Erikson is just great and few authors can top him in scope. Toll is another great installment, but with a bit different set up than usual, i.e. Kruppe...moreErikson is just great and few authors can top him in scope. Toll is another great installment, but with a bit different set up than usual, i.e. Kruppe narrates, yes, long-winded Kruppe narrates the entire book. Don't get me wrong, I love Kruppe, but just because you have the Midas touch in terms of book sales doesn't mean you don't still need an editor.
Still loved the book. Great ending with the usual unexpected elements. Being too long is the only real complaint.(less)
Over at Of Blog of the Fallen (ofblog.blogspot.com), Larry issued a challenge to read a book written before 1960 and give a rev...moreReview here
Over at Of Blog of the Fallen (ofblog.blogspot.com), Larry issued a challenge to read a book written before 1960 and give a review. I thought this was a great idea and began to scour my shelf for some older stuff, but kept finding books from the ‘70s and almost gave up until I found Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.
Like the only other Clarke novel I’ve read, Rendezvous with Rama, even though Childhood’s End was written decades ago (and in this case over half a century), Clarke has the amazing ability to create a future that is still believable and just as interesting as I’m sure it was when it was first written.
Earth is on the cusp of entering into space, when space comes to earth. Out of nowhere come what the people of Earth begin to call the “Overlords”. People quickly learn that nothing can be done about them and the fact that everyone is subject to their will. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Immediately, the standard of living goes up, wars stop, and people have much more free time (the average work week even shortens to 20 hours a week).
Thus enters the first ethical dilemma; is it better to be free or live in a world where peace and prosperity abound? Most of the world accepts the rule, though they really have no choice in the matter, while a few factions continue to fight for freedom. Add to this the fact that the Overlords refuse to divulge their intent and only refer to themselves as guardians of the human race.
I have to say I enjoyed Childhood’s End from start to finish. The story evolves quite a bit and the ending half of the book is much different than the beginning while losing nothing of the story. I do have to warn you not to read the blurb on the back of the book (at least my 1978 printing) because it gives away some events that don’t even occur until the end, which I was waiting to happen from the beginning.
Who should read this?
If you are in the mood for a philosophical novel that doesn’t seem so at first glance, Childhood’s End might be for you. This is a quick read with a surprisingly interesting end.(less)
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski has so much going for it, but in the end it was a disappointment. The title is great, the cov...moreOld Review from Blog:
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski has so much going for it, but in the end it was a disappointment. The title is great, the cover is awesome, and the story premise is just cool. Who wouldn't want to read about a guy that goes around fighting monsters and demons for a living? And now that I have, I don't know if I can recommend it.
Sapkowski is one of the best known fantasy writers in Poland and it's sad because it seems like there are some things that were lost in the translation into English. The dialogue sounds like the characters are overacting and that's about as close as I can come to describing it. The way the monsters interacted with the Witcher just didn't seem real, even for the world that was created.
I really wanted to like this book, too. There are such a variety of monsters, vampires, etc. and Geralt, the Witcher, is a great character who can stand up to any of them. In the end, it just didn't do it for me and I even debated giving up on the book multiple times throughout reading it.
Who should read this? If you're in the mood for something really fast-paced and light with very little world-building, this may be right up your alley. This also happens to be the book that inspired the video game The Witcher, so that might be another reason. Otherwise, it may not be for you.
Awesome read. Like a hilarious Harry Dresden mixed with the movie Constantine. Review here
I first heard about Armageddon Bound by Tim Marquitz on SF...moreAwesome read. Like a hilarious Harry Dresden mixed with the movie Constantine. Review here
I first heard about Armageddon Bound by Tim Marquitz on SFFworld and through Fantasy Book Critic. Everything I read seemed to be really good and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I also happened to win an ebook copy from the author and then it was only a matter of time.
The cover threw me off at first glance; I both love it and think, is this Vice City or San Andreas. But really, you can't go wrong with guns and skulls.
Frank "Triggaltheron" Tigg is just your average demon who also happens to be Lucifer's nephew. This worked well for him until God and Lucifer call it quits and get out of the game. To coin a phrase, all Hell proceeds to break lose.
