A children's story mentionioned in Snuff as one Sam Vimes would read to his young son, this is Miss Felicity Beedle's The World of Poo brought to life...moreA children's story mentionioned in Snuff as one Sam Vimes would read to his young son, this is Miss Felicity Beedle's The World of Poo brought to life as it were.
Sticking with the idea of a young child's book, this is liberally illustrated with some old-fashioned but charming drawings relating scenes from the story. That said, you just know it'll get lapped up by Discworld fans of all ages regardless but if you do have very young children, then I'm sure they'd enjoy hearing this, seeing the illustrations; even better if accompanied by appropriate noises.
The tale concerns one young Geoffrey, bundled off to his granny's in Ankh Morpork while his mother gives birth. While in Ankh Morpork, he discovers that it's good luck to be poo'ed on by birds and so embarks on a mission to collect every kind of poo there is and show it in a museum. And so, with his well-connected granny's help, he gets to visit the Dragon Sanctuary, the Patrician's menagerie and delves into the world of Sir Harry King while we learn the true meaning of poo sticks.
A delightful, if uncomplicated tale. Not a true Discworld novel by any means but enjoyable from a two year-old's point of view.(less)
As soon as you start reading this, it's instantly recognisable as an homage to the Jeeves and Wooster characters of P. G. Wodehouse. Here, Brodie Boos...moreAs soon as you start reading this, it's instantly recognisable as an homage to the Jeeves and Wooster characters of P. G. Wodehouse. Here, Brodie Booster is our foppish, half-witted hero/narrator while the inimitable Reeves is his valet and the resident genius of the duo but the main change from Wodehouse is that this is a horror story.
At only 85 pages long, it's a very short story and easily read but it gallops along with a comical gait so it keeps you entertained as it goes. With a horde of zombie films and books out there, the story itself, of the dead rising and trying to eat the living, is a bit clichéd but tying that to a pair like Booster and Reeves turns it into a very entertaining pastiche.
I picked this up from free from the the Amazon Kindle store so it's a good introduction to Mr. Blackford's work and I hope he does more of them. I might even investigate some of his other tales as well.
As a sequel to Voidhawk, this volume takes the story to where our heroic crew end up getting involved in saving the elders, an ancient race of beings...moreAs a sequel to Voidhawk, this volume takes the story to where our heroic crew end up getting involved in saving the elders, an ancient race of beings imprisoned in a sort of time slip, while continuing to be a thorn in the side of the evil elves and their pursuit of galactic dominion.
Well, that's the basic story but we also get some more insights into the characters of Dexter Silvercloud and his motley crew as they go about it. When I say motley I mean it too and there's even a few more added before the story is done.
All in all, it a good, solid read where fantasy meets science-fiction and a worthy follow up to Voidhawk so I'll be hunting down the next one fairly soon.(less)
Another thoroughly enjoyable romp through the Discworld starring Moist von Lipwig and covering a grand area from Ankh-Morpork to the Sto Plains, Quirm...moreAnother thoroughly enjoyable romp through the Discworld starring Moist von Lipwig and covering a grand area from Ankh-Morpork to the Sto Plains, Quirm and Überwald with dwarfs, trolls, vampires, goblins, gnomes, Sam Vimnes, Fred Colon, Nobby Nobbs and Harry "King of the Golden River" King.
Steam-powered travel, in the form of engineer Dick Simnel and his railway, has come to the Ankh-Morpork and, despite the misgivings of the Patrician and Dick's flat cap, is proving to be a serious success and is attracting much interest from all areas.
The job of making it a success and connecting up the main cities of the Discworld is given, not that he had a choice, to Moist von Lipwig - a man who's motto is "A life without danger is a life not worth living!" and in this case he's going to push that to its limit.
Lord Vetinari wants the railway to run all the way to Überwald but there's trouble brewing in the dwarf kingdoms. There's some dwarfs that want to see a return to the old ways, regardless of the Koom Valley Accords, and are waging a terrorist campaign against everything non-dwarf. They're burning clacks towers and murdering railway workers so things aren't going to be easy for Moist.
