I think this was probably my fifteenth read of this entry into the Potter series, and a lot has changed since the first time I read it.
This was the fI think this was probably my fifteenth read of this entry into the Potter series, and a lot has changed since the first time I read it.
This was the first Potter book I got at a midnight release party, and it is the first one I read on day of release; the previous four were initially read together during the summer of 2000 and I spent three years in various discussion fora speculating over what Book 5 would hold. By the time I got Book 5 I had read the first four volumes of the series so many times that the sheer _foreignness_ of OOTP was disorienting and disquieting. I hated seeing Harry go from our lovable boy hero to CAPSLOCK!Harry, shouting all the time at everyone. I hated seeing Dumbledore go from benevolent omniscience to seeming distant disinterest. I hated this step of the journey a great deal.
I think now that this may be among my favourite books in the series. Since the War isn't yet open, we readers still have one foot in the cozy, safe world of the interbellum Hogwarts and Wizard World. But the wolves are circling and the tension and mythos are both ratcheting up to the place where, upon rereading, you feel like the journey is going someplace grander than you expected at first.
This book was given to me by a friend of the family. It will always stand in my mind as one of the weirdest story collections I've ever read. Some ofThis book was given to me by a friend of the family. It will always stand in my mind as one of the weirdest story collections I've ever read. Some of the stories were poignant, some disturbing, some comforting. A couple tried too hard to bang you over the head with their Differentness. But if a book is a time capsule, this is the best possible window into the late 60s and early 70s, into the hard work of busting gender stereotypes and using fiction to nurture a new generation with a stronger mindset of accepting differences in people.
I decided to read this after enjoying most of the first few weeks of the TV show. As much as I like to be able to say "I read it before the mainstreamI decided to read this after enjoying most of the first few weeks of the TV show. As much as I like to be able to say "I read it before the mainstreaming-event (movie/TV show/scandalous murder)" I can't with this one. It wasn't until I liked the TV show but found it unsatisfying on a certain level that I hit up my Kindle Store and downloaded this.
And I'm so glad I did. This book was the right book at the right time for me. It's smart enough to make you feel as though you've taken an introductory course in Quantum Physics and entertaining enough to make you feel like you actually read a really good book. I'm afraid I'm going to enthusiastically badger all my friends to check this one out. ...more
Science Fiction dropped out of my regularly-read-genres years ago when it became obvious that the trend in Sci-Fi was moving away from good, honest spScience Fiction dropped out of my regularly-read-genres years ago when it became obvious that the trend in Sci-Fi was moving away from good, honest speculative fiction with a scientific basis (think Phillip K. Dick) toward romanticised galactic fantasy. Now I have nothing against fantasy or romance, it's just not something I enjoy in the context of supposedly-scientific fiction.
But I came across Robert J. Sawyer after the TV adapatation of Flashforward compelled me to read the book.
Huh. Who knew the type of Science Fiction I like best, where cosmologies and philosophies and the impact of theoretical alterations in knowledge and experience are explored, still existed?
Those are the kinds of books Sawyer writes; the kinds of books I enjoy reading. And I enjoyed reading Calculating God immensely.
As a Christian I find atheistic attempts to reconcile science with faith a sort of insulting exercise. For as much as scientists ridicule Young Earth Creationists for being closed-minded on matters of fact (and on this I kind of agree with those atheists), the scientists themselves are often just as closed-minded on matters of faith. To me, who lives happily accepting of both worlds, it's a pot-and-kettle situation.
This book provides not only an intriguing story but also a good, fair-minded debate regarding the existence of a Creator or an Intelligent Designer. It's a wonderful philosophical puzzle wrapped neatly in an entertaining story.
In other words, this book is one of the best examples of the types of things good Science Fiction can get right. ...more
I should admit that I am biased, in that I consider Betsy Phillips to be a friend.
Of course, my bias and friendship with the author also lends an addI should admit that I am biased, in that I consider Betsy Phillips to be a friend.
Of course, my bias and friendship with the author also lends an additional layer of richness to this already wealthy collection of stories. Over the years I've read nearly a hundred ghost story compilations, as I'm unable to resist a good, well-placed scare. I grew up and still practice a religion that centers around brutal execution, human sacrifice and the paranormal. So a good ghost story can not only scare me but can also create a feeling of warmth and comfort. (Have you heard the one about the ghost sent to comfort people when their best friend leaves the planet?)
