Flat characters in a non-interesting storyline. At the very least, I can say that the author has gotten better at wWriting: 2 Story: 2 Satisfaction: 1-2
Flat characters in a non-interesting storyline. At the very least, I can say that the author has gotten better at writing since this early publication.
The basic premise is that our protagonist, Emma, babbles all of her secrets to a random stranger on an airplane. And he turns out to be the CEO of her company. And because we're in chick-lit-land, he finds her "gripping." Now her secrets aren't anything hugely dramatic; she doesn't feel appreciated, she's two sizes smaller than her boyfriend thinks she is, ect ect ect. It's not like she killed a guy or anything.
But so he shows up and she's terrified but he just starts making small changes to make her happy ((view spoiler)[replacing the coffee machine that she hates for instance (hide spoiler)])
She breaks up with her existing boyfriend and he asks her out in a totally normal way and they're very happy until THE EVENT - which doesn't make a whole lot of sense - and she leaves him until they get back together again with a couple bumps between but that's really all that happens plus a couple of interjections from the literally crazy roommate who is arguably the most one-dimensional character in the book though there are a few other contenders.
The guy is Prince Charming level perfect with really no flaws except *gasp* he isn't good at sharing his secrets.
On the bright side, the book is very skim-able and you won't miss much if you do.
I was actually really surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. Classic sci-fi is often not my cup of tea anWriting: 4 Story: 4 Satisfaction: 4
I was actually really surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. Classic sci-fi is often not my cup of tea and I find that in most cases, it hasn't aged well. City was a really nice change of pace though not "hard" science-fiction in the least.
City is a collection of 8 short stories originally published in Astounding Magazine with a loose framing story set in the "future." In the framing story, and elderly dog is telling the other dogs the stories of "mankind," a mythical creature who once roamed the earth during a time where dogs did not speak (yep, literally speak). As the stories go on, they explain how the world got to this point.
The story begins with the breakdown of one of the last "cities." Land has gotten cheap and people have moved away from densely populated cities to large plots in the suburbs. The city concept as a whole has broken down to nothing and cities have been largely abandoned. As time goes on, robot servants are developed, dogs are genetically modified to speak, a race of "mutant" (not quite the X-men variety) super-intelligent yet lacking empathy humans develop, humans colonize other planets, and robots develop inter-dimensional travel capability. But really this is mostly a story about the generations of the Webster family, their robot Jenkins, and slightly about how they made talking dogs.
There are some cute moments and some interesting ideas but nothing incredible unique or stand-out. Still entertaining. ...more
Honestly I've been pretty meh about this series for awhile now and though this final book wasn't particularly worthwhWriting: 2 Story: 2 Satisfaction: 3
Honestly I've been pretty meh about this series for awhile now and though this final book wasn't particularly worthwhile, I'm glad I read it and I admire the author for having finished the series.
So this is the end of the Kitty story; in which she finally faces Roman in a battle for the fate of the world after several books of wandering around. Roman wants to destroy civilization as we know it for some reason that is never explained and for some motive that no one knows. Ah but we finally meet the "Caesar" to "Dux Bellorum" buy the end. It's kind of anti-climatic and with surprising lack of character depth. (view spoiler)[ It's the devil. Bwahahahahahaha. And psssst, he's evil. (hide spoiler)]
Some of the side characters from previous books show up, the magician from Las Vegas and the psychic from the TV show, but they are basically just extras to fill out the party and to keep Ben company when Kitty gets kidnapped and magically spirited away yet again.
On the more positive side, this book is definitely all forward motion. The lingering of the past few books is past us and from the beginning this book is all "it's time to kill Roman."
As for the series as a whole, I still remember the first few books fondly and I don't necessarily regret having read the rest of them but looking back, there are a few things that bothered me throughout.
The character roles seemed pretty limited. Besides tough-guy Cormac, most of the sidekick characters are indistinguishable. They have a similar sense of humor and react in the same dubious-about-Kitty's-actions way. Perhaps this is a side effect of multiple side characters introduced in each book but after a few sets, they all start blending together.
