OK, I’m not familiar with the characters this series brought together to form a magical Justice League and most of them seem pretty fragile and border...moreOK, I’m not familiar with the characters this series brought together to form a magical Justice League and most of them seem pretty fragile and borderline insane. That said, I enjoyed what I read. I’m pretty sure I won’t read more in this series, but I can see where is could be fun to do a series based on magic and the supernatural instead of aliens and super powers. 3 stars.(less)
We’re back in the world of Alex Fletcher and the EMP blast/Atlantic tsunami/possible meteor strike/possible Chinese Attack on the US for a further rom...moreWe’re back in the world of Alex Fletcher and the EMP blast/Atlantic tsunami/possible meteor strike/possible Chinese Attack on the US for a further romp through a US tearing itself apart. If you haven’t read the initial novel in this world, The Jakarta Pandemic, and the first book in this series, The Perseid Collapse, you should – they’re good.
In this world, there was a major pandemic last year in 2013 that killed millions around the world. It’s not an End of the World sized event 99+% is killed but a pandemic like the ones we've been warned about over the past years that could cause a partial societal and economic collapse. In the 6 years after the pandemic, the US is more internally militaristic than it is today, there are more prepper types of varying degrees around and more anti-government militia types as well.
So this book opens with Alex trying to find his son and son’s girlfriend in Boston before it completely falls apart in the wake of the EMP blast and tsunami and get them back to the relative safety of their family safe house in rural Maine. Meanwhile, Boston is being overrun by a paramilitary anti-government intent on protecting it from the government’s black helicopters. On top of that, Alex is being reactivated in the US Marines to help make Maine a safe zone to start reclamation. AND a Maine militia lead by a serious nutjob is intent on carving out his own post-Apocalyptic kingdom on top of the not quite corpse of the United States.
I've mentioned it in my reviews for the other two books and it’s worth mentioning again, if I have a complaint, it’s that Alex as the main character is a super prepared ex-special forces marine who’s a little too well prepared to feel real. Now, that’s a bit par for the course for thriller protagonists; he’s not a perfect little gung-ho Mary Sue character who can kill all the bad guys without breaking a sweat. Konkoly is a much better writer than that. But, Alex Fletcher is a bit of superhero.
While the first book in the series had a lot of character building, this one is majorly action packed.
Konkoly’s secondary characters can be killed and his characters get hurt. They suffer mental anguish. For the most part, they are decently rounded out characters. I only started reading this series because it has an apocalyptic bent to it, but he is a thriller writer and has been at it for some time now. I may well start reading some of his other works, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.(less)
The End is Nigh edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey Published by Broad Reach Publishing, March, 2014
I picked this book up as my March prime sele...moreThe End is Nigh edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey Published by Broad Reach Publishing, March, 2014
I picked this book up as my March prime selection since I’ve read various collections edited by Adams in the past and I like Howey as an author. In the end, I’m glad I did.
This is a collection of short stories about the apocalypse – about many different apocalypses – about just about every conceivable type of apocalypse out there. There are religious based ones, pandemics, asteroids, nuclear wars, aliens, The Singularity, and everything else out there.
This book is the first in a trilogy – or a triptych – in which book one is set before the apocalypse, book two during and the final book in the aftermath. Most authors committed to three short stories comprising an overall story arc across the three books. So, then there are continuing stories to look forward to across the three books.
What I like about this collection is these aren’t the usual stories but are often skewed versions of the stories one would expect. For example, “HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON PLANET X” by Desirina Boskovich is a story set in a world where humans wait to be teleported en masse to a far of heavenly planet by benevolent aliens before they destroy the earth. There all dreams will be fulfilled. Until then, no one is allowed to change their lives or behaviors in any way as they wait for the clock to count down – or they will be instantly vaporized.
“IN THE AIR” by Hugh Howey is a story of the world when the government decides it’s time to activate the nanotech seeded in most everyone on the planet to instantly win a war that hasn’t been declared yet.
“PRETTY SOON THE FOUR HORSEMEN ARE GOING TO COME RIDING THROUGH” by Nancy Kress addresses the next level of human evolution and how it first appears in today’s elementary school children.
"SPORES" by Seanan McGuire is the story of genetically modified fruit rushed to market.
