Loved it. Did this as an audiobook. This one started slow for me, but the narration of Steven Pacy would make phone contract boilerplate sound rich an...moreLoved it. Did this as an audiobook. This one started slow for me, but the narration of Steven Pacy would make phone contract boilerplate sound rich and interesting, so I kept going and I'm glad I did. Abercrombie has lots of room to do very deep character development, and he takes advantage of it. Halfway through, I could see what all the fuss was about, and the second I finished Book I, I bought Books II & III.
It's rare for me to read a Book II in a series, simply because there are so many people I want to read and there's so little time in which to read them. The First Law series, however, is an exception: I can't wait to spend more time with these characters.(less)
EMBEDDED is an absolute knockout of a book. Abnett is a gifted action narrator. His combat sequences explode into life. His use of metaphor to set a s...moreEMBEDDED is an absolute knockout of a book. Abnett is a gifted action narrator. His combat sequences explode into life. His use of metaphor to set a scene painted clear pictures for me, and made things more believable by imprinting modern-day moods and beliefs onto the futuristic setting. Without a doubt, Abnett's future is one of the most logical and believable extensions of our current world I've ever read.
I listened to the audiobook. The narrator read way too fast, but I adjusted to it quickly enough that it didn't ruin the story. The narrator was talented and had a great delivery, but the speed bordered on ruining the experience.
If you're the fancy type to believes it's not real science fiction unless there's a deep message where the author tells you what's wrong with our current society, this book might not be for you. EMBEDDED is a balls-out thriller that paints a realistic future picture without shoving a belief system down your throat. (less)
Thoroughly impressive. Paolo creates an comprehensive world from the ashes of a modern-day collapse. It feels like an alien culture woven from the rem...moreThoroughly impressive. Paolo creates an comprehensive world from the ashes of a modern-day collapse. It feels like an alien culture woven from the remnants of what we all know so well, a medieval-shifting-into-industrial-revolution construct rife with superstition and religion. His world feels, smells, looks and tastes real.
Like a lot of award-winning scifi, it's damn depressing. This isn't one for a happy-time escape. The book will crawl into your chest and force you to see where a consumer-based, corporation-driven culture could end up.
First off, paranormal fiction of any stripe really isn't my bag. I'm more of a hard-science/horror, horror/thriller kind of a guy.
I'm a big fan of th...moreFirst off, paranormal fiction of any stripe really isn't my bag. I'm more of a hard-science/horror, horror/thriller kind of a guy.
I'm a big fan of the TRUE BLOOD television series. My wife tricked me into watching it, because I was convinced I "couldn't possibly like yet another kissy-vampire show." Well, I was wrong; I got hooked on the campy fun of TRUE BLOOD right off the bat.
Since I'm an author and have high hopes of seeing one of my own books turned into a series someday, I picked up the first DEXTER book and DEAD UNTIL DARK to see how TV writers adapted novels for the small screen. DEXTER blew me away and still ranks as one of the most brilliant "high concept" ideas in horror fiction.
Then I read DEAD UNTIL DARK, and you know what? It's fantastic. I need to get over my snooty attitude about paranormal romance, because this is just a flat-out good story.
Harris creates a fantastic main character. Sookie Stackhouse is full of flaws and doubts, and at the same time is perfectly content in her normal life. As content as she can be, considering her telepathic abilities. The normalcy and neuroses of Sookie make her instantly "real." I was empathizing with her before any of the madness started, and that let me slip into the story and accept all the paranormal activity: I mean, it's not happening to some character, it's happening to my rational friend Sookie, so it's okay to believe in it.
Bottom line: loved the book, loved the character. The novel is fun, sexy and puts a great skin on a Down South murder mystery. It's no wonder this series is so popular.
Loved it. I don't know if they get into the background of Mr. Graves later in the series, but the premise of the first volume stood well all by itself...moreLoved it. I don't know if they get into the background of Mr. Graves later in the series, but the premise of the first volume stood well all by itself. Two stories in this, the first is excellent if somewhat predictable, but after reading the second story the first felt almost like a red-herring setup, a way to tell you "yes, this book, like all other entertainment properties, is going to go pretty much the way you expect." The second story changed that perception, and even made the first story better although they are unrelated.
Excellent art, great story, I got my money's worth and more. (less)
I felt this was a kick-ass debut novel. I might rate it 4 or even 4.5 stars if this was his second or third book, but for the first time out of the ga...moreI felt this was a kick-ass debut novel. I might rate it 4 or even 4.5 stars if this was his second or third book, but for the first time out of the gate I'm giving Cole a bonus for hammering home a crazy, crazy story.
Superhero commandos. So much fun.
