I like Coben, I really do. So much so that when I see a new book from him, I never read the cover/jacket so that IBARELY CLINGING TO THAT FOURTH STAR.
I like Coben, I really do. So much so that when I see a new book from him, I never read the cover/jacket so that I am rewarded by knowing nothing of the plot beforehand. And I was rewarded, just not as much as I was hoping.
I have read a lot of Coben; I would say most of his works. One of the things that I have always liked was that he usually does not dwell on the particulars of the act/crime that sets the plot in motion. Something bad happens and you move on. Here was the same, but I felt as if it was more integral to the plot and therefore more time was spent describing the bad. And that I don't like. BUT, when I go back and look again I am torn. He still doesn't go into a lot of detail per se, but maybe it is that his skill is too great at priming the imagination to take over and add to the horrors that he has only suggested. Either way, I didn't really care for the portions dealing with the kidnapping/extortion. Everything is classic Coben. Fast paced and lots of twists.
I actually thought I had a pretty good bead on what one of the twists was going to be, but when it came in the middle of the book, I knew he had fooled me again and STILL kept some of his cards off the table. AND I knew from experience that that is what he is good at, but I fell for it anyway.
I don't want to say that the author is formulaic, because how do you create a formula based on chaos, but from having read so many of his other books, I have a better (not good) idea of which pieces of bait to bite on and what is misdirection. His books are always a ride though. The one twist, if it can be called that, is the ending. And by ending, I mean the resolution on the last page. I am not sure how hard I am buying that one. Sure, it can happen and it is definitely not a fairy tale ending or even a traditional Hollywood ending...but really? Are those characters really going to go that route with all of the history that has been supplied? I can make an argument that the author seeded the notions for that behavior throughout the book, but it still doesn't feel right.
Back to the Four Stars thing. Why is it clinging to that Fourth Star? Mostly because of the kidnapping/extortion plot I mentioned earlier. As I was reading those parts, I couldn't help but think that there are plenty of other authors that excel in that kind of thing and that is because they do that I don't read them and I am just hoping that this is the type of actions that he will be mining for future books. So it is more about losing a star than the book itself never being good enough to reach that plateau....more
I read Robogenesis directly after having re-read Robopacalypse and I might be giving four stars based on the tandem. I am not quite4 Stars...I think.
I read Robogenesis directly after having re-read Robopacalypse and I might be giving four stars based on the tandem. I am not quite sure how to grade Robogenesis on its own. I can't wait to read it again with a better understanding of the story.
Initially, I found it very hard to read. I couldn't figure out a way to attack it. I tried to read it from the same vantage point as Robopacalypse and just couldn't get a grasp on it. But I couldn't put it down. I tried wiping the slate clean and reading it, and still couldn't find a way to plant my feet, gather up all the threads of stories and make sense of it. But I couldn't put it down. I was drawn to the characters, the conflict and the world the author has created but had a hard time reading the first third of the book in general. After a while, I figured out where the book was headed and was able to enjoy it more.
I appreciate the continuation of the story in a most unexpected way, and for that it gets high marks. Wilson's creativity is never in doubt, nor his passion for the book. Some of the ideas really came out of left field but are appreciated.
I think that there is a bit of genius in this book that a second reading will make obvious. There is just something there that is weird and wondrous at the same time. I am looking forward to a third book to wrap up the trilogy
It is not a bad book. It actually starts out very strong and the initial idea, is amazing. It seems like I hGiving this book 3 stars is VERY generous.
It is not a bad book. It actually starts out very strong and the initial idea, is amazing. It seems like I have read books with similar technology, but it still felt intriguing and exciting. It is just that the details of the technology can't carry the book alone; it needs as good a plot to go with it and it doesn't get it. After setting up the conflict, the plot that is supposed to move toward the resolution isn't very exciting. There are a couple of not-so-subtle nods to today's pop culture but they are dropped and easily forgotten. By the time you get to the last 40-50 pages, things start moving so fast that it makes the rest of the book feel like a colossal waste of time. And the end is not very satisfactory. It is a perfect Hollywood ending and the only possible outcome given the direction of the book, but arriving there just feels like getting out of a car after a 5 hour drive. You are just excited that it is over.