Raising Steam is a really well-crafted tale involving a great number of favourite characters, lots of locations and all served up with Terry Pratchett's amazing wit and humour. (less)
This is in fact a trilogy of three separate novels, written as a prequel to the author's first trilogy, In her Name: Redemption, and it covers humanit...moreThis is in fact a trilogy of three separate novels, written as a prequel to the author's first trilogy, In her Name: Redemption, and it covers humanity's first contact with the alien Kreelan Empire and the beginning of the war with them.
Initially a suggestion from a work colleague, this has been a thoroughly enjoyable read, ride, whatever you want to call it. The main characters are well fleshed out, even likable to the point of caring what happens to them, but the real prize is how Hicks shows us things from alien's point of view as well. We get some understanding of how they think, their way of life and almost come to care about some of them as well.
The first book, "In Her Name: First Contact", deals with our first, disasterous meeting with the empire and the beginning of the war. The second novel, "In Her Name: Legend of the Sword", is set six months on. Humanity has formed a confederation to defend our worlds but some don't believe the threat is real, don't want to join and are actively planing their own offensive...against Earth. Legend of the Sword is also the title of the Kreelan warrior priestess Tesh-Dar, whom we've already met in book one, and this too is her story. The third tale, "In Her Name: Dead Soul" is set three years after first contact and around a mission to take back the colony of Alger’s World from the alien invaders before the Kreelans have exterminated the human population. It also introduces us to Ku’ar-Marekh, a Kreelan warrior priestess feared even among her own kind.
All in all, this trilogy is a thumping good read and I'd be surprised if any fan of science-fiction didn't enjoy it. Sure, the logistics of how an alien race like the Kreelans could have developed for so long given their breeding limitations don't really add up but, viable or not, they make a fearsome enemy. On to the next trilogy I go and I hope it's at least as good as this one.(less)
I quite liked this one. While it starts off a bit cheesy, with an almost B-movie dialogue, it does get better as the story continues.
I don't want to g...moreI quite liked this one. While it starts off a bit cheesy, with an almost B-movie dialogue, it does get better as the story continues.
I don't want to give anything away but the plot, once one emerges, is pretty good so far so I'm hoping that will continue as the next books pick it up. The cast characters are pretty shallow so far as well but, again, I'd be hoping for some development along those lines too.
So, it's an inter-planetary mystery/conspiracy with a possible alien invasion. That said, that's about all we know so far but I might give the next book a try to see where it goes next.(less)
After 20 years under the rule of the conquering, alien Jao, Earth's resistance factions are still strong and still a thorn in Governor Oppuk krinnu av...moreAfter 20 years under the rule of the conquering, alien Jao, Earth's resistance factions are still strong and still a thorn in Governor Oppuk krinnu ava Narvo's side. Oppuk would dearly love to cleanse this world of it's infestation of an overly-fecund indigenous species but he also knows that very fact may help in their war with the mysterious and reputedly genocidal Ekhat.
The Ekhat have never been seen by humanity. Are they a Jao-invented boogie-man of whom terrible tales are meant to keep the slaves in line or are they a real threat and, as the Jao are saying, coming to our solar system soon? The Jao, genetically engineered by the Ekhat to fight their wars for them, operate like Roman legions or medieval Japanese clans; swift to conquer and swift to punish with little regard for any subject species but this timn it's different; humanity is different!
The arrival of the young subcommandant Aille krinnu ava Pluthrak, from a clan the ruling Narvo have no love for sets everything in motion to bring the Jao, the local human government and even the resistance together in a game of politics and intrigue that doesn't reveal until the play is at an end.
It's not often I give a book a five out of five but this one earned it. The plots within plots are Machiavellian and both Jao and Ekhat are beautifully alien to our way of life; the Jao with their complex and intricate body language and the Ekhat simply indescribable. The main player character's are decently fleshed out but not overly so and we get to know enough about them to keep the story going, with more revealed as time goes on. Happily looking forward to the next story in the series. (less)
I can't really review this book without giving away some spoilers but here goes anyway and I'll try to keep anything plot-breaking out of it...
