Pretty much more of the same. I think the these characters are so different from one another, watch their quirky interactions premise is running a litPretty much more of the same. I think the these characters are so different from one another, watch their quirky interactions premise is running a little thin by now, and I was kind of hoping for a little more, but the next book looks like it'll probably be picking up and starting the actual rebellion....more
This book doesn't really do much to distinguish itself from pretty much any other fantasy book you can pick up out there. It doesn't do anything reallThis book doesn't really do much to distinguish itself from pretty much any other fantasy book you can pick up out there. It doesn't do anything really bad, but it doesn't do anything really good or original either. It's a mostly harmless, and quick read, but don't go in expecting it to be something original, or epic, because chances are, you've already read this book before, just by a different author and with a different title. It does have a cool cover though. In fact, the cover is probably the most interesting thing about the book. If I had found this book when I was fifteen, I probably would have liked it more, but that was more than 20 years ago, and I've had 20 years of authors like Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, George R. R. Martin, Brent Weeks, and Brandon Sanderson to show me that stories in the fantasy genre don't always have to be about the same thing, and when they are, there can be new twists and turns to make that same old thing fresh and interesting again. Matthew Ballard isn't a bad writer, it's just that the story he told was one I've already heard, and told better by other, more experienced authors. And speaking of Jim Butcher and Brandon Sanderson, both of them have new books coming out in the next two weeks, so I'm fairly sure I'll have forgotten this book even exists by then. Sorry Matthew Ballard, I wanted to really love this book, but you didn't really give me anything to love. It was a pretty generic, forgettable story that I've read before, and told better by other people....more
A lot of frustrating, artificially forced build up for not a lot of payoff and a somewhat laughable and easily predictable Shyamalan-esque twist. It'sA lot of frustrating, artificially forced build up for not a lot of payoff and a somewhat laughable and easily predictable Shyamalan-esque twist. It's entertaining enough if you don't care about the lack of any actual tension in your suspense novel, and characters you just want to reach into the book and shake while screaming "WTF is wrong with you, just answer a simple question you freaking psycho!!!" There really are better ways to build suspense and tension than having every character in your entire book act like an asshole who refuses to answer the simplest of questions. They're not answering for any real visible reason except that the plot says the mystery isn't revealed until the end. It's really an amateurish attempt at a mystery at best. And really, I can see what drew Shyamalan to this one for the TV series, it's like the author was trying to BE Shyamalan. At least he writes better dialog than Shyamalan does. But I'd trade that, any day, for Shyamalan's skill with building tension and suspense. Gawd, I just used M. Night Shyamalan as a positive example... what is the world coming to? I enjoy shows like Lost, where there's a huge mystery and it takes them years to find the answer. But the difference between that sort of thing and this book, is there are dozens of people this character interacts with THAT CAN TELL HIM THE FUCKING ANSWER AT ANY TIME DURING THE COURSE OF THE BOOK!!! There was none of that in Lost. Even the people who supposedly knew the answers didn't actually know the answers there. When there are people all over the place everywhere the character goes who can just explain the entire plot to him, and simply refuse to, it makes for a very fake and forced mystery, rather than a natural and tense one. That's the difference between a good mystery and a bad one. And as far as mysteries go, this one is definitely a bad one. Artificial tension FEELS artificial. A reader can very easily tell when the author is just telling them that something is tense, rather than actually MAKING it tense.