The idea of the boost however is very well flushed out. It seems futuristic yet acceptable and a perfectly logical step from today's phones and iPads. The potential for abuse is more than a bit scary and even scarier that China is a leader in the field and a MAJOR world power and influential force. It feels VERY real.
Sex. Why does the future have to be painted with sex being so prevalent. I didn't really understand its place in the story at all. I mean, I understand that it facilitated some of the plot points, but they are plot points that could have been easily sidestepped or shown with less emphasis and we could still have arrived at the same conclusion. It wasn't gratuitous in any real way but yet it felt like a publisher or editor felt that they could appeal to more people if they included it. Kinda like sprinkling in a timely F-bomb in a movie to achieve that R rating. If you can work it into the plot to where it makes sense (and a bit more respectfully), then I believe it could serve the plot, but in the end, it really served no purpose in this book.
The jacket of the book was enough to draw me in but the actual book barely held me on. This could easily have been two stars....more
I love this series, but not this book. This book took forever to read. Now some of that was on me and the amount of time that I maMAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT
I love this series, but not this book. This book took forever to read. Now some of that was on me and the amount of time that I made available for reading, but a majority of it was that the book was not entertaining enough for me to want to make more time to finish it. I almost danced a jig when I finished this book because it meant I could move on to another one.
I really enjoy the concept, the characters and the books that came before this one, but Ripper just felt very paint-by-numbers. The prologue was way too long and the plot way too simple. When you boil the plot down to its bones, it was that Jack the Ripper was Jeckyl andHyde and that serum/formula was let loose in the Event Group complex. I don't feel like I gave anything away because it was on the book jacket or in the very first couple of chapters (and not much of a secret). In fact, I could have read the jacket by itself and called it a day. What few plot points there were, were telegraphed from about five miles out. The plot was just too simple and too linear and could have benefitted from a twist or two.
Beyond those issues, this book felt like the author was writing on autopilot, like a band that puts out an album to satisfy a contract. There was no energy or excitement and it was generally not very interesting. I don't know how best to put it into words, but more than a few sentence's structures were written in such a way that you couldn't tell what was being said. I had to reread them quite a few times to ascertain their meaning. It just felt like lazy writing.
I hope this series hasn't run out of steam. I hope the author can find a worthwhile subject that he has a passion for so that he can jumpstart this series. When that happens, I will be there to read it....more
(This is the second time I am writing this review (internet connection issues), so it is not as comprehensive as the original.
A Very Fun Ride!
Robert(This is the second time I am writing this review (internet connection issues), so it is not as comprehensive as the original.
A Very Fun Ride!
Robert Sawyer is one of the authors on my personal list that I trust to the point that I do not read the jacket of his new books; I like going into his books with zero idea of what to expect. I was a little worried at first because when it became obvious that it was a private-eye/detective fiction (not my favorite genre), but I continued to put my trust in the author...and was rewarded.
Like life on Mars (in this book), this story only works under a specific set of circumstances, but man what a ride. It is a perfect blend of science fiction and a detective novel. Great characters, betrayal, a sci-fi twist on a whodunit plot, double-crossing, betrayal, bad luck and betrayal.
(Tired of writing this review again, so I am skipping to the end)
This book is definitely worth the time it takes to read it, however long it may take you....more
I am giving this book 4 stars instead of 3 because after reading 'The Overnighter' (see previous review of that book), it was a breath of fGreat book.
I am giving this book 4 stars instead of 3 because after reading 'The Overnighter' (see previous review of that book), it was a breath of fresh air to see horror done right. There was so much more anticipation in this book than in 'The Overnighter'. The author let the environment and the character's insecurities spread the tension around. I didn't need to be told that thinks were creepy and ominous, they just were. The characters were well written there was solid tension between them.
The book started out with a pretty unique premise and though in the end it was similar to Event Horizon or The Black Hole, it stood on its own feet next to those and gave us a most entertaining, page turning read.
If I had written this up sooner after finishing it than I am, I would have more positive things to say. It delivered what it promised on the book jacket, washed the bad taste of 'The Overnighter' out of my mouth and restored horror's reputation as a worthy read....more
This was a very entertaining, very original read. I really want to give it 4 stars, but I can't pull the trigger. Unlike some of the knocksVery good.
This was a very entertaining, very original read. I really want to give it 4 stars, but I can't pull the trigger. Unlike some of the knocks I give for a book, the ones I give for this one are more on a personal level.