What I liked about this was that Cole really locked down the rule system. He makes it clear what is and what is not possible, even while letting his characters do unrealistic things. This made the story logical and rational to me. He avoided the paranormal "anything can happen at any time, and I don't need to explain how or why" aspect that takes me out of many magic- or ghost-based stories. Nothing wrong with those stories, just a personal pref for what I like to read.
So is it a straight-up 5-star on it's own? Probably not. Does it deserve the high rank because it is a first novel, and you can see the sweat the author put into creating his rule system? Yes, yes it does. (less)
I enjoyed this book. I thought the art was phenomenal, and really carried the mood and tone. The story was solid. The only reason I don't give it five...moreI enjoyed this book. I thought the art was phenomenal, and really carried the mood and tone. The story was solid. The only reason I don't give it five stars is I'm not much of a paranormal fan, and the conveniences that are inherent in that genre sometimes leave me wanting a more logical explanation (which isn't coming, because if everything in the story was rational and logical it wouldn't be a paranormal story in the first place). So five stars for story and art, just one back for my personal fiction preferences. (less)
Well I finally finished this book. And that took some doing, because it's a bruiser, weighing in at 560 pages. I mean, who writes books that long thes...moreWell I finally finished this book. And that took some doing, because it's a bruiser, weighing in at 560 pages. I mean, who writes books that long these days?
I really enjoyed it. My favorite part of the book was the setting. The Two Writers Who Together Are Known As "James S.A. Corey" created a space opera that is fully contained in our solar system. There are different governments, cultures, and we are even on the cusp of human speciation as the inner planets square off against the "belters" and the outlying element of our system. This concept made for a contained story that felt very familiar and accessible. Compared to the FTL, star-spanning efforts of most scifi tales, LEVIATHAN WAKES felt more like "home" than anything I've ever read.
The story itself is wonderful. The characters are solid, horribly flawed, and trying to do the best they can based on their individual (and widely varying) sets of morals, or lack therof. Like in life, no one thinks they are "the bad guy." You've got some good starship combat and enough action scenes to keep those 560 pages moving at a decent clip.
If you're looking for the "science" of science fiction, this is pretty much a magical fantasy tale. The "other" in the story is so drastically ahead of us technology wise that our protagonists are left wondering how such things could be possible. Biology, in particular, is dealt with via the wave of a wand and a "this is beyond our understanding" approach. I don't think there was any way around this for the authors, though -- if the characters are hundreds of years ahead of us, and the characters need to be frightened and mystified by some highly advanced tech, then the poor, primitive readers such as you and I aren't going to have the first clue. It all makes sense within the context of the story.
Will some of these elements be explained in the next two books? If the excerpt from Book II that's included in LEVIATHAN WAKES is any indication, probably not. And does that mater? Not at all.
If you dig spaceships, realistic scifi, and real-life situations that are more BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (new version) than STAR TREK (any version), you will probably dig this book.(less)
Hooo, this is a tough book. Carlson paints a post-apocalyptic nightmare with vivid, crystal-clear strokes. Looking for comic relief? Look elsewhere. F...moreHooo, this is a tough book. Carlson paints a post-apocalyptic nightmare with vivid, crystal-clear strokes. Looking for comic relief? Look elsewhere. From the opening scene, he illustrates what it would be like to be part of humanity's final breath. This book's horror comes from pure realism, from understanding what it would be like to watch all hope fade away. (less)
I really enjoyed this book, which is odd, because it's one of the most depressing things I've ever read. If you want a first-person feel for the hopel...moreI really enjoyed this book, which is odd, because it's one of the most depressing things I've ever read. If you want a first-person feel for the hopelessness of a Soviet citizen in the Stalin era, this is a good choice. The ability for anyone, at any time, to denounce you for almost anything (and requiring not a shred of proof) is the anchor of a self-justifying suicide system where "there is no crime." Smith's characters bring you down to the personal level, which makes the nightmare all that more real.
The book is a total bloodbath of a plot, and while there are some rather extreme coincidences that happen for one of the world's most populous nations, it finishes up strong.
It also reminded me how damn lucky I am to live in a democracy.(less)
This book is a blast. Bazell's technique of using footnotes to talk directly to the reader in a story that is already first-person makes you feel like...moreThis book is a blast. Bazell's technique of using footnotes to talk directly to the reader in a story that is already first-person makes you feel like the main character is sitting down with you, regaling you with a rather tall tale. It's hard to find an original idea in crime fiction, but Bazell does it: a mob hitman who enters the witness protection program (WITSEC) and becomes a medical doctor.
Two things stopped me from giving it five stars. First, if he's a hitman that worked for the New York mafia, so does it make sense to put him in a Manhattan hospital? That's a hard one to reconcile, but it doesn't get in the way that much.
The second thing is the ending. No spoilers, but it really puts the willing suspension of disbelief to the test, which was a let-down considering the first 75 percent of the book is so much fun. (less)