A thousand words and still 'to be continued.' Of course, since Mitchell keeps adding to the cast, that's not surprising. Good, with something of an AnA thousand words and still 'to be continued.' Of course, since Mitchell keeps adding to the cast, that's not surprising. Good, with something of an Andrea Norton feel, plotwise and worldwise, anyway, especially the blend of fantasy and sci-fi. If you like the Witch World series but Norton's particular tone isn’t a must-have, you should like Gorinthians...more
I think this marks the point where the series, or perhaps Nita and Kit themselves, begin to mature. Before I begin the spoiler part of this review, I'I think this marks the point where the series, or perhaps Nita and Kit themselves, begin to mature. Before I begin the spoiler part of this review, I'll say this much: nobody gets a holiday. Bet you'd never guess that…
(view spoiler)[The really interesting part of this book, to me, anyway, is that it implies that the Lone Power is actually necessary to spur races/civilizations on towards growth. Previous to this, at least in the books I've read of this series, It's invention, death, has been played as something that was not supposed to be. Now, I wonder.
Of course, as a veteran of The Silmarillion, I tend to wonder about evil's place in fantasies where the creator powers are involved. In Tolkien's Arda, it's made pretty clear in the "Ainulindalë" that the tamperings of Melkor, his version of the Lone Power, make the One's creation ultimately greater, if sadder, than it might otherwise have been. I wonder now if the same is true for the Wizardverse. Since these two writers seem to draw, to an extent, on the same sources, I'd guess so. Hopefully, Duane will deal with that in the next two books. (hide spoiler)] …would you?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Finally got around to finishing the series, and I wasn't disappointed. Riordan brings things to a pretty walloping conclusion and, despite me thinkingFinally got around to finishing the series, and I wasn't disappointed. Riordan brings things to a pretty walloping conclusion and, despite me thinking I knew how things were going to turn out, managed to surprise me, which, I blushingly admit, is something of a rare thing.
For those still beating the "It's a Harry Potter Remake" drum, I'm still refuting this. Similar? Sure, in some ways, but since both writers are taking The Hero (read your The Hero with a Thousand Faces if you want to get into this) and exploring what he'd be like in modern times as a schoolboy, that's sort of unavoidable. To me, Riordan has taken on the harder task, since he's walking some very well-trodden ground and made it new again, without—and I can't emphasize this enough—distorting it. All the old charcter you know and love or loath from Bulfinch's Mythology who show up are very recognizable in their modern guises. A few are ever so slightly altered to push the plot along, but not enough so you won't recognize them, and no more than they are from one myth to another. That Riordan has managed to take the old Greek myths and breath this much life into is astounding.
If you're a fan of the old stories, you owe it to yourself to give Percy Jackson a look....more
Reading the foreword of this book, I get the message: a critical person in Ms. Auel's support team wasn't with her for this book (her personal assistaReading the foreword of this book, I get the message: a critical person in Ms. Auel's support team wasn't with her for this book (her personal assistant, who has retired due to illness), and it shows. Most people don't realize how important such people can be for a writer, but I think if one compares this book to the five previous, it's fairly obvious something has changed, and not for the better.
All the substance needed to make Land of Panted Caves the equal of its predecessors is present; it's just not been assembled properly. There's much unnecessary repetition, for one thing, and for another, nothing much is done with (view spoiler)[whatever Ayla learns on her donier tour Instead, in the last few chapters, we are given what in many ways is a re-write of The Mammoth Hunters. Neither Jondalar nor Ayla seem to have learned much. Worse than that, though, the various new plot elements aren't incorporated very well. It's almost if Ms. Auel *wants* to revisit the ideas of the previous novel and develop them further, but can't quite pull it off. Instead, poor Danug is put in as a plot-saving device, very nearly a Deux Ex Machina. On the other hand, I find myself momentarily wishing Jondalar, his work done, as it clearly is after the Donier tour, had gotten eaten by a cave lion and Danug had somehow managed to show up in time to be Ayla's new mate. She'd've been better off, as poor Jondy has been written into a regression. Of course, he fares better than dear Cousin Brukeval. Exit, stage left, screaming, is really not good character development. Nor is Madroman's exit, stage right, scheming. (hide spoiler)]
Still, we do get a resolution of sorts, which is far better than leaving us hanging the way The Shelters of Stone did. It may be an unsatisfying resolution, but we still have it, and I am glad of that. But oh, what could have been…
I anticipated this as going to be a drag, but was surprised. It's interesting to 'watch' Quatermain try to match wits with Ayesha, to say the least. NI anticipated this as going to be a drag, but was surprised. It's interesting to 'watch' Quatermain try to match wits with Ayesha, to say the least. Now I think I'll have to re-read She just to see how these two match up....more
I'm actually reading these tales in separate e-books, but since I've gotten through "Long Odds,", "Three Lions," and "Hunter Quartermain's Story," I'vI'm actually reading these tales in separate e-books, but since I've gotten through "Long Odds,", "Three Lions," and "Hunter Quartermain's Story," I've read enough to say something,especially since it may be a bit before I get through the other two tales. When I do, I may have more to say.