These ghost stories--invented by Phillips in a twin homage to Italo Calvino's Hidden Cities and the old-fashioned haint tales of the Appalachians--are some of the best examples of how to haunt a page. They are none of them overlong, serving as snapshots for the Nashvilles of past and present. Some are funny, like a poltergeist who shifts your keys when you aren't looking. Some are truly scary. like a hook hanging from your date's car door. There are also a couple that leave you wistful, with a tear in your eye and a bit of a bruise on your heart. Not unlike Nashville's most famous product--country music. In fact, it's best to consider this book a sort of Juke Box for the Other Realms. ...more
I've now read through this twice, and on the second read I'm afraid I've got to reduce my formerly-five-star review to 4.5 stars.
The book is still aI've now read through this twice, and on the second read I'm afraid I've got to reduce my formerly-five-star review to 4.5 stars.
The book is still a wonderful _story_ in an imaginative place, well-drawn for the reader. Compared to a lot of other entries in the Fantasy category, this is a book I can and have re-read delightedly.
However, in reading it through the second time I realised that things started to fall apart at the last 10% of the story; Brett's telling of events once things fall into place lacks a bit of the fire and charm of the bulk of the novel. Of course, this is a minor quibble coming from someone who liked the book enough to read it twice and will doubtless read it yet again. It's a quibble that really only takes the book down to 4.75 or so.
So why did I drop a whole star?
Well, I realise I'm probably being petty here, but taking away a star is the only revenge I have open to me. When I first read this in 2010 it was called _The Warded Man: Book One Of The Demon Trilogy_. Now I see that it is _The Warded Man: Demon Cycle #1_. Yep. Once again the powers that be have decided to just keep gouging away at what was a strong story, diluting it to turn a trilogy into a never-ending pantheon of weak-sauced storylets.
I'm not impressed, and I'm withholding my effusive praise in light of the fact that the publishers just turn it against us time and again. ...more
Now that I have read this through a second time, I'm upping my rating to 5 stars. It really is that good. I think my initial reaction of four stars waNow that I have read this through a second time, I'm upping my rating to 5 stars. It really is that good. I think my initial reaction of four stars was based on what I felt were uncharacteristic twists in behaviour from certain characters. Upon further reflection I realised that I had misjudged the book. Hands down a great read and I'm diving right into _The Daylight War_....more
From now on whenever anyone says "why waste time re reading a book?" I'll have this handy reference. This is why. Because the person who c UPDATED 2014
From now on whenever anyone says "why waste time re reading a book?" I'll have this handy reference. This is why. Because the person who clicked open _Lies Of Locke Lamora_ in 2011 was coming straight from a full reread of Martin, Rothfuss and Brett. She was saturated with other speculative worlds and stories. This book, with its time-bending narrative and backstreets setup just didn't sit well. After my standard 60 page trial I shrugged a goodbye and moved on to other things.
Three years later, three years older, four hundred books down the line, freezing winter instead of balmy summer...the person who read this book is different. The book is the same, but the reader changes. And she changes her mind.
This is an excellent book. I now rank it up there with those few (_Name Of The Wind_, Blood Song_) that I consider better than 5 stars.
In my earlier review I can see how I was fooled by the time-bending into thinking there was no character growth. I can see how I was too saturated with other epics to bring an unjaundiced eye to the proceedings.
And THAT is why you reread a book. Because YOU are different and the book will have something different to say to the new person you have become.
1st Review: 2011
After slogging through the first part, Ive decided this book is not for me. I understand why others like it so well; it's sort of a fantastical version of a heist movie. And for me that was the problem, as the book has no more character depth than a ninety-minute caper film. In a book this large that is an unpardonable detail to overlook. Since i didnt care about the characters I was only marginally interested in their shenanigans....more
I utterly love this book, even though that seems to mark me as a minority.
Like Clash of Kings, this volume moves pieces into place for what I can onlI utterly love this book, even though that seems to mark me as a minority.