Anyway, if this is your thing, you'll probably enjoy it. It wasn't a bad book, I just felt that it was a little too predictable, and that the tension and suspense were a little too artificially forced. It's enjoyable enough if you can look past those things....more
Listened to the Graphic Audio production of this book at work this week. It was a lot of fun. Most of the complaints I see about this series is that iListened to the Graphic Audio production of this book at work this week. It was a lot of fun. Most of the complaints I see about this series is that it's really generic. I can see that. The story is a little on the generic side. But Weeks has a way of making a story we've already read before extremely entertaining. I really like the characters, and their interactions with one another, and the world it takes place in is pretty cool too. And the Graphic Audio dramatization, which adds in music, sound effects, and a full cast of actors makes it that much more entertaining. All in all it made for a pretty fun week at work, and I can't wait until I get paid next week so I can grab the third book in the trilogy off of Graphicaudio.net. Don't expect it to be more than what it is going in, and you should have a good time with it....more
While better than So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, this book isn't quite as good as the first three in the series. It's not a bad book, by any meaWhile better than So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, this book isn't quite as good as the first three in the series. It's not a bad book, by any means, but the random tangents on Hitchhiker's guide entries, probably the most entertaining part of the first three books, are again missing from this one. There's a lot more humor than book 4, and it feels more like a hitchhiker's book than book 4 did, but it just doesn't quite make it up to the same level as the first three books. It could have been better, but it could also have been a whole lot worse. It's okay, not great....more
This seems to be the book with all the praise, but I just don't get why. I really don't. First of all, the cover flap is very misleading, trying to wrThis seems to be the book with all the praise, but I just don't get why. I really don't. First of all, the cover flap is very misleading, trying to wrap the same old crap up in a new wrapper. Second, it's written in present tense which as people who follow me may well know, is something I absolutely despise. It's a constant irritant to me, and there is absolutely nothing that an author can do to piss me off faster or more deeply than to write their book in present tense. It is so fucking annoying, I just absolutely hate it. People keep asking me why I hate it, and, you know what, I really can't say. Something about it just annoys the hell out of me. It doesn't have to be rational. It doesn't have to make sense. It just is what it is. And third, not only is it generic even amongst other books of the same genre, a genre that is often called by many to be highly generic as it is, it is also horribly, and I do mean HORRIBLY written. The prose is okay, I guess, but the story is cookie cutter, by the numbers, and soooooooo bland and boring, and the characters are all robots with no concept of personality or human emotion. And this book is getting all the praise? Really? Are you fucking kidding me?
So, I got about halfway through the audiobook of this one, only because I didn't have anything else to listen to at work today, so it was either this or silence. I probably should have chosen silence. I'd be a lot less annoyed right now. I don't plan to continue. I don't care what's happening. I don't care how it ends. I don't care about any of the characters. And my god is it terribly written.
So, lemme ask... Am I the only one in the world that is kind of getting sick of zombies? Because I really am. The last ten or fifteen years or so have seen a explosion in the zombie apocalypse genre, and, frankly, they're all exactly the same. You can call them walkers, biters, infected, hungry, or whatever else you want. They can be living humans who have had their brains destroyed or rewired by plague or fungus or whatever, or they can be the actual walking dead. It doesn't matter. They're still fucking zombies, and zombies have been done to death. Pun very much intended. You're not doing anything new. You're not doing anything original. You're not putting a new spin or twist on things. Whatever you do with the genre, it has already been done better by someone else before you, I guarantee you that. Even The Walking Dead, which is strongly character driven, something that can often overcome the bland mediocrity of a done to death premise, is getting pretty stale. So, much to my displeasure after reading the extremely misleading plot summary given by the publisher, I find myself in yet another zombie apocalypse that is just as bland, generic, and boring as every other one, and there's no interesting characters, there's absolutely no emotion put into this book by the author at all, there's not anything I haven't read before in a dozen zombie books I can name just off the top of my head. It's just a mess of I can't believe this shit was actually published by a real publisher and not self published on amazon. Why is this book getting such great review?. It's utter trash. It's generic to the point of physical pain. It's written so terribly so as to make it almost completely unreadable. And the characters aren't even really characters. They're just stage props used by the author to spout meaningless and bland dialog.
