I really loved the first two halves of this book, but the third part killed it for me. I skimmed it, got the vital parts (which I admit the battles we...moreI really loved the first two halves of this book, but the third part killed it for me. I skimmed it, got the vital parts (which I admit the battles were still awesome) and moved on. It's a good read still, and I would recommend it to diehard fantasy fans, but not if you don't have any nostalgic ties to the work or work like it.(less)
Definitely a must-read if you're in the Dragon Age fandom at all. The writing doesn't leave you bored or confused. It's not the best but it's certainl...moreDefinitely a must-read if you're in the Dragon Age fandom at all. The writing doesn't leave you bored or confused. It's not the best but it's certainly not the worst, and it's entertaining. Plus these events answer some post Dragon Age 2 questions and raise some interesting ones for Dragon Age: Inquisition to answer in October. In short: get hyped.(less)
I really like this book. It's sad but sincere. The science is a little unbelievable in places, but if you can look past that it's a very emotional rea...moreI really like this book. It's sad but sincere. The science is a little unbelievable in places, but if you can look past that it's a very emotional read. (less)
It's a confusing book, to be sure, but it REALLY leaves an impression (to the point that all-caps are needed). The ending gives it an almost Inception...moreIt's a confusing book, to be sure, but it REALLY leaves an impression (to the point that all-caps are needed). The ending gives it an almost Inception-esque feeling, too, which actually helps this story. I can see why it's considered one of the major PKD books!(less)
I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. But this book is one I should've read sooner, and it will definitely inspire me the way the movie...moreI can't say anything that hasn't already been said. But this book is one I should've read sooner, and it will definitely inspire me the way the movie did, if not more. A work of brilliance considering when it was written.(less)
Not much to say that hasn't already been said. As a writer, I loved the progression of this story. You can see how it unfolds, how all the pieces clic...moreNot much to say that hasn't already been said. As a writer, I loved the progression of this story. You can see how it unfolds, how all the pieces click into place, and oh my goodness is it satisfying. The characters are imperfect, fuck up brilliantly, and pull all sorts of surprises. All in all I think this book has become a top favorite of mine, and I sincerely look forward to reading the other Gentleman Bastard books.(less)
Tristran Thorn is a special snowflake. He’s completely, stupidly in love with Victoria Forrester, the town of Wall’s pretty socialite (well, you know,...moreTristran Thorn is a special snowflake. He’s completely, stupidly in love with Victoria Forrester, the town of Wall’s pretty socialite (well, you know, for a tiny town bordering a magical world). When he asks what it will take to get a kiss — or marriage — from Miss Prissy, she points to a falling star and says THAT RIGHT THERE YES.
Of course, love is blinding. Tristran sets out to go capture it. And everything falls into place from there.
I don’t want to spoil it, as the events are really fun once they all fall into place, so let’s just say it involves brothers I fondly call the Numbered Bros (because they’re literally named First, Second, Third, etc., just in Latin).
What I Liked
How everything fell together. From Dunstan, Tristran’s dad, and his involvement with a witch’s slave, to the Numbered Bros, every plot point came along exactly when it needed to in order to maintain my interest.
The unicorn. Seriously, I have a thing for them and love when they show up. Can’t have a fairy tale without a unicorn. Or without naming the entire magical continent Faerie, but you know.
Lightning-hunting. It’s a small (spoiler-free) portion of the book that I wish was expanded on more. Seriously, sky-ships and lightning-hunting could totally get their own book. Speaking of…
All the unique fantasy concepts in this book blow my mind. From the Lilim to the giant tree that serves as a docking station for sky-ships to killer forests, it was all so briefly described, but those descriptions were eloquent and memorable. See lightning-hunting. Also how most animals are cursed people and have to go through these ridiculous steps to become un-cursed is so true to classic fairy tales.
The Numbered Bros. Just wait, when they’re introduced it’ll be worth me not explaining exactly why.
Neil Gaiman’s dry sense of humor. Dear God there were moments I was just laughing at these dark jokes or dryly funny moments when a character does something so stupid but is explained so seriously. It was great.
What I Didn’t Like
The lack of an epic finale with a certain character. Can’t say much more than that. The ending itself is good and satisfying, I was just expecting a little more action in this ONE area. But still, how it resolves itself is also interesting, as it’s not normally done. How’s that for cryptically vague?
How briefly certain creatures or world aspects were detailed. This is a personal gripe, I understand. There are people that prefer Tolkien length descriptions and those that want only the things that pertain to the scene or important world-grounding information. Gaiman definitely falls into the latter group. I, on the other hand, tend to land somewhere in the middle. A teeny tiny bit more Faerie world tidbits would’ve made this that much better for me.
The narrative style makes certain parts dull. That dry humor can backlash in places. It’s too dry at times when it shouldn’t be. More than once I spaced out during transitional moments. BUT I never strayed far, or for long, so there’s that to counter-balance this minor annoyance.
Final verdict: 4/5 stars
DO read if you love fairy tales and traditional fantasy, happily ever afters with somber, serious reminders of how real life works, dry humor, dark humor, and unique characters.
DON’T read if you don’t like any of the things mentioned above all in one package. (less)
Apparently I have a thing for scifi stories that have mechs or robots or androids. The concept of what makes a person, well, alive, is a really fun to...moreApparently I have a thing for scifi stories that have mechs or robots or androids. The concept of what makes a person, well, alive, is a really fun topic to grapple with, and I love it when books spend an entire plot doing the same thing. Just with more action and fun parts that are compelling and addicting.
This book was really good at sucking me in and making me give a damn about Tuc-67/c -- or Tuck for short. To be honest, Tuck seemed really skittish at first, and that frustrated me. Then I learned why. Then I had emotions. Then I gave a damn and man, does this story really make you go RIGHT. IN. THE. FEELS CENTER. (It's okay I didn't need that anyway, what with all the stories, TV shows, and movies I fangirl over.)