As the...moreI can't really review this book without giving away some spoilers but here goes anyway and I'll try to keep anything plot-breaking out of it...
As the appropriately-numbered, 13th installment in The Dresden Files and six months after the events in Changes, Harry has to solve a crime and find the perpretrator to avoid a calamity of world-shattering proportions. With the vampire Red Court wiped out and Harry otherise occupied, other factions from the dark supernatural world have moved in to take advantage of that and that's making things very bad for everyone. Meanwhile Murphy and Molly are holding the fort as best they can but time is running out...for everyone.
The Dresden Files just keeps getting better and better and this one's no exception. A thoroughly enjoyable tale! Okay it's bit dark and dismal in places but that's the mood here...it's not a cheery story. Characters like Karrin, Molly and even Thomas grow and develop without our hero around and it makes a for a more interesting story. Hope the next one's as good. (less)
I thought I'd try another of Mr. Murning's novels; after all, I liked If I Never and The Legacy... had what sounded like a bit of a mystery to it.
Tobi...moreI thought I'd try another of Mr. Murning's novels; after all, I liked If I Never and The Legacy... had what sounded like a bit of a mystery to it.
Tobias is a manager at a cardboard box factory and Lorna works in the local library; really ordinary people until fate deals them a few twists.
Tobias's best mate Bob, albeit a tad estranged, has developed a phobia concerning open doors and, as a result, has been housebound since. He's also obsessing about something he thinks he remembers seeing as a child - a woman, silently falling from a window.
Lorna on the other hand gets dealt a much darker hand, hence the legacy of the title, and we get to follow her organizing and arranging of it.
So, while Lorna and Tobias try to help Bob with his doors thing and everyone tries to help solve the mystery of the falling woman, Lorna is also planning something for Tobias.
Once I started reading it I found it a moving and immersive tale and I just had to keep going to find out what happened next in the lives of fairly ordinary couple Tobias and Lorna Lovelost. It's a well crafted tale, albeit a tad predictable in part given the title, of a love story come mystery tinged with sadness and humour and it just works.
The only downside I felt was it was a tad wordy and maybe a bit above my head at times; there were words in there I'd never heard anyone use in normal conversation. I don't really run in circles that discuss philosophy or sociology much and I found myself skipping over paragraphs that seemed just a bit too highbrow for me. That said, I enjoyed the bits I did read, which was most of it.(less)
After the events in The Departure, Argus Station has indeed departed, heading for Mars, and leaving a power vacuum on Earth. By destroying much of the...moreAfter the events in The Departure, Argus Station has indeed departed, heading for Mars, and leaving a power vacuum on Earth. By destroying much of the planet's government, Alan Saul has unwittingly opened the playing field to a much deadlier opponent in Serene Glahad. As the new leadership contest begins, Galahad wastes no time in eliminating any opposition and goes on to unleash a deadly virus among the zero-asset population while blaming it all on Saul. All of this of course keeps her very busy but she hasn't forgotten about Saul and Argus Station or those rebels on Mars.
All in all, it's a very enjoyable read, continuing the tale from four viewpoints - Earth, Mars, Argus Station and their pursuers. The story has progressed along Asher's usual gritty, hard science fiction lines while introducing new characters, new technologies and even a few twists. I'll certainly read the next installment.(less)
With a mix of humans, dwarves, elves, pirates, wizards and a ghost and all set on a wooden sailing ship in outer space, Voidhawk is a bit like Dungeon...moreWith a mix of humans, dwarves, elves, pirates, wizards and a ghost and all set on a wooden sailing ship in outer space, Voidhawk is a bit like Dungeons & Dragons meets Firefly. Following the adventures of Captain Dexter Silvercloud, we see him acquiring his own ship and building up a motley crew as they travel from one scrape to another while trying to eke a living as space traders.
It's definitely not high literature and the storylines are all pretty straightforward D&D type plots but it is quite addictive and very easy to read.
The concept of a wooden ship travelling from planet to planet in a bubble of air and powered by magic is a new one to me but it is fantasy so anything goes I suppose. It's also got a deal of things going on - robbery, dark magic, war, slavery, piracy, tragedy, alien monsters and even a bit of the other and some swashbuckling derring-do hero-type stuff.