Do yourself a favor. Take the money you might have spent to buy this book, and spend it on a Walking Dead graphic novel. You'll enjoy it a hell of a lot more than this piece of shit. I mean, if you're set on reading a zombie apocalypse book, why not make it a good one? Or, better yet, go get yourself a copy of I Am Legend. (the book, not either of the crappy movies based on it) Because this book really seemed like it was trying its hardest to be I Am Legend, just without the clever social commentary, readability, likeability, or good writing. ...more
I have a rule that if a book cannot interest and engage me within 4 chapters, it's probably not going to, and I stop reading and find something else tI have a rule that if a book cannot interest and engage me within 4 chapters, it's probably not going to, and I stop reading and find something else that can get my attention in 4 chapters. Any book that I 4 chapter rule gets 1 star by default. In my book 1 star means virtually unreadable, and a book that can't grab my attention within 4 whole chapters is virtually unreadable to me. You've got 4 chapters to make me care about your story. It's not hard. I have a book collection that numbers in the thousands and an entire room of my home devoted to nothing but bookshelves and being a comfortable, well lit place to read them in. This book was recommended to me by Brandon Sanderson, and the last book he recommended me was The Shadow of What was Lost by James Islington, which was AWESOME!!! This one... not so much. It's like the author owns a copy of The Nitpicker's Guide to Bad Writing and Storytelling, and followed it to the letter.
So let me break this down by chapter and show you what this author did wrong. Um... some of these might be out of order, it all sort of blurred into one big, boring, confusing, badly paced and written mess in my head after I put the book down. This is what goes through my head while I'm reading something.
Chapter 1 : Starts with boring dialog about egotists throughout the ages. Who cares? Not me. You've pretty much already lost me at this point, because this is subject matter that is so utterly boring and inconsequential that I would honestly get about as much entertainment value by going outside and watching grass grow. Finishing up the rest of the first 4 chapters is just a formality at this point, because the author chose such an uninteresting topic of conversation to begin this book with. Literally ANYTHING else would have been preferable to me. L I T E R A L L Y A N Y O T H E R S U B J E C T I N T H E E N T I R E W O R L D W O U L D B E M O R E E N T E R T A I N I N G T H A N R E A D I N G A B O U T E G O T I S T S T H R O U G H O U T T H E A G E S D U M B A S S W R I T E R! Sorry, I felt the need to spell it out, because it's so obvious that no one would give a fuck about the subject, or find it entertaining in any way shape or form, that I can't believe the author actually thought it was the perfect note to start this thing out with. And I think one of the people speaking is either on a radio with the other, or a voice in his head, because no one else can see or hear him, but it's not apparent which. Then it moves on to an action scene. All right. Who are these people? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? What purpose will it serve? What is at stake if they fail? Where are they? When are they? What is happening and why should I care?
There is absolutely no context given for this action scene. It's just a scene of actiony things happening with me wondering if I maybe accidentally missed a prologue or something that tells me who these people are and why they're doing anything. I don't know what's going on. I don't know which side is good, and which side is bad. I know absolutely nothing except that actiony things are going on, and the author, for some reason, thinks I should, somehow, be excited by it. Here's the thing, though. An action scene is meaningless without the context. If I don't know what's going on and why, I don't care. It's pointless, irrelevant, and a complete waste of space. Exposition is a thing that authors usually have to walk a very fine line on. Too much and people feel like you're lecturing and infodumping. Too little and people are confused and have no idea what's going on or why. This one had WAY too little. (view spoiler)[And then, the supposed protagonist tries his hand at Olympic diving from the top of the Hancock building... uh... goodbye then... it was such a meaningful relationship... hate to see you go... what was your name again...? (hide spoiler)]
Chapter 2: An alien, I assume, the author never says one way or the other, runs from his dead host body trying to find another, all while thinking about "the war". Okay... What war? Who is fighting whom, and what are they fighting for? Where are they fighting? How are they fighting? When are they fighting? Which side am I, the reader, supposed to be rooting for? Is this alien, or whatever, a good guy, or is he a bad guy? I don't know, because the author, again, HAS GIVEN ME ABSOLUTELY NO CONTEXT AT ALL!!!
