Solid 3. Period detective piece that mixes Tarzan ethics with modern complexities of lunacy marriage and abuse. All in all a good read that took me a...moreSolid 3. Period detective piece that mixes Tarzan ethics with modern complexities of lunacy marriage and abuse. All in all a good read that took me a while merely because I was busy!(less)
In TV terms this would be the best possible pilot - lots of info, no unnecessary exposition on the past and an adequate, though not stunning, main sto...moreIn TV terms this would be the best possible pilot - lots of info, no unnecessary exposition on the past and an adequate, though not stunning, main story. No detailed history of what's going on (Sanderson's reputation of being a magic system guy goes out the window here) but enough that the last page, especially, feels right. More episodes please, I'll spin for a story-arc bases season one. (less)
There is difficulty in writing this review and rating this book given the circumstances of Iain Banks (aka Iain M. Banks) recent passing. So let's pla...moreThere is difficulty in writing this review and rating this book given the circumstances of Iain Banks (aka Iain M. Banks) recent passing. So let's play it straight.
"let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel."
And we don't have it, and that is where Banks shines.
We have a contemporary (but not embarrassingly so much as The Business) novel in the vein of Stonemouth. Those iPhone references will age the book badly although I have never seen as many uses of the word "gilet" in my life and that anachronism will stick with me.
The Quarry is told from the perspective of Kit, who is the outsider looking in on a "Peter's Friends" (with cancer, not AIDS) weekend get together. There is no shocking revelation (see The Crow Road) although there is development of the players. The main character Kit is reminiscent of The Wasp Factory's protagonist and has the same feeling of reality dislocation (also evident in Whit). In the end though this is a slice-of-time-in-an-unusual-and-final-situation story executed with flair and reads quickly, cleanly and appeals to gen-Xers who need to listen to 90's music (i.e. me). Good, solid, not a bad finale.
'Well, Kit,' Hol says, giving the chain-link fence a rattle just for the hell of it, then dusting her hands off, 'in the end we're just standing here looking into a big fucking hole in the ground.'
This is Brandon Sanderson's epic fantasy. And, frankly, it's good. Sanderson is a maturing and good writer, his pace and build-up is good, his descrip...moreThis is Brandon Sanderson's epic fantasy. And, frankly, it's good. Sanderson is a maturing and good writer, his pace and build-up is good, his descriptions vivid and he seems to be nicely balanced in trickle-feeding you information.
This book also employs the conceit of short interludes between major "parts" of the book and these work very well, on one thread giving a nice consistent "other person" POV of some of the stranger background events, and on other opportunities colouring in a world that Brandon has clearly spent a lot of time building - not unexpected for him.
The world Sanderson builds, Roshar, is as epicly foreign as any of the Pern or Moorcock or more fantastical worlds we've seen over the years without being silly and still remaining remarkably grounded. With the sole exception of the messing with the seasons (George RR has pretty much grabbed "the winter is coming" mantle) and is so far a highlight of the story, holding it's own as one of the four main characters (Kaladin, Dalinar, Shallan being the others IMO).
The two minuses I can see are...
I once read that Sanderson was known as the "the magic system guy" due to both his innovative magic systems, their internal consistency and the fact that he meticulously and early details their workings (I've experienced this in Mistborn). Sanderson does two things with this in this book. One: he TOTALLY hits you in the face with super boring details of how a particular type of magic is used in the PRELUDE (for crying out loud)! This is awful and did not, at the time, bode well. To offset this he delicately teases you with undefined magic elements throughout the rest of the book (and some subtly refer to the knowledge you were sledgehammered with at the beginning if you were paying attention) which is actually very, very well done. More of the latter and just zero of the former please.
It's an epic. These days that means epically large with a slow pacing and in-depth characters with lots of complexity, many spots and wrinkles exposed and, did I mention, many, many words. The ebook I read had almost 3000 "pages". And this is volume 1. I remember The Lord of the Rings being 1077 pages the first time I read it as a trilogy. And that was all of it. Sure the characters were "flat" but it was epic, fast paced, world changing and tons happened. Moving on from that is great, but the word count of modern epics require an amazing reader commitment and does not guarantee ongoing quality or even original completion (see Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time endless saga, see Game of Thrones never-ending-ness of delays). To the positive, Sanderson carries the immense number of pages well in this book - it never drags, although often I felt there was need to push forward to some action or element that moves the story on - and it was fun to read, even if it took around six weeks.