The three stories I've are all hunting yarns with no fantastic elements (beyond, perhaps, some of the situations described—but when Haggard, through Quatermain, claims there are, basically, things outside my philosophies, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt). Having read quite a few of these in situations I'm more familiar with in my younger days within the covers of Field and Stream, I have to give Haggard the nod. He knows how to spin a hunter's yarn. As always, we have Quatermain's somewhat racist (to the modern way of thinking) POV to see his adventures through, but, as I've said before, it's pretty easy to see there are other feelings towards the supporting characters in these tales than those he expresses.
As for the hunter's yarn itself, we have that filtered through that wonderful, hard-bitten, experienced voice Haggard manages so well when he takes on the guise of Allan Quatermain, full of the character's strengths and weaknesses, vision and prejudices, complete with the occasional ability to see through the same (even when he attempts not to admit it). Good light reading, for those that enjoy hunting tales, and, of course, probably something to be avoided by those who do not.
For the Quatermain, these tales are indispensable, since "Long Odds" tells us how Allan gets his limp, and "Three Lions" gives us a good look at his son Harry. As for "Hunter Quartermain's Story," all those who peg Quatermain (and, by extension, Haggard—or is it the other way around?) racist need to give it a look.
Note: Thanks for fixing the spelling of the Goodreads entry for this book....more
I'm working my way through the Quatermain tales in order of publication. If this one is any indication, they're going to get progressively stranger. HI'm working my way through the Quatermain tales in order of publication. If this one is any indication, they're going to get progressively stranger. Haggard has gone from a 'lost' African tribe (King Solomon's Mines), to a lost 'white' tribe (Allan Quatermain) to this tale of a rediscovered, abandoned marble city and Hendricka, the baboon-woman.
Nope, didn't make an error there. Baboon-woman.
What I love about this is that, other than some vague speculation by some of the characters, there's no real effort made to explain the existence of a baboon-woman. She simply is, if you understand me. There's a certain charm in that. Other that that, Haggard keeps the tone and 'voice' of Quatermain consistant, (see my review of Allan Quatermain for more on that) and I'm still enjoying that, and so I'm going to move on to the next tale.
It's been several decades since I first read King Solomon's Mines and was enthralled. Now that I've a E-reader, Haggard's other Quatermain novels areIt's been several decades since I first read King Solomon's Mines and was enthralled. Now that I've a E-reader, Haggard's other Quatermain novels are suddenly accessible in a way they haven't been before, so I've decided to revisit Mr. Quatermain.
The voice is the same, and this is a delight, since it's Quatermain's voice that, to me, sets KSM apart from other novels of this ilk and era. I confess it is in part for Quatermain's wry assessment of himself and others that I most enjoyed the other of his adventures. He waxes more poetical and philosophical in this book, but perhaps that's fittings, since this adventure occurs near the end of his life—as I understand it, even though there are some sixteen other Allan Quatermain novels, all or nearly all take place before the events in this book and those in KSM. I at first thought to read them in chronological order as far as Quatermain's life went, but I've decided that the character is what I'm interested in, and for that, it's best to read by publication date, which I am doing.
Doubtless some will gripe about the Caucasian patriarchal tone the book takes, but this is a first person narrative, and Quatermain can hardly be expected to be much else. Still, I think he accords most characters who merit it (in Quatermain's eyes) of any race or origin a basic dignity and respect. Even the 'joke' character, the French cook and notorious coward Alphonse, doesn't fare too badly at Quatermain's hands.
