This book started in a way that made me think it was going to be more dark fantasy than historical fiction. Even though I was wrong on my initial imprThis book started in a way that made me think it was going to be more dark fantasy than historical fiction. Even though I was wrong on my initial impression the book ended up being quite enjoyable.
I have found Neal Stephenson books to be hit or miss. I really enjoyed Cryptonomicon but his other books felt a little too much like Neal was just trying to show everyone how much he knew instead of telling a compelling story.
I think, in this book, Neal's tendency to try and educate the reader has been tempered by the fact that this was a collaborative work. This restraint has been for the better. I really like the style of writing and the story being told. Plus, the characters are all pretty interesting.
My only real complaint with the story is that a character who blazes somewhat brightly in the middle of the story disappears for the remainder of the book. That characters story line was just getting interesting and it is a shame it is, probably intentionally, left in the dark for so long.
Decent read but one of the character names was so bad it jolted me out of the book when I encountered it. Mr. Sanford tried to be clever with the nameDecent read but one of the character names was so bad it jolted me out of the book when I encountered it. Mr. Sanford tried to be clever with the name but, my God, did it fall flat....more
So far I've read two Lee Child books featuring Jack Reacher and I've enjoyed both of them. The guilty party was pretty easy to figure out in both butSo far I've read two Lee Child books featuring Jack Reacher and I've enjoyed both of them. The guilty party was pretty easy to figure out in both but Child's pacing is really well done and I can't but turn the page until I can confirm my suspicions.
While it was relatively easy to figure out the "bad guys" there were some nice twists and surprises considering motives. I will definitely read another "Reacher" novel.
My only real complaint with the main character is that his fights are all too easy and too clean. They end fast and Reacher is totally dominant in them as if he is always fighting a mannequin instead of the tough guy Child was trying to depict up until the fight started. Then, some how, no matter how grizzled, the opponent is a clueless lackwit who gets handled nearly instantly. I get Reacher is a bad-ass but Child seems to go overboard with it and in doing so hurts by ability to suspend belief as I read the story.
(view spoiler)[ I also had a small niggle with the price of real estate in Paris; it seemed like Child made no effort to research a viable value (even for a 1990 listing) the value quoted seemed like a paltry sum considering the location of the residence. (hide spoiler)]...more
I'm not sure how I would classify this book. On the surface it is a police drama centered around the disappeaance of two different people in Saudi AraI'm not sure how I would classify this book. On the surface it is a police drama centered around the disappeaance of two different people in Saudi Arabia. One is an American expat security officer and the other is a young, independent Saudi-national woman filmmaker.
The fate of the young woman is revealed early on so the real mystery surrounding her is what happened and the search for clues in determining that also help answer the questions concerning the missing American.
However, the story isn't really about the missing people. Instead, it is about the gender dynamics at play in modern Saudi Arabia. The main characters run the gamut from liberally independent women to staunchly conservative men along with a few folks sitting on various parts of the fence between them. Through the detective tale relationships are further formed and the views of various people, especially in regards to the roles of women, mutate and evolve to be far more complicated than the were initially.
Regardless of the type of story it is a pretty good book. It did take me longer than usual to read it - but I attribute that more to the alien nature of Saudi culture to my western sensibilities.
Overall, it's a good book and I'm happy I picked it up at one of our local Little Free Libraries....more
I received an advanced review copy (ARC) of "Half a War" by Joe Abercrombie in late June so I figured I should both read it and review it.
I'm still n I received an advanced review copy (ARC) of "Half a War" by Joe Abercrombie in late June so I figured I should both read it and review it.
I'm still not sure why I was selected to receive the ARC but I'm glad I was. I had already read the first two books in the series, "Half a King" and "Half the World" and I had fully planned on reading this one anyway so it was kind of nice to get it for free. So there is your disclaimer; I was compensated a copy of this book before I ever wrote this review.
As with each of the prior books in the series the primary characters are young, about 17, and the story is told from from their perspective. In "Half a King" the primary protagonist was Yarvi. Yarvi continues to play a prominent role in "Half the World" but the focus moves to two other young characters in Brand and Thorn.