In a world where demons dress and act like mobsters and angels have lost their purpose in life, the line is drawn between those who are for and against the coming of Armageddon. Frank and the DRAC team, made up of psychics, telepaths, and other supernatural beings, are doing everything in their power to stop the end of the world and keep the peace.
As the blurb on the back says, "Better luck next time, humanity."
My Take in Brief
Armageddon Bound is a hilarious Harry Dresden meets the movie Constantine (with Keanu Reeves). And that's pretty much what makes this novel so great; it never takes itself too seriously and there's always another bit of sarcasm around the corner (or should I say page). Although, maybe I should add that's it's a very ADULT Harry Dresden with sex jokes a mile a minute, so you've been warned.
Here's a bit of what I mean:
"I heard my nose snap and felt a warm gush explode from it. Lightning bolts of pain shot through my eyes and I flew backwards and landed in a heap. My head felt like used Jell-o. "You figure it out."
And as Frank attempts to reason with a low-level demon,
"Baalth smiled so wide I could count his teeth. I stopped at five. I get bored easy."
These quick one-liners pop up right and left and I seriously couldn't get enough of them. Marquitz has a great sense of humor and it shows throughout. I can't wait for the rest of the series to come out because I'm lining up already.
The whole story is told in first person and Frank Tigg is a great companion to have. Frank goes from messy situation to messy situation, and keeps trucking even though he only sees himself as a constant screw up. I could really relate to him, and all the while he pushes through only to land in an even worse situation
When Should You Read This?
If you're in the mood for something light, that will keep you turning pages from the very first, Armageddon Bound is right up your alley. If you liked the Dresden Files, you will have a good time with this one as well.
Rating and Links
My Rating: 5/5 (Loved it, Get yourself a copy right now!)(less)
Not only did it rise above the hype, but the hype looks like an ant from up here. This is traditional fantasy done extremely well and with its own uni...moreNot only did it rise above the hype, but the hype looks like an ant from up here. This is traditional fantasy done extremely well and with its own unique elements. The Warded Man (The Painted Man in the UK) is exactly the type of fantasy I love.
Goodreads summary: As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise - demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam, taking on fearsome form and substance. Sand demons. Wood demons. Wind demons. Flame demons. And gigantic rock demons, the deadliest of all. They possess supernatural strength and powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards - symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and mystery, and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile... Sounds great so far right?
All of this in a world that's fully realized and well plotted; you're almost afraid to go out at night yourself. Each day I couldn't wait to put my headphones back on and get back into this world where wards are life, where becoming a good warder could save your life and making a mistake could get you killed.
We are introduced early on-ish to three main characters, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer (hope I got that right - no spelling on the audio for some reason). They live in three separate and distinct places and Brett does a great job showing how each part of the world deals with the problem of the corelings. Some tend to ignore them until problems occur. The smaller hamlets are constantly being attacked. But, almost everyone is on the defense and almost no one fights back.
Arlen is sick of living in fear and his dream is to become a messenger, one who braves the night while traveling in between the cities and towns to deliver well, messages, along with trade goods. This dream is only spurred by Arlen's cowardly father who's always taught Arlen to run and hide.
I thought Brett did a great job using traditional epic fantasy elements to create his own unique world. Of course there's a prophecy and a boy from nowhere who goes through a huge change, but the end result is unexpected. I was also entranced with the magic of the wards, which was very unlike traditional magic in fantasy and made for some great action especially toward the end.
When Should You Read The Warded Man?
This is the perfect page turner (at least I assume - should I say track turner?). It's full of action and really sucks you into a wonderfully imagined world full of danger and hope. I loved every bit of it, so I can recommend it for anywhere at anytime...but especially if you're in the mood for that great traditional feeling.
There are a few authors, Joe Abercrombie included, whose books I've read in large part because everything they've said outside of their novels (on blo...moreThere are a few authors, Joe Abercrombie included, whose books I've read in large part because everything they've said outside of their novels (on blogs, etc.) has been hilarious and witty and they don't take themselves too seriously. Brent Weeks (or Sussex Months...yes I still think it's funny) is one of those authors.