Again, how am I supposed to care, if the author refuses to tell me anything about anything that is going on, except that it is going on? You can write a book that takes place in, say, World War 2, and assume your readers are going to know what you're talking about, because pretty much every kid in every civilized nation in the world learns about that war in school. But if you're making up your own war that exists only in your imagination, you kind of need to supply some details and exposition, rather than simply assuming that your readers know what you're talking about. And, okay, I have lived in Chicago. I have cruised these very same streets that the author names and at the same time of the evening that this is supposedly taking place. Never once in my life have I seen these streets even close as to empty as he describes, even in the most hideous of blizzards there are still people roaming these streets until late into the night. And, uh, I can count the number of times I've seen a stray dog roaming the streets of downtown Chicago on the fingers of an amputee. That just sort of set my bullshit alarm ringing the moment I read it. It is VERY clear, to someone who used to be a resident of Chicago, that this author has never set foot in the city in his life. You know, I get why you would set the events of your story in Chicago, it being one of the world's largest and most populated cities and all... but dude, if you know nothing about it, maybe you should, you know, try writing about a city that you're a little more familiar with.
Chapter 3: Secret meeting in a secret underground base where things that have absolutely no context within the story are discussed. Okay... Who are these people? What are they plotting? Why? Which side are they on? Are they the good guys? Are they the bad guys? What is happening and why should I care about it?
Again, zero exposition given, making this entire scene completely irrelevant and utterly pointless. What is happening here? Who is fighting whom, which side am I supposed to be rooting for, and why do I care about any of it? Come on, author, tell me. Throw me a bone. Give me ANYTHING to put any of this crap into some sort of context within the story, will ya?
Chapter 4: Assumed alien dood and his newly possessed host make a phone call. Things are said that have no meaning to me as the reader, because, again, THEY STILL HAVE NO CONTEXT WITHIN THE FREAKING STORY!!! Who is he talking to? Why are they short on time? What is the point of any of this? What is this war they keep talking about? What side are these guys on? Is that side good or bad? What are they fighting over and what is at stake if they fail? What has the author told us about any of this? NOTHING!!!! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!
By this point, I'm starting to get fucking bored with the book. I have a bunch of confusing things happening, where I'm not being told any relevant details about any of it. I have action scenes between people I know nothing about and don't even know who I'm supposed to be rooting for to come out on top. I have people talking about wars and crap, without giving any details. I have opening conversations so boring and irrelevant that I honestly would rather walk outside and watch the grass in my front yard grow than read them. What is happening in this book, and why should I care? Can you give me that much? That's really all I want out of a story, to know what's going on, and why I should care about it. When you can't do something SO SIMPLE then why are you even bothering writing a book? You've wasted my time and you've wasted yours. My suggestion to this author would be to go back to high school English Class, and learn some of the basics of storytelling before writing any more books, because good GOD, I don't even know what the hell I just read, because the author doesn't know the first thing about story structure and exposition.
And you have to wade through ALL OF THAT CRAP before the protagonist of the story, you know, the guy it's supposed to be about, the central figure around which the events of the story unfold, even makes an appearance. EPIC FAIL!!! Hey author, here's an idea, cut off that entire beginning because it's terrible and has nothing to do with anything, and just start the book on the first chapter from your protagonist's point of view. You don't need all this flashy stuff to get my interest. You don't need to set things up first before introducing the protagonist, and you did a piss poor job of it anyway. Just start the book with the person the story is about, so I know who I'm supposed to care about and why, THEN you can bring me into everything else.
