As much as it's a pleasure to read more lines by Tolkien, this book is really more interesting to the Tolkien scholar than to the general public. The...moreAs much as it's a pleasure to read more lines by Tolkien, this book is really more interesting to the Tolkien scholar than to the general public. The unfinished poem only holds about one fifth of the book, with the rest being filled by a brief history of the origins of the Arthurian legendarium, and commentary from Christopher Tolkien on earlier drafts of the poem.
Now Christopher said it himself, the poem alone wasn't enough material to justify printing a book, but even for HoMe standards that's rather a lot of Chris compared to the JRR.(less)
Likeable goblin military rascals, an elf veterinarian, misguided magic, and a lot of good intentions that go awry are the basic recipe for this novell...moreLikeable goblin military rascals, an elf veterinarian, misguided magic, and a lot of good intentions that go awry are the basic recipe for this novella, whose only fault is being too bloody short because these characters deserve a whole book or more. (Also, worst kept secret in history, T. Kingfisher is really Ursula Vernon writing under her "not a writer of children's book" persona)(less)
As with any collection from different authors, it's a mixed bunch of good and bad stories with a couple great ones.
1st: I haven't read any of Eoin Col...moreAs with any collection from different authors, it's a mixed bunch of good and bad stories with a couple great ones.
1st: I haven't read any of Eoin Colfer's series, but the work he writes in other franchises (like HHGG) reads like some awful teenager's fanfiction. Bad characterization and a terrible story.
2nd: Better characterization, though the story is mostly a Lovecraftian pastiche.
3rd and 4th : Good characterization and good stories!
5th: A nice story, but very Doctor-lite for an anniversary collection; I might have appreciated it more on its own.
6th: I know this story isn't popular (just like its Doctor, heh) but I liked it all, from the story to the characters to Peri's first person PoV. Pairing off Sixie with the Rani is getting a little bit tired though, like 3/5 and the Master.
7th: This Doctor is hardly my favourite, but this story just felt wrong; the chessmaster who's always two steps ahead of everyone really comes off as a petulant child in this one.
8th: Bland. True, there's not much TV canon to go on for this Doctor, but one could take a hint or two from the audios for characterization.
9th: Good idea, bad execution.
10th: Best story of the bunch, with nods to the Land of Fiction, and a Martha Jones that feels like a competent character rather than just pining for the Doctor.
11th: A great story from Gaiman, but incredibly visual with its treatment of time; oddly enough, I think it would have worked better as an actual TV episode.(less)
A good collection of African stories (some 'straight', some revisited and adapted) illustrated in comic book form by a collection of different authors...moreA good collection of African stories (some 'straight', some revisited and adapted) illustrated in comic book form by a collection of different authors.(less)
**spoiler alert** There are a lot of succulent ingredients in this book: steam power, the railroad, insutrial revolution and cultural revolution, lots...more**spoiler alert** There are a lot of succulent ingredients in this book: steam power, the railroad, insutrial revolution and cultural revolution, lots of recurring characters, and of course a generous helping of the Moist von Lipwig charm we all love. Unfortunately it doesn't all seem to gel together much. Things just sort of... happen, one after the other, rather than be tied together with a nice bow. The characters, too, seem like recordings of themselves, either somewhat faded, slightly subdued, or over the top. Most of all they're wordy, much more than they've ever been before. I noticed many of the same things in Unseen Academicals and in The Long Earth series, so I guess it's just the new way that PTerry writes after his illness and switching to speech-to-text. Also, while technically a Moist book, this story seems to actively involve wrapping up several plotlines from Thud and Snuff (and a little from Fifth Elephant). Since Vimes is low on my favourite characters list and I skipped both books, I found this somewhat annoying.(less)
This series just keeps getting better. By remaining in Stain'd-by-the-Sea we're allowed to follow Snicket's cracking of a new case while at the same t...moreThis series just keeps getting better. By remaining in Stain'd-by-the-Sea we're allowed to follow Snicket's cracking of a new case while at the same time reinforcing his ties with the cast of characters and finding out more about the overarching mystery of Hangfire and the Bombinating Beast. This makes ATWQ somewhat more palatable and less frustrating for those (mostly adults, at least in my experience) who couldn't stand the constant loss of friends and change of scenery of the ASOUE books. It also fits thematically with the story: the Baudelaires were unwilling victims of the events, forced to rely only on their wits, standing on the sidelines of a much bigger story they didn't know much of until the very end; Snicket, on the other hand, is a trained (if young) agent with a clear goal, and so is better adjusted to deal with being buffeted around by the events - if not any less dejected by things he cannot change. Like the previous book, When Did You See Her Last is littered with witty banter, astute plays on words, and literary references which one might or might not get (I only recognized a few). Unlike the previous, the case to be solved is luckily less of a mcguffin and more of an actual case, if a straightforward one. And just what could that mysterious object that Snicket's sister is so intent on retrieving? I wonder if it has anything to do with sugar...(less)