The authors are a mix of new, upcoming authors and established ones. The stories themselves were all highly entertaining and not the usual mix of decent stories with one or two really good ones that are often found in a short story anthology. Instead, these are all really good stories with a few fantastic ones in the mix. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will be reading the next two books as they are released.(less)
I read the first book in this duology back in 2008 and when I saw there was a new book out, I reread the first one before reading the second. It’s a p...moreI read the first book in this duology back in 2008 and when I saw there was a new book out, I reread the first one before reading the second. It’s a pretty good story for all that it’s YA. This is the story of a 15yo misfit, Nate, in 1985 who realizes why he’s a misfit when a group of people go public with their superpowers declaring themselves Sovereign. Nate’s abilities can be summed up as being cat-like dexterity, strength and speed with an ability to see in the dark. He has oversized eyes and a vaguely feline face.
His arch-nemesis at school, the ultra-jock Byron thinks he’s also a Sovereign and approaches Nate for help trying to sort it all out.
There are evil government types, new girlfriends, best friends, mad scientists, long-lost father figures and insensitive school administrators – everything a YA story needs to succeed. Where this stands out is this book allows Nate, as narrator, to speak like a 15-yo; he can be completely self-centered, he can be naïve, he can have flashes of maturity in his decision making in-between stupid decisions made through inexperience.
The first book ends without a Happily Ever After and Nate is still confused over how to think about this place in the world and about his parents. It was a good stopping point when it spent years as standalone book. Although I have to say I found it annoying that it was called ‘A Novel of the Sovereign Era’ and then there we no follow up novels – just a follow-up collection of short stories by other authors.
The second book starts a year later. People are unsure they like the idea of super-humans and there’s a backlash movement growing. Nate’s father needs held handling his abilities and needs to go to the Sovereign enclave in Montana to find it. Nate needs to find his father to help deal with his own abilities and his out of control emotions as well.
At 16, Nate is horny, he’s constantly mad at his mom, he’s constantly mad at authority figures; basically, he’s a 16yo boy. He’s still voiced as a normal boy but he comes across much less sympathetic in Pilgrimage than in Brave Men Run. I found myself wanting to shake him – a lot.
The anti-Sovereign backlash as a secondary storyline is interesting but also is very reminiscent of an X-men sub-plot. What I liked about the first book was Selznick took what is essentially the premise of the mutants in the Marvel Universe and made them feel personal and at the same time new. I saw the parallel from the beginning but it wasn’t over emphasized so it didn’t detract. With this storyline added in, I felt like I was reading about the anti-Mutant forces gathering outside the Xavier School.
The climax had some startling elements to it and the story took some turns I completely wasn’t expecting. I didn’t really understand the ending, however. If this is the last book, it’s a bad place to end; if it’s a trilogy and not a duology, then it’s a typical place to end. I hope I don’t have to wait 6-years to find out.(less)
I loved Hal Jordan and Green Lantern as a kid and I wondered why he was an arrogant prick in as a member of the Justice League reboot. Well, this book...moreI loved Hal Jordan and Green Lantern as a kid and I wondered why he was an arrogant prick in as a member of the Justice League reboot. Well, this book did nothing to explain that. It started up the reboot with Hal losing his standing as Green Lantern and Sinestro gaining it. There were lots of references to a major story arc causing this turn of events with quite a bit in the story around the Guardians but nothing was really explained. It felt like the story started up in the middle; there was no reboot and no back story. I would have to back and find a proper starting point to understand why all this is what it is.
Part of what confused me more was that the JLA Green Lantern was Hal, not Sinestro …. So I’m still missing something.
Going forward from that confusing point, Sinestro as a Green Lantern was interesting. I always liked him as a villain and this story arc fighting the Yellow Lantern Corps was pretty good. Hal without his ring was angry and ineffective and seemingly unable to do anything in the world as a normal person and when Sinestro offers him a ring, he behaves a bit like a druggie getting a fix – that is to say that superhero is his normal.
This volume, although it started from a very confusing point, it opened up some intriguing storylines suggesting some major battles between the different color Lantern Corps as well as against the Guardians’ new Corps of whatevers. What started as a disappointing read redeemed itself as I continued into the book. 2.5 stars. (less)
OK, he was cool. I like that there was quite a bit of acknowledgement paid to his rep as a lame hero who talks to fish, can’t fly and really can’t do...moreOK, he was cool. I like that there was quite a bit of acknowledgement paid to his rep as a lame hero who talks to fish, can’t fly and really can’t do much out of water; having the police and normal people disrespect him was amusing. I also liked that he was portrayed as neither fully a man of the sea or of land. One thing that was majorly different from the DC comics of my childhood is that people die in this book – and baddies from the deep just trying to survive aren’t simply misunderstood.