So in conclusion - at 1/2 to 2/3 of the length, with a slightly different prelude, this book would be a stunning 5-stars. Regardless it is a solid 4 and I will be grabbing Words of Radiance as soon as it's out. (less)
Today might be a bad day to finish this book and write the review, or it might be starkly honest.
The last 100 (maybe 200 pages) of this book have a cl...moreToday might be a bad day to finish this book and write the review, or it might be starkly honest.
The last 100 (maybe 200 pages) of this book have a climax mostly worthy of a flawed 4-star ending, but seriously this Honor book underlines the turning point of the saga from "fun space opera in a dubious militaristic future" to "fractured storylines, backplot and uninteresting characters talking about politics and then teasing you with a space battle (unfulfilled!) at the end". And, of course, Honor remains god-like and I think they just discovered she was a virgin birth.
Regardless the fair net result of this book is clearly 1-star because only masochists, speed-readers and lovers of Weber or fictional constitutional situations (as arise in modern-day Africa crossed with the Napolean Navy era would produce (plus nuclear bombs)) could really like this book.
I was prepared. I slogged though many slow pages; I liked some of the minor vignettes; I don't care about tree cats and unique symbiotic relationships, and I waited for my storming ending. Which didn't come. It started too. To highlight the pain, in the buildup to the most pivotal part of the book we decide to take a small walk through fundamentalism justification because we forgot to set that storyline up in the previous part of the book (because..., no really, there is no because). Kinda like taking a phone call from your family in the middle of a more exciting moment (this statement is edited after discussion). And then once we were through that pace-destroyed section everything happens in hindsight and quick chapters, with some more politics, unexplained highlights from the Peeps and in general the type of rushed ending that Douglas Adams excelled at on trans-Atlantic flights and Weber doesn't really (except the very last). And then he retcon's the Honorverse in the author's note at the end to make the politics more "exciting".
And, dang it, just enough of a cliff-hanger ending to make it tempting to read Honor #10 (which goodreads comments are awash with in terms of length and politics, oh joy).
There had been a good book here for the making, but if you read the Honor books and want to break, stop at #8. (less)
Interesting story setting, the "superhero" Nazis and the supernatural British. The characters are a little uneven with some rough drawn shallow defini...moreInteresting story setting, the "superhero" Nazis and the supernatural British. The characters are a little uneven with some rough drawn shallow definition and the whole story doesn't really hang together with any soul searching on any side. But the alternative take on WW2 was fun and the post-WW2 promise of the sequels will drag me along for at least another episode. (less)
Better than The Steel Remains this was let down a little with a rushed ending relying on some awesomeness with Ringil. It also left it unclear whether...moreBetter than The Steel Remains this was let down a little with a rushed ending relying on some awesomeness with Ringil. It also left it unclear whether the story buildup for a possible next book is was a convenient device to pull the three protagonists together, or actually something that will be continued in a third book.
Less so than the first book Morgan still has a deliberate ploy of trying to shock the norms with his sexual orientation of characters. Its more ham-fisted (!) than the rest of the writing and is more distracting than value add to me. But it probably sells.
Definitely will read the next, with more confidence this time (I had Cold Commands on wait for a long time before reading it)(less)
Nice solid ending to the MASSIVE trilogy. Better than the second book (Temporal Void). A little classic Hamilton in terms of Dues Ex and a super corny...moreNice solid ending to the MASSIVE trilogy. Better than the second book (Temporal Void). A little classic Hamilton in terms of Dues Ex and a super corny trope or two in there but well done.
Even the Edeard fantasy sections became interesting once more.