A pretty average detective story, except the main character doesn't really do much sleuthing at all. Good for the depiction of post-WW2 life in the UK...moreA pretty average detective story, except the main character doesn't really do much sleuthing at all. Good for the depiction of post-WW2 life in the UK, but the mystery was somewhat convoluted (and seen-before), and there was no way it could be solved by the reader with the hints given. Molly, Edna, and Mary are interesting characters, but I couldn't get a good read of the DS beyond the fact that he's a cop and he does cop things because that's what cops do. The language is simple but not too plain, apart from a few grating repetitions (like "she was dressed in a dress"). It's a nice a summer reading but I'm glad I bought it on sale.(less)
A novelization of the first volume of the Girl Genius graphic novel, Agatha H and the Airship City stands up as a good 'gaslamp fantasy' romp on its o...moreA novelization of the first volume of the Girl Genius graphic novel, Agatha H and the Airship City stands up as a good 'gaslamp fantasy' romp on its own, but certainly works best as companion and integration of the comic itself, making good use of the written medium to give more depth and history to some scenes and secondary characters.(less)
Three cereal mascots travel from world to world in search of the fourth member of their team who has suddenly disappeared. Littered with thinly veiled...moreThree cereal mascots travel from world to world in search of the fourth member of their team who has suddenly disappeared. Littered with thinly veiled references to '80s toys and cartoons (Smurfs, GI Joe, My little pony, Super Mario and so on), this book could have been much better than the sum of its parts, but in the end becomes a little less because of the awkward pacing in references (as someone else pointed out, all the 'girly' toys get packed in just one chapter, while toy soldiers and giant robots get each one all for themselves) and the fact that everyone beyond our three main characters ends up as little more than a sketch or a caricature, even more so because they mainly exist as parody of some other IP that couldn't be referenced by name because of copyright. The ending too is somewhat of a disappointment, a kind of unresolved un-finale that is becoming all too common recently. On the other hand, the three main characters are actually original and likeable even through their clear 'cereal mascot' origin,, and you get to care about them in the end. I just wish the rest of the world(s) had been just a little more fleshed out.(less)
Twelve years have passed since the events of the first book, and the tension between the Datum US and the colonies, and between humans and nonhumans,...moreTwelve years have passed since the events of the first book, and the tension between the Datum US and the colonies, and between humans and nonhumans, is rapidly rising. The US sends a patrol of armed stepper zeppelins to patrol the worlds, the Chinese want to reach Erath East 20 million, the trolls are disappearing, and a new non-human threat... is vaguely annoying but only threatening because our characters make bad decisions? Yeah.
I'm afraid to say this is the first Pratchett book in decades I've found to be really unsatisfying. There is a lot going on on this book, several new characters are introduced, and a lot that could happen as a result of these events, but the storylines do not really gel in the end, or lead to any particular conclusion. Apart from a couple grand scenes, this book seems more an exercise in worldbuilding and setting for the next book - which, unfortunately, is a review that could apply to the first book as well.
Here be spoilers: (view spoiler)[ Joshua seems married only to give him a tether, a reason to hesitate before setting off for his new travels. He has previous little scenes with his family, and this has the unfortunate side effect of reducing his wife from the interesting character of the first book to a nagging stereotype who's just trying to keep his husband home against his duty. Weak.
And the Beagles... they're an interesting culture but they make for really lousy villains, considering that they can't step without kobolds, and that a couple of twains would probably be able to keep their whole nation under siege. When Sally went away to retrieve the ring, you have to wonder why she didn't come back with ships or armed help. That she trusted the Beagles not to hurt Joshua, if when/he showed up, is in sharp contrast to her words that she doesn't know this people or know what makes them tick. This whole subplot seems artificially arranged only to horrifically hurt Joshua, and distract from the fact that he wasn't really needed in this adventure: Sally found the trolls, and the Lobsang Light Show convinced them to come home.
The Chinese expedition is interesting, but that's about it. It seems more like a collection of vignettes or short stories interspersed within the main plot, except the main plot is really not that interesting after all. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I wrote a lengthy review but Goodreads ate it, so to sum up...
Rapture is more of the same as in the previous books, but in a wider scope. We get tanta...moreI wrote a lengthy review but Goodreads ate it, so to sum up...
Rapture is more of the same as in the previous books, but in a wider scope. We get tantalizing looks at Umayma's forgotten past, new nations, new enemies and dangers. It seems a bit odd to introduce so many elements so late in the game, especially since we only get a couple encounters with them before closure, but then there are many more stories to be told on Umayma even after Nyx's story has come to an end. My dislikes though are the same as before: there's almost no fun any more in watching Nyx and her team of screw-ups get through failure after failure by the skin of their teeth only to meet the sudden and inevitable betrayal. True, she's a survivor, but there's only so much beating a character can take before it stretches credibility.(less)