The same pattern holds true with "Half a War." Yarvi and Thorn are both featured in this book (and Brand in passing) but two new young leads appear to take us through this final tale in the triology - Princesss Scara of Throvenland and Raith - a berserker warrior from Vansterland who has sworn fealty to Grom Gil Gorm. In addition two these two a younger character from "Half the World", Koll, plays a more prominent role as he has reached the correct age (around 17) to be one of the protagonists.
"Half a War" is the conclusion to the story that started in "Half a King" and as such it continues to be focused around the slowly building war between the Grandmother Wexen and her puppet the High King and the nations of the north; Vansterland, Throvenland, and Gettland.
Abercrombie does a nice job, as usual. I really enjoyed the pacing of the book and his harried descriptions of battle from the berserker perspective of Raith is really good; in fact he does one of the best jobs I've seen of capturing the breathless feeling of blood raged battle.
Skara is a little dull at times and, while she is described as having deep cunning I felt like her character was a little flat and uninspired through most of the book. She improves some as the tale progresses - but overall I felt like Abercrombie missed a chance to develop a really interesting character.
I thought it was interesting how Raith is shown to evolve over the course of the book but much of his evolution seemed rushed and unlikely considering his nature at the start of the tale. I appreciate that Abercrombie doesn't drag the book out forever but Raith's growth seemed unrealistic considering the apparent time frame of the book.
Overall I enjoyed the book quite a bit even though I think, perhaps, it was the weakest of the three. I probably liked them in descending order as a series even though I liked Thorn and Brand more than Yarvi, Yarvi's story in book one was probably the most interesting....more
This was a fun easy read. I really enjoyed it. Brisk pacing and not many sections that felt unnecessary. I only have two minor gripes; first, the protThis was a fun easy read. I really enjoyed it. Brisk pacing and not many sections that felt unnecessary. I only have two minor gripes; first, the protagonist is too perfect; he's handsome, perfectly fit, amazingly athletic, and instantly becomes good at everything he tries. Secondly, the love interest which seemed like an unnecessary plot element. (view spoiler)[He was already perfect and having the most gorgeous woman he ever saw literally fall into his bed the night they met just seemed too over the top (hide spoiler)]
Otherwise, for the type of book it is, I really liked it. I have always enjoyed military/spy/spec-ops type books and this one is a fun example of one. I'll definitely try another Flynn novel in the future....more
I had an advanced review copy (ARC). I'll write a review on July 28th. The ARC specifically requests that all reviews are not published until the 28thI had an advanced review copy (ARC). I'll write a review on July 28th. The ARC specifically requests that all reviews are not published until the 28th....more
I got this book on a whim and, overall, I'm glad I did.
It is a different type of novel than I normally read - but it was well written, had pretty goodI got this book on a whim and, overall, I'm glad I did.
It is a different type of novel than I normally read - but it was well written, had pretty good pacing, and interesting characters.
The only real negative I can give the book is that some of the personal details of the protagonists life didn't really seem to add anything to the story at all. They were just fluff that didn't connect me with her in anyway and didn't cause me to care anymore about the story.
Even with that slight niggle though I enjoyed the book quite a bit. It had an interesting plot and generally believable characters. I also enjoyed the details about Cleveland as they made the entire story more believable....more
This book has some real potential. Sadly, neither the writing style nor the characters really captured me. Honestly, the sThis will be a short review.
This book has some real potential. Sadly, neither the writing style nor the characters really captured me. Honestly, the style of the book seemed to be that of a 16 year old writing about his favorite D&D character replete with unnecessary repetitions.
The main protagonist is pretty much a drunken bad-ass with a hen-pecking familiar. It felt like the bad-ass often escaped from near certain doom thanks to luck or convenient timing.
The romantic relationship in the book makes no sense whatsoever and doesn't seem to help the story at all.
The magic system seems like it is pretty cool but, it also feels like the mechanics of it are clumsily described and I almost felt like I was reading the users manual for a video game RPG.
There are a lot of really potentially interesting aspects of the world not least of which is the political maneuverings of the gods - but that part is just sort of a mysterious backdrop that is never really explained even though it is the major motivation for the situation the protagonist finds himself in.
The book did have a lot of promise but it was so poorly fulfilled that I don't envision getting any more books from the series....more