The plot may seem to some a re-hash of KSM, but there are some profound differences, one being that none of the 'main' four characters seriously plan to come back from this adventure—it is to be a 'swan-song' for all. Too, the land they seek is more fantastic and less realistic, and Haggard's African expertise comes more into play with geography than with explaining them and their customs to us.
Overall, Allan Quartermain, just like the preceding novel and all of the Quatermain tales I've read thus far, is a yarn. If you enjoy yarns, you'll enjoy it. If you read seeking some deep truth, you may well find the book wanting, and need to mine elsewhere.
There is one quote, however, which I'll extricate for you.
I detest individuals who make one the subject of their disagreeable presentiments, or who, when they dream that they saw one hanged as a common felon, or some such horror, will insist upon telling one all about it at breakfast, even if they have to get up early to do it.
Alan Quartermain, Alan Quartermain H. Rider Haggard
Which leaves me wondering how much Twain Haggard read. ...more
I didn't really know what to make of this at first—I'd never heard of Artemis Fowl, and here was the fifth book? I expected, if nothing else, to haveI didn't really know what to make of this at first—I'd never heard of Artemis Fowl, and here was the fifth book? I expected, if nothing else, to have only a vague idea what was going on.
Instead, the plot was tight, and I got enough information to have a grip on the characters without having pages of backstory to get through. I found that Artemis Fowl was formerly something of a child criminal genius, but was now on the side of the angels, or fairies, to be more precise, only to be confronted with about the most troubling thing such a person can face—someone all too much like his former self.
It's a good book, a little lighter than, say, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, or or J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, but not without some solid storytelling and a definite voice of it's own. And it does get pretty deadly serious towards the end. After all, a fellow can't save the world and not expect to pay some price, can he?...more
**spoiler alert** I haven't read the first of these comics, and probably need to. Of this one, I can say I like the premise, but wish the execution ha**spoiler alert** I haven't read the first of these comics, and probably need to. Of this one, I can say I like the premise, but wish the execution had been a little better. For one, I see no reason why Griffen should betray the Earth except, perhaps, he's barking mad. For another, I'm not sure why Nemo gets so angry about germ warfare when it's clearly a case of 'us or them' at the point it's used, so much that one member's life has been lost merely to stall the invaders. I suspect there's more to it than is seen, but that doesn't help much, does it? (Again, I likely need to read the first book).
Also, I absolutely detest the depiction of John Carter and the Barsoomians, one of the primary reasons I bought the book in the first place. Carter has facial hair and dreads, whereas in the books he keeps his hair close-cut and, so far as we know, shaves. Also, note to Kevin O'Neill: green Martians have lips, dammit! Tars Tarkus is constantly giving Carter 'grim smiles.' Finally, there's no good reason for Dejah Thoris to be dead, although one commentator on the web kindly remarks she may be simply imprisoned in the Temple of the Sun at this time. I say, either make something of it (motivation for Carter), or leave it out. Also, where in the Two Moons are the Barsoomian airborne Battle Fleets? Left out, no doubt, because the battleships could have made short work of the invaders with their stern bombards alone. Frankly, the science of Barsoom is well in advance of that of the mollusks, which is why, I suspect, Moore had to cripple them to make the fight 'fair.' To which I say 'Phui.'
The only really bright spot in the whole comic proper is the development of Hyde, i which Moore goes so far as to explain why Hyde is so much more 'robust' than he was in Stevenson's tale.
On the other hand, the Traveler's Guide at the end of the book is both amusing and a gold mine for anyone fond of fantasy literature, as Moore has his travelers reference everything from Laputa to the Age of Conan. I found at least two works I'd not heard of before that I am currently pursuing, and there may well be more....more
I won't say that if you're a Poe fan, you'll love these tales, but I suspect you'll at least like them. O'Brien works in much the same vein as CousinI won't say that if you're a Poe fan, you'll love these tales, but I suspect you'll at least like them. O'Brien works in much the same vein as Cousin Edgar, and is obviously influenced by the earlier writer, with stories of obsessions, supernatural encounters, and, naturally, the death of at least one beautiful woman (two if you count 'Animula' of "The Diamond Lens").
