I really don’t know what I just read, for two reasons. One, I was confused as all get out. Second, my mind was drifting to thiDelayed review, at last:
I really don’t know what I just read, for two reasons. One, I was confused as all get out. Second, my mind was drifting to things that were more interesting, like the hands of my clock turning around. Nice thing about audiobooks are that when you drift or fall asleep, they continue to play. Eventually I heard “The End” and I could mark the damn thing as complete.
There were elements in this book that reminded me of three others. Unfortunately, it was the annoying qualities of those books and not the cool stuff. So cross the spaceship mindfuckery confusion of Revelation Space with the immortal inbred scheming family at war with itself in The Chronicles of Amber and the Angsty Angel Romance dickery of Daughter and Smoke and Bone and you might have an idea at what this was about. Well, you might not but at least you’ll know what sort of groans and headdeskings you’re in for.
Bear has decent prose and a good imagination. There were enough interesting bits in this to keep me from one-starring it, and the audio saved it from DNF status.
In short, I might try Elizabeth Bear again, but the leash is short. ...more
Chucked at 10%. I should have known better. How many times have I seen all those awards listed in a blurb and been suckered into trying a book?
I'm jusChucked at 10%. I should have known better. How many times have I seen all those awards listed in a blurb and been suckered into trying a book?
I'm just not doing it. Maybe it gets better, but no. I'm not getting trapped into losing a couple of months of my life because I'm determined to finish a China Miéville/Gene Wolfe-type experience. Maybe I'm not smart enough to grasp this genre.
I won a copy of this from the First Reads program on GoodReads.
I love free books. Thank you to the publisher for this advanced reading copy. I wish II won a copy of this from the First Reads program on GoodReads.
I love free books. Thank you to the publisher for this advanced reading copy. I wish I liked it more, but here we are.
I gave up 80 pages in. I mean, it took me 8 days to get through 80 pages of a YA novel. Seriously?
I feel there's a good story in here. The writing just doesn't grab me. It doesn't even paw at me. It falls as flat as a cartoon character that a boulder dropped on. Not bad, just extremely non-engaging.
I just have too much on my plate to invest more time in this. ...more
It's finally over. That felt like the longest audiobook I've ever listened to.
It was actually a decent, if slowly paced story. It was like the zombieIt's finally over. That felt like the longest audiobook I've ever listened to.
It was actually a decent, if slowly paced story. It was like the zombie book with the second most zzzzzzz's that I've read. (See Boneshaker). I did enjoy the post apocalyptic world Maberry set up and the characters. It just seemed to take a long time to get anywhere.
That's the book. Now for the audio. The reader wasn't bad or difficult to listen to, but he talked so slowly I thought I would be a shambling corpse before he finished. And then...
There was a chapter where a few of the teenage boys got together and we're talking about their friend that was a girl. We'll, as teen boys will do, the convo soon drifted to her boobs. This reader. Through that part, he sounded just like Butt-Head.
From that point on, I could not get that out of my head. Huh huh huh uh huh huh. He said "boobs". Huh huh uh huh.
A solid 3-stars. At time I thought it might go up to 4, as it has some intriguing world-building and an interesting main character. It dragged quite aA solid 3-stars. At time I thought it might go up to 4, as it has some intriguing world-building and an interesting main character. It dragged quite a bit in the middle, but then finished strong. I'm curious to see where Taylor will go in the sequel....more
What we have here is an orphan boy raised as a servant for the noble folk of Midkemia err, the Six Duchies no, that's not it. Oh yes, the Four KingdomWhat we have here is an orphan boy raised as a servant for the noble folk of Midkemia err, the Six Duchies no, that's not it. Oh yes, the Four Kingdoms. Well, Pug soon finds out. Wait, no. Fitz soon learns that he's a...Dammit. Sorry. Ahem. Jack soon learns that he has an incredible power and he may be destined for shit that isn't baking bread.