He was portrayed as a fully emotional being with desires of his own. He’s also pretty bad ass. This is a superhero I can get behind. He’s no Wolverine or Storm, but I like this version. So 4 stars on this reboot for surprising me. (less)
I've looked at this one over and over for the past couple years but never picked it up; it just looked like some dumb sports jock gay romance and that...moreI've looked at this one over and over for the past couple years but never picked it up; it just looked like some dumb sports jock gay romance and that didn't do much for me. Well, I read it and I should have read it a long time ago. This is just a highly entertaining book.
It gets extra points for being Australian – so unfamiliar slang and English spelled the way everyone but Americans do it for increased charm. The main protagonist, Simon, isn’t himself a jock, he’s just a football fan who runs into a star player from an opposing team and they start to date. At first, he’s actually rude to Declan, thinking him nothing more than a drunk jock closet-case. The rest of the story unfolds from there.
In a way, this book really does have the standard romance formula: Simon meets Declan. They fall in love. They overcome adversity to stay together but a simple misunderstanding causes them to almost break up. They sort it out. The End. The difference is in the way the story is put together. It doesn't feel at all like a romance at all. While the two have sex, there isn’t a play by play included. The book is more concerned with the mechanics of professional sports, the impact of gay players on the game, other players, the fans and a gay man fitting in with the players’ WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends). Simon is the Director for a local Melbourne film festival and a side story is this non-profit and the use of Declan’s celebrity by the festival’s board to increase media coverage.
Much of the story is about celebrity, expectations and how people treat celebrities and their partners. There are awestruck family members, other celebrity athletes who turn out to be people, opinionated fans, the media and management types who ‘manage’ things.
There’s a lot going on in this book. It’s a romance but not a romance. It’s a sports book but not a sports book. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would at first. I immediately went out and bought the sequel.
This is the third book I’ve read about Ed and Dan and the second in their trilogy. I probably shouldn’t have read them out of order as I much preferre...moreThis is the third book I’ve read about Ed and Dan and the second in their trilogy. I probably shouldn’t have read them out of order as I much preferred the first and third book over this one and quite possibly in part because I knew the next chapter in their story.
Overall, this is a great Lad Lit series. It’s funny in a typically British way. Ed and Dan are mates. Ed is happily monogamous and Dan is the handsome playboy love-em-and-leave-em type. The first book opens with Ed being dumped by his girlfriend of 10 years, Jane, for letting himself go and for becoming boring. That first book is about him getting back in shape and learning to be interesting again to win her back.
In this book, Ed is with Sam (that’s Samantha), his ex-personal trainer after asking her out in the last book when he realized that Jane was something of a shallow woman that he really doesn’t like any longer. Dan can’t seem to get any dates at all as every woman seems to know everything about him already. The book centers around Ed working up to asking Sam to move in with him and trying to help Dan first clean up his image after they find a website devoted to outing crap boyfriends.
The book is funny and Dunn is a very entertaining author. This one just isn’t his best work. It’s just not as f as the others I’ve read. I suggest reading Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook, the first book in the series. Love it, enjoy it, then read this one.(less)
This is the sixth and final book in a series. I've stuck through it waiting for the series for quite some time through publisher issues, health issues...moreThis is the sixth and final book in a series. I've stuck through it waiting for the series for quite some time through publisher issues, health issues and I was very happy that this book was finally released on my birthday. Hurray for me.
One of the things I loved about the first 3 in the series is their lack of plot. They were just a fascinating tale of a young man’s day to day life on a large cargo vessel; the mundane aspects of his life were written in such a way that they were fascinating. Every time I thought a plot was about to break out, it never did. They were great.
After the third one, Ishmael went off to university to become an officer of this interplanetary merchant marine with some of his shipmates and the 4th book picks up 4 years later in a new quadrant with a new company and all new characters. The difference in books 4 and 5 is that each has a specific plot and as such have a far different feel from the first three. There is still a joy in the mundane tasks of coffee brewing and an inordinate amount of attention paid to what the crew is eating so part of the feel is still there.
Now, with this book, Owner’s Share, we have a much longer book with a specific plot but with more of the mundane aspects taking the forefront. It’s a truer to the original feel of the books but this time it’s much darker. There is violence and fear and intrigue in this one that didn't exist in the series before. The 4th book had some intrigue and some bullying but this one ratcheted things up a couple notches. It’s not bad, it’s just much different than what I've come to expect from this series.
