I was much more impressed with the book during the reading of the book than after having finished it — largely due to my expectations of having someth...moreI was much more impressed with the book during the reading of the book than after having finished it — largely due to my expectations of having something transcendent, something heart-felt, something truly world shattering that the journey might have led to than what actually transpires at the end. I definitely liked the world building, the presentation of technology and training of various warrior/assassin types, and the drawing upon non-Euro-centric traditions in constructing the beliefs and social structures within the world of Dune. (And the Sand Worms… are such cool Desert Dragons!)
With such a rich and realized world, in the end, the book is just a fairly standard story of a hero that’s born with amazing abilities who cannot escape the paths set up for him and who walks all the way to the end as destined and even though losing a few precious things along the way, there seems to be little to no effect on his person. Much of the plot is propelled and explained away with mysticism and basic political maneuvering. At a certain point, I muttered, “Paul’s better not succeeded in accomplishing this as he has planned…” — but, as always, he did. He managed to achieve all that he set out to do, from outwitting enemies, to changing the ways of a tradition, to earning back trust easily from his old pals. Yes, he did lose a son in the whole process — but his reaction? They would be able to create more heirs and the heirs will inherit the world.
The volume ends as the two generations of concubines having a short exchange where Paul’s mother assures Chani (his true love but not the proper empress) that even though they would never have the title during their lifetime, they will be remembered in history as “Wives”!! Woop-dee-doo! What an achievement!
Granted, it was created in early 1960s and perhaps Herbert was not trying to question science or future worlds as harshly as we might these days — I still couldn’t help but putting a 2013 lens on it.
I know I will not be reading the sequels any time soon. I searched and read some book summaries of the two sequels — it seems that the question of lineage and political power play are even more centralized in the next two books. Definitely not too exciting for me!(less)
The concept of bringing a lot of 19th century literary characters together to solve a mystery is definitely a fun one — although not unique, at least,...moreThe concept of bringing a lot of 19th century literary characters together to solve a mystery is definitely a fun one — although not unique, at least, not any more in an age of mash-up stories. I enjoyed spotting literary allusions and also learning more about characters or original stories that I was not familiar with. The art is superb. The section with all the Chinese dialog is actually fairly accurate. Kudos! I think I’ll go over all the panels more than once just to enjoy the artists’ talents. Another aspect that’s extraordinarily fun is how the whole thing is done in an 1898 serial publication style. All in all, worth my time!(less)
I’ve never been a big fan of Batman — not his back story, and not his perpetual sorrow and the lasting vengeance. This tale didn’t change my mind. Cer...moreI’ve never been a big fan of Batman — not his back story, and not his perpetual sorrow and the lasting vengeance. This tale didn’t change my mind. Certain aspects of it are intensely interesting — the fact that he self-hypnotized by putting another trigger phrase within his new identity is super clever. But, it all plays out too well and he is just too clever to make the second half of the story satisfying… you almost want him to fail. Definitely not my favorite story to date!(less)
I am not an aficionado of zombie stories. Yes, I’ve had a few books and movies under my belt: thoroughly enjoyed World War Z and Zombieland. But I am...moreI am not an aficionado of zombie stories. Yes, I’ve had a few books and movies under my belt: thoroughly enjoyed World War Z and Zombieland. But I am in no urgent need for yellow pus, green liquidy drippings, splattered red blood, or all sorts of creatively severed body parts — any time, anywhere. I did greatly appreciate the first book in Higson’s zombie series, The Enemy. And finally got around to read the second installment, a prequel, a “history,” of The Enemy.
I cannot be more pleased by The Dead. There is everything I love: exploration of loyalty, what makes someone a leader or a follower, what gives people courage, survival strategies — all told in a highly realized, logically plausible setting and string of events. Tension and surprises keep the reader incredibly involved and the passages describing the mind deterioration of some characters are simply brilliant.
