When I read Samit Basu’s Turbulence, all I could think of was that the novel was actually a comic book, but in a novel format. I feel exactly the same...moreWhen I read Samit Basu’s Turbulence, all I could think of was that the novel was actually a comic book, but in a novel format. I feel exactly the same way about the sequel, Resistance. After receiving a copy of Resistance from Titan Books, I delved into the story. I’ll admit that at first I was a little lost. There are so many characters to keep track with and I couldn’t remember which characters had which superpowers. I’m bringing this up first because I feel that Basu might have needed a bit more writing at the beginning about reminding us of just who is who. It’s either that, or I’m getting old and losing my memory.
Instead, though, the first chapter lunges us into a scene that can only be described as something you might see from Transformers. Seriously, it has everything we geeks love: giant mecha that combine to form even more giant mecha and Godzilla-type creatures invading… you guessed it… Tokyo. I could forgive the lack of explanation at the beginning because that first scene was mind-blowingly awesome. It’s described in a way that makes you envision it and also makes you hope that someone someday turns these books into a feature film.
After that, the action doesn’t stop, and at times, it almost feels like too much. In the first novel, the characters had a little breathing time here and there. They don’t get that in this book. I will admit that although I’m complaining about it, I didn’t really mind, because these scenes were so high voltage that I kept turning the pages of the book well past my bedtime.
I also liked the fact that you’re really not sure who exactly are the good and bad guys in this book. Those roles were defined in the previous title (sort of), but now, it’s hard to tell who really wants to help out humanity? The ending is equally as gray, and although you think you know who the good guys, are, you have to ask, are they?
Basu does a good job of answering the question: What would it be like if normal humans were suddenly given superpowers? I feel both books deal with this issue in a way that isn’t just humorous, but also realistic. And that’s what makes both books a good read. (less)
I’ll admit that when I first read Ecko Rising, the first in a series of science fiction/fantasy books by Danie Ware, I was a little confused. Was it s...moreI’ll admit that when I first read Ecko Rising, the first in a series of science fiction/fantasy books by Danie Ware, I was a little confused. Was it science fiction? Was it fantasy? It turns out that the story Ware is weaving is both. Taking place in a future dystopian version of our world, as well as a world straight out of something similar to that in A Song of Ice and Fire, Ecko Rising and its sequel, Ecko Burning, are a perfect mash-up of the two genres.
My review of Ecko Rising is a positive one. I really liked that book. However, I feel like the second book in the series, Ecko Burning, even more. Both books tell us about a strange little man named Ecko, a once-human who seems to have been modified to the gills with computer technology, so much so, that he doesn’t remember his normal human life. He comes from a dystopian London, but somehow winds up getting trapped in a fantasy world full of beasts like minotaurs. In Ecko Burning, though, Ecko has completely shut down again, attempting to convince himself that this fantasy world is just something someone named Eliza has constructed like a video game for him. So he rebels and refuses to play. He can be a selfish little twit at times and that comes across a lot in the new book.
You would think that would be a turn-off: a major character who isn’t really always likable, not even a little bit. However, that’s balanced out by the other characters, who are featured a lot more predominantly in the new book. I particularly like Triqueta, a warrior woman who had the unfortunate circumstance of gaining a few years and got older in the course of a few minutes in the last book. I love her spirit and her willingness (although her new older body isn’t so willing) to charge straight into the lion’s den. She has to, because her world is about to be destroyed by a terrible god-like being and a blight that is only growing.
The other characters are also held up more to the light. I won’t run through a list, though, because if you’ve read the first book, there’s still a few characters who may or may not have survived. But we grow attached to these characters more in this book. This obviously means that you might as well prepare yourself for some George R.R. Martin moments, though, although Ware doesn’t necessarily kill off characters. Oh no, Ware understands that there are far worse things than death.
I found Ecko Burning impossible to put down. Like the previous book, it’s very nearly non-stop action. And once I got to the end, I wanted more, especially since it ended on a mysterious note. I definitely recommend both books for those readers who want something a little different.(less)
This book has a lot of nice ideas, although there isn't enough science behind the science fiction for my taste (a little science definitely makes a st...moreThis book has a lot of nice ideas, although there isn't enough science behind the science fiction for my taste (a little science definitely makes a story more believable). The book does a good job of exploring options of alternate universes, but gets convoluted when it decides to also explore alternate periods of time in alternate universes.
The thing that killed this book for me, most of all, though, is that it has absolutely no plot. The smaller storylines (and believe me, I'm using that word loosely) don't come together to form a whole and the ending is a complete let-down because NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK.
