The beginning of a series set in the 'nameless city' - a place that sits at a crucial trading bottleneck, and thus is constantly conquered and reconquThe beginning of a series set in the 'nameless city' - a place that sits at a crucial trading bottleneck, and thus is constantly conquered and reconquered by the three large surrounding civilisations. Told from the viewpoint of a young boy belonging to the current ruling conquerors, it offers a brief introduction into the tensions between the rulers and those whose city is constantly changing hands.
Kei and Rat are two youngsters forming an association across the divide, but it's the stoic female bodyguard I found way more interesting. But this is, as noted, an 'introduction' and so the story feels over almost before it's begun. So, enjoyable but brief. The story is also very short on female characters - Rat and the bodyguard and Kei's mother and that's it....more
This is another of the espionage-type very cheap audiobooks I picked up a while back - I'd seen the book about as a constant feature at the top of AmaThis is another of the espionage-type very cheap audiobooks I picked up a while back - I'd seen the book about as a constant feature at the top of Amazon bestselling lists, and figured I'd check it out and see why it was so popular.
Unlike the last espionage book I listened to, I at least made it to the end of the story (150 tiny chapters!). High pace, and enough to keep the interest, though still heavy on cliches and women who are there to be rescued or have sex with or refuse to be left behind. It's also a bit iffy on racial depictions, with only minor role non-white characters who fall into common stereotypes (corrupt Asian man, mystical monk, dirt-poor villagers).
It's one of those series that ends on a cliff-hanger to make you pick up the next book, but although moderately entertained I didn't care enough about the people or events to carry on. Still, if you're looking for something that's a bit Indiana Jones without much of the charm, you might enjoy this....more
One day, when I have enormous amounts of spare money, I will think very hard about commissioning the middle story of this set of 3 into a graphic novel. It's very visual and a little Alice in Wonderland.
(Readers of my SF will note some world-building parallels with And All the Stars.)...more
This is a thriller rather than a zombie novel. I picked it up on a super-cheap sale at Audible, and it was a handy reminder of why I usually don't reaThis is a thriller rather than a zombie novel. I picked it up on a super-cheap sale at Audible, and it was a handy reminder of why I usually don't read thrillers.
The story started out by establishing Ledger, our main character, as a bad-ass wise-cracker, and that was tolerable (even though the only women appearing were 'bikinis'). But I quickly stopped caring, and flipped to the end of of the 126 (!) chapters.
The main theme seems to be that people were being 'marked' by events - immensely and irretrievably changed - and people who are born warriors.
I tuned out around the point that we were introduced to the villains. Bond-villainish guy full of contempt for the terrorist he is using, and complicated tremendously beautiful villain lady married to terrorist and really working for Bond-villain guy while she cooks up zombie plagues.
Other than villain lady there is inevitable love interest on Ledger's side, women to be rescued, blah blah blah. Basically a not-for-me book....more
Action-packed military SF that took me two months to get through. There's nothing particularly bad in this story, but I kept picking it up less and leAction-packed military SF that took me two months to get through. There's nothing particularly bad in this story, but I kept picking it up less and less and then went into a two-month non-reading stint (busy writing) until I finally finished it.
It's a very Heinlein-esque story, but lacks any kind of layer. The POV character has minimal-to-no inner life and so "Terms of Enlistment" simply reads as a detailed description of military training, some combat, until a 'series plot' starts up in the last five chapters.
The Earth in this story is basically a dystopia. Earth and (up to a hundred) human colonies are divided between a US-centric side and a Russian/Chinese side (no explanation for why). There appears to be frequent fighting between the two, but the US-centric side seems to control Earth and indulges in punitive put-down-the-natives actions. The US is also dominated by ghettos, and our POV character is basically clawing his way out of a ghetto via a military career.