Where does this book excel? Ingenuity. It is a brilliant book. I read a lot of science fiction, but I lean more towards the more realistic side of science fiction, so this may be a subject matter that has been done before, but I have never read it. I found that aspect of the book very refreshing. The characters are well written and the plot moves without you ever realizing it.
What I thought was going to be a plus for this book ended up being a negative for me in the end. There was a certain amount of ambiguity in the beginning about whether or not this technology was good or bad as the author seemed to argue both sides, and you didn't know which side of the argument a few of the characters would come down on. I initially enjoyed the author holding some of the cards back, but in trying to keep us guessing, the characters have too many changes of heart and it became irritating.
I could probably have ignored that aspect of the book if not for two other issues. The first is the role of sex in the book. I understand that one of the characters is defined by her past experiences, and as disagreeable as the backstory was, I realize that there are people out there that probably have similar pasts. What I don't care for is the casualness of this subject matter in the book. I am not saying that you can't explain the sights, sounds and experiences of Thailand and not mention prostitution and the like. There were just too many times in the book where it felt like it was used for a little bit of shock value or as if to say 'I am keeping it real by bringing it to you like it really is.' You can mention it once to establish that it is a part of that culture and then be a little bit more subtle throughout the rest of the book. But what I really disapprove of is taking so much time to tell us you how much a character has been shaped/formed by her (negative) sexual experiences and while appearing to spotlight a serious problem in our society, the author turns around and treats the situation way too loosely with throwaway lines of dialogue, thoughts or shared memories that weren't essential to the storytelling. I started out thinking that the author was going to use this book as a platform to make a bold statement about the long lasting impacts of such crimes and ended thinking that he pulled a fast one in speaking out against it AND using it for shock value at the same time, negating the sincerity of the former.
My second issue is that I just didn't side with the main character. I didn't believe in his cause and I did not root for him beyond the fact that he appeared to be a good person who hadn't thoroughly thought out the repercussions of his research. The author uses a quote in the end about those that give up freedom for safety deserve neither and it sounds good, but is not applicable to the situation. We have banned (if I am not mistaken-and I could be) genetic research on humans already, yet no one is in an uproar about the loss of the freedom to genetically modify ourselves. My thought on the matter in a nutshell is that just because you can, doesn't mean you should OR have a right to. But the author feels that we if we can think it up, it is our right to see it through to fruition, consequences be damned. Which is odd because the main character's father kept teaching him that a scientist is responsible for his research.
Oh, I just thought of a third. Some of the descriptions were long-winded and repetitive. I get that the touching of minds is beautiful, I just didn't need to read it over and over and over and at considerable length. (Double rainbow man)
Once I got past the fact that the author is just plain wrong (that was meant to be funny-we are all entitled to our opinions), it was a very enjoyable book. I will have to think whether or not I want to venture into this world again with the sequel. On one hand, I love larger story arcs. On the other, if the sequel is more of the same, I can't complain because I should have known better....more
I picked it up because I was in the mood for a supernatural horror type of book and the cover gave off a suitably creeWhere to begin with this book...
I picked it up because I was in the mood for a supernatural horror type of book and the cover gave off a suitably creepy vibe AND as an employee of a video store, I was familiar with overnighters. I thought that this was right up my alley.
I found it very hard, as an American, to follow along the lingo from this English writer. There were just passages of text where I could not pick up where to pause, where to pick up speed and which words and phrases were local sayings and slang. Even if I had no other problems with the writing itself, this would have presented a formidable obstacle to enjoyment.
But that was not the only problem that I had. I had a problem with the setting being in a bookshop and there being little to no description of the layout of the store. Someone would go to the storeroom, the workroom, the lift, the stacks and so forth but you never got a sense of how they all fit together. Given that the store itself is the main setting and important to the plot, you would think that the author would help us out a bit. Once you have decided for yourself how the store is laid out, you find out that there is an upstairs but not which of the before-mentioned rooms are upstairs.