Like Clash of Kings, this volume moves pieces into place for what I can only assume are the action sequences in the purported final two books in the tale.
We may never get those last books. Martin is a slow bard, and far from the first flush of youth. So I would not be surprised if A Dance With Dragons were the last stanza we get in A Song of Ice and Fire. If so, it's a fine parting gift, one that paints in the vivid colours of the outer realms in the ASOIAF planet. One that expands on myths and gives us tantalysing flavours of that world's history.
Before being shoved into this series a year ago by insistent friends I was in a 25 year boycott of high fantasy, tired as I was of the legion pretenders to the LOTR throne. My reading tastes skew toward history, biography, nonfiction science, mythology and comparative religion, with genre fiction thrown in as a sweet. I say this to explain that my love of this book where others dislike it can be easily understood by understanding that this is a book of history, biography, mythology and comparative religion. It is a world-building lover's dream.
This is NOT a swashbuckling, white-knuckle thrill ride of a book. Since that isnt what i like, I'm happy with what this is.
I feel sort of sorry for Martin. He's a wonderful artist who is prisoner of his own creation. I hope against hope we get more books. If we dont, I'm quite grateful to have at least these 4, and especially this last volume (the one I consider to be Volume II of Book 4). It gives enough detail for the ASOIAF world to linger in one's mind forever. ...more
This is what a celebrity autobiography should be. Arngrim was someone I recognised, obviously, but had no opinion of. By the time a was done with thisThis is what a celebrity autobiography should be. Arngrim was someone I recognised, obviously, but had no opinion of. By the time a was done with this whip-smart, cracklingly funny and deeply moving book, I felt like I had made a new friend. I read the book in one sitting. That's not to say it was short, but to emphasise how captivating it was.
Reading this immediately after Valerie Bertinelli's wretched ghost-written Jenny Craig commercial was definitely a contrast. ...more
I am nott overly generous with 5-star reviews, but this book earned it. I stumbled across it while searching the Kindle Store fA marvelous discovery!
I am nott overly generous with 5-star reviews, but this book earned it. I stumbled across it while searching the Kindle Store for 'Downton Abbey' and figured that for three bucks i had not much to lose. I became instantly swept up by the story, which was filled with interesting detail yet still very well-paced.
I quite literally could not put it down and ended up reading straight through til morning, having downloaded the subsequent two booksin the trilogy and burning through those as well.
This is not a ponderous literary tome. It's just a ripping story that is well worth your time....more
I bought this the day it came out, but was right in the middle of re-reading GRRM in preparation for his summer release. So I held onto _Wise Man's FeI bought this the day it came out, but was right in the middle of re-reading GRRM in preparation for his summer release. So I held onto _Wise Man's Fear_ for a rainy day. Being me, however, I started peeking on Amazon and Goodreads to see the reviews. There were the expected "ZOMG! BEST BOOK EVAR!" lauditory nothings that you usually get with most things...but there were also more than a few low ratings. The reviews that went with those 2- 3- and 4- stars all said versions of the same thing. "Not as good as the first"; "Kvothe is a manwhore in this one"; "too much time in this place or that place"; "Nothing happens".
I started to get nervous. I found myself wanting to read the book less and less as I didn't want to deal with the disappointment. It took months for me to decide to finally dive in.
Now I've dived, read, laughed, cried and come out the other side.
This is a five-star book. I say that with as critical an eye as possible; I don't hand out 5 stars to just anybody.
The other thing I don't do very often is read Fantasy, and I think that may be what has kept me from viewing _Wise Man's Fear_ with a jaundiced eye. It seems to me that many of the bringers of the dislike for this book are approaching it from the place of wanting their Fantasy reads to be more like action movies. Give boy training, give boy sword, boy fights trolls, boy fights dragons. _Wise Man's Fear_ ,on the other hand, is more a story about exploring ideas. There is a grand lot of stuff which happens in this book, but much of it is not flashy. It is instead subtle and beautiful; we get to watch Kvothe grow up in the confines of his universe. We get to learn a great deal about that universe in the process.
I can only assume that the vast level of detail we received about The Four Corners will come in quite handy once the third book rolls around. In the meantime, gathering that detail made for by far the most pleasurable read I had this year.