So yeah, returned this one for a refund. I think, maybe, if this book had been written by a more experienced writer, I might have enjoyed it, but Wesley Chu just made far too many amateur mistakes for me to be able to enjoy it, or even find the desire to continue reading. I can seen what likely happened here, because I've made, and learned from making, some of the same mistakes in my own writing. It looks as though the author wasn't confident enough in his own story and decided to toss in a big action scene at the beginning to draw readers in. It's a gimmick that's often used in movies, and usually works better in film than in the written word. As the beginning of a book, I would say that it would work as the beginning of a SECOND volume where I already know the characters and what's happening. As the very beginning of the series, it fails to engage, or even interest me, because I have no idea who these people are, what's at stake, and what they're even doing or why. And the other mistake he made was that he likely outlined and revised, and thought about this story for YEARS before getting it all finished up. He knows what all is going on like the back of his hand, and just sort of assumed that we do too. These are mistakes that I see a lot in amateur writing, and, in fact, have made myself, like I said. But you see, amateur writers are not being paid to produce. I write to amuse myself, not usually for anyone else to read. He's not. He's being paid to produce a product, and I'm not paying for a product that is clearly written by an amateur, wrapped in the guise of a professional. Sad to say, but it's true. This one just didn't do it for me. I found it too confusing and, frankly, boring. The author clearly has no clue what he's doing as a writer, and I just don't care to continue.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's been a while since I read this one, but reading the Demonologist made me want to pick it up again. It's nice and short and all, so I figured whyIt's been a while since I read this one, but reading the Demonologist made me want to pick it up again. It's nice and short and all, so I figured why not. Back in the day I did a lot of research to find out if it was, indeed, a hoax, and I'm pretty convinced that it is. There's too much evidence against it being a true story for it to be anything but fiction. It's my opinion that the Lutzes were having financial and IRS problems, saw a famous murder house up for sale at a pretty reasonable price, and came up with the whole story with Jay Anson, and several others in on it (who have since admitted to this meeting where the plot of the book was hashed out) acted crazy for a month, ran out of the house, and cashed in. There is even some doubt whether they ever even moved into the house at all after purchasing it. Does that make it a bad book? Not really. It's not terribly well written, but I do like the slow escalation of events to the eventual escape from the house. The fact that it's just a story, and not an account of real events doesn't make it any less an interesting or entertaining story, even if Anson is pretty amateur as far as writers go. They did such a great job with their story that even now, 40 years later, people are still calling it true. It's pretty much required reading for any Horror fan....more
When I was, maybe, 6 years old or so, I saw a movie called The Changeling. It scared the shit out of me. Ever since then, I've been a huge fan of horrWhen I was, maybe, 6 years old or so, I saw a movie called The Changeling. It scared the shit out of me. Ever since then, I've been a huge fan of horror movies. NOT slasher movies, those are just cheap gore fests that have little, if anything, to do with actual horror, but REAL horror movies. Movies that are actually frightening, about that deep dark thing that might be lurking in the shadows in your very own home. The thing you joke about when the sun is out, but that terrifies you in the dark of the night.
For a very long time there was a huge drought of good horror movies, but lately with movies like Insidious, Sinister, The Woman in Black, and The Conjuring, there's been a real upturn in the number and quality of horror movies coming out in the last few years. I absolutely LOVED The Conjuring. I remember there was a made for TV movie that was based on the same "True" events. I put quotations around that word, because there will always be skeptics. I have seen some weird shit in my life that I just can't explain in any other way, and am something of a believer, but I understand that many other people are not. That's when I went looking for some more info on the Warrens, and found this book that is part biography, part semi-dramatization of some of their more notable paranormal investigations, including the one that The Conjuring was based on.
I found it to be both highly entertaining, and rather informative on the Warrens, their work, and the things that claim to have seen and experienced. I definitely recommend it to anyone who would like a really in-depth look at how real life ghost hunters go about their work, and would like a look into some of their more famous cases that have inspired several well known horror movies. It should be noted that the book itself is not a horror story, but more of a documentary type thing on the lives and work of the Warrens. It's not really meant to be scary, more informative. It's more about the process of investigating paranormal incidents and some of the lore behind it all....more
Picked this one up on recommendation from someone here on Goodreads. Couldn't finish it. I was bored to tears by the horribly generic con/heist plot.Picked this one up on recommendation from someone here on Goodreads. Couldn't finish it. I was bored to tears by the horribly generic con/heist plot. I've seen it done better in about half a dozen movies THIS YEAR, including Ant Man, which was a lot of fun. Spend your money on a ticket to see that one, rather than on this book. You'll probably have a better time of it. That just goes to show how done to death this plotline is. I mean, freaking Dickens used it almost two hundred years ago, and it was probably just as done to death then as it is now. Hell, Shakespeare used it more than two hundred years BEFORE THAT even, and it was STILL probably done to death EVEN THEN! Something that has been done to death is not entertaining. It needs something more, or no one is going to care. This book didn't have that something more, and so I really have no reason to continue reading it to the end. When I start having to force myself to read, it's time to find something more to my liking.
