Want deep world building that doesn't seem pretentious? Want differing cultures without the cliche of monolithic fantasy "races." And would you like a...moreWant deep world building that doesn't seem pretentious? Want differing cultures without the cliche of monolithic fantasy "races." And would you like a pretty good story to go with it? I must say, Kate Elliott my a have a book to hook you on a series.
The setting is fairly unique. The main story takes place in a land called the Hundred, which is home of the Reeves, giant eagle riders. They follow the laws set by mysterious Guardians, enforced by the Reeves for generations, but things are of course changing. Down south there is a Empire that doesn't get a lot of play in the story, and a nomadic horse culture that currently rules a strong merchant based culture.
There is also a fair amount of spiritualism, which usually doesn't appeal to me, but Elliott wove it in without it taking over.
There were a few cons. The characters are all good looking boys and girls, and some follow cliches early on. The tortured soul of a hero and a female that seems to be a direct knock off of Dany from ASOIAF are the worst offenders. As the book goes on they gain some personality, so not a major gripe.
Biggest issue was a bit of bad editing about halfway through. Through he whole book we follow multiple PoV's chronologically(that is the time line is constant, switching views). But in one section we follow the same character to a end, then go back in time and have another character wonder what he is up to. Takes away the tension.
Still, loved the book, cant wait for the next.
edit after finishing the sereis:For series review, go here.(less)
Let us make one thing clear, I love this book. I only give it 3 stars however, because it is truly pandering to those of us who are or have been stuck...moreLet us make one thing clear, I love this book. I only give it 3 stars however, because it is truly pandering to those of us who are or have been stuck on the retail train. I can't imagine it appealing outside of that group(and the comic it is based around being canceled in our local paper supports this).
But if you are or have ever worked retail, and know the horrors involved, give it look. It will make you laugh all the way through. (less)
Obvious "middle" book. Slow start, but finishes up nice, except for some bad editing that doesn't let us know there is a flashback coming. Still lovin...moreObvious "middle" book. Slow start, but finishes up nice, except for some bad editing that doesn't let us know there is a flashback coming. Still loving the series as a whole. (less)
This really the same guy who wrote The Way of Kings? A much more enjoyable read, all around. Still some info dumps when it comes to the magic system,...moreThis really the same guy who wrote The Way of Kings? A much more enjoyable read, all around. Still some info dumps when it comes to the magic system, but done through a teacher/student relationship rather than a jarring break in the action.
Sanderson may not be my OMG, MOST FAVORTIST! author, but he does write some quick reading, enjoyable stuff. I will most certainly be moving on to the second book.(less)
Five stars for amazing world building and making me care about this new look world. Four stars for a great main character(Anderson Lake, who likes to...moreFive stars for amazing world building and making me care about this new look world. Four stars for a great main character(Anderson Lake, who likes to think he is good but shows time and time again that he is a user of everyone).
However, dock a star for an author who choose to show a rape fetish, not just once, but twice quite graphically. Once would have shown what he needed just fine. And dock another star for a huge plot hole around 70% in.
Other than that, I did enjoy most of this book, and will be dragging up the short stories to read more about it in the future. (less)
What? Cyberpunk stories can have actually characters in them, and not just focus on distopian tech? Who knew?
Not much to say, you know the story, bein...moreWhat? Cyberpunk stories can have actually characters in them, and not just focus on distopian tech? Who knew?
Not much to say, you know the story, being corperate ran cyberpunk all the way, but Beukes has some great characters in this, all layed out in a tight knit story told through the switching of first person PoV's. Lerato and Toby's PoV's in particular are first rate, with the Toby giving us all a few laughs during the ride as well.
Also want to point out that the ending author notes rarely tell me anything, but this time have given me a to-do list of stories to look up, Beukes time as a journalist really shows in this one. (less)
Another fast paced book in the series. Priest has an amazing alternative history of the Civil War going, and I have enjoyed each book more than the la...moreAnother fast paced book in the series. Priest has an amazing alternative history of the Civil War going, and I have enjoyed each book more than the last.
There is a character reveal toward the end of the book that caught me by surprise, then made me realized that it was handled very well, and is surprisingly absent in speculative fiction.
This is a good series for people who want to see steam punk done right, worth checking out if you haven't. (less)
Someone needs to penetrate Parker's pseudonym, I would hate to think she is writing under another name as well and I am missing some of her books.
Whe...moreSomeone needs to penetrate Parker's pseudonym, I would hate to think she is writing under another name as well and I am missing some of her books.
When reading Parker you know a couple things. The world will be gritty and violent, at least one, maybe more of the characters have a nasty plan going, and a few hidden gems will make you laugh and then feel guilty about it.
