His Majesty's Dragon begins when Captain Will Laurence's ship has just overpowered a French ship. Napoleon is slowly conquering Europe, so any defeatHis Majesty's Dragon begins when Captain Will Laurence's ship has just overpowered a French ship. Napoleon is slowly conquering Europe, so any defeat of the French, no matter how small, is a big deal. As Will's crew is inventorying the French ship's cargo, they find something unusual: a dragon egg. But complications arise when they find out that the egg will hatch in a week and they're about three weeks from shore. Dragons have been tamed in this alternate world and they're used to wreak devastation on the enemy. But they must imprint on their rider within the first few minutes of hatching if they're to be put to harness. That means someone from the ship's crew must step forward and be willing to sacrifice his naval career for the good of England.
What a hugely fun fantasy/adventure! There's honestly no ground-breaking literature here, but if you want a good, swashbuckling adventure tale, this is it.
I loved the dragon, Temeraire. He was by far the best character overall. It was fun to watch Will grow from being this stick in the mud British sea captain to finally loosening up some and having fun. Somewhat related to that, I loved the very proper British English present throughout the book. I have no idea how accurate is, except that the author is American which probably means it isn't, but sentences like, "Celeritas tells me to ask you to show me about; will you be so good?" just tickled me for some reason. I could just hear the very plummy uppercrust British guys talking.
I don't really read military books, and this did sort of cross over to that genre. But the battle scenes were well-written and exciting. I didn't have any problem following what was going on.
I did have a few problems with the book. I'm a fantasy fan, so I'm obviously willing to suspend any disbelief and let an author tell me a good story. But I do like authors to be consistent within the worlds they create. This book is set pretty firmly in this world, there just happen to be dragons flying around overhead during the Napoleonic wars. There were just two things that really bugged me that I can't let go. I found one of them to be so unbelievable that I laughed out loud with incredulity while waiting for a ride in a hospital waiting room. Luckily at that time of day it was mostly empty. But that one thing was enough to knock the book from five stars to four stars. Maybe it will be explained later, but right now I'm not buying it.
It's impossible to read a book about a dragon and its rider without comparing it to Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. It's been too long since I read a Pern book, so I can't meaningfully comment on that. The other dragonrider series I have read is Mercedes Lackey's Joust series. I preferred His Majesty's Dragon. The whole backdrop of the Napoleonic wars was just hugely intriguing to me.
Despite the flaws, which were really only a small part, I do recommend this to readers who like adventure stories and dragon lovers. I'll be continuing the series....more
The Golden Compass takes place in an alternative world where every human has a daemon familiar and witches and sentient armored bears rule the Arctic.The Golden Compass takes place in an alternative world where every human has a daemon familiar and witches and sentient armored bears rule the Arctic. The main character, a feisty little urchin named Lyra, sets out for the north to discover why children are disappearing off the streets in England and also to rescue her father.
I read this when it first came out, but I don't remember reading the other two books in the series. I decided to pick it up again when I saw that the movie is coming out soon.
This was a very enjoyable book that just rocked right along. The fantasy is very different. It doesn't center on the overdone dragons, orcs, and maidens-in-distress. The Church seems to be based on scientific research and the whole idea behind the book seems to be based on the very general, uninformed ideas I have about quantum physics. And Lyra is a great main character. Nothing keeps her down for very long. She's sort of a female Jack from the Jack tales, in that she can weasel her way out of anything.
I'll be interested to see what the people who object to Harry Potter on the grounds that he encourages children to engage in witchcraft will make of this movie. Daemon familiars? They'll have a fit. Unless the script of the movie downplays that somehow.
If you like fantasy, and you don't take yourself too seriously to read a children's book, give this one a try. ...more
Travis Cornell is a man for whom life has lost all meaning. But on a hike one day, he runs into a golden retriever, somewhat battered, obviously frienTravis Cornell is a man for whom life has lost all meaning. But on a hike one day, he runs into a golden retriever, somewhat battered, obviously friendly, but determined to protect him from something. Travis, a former member of the elite Delta Force, finds himself running in a blind panic with the dog. He takes the dog in and, after the dog displays absolutely amazing intelligence, names him Einstein. The two eventually become three when Travis meets lonely Nora Devon through Einstein. She joins with Travis in trying to protect Einstein from the mysterious being known as The Outsider. Unfortunately, The Outsider isn't the only one looking for the group. Can they all protect each other?