Perhaps O'Brien has his own voice; these works are his supernatural fare, and so it seems natural that he would to some extent imitate the giant in this genre. Saying this, I will add that this does not in the least copies of Poe's work; rather, say they are further explorations on the same subjects. I expect anyone who has read and enjoyed Poe will enjoy this book, too, and it may well be that someone who doesn't care for Poe will still find Fitz to his liking—there's enough of a difference, I think, for that....more
I was surprised how well I liked this, even if it was written by Diane Duane. I picked it at the library because of that, and I'm glad I did. It showsI was surprised how well I liked this, even if it was written by Diane Duane. I picked it at the library because of that, and I'm glad I did. It shows Spider-man as a more mature character, and, more importantly, how heroic the wife of a super-hero has to be. To me, Mary Jane is the 'star' of this novel—I found myself wishing more time had been given to her.
It confirms what I suspected—that Marbles' (as in lost theirs) decision to 'erase' Peter and Mary-Jane's marriage may have been smart business, but was dumb for character growth. Saying that, of course, I do understand the problem. How do you keep a fictional character who's not Pop-eye or Micky Mouse, that is, has a real life, 'fresh' for readers if he's not? Maybe the concept behind the Phantom (a succession of people inhabiting the tights) is the answer. I don't know. But, be that as it may, I enjoyed this look at a super-hero all (or mostly) grown-up....more
First I need to explain that because my library held the latter two books in this series and not this one, I came to Bridge of Birds already familiarFirst I need to explain that because my library held the latter two books in this series and not this one, I came to Bridge of Birds already familiar with Number Ten Ox and Master Li. I was also used to a less 'heavy' storyline, as the latter two books have less cosmic plotlines.
BoB is an epic set in Hughart's 'China that never was' and a powerful one. If, like me, you read the other two books first, then you owe it to yourself to read this, too. Expect a little less whimsy and detective work and a little more mythology. Not to say there's not a mystery to be solved, but it's less simple and has greater consequences. Of course, the humor that fills the other books is here, too, but to me, at least, it has a slightly more savage edge at times.
Beyond that, though, you can delight in the wonders of Hughart's China, a place I'd hate to live in, but thoroughly enjoy visiting with him as guide. I consider it a great shame that Mr. Hughart never wrote his intended seven books in this series. But I suppose if three's all we can get, it'll have to be enough....more
The best I can describe this book is erratic. At times I really enjoyed it, and at times, usually when Goodkind is over-belaboring some point, I almosThe best I can describe this book is erratic. At times I really enjoyed it, and at times, usually when Goodkind is over-belaboring some point, I almost put it down. I did slog through those parts, and I think I know why he did what he did, but I'm not sure about the method or the pacing. On the other hand, this may be one of those books that requires a re-read—I have to do this occasionally— for me to get it.
One warning: if you're a fan of the TV series Legend of the Seeker, be aware that although many of the same characters appear in the book as in the series, they're not all the same—some lesser players share little more than name and, possibly, affiliation with their counterparts on television. I understand why this is done—it's necessary to turn this novel and the subsequent ones into episodic TV—but I do think folks expecting some sort of expanded script should know that's not what they'll be getting here....more
WHen I started reading this book, I almost put it down, since it seemed the main character, Charles Nancy, is what I call a 'dumper' character: that iWHen I started reading this book, I almost put it down, since it seemed the main character, Charles Nancy, is what I call a 'dumper' character: that is, a somewhat pathetic person whom the world (and the writer) finds amusement in kicking around.
I'm glad I kept reading, though. In this book, Gaimen takes the idea of the story as shaping the world (instead of the other way around) on, but puts his own spin on it. Someone, Spider, has already remade the world by fiddling with the stories, like the results of any revolution, there are those who want things back the way they were. Charles, like it or not, is caught in the middle of this, and of course has no idea. But as Spider's son, he'd better learn fast.
This seems Gaimen's best work I've yet read. I think any fan of Pratchett or Adams will be enthralled....more
For my reaction to this series, see my review of A Quick Bite. Although not the same, it's similar enough, or causes a similar enough reaction in me fFor my reaction to this series, see my review of A Quick Bite. Although not the same, it's similar enough, or causes a similar enough reaction in me for one to serve for both. That's not to say these two novels are exactly formulaic; I think that anyone who reads the one will enjoy the other without ever having the here-we-go-again feeling rearing its ugly head.