The overarching, Long Game storyline as a whole was kind of awkward. The books that focused on the Long Game specifically were even more so. I know that Kitty wasn't Roman's main foe or even primary enemy - because everyone kept saying so - but Kitty's path seemed aimless despite the clues and hints at the end. I kind of wish that the series had remained more episodic though series like that tend to degrade faster.
Still a solid "meh" though halfhearted and without any resentment. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is a pretty easy read that I mostly enjoyed but at about the halfway point, when it was clear where the plot wWriting: 3 Story: 2 Satisfaction: 2.5
This is a pretty easy read that I mostly enjoyed but at about the halfway point, when it was clear where the plot was going, I really just wanted the book to get on with it and stop meandering.
The book starts with teenager Alex Woods being pulled over at a border crossing with an urn full of ashes, in the middle of a partial seizure, and a dash full of weed. He's also been on national TV and missing for the past week or so. Naturally, he's taken in for questioning and as he tells his "story," the book actually begins.
As a ten-year-old, a meteorite fell through his kitchen ceiling and bludgeoned young Alex making him the second person in history to be hit by a falling meteorite. He was in a coma for a few weeks and also suffers from seizures as a result. I'm not sure what kind of brain condition generally arises from blunt trauma and repeated seizures but Alex does sound very similar in voice to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as others have mentioned, but the protagonist in that story is on the autistic scale whereas I'm not sure if Alex was intended to come across in this way.
Then he's the stereotypical kid who loves books but is maliciously picked on by his peers when he finally returns to school. So he has no friends and has seizures. He does make a friend finally though when he crashes into the shed of Mr. Peterson one evening when running away from his bullies. Alex's mother decides that he needs to pay off his debt and bullies both Alex and Mr. Peterson into having Alex work weekends with him. They become friends over a shared love of Kurt Vonnegut - who is quoted repeatedly through the book.
Then it goes on for awhile about their developing relationship, more of Alex being bullied, more Kurt Vonnegut, before Mr. Peterson finds out that he has a degenerative disease.
Then Alex starts a book club where they only read Kurt Vonnegut books. It's at this point where I started to get a little tired with the casual wandering style of the book. But the ending is pretty obvious from this point and finally ends up back at the police station where Alex's mom comes to pick him up. I found the end of the framing story to be really disappointing. The initial hook of a problem didn't really have a satisfying payoff and I think would have actually been better without it.
A Victorian romance with less focus on the Victorian elements than most others in the genre.
This one had some promisWriting: 2 Story: 2 Satisfaction: 2
A Victorian romance with less focus on the Victorian elements than most others in the genre.
This one had some promise but overall the plot was really obvious in not great kind of way. First, the main character, Miranda, can control fire but spends most of the book hiding that fact since she set her father's warehouse on fire when she was young. I would have liked to see a bit more of that power, especially given her punky personality. The male protagonist, Lord Archer, fell in love with Miranda at first sight years ago but is - unfortunately - currently searching for the cure to his immortality/curse/thing that the author dangles out without explanation until the last couple chapters.
There are a lot of hints towards "vampire"- though it might just be my expectation for the genre at this point - but it's not. (view spoiler)[It turns out to be shiny skin demon instead. (hide spoiler)] I think I may have liked it better if it had turned out to be vampire to be honest. Since it wasn't, it struck me as trying overly hard to make something new and exciting.
The romance scenes were well done though and their mutual misunderstandings were cute and in character.
If Romeo and Juliet were adults on opposite sides of an alien war, both defected from the army, just had aWriting: 5 Story: 5 Artwork: 5 Satisfaction: 5
If Romeo and Juliet were adults on opposite sides of an alien war, both defected from the army, just had a baby, and were being hunted down by both their own armies and bounty hunters. And then a ghost teenager soul binds to your child in exchange for the way out of a haunted forest.