In a few weeks, I know I’ll be ready for book 3 - The Fear. (less)
I really appreciated the intricate storytelling and some of the truly dark moments in this complete collection of the V stories. It's great to finally...moreI really appreciated the intricate storytelling and some of the truly dark moments in this complete collection of the V stories. It's great to finally know what this classic graphic novel is about and to have read something by the famed Alan Moore. At the same time, I'm not sure that I bought all the philosophical and political views underpinning the characters and the plot line: it seems to run too straight and too narrow down one singular line and everything worked out all according to V's plans. That said, it is a rewarding read that demands quite a bit of focus and now I have to ponder hard about the ending: is it a brilliant treatment or does it too abrupt and unresolved? I'd love to hear others' opinions on the series' ending... (less)
I felt cheated by its incredibly simplistic ending and the not at all challenging message of, “Real Life is better than Virtual Life.” Have to say tha...moreI felt cheated by its incredibly simplistic ending and the not at all challenging message of, “Real Life is better than Virtual Life.” Have to say that it’s a great fun run and I really enjoyed Cline’s imagination of all the things one can do in a fantasy game — but they are not so out of what people have already created (except for the total immersion suits but that will come soon enough). When a story is set against a dystopian backdrop and when the characters start the tale by thinking of the big picture, one expects that there are some elements at the end of the tale that mirror or reflect what were presented at the beginning of the story. Mr. Cline did not accomplish that: instead, the story quickly turned into a simple tale of teenage love affair and taking down one evil enemy (or an evil entity) who is not much more than a painted cardboard villain: two-dimensional and quite shallow. So, I guess, I’m chalking this up to a book that I can easily recommend it to teens for pleasure reading but if I want to show anyone that Science Fiction is THE genre that comments on society and challenges many of our accepted notions of modern day life, I will go to so many other books, and not this one. (Epic by Kostick, written for readers as young as 10, deals with so much more ethical and societal issues set in the virtual reality game in a dystopic future, with much action and effective character development comes to mind.)(less)
I absolutely enjoyed the many separate pieces in the book -- thinking that each chapter can be treated as a short story since there is always a beginn...moreI absolutely enjoyed the many separate pieces in the book -- thinking that each chapter can be treated as a short story since there is always a beginning and an end and not too much set up is needed to comprehend most of them. There are some really intensely gory and cringe-inducing scenes and a couple tales border on horror. Some are heart-warming, too.
One thing that I couldn't quite get over, though, was the unevenness in keeping to the rules that the author set up for himself: That, supposedly, each piece in the book is a "translation" of something the "narrator" gathered from a massive electronic archive with audio, video, text, etc. -- recorded history of various participants in the Robot Uprising and the global warfare afterwards. However, instead of using a 3rd person, observational tone, Wilson chose to tell many of these heroes' stories from a first person point of view -- EVEN if the recordings themselves are from an exterior angle. (And I just noticed that the first few stories are more in keeping with this framework -- some stories are from a third person viewpoint while others are supposedly "narrated" by the participants themselves as interviewees or writers, etc. -- but that consistency gradually fell apart and at the end there is a lot of "I" and how "I" felt even though the gathered records couldn't have provided those perspectives.) And some of the voices are not quite in keeping with the characters themselves -- or at least, not quite distinctive to be discernibly different from each other, even though some of these characters are drastically different in backgrounds and should probably have different tones. -- Although I guess I can accept it because many of them are told from the reporter/archivist's "voice." (However, then why are they told from the "I" perspective?)