The characters are entertaining, and the dialog often amusing, but I found the overuse of profanity to be annoying, unnecessary, and somewhat childish. Unfortunately, fun characters and entertaining dialog just couldn't carry a story that is just so bland, boring and generic for me. And another thing that really annoyed me about this book is that there are SO MANY flashbacks and flash forwards that at times in the book it's almost impossible to tell what is actually going on and when it is supposed to be going on. I've never really cared much for the con/heist plot, because, frankly, they're usually all exactly the same. Some authors manage to make it work in a way that I enjoy, most don't. I can think of three fantasy books just off the top of my head right now that did it far better than this one.
Sorry to say this one just wasn't for me. I tried, but I just couldn't get into it, because I've read this story before, and it was better when it was called Mistborn, Skin Game, Steelheart, Ant Man, and so on. Putting a tired, old plot into a fantasy setting rather than a contemporary one doesn't make it any less old or tired. It needs more to make it work, and The lies of Locke Lamora just didn't have it. If I can't finish a book, it gets one star by default. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not even people who enjoy con/heist stories, because as con/heist stories go, this one was pretty by the numbers and lackluster. It started out with promise, and then turned its back on that promise and went in a really boring, generic direction instead. Future writers, please, if you plan to use a con/heist plot in your books, do one thing for me first. Ask yourself, "what makes mine different from all the others?" (and there are a LOT of them out there, don't delude yourself into thinking you're doing something original by writing a con/heist, because you're not. You're really, REALLY not.) If you can't give a satisfactory answer to that, find something else to write....more
In my opinion this is the second best book of the series, behind the first. It's the first book in the series that really tries to reach for its fullIn my opinion this is the second best book of the series, behind the first. It's the first book in the series that really tries to reach for its full potential, exploring new ways of utilizing the setting and characters, rather than recycling the same old exploration plot like books 2 and 3 did. I found this to be quite enjoyable, and it shows what might have been expected from the series if not for Sir Terry Pratchett's death earlier this year. Stephen Baxter has reportedly said that, out of respect for Pratchett, he doesn't think he is going to continue the series beyond this volume, which is a decision that I understand and respect. (though that may just be a rumor, I don't know for sure) It's quite sad that the world was robbed of such a great and talented author just as this series was starting to find it's groove, and wherever Sir Pratchett may be now, I hope that he is happy. And those whom he left behind have my deepest sympathies.
That said I really enjoyed this book. It's not just the same old thing like we got with the last couple books. It goes deeper into the nature of the Long Earth, and explores different ways of using it, different moral dilemmas and goes into detail on steppers in the past, and Joshua's parentage. I quite liked the Knights of Discorporea idea, and, if anything, the book could have used a bit more of their adventures. The idea of British secret servicemen using stepping to spy and make assassinations back in the 1800s is really awesome. And the idea of invaders from a different world conquering the Long Earth is pretty awesome as well. I only wish that the previous two books had gone in this direction and developed these ideas further. The constant movie references in this book made me laugh quite a bit as well.
