I wanted to enjoy this book because then I'd have several more good books to read after this one, but I was ultimately disappointed. I found the firstI wanted to enjoy this book because then I'd have several more good books to read after this one, but I was ultimately disappointed. I found the first person, diary pov grating and impossible to get into. The writing also came off as either uninspired or overly wordy when MacHale realized he needed a bit more exposition. Though actually, it was a lot of exposition since everything kept being repeated several times. On top of that, a lot of things happened in the plot just for the sake of the plot happening (which is why Bobby is so dumb in the first place methinks). Some of the characters are competently characterized, but ultimately dull. This was especially true of the 'evil' villain who mostly gave the impression that he spent his evenings on the sofa watching tv. I think this is, perhaps, a problem of the pov because it was hard to think a man who mostly spent his time chatting with a queen and barely remembers to threaten to kill people or destroy the world, is the great evil villain of the books.
It's a technically competent book and was well plotted. Unfortunately, there was nothing new in it. Maybe if I were younger and hadn't read more than a few adventure/fantasy novels, I'd have thought this story was interesting, but as it was, it seemed rather rote. In the end, I'm left not caring at all what happens to Bobby et al. and will drop this series without regret. ...more
**spoiler alert** The more I consider this book, the more I find to dislike about it; things like its uneven, often glacial pacing, and its blatant Ma**spoiler alert** The more I consider this book, the more I find to dislike about it; things like its uneven, often glacial pacing, and its blatant Mary-sue. It shows moments of decent fantasy where you can fool yourself into thinking you're reading something good, but quickly descends back into mediocrity. It's one of those books where you like the plot and think interesting idea, but dislike (okay, hate) the execution.
The book starts out with a decent, if heavy handed deus ex machina of an opening. It goes downhill from there with an excruciatingly long, dull journey. I expected some sort of reward to the reader for being forced to read that. An exciting fight in a new time period, or the inevitable reveal of Rhapsody's soul mate (gag me). Instead I got even more travel, coupled with everyone falling in love with the heroine and an awful lot of talking interspersed with very few scenes of action. Also, the dreaded telling, not showing.
Rhapsody started out a decent character if a little unbelievable even then. The author uses her nightmares as shorthand for all the pain she's suffered, but her personality rarely, if ever shows signs of what the book says she's gone through. And if her character could have grown on you before the endless journey, it became repulsively perfect afterwards. An uncanny valley of a genuine person, if you will. She's overloaded with powers, always gets her way (so much so that Achmed, the only person who ever successfully stands against her, even acknowledges it as its own power that even works on him), is kind to children and cares for the sick and a million other things that just make her seem like an idealized, unreal heroine the author wishes she were. The hilarious thing about everyone singing her praises and the author portraying her as being so intelligent to have basically been granted a postgrad degree is that the actual heroine is largely rather stupid. She's childlike in her view of the world, which no one who's been through what she's been through would be, and comes off as... mentally challenged in regards to her self-image and people's opinions of her. It's one thing to not think you're pretty (though the fact that she considers herself hideous is crazy), it's another not to be able to interpret people's facial and body expressions and know that they like/love/desire you. I was left wondering if the author was deliberately presenting us with a mentally handicapped heroine.
Due to the way it was written, a lot of the passable jokes in this book fell flat. Even when I knew I should be laughing, I couldn't because the word choice and phrasing had messed up the joke's delivery. This problem with the writing haunted the book in other places and occasionally left me scratching my head in puzzlement (a character's mouth moved into a 'hidden smile' but since it was neither hidden from everyone's view, and his mouth moved, I'm at a loss to what the author was describing). The exposition, while obviously separate from the rest of the text at times, wasn't as bad as it could have been, but I've read Robert Jordan...
Achmed, while having the best characterization after Rhapsody, is only vaguely less of cypher to me now as he was at the beginning of the book. You couldn't help but like him for saying no to Rhapsody so many times (and for not killing her), but I don't think the author understood him any better than Rhapsody. Poor Grunthor, while occasionally breaking out of his cliché portrayal, is mostly ignored. Surely as one of the Three, we should at least know more about his life before and how he came to be with Achmed?
There are a million other little things that annoy me about the book (if Naming is such a great power that it can bring flowers back to life, why doesn't Rhapsody actually use the power for things other than silencing people and renaming them once or twice? Why must Rhapsody keep adopting copious numbers of children and siblings? Why doesn't Rhapsody notice all these erections men keep getting around her?), but I'll be here all day if I start to list them. ...more
I just devoured this book over the past five hours. Thinking over it now, I'm not sure if I'll ever read it again (all the glorification of the 80s coI just devoured this book over the past five hours. Thinking over it now, I'm not sure if I'll ever read it again (all the glorification of the 80s could get annoying a second time), but wow did it take me on a fun ride. It was fun to beat Wade to solving some of the clues, and imagine the worlds that must be available (I should take the opportunity to recommend the manwa 1/2 Prince, the funniest and most entertaining take on the theme of a worldwide gaming world). And I appreciated the occasional time spent in the real world as contrast. Was the message at the end a good one? I'm rather torn and will have to consider it further. But that's okay, since good books make you think and despite the silliness of the obsession with the 80s, there was a lot of heart and good characters hidden underneath the nostalgia. ...more
I can think of several other manga/anime off the top of my head that have the same plot as this one. As a result, the only thing that makes this serieI can think of several other manga/anime off the top of my head that have the same plot as this one. As a result, the only thing that makes this series slightly stand out is characterizations and good art. The female character is strong, yet still has to be rescued all the time. *sigh* The main male character is a shoujo dream, but still has enough flaws to not be too unbelievable.