One of the reasons it's taken me this long to get to this book is because I think the cover is awful. I know cover art doesn't really effect anything and probably shouldn't anyway, but it was very off-putting for me. Does anyone really want to see Hayden Christensen dressed up for Halloween on a cover? Maybe I shouldn't ask that... :) (It does look like HC doesn't it?)
The covers were what set this series apart, although it's hard to imagine that now, but they set the standard that is now almost a necessity and I can at least give them credit for doing that much. But really, what would a fantasy novel cover be without a cowled figure anyway...original?
Okay, now that the cheap shots are out of the way. I do love a good hood and The Way of Shadows (2008, 645 pp.) is full of them. Realistic covers, for me though, only really work for urban fantasy/paranormal romance. It must be the tats I guess. :)
This tale begins with the struggles of our main protagonist, Azoth, a guild rat - a nothing who's got no where to go and nothing to lose. His only way to escape the slums and a life of cruelty and pain is to apprentice himself to Durzo Blint, a renowned wetboy (kinda like an assassin times a hundred) and legend. This, however, is not as easy as he supposed since he is forced to turn his back on anyone he's ever loved and devote himself to a practice that's not altogether savory for anyone with some sense of morals. Like the cover blurb says, "The perfect killer has no friends - only targets."
To accomplish this, Azoth is given a new identity and a new name, Kylar Stern, while he begins his training and attempts to unleash his "Talent", or his magical abilities that would extend his skills as a wetboy.
The Way of Shadows is a fast-paced dynamite of a novel. I was up late into the night burning through pages to find out the next twist. I have to admit, I love a good assassin-themed novel. Weeks does a great job with characterization and I became really attached to Kylar, Momma K, and Logan; some awesome characters with convincing motives. This is the definite focus over world-building, which while an admirably realized world, is only given the barest of details necessary to further the plot. In a character/plot driven novel, The Way of Shadows doesn't get bogged down in description and it was much appreciated.
Kylar, although desiring to be a killer, is easy to relate to and has his own qualms throughout the story of doing such work. His character works well with his cranky master, Durzo Blint, who seems to have given up any such feelings of regret for his job. And, although this story plays on many fantasy archetypes (assassins, masters, a powerful sword, an unconquerable enemy), Weeks creates a unique feel that is all his own.
One thing I was surprised about was how violent The Way of Shadows is. For some reason, it was not what I was expecting (weird - assassins = violent?), leaning more toward The First Law trilogy than anything. I'm not complaining, it was only unexpected. Weeks does a good job weaving it into the story adding to the emotions (mostly of hatred toward the inflicter) the reader feels for the characters.
Basic grammar errors, such as missing words, were almost to the point of annoyance, but didn't distract too much from the story and in the end I felt that the climax was a little underwhelming as I didn't feel like the actions of the main characters were as necessary as they were made out to be. Otherwise The Way of Shadows was romping good fun. I didn't realize I would like this series so much.
When Should You Read The Way of Shadows?
The best time to read The Way of Shadows is when you're in the mood for something action-packed and quick-paced. If you need a break from reading description after description and you want something that moves the plot forward through short, concise chapters, The Way of Shadows will do you good.
And in the end, covers don't really matter as long as the book's good.
(side note: I may sound like I hate descriptive novels, but this is far from the truth. I do like balance, however, and a frequent mix of faster and slower novels fit the bill for me.)
I think it's a rule that you have to quote Vonnegut if you review his work. I've been bad about it in the past, but this book is essentially just a qu...moreI think it's a rule that you have to quote Vonnegut if you review his work. I've been bad about it in the past, but this book is essentially just a quotable book. What better time to start. :)
Some of my favorite quotes from A Man Without a Country:
"Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."
"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't' know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president."
"If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington DC." (About Bush I'm sure, but really applies in general)
"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."
"You know, the truth can be really powerful stuff. You're not expecting it."
"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."
