed up late to read the book but went slow slow slow so it would last. I'll read it to my children. (Maybe I'll read Merry as female. I wonder how mad that would make people.)
My brother and I loved this book when we were little. The illustrations are vibrant and full of character, and I remember just gazing at the pages befMy brother and I loved this book when we were little. The illustrations are vibrant and full of character, and I remember just gazing at the pages before I could read. The style is bright and severe, which is a nice change from the lineart+watercolors look you find in many children's books.
Beware: this African 'why' story begins with the death of an owl chick, which might cause tiny readers some concern. The chick's death causes its mother so much grief she refuses to wake the sun, and finding out exactly who's responsible (I will give you a hint: they buzz) is the point of the story. As an aside: my mother, wishing to protect a very small me, read that the chick was merely knocked unconscious -- imagine my shock and horror when, at five, I decided to read the book to my little brother. (For the record, I improvised pretty well.)
I'm twenty-three now and I still remember the illustrations from this neat little story....more
A good book for fans of Neal Stephenson (myself included). This despite the fact that he still can't write female characters very well and alternatelyA good book for fans of Neal Stephenson (myself included). This despite the fact that he still can't write female characters very well and alternately skimps on or goes way too in depth with his descriptions (I can't describe the look of Our Heroes -- but a particular ladder I could probably give you a schematic for).
All that aside, his books always draw me in, and I want more, more, more, so if you've gotten that feeling from him before, this is a book for you. I'm not as close to math or philosophy as I am to computer science, so I thought Cryptonomicon was rather more clever, but it might be that I just didn't understand it all. A fun book, very engaging, pretty darn clever, and as usual is packed tight with cool information....more
I couldn't put this book down. While there were definite moments where the "little capitalization and many linebreaks" method of poetry-izing the prosI couldn't put this book down. While there were definite moments where the "little capitalization and many linebreaks" method of poetry-izing the prose worked, and worked well, most of the time it was just like reading
a story I liked a lot written like this
so make of that what you will. Great book. I have a major beef with the "only one girl per pack" /thing/ going on. Wolves do not work like that. It felt unnecessarily sexist, plus, it makes the invented world less attractive for daydreaming about. Still a good book, that's probably my biggest gripe. Don't be a jerk to dreaming girls, Mr. Barlow, but otherwise: nice job....more
I am in two minds with this book -- on one hand, it's a first-person glimpse of our Old Future, told in a dashingly heroic style, but on the other hanI am in two minds with this book -- on one hand, it's a first-person glimpse of our Old Future, told in a dashingly heroic style, but on the other hand, John Carter's dealings with Native Americans is deeply cringeworthy, and the treatment of female characters swings into areas that made me wince the whole way through. These are artifacts of writing during the time period Mr. Burroughs did, and you can definitely see him try to do both nonwhites and females justice, it's just not quite enough. However, I'm privileged enough that I found I could look past that with a mere mental pat-on-the-head for our author -- he didn't know better, and the story is so fun and weird, it was worth it.
Things are strange on Mars -- the ground is mossy and yellow, there's little water -- but it's the things it has in common with earth that gave me the most entertainment. For example, Mars has a race of distinctly alien green Martians, but lest our hero go too long without human companionship there are also a bunch of copper-skinned otherwise-normal people, the red Martians! The green Martians are bizarre, but they ride steeds (which are referred to as such, though they're technically lizards) and fight with both swords and guns. They are green bug-eyed cowboys, and mean ones, too.
In short: A decent sci-fi book to read for historical purposes, and adventure-novel-ish enough for me to overlook bad stereotype stuff....more
Holy god does Elizabeth Bear know a lot about Faerie.
It seems about a half to a third of fantasy novels rely on the reader's knowledge of Arthurian leHoly god does Elizabeth Bear know a lot about Faerie.
It seems about a half to a third of fantasy novels rely on the reader's knowledge of Arthurian legend, but Blood & Iron insists on at least cursory knowledge of more than just the barest bones of Irish (Scottish, English) folklore. If you don't already know at least a teensy bit about the daoine sidhe or the Unseelie court, you'll want to.
And go read Tam Lin, while you're at it. (It's worth it on its own, honest.)
Do you need all this background info? I think one could appreciate Blood & Iron on its own, sure -- the novel is character-rich, and you don't need to know who Robin Goodfellow is to appreciate good interaction. But it's the research that went into it that makes this book really glow.
As a rule I don't really like Arthurian fantasy -- I read too much in my youth and I'm bored stiff by it. But I tried on Blood & Iron because I like some of Bear's other work, and what do you know: an interesting novel in its own right, and one that peers deeper than the top few ArthurGuinivereLancelot inches and into the dark heart of Faerie....more
Book 2 of Riordan's Percy Jackson series isn't quite as cute as the first, but still a really charming little adventure replete with the elements thatBook 2 of Riordan's Percy Jackson series isn't quite as cute as the first, but still a really charming little adventure replete with the elements that made me love the first one - Greek gods, monsters, adventuring, and a team of pals to live through all this.
Tyson is adorable, Annabeth the sort of girl I'm glad little girls are reading about, the bad guys humorous, and Percy is still Percy, and I can see why despite the trouble he gets into his mother just can't stay mad at him. And I love Clarisse....more