Still, I can see many readers enjoying the stories and gobbling up the scenes with relish!(less)
It's really quite an oddly enjoyable weird tale. Some of the images can be disturbing, but effectively and purposefully so. I think plenty of young re...moreIt's really quite an oddly enjoyable weird tale. Some of the images can be disturbing, but effectively and purposefully so. I think plenty of young readers will find this a very interesting read. (less)
Not for the faint of heart or queasy of tummy. There are laugh-out-loud scenes and almost-puke-my-guts-out scenes. Definitely cannot read this and hav...moreNot for the faint of heart or queasy of tummy. There are laugh-out-loud scenes and almost-puke-my-guts-out scenes. Definitely cannot read this and have a meal at the same time! It's quite an intense tale and truly original! Vols. 2 and 3 are on my desk.... looking appetizing... haha. (less)
I found myself thoroughly engrossed in this tale of fantasy/scifi blend. Usually, I get annoyed by authors who mix magical elements in otherwise suppo...moreI found myself thoroughly engrossed in this tale of fantasy/scifi blend. Usually, I get annoyed by authors who mix magical elements in otherwise supposedly a science fiction world. It always seems to be a cop-out: when something cannot be sufficiently explained with scientific theories or technical knowledge, we just throw in some magical powers and voila, the story can move on. Fisher did something different here: she created a world of magical elements with a few technological gadgets thrown in here and there. The little guessing games of what each object is (an easy one is a pair of binoculars made with the "unfamiliar" materials - plastic? -) entertains and intrigues the reader.
I would have liked to see the Dark City developed a bit more -- the city is too vaguely described and I simply couldn't figure out why there are still people in this place since the readers are not shown how the commerce works to support such a place and its inhabitants.
Still, can't wait for the book to be released (May) so I can promote it to my young readers and can't wait to read the 3 sequels which will come out in quick succession: June, July, and August!
This reads like a lulling memoir, from a young woman's view point, who had an almost idyllic boarding school / well-run orphanage experience growing u...moreThis reads like a lulling memoir, from a young woman's view point, who had an almost idyllic boarding school / well-run orphanage experience growing up. The book is full of anecdotes about her friendships with two classmates and their somewhat odd and entwined past. Since I knew that the book is SciFi and there are enough hints and clues embedded in the incidents, I was never surprised by the way the story progresses.
Yes, like many readers, I was questioning "how is this possible?" and "how can they just take it and take it and no one rebels?" For me, that is what differentiates this alternative history/scifi from many other of genre that treats this topic: the young people who are inculcated since birth of their "uses" in the world would not question the system and would not want to organize anything remotely like a movement to gain rights for themselves. They donate, they care, and then they "complete." For this, I greatly respect and admire the author.
Did I absolutely love the book? Not exactly, since it is perhaps too quiet and introspective, and the too minute examination of characters and their motivations is too "well done" (and thus dry and tough, not quite juicy and supple) to my taste. I wonder if this is told from Tommy's point of view and how he might have acted if he had different encounters and friends at the "school." That said, I believe this is definitely a great conversation starter and a worthwhile read.
I really can't decide whether I enjoyed this book or totally couldn't stand it. On the one hand, I LOVE the ideas and the weird (but almost plausible...moreI really can't decide whether I enjoyed this book or totally couldn't stand it. On the one hand, I LOVE the ideas and the weird (but almost plausible the way Card presents them) time/space travel ideas; on the other hand, the story moves at a snail's pace and so much information gets repeated so many times after I already "GOT" the ideas and just wanted to see some action or some emotional exchanges. Some reviewers claim that Pathfinder is like Ender's Game, I cannot disagree more. I think, at most, it is like Xenocide and Children of the Mind: in their focusing on leaping scientific complexities and strong political/social maneuvering discourses and also in that Card did not place as strong an emphasis on the impeccable pacing and climax-building present in both Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. (less)
I really wish there is a 4.5 stars option because I really really enjoyed the book. What's not to like? An entertaining combination of Angel/Demon/War...moreI really wish there is a 4.5 stars option because I really really enjoyed the book. What's not to like? An entertaining combination of Angel/Demon/Warlock/Vampire/Automaton/Romance (torturous)/Gore! I didn't read the trilogy that came out in the past few years by Clare so couldn't compare to see if this prequel is better or worse. I also don't know whether the author, as some critics of this book have pointed out, keeps recycling the same plot pattern, characters, and relationships. For me, it feels fresh and full of earnest energy. I couldn't put it down. Now, I have to wait for the next installments!(less)