This is one of my favorites that I come back to often. It's both humorous, but a very good and real summation of the arts and why it's important to keep creating:
"If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." (emphasis added)(less)
Shadow's Edge (2008) [US:] [UK:] by Brent Weeks is the second installment in The Night Angel trilogy and Weeks continues to impress with his debut ser...moreShadow's Edge (2008) [US:] [UK:] by Brent Weeks is the second installment in The Night Angel trilogy and Weeks continues to impress with his debut series. Although the beginning slowed down the pace a bit, Weeks was able to keep the tempo going from The Way of Shadows (review) and finish with quite the finale.
I've attempted to eliminate as many spoilers as possible, but it's difficult to discuss sequels without giving away some from the first. Beware some spoilers if you've yet to read The Way of Shadows.
Book Blurb: Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin's life. the Godking's successful coup has left Kylar's master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.
But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?
I have to say that I've really grown attached to these characters especially after two books and I thought Weeks did a great job with his sophomore novel, even improving on the first.
While The Way of Shadows dealt much with Kylar surviving the slums and making something new of himself, Shadow's Edge focuses on Kylar's struggle to find out who that person is he's become and where he belongs.
After moving to a new town, Caernarvon, to get out of the wetboy life, Kylar struggles to open a shop with Elene, selling and mixing herbs. Elene greatly wishes for Kylar to become a "good" person and stop his killing ways, but Kylar wonders if it's all that bad to stop those people who are really evil by sometimes killing.
These are some great philosophical points to ponder. Does one stoop to a murderer's level by killing them? Is there a difference between killing and murdering? These are some of the focal points of Kylar's struggle as he attempts to rise to Elene's level.
In Shadow's Edge, there are a number of new elements that are reminiscent of The Wheel of Time, such as The Chantry, where "Sisters" recruit others to teach them to use their Talent and the Lae'Knaught who hate magic and magic-users. There are more, but these similarities weren't too blaring and helped to increased the complexity of the story. See here for a lengthy and sometimes quite humorous discussion on SFFWorld (although spoilers abound).
Add to everything an awesome ending which brought many of the characters together, although not all of them knew it and you have yourself one great book. I did have a few problems that I mention here (with appropriate spoiler warnings) since I felt that an important element was glossed over.
When Should You Read Shadow's Edge?
Furthering The Way of Shadows' fast-paced, action-packed momentum, Shadow's Edge will keep you on your toes. If you're in the mood to stay up later than you normally do devouring a great tale of assassins, you'll love Shadow's Edge. Definitely recommended.
While some people have been waiting over 20 years to finish The Wheel of Time, over 13 (and counting) for A Song of Ice and Fire, and over 10 for Mala...moreWhile some people have been waiting over 20 years to finish The Wheel of Time, over 13 (and counting) for A Song of Ice and Fire, and over 10 for Malazan Book of the Fallen, it's a great feeling to finish a series and probably better for all the waiting I've been doing.
Concluding the Night Angel Trilogy, Beyond the Shadows is a great ending to a great series. While not without its faults, as I'll discuss in a bit, the characters are moving and the world fully realized, so much that I was a bit sad to be reading the end. That's always a good sign.
Now comes the blurb and spoilers if you've yet to read the prior installments... Logan Gyre is king of Cenaria, a country under siege, with a threadbare army and little hope. He has one chance - a desperate gamble, but one that could destroy his kingdom.
In the north, the new Godking has a plan. If it comes to fruition, no one will have the power to stop him.
Kylar Stern has no choice. To save his friends - and perhaps his enemies - he must accomplish the impossible: assassinate a goddess.
Beyond the Shadows is the action-packed conclusion to the Night Angel Trilogy.
Not letting up on the fast pace, Beyond the Shadows is surprisingly even more action-packed than its predecessors. This didn't hurt the story until the very end when it felt a bit rushed as I explained here (look for "seak" at the bottom of the page).
Otherwise, I couldn't get enough. With Dorian in the north, disguised as a eunuch searching for Jenine Gyre, Vi in the Chantry learning from the Sisters and starting her own faction, Neph Dada on his own nefarious mission, and Kylar learning what his new gifts really cost him, not one section leaves you wishing you were somewhere else.
