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.
Shades of Aubrey and Maturin mid-series as Crucible begins with a easy setup to Brazil but detours to the Inca Empire. The majority of the book lives...more Shades of Aubrey and Maturin mid-series as Crucible begins with a easy setup to Brazil but detours to the Inca Empire. The majority of the book lives in the detour and with the Incas and it is not until the last thirty pages or so that the main characters are not victims of circumstance and even then there is a little sledgehammer happening with the bridge to the next book in the series. That is primarily why I find this Novik still somewhat lacking, the narrative is too often about dealing with events than driving them from the main character POV and I just find it somewhat unsatisfying. That said, Crucible of Gold picks the game up in terms of page-turning writing (no dragging here, and ok, it was an ebook but you know what I mean) and escalation of global conflict. In Novik's alternative reality, the Napoleonic Wars *are* a World War.
I hope the series continues the upswing and there is some conclusion to the twisted career of Laurence and to the doom of Napolean! (less)
I have read a lot of Mr. Banks. Ok, all of them actually, some more than once. Especially the ones with an "M" in the author's name.
I think Stonemouth...moreI have read a lot of Mr. Banks. Ok, all of them actually, some more than once. Especially the ones with an "M" in the author's name.
I think Stonemouth is probably really a 3.5 but given the slight dip in contemporary novels from Banks recently I will go with 4. Unlike other comparisons I feel the book has the clarity and crispness in describing contemporary Scotland very similar to Whit or Isis Amongst the Unsaved with the single person slightly insular perspective from A Song of Stone, although the comparisons to most of the Scottish books are fair.
Book reads well and is very engaging. There are a few minor downsides - pretty near the end, prior to the build to the climax there is a few page digression into philosophical and political pontificating that seems out of place and throws the pace, and the final ending is a little... Hollywood. Apart from that (and the occasional intuitive leap and general unwise decisions by the main character) the story holds its own and keeps you sold the whole way through.
So now, with Matter in scifi and Stonemouth in contemporary, are we set for a run of excellent Banks books? Holding out hope for The Hydrogen Sonata.(less)
Really not as good as billed. Starts strong and glories in being a solid worldscape with a few interesting characters. Writing quickly gets annoying t...moreReally not as good as billed. Starts strong and glories in being a solid worldscape with a few interesting characters. Writing quickly gets annoying though with scattered storylines and many "not revealed" scenes that are later relevant to the story so even while reading them the motivations of the characters are unclear to you as the reader.
The middle was turgid followed by some really poor editing at about the 1/3-3/4 point where, unless I had majorly missed something, reference was made to events that I think might have been cut and many of the scenes felt rushed. End was moderately ok with a big Dues ex machina escape clause, so it's just as well I had lost affinity with the characters long before I got there.
I also realize I have started and stopped this book in the past, after a nagging déjà vu for the first 100 pages or so. So at some other time I have found something more interesting. This seems too harsh as it is definitely worth reading, especially for some more hard scifi after the enjoyable pulp of Honor Harrington and friends.
Setting: epic Concept: ok, but obscure so you might not like it Execution: patchy(less)
Kvothe's saga continues to be told in the entertaining "story within a story" format but it feels likely is being told a minute...moreA very, very long book.
Kvothe's saga continues to be told in the entertaining "story within a story" format but it feels likely is being told a minute at a time. None of it is written badly, but the scope of the adventure (massive) and the level of pacing (glacially detailed) made this much more work than it should have been. Combined with some more personal irritations such as the challenges of an unreliable narrator, a main character who does not seem to be his age and seems very competent and respected in unreasonable circumstances; and a skill development that would make the hero of several separate books proud and I have become dislocated from Kvothe. This is particularly damaging given that the thrust of the saga is based only on him (so far) with allusions to a grander plan but now after two books (1082 pages in this one!) there is yet to be a relevant epic fantasy threat outside the main revenge plot line.
