I love this book. This was my first re-read of the classic that I'm sure I'll visit with again a few times down the road. But I shouldn't have waitedI love this book. This was my first re-read of the classic that I'm sure I'll visit with again a few times down the road. But I shouldn't have waited 20 years. This book is too good to go that long without reading again.
How can I do it justice in a review? I can say, "it's cool", but that doesn't come close. Even a 5-star rating seems to be short of expressing its worth. This is one of those books that should be allowed a 6th star.
I can't even pin down what it is exactly that makes this stand out. Sure, it's got great literary elements, likable and sympathetic heroes, wickedly delicious villains, awesome "monsters" in the sandworms, a science fiction technology system that makes sense. It has epic "universe building", a plausible "magic" system in the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. It has old style swordplay and futuristic intergalactic scope.
I've always said it's a science fiction that reads like a fantasy. The technology is truly secondary. Once everyone gets to Arrakis, the fantastic elements take over.
Herbert's prose is what makes the difference, I think. He tells an engaging story with an easy going clear language. His work is layered and has so much in it: philosophy, religion, science, morality, loyalty, cruelty, politics, espionage. It leaves the reader thinking long after closing the book. Reading Herbert makes me feel like I've learned something yet all the while I was being entertained....more
This is one of those rare moments when I bump a 4-star that I read many years ago up to 5-star. Usually a book isn't quite as magical on the second reThis is one of those rare moments when I bump a 4-star that I read many years ago up to 5-star. Usually a book isn't quite as magical on the second read, though with authors like King the rating normally stays the same as before.
But here, I realize that I underestimated just what The Talisman did for me. More than once I thought that it felt like Tolkien. I was often reminded of The Dark Tower (which I had not yet read during my first visit to the Territories). A Mark Twain boy's adventure even came to mind, blending with the Looking-Glass element of flipping back and forth between the pollution infested tired modern world and one of magical wonder.
Fans of Harry Potter should like this as well. Not because of any magical jumping candy frogs or a really awesome sounding name like "Hermione", but because this is where a young boy is set on the path to becoming a man. Not just aging and growing up, but learning about the important things in his life. Friends. Loyalty. Family. Honor. Integrity. And just flat out doing the right thing.
Jack Sawyer grows up a lot in this book, much like Huck Finn, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter before him. Yes, he goes on an adventure, like they did. But more importantly, he learns what it means to remain true to those that call you "friend"....more
How do I review a book I didn't understand? For that matter, how do I rate a book I didn't understand?
Or better yet, how do IWell. That was different.
How do I review a book I didn't understand? For that matter, how do I rate a book I didn't understand?
Or better yet, how do I like a book I didn't understand? Well, it happened. What happened, I don't know so much. But I enjoyed the ride.
So yeah. The writing is beautiful in this book. It will take you places...err places you won't recognize, but places where you will go "whoah..dude".
Seriously, I don't know what it is, but Reynolds does have a great narrative voice, even if his science is way beyond my comprehension level. Imagination like that and supra genius scientific mind, dude could be dangerous.
A special shout out to John Lee for his narration, once more being essential in getting me through out-there British science fiction....more
I read this a few weeks ago, and though I usually write my reviews right away, I didn't. I honestly didn't feel inspired to do anything but check theI read this a few weeks ago, and though I usually write my reviews right away, I didn't. I honestly didn't feel inspired to do anything but check the 3-stars and move to something else.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book, because I did. It was superbly written and had that Gaiman charm. An early chapter really got under my skin on a creepy level (view spoiler)[the worm in the foot - holy shit! (hide spoiler)], and I had very high hopes at that point.
But overall, it just didn't strike me as anything special. Good, but not fantastic. Enjoyable, but nothing to write Mom about. Was I disappointed then? Not really. The length pretty much indicated that it wasn't going to be another American Gods/Neverwhere. Between that and the blurb, I expected something around the quality of The Graveyard Book or Coraline. And that's right about where it falls.
I've seen the debate/conversation about whether to classify this as an adult novel, or a younger reader's book. I can see either side, but I'd probably stick to the adult thinking. What it felt like to me was the story of an adult remembering his childhood. A child's story seen through adult eyes.
All in all, this is a good addition to the Gaiman collection. Not a personal favorite, but definitely worth the time invested.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Now that was unexpected. When I was recommended a YA/kids issues book, I thought, "eh. Should be a quick read." Nothing morThat was simply brilliant.