One of the things I was most impressed with was the explanation of the Krul. They were mentioned in the previous volumes only cursorily, but what a great monster. In fact, the Kalidorans in general were wonderfully realized, especially with their connection to the vir (their version of the Talent), setting up yet another moral struggle for a certain main character.
Although events leading up to the ending were a bit rushed, the ending itself was amazing. From great monsters and epic fights to poignant scenes of realization, I left satisfied and a little sad to be done.
When Should You Read Beyond the Shadows?
After the first two in the series, duh... Okay, sad attempt at a joke. :D As I said with the first two installments, be ready for fast-paced-action-intense-writing-lots-of-fighting and everything you'd expect in a series involving assassins. The Night Angel Trilogy brings out the kid in you that wants to rule the world.
Mankind finally has a way not only to defend themselves from the demons that have taken over the night, but they have the ability to combat their enem...moreMankind finally has a way not only to defend themselves from the demons that have taken over the night, but they have the ability to combat their enemies. Arlen, aka the Warded Man, wants to distribute the combat wards he found to everyone in the world so they don't have to suffer at the hands of the demons as he did when his mother died.
Compare this to the Krasian method of enslaving all mankind and forcing them to fight in alagai'sharak, the Krasian's name for their nightly battle with the demons.
In this respect, I couldn't help but compare The Desert Spear to The Matrix Reloaded. Not because there was a decrease in quality like the Matrix films, but moreso because suddenly the demons aren't as scary just like the agents lost all their spunk in the second and third films.
There are so many ways and means that have been found, especially by Leesha and those of Deliverer's (formerly Cutter's) Hollow, to either combat the demons or make oneself invisible to them that it's almost like the demons aren't even there anymore. This was a little disappointing especially in a series that is all about groups of people coming together for the cause of warring with demonkind.
Luckily, there's enough going on that this isn't too big of an issue, just something that was a little disappointing.
The Desert Spear, book 2 of the Demon Cycle, begins by following Ahmann something something something Jardir, who we met in The Warded Man, and exclusively deals with the events in Krasia and Jardir's history...and this lasts for about a quarter of the book.
I know many have complained about this aspect of the book, that the book takes far too long to get to Arlan, Leesha, and Rojer, but I'm a firm believer that delayed satisfaction does in fact make you appreciate your favorite parts.
But, I can't really say that I even loathed reading the first part. The more I read/listened, the more I found I was sucked into Jardir's past/present and the effort that went into creating this society.
Not only are new wards created/found, but we find out there are more demons than we have seen so far, one of them being the Mind demons, who rule all of demonkind. These guys make a couple of appearances and prove that although most demons aren't much of a threat, there are still some that could pose some difficulties, especially since they have the ability to think and reason like man.
Leesha and Rojer have become mainstays in Deliverer's Hollow where many refugees have fled to escape the flood that is the Krasians. This is where we also find out the advancements that Leesha has made on warding. Many have mentioned that Leesha is a bit of a wonder woman in this book and while that's true to an extent, I think a lot of this comes from the fact that we see Leesha through the eyes of Ahmann Jardir, who has a bit of a skewed perspective of her.
The issue of The Deliverer, or Shar'Dama Ka in Krasia, is central to The Desert Spear. While Arlan does everything he can to fight this distinction, the people of the north will believe what they want to believe, and many times to Arlen's frustration.
On the other hand, in Krasia, Ahmann Jardir not only convinces himself and Krasia that he is the Shar'Dama Ka, but takes his unified Krasian army to the north to force the people of the north to fight demonkind.
I realized I haven't been that good at discussing the audio portion of the book when I do an Audiobook review, so I wanted to add this section so that the review will actually be handy to those who were debating on whether to listen or read, having already made the decision to obtain this book.
Pete Bradbury does a great job in both The Desert Spear and The Warded/Painted Man audiobooks. He has a gruff voice, which works well for Arlen, Jardir, all of Krasia, Messengers, etc. But, at the same time, it doesn't even sound weird when he does the female characters' voices. The Audiobook is really well done and definitely recommended.