I'm glad I didn't have to wait four years for this, as I read The Name Of The Wind more recently as I think it would have been more disappointing in that context. (less)
A return to the Star Kingdom for Honor and a less grandiose stage than the previous story Flag In Exile. Like that book I struggle to fully give this...moreA return to the Star Kingdom for Honor and a less grandiose stage than the previous story Flag In Exile. Like that book I struggle to fully give this 4 stars and stop at 3, so shall we say 3.5? However I reserve the right to change.
This story is quite long and well paced, going at a fair trot over multiple set pieces that could have been climaxes earlier in the series (this is actually a nice touch, and actually the final climax isn't quite the biggest in the book) with good character development both on the side of the Manticoran's and the Peeps, and de-emphasizing Honor has helped address some of the jagged character development on her side.
The two main drawbacks of this series remains a fairly linear track with little setbacks that aren't themselves pivotal to the story line (despite her high stake situations there is rarely a setback, indeed the height of the stakes basically prevent a non-series-ending-fatality setback) and the character of Honor herself. She continues to be dominating and almost soulless and it is hard to have empathy. However this has been improving as the series continues.
(On a side note, ebook formatting was fine for this one)(less)
Another solid Clockwork Century read from Cherie Priest. Definitely better than the Cheshire Red series this (now archetypal) steampunk series is fun,...moreAnother solid Clockwork Century read from Cherie Priest. Definitely better than the Cheshire Red series this (now archetypal) steampunk series is fun, tongue-in-cheek and not too demanding.
A welcome taste of a return to the Seattle of Boneshaker with several other cameos, the majority of the book is set in the general realms of New Orleans and introduces a few new characters and focuses on Andan Cly.
As my feelings are generally positive while not earth-shattering, the two main drawbacks for me are: firstly, like Hellbent there is a painting-by-numbers, nothing ever goes 'wrong', feeling to the story, this is now starting to detract from the writing; secondly there is a character element that is flung in late, adding little value or color purely for a commentary on social values. While the sentiment is good it adds nothing to the story and seems like a badly placed ad in a search results page. Not needed.
On the potentially-massively-positive-side there is a clue, nah, an inkling, of a potential arc that can lead to a major Seattle showdown in the future. Was this intentional? Will this be delivered on? Will it be epic? It isn't in this book, but if this book is in a major arc then consider it the episode written by the strong staff team and not the show runner, with little to it's detriment.
In short, if you enjoyed Boneshaker etc, then read this. (less)
After several dedicated reading sessions I managed to finish this before I had to make the difficult choice of taking it on vacation - I'm pretty sure...moreAfter several dedicated reading sessions I managed to finish this before I had to make the difficult choice of taking it on vacation - I'm pretty sure it's 200lb weight would have damaged my baggage allowance and/or my back.
A thoroughly enjoyable epic saga that is a strange mix of Marx-brothers comedy characters and run-of-the-mill-but-good fantasy epic.
Consistently drawn with good pacing and benefitting immensely from being able to read all the volumes from start to finish I would think my only regret is not seeing the series in colour.
I received this as a gift, not sure I would ever have picked it myself, but a fine, fine, surprise.
While the sun never shines on a Rankin' Rebus this last installment manages not to instil the soul-searching bleakness of some of the prior Rebu...moreExit.
While the sun never shines on a Rankin' Rebus this last installment manages not to instil the soul-searching bleakness of some of the prior Rebus novels. There may be hope for humanity, Edinburgh and Scotland after all. Rebus; not so much.
Purely based on personal memories I recommend Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie. Anything will do but Carlton Hill and Knockin' on Joe and maybe Strangle Your Animal seem somewhat appropriate.
Don't read this as your first Rebus novel, don't feel you have to make it your last. Somewhat disappointed this didn't earn the fabled 5-star review, but a solid 4, solid Rankin, solid Rebus. (less)
Tighter than bloodshot this was a fast urban fantasy vampire story. Better than the intro to the series Hellbent tells a better story - if more tongu...moreTighter than bloodshot this was a fast urban fantasy vampire story. Better than the intro to the series Hellbent tells a better story - if more tongue in cheek - with some arbitrary adjuncts. There are also continuing trailing threads for sequels and arcs which, as of November 2011, may never occur as it is currently a 2-book gig.