I was a bit shocked to find out that this author has been writing for 50+ years and is well respected. I would have thought that with that much experience, the author could learn some new words. There was very little variation in the description of the fog, other than it always seemed to be getting closer and swallowing things. It swallows cars, trees, buildings and even icons off of computer screens. Over and over it leached the color out of things. I was told that the fog was mysterious and spooky but I never actually felt that it was. It was just repeated over and over and over. Same with the stale taste in everyones mouths. And I get that it was affecting everyone, but every situation left a stale/sour taste or clammy/grimy residue everywhere. If it was so prevalent, why does no one actually react to it. With the amount of time it was repeated there is no believable way that it goes unnoticed. But yet it is easily dismissed by everyone. And everything is surreptitious. Everything. I want my clues to be sprinkled throughout the store subtly, not hammered along a paved path like stakes.
Which brings up another issue in the same vein. Unnecessary descriptions. It felt like every sentence was some variation of '...he reached for the handle, which felt less like the cheap plastic it was actually made of, and more like an over-the-hill rock climber hanging off the side of a mountain he hasn't had any business being on anytime in the last thirty years of his life." What? All that for a handle? And that wasn't even the point of the sentence. It is just a show of descriptive power by the author but none of the descriptions strengthen the visuals, it just makes everything harder to read.
Time is another issue I had. Time speeds up, time slows down, time overlaps and it is left up to you to waste your time figuring it out when you should be spending it trying to comprehend this book. At this point in the review, I have about fifty pages left, but I can say without having finished that the pacing is all off. The first (nearly) half of the book is about a couple of days in the life of some unhappy bickering coworkers and their overbearing managers. There isn't a whole lot of groundwork laid in the first half as to what is coming. Or at least what we know is coming based on the jacket writeup. I got more from the jacket than the first half of the book. All I got was that that the store is situated in a remote, foggy area and that the fog is always foggy and swallowing up its surroundings. And some mysterious typos and mis-shelved books. I think Scooby Doo episodes are just as scary and get to the point a lot quicker. This book waits until the last quarter of the book before the ball actually gets rolling. I guess my problem is that I am told that the fog is spooky and things are creepy instead of being convinced of it by clever writing.
What did I like? Some of the characters. There seem to be 2-4 too many characters for the author to juggle convincingly. There is some nice tension between the characters, but some of them just aren't well defined and I kept losing track of which one had which backstory. I always like being able to truly dislike a character. I feel then that the author is plucking some correct chords within me. And he does that with the manager, who is VERY irritating because I have known managers like him. But too long goes before I find out which people are managers and which are just employees. The author feels like it was imperative that every interaction between the friends be one filled with tension--passive and aggressive. At best they might be entertaining in short reads, but if you step back and view it as a part of a whole, there is no way that these coworkers would not be at each others throats. There is too much bickering and dislike among the employees for it to be as functioning a store as the author would like us to believe.
As much as I liked some of the characters, I felt let down by the dialogue and inner-speak of those characters. There were just too many phrases of the "..he feels as if he should...", "...perhaps she is thinking that it would be better...", "...he is ready to propose that they may like to... variety. More straightforwardness in the writing and dialogue would have gone a long way to make this an easier and more enjoyable read.
I am not quite finished the book, but as of right now two stars is all I can this book. ...more
I wish that I had written the review shortly after I finished reading the book, but I didn't. And know I can't relate all the thingsI Loved This Book!
I wish that I had written the review shortly after I finished reading the book, but I didn't. And know I can't relate all the things that I loved about this book.
The methodology is a bit cruel and a bit of a turn-off, but the overall writing was superb. I flew through this book, page after page, and couldn't wait to get to the end even though I thought that I had it figured out much sooner. And even when I got to the end, there was still a surprise waiting.
This ending was unexpected and felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone, but it was a very fitting end to this book. I saw where there are more books featuring the Ender character and even one that looks like it takes off from the end of this book, but I am not sure that I want to read them. I guess I don't want to come down off the high from this book and I am not sure if the author can strike gold twice....more
They should just call this book 'LIES' and be done with it.
I picked up the book based on the name and the cover, thinking I would get some sort of talThey should just call this book 'LIES' and be done with it.
I picked up the book based on the name and the cover, thinking I would get some sort of tale steeped in science. What I got was a book that really had nothing to do with dinosaurs or science at all. Sure, there were some really long passages about dinosaurs and controversy over their evolution, but other than that being the main characters field of study, the cover could have read "The Ice Age" or "The Space Rock" or any number of topics where the only requirement is that there is a debate in the scientific community.