If you've been following this series up to now, you'll prbably enjoy this one quite a bit. If you gave up on it because it was just more of the same, I'd urge you to finish the series, because this book was really very good, and reused very little previous plotlines....more
A book written in present tense will almost always get a default of one star from me because I utterly despise it when books are written in present teA book written in present tense will almost always get a default of one star from me because I utterly despise it when books are written in present tense. In the vast majority of cases, a book written in present tense is a book that is utterly unreadable to me because it pisses me off and annoys me far too much. It's a constant irritant while I'm trying to relax and enjoy a story. F that noise. F it long, and F it hard.
Hurray for refunds, I'm taking my money back from this author, anyone that writes in present tense doesn't deserve it. I'll go buy a book that's actually readable with it, thank you very much....more
This book kind of makes me think Hunger Games meets Beauty and the Beast. The first third is good. The last third is excellent. Unfortunately the middThis book kind of makes me think Hunger Games meets Beauty and the Beast. The first third is good. The last third is excellent. Unfortunately the middle third draaaaaags like crazy. It's like 200 pages of nothing much interesting happening. All that's going on in the middle third of the book is the love story, and frankly, it's a pretty generic and by the numbers love story without much ingenuity or thrill to it. I mean, look at the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. It takes this book 200 pages to do what that movie did in a 4 minute montage/musical number, and at the end of those four minutes you have, basically, the same amount of character and love story development as you do after 200 pages of slogging through it in this book. And there was a little more fairy sexual content than I would have preferred, but then again, if you don't expect it going into a book like this you probably don't have much business picking it up in the first place. That said, I'm well aware that I'm not exactly the target audience for this book, but I did still generally like the first third of the book, and I loved the last third.
There was no gawdawful love triangle, which is always a plus, but it looks like there's a potential for one in the next book. I hope the author avoids the temptation to toss one in.
I really like Feyre as a character. She seems a bit like Katniss from the Hunger Games, except with a personality, and minus the constant melodramatic whining and horrifyingly bad love triangle. Yes, that's right, a strong, independent young lady who stepped up to take care of and feed her family after tragedy struck, and isn't a completely unlikeable, whining asshole about it. A lot of authors, film makers, and TV show writers kind of seem to have a problem when it comes to writing strong women. Popular media pretty much equates a woman being strong, with a woman being an highly abrasive, perpetually angry asshole. Because god forbid a lowly girl take the place of the handsome hero of the story without having severe personality problems, right? (note: that was sarcasm.) But then, you look around in the real world and find it full of strong women who manage not to be completely unlikeable in every way imaginable. It's rather refreshing to have a strong female lead without the highly abrasive personality, because you really see so few examples of them in fiction. It's great to see a heroine who actually goes out and gets things done, and is also likeable and relatable. It's so rare that you see both in the same character.
Fantasy romance is not usually my thing, but I enjoyed the world and characters, and the majority of the story. The middle of the book does drag quite a bit because there's really nothing going on except the pretty generic love story, but it does pick back up for an excellent ending. I'll probably pick up the next one when it comes out....more
Ah Japan... Why do you constantly leave me asking, "what the fuck?" You have issues, Japan, serious issues.
That said, I picked this book up on recommeAh Japan... Why do you constantly leave me asking, "what the fuck?" You have issues, Japan, serious issues.
That said, I picked this book up on recommendation from a friend who said it was about the most epic comic book series he'd ever read. I'm not a big comic guy, but this one drew me in, and I had to finish it, and go out and buy more. The world is pretty awesomely set up, I like the whole post apocalyptic, there is no hope feel it's got to it, and the mystery shrouding just about everything. The characters are fun and interesting, and the action scenes are pretty awesome too. It's a pretty original, highly inventive, and extremely entertaining story.
Even if you're not big on comics, this is a great beginning to what looks like a really great series. Highly recommended.
I hear there's an animated TV series of the first 8 or so comic omnibuses. I'll have to check it out....more
I tried reading the "Dangerous Women" anthology that this novella first appeared in. I got to the Snodgrass sAnother great read by Brandon Sanderson.