In fact, I liked it and it's series mate enough that I may well go in search of the remainder of the series—very unusual for me and romances.
So cheers to Ms. Sands, and to anyone who wants an easy, enjoyable read and a new set of wings hunge on ye olde bat, the Argeneau series may be for you...more
I'm normally not much for romances, but I actually enjoyed this, primarily for the humor Sands infuses it with, both situational and the main characteI'm normally not much for romances, but I actually enjoyed this, primarily for the humor Sands infuses it with, both situational and the main character's own self-understanding. Of course, some, having read my review of Night World, No. 2 may accuse me of being hypocritical since, having lampooned the idea of the soulmate there, I'm not particularly bothered by the idea of the lifemate here. I suppose mystical forces doing this is one thing and tiny nanobots charged with keeping their host at his (or her) perfect physical peak making the decision is another. Besides, it isn't out to rearrange the world; just these techno-vampires.
I admire the reinvention Sands has given the old bats; for her purposes, it's perfect, and I have to admit she spins an entertaining yarn based on it. Much as I like my vampires, well, broodier, I suppose (curse you, Joss Whedon), I enjoy hers. They're a good time, and that's mainly what the Argeneau series seems to be about....more
This is obviously written for teenagers, but it's not bad for all that. In fact, I rather enjoyed it, overall. At least the author provides a reason fThis is obviously written for teenagers, but it's not bad for all that. In fact, I rather enjoyed it, overall. At least the author provides a reason for all 'made' (lamia, hereditary vampires, are another matter) vampires being teenagers—apparently, the process of transformation will kill anyone older than nineteen.
The only real problem I have with the book, that's inserted into all three stories, is the rather saccharine "soulmate' principle; the idea that everyone in the world has one perfect match that he or she can be happy with in this lifetime and the next and the next, in once case at least. Strikes me as a raw deal for some, but I suppose that's life, or unlife as the case may be. It wouldn't be quite so bad were it not a fundamental principle of Smith's world, one that is now, according to some, trying to change the very way the Night World and the (day world?) human world interact. The idea that love conquers all is, I suppose, too much, in this incarnation, anyway, for a doddering old cynic like me to buy.
But odds are, when I was a teenager I would have loved—scratch that, as a teenager, I would have been profoundly depressed by it. But that's another story....more
The characters of Paolini's Inheritance cycle finally seem to be getting some attention paid to their development in this installment, and Paolini seeThe characters of Paolini's Inheritance cycle finally seem to be getting some attention paid to their development in this installment, and Paolini seems to finally be taking some steps to make the story his own, although in a sense he now seems to be channeling George R.R. Martin, especially in his treatment of Roran, which, to me, is not a good thing....more
This seems in some ways a little better than the first installment. The character of Roran Garrowsson seems, to me, to have had the most and best deveThis seems in some ways a little better than the first installment. The character of Roran Garrowsson seems, to me, to have had the most and best development, right up until the end, when Paolini decides to make him forget what Roran himself has learned from the behavior of others. I was disappointed in the way Eragon resolved several of his issues, chiefest of which was his injury. Paolini had a priceless opportunity for development there even if it had been done before (and, by heavens, that's not stayed his hand before in these books) and he let it slip away for a deus ex machina moment. Or perhaps a draco ex machina moment.
The blatant thievery of Eragon continues, as well as cultural references that simply don't seem to work in this setting. "Barges, we don' need no stinking barges," for one, made me want to throw down the book right there. The ending of the book is so predictable as to almost be humorous.
Overall, bad moments aside, I enjoyed reading Eldest, although I don't know if I'll be back for Brinsingr. If I do, 'twill be out of sheer cussedness. Perhaps the third time is the charm....more
Certainly a more balanced, logical work than the First edition. Equally ot it's pluses are its lack in charm, whimsy, and, frankly, fun. The first ediCertainly a more balanced, logical work than the First edition. Equally ot it's pluses are its lack in charm, whimsy, and, frankly, fun. The first edition handbook was a strangely enjoyable read for a compilation of rules for a game. This is much more effective at accomplishing the purpose, but does it with less style....more