Don't take this book too seriously and it is a fun read, look for too much depth and you will come out wanting. (less)
Verging on 4 stars - indeed looking at my previous Honor ratings it probably is, or else I rated Field of Dishonor too highly.
A very enjoyable Honor r...moreVerging on 4 stars - indeed looking at my previous Honor ratings it probably is, or else I rated Field of Dishonor too highly.
A very enjoyable Honor read; not too leaden with distraught Honor psycho babble and pathos. Although the book followed a general extended build to a multiple (!) climax the story trundles along quite well with no real sense of dragging (the length of time I took to read it was more based on my time than the book's speed).
Weber's trying to make some sort of comment about politics in here; but as I recall most of the books were written in the 90's (confirmed - thank you Wikipedia!) so it's not really worth sweating the modern parallels, let's just say he seems to be a fan of the infallible non-elected hereditary leader and highlights the failings of federalism and socialist welfare in a dramatic context that allows really big space battles and massive body counts in under 20 pages (book) and 5 minutes (story) time.
By this fifth book there is a sense of Honor being just a little "too good", despite Weber writing character and angst into her portrayal she does really pull it out of her butt rather too often to ever be in doubt (at this stage of the series anyway) of some sort of "it'll work out in the end" conclusion.
(in passing, this ebook returns to badly formatted scene transitions, which Weber uses extensively and effectively during moments of high tension, causing unnecessary confusion for the reader. this was prevalent in the first three books but not in Field of Dishonor so it's a shame to see it return)(less)
Fine little steampunk in foggy London in the style of Sherlock Holmes in many ways. Catches most and more of the steampunk criteria (airships, zombies...moreFine little steampunk in foggy London in the style of Sherlock Holmes in many ways. Catches most and more of the steampunk criteria (airships, zombies etc) and a few nice twists. Writing was bit plain at times and not quite as fast a read as it should have been with it's short chapters and cliffhangers but pretty good. I'd certainly read another Mann in general or the next in this series.(less)
Somewhat to overladen in cliche and forced noir style for me; moderately interesting story with a lot of dangling hints (for what is now an extensive...moreSomewhat to overladen in cliche and forced noir style for me; moderately interesting story with a lot of dangling hints (for what is now an extensive series). Might suffer from being Buther's first Dresden story, maybe they hit a less forced pace later.
However, in short, a simple and fun read for urban fantasy fans.(less)
I read most of this book in last month. While the core of the story - the birth of the Forest Service and the Big Burn fire at the start of the 20th c...moreI read most of this book in last month. While the core of the story - the birth of the Forest Service and the Big Burn fire at the start of the 20th century - is engaging I felt Egan meandered a little and was repetitive in some places. An engaging history, although somewhat depressing both in the politics of the day, lack of government support at the start of the Service and the morphing of the Service into the consort of the industry they should antagonize.
Worth reading if you spend time outdoors in the US, particularly the forests of the North-West. (less)
Not sure if a 3 is too ambivalent and this is a polarizing Kay book. I started off disliking it, but it clawed it's way back, but is by no means a sta...moreNot sure if a 3 is too ambivalent and this is a polarizing Kay book. I started off disliking it, but it clawed it's way back, but is by no means a standout. I think it also does not excel as being 'something different'.
Solid read, set in semi-modern day in the glorious blood-soaked south of France (because it's Europe, it's all blood-soaked). Slow going for a while, certainly the first half, lacking a rhythm and excitement of other Kay books. Once it speeds up in the second half it's a little too formula and as with several of his other books (last light of the sun and the end of the Mosaic two-parter) he has some characters that are a little too superhuman and situations that are a little too angsty.