When Should You Read The Desert Spear?
The Desert Spear continues on the same level as The Warded Man, which I highly recommend and while the characters are great, the world that Peter V. Brett created has created a huge fan in me.
I admit, I have a penchant for assassins. Am I the only one? Looking at the amount of fantasy and science fiction novels revolving around assassins, I...moreI admit, I have a penchant for assassins. Am I the only one? Looking at the amount of fantasy and science fiction novels revolving around assassins, I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say, nope.
In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples. Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot.
Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last target, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. In this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won't be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir's hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son...
Shadow's Son (2010) was a quick read about one of my favorite topics, assassins. I don't know what it is, do I really wish I were an assassin? Admittedly, probably part of me, and I'm guess others as well, but shouldn't we be a little worried that it's so popular? Should we really wonder why there are so many terrible things happening in the world, I mean, we all want to be assassins!
Okay, I don't actually think things are that bad, andassassins are just cool I guess. The solitary life, the late nights, the creeping around in other people's houses. Some of us already pretty much live the life anyway right? Hehe, yes, that was a joke.
Back on topic. Shadow's Son, like I said before, is a quick read, but with the added bonus of being one of those stories that reveals all the pertinent information as the plot unfolds and at a quick pace. I kept comparing this toThe Crown Conspiracy (review) as I read because of these similar elements. Thus preserving the mysteries that slowly come to light about Caim's past and about his companion Kit, the spirit who only Caim can see and who flitters in and out of his life throughout the book.
Add to this some great main protagonists in Caim and Josephine and you have one heck of a ride. Caim is the assassin with the heard of gold, which, however unbelievable that may be that a hardened individual could kill with hardly a thought and then show compassion, it works yet again in Shadow's Son.
Josephine is thrown into the mess after her father is killed and I couldn't help but be drawn to her. She's shown as a somewhat impetuous and rebellious teen, and again, Sprunk pulls you into her character as she experiences not only some hardships, but atrocities as well.
Why Should You Read Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk?
Shadow's Son is a well-written book with some great characters and set in medieval territory with dark magic. What's not to love? The only real complaint I have is that it was only 278 pages...I really didn't want to stop reading. Luckily, this is the first in a trilogy and Melissa of My World has found out that Jon is hard at work on the sequel due out next year.(less)
First, welcome to reading, I'm glad this could be one of 5 books you read this year along with The Help. Please stick around, there are many more worl...moreFirst, welcome to reading, I'm glad this could be one of 5 books you read this year along with The Help. Please stick around, there are many more worlds to explore and adventures to have. But I'm glad peer pressure can at least get you to read something. I know this is super elitist, I'm sorry, but I don't like pop music either and this is the Katy Perry of the literary world. I know, reading is always good blah blah blah it's still a good book blah blah you're kind of being a jerk here. I know but does anyone feel the same sometimes?
This is my review from a couple years ago, forgot to post it here from the blog:
I have this obsession, and I know it drives my wife nuts, but I can't stand wasting time. That's why audiobooks are by friends. Anytime I'm driving, taking the bus, walking to school, it's all good book-reading time. It's all forward progression, especially since I usually have goals to read so many books a month, quarter, year, etc. And I've found that most libraries have a decent selection of audiobooks since they tend to be a bit pricey.
Now getting to the review. I'm terrible with peer pressure, I know. Everyone else seems to be reading this series and then I found it in the library. From there it was settled. (I'm still impressed I've resisted the Twilight fad for this long)
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.
I came really close to giving up on The Hunger Games (Book 1 of 3) after the first few CDs. It was really frustrating how subservient these people are who live in each of the districts. They're on the brink of starvation, the rulers make it illegal to go hunting (although that's one place they actually break the rules), they can't say anything remotely seditious against the ruling class and to top it off they send two kids from each of their districts to compete in a "game" where they have to kill each other off - the winner is the one who out-survives the rest.