1. Is Kvothe a Manwhore?
I read so many complaints about the sexuality in this book that I was quite honestly expecting long stretches of Fantasy Erotica. I'm sorry, but that is just not the case. During his time with Felurian Kvothe is schooled in the sexual arts, receiving tutelage from the Fae love queen in something that sounds not unlike the Kama Sutra. But _all_ of the sexplay is given nondescript names like Thousand Hands and the actual description of Kvothe's couplings with Felurian is of the fade-to-black variety. I've seen more sex in a sitcom. Once he leaves Felurian he is obviously not a virgin, and the book mentions a couple of other sexual encounters he has during his travels. Those are also fade-to-black.
When Kvothe trains with the Ademre he takes two sexual partners (in subsequence) but that is used as a plot device for the explaining of the Ademre cultural attitude toward sexual mores. In that place sex is viewed as a sort of extra-fun workout. I personally would not groove on the Ademre way, but I'm a barbarian. I imagine pretty much every 17 year old boy, though, would think having sex whenever you felt like it with no strings attached would be the best thing ever. Again, though, this is all fade to black stuff. So even though there are a few pages spent discussing how sex fits into the society we don't get any detail about how Kvothe fits into the women.
That's pretty much it for the head-on details about Kvothe's sexuality, and it's about as tame as anything dealing with said topic could get.
2. Does Kvothe spend too much time in any one place?
There are big chunks of the book spent away from the now-familiar setting of Imre and The University. But in each section (The Maer; The Bandit Trek; Felurian; Ademre) we get essential ingredients added to the Kvothe stew. Stuff REALLY does happen, but much of it is subtle. There are battles, but not the epic Death Star explosions some folks come to expect. For Kvothe's story, though, the conflicts all shape him into the legendary Arcanist and Namer he becomes. I enjoyed every minute in every new location.
3. Nothing happens
Oh, please. Stop expecting every story to be Batman. I don't want to go into perverse amounts of detail about what happens where. But one spoilery example I WILL give is that in the Felurian section--which most negative reviewers dismiss as being all about sex and nothing else--quite a few VERY key things happen.
--Kvothe calls the wind and uses it to subdue Felurian. This is the first time he realises some sort of true mastery over the Wind. He also (we later find) has knowledge of Felurian's true self in his sleeping mind. This speaks of great power in him.
--Kvothe learns stuff about sex and how to pleasure women.
--Kvothe gets his shaed, which is instrumental later on in saving his life.
--Kvothe encounters a magic creature whose name I can't spell (the Cthaeh?) but who is really instrumental to the overall tale. He gets a version of a prophecy which thankfully isn't spelled out in some ganky rhyme like most of these books do.
This is quite a lot to have go down in a section where most folks feel nothing to be happening. The rest of the book is like that too. Perhaps they should say "nothing hugely flashy happens."
To sum it all up, I think this wonderful book is something most people aren't used to. It's a STORY. A well-written and beautifully told story. If what you are expecting is a series of episodes (what many fantasy books actually are) then perhaps to you it will be less than perfect. To me, a lover of story, this is about as good as I can imagine a book ever getting....more
I completely love this book! It took me by surprise because I'm not much of one for Dystopian YA TITLES; I enjoyed _Hunger Games_ but a lot of subsequI completely love this book! It took me by surprise because I'm not much of one for Dystopian YA TITLES; I enjoyed _Hunger Games_ but a lot of subsequent titles in the genre feel forced and same-ish.
This book was a Kindle March book bargain and I figured for $3 what have I got to lose? Well, by the way it sucked me in I'd say "nothing". It was just a really good time.
I've seen several people complain about the main character's initial persona, but I found it utterly realistic when weighed against her circumstances. The other complaint I've seen is that there's too much "tell" and not enough "show". Frankly, I was thoroughly pleased with Ms. Sheehan's writing style. She was able to present a very dense amount of anthropological information in a captivating read. As a person who enjoys anthropological aspects of speculative fiction very much I was thrilled to not have to infer everything from oblique passing mentions.
I completely adore this book and encourage anyone with the slightest interest in fairy tales, folklore or spec fic to give this book a try. ...more