Then we have Melli, the pampered noble princess that wants to be more. That is, she wants to have her very own personality. She doesn't want to marry the wicked little demon of a prince, so she runs away. Well, can't fault the poor girl. Can't blame her for not wanting to be married to Prince Kylock:
So, anyway. We also have a young knight by the name of Tawl. Yes, really. I'm not kidding. That's his name. He don't like it either. Well, he's supposed to strike out and find the Chosen One (see paragraph #1), but doesn't know where to look. All he's told by the wiseguy that set him on his quest is that he was looking for...drumroll a boy.
So....likeable but boring protagonists? Don't worry. We have shallow, greedy, and sinister villains aplenty.
First we have Melli's father, the richest noble in the Four Kingdoms, and an owner of a few apple trees to boot, Lord Maybor. Then we have his archenemy of all time, the Chancellor Baralis. They spend the entire novel cooking up evil ways to undermine and assassinate each other. They also do everything they can to grope and/or dry-hump every female in the novel. Of course, when they're not plotting or molesting chambermaids, they each have personal manservants to sit by and listen to their mastermind schemes.
Finally, we have this third mega-villain sitting back and observing shit. Tavilisk the Hutt, Archbishop of Rorn. He's always eating and being a douche to his sarcastic manservant (yes, to be a villain in these books you must have your own manservant).
As far as story, well. Heroes wander and villains plan dastardly acts. Hilarity ensues, and everyone lives happily...err, nevermind. Apparently you have to read the sequel to see anything happen. ...more
Jettison the debris, clear the missle tubes, abandon ship. Whatever it takes to stop my eyes from further bleeding.
This is a sad day. I've rated mostJettison the debris, clear the missle tubes, abandon ship. Whatever it takes to stop my eyes from further bleeding.
This is a sad day. I've rated most of these books to this points with 4-stars, with one of them good enough to earn a coveted 5th star. Most of them have infodumps and boring spells, but this one has had nothing else for the first third.
Too many books out there I want to read, so no point in continuing to torturing myself.
I might pick it up again later, but for now I'm resigning my commission. ...more
There were some good elements of story here, and some good world concepts. However, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The prose is choppy, fulThere were some good elements of story here, and some good world concepts. However, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The prose is choppy, full of adverbs and redundancies. If I had to hear "he smiled grimly" one more time, I was prepared to gouge out my eardrums (I listened to the audio, obviously). The plot drags on and on. And on. And on some more. Events take forever to set up, and then when something does happen, I'm like "what the hell? Where did that come from? Should I rewind? Oh, Hell no. I don't care."
I didn't like the characters, for the most part. There were three main ones: Gerald Tarrant, a fairly interesting anti-hero; Ciani, the female protagonist, and Damien, the male protagonist. Well, I liked Gerald Tarrant pretty well, was indifferent to Ciani one way or the other, and I disliked Damien.
The dialogue was pretty horrible too, and probably the reason I didn't like the characters. They sounded like heroes from a bad B-movie and even Tarrant sounded more like a Scooby-Doo villain half the time than a normal person.
So why 2 stars rather than 1?
I didn't hate it. I just didn't care for it much. I've heard great things about this book and the rest of Friedman's series, so there's a chance I'll continue some day. But thus far, I can't see what all the hubbub is with C.S. Friedman....more
Well then. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that weak, unfulfilling ending. Why, the entire book was pretty weak and unfulfilling, so why did I hopWell then. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that weak, unfulfilling ending. Why, the entire book was pretty weak and unfulfilling, so why did I hope for otherwise? Simple. I needed hope. Hope that there was a purpose behind all the awards and praise heaping I’ve seen given to this book. Surely there would be a payoff for enduring 600 pages of pretentious nonsense. But alas, I was wrong.
Story wasn’t the goal here, I suppose. More like trying to impress the literary establishment. Well, it did that. I guess if enough people with ties and plates that cost in the hundreds of dollars (or pounds) say that you’re a genius, it must be true.
That said, China Miéville does have a wicked imagination. I loved the world of Bas Lag and the city of New Crobuzon. It’s very imaginative in concept and detail. This made me so excited to read the book, just by the blurb and reviews and summaries. The introduction/prologue had me intrigued.
Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up. While Miéville does have some nice flowing prose (when it’s not overcoated with adverbs and adjectives), his style meanders from the story too much. It wasn’t long before I wasn’t even sure what the story was, or if there even was one.
I was often lost in the science. By the time the story did take off, I didn’t care anymore. I pushed through, switching to audio halfway through. Thank God for John Lee’s narration. He did a great job bringing the story to life. Well, enough to get me through it in just a few days, at least. With Lee reading, if I zoned out for periods of infodump-description Hell, the audio would at least continue to play. When I’d wake up, I’d see that I’d made actual progress rather than simply face-planted myself on my paperback copy.
I think that a big part of my disappointment in Perdido Street Station comes from the fact that last year I read Un Lun Dun, and very much enjoyed it. There was a story there, without all the fancypants literary filler. Maybe because Miéville was writing for kids, he didn’t feel the need to impress his audience. He just told the damn story, and it worked.
I’ll break down the review as follows:
Worldbuilding – 5 stars (excellent potential) Characters – 3 stars (On the surface they seemed interesting, until digging in) Plot – 2 stars (when recognizable) Style – 4 stars (when on track) Execution – 1 star (often wasn’t on track) Descriptions – 5-stars when describing something relevant. 1-star when I considered gouging out my eyeballs. Science – 4-stars for the fictional science itself, as it was very detailed. 1-star as I was forced to read all of the detail. Cheese – 1 star. Why was cheese mistreated? That was so wrong. Audio reading – 5-stars. John Lee does a very lively reading. Overall rating – 1.5 stars.
I could probably go to a full 2-stars, but I figure the book’s too overrated as it is. I’m not contributing to that. I feel duped, that I’d been tricked into reading something I thought would be groundbreaking, original, and totally absorbing. Well, it was original in concept, so I’ll grant the ½ star above a “hated it” rating. It’s better than the worst book out there. I just feel let down from very high expectations. ...more
2.5 stars. Rounded down because of the fucking epilogue.
This book started out as a solid 3 to 4 star book, catching my interest right awayReally? WTF?
2.5 stars. Rounded down because of the fucking epilogue.
This book started out as a solid 3 to 4 star book, catching my interest right away. Over the course of reading it, it settled into a solid 3 zone without moving up or down. I still liked it, but the dialogue was pretty lame and some of the story was silly. But it was still pretty good.
Then the last 100 pages or so dragged. Fine. I'm a Texan. I can appreciate a tribute to the Alamo when I see it. I respect that, and though it's not the most fun to read about, I was on board. I liked most of the characters, though I did scratch my head a little as some were introduced rather late in the game. Still, I'm good.
Then I got to the last 10 pages or so. Fuck. An entire star fell from the night sky over Drenai at that moment. Talk about a suck-ass ending. Talk about sweeping everything that you'd accomplished to this point as if it was nothing.
Fucking Bobby Ewing. No shit.
And then the epilogue. WTF times 1000? That almost fucking cost another star. One page. That bad. Fuck.
Deus Ex Machina, anyone? Jesus.
And here's the tragedy. They named a prestigious fantasy award after this turd. Really? Fuck.
I'm going to chill now. For the most part, I enjoyed this book and I'm glad I read it. I saw some good characters and some decent world-building, and I'm still thinking there may be something to this Gemmell fellow. This was his first book, after all. I've been eying his Troy series for awhile, so I might still give that a shot. I might can forgive him, if he don't WTF-end that series.
But really? No shit? He really ended his book that way?
Maybe next time there's a call for a story based on The Alamo, a Texan can fucking write it. Maybe?...more
I read this once, in my early teen years. I wasn't real impressed, but if I can squeeze it into my schedule for June readings, I'll give it another goI read this once, in my early teen years. I wasn't real impressed, but if I can squeeze it into my schedule for June readings, I'll give it another go.
I've decided to skip this one. It doesn't look any more exciting than it wasn't in my early years. Too little time for books that aren't going to interest me. Maybe some other time......more