Oh right you want to know what the hell this about.
Plot Tuck is a robot, or a bot, that's 150 years old. He's seen a lot and is in total disrepair. He also has a lovely AI friend named David who reminded me a little bit of what HAL would've been like if he was only the AI for a futuristic BMW. And actually gained emotions.
Anyway, there was a Bot Riot and most bots were destroyed, making Tuck a valuable remnant of a past era. He's constantly running from collectors and is slowly but surely losing parts. His leg doesn't work so well, and he barely has any synthaskin left. He's desperate.
Enter Gerad, a businessman with a secretive deal. He needs Tuck for something. He also has the money to make Tuck's body brand new. Which is good because Tuck is scared of death. Deathly scared. Aha. Get it?
What? WHAT it was funny.
There's only one catch. Tuck hates killing people. He's stored the image files of the sixteen people he's done in, either accidentally or on purpose or because he wanted to live, and is constantly haunted by them.
But Gerad's plan involves him potentially killing other people.
SO the question of survive and kill or die in disrepair come into question. It's really great stuff.
What I liked The characters, even (or especially) the minor ones. Maze, Lim, even the other soldier guys were fun to read about.
Tuck's struggle with existence. For a bot to live as long as he has, and to have lived through the Bot Riots, wherein humans actively broke bots out of hate, pains a really compelling picture. Daniel Hope actually does this in a nice, even pace, too. Every reveal made that emotional punch that much harder. By the end of it I sat there contemplating the meaning of life.
David. An emotional BMW HAL is an image I can't erase now.
The plot pacing. Certain things happened that made me go BUT-BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PULL THIS OFF LATER? This is a good thing. It means I gave a damn.
I stayed up two nights in a row to finish it. (What? I was busy all day.) That alone says something.
What I didn't like Gerad. But seeing as he's a sleez businessman, is this really surprising?
The repetition of certain moral questions. In certain areas I just wanted the answer instead of the question being asked over and over. However, the answer is answered, and it is answered. ANSWERED. With a punch and a case of the "that's okay I didn't need that box of Kleenex anyway." That's a real troublesome bug, that one.
The pacing in the middle slacked just a teeny tiny bit. It's my singlemost complaint on the writing front. WHICH IS GOOD, SIR. Seriously, I'm picky, so this is a good in a bad. A bad-good?
Overall rating: 4/5 This is a solid read with really great details. It makes you think about things, too, and invest yourself into this bot's struggles.
DON'T read if: you hate scifi, specifically scifi books about the meaning of life.
DO read: if you like bots, futuristic worlds (hello, scifi), snark, humorous characters, and punches to the feels. (Especially at the end when the freaking title makes that much more sense.)(less)
While I'm not displeased with this book, or the writing, I'm not entirely sure that I feel satisfied, either. The topics are very heavy: relationship...moreWhile I'm not displeased with this book, or the writing, I'm not entirely sure that I feel satisfied, either. The topics are very heavy: relationship issues, massive anxieties (something I related to), and so on.
Mara is a gifted painter who struggles with the numerous issues her past has burdened her with. Divorced and bitter parents, drinking, plenty of sex as an attempt to escape her issues. It's a very dark story, but there were parts that made me chuckle out of the sheet dark humor of the moment.
I think my biggest complaint was the plotline with Erik. I won't say more than that because of spoilers, but I thought I'd at least mention that some elements seemed unnecessary (his relationship with another character in particular).
This isn't a light read, but I do recommend it to readers who enjoy serious contemporary fiction.
3/5 stars because I enjoyed it and yet walked away a little too stunned and upset to give it a 4/5. Feel free to take my opinion with a grain of salt.(less)
First, this is a book definitely tailored to younger kids, and that's great. I still love this kind of fiction. But if you're expecting something more...moreFirst, this is a book definitely tailored to younger kids, and that's great. I still love this kind of fiction. But if you're expecting something more adult in terms of depth, vocabulary, and so on, this isn't it. Still worth the read though!
Shard is a young gryphon in a pride of gryphons that crossed the sea and conquered the local pride, only it turns out things aren't that simple. Not by a long shot, and Shard has to make some hard choices.
Things like loyalty, justice, war, peace, and what it means to handle all of these things are tackled in this book, and I think it's great. That's the sort of stuff I always loved when I was younger, and that slight nostalgic feeling definitely made this a better read personally. However, that doesn't mean the read is bad if you don't have that same feels. It's a very simple read, very quick, but it keeps you interested. I finished this in about a day once I truly sat down and lost myself in the plot (you know how that goes with books).
My one grumble is that the plot was slightly typical, in terms of fantasy plots at least. Anyone who reads this and reads a lot of fantasy will understand. It's not a super big problem though, and is my only gripe.
Verdict? 4/5 stars. Great read for younger kids and people who enjoy fantasy overall, even if it leans on the slightly typical side.(less)
Anne McCaffrey's books inspired me as a child to write fantasy. I re-read this recently for the first time as an adult, and the changes were interesti...moreAnne McCaffrey's books inspired me as a child to write fantasy. I re-read this recently for the first time as an adult, and the changes were interesting. I don't look at it as this perfect fantasy and science fiction blend as I used to -- it has its faults, to be sure -- but these books will always be special to me. Because of this I can't really give an objective review. All I can say is that the writing reflects its age (it was written in the 70s, I believe) a bit, as it's not really the style in favor anymore, and a lot of people seem to express dislike over the obvious misogyny (it's a medieval-ish setup where women tend to be inferior).
I recommend it anyway, especially for younger ones who like fantasy and science fiction.(less)