The book explains that no one fights back because the elusive District 13 was utterly decimated. But seriously? People who are starving anyway have nothing to lose, a quick death by decimation is much better than slowly wasting away. Not only that, you have the parents. Who would continue to let their children go off to fight to the death and not do something about it, or at least just not be so submissive to everything?
The kids arrive at the compound where they train and get ready for the games and yet again, they are completely afraid to break any rules. And yet again, what do they have to lose? They're about to go try to kill each other, why don't they do something? This is somewhat explained away because "sponsors" can help you throughout the game by sending you things you need and they'll only do that if they like you and you're in compliance with the rules.
Yet, I couldn't help but think that people would still be fighting back. But anyway, once I got over these couple niggles, I did I promise, The Hunger Games was a fairly enjoyable read.
Collins has created an interesting futuristic world where the ruling class keeps the people under their firm grasp by subjecting them to the horrible atrocities that are the Hunger Games. I thought she did a great job showing the intrigue of the games - that they were about more than just who's the biggest, strongest, fastest.
Once the Hunger Games themselves began, I was sucked in. The game designers plan a number of surprises and tricks to not only weaken the players but to bring them together. Whatever gives the most entertainment for the legions of crowds watching the grisly show. These were all really interesting and helped to move the plot forward very quickly, because I, like the insensitive crowd, like my entertainment too. :)
Almost immediately, the players created alliances (Survivor style) and it was interesting to see the dynamic especially since they all knew only one person would live. This was done quite well and even created some interesting twists.
It's interesting to note that The Hunger Games have been optioned by Lions Gate films and I'll be interested to see the movie. You always have to see if they got it right. :)
When Should You Read The Hunger Games?
When you're in the mood for something light and definitely young adult, The Hunger Games may be the way to go. I'm probably the only one who had the issues I had with the book, so don't let that hold you back.
Unlike any book I've ever read, The Mirrored Heavens blasts out the gates and never lets up. I have to admit that I'm not the most well-read when it c...moreUnlike any book I've ever read, The Mirrored Heavens blasts out the gates and never lets up. I have to admit that I'm not the most well-read when it comes to science fiction (I'm working on it), but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this story about a very real future world where terrorists are attempting to take over.
It's not too often that you read a book that's completely told in the present tense. This annoyed me at first, but the more I got used to it the more I realized how much it actually plays into the ideas of the book, whether intentional or not, it was actually quite impressive. In the 22nd century, the first wonder of a brave new world is the Phoenix Space Elevator, designed to give mankind greater access to the frontier beyond Earth. Cooperatively built by the United States and the Eurasian Coalition, the Elevator is also a grand symbol of superpower alliance following a second cold war. And it’s just been destroyed.
With suspicions rampant, armies and espionage teams are mobilized across the globe and beyond. Enter Claire Haskell and Jason Marlowe, U.S. counterintelligence agents and former lovers—though their memories may only be constructs implanted by their spymaster. Now their agenda is to trust no one. For as the crisis mounts, the lives of all involved will converge in one explosive finale—and a startling aftermath that will rewrite everything they’ve ever known—about their mission, their world, and themselves. The Mirrored Heavens is told from four different points of view and each person is either a mech or a razor. Mechs and razors are always paired together as an elite team operating within one of the many organizations working against each other in a massive power struggle. One operates essentially as a hacker and brains of the operation and the other is the physical presence.
Razers can connect to Zone, which is in effect the World Wide Web times a bagillion, and hack through systems and even into other agents and each agent has the ability to communicate with each other through the Zone.
As I mentioned earlier, the pace is blazing fast, which serves as both a benefit and a detriment to the story. It keeps you reading and surprised at each twist and turn but this is done in lieu of world building and character development.
The Mirrored Heavens switches back and forth between characters many times very quickly (like every page) and this made it hard to remember where all there characters were exactly. Sometimes I wouldn't figure it out until a sentence or two before the next character came in.
Overall, this was great fast-paced fun with lots of futuristic action and some great twists that make for an excellent ending.
When Should You Read The Mirrored Heavens?
The Mirrored Heavens is filled with great ideas and moves at an amazing pace. Definitely recommended. I'm already well into The Burning Skies and it's just as good so far.(less)