One of the things that really stood out to me is that the protagonist tells us all this, but never reflects on any of it (beyond some self-justification about him being okay killing people). (view spoiler)[Even when there's a conspiracy-rich situation where his squad is ambushed by clearly prepared and oddly well-armed civilians having themselves a riot, he notes the oddness of this...and then the story never revisits that point. (hide spoiler)]
In other words, as a "this happened next" story, it's a reasonable story, and it's good on convincing military detail. But don't read it if you're looking for any thought, or emotion, theme or philosophy. If it's there, I didn't spot it.
[Reasonable representation of women, but note that none of the 'big bosses' were female.]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I checked this out to see if there were any interesting extra tidbits to the movie.
The novelisation itself is florid and not very interestinHilaribad.
I checked this out to see if there were any interesting extra tidbits to the movie.
The novelisation itself is florid and not very interestingly written. Foster is padding out the script without adding anything much of interest. There isn't a great deal of extra meat to the actual events - mainly some added sexual threat to Rey's dealings with the merchant on Jakku (and some fat hatred), and Ren does say: "It is her" when Rey shows up (view spoiler)[being force-strong on the not-the-deathstar, which more strongly hints that Rey is someone he has encountered before/knows about in some way. (hide spoiler)]. Rey is also rather constantly referred to as "a girl", "that girl" in a way that is underlining _OMG a GIRL doing STUFF_ which I think the movie mostly avoided.
The audiobook narrator takes the purple prose, and adds William Shatner-esque pauses and over-the-top drama. Totes hilarious. Sadly, the narrator also manages to make both Leia and Rey come across as much wimpier than they appear on screen.
[The audiobook also includes audioclips direct from the film for some of the voices, such as Phasma, and there's a fair bit of sound effects and music, which I found interesting.]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
When I first heard about this book, it sounded Turn of the Screw-ish, which meant I passed on it, since - while The Turn of the Screw was all very innWhen I first heard about this book, it sounded Turn of the Screw-ish, which meant I passed on it, since - while The Turn of the Screw was all very innovative for its time - there's few things that bore me more than a book that plays the "is it supernatural or is it psychosis" game. But being in the mood for something different from my usual fare, I decided to take a punt that it was more "unsolved mystery" than "can't commit on the magic".
And I did enjoy this story. The audiobook uses a different narrator for each of the 'looking back' type reports of the various band members and connections who went to Wylding Hall in the 70s to write a new age folk album, met some traces of ancient traditions, and lost a singer/song writer. There were some extremely creepy moments (the room where one member initially thinks he's found a rolled-up carpet is particularly effective), but overall there's not a lot of surprise in what's involved in the disappearance, and the story becomes more about how different personalities react to the kind of events they encounter.
So, yeah, interesting book. Has a strong documentary feel about it which maintained interest. I do wonder, however, what this book would have been like if it was those young, ardent and drug-addled teens telling the tale, rather than worn adults looking back from a considerable emotional distance....more
In the Blood is a powerfully written story of a country in the wake of a war, and particularly of two sisters who were once nobility of the country thIn the Blood is a powerfully written story of a country in the wake of a war, and particularly of two sisters who were once nobility of the country that has just been conquered. One sister, Oriabel, is a witch - but there are old prejudices against witches in her country, so she struggles to help her people while keeping her own secret. The other sister, Ottilde, is a soldier. She served well until her sympathy for witches led her to object to the slaughter of a witch village - a situation that left her a prisoner of war hated by her fellow captives.
In the Blood started really powerfully for me, since it featured one of my favourite character types - the stoic female soldier. And Oriabel provided a counterpoint of morality of mages. The story swaps between their viewpoint, along with two members of the conquering army, who get caught up in the sisters' situation.
This appears to be the start of a series, with two relationships growing as the plot progresses. Each sister also has to deal with a man who covets and wants to own her, and the story eventually grew into Not For Me. It's a well done story, but ultimately just not the sort of thing I like to read. I'll recommend it for anyone who has a higher tolerance for sexual violence than I do.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....more