I did enjoy this series despite its clichés, but the lack of plot resolution (or even an ending) left much to be desired. ...more
I wanted to like this book. It was about Vikings, early British kings, and even the fair folk for goodness sake! But time and again, whenever I was fiI wanted to like this book. It was about Vikings, early British kings, and even the fair folk for goodness sake! But time and again, whenever I was finally getting into the story or bonding with a character, GGK would pull you out of the story with either a seemingly unrelated until pages later historical aside, or comments about really obvious things like how one small choice can make a difference. Regarding the historical asides, I felt an awful lot like I was reading GGK's version of Les Miserables unabridged since there'd be ten pages on something only tangentially related to the main story line before he'd deign to let you see the main characters again. (To be fair, in Les Mis, it was more like 50-100 pages;)
Having just read Under Heaven recently (and having read the Sarantium ones years before), I can safely say that GGK makes history strangely boring. I admire that he really does his research and gets his culture right, but he often drains the life out of it as well. This book, less so than others since his fight scenes, especially the first raid, were excellent to read. I'd have been content with just that if I hadn't had to read about the life of some random miller/farmer etc right after that. Pure boredom. (I've seen authors make random asides to other people's lives work, like in American Gods, but it destroyed The Last Light of the Sun).
I liked some of the characters well enough, but I knew GGK well enough to know exactly what would happen to all of them. Down to and including the inexplicable woman who falls in love with the man she met only once. Meh. I'm not letting anyone talk me into reading another GGK book. He's had enough chances from me. ...more
Starts off at a good pace then keeps ramping up until you hit the end. In other words, the pacing was just right. I like how this book kept expandingStarts off at a good pace then keeps ramping up until you hit the end. In other words, the pacing was just right. I like how this book kept expanding the 'magical' world even as it revisited some of what we already knew. The book, despite taking a few pages to wind down, does end on a cliffhanger, so now I have to wait ages for some answers to my questions. *pout* ...more
**spoiler alert** I've been trying to figure out why I was dissatisfied with this book. It's not because of the 'changes' in Harry's life (though I'm**spoiler alert** I've been trying to figure out why I was dissatisfied with this book. It's not because of the 'changes' in Harry's life (though I'm not a big fan of the Winter Knight one). I think most of those were necessary because I was certainly getting sick of having familiar things like Harry's lab or Harry's force rings explained to me over and over (Butcher described the rings twice in this book! Did he think we'd forgotten in the intervening pages? And he introduced Mac twice too. The book's editor really should have caught that.) The book also delivered a lot of good action scenes and had some true kickass BAMF (I loved Murphy in this one).
So why did I find myself dissatisfied? Because while the clichés abound in this series, they're usually subtler or being parodied. Instead we got a straight up, 'you have an unknown child who has now been kidnapped by your enemies. do anything in your power to get her back.' storyline that I've watched and read several times before. Therefore, there were no surprises, and I even called the ending (though I don't really understand the point of it if there's more books on the way).
Not the best in this series by a long shot, though it's still better than the first three books, so eh....more
I just finished reading Rivers of London/Midnight Riot (why must you change names bt countries publishers? Do you know how long it took me to find theI just finished reading Rivers of London/Midnight Riot (why must you change names bt countries publishers? Do you know how long it took me to find the damn book in the bookstore? Do you?). It's kind of like MIB set in London but with the background of the Dresden Files (without a main character as misogynist as Harry Dresden, though Peter Grant is your typical male) and it wins so many points for having a genuinely multi-ethnic cast and background setting, and for having an author who did a lot of research. On the other hand, it could stand to liven up its plots a bit. All in all though, I bought the second book today:)...more
**spoiler alert** As usual, the art in this issue was superb, with shadow being used excellently to portray the mood. After the last book, I expected**spoiler alert** As usual, the art in this issue was superb, with shadow being used excellently to portray the mood. After the last book, I expected us to get a blow by blow of Matt's reign as Kingpin, but the retrospective by Ben worked perfectly and I liked the idea that all this craziness was Matt having a nervous breakdown. The ending put Daredevil back in costume, but didn't take the easy way out and fix Matt's personal life as well. It takes a lot longer to work through such things. The depth in this run of Daredevil continues to impress me.
ps. They also win a few points for using proper Japanese on the cover and in the comic....more
I enjoyed this book. It was an easy and fast read. However, there are some major problems with the story which let down the terrifically fun idea of tI enjoyed this book. It was an easy and fast read. However, there are some major problems with the story which let down the terrifically fun idea of tourism in a fantasy land, and how the inhabitants of said fantasy land fight against it. One is that the book gets bogged down with details - there are huge swaths of the book dedicated to discussing how to get a large party of people from one place to another. I felt that this was very accurate to real life (assuming you really did have wizards and magic etc), but those parts were really dull to read. Second, there just isn't enough effort to introduce all of Derk's children beyond Blade, and as a result, you find yourself trying to remember who is who and just why you're supposed to care about their character development when they were barely introduced.
Overall, I'd recommend it to others for being unique, but those two problems prevent me from giving the book a higher rating. ...more
If you've never read Journey to the West or the Water Margin, you might be forgiven in thinking that most of the plot in this book was original. UnforIf you've never read Journey to the West or the Water Margin, you might be forgiven in thinking that most of the plot in this book was original. Unfortunately, if you had read those books, then you were probably as bored with the story as I was. Those plots that weren't cribbed from various ancient Chinese novels were not very good, and the character development... well, there wasn't much development. I didn't even like Monkey much and that's just depressing.
I've been stalling for well over a year now on dropping this book, but every time I think of finishing it, I think of much better books I could be reading. Like the unabridged Journey to the West... So, I am officially declaring my reading of this book over.
If you want amazing original tales steeped in Chinese legend, go read the Bridge of Bird series by Barry Hughart. ...more