Okay, this was Dean Koontz, so it almost naturally follows that I couldn't put it down. I fell in love with Einstein. The humans? Honestly, I could take them or leave them. But a dog with a sense of humor and a clear way to express it? Sign me up. Koontz usually does a good job with this, but I really liked the way that not everything was black and white in this novel. As scary as The Outsider is, he's not always the villain. In fact, he's postively heart-breaking in some scenes. Probably the only thing keeping me from giving this five stars was the huge amount of coincidence involved in Einstein managing to find an independently wealty Delta Force guy to live with. Aren't the odds better that he would find just a regular joe who would lack the knowledge, money and experience to protect him? Really, that's just a small thing, but it did periodically bug me. Overall, I recommend this for all Koontz fans, and really, for dog lovers who have ever wondered what their companions would say given the chance....more
It's been a while since I read this, but I remember it as being very cute and well-written. Fans of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown should enjoy tIt's been a while since I read this, but I remember it as being very cute and well-written. Fans of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown should enjoy these....more
Miguel is working in his dad's comic book/record store one afternoon when a girl he doesn't know wonders in. Lainey is beautiful, with a sense of humoMiguel is working in his dad's comic book/record store one afternoon when a girl he doesn't know wonders in. Lainey is beautiful, with a sense of humor, intelligence, an Australian accent, red-gold hair, and a matching dog--excuse me, dingo. The two hit it off immediately, but weird things start to happen--and it all seems to center around the dingo.
I love, love, love Charles de Lint's books. I'm just starting to wish that he would get away from writing young adult books. They're probably a good introduction to this wonderful author for young fantasy fans, but I know de Lint can write stuff that is so much better. There's not really anything technically wrong with this. If I were a 14-year-old girl, I would probably adore it. But I'm not 14 anymore (thank goodness!) and I'm really missing the Charles de Lint characters I fell in love with a long time ago.
If you're a fan of Charles de Lint, go ahead and read this. You might even want to buy it for any young fans of fantasy you know. But please don't start with this one if you're an adult wanting to see what Charles de Lint is all about. Start with Someplace to be Flying or The Onion Girl instead. ...more
Seabiscuit. An American Legend. I think the only reason I even know the horse's name is because of the movie they filmed a few years ago. I'm obviouslSeabiscuit. An American Legend. I think the only reason I even know the horse's name is because of the movie they filmed a few years ago. I'm obviously not a horse-racing fan, right?
I don't even remember why I grabbed this at a library book sale. A friend here on GR must have given it a good review. But I am so glad I read this.
I've gotten much better about reading non-fiction over the past six months, but I was amazed at what a page-turner this was for me. I've been reading non-fiction before bed, thinking that would be a good time to squeeze it in because I wouldn't have to worry too much about getting caught up in the story and staying up all night. Bad move with this book. I was doing the "one more chapter" thing quite a bit.
It was just a perfect mix of an underdog story and excellent writing. Hillenbrand has a gift for putting you right into the action. Not knowing if Seabiscuit was going to win or lose any given race, my stomach would knot up and I would start reading faster as he came out of the gates. I was worried about injuries. I was furious with jockeys whom I thought were cheating. My heart pounded as Seabiscuit came down the home stretch and I read ahead to find out if he pulled it off this time. What the heck has happened to me?!? Where did the woman who thought "Non-fiction is boring" go?
This horse and his team are truly all-American legends. It seems that we love underdog stories and Seabiscuit, owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith, and jockey Red Pollard were all underdogs at some point. Reading about their struggles and triumphs and, yes, even failures, was inspiring. If they can pull off something like this, why can't you or I?
I loved reading about Tom Smith's unending feud with the press. I worried over Pollard, the injury-prone, Shakespeare-quoting jockey. Seabiscuit's quirks amused me to no end--unless he was messing around with another horse as the finish line approached. Then I just wanted to yell at him, "Stop horsing around! Just finish the race!" (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)
Now that I've finished it, I've caught myself spouting off some random Seabiscuit trivia to my husband. "Oh, did you know that Seabiscuit hated to run on mud?" The Belmont Stakes was on tv. The track looked muddy. It seemed relevant. There was more, but I'll keep my own quirks to myself.
The whole match race thing with War Admiral had me a nervous wreck! I just watched the real race on YouTube and, wow! It gave me goosebumps! It was funny to see Seabiscuit's awkward stride after reading so much about it and to know about all the prep work and psychology that went into that race.
I just loved this book, and I can't say enough about it. So before I end up giving you a page-by-page summary and my reactions, just do us both a favor and go read it....more