The Hammer starts with a lot of time pressed into a short section. A few years before IT happened, where we get some back ground, a short time around IT, where we find a little more background, and then the rest of the book happens after IT. Of course, whatever IT is drives the whole story, but the reader won't learn until much later just what happened. It is a great setup, and it had me guessing most the book just what the hell happened.
Another completely original world set up(though there are hints that many of Parker's stories are on the same world), more great characters(as long as you realize that Parker will have a chess-master/Mary Sue trope in most of her stories, she writes them very well). And while I am hardly one to comment on prose, Parker is deceptively easy to read, while using language that I often find my self rereading only because it is particularly interesting/intellegent. (less)
The conclusion to a very unique fantasy series. I will post my thoughts on the series as a whole.
The Braided Path is a very unique epic fantasy series...moreThe conclusion to a very unique fantasy series. I will post my thoughts on the series as a whole.
The Braided Path is a very unique epic fantasy series. It is set in a world with a feudal Japan feel where true magic is only a few hundred years old, so society is being transformed in ways that it still doesn't understand(an industrial revolution type of change).
It is also the most cleverly disguised superhero story I can think of. At the start we have the Weavers, who have discovered a way to craft mask's giving them access to a magic link. With it comes instant communication, as well as the ability to hurt through the link. The trade off seems to be a growing insanity. At the start we learn that there are also "abherents" being born at alarming rates. The Weavers are killing them at birth for the good of society, but of course some get through, and many of them have a unique sort of magic of their own(each seem to have their own change, making me think of x-men mutants).
The story through the whole series is fast past and very enjoyable. Loose ends were wrapped up, twists were believable, and the magic system works in the world. The world building is unique, as even the ecology differs from our own. I fell in love with some of the secondary characters(Asari especially), but the female lead left me cold at times.
If you are looking for a fantasy series away from the medieval landscape, without a trope of the month flavor, give this series a try. It is a fairly quick read, but I found it very satisfying. (less)
There is really no way for me to objectively rate this book, so I am just going to rave like a fan boy for a bit. I have no idea if this book is worth...moreThere is really no way for me to objectively rate this book, so I am just going to rave like a fan boy for a bit. I have no idea if this book is worth five stars to most, but I have not been sucked in to a book so hard, so fast, in a long time. It hit my geek cord and let out a perfect sound.
Would you like it? I am pretty sure it holds up fairly well even to non-geeks. A fairly top notch solve the puzzle before the bad man does type of story, but set in a large geek referenced filled mmo. Ton's of eighties trivia, and a fair amount of trivia from more recent decades as well.
The basics are a rich man hides a fortune inside a MMORPG that provides most people their only escape from a dying world. Our protagonist revives interest in this search by breaking the first puzzle. Him and a group of friends/competitors must beat a large corporation pouring millions into winning it for themselves.
Gah, why am I talking about this book still? It is all I can do not to just flip back to page one and reading it again. (less)
For years I have called Pratchett my favorite author, and this book sums up why. Though it had some flaws, and is no where near his best books, it was...moreFor years I have called Pratchett my favorite author, and this book sums up why. Though it had some flaws, and is no where near his best books, it was still an enjoyable read all the way through.
The not so great: The continued theme that Vimes is on duty, because a copper is always a copper. We have seen it in several books before, and it really hasn't grown any. We also meat a villain that would be orginal and great, if we hadn't met his typecast before in Carcer(Night Watch). Finally, the great mystery was completely transparent to the reader. I still can not figure out if it was intentionally left this way or not, but it hampered my enjoyment.
All that said, the book is certainly worth reading. Young Sam has grown up to a six year old obsessed with poo. Vimes link to his son is at times touching. We see some major growth in his wife as a character. She has been present for much of the series, it is nice to see her strength coming out. And as always, I laughed out loud several times, and was giggling throughout.
Fans of Pratchett should read this book. It is a welcome addition overall. (less)
What a perfect ending to what may have been the best YA series in fantasy. After a good, but not great, middle book, this story shows the same greatne...moreWhat a perfect ending to what may have been the best YA series in fantasy. After a good, but not great, middle book, this story shows the same greatness that made me love Leviathan so much.
What we get in this finally is more of the good stuff. More beasties, more historical figures, and great continuation of growth in Alek and Dylan's relationship. Sure we may have got a semi-trite ending to it, but once in a while it seems natural and not forced.
If I have one small gripe it would be a late "character barrage." I feel some of the characters were added only to get a historical name into the book. Pancho Villa really adds nothing to the plot, and the lady reporter from Hearst showed so much potential to be a great character (maybe an anti-Barlow?) but really isn't used to her potential.