Nice to see Dave and Kim back when the penny dropped (oh so late) although my memories of their story are probably from the first half of my life - time for a reread perhaps? ( the summer tree).
Somewhat satisfying ending, feel free to read this and Kay's other books. (less)
While well written this book was slowly paced. It's a return to the classic "coming of age" fantasy where the hero grows from boy. Told with a flashba...moreWhile well written this book was slowly paced. It's a return to the classic "coming of age" fantasy where the hero grows from boy. Told with a flashback style it certainly teases and tempts, but frankly 700 pages should give more story progression. Unfortunately Harry Potter has spoiled these waters, and I'm not a fan there, and Magician by Raymond E Feist did this many years ago.
The other element that detracted from a fine story for me was that Kvothe is just so damn good at everything. Like Richard Morgan's current books, there is no suspense when you are dealing with someone who can walk through trials and tribulations that would destroy all the other characters in the book.
I'm ready for the sequel but can't help feeling this could have been so much more. (less)
After two vacations I finally managed to finish this mammoth. This book does does not play well with kids and long work weeks.
However, as mentioned i...moreAfter two vacations I finally managed to finish this mammoth. This book does does not play well with kids and long work weeks.
However, as mentioned in many places this is a straight "part two" continuation of Pandora's Star. I felt it flowed a little better and familiarity with the main characters helped, no significant new characters happened there.
Unlike the Reality Dysfunction series this book ended strongly with a decent balance of deus ex and human triumph.
Good read, well worth it for the anecdotes alone. Nicely paced, not as gosh-wow as Gladwell.
It was a little repetitive but a good education on the ch...moreGood read, well worth it for the anecdotes alone. Nicely paced, not as gosh-wow as Gladwell.
It was a little repetitive but a good education on the challenges of managing complexity. Raises the issue of the resistance of people to tools such as checklists for managing complexity without resolving it or getting into the psychology if it all.
Lots of references to aviation.
Lesson of the book: Check you live somewhere that uses the Surgeon Checklist. (less)
Ok. Somewhat nice fantasy-Italy setting. As warned very dark and bloody with many unpleasant characters.
The book didn't hold it together through the...moreOk. Somewhat nice fantasy-Italy setting. As warned very dark and bloody with many unpleasant characters.
The book didn't hold it together through the mammoth (almost 900 pages - 1348 in ePub) read though and became *work* by the end. I think it was because...
• unpleasant characters aside as the story goes on you end up disliking them all and there is no cohesion or protagonist you really care about
• there is a character or two who are aberrations to the "normal, fallable human" nature of the rest of the characters who distort and distract the story - especially Shenkt. I can only hope these are explained in the supposedly unrelated First Law trilogy and they are more fantastic etc. However if they are they break the seal in this being relatively standalone and if they aren't then I think they just seriously weaken the book.
• Abercrombie's style provides a rolling narrative pace that is initially engaging and sucks you in. But it just gets tiring and loses it's power chapter after chapter after chapter. Shorter books or more style needed.
In all, not a bad read and I would consider more Abercrombie in the future but it won't be top of my list. (less)
Pleasant fast enough read in the urban fantasy ne vamps-are-everywhere genre.
Different writing style than the steampunk books, both technically bette...morePleasant fast enough read in the urban fantasy ne vamps-are-everywhere genre.
Different writing style than the steampunk books, both technically better, first person and better paced but for me doesn't come off quite as enjoyable - too many elements seem to exist to shock or be contemporary.
Still worth reading, just as a good thriller of yore doesn't need to be Shakespeare. (less)
Ends well with lots of action although a little too much Honor-fawning, however does a good job of le...morePretty good, reads better than Basilisk station.
Ends well with lots of action although a little too much Honor-fawning, however does a good job of leaving you wanting to know what happens next (the joys of being at he start of an established series).
One minor ebook comment is that there is no formatting (extra space etc) between POV switches which breaks the flow with Weber's fast scene cutting, especially during battles. (less)