This reads like a dream sequence (a long one, full of needless descriptions), but not much more. As there is no story, it's very hard to care about any of the characters or what happens to them in any of the universes they exist in.
(Note: I received a review copy of this book.)(less)
I received a review copy of The Iron Jackal from Titan Books. I was told it was a steampunk novel, but now that I’ve read it, I think it’s a lot more...moreI received a review copy of The Iron Jackal from Titan Books. I was told it was a steampunk novel, but now that I’ve read it, I think it’s a lot more than that. It’s actually mash-up of several genres: science fiction, steampunk, fantasy, and even horror. I tend to like it when authors write outside the box, so it’s a given that I ended up really liking this book.
There are definitely some similarities to the Firefly television series. First, Captain Frey seems to be a re-worked version of Captain Mal. And like Mal, Frey is in charge of a merry band of misfits. However, that’s where the similarities stop. The world of Captain Frey feels much more like fantasy than science fiction and the technology is, obviously, decidedly steampunk, including the Captain’s ship, the Ketty Jay (which I’m imagining as a blimp-shaped object). There’s also a lot of fantasy elements weaved into the mix, including a variety of religions and belief systems, along with the existence of demons (hence, the horror factor). All of these genres are mixed very well and feel seamless when reading the book. The characters are all likable, but who doesn’t like a merry band of misfits?
The story itself is non-stop fun. From the first chapter that begins in the middle of the action to the very final chapter, expect lots of explosions, gunfights, escaping from almost-dire situations and heroics that seem almost insane. This one is a page-turner and you’ll find yourself always wondering what can happen next. The answer is, apparently, anything.
So yes, I enjoyed this book. It was definitely right up my alley. However, the one downside is that it appears that a serious lack of editing invades the last half. For some reason, the last half of the book is inundated with typos and misspellings. Considering this wasn’t noticeable in the first half of the book, it’s almost as if the editor gave up halfway through. I never let this sort of thing destroy a great story for me, but for those readers that have issues with these sort of things, you’ve been warned.
Finally, The Iron Jackal is the third book in a series. I have not read the previous two books, but found that it wasn’t necessary when reading this one: everything is explained in such a way that catches you up on the story, but doesn’t bog you down with explanation.(less)
I received a review copy of Alien Out of the Shadows from Titan Publishing. I’m a huge fan of the Alien film franchise, so obviously, it was the very...moreI received a review copy of Alien Out of the Shadows from Titan Publishing. I’m a huge fan of the Alien film franchise, so obviously, it was the very next thing I decided to read. I’m glad I did: I had trouble putting this one down.
So let’s start with the story. Alien Out of Shadows picks up where the first film, Alien, stopped. Ripley is out there floating in space, but before the events of the second film, Aliens, something happens. This book is about that. A mining ship is floating above a planet, but (as to be expected), something goes wrong on the planet below. Two ships returning from the planet to their mother ship, the Marion, have brought something back with them – a lot of somethings. And those somethings are freaking terrifying. Meanwhile, Ripley’s escape shuttle, the Narcissus, turns up, where our infamous heroine wakes up from stasis to discover that her nightmare hasn’t ended. Can she escape the creatures that haunt her dreams again? You’ll have to read to find out.
The first thing I noticed, even in the first chapter, of this book is that it is brutal. Even George R.R. Martin doesn’t kill off characters that early in the story, but author Tim Lebbon has no qualms in doing so. There is a lot of violence right from the beginning and it’s a good indicator that this novel is not a prose-filled fest about what it means to exist, but a non-stop action-adventure that the characters might not survive. And that’s what’s most important in the Alien stories: survival. Of course, we know Ripley has to survive, but what about these other great characters she meets from the Marion? This book goes to great lengths to describe what it’s like attempting to survive in this new horrifying world of aliens.
The aliens, too, are as terrifying as they are in the movies, perhaps even more so, thanks to the imagination of the reader. Lebbon’s depiction of these familiar creatures will keep you up at night and have you hiding under your covers and hoping that thing with the pointy teeth isn’t breathing just above your face. Ripley’s own journey, and her horror and the things she’s been through make the story even scarier, and you can’t help but want to fight at her side.
The only issue I had with this book was how the story was wrapped up, but unfortunately, it sort of had to be done that way, thanks to events that happen afterwards in the Aliens movie. It does, however, work, although perhaps a little too well. Needless to say, this didn’t prevent my enjoyment or the crazy ride of the novel, and I would suggest picking it up if you want to delve further into that world.(less)