Still, what a great ending to a truly enjoyable series. I would say it is the best pure steam punk on the market today (well, maybe it and Half-Made World are tied).(less)
I usually don't comment on "middle books" of series because really, what is the point? But I had to give this book some respect for avoiding the usual...moreI usually don't comment on "middle books" of series because really, what is the point? But I had to give this book some respect for avoiding the usually middle book pitfalls.
First of all, we once again have a nicely contained story. Sure there is a big giant cliffhanger, but most of the personal plot lines were wrapped up. We also get a lot of well paced action. Many middle books lag as they try to set up their epic finally, not so with this one.
Lastly, the characters are once again great. Asari is still one of a kind, and while we only get a couple of new faces, they are welcome additions, not just tack-ons to expand the story.
I loved the first two books of the series, and can not wait to read the third. (less)
Damn it Mr Wooding, you almost put me in tears again! And with a Golem! How can a writer get so much beauty from a giant metal shell?
Ahem. Anyway, Black Lung Captain picks up after Retribution Falls, following ragtag crew of the Kitty Jay. It is most assuredly a book from a series, you must read RF first(and if you haven't, get on it). The book could be classified as steampunk, though it is not focused on the tech at all, and unlike most steampunk lives on its own world.
It reads like a pirate story, which is apt because several of the characters are airship pirates, and the rest run into them at times. There are a couple of love interests, one fairly well done, one fairly cliched. And we learn a bit more about Jez, the fascinating mysterious pilot, this time around.
Wooding has a great cast of characters, and his strength is writing their quirks. He also can be very humorous at times, an ongoing fight between a crewman and the ships cat is a highlight.
I enjoyed this book just as much as the first, and cant wait for the next to arrive via kindle on this side of the pond.
Pros: Humor, the crew are some of my favorite characters going, and a tight, quick paced story.
Cons: Growing tired of the rich, former love interest of the captain. Cliche, and I hope he comes up with someone better going forward.
Oh, and I went from four up to five stars because of that golem scene. Damn was it emotional. (less)
So stop me if you have heard this one. Our hero, a burnt out warrior, is recruited for a simple rescue mission. Along the way he learns that his small...more
So stop me if you have heard this one. Our hero, a burnt out warrior, is recruited for a simple rescue mission. Along the way he learns that his small problem is part of a much larger one, a threat that CAN DESTROY THE WORLD!
That's ok, because a lot of great books can have this premise. As long as the author adds something new we can forgive a trite beginnings, hell some of my favorite reads start with entirely predictable premises. So what is Morgan going to give us that is new, interesting, and hold our attention....
The hero is gay. That is about it. Don't get me wrong, i celebrate this. No reason it has not shown up in lit more often. And the set up for why it works in this world is well done. He is a war hero from a rich family, so he gets away with being himself in a world where the main religion is persecuting it as a crime. But it is not enough to carry a novel.
The novel itself is a GRIMDARK type of novel that follows the usual conventions. A high body count, some witty banter, a rape thrown in, and a joyous amount of fucking. It starts off strong, with a new take on zombies, some cool back history(including a very LoTRish race leaving the know world), and a quest for our hero. However by the middle the story starts to slog. A long trek of nothing, a convenient meeting of heroes, and "who thinks like that" final battle just didn't do it for me. 3 stars, mostly from the strong beginning.
Pros: Strong back story, great main character, some risks other heavy hitters of the genre wont take.
Cons: Slog through the middle, Alien reasoning that didn't make sense in light of earlier behaviors. (less)
Wow do I love this book. Biopunk setting that reads like a fantasy novel, the author has been compared to Abercrombie more than once in t...moreFrom my blog.
Wow do I love this book. Biopunk setting that reads like a fantasy novel, the author has been compared to Abercrombie more than once in the gritty feel to the novel. But where Abercrombie took fantasy tropes and twisted them, Hurley starts something completely new and unexpected.
How do strong religious based gender roles change in a war that has completely taken over a world? Can there be a love story between two people if there is also a loathing? Can an author avoid the cliche of everything is going to be alright in the end, without it feeling like they had to force their story away from it?
Hurley dumps the reader strait into her bug infested world. Bugs can be bad, bugs can be good, bugs just ARE. She writes people and the emotions of said people was well as anyone I have ever read. The world is realistic, the people are believable, and the plot moves swiftly but never feels rushed.
Pros: World building, characters, and almost everything.
Cons: Some language gripes(southpaw in a world without baseball?), short read(but the sequel is out, so I could continue right along with the story)(less)