My only negative take away is that there was a bit of a lack of drive or sparkle in the book at the start - I wasn't compelled to push through it, although this was resolved towards the end of the book, which helped extend the number of weeks this trilogy took for me to complete. (less)
Good. Hard to comment fully without spoilering something as this is the second of a trilogy. As several other reviewers note this volume narrows the m...moreGood. Hard to comment fully without spoilering something as this is the second of a trilogy. As several other reviewers note this volume narrows the multiple POV aspect that is normal in Hamilton's books (and was in the first volume), reducing several characters to bit players and mere paragraphs in what is still a massive number of words. In itself I did not feel this was a distraction but I did feel the Edeard storyline dragged a little and was a little boring in the middle. Reaching the end of story I can see why the buildup was so though, so forgiven.
The end of the book is debatable to me, with an interlude to Justine basically spoilering the end of the Edeard storyline. I feel this must have been balanced long and hard but it could have flowed better and with more suspense, instead the last 100 pages (ebook, ymmv) were a little anti-climatic and I would have preferred the story to end with the Justine section However I will immediately move onto the final volume and hope that the overall saga works.
On a side note the books continue with gratuitous, over-the-top and frankly adolescent sex scenes and sex obsession (complicated by the POV aspect of many of the characters) which have some motivation in the storyline but often feel to me almost inserted for a different audience such the The Sun readers out there or in the hope that these novels can become airport bookshop shockers. But the story can carry you past it, so enjoy. (less)
I must admit to skimming this book a little, especially as some of the photos had limited impact as a PDF ebook. An interesting, though nothing startl...moreI must admit to skimming this book a little, especially as some of the photos had limited impact as a PDF ebook. An interesting, though nothing startlingly new, recap on LEGO. A lot of concentration on AFOLs and the constructions that can be made when you apply adult money to a toy. Somewhat inspiring. This book came out without the Friends controversy, so you won't see it mentioned although there is much genre and purity discussions that basically boil down to the company having three highly successful product lines - LEGO system (blocks, sometimes heavily commercialized), Bionic and Mindstorm. I'm tempted to go buy some Mindstorm, have LEGO aplenty with my kids and NO interest in Bionic.(less)
Pretty good. Although long passed quickly. A welcome return to Blight-ridden Seattle, although by focusing on Rector it was mostly a cameo appearance...morePretty good. Although long passed quickly. A welcome return to Blight-ridden Seattle, although by focusing on Rector it was mostly a cameo appearance by prior characters (except Huey and Zeke). Shades of the bigger epic/arc around sap and it's nefarious potential in the Civil War are laid but it is unclear how many more Clockwork Century episodes there are planned and whether these are teasers that tease or overtures of more story to come. (less)
In totality a solid and good, if not very good, installment. It feels very much like a story arc pivot as we reverse the course of events of the previ...moreIn totality a solid and good, if not very good, installment. It feels very much like a story arc pivot as we reverse the course of events of the previous book on two tracks (no spoilers, just tease). As with many reviewers I agree this book is somewhat long, with certainly more padding than desired in the first half, and too much Grayson angst. Regardless of Weber's offshoots into the background of Peep politics (which are rarely relevant but I guess are based at determining motivation and characterization of Peep battle commanders before they are generally doomed and blown to bits) and a somewhat turgid wading through personal emotions of professional military and political characters in an attempt to add love interest and strife the story hangs together and a sketch of the grandness of the Honorverse is achieved with the goal of having the main story in the foreground.
My ebook is 1500+ pages, I reckon a little overlong and not always compelling but the last third brought it home with gusto and left me in the best situation a large scale (and older, this was 1999) series can have - a desire to read the next book and finding out what happens in Weber's universe.
Honor continues as the infallible dues ex Honor> but by the eighth book, if you've not accepted this trait, you shouldn't be reading. (less)
Reasonably good story that I just couldn't fully get into. Sci-fi of the form "we'll tell a story in a wild setting using strange words and slowly you...moreReasonably good story that I just couldn't fully get into. Sci-fi of the form "we'll tell a story in a wild setting using strange words and slowly you will put it all together" style except that either I wasn't in the flow, there weren't enough hints or I just missed stuff so didn't quite get it. This lowered the imperative drive for me - I was reading the story without aligning with any of the characters and was looking at the events at a distance (do I care about the city? or the zoku? who should I be rooting for? clearly we're playing the "hidden secrets" game with the main character (The Thief) so I'm pretty sure I'm not trusting _him_).