I'm not sure if I'll pick up and run with the rest of the series but this one was mildy entertaining and you never know, I might.(less)
An initial scan of the summary of the book didn't really attract me but, having received a review copy from the author, I waded in regardless and actu...moreAn initial scan of the summary of the book didn't really attract me but, having received a review copy from the author, I waded in regardless and actually quite enjoyed it.
The story centres on one Ytzak Anan, a coloured ex-sailor, ex-prizefighter just trying to rebuild his dream of owning his own ship after being robbed and betrayed by his lover. His adventures take him into some dark places in a well-crafted world of exotic peoples, cultures and religions with some parallels to 19th-century American Eastern Seaboard colonialism with its pre-industrial, post-slavery era colour issues.
On the downside, it's a bit linear and having only one main character makes it even more so - it needs some extra characters/plotlines to flesh it out a bit more. Also, the Skysea of the title isn't featured until about half-way through the tale and, while there are mentions of unseen forces and elemental spririts influencing Ytzak's progress, the book doesn't feature the more normal fantasy tale elements of magic and sorcery. Add to that, what could have been a climactic ending with a bit of completion just sort of didn't happen - it just ended!
Maybe there's another book in the series coming, and there are a few loose threads that could be picked up again, but there wasn't enough of a hint at that here. Still, as I said at the start, I quite enjoyed it and would happily follow Ytzak's tale a bit further if it comes to pass.(less)
This final volume in the Codex Alera series is a cracker. It brings all the characters and storylines from the previous books to a very satisfactory c...moreThis final volume in the Codex Alera series is a cracker. It brings all the characters and storylines from the previous books to a very satisfactory conclusion. It's a little cliched but an enjoyable ride nevertheless.
Tavi, now heir presumptous to the vacant throne of Alera, returns from Canea to face the overwhelming alien force of the Vord. Still essentially Furyless, he forges ahead towards a final, climactic battle with the Vord queen.
Butcher gives us believable (some even likeable) characters, well thought-out aliens like the Canim and Vord and a very decently interwoven plot. Okay, it took six books to get through it all but they were all good reads even it it was initially based on a Roman legions meets Pokemon idea.
My only reservation was with the Vord; a race that basically couldn't possibly survive it's own success having consumed or assimilated everything else.(less)
The tale of the Codex Alera continues with Tavi, now recognized as Princeps Gaius Octavian and the heir to the throne, heading off on a diplomatic mis...moreThe tale of the Codex Alera continues with Tavi, now recognized as Princeps Gaius Octavian and the heir to the throne, heading off on a diplomatic mission with the Canim to their homeland.
What they find in Canea isn't good! Forced to seek safe harbour in the unfriendly Canim land of Shuar, they discover that Canim have been waging a war against an old foe and they've all but lost it.
Meanwhilem back on Alera, things are also going badly for the realm. Can the Alerans and Canim unite together and fight against this threat or will they succumb to the plague that is...The Vord?
As someone who's read the preceding four books, this was a must read but it's not without flaws. The twin storylines of events on Alera and Tavi's trip to Canea seem a bit confused. Essentially it doesn't add a great deal to the overall story (except right at the end).
Yes the Vord are a pretty alien and powerful foe but we knew that already. I'd have liked to have seen more of the Icemen...they seemed pretty cool (sorry). Still, I read it and enjoyed it but I hope the finale to come is a bit better.(less)
Well it took an long time to read through all 62 tales, a mix of short stories a novellas, but if you like classic horror or science-fiction, then Lov...moreWell it took an long time to read through all 62 tales, a mix of short stories a novellas, but if you like classic horror or science-fiction, then Lovecraft is a must-read author.
Almost all of the stories are set in or around the fictional Massachusetts city of Arkham with the main themes centering around forbidden knowledge and the fact that we are not alone in a universe where other beings can project their altogether unwholesome influence on our world.
Written back in the early 20th-century, some of the concepts, attitudes and even language are a bit dated by today's standards but they're worth reading for the content - basic horror with a science-fiction background.(less)