Then there’s the ending. Reading the author’s blog, he hints that there are more stories of Ishmael Horatio Wang coming and that we should trust him and not give out spoilers – fine. This book didn't end so much as give up and stop. They worked through the plot and the intrigue, got to where he was now a successful owner of a small shipping and tourism company and then Ishmael makes decisions that are completely counter to his character and then the book and the series ends.
That’s where I was disappointed. It felt like the author wanted to wrap things up. Maybe he wanted to set things up for some future stories he has in mind. But, he did it by having his protagonist act directly opposite to the way he’s functioned throughout six books – he gives up. Worse, he gives up after succeeding. The end.
Let me start by asking why haven’t I ever read this before? I've had half an eye on V as a graphic novel for a good decade or more. It’s been in my ki...moreLet me start by asking why haven’t I ever read this before? I've had half an eye on V as a graphic novel for a good decade or more. It’s been in my kindle for about a year too, I just never seemed to pick it up. All I can say is, my loss. This graphic novel is fantastic in the way the comics of late 80’s, early 90’s really get me going as they explored a darker side of mankind.
Now, I've never seen the movie and I knew little about this storyline before I read it other than its set in an alternate timeline in a dystopian Britain. This is a post nuclear war world in the late 1990s some 13 years after the war. Britain was spared but in the chaos after the war was taken over by a fascist group. All the non-whites, liberals, homosexuals, communists and other usual suspects were rounded up, sent to concentration camps and killed. Now this is a repressive, homogeneous world controlled by a strong central government.
The book opens on Guy Fawkes Night with our main character and anti-hero saving a girl from being raped by government goons and also blowing up Westminster Abbey. The book revolves around the fascist government trying to capture ‘V’, our protagonist and anarchist, and the struggle between the two extreme philosophies as they’re applied to society at large.
The story line is dark and pulls no punches.
V is a madman and genius and has a vision of the people living free; living as they will vs. living in a world completely controlled by a corrupt and rigid government. Within the context of the story, there is little room for any other way between these two extremes.
The book ends with a very strong ending but with no clear resolution; there is no happily ever after. There is just the next stage. I like that it ended in a place without tying everything up in a neat bow and I like that there weren't further comics written in this series to extend it. I’m not sure that if I read this piece by piece, as separate comics, if I would have enjoyed it as much while I waited to find out the next and the next and the next parts until is just ended. But, that’s one of the things I like about the graphic novel format where an entire series of a significant chunk is anthologized to create a fuller novel.
NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This is a collection of short stories by author Ben...moreNOTE: This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This is a collection of short stories by author Ben Peek that are an odd collection of fantasies – some with historical figures and some without. They’re a bit dark but nothing that qualifies as horror. I didn’t read the entire collection; I found the writing style to be somewhat tedious and overly done. I didn’t care about the characters and I didn’t find their situations particularly interesting.
I read the first 4 stories which make up the first third of the book and I found myself distracted in each of them – looking forward to that particular story to be over.
It may be that this particular collection or this particular author just isn’t my thing; but I usually enjoy short story collections. In this case, the stories didn’t have specific grammar problems or anything simplistic I could point to, it’s more the overall writing style that did me in.
I’ve read post-Singularity/post-human science fiction before but this is one of the best examples of it. It’s fast paced, it give absolutely no quarte...moreI’ve read post-Singularity/post-human science fiction before but this is one of the best examples of it. It’s fast paced, it give absolutely no quarter to the reader and it expects you to keep up with it instead of leading you along. Little is explained in this book as far as the technology infusing this culture; it’s just there and a part of the story and the reader is expected to infer the tech as the story unfolds.
This opens in a prison with an uploaded prisoner being played with/tortured/rehabilitated through a series of scenarios that make little sense but paints a mental image of a Escher-esque multi-dimensional space until he’s broken free and on a ship that may or may not be sentient and may or may not be charge of the human piloting it.
On some levels, this is a detective thriller with Jean le Flambeur, the thief, performing a service in exchange for his freedom and being pursued by detective Beauretlet in a science fiction wonderland. But it’s not that. It’s much more. Most of the book is set on a Mars full of near immortal humans and sentient and near sentient machines. There are characters galore with various interesting vignettes and technobabble to decipher.
There are thematic currents on what is means to be human, our ultimate purpose and what death is all jumbled in with playful hedonism. Perhaps the chaos will be better explained in future books but I somehow doubt it.
This is possibly not for everyone in that it’s not Star Trek and while it does entertain, this book insists that you pay attention as you read. If you read in small bits here and there, you may end up lost and it’s too good a book for that.