Everybody in this book lies. It is too easy of an out to set up conflict between two characters through lies. BUT, it does it well. It was a very enjoyable book that read more like a suburban thriller than a scientific one. It is just that everyone lies. And I know that I am getting hung up on that, but I want to like at least one character. I can't remember at this point if the main character lied as much as the rest of the cast, but even she was not likable. She was abrasive, rash and short tempered and even though she was the main character (and did I say she was not likable?) she never felt like a suspect either, even though the author tried to imply that she could be the culprit.
Again, though, it was a very enjoyable book and I found myself turning pages at a very fast pace. I want to give this book four stars but I feel a bit slighted by the misdirection of the title. I was expecting Crichton, but I got Coben instead. And that is not a bad thing because I really like Coben. ...more
I love this book. I am not even sure where to begin the praises.
This book is about characters and each of their journeys and we learn a little bit morI love this book. I am not even sure where to begin the praises.
This book is about characters and each of their journeys and we learn a little bit more about each of these characters history and motivations as the journey progresses. Because there are so few characters in the story to begin with and couple with the remoteness of the setting, the author spends plenty of time rounding out each character. These characters begin to feel like old fiends and you start to empathize with them and agonize over their decisions along with them.
The author's descriptions of everything were superb. Starting with the opening scene, a beautifully tragic fall from the wall of El Cap, I was hooked. Everything is alive in this book, but not in the verbose manner of some authors where more words equal better descriptions. Here, the author just chooses more efficient words, making you feel like you are there with the characters. There is not really a lot of action in this book. If I was to verbally describe what happens in this book, you would wonder how Jeff Long could fill out this book, but he does, and he does it well.
The author really brings alive the culture of climbing. I never felt too lost within all the terminology but by the end, I felt like I could climb the local rock wall. The author portrays the climbers as rock stars but fallible and with a large dose of humility and self-effacing humor. I felt like I was let inside the clubhouse for a few days.
This is the second time I have read this book and it was just as good the second time as it was the first. The first time I read it I remember feeling much the same way and the ending was completely out of left field. This time, armed with foreknowledge, the book was probably more entertaining with the exception of the ending not being a surprise. But what you get instead is the double meanings of many statements and situations throughout the book. They are so subtle that you miss them the first time, and just barely pronounced the second time.
It is really just a well-written book all the way around. It seems that I am more adept at pointing out flaws in a book than pointing out the best qualities of one. I feel that there are so many positive things to say about this book, but if I could write as well as what this review deserves, I would probably be writing books myself instead of reading them.
What a ride. Before you read any further and wonder why I gave a four star rating to a book where it appears I have quite a few issues with is becauseWhat a ride. Before you read any further and wonder why I gave a four star rating to a book where it appears I have quite a few issues with is because it was a heck of a ride and entertaining the entire way.
What I loved about Reflex was that it took the characters and abilities in Jumper to the next level without rehashing those in the first book. Like Reflex, we get a well thought out new teleportation ability that works within the 'parameters' that we already know. But the thing that I really like is that it isn't just told to us and we are supposed to accept it as fact, but that the author explains it in detail and grounds it in enough physics to make you believe that this could actually happen.
I don't mind that this book takes place so many years after Jumper and Reflex. I just wish that there were more stories between then and now because I really like the heroes, the villains, the locales and the abilities in this universe. But, here we are so many years later whether I like it or not. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a Young Adult book, which maybe it is. Maybe I just came late to the party and never realized that was what I was reading. Sign me up for more sequels, Young Adult or not. Jumper and Reflex never felt like that but I understand that the story is set during high school years. It is the thing that makes it so different from the first two books but also the thing that makes it feel like it is written for a different audience.
There were a few other things that didn't feel quite right either. Though I liked that Millie and David were using their abilities for good and in ways that only they could truly help, those portions of the book felt very different from the rest. They felt like they were only there so that every chapter wasn't about Cent. Oh, they were tied to the larger plot, but I felt as if the author felt obligated to the fans of Jumper and Reflex and had to give them their due. Davy following his old enemies after having not done so for so long felt very forced as did his nemesis from Reflex suddenly appearing. Personally, I would loved to see him go toe to to against that nemesis over the course of a couple of years and a couple of books rather than have it nosedive right into the main plot as awkwardly as it did.
Did I have problems with the book? Yup. In the end, none of them was major enough to make me put the book down for very long and that is why this book gets four stars....more