Basically awesome. The artwork is gorgeous and this team is freshly inventive with physical character design.
With 20 different authors of 20 essays on different aspects of science fiction, this one is hard to concretely summarize. The first section is about tWith 20 different authors of 20 essays on different aspects of science fiction, this one is hard to concretely summarize. The first section is about the evolution of science fiction as a genre with an essay for segmented periods up to the current era. Afterwards, the essays focus on elements of science fiction like "Gender in Science Fiction" or "Space Opera."
Some of the essays are more interesting and better written than others. Some of them are pretty hard to get through - a few are basically lists of classic science fiction titles with one sentence summaries following. But overall, I found this collection to be really interesting and I learned quite a bit at least from the historical segment.
I'd recommend this one to anyone dedicated to the Science Fiction genre but casual readers can probably pass this over....more
I can't be the first one to notice that a guy with the last name Pollan wrote a book on plants right?
I'm not sure hoWriting: 3 Story: 3 Satisfaction: 4
I can't be the first one to notice that a guy with the last name Pollan wrote a book on plants right?
I'm not sure how I stumbled across this one but it showed up on my library holds shelf and I brought it home with the rest.
The book is divided into four parts, each focusing on a different plant and how it has changed the history of the world. Apples, Tulips, Marijuana, and Potatoes. Content wise, each section gets a little repetitive (and on occasion a little weird and new-age-y) and by the end of each, I was glad to move onto the next but there's some really interesting history here and Pollan has done his research well. If you like random and interesting factoids, this would be a good one to pick up. ...more
I'm almost embarrassed that it's taken me so long to read this one. I've read so many of the books that are comparedWriting: 4 Story: 4 Satisfaction: 4
I'm almost embarrassed that it's taken me so long to read this one. I've read so many of the books that are compared to The Forever War that I felt like I had a pretty good grasp of how it went. That was true for the most part but I was actually really surprised by how different it was from those said to be "the exact same story."
The best example that I can think of is Scalzi's Old Man's War. In the edition that I read, there was even a forward from Scalzi talking about his book being compared to The Forever War. Though there are similar concepts, it seemed more to me like the similarities were ones that popped up all over the genre as opposed to being specific to these two particular books. Though that may be the way that I think of it only because I've read others before The Forever War and it could very well be that The Forever War was first to do all of it.
The Forever War features first Private Mandella, then Lieutenant Mandella then finally, Major Mandella as he survives through the war and unwillingly progresses through the ranks as he has by time dilation and luck, become the oldest surviving member of the war.
This made a great choice for a bookclub. With the parallels to the Vietnam War - the author being a Vietnam vet himself, the somewhat uncanny predictions on the future, and how well the book has stood the test of time, the book has plenty of discussion points and is easy to talk about.
It's also a surprisingly quick and easy read. There are plenty of innovative writing points to keep the reader's attention and the content doesn't feel stale. Really glad I finally got around to this one. ...more
I have a friend who's trying to draw me into the world of graphic novels and though Fables, Vol. 1: LegendsWriting: 5 Story: 5 Artwork: 5 Satisfaction: 5
I have a friend who's trying to draw me into the world of graphic novels and though Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile wasn't an immediate hit with me, this one was a total win.
The Unwritten could be the definition of a meta style story. It starts off with a mix between Harry Potter and Narnia with three kids saving the world from an evil magician. But we start with the end of that story and are immediately thrown into the "real" world where Tommy Taylor, the hero of the comic book series, is all grown-up and signing books. This Tom Taylor is the son of the since disappeared author and the inspirational figurehead for the character in the book, a nomenclature he's grown to hate as in this world, the book series has as big of a fan base as Harry Potter does in ours.
But weird things start to happen when a researcher shows up at a panel and publicly asks why his personal history doesn't seem to be in order. Huge conspiracy theories explode and Tom doesn't have any answers. Why did his father disappear? Is he really who he says he is? With no memories of his mother and only anger at his withdrawn father, he goes looking for more of his past...and things from the books start to find him.