Off to read The Hydrogen Sonata now, Banksy often writes in that style too but in general there is the back catalog of the Culture and a track record of explaining it all enough that this style works there.
Circumstances made me take small bites of this book for a few weeks and it's general lack of compulsion did not drive me back. After the first consoli...moreCircumstances made me take small bites of this book for a few weeks and it's general lack of compulsion did not drive me back. After the first consolidated reading today though, this book has to go.
Confusingly written by an author who is so excited about the intricate mythos he is interweaving the reader is left stumbling in a strange WTF until the initially awkward and forgivable female-teenager-POV starts to go just completely off base with some clearly specific, misogynistic and rapacious/barbaric tendencies (or just so pathetically overwritten and male-oriented it is beyond a joke). Don't read this, it's a dud. I have no inclination to try anything else by this author either. (less)
The saga of Panem through Katniss draws to a conclusion in this third volume.
Some spoiler comment follows so the brief synopsis is: Katniss continues...moreThe saga of Panem through Katniss draws to a conclusion in this third volume.
Some spoiler comment follows so the brief synopsis is: Katniss continues to be a less likable and engaging and whiny character and the plot mechanisms for the book become more transparent and convenient, overall this leads to an unsatisfying conclusion (regardless of storyline) and a lack of the overall page-turning imperative that managed to infuse the first volume and the "oh that's how it all works" interest in the second. The third volume is all about convenience and getting the story over with.
(view spoiler)[Let's just pull militaristic/Fremen/oh-that's-convenient District 13 out of our ass for this volume shall we? Let's just have the main character stumble from situation to situation and hospital bed to hospital bed more times than Mickey Spillane gets whacked over the head. Let's have every incompetent except maybe the main characters. Oh, and what do we call things mutts instead of mutations, why the random spelling, oh why? And what a soppy sloppy ending. (hide spoiler)]
If you are going to read the Hunger Games, read The Hunger Games, enjoy it. Stop there. Don't read Catching Fire, because whether you like it or not (I did) it forces you to read this (Mockingjay), which is poor.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Despite various comments to the contrary from friends and family, I liked Catching Fire as much as the Hunger Games. There is an increasing strain on...more
Despite various comments to the contrary from friends and family, I liked Catching Fire as much as the Hunger Games. There is an increasing strain on the setup as some questions start to be asked by the astute reader - one town per District, really?; how naive can Katniss be?; oh, that was all very convenient wasn't it? - but this is young adult and is no more a limited setup than other sci-fi classic such as Tripods or Logan's Run.
The ending was horrendously rushed and weak, and highlights the issue of running the storyline purely from Katniss' viewpoint so just enjoy the ride to the last ten pages, and don't think about it too much (less)
The Hunger Games rate highly due to its sheer enjoyability (sic). A somewhat linear and in most case predictable st...moreAwesome page-turner/screen-flicker.
The Hunger Games rate highly due to its sheer enjoyability (sic). A somewhat linear and in most case predictable storyline still rallies you along from the first person perspective of Katniss. There is always the desire to find out what happens ext, and over time you start rooting for the protagonists.
I guess I can watch the movie now, and yes, I think I will read the next one. (less)
I'm sure the author hates the comparison but this is a fresh crime/thriller very much in the style of Ian Rankin's Rebus novels (especially the first)...moreI'm sure the author hates the comparison but this is a fresh crime/thriller very much in the style of Ian Rankin's Rebus novels (especially the first). The similarities: Scotland, ex-military efficient protagonist, somewhat tortures past. The differences: Glasgow, not Edinburgh; 1946 not contemporary; semi-journalist not cop.
This book was a pleasure to read except in the gruesomeness of some of the plot elements (no spoilers) which serve to drive the story along but should make any sane and normal person go /yuck/.
A perfect thriller with page turning power I loved the Glasgow and Scotland references in general but feel that they were general enough in their scene setting that this book isn't just for ex-patriots or lonesome Glaswegians but would work well with anyone. In particular the post-World War setting was very interesting (ration books, trilby's, worn, shattered and damaged ex-soldiers) and I now wonder why it hasn't been used as a temporal setting before (only lack of reference to ongoing post-war elements such as Korea rang oddly but perhaps accurately in the less-global-news environment of the 40's) in more novels.