Now that was unexpected. When I was recommended a YA/kids issues book, I thought, "eh. Should be a quick read." Nothing more, nothing less. I expected to like it alright, but be through it quickly and move on to some epic fantasy kick ass stories or something.
But damn. This is sticking with me. It's an issues book that doesn't feel like an issues book at all. Heavy subject (which I'm intentionally vague about) that doesn't have a heavy feel.
Boyne is a genius for how he presents and explores this topic (that I'm vague about). The YA/kids label is necessary only because the main character is a nine year old boy and it's told through his perspective. The story simply wouldn't work any other way. That young innocence is part of the story. No, it's essential to the story. It's how the damn thing is built and presented to the reader.
Reading this book was a pleasant experience. While considered a YA book, its tone was dark and forbidding, with the lead character being a necromancerReading this book was a pleasant experience. While considered a YA book, its tone was dark and forbidding, with the lead character being a necromancer and practioner of Charter Magic. She uses her newly learned powers to give the Dead their final resting and to keep the sinister denizens of the land of the Dead from making reentry into the world of living. Sabriel is the heir to a great power, and a greater responsibility role.
Character depth wasn't a big plus to this one, but I feel most of that is because Garth Nix needed the space to introduce his system of magic and the unique strange world of the Old Kingdom. The story moved along at a nice pace too. It was easy to forget the YA tag while reading it, as it made me think of a Brian Lumley Necroscope story written by J.K. Rowling.
There was even a touch of humor, in the form of Sabriel's familiar/sidekick, a great Power trapped in the body of a little white talking cat. Moggett was my favorite character, as he was snide, sarcastic, and often quite witty. He seemed to resent his position and yearn for freedom, yet at the same time seemed to want to hold onto the simplicity of his current form. He is one character I would like to see explored further in sequels.
All in all, a very enjoyable and fast paced read....more
What is often cited as a weakness for this book is the standard, cookie-cutter characters that inhabit the story. And while I admit this is very true,What is often cited as a weakness for this book is the standard, cookie-cutter characters that inhabit the story. And while I admit this is very true, I believe that Keyes pulls it off nicely. He takes those typical tropes and works them through an original and intriguing story. His dialogue and plot are great, and his world building is fantastic. The characters themselves are solid in their representation, and I hope that in further volumes of this series, they are fleshed out and given a unique flair all their own. It wouldn't take a lot to make them truly interesting.
That being said, this is a first rate fantasy epic, with a story that moves quickly and bounces from one scene to another. It will leave the reader hanging on the edge of one's seat and pushing through the relatively short chapters to see what happens next. A great debut for the series, and I'm looking forward to delving in deeper. Just have to be careful; those briar thorns look sharp....more
So how do I review this? Hmmm. I think I'll begin by warning off those that might want to read this without any expectations going in. I won't post spSo how do I review this? Hmmm. I think I'll begin by warning off those that might want to read this without any expectations going in. I won't post spoilers per se, but I will be addressing the flow of this book, beginning to end.
What in the actual fuck? There, I feel better for having said that. Truth is, after finishing that I wanted to tear my copy to shreds, stomp on them, and kick the scraps into a firepit with the heat of a thousand hells blazing through it.
So yeah. What the holy fuck was that???
Let's start at the beginning. The premise looked interesting, a story about five war veterans getting together after the war and settling a new home on a faraway island. Rewards for their years of service, yada yada. Of course there will be a conflict of some sort to stir things up, etc. Good so far.
I love the writing. K.J. Parker has a real talent for storytelling and character development. She (or he?) uses the flashback method interspersed with the current story flow to get us to know how these characters click and how they got to be the way they are. Great.
Then the middle happens. Or, I should say, it's more "middle" than "happens". Long narrative that seems to go nowhere. Then it breaks through and starts to get interesting, mildly.
Seriously. If the middle had been a little less boring and the ending had been a little less FUCKED, I might have given this book 4 stars. It was well written, (somewhat) engaging, and had good characters.
Oh, and for the record, I don't dislike fucked up endings. Sometimes I actually prefer them. But it needs to make fucking sense. It needs to be a reasonable end of the path that we walked along the journey.
I did actually like the last paragraph or so, (view spoiler)[regarding the legend that the Company survived to fight each other continuously (hide spoiler)] but it really didn't fit into the context of the rest of the book.
I'll probably try more K.J. Parker, but she's (or he's) on notice. I won't be as forgiving if I run into another fucked up ending like that.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more