I'm a little wary of this series to be honest since there are so many traps for a meta storyline to fall into but this format seems to work well and I've been really enjoying the back and forth interludes between the "book" world and the "real" world. Tons of potential here. My only sadness is that it's so short!...more
As I read this, I kept wondering to myself, who was Oscar Wao? He must have been someone important to warrant a booWriting: 3 Story: 1.5 Satisfaction: 1
As I read this, I kept wondering to myself, who was Oscar Wao? He must have been someone important to warrant a book about his extraordinarily boring life. But alas, after a short web query, came to the conclusion that no, Oscar Wao was neither real nor famous but instead just another awkward teenager trying to lose his virginity.
It could very well be that I'm just not a fan of this super in-depth character study of people who don't interest me in the slightest. (I should probably stay away from Pulitzer prize winners then hm?) This book reminded me a bit of The Savage Detectives and both bored me in a similar manner.
In particular to this book though, it's in need of a glossary or some definition footnotes because not understanding half of the conversations makes it even harder to get into a story of a boring character.
I think most of everyone is okay missing out on this one. ...more
It may be that I'm getting a little jaded to this kind of book but they're all starting to blend in to each other. RoWriting: 2 Story: 2 Satisfaction: 3
It may be that I'm getting a little jaded to this kind of book but they're all starting to blend in to each other. Rough female protagonist doesn't need a man or any friends to keep her going but is somehow really well connected to all of the factions that are hard to connect to.
That said, this first book is at least in the upper half of those out there.
Kate is a magical mercenary who slides into the PI business when her father figure is violently killed. She carries a big magic sword which doesn't get used very much over the course of the book but it's an interesting bit of world-building as are the words of power and the zombie dragon that pops up.
The male protagonist/love-interest (the one that I assume is the eventual main one anyway) is a were-lion named Curran who is, of course, the alpha of the were-population. He's an alpha male trope though unlike many other in the genre, there are very few hints of romance between them at all in this book.
But the plot was a little on the iffy side to me. It was within my suspension of disbelief bubble until they think the problem is solved and then it gets a little more hole-y after and the latter half feels like a bit of a stretch. But I'm not sure if I feel that way due to an actual gap in the plot or because things aren't explained very well and some aspects seem a bit deus ex machina-esque.
Otherwise, the writing was at least moderately entertaining at times (see the "here kitty kitty" line in all of the other reviews) but character development-wise and most of the dry humor seemed more forced than not.
I have heard that this series does get better so I'm not completely writing it off but I'm not in a hurry to find the next. ...more
If this had been the same story with Kitty as the central character, it would have been a let down but since CormacWriting: 3 Story: 2.5 Satisfaction: 3
If this had been the same story with Kitty as the central character, it would have been a let down but since Cormac is front and center, at least it adds a little variety to the series.
We're now deep into the part of the story that just drags. The focus is on the Long Game but Vaughn seems to want to dole out the pieces little by little. This worked better in the beginning books where each little tit bit came up after a long struggle by the protagonist but now, it just seems like more of the same and then here's some information.
In this book, Cormac goes on a quest to translate the Book of Shadows that came up in the previous book. He finds friends of the previous owners and gets sent on a random mission to "prove his worth." I'm serious. But at least we get to learn more about Amelia's past and the way that the two of them interact. Not knowing anything about that has been a little weird for the past few books and made Cormac more of a small side character with a weird quirk - like a guy who stands in a corner and talks to himself, more memorable for the quirk than anything else.
(view spoiler)[It also struck me as a little odd that a multi-thousand year old vampire does his recruiting via email communications through forums. (hide spoiler)]
The books seem to have lost that sense of tension that's crucial when you put your protagonist in life or death situations. I would like to think that it's just because Cormac throws his life to the wind but even the last novel was pretty lackluster for the emotional appeal.
We're at the point where I'll keep reading these because I'm hoping that the end will be worth it all but I'm way past the point where I want to buy them. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more