I tried reading the "Dangerous Women" anthology that this novella first appeared in. I got to the Snodgrass story and just couldn't get past it. I mean, I enjoy sex as much as the next man, but holy shit lady, you made it WEIRD. If I wanted stories about a dude fucking a catgirl, I'd go watch some Japanese porn, thank you very much. Way too much weird sex, not enough anything else in that one IMO. Anyway, I returned the book in disgust without ever getting to the Sanderson story or the GRRM story that I bought it for, (Luckily the Jim Butcher story was earlier in, and was fantastic as always) with the hope that maybe one or both of those authors would release it separately, and hurray, Sanderson did.
Though short, this story is highly engaging, and it left me desperately wanting more stories that take place in this world. It's amazing how Sanderson was able to build such an interesting and complex world in such a short amount of space, while also telling a good story about interesting characters, all while not making it seem like he's dumping any info on us. He truly is an excellent writer and storyteller.
Definitely a must read for Sanderson fans, and probably a pretty good sampler for anyone looking to give him a try, as it's short, well written, and basically gives you Brandon Sanderson in a nutshell....more
Welp, one thing I can say for being stuck in the hospital for 2 weeks following a car accident... you've got plenty of time to read while you're thereWelp, one thing I can say for being stuck in the hospital for 2 weeks following a car accident... you've got plenty of time to read while you're there.
Anyway, this book was pretty disappointing to me after Heir of Fire. I was expecting the story to be taken to a new level, but it just dropped back to where it was before book 3. Celaena/Aelin has pretty much backtracked every shred of character development that she went through in Heir of Fire, and not much really happened until the very end. This book suffers HEAVILY from middle volume syndrome, which is where people are just moving themselves to other places, and setting things up for the ending, rather than being a complete and entertaining story in itself. I do enjoy that the last remaining shreds of that horrible love triangle were dragged out behind the shed and given both barrels by the author, and the ending was pretty exciting, but Maas really raised the bar for herself with Heir of Fire, and she didn't quite make it back over that bar for Queen of Shadows. I also liked that the subplot about the witches actually entwined with the main storyline of the series, which was something that Heir of Fire lacked, but, all in all, it was probably the worst book of the series. Or maybe it's just on par with the first two, but having come off of Heir of Fire, by far the best book of the series, it just seems worse to me for the comparison. It's not a bad book, and it does move the story of the series as a whole forward at the ending, I was just hoping for something more, like what we got in the previous book, not a return to the sort of stuff we had in the first two. ...more
Oh, Brent Weeks... Where have you been all my life?
This book was amazingly entertaining. It's got everything I look for in a good Fantasy series, wellOh, Brent Weeks... Where have you been all my life?
This book was amazingly entertaining. It's got everything I look for in a good Fantasy series, well written, unpredictable (well, some things were pretty predictable, master vs. apprentice etc, but most other things were not at all), great humor, awesome action, a well fleshed out and detailed world, entertaining characters that actually grow and develop as people throughout the course of the book. This one pretty much had it all.
And holy crap, the climax. (view spoiler)[It's like Weeks read George R.R. Martin's "Red Wedding" and said "pfft. You call that a shocking massacre? Stand back amateur, lemme show you how it's done." (hide spoiler)]
Also a shout out to Graphic Audio for doing an awesome job on the audio dramatization. They took an awesome book and made it even more awesome. (And looking at other reviews for this book, I think the reason I had such a good time with it was the Graphic Audio recording of it, everyone else seems to think it was a little mediocre, including the author. Amazing what music, sound effects, and a full cast of competent actors can do, eh?)
Any and all fantasy fans won't want to miss this one. Highly recommended. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book was just wretched. Boring. Generic. Dull. Offensive. Utterly lacking in entertainment value in any way, shape or form.
B.V.Yeah... I'm done.
This book was just wretched. Boring. Generic. Dull. Offensive. Utterly lacking in entertainment value in any way, shape or form.
B.V. Larson used to tell fun, military sci-fi stories with lots of action, and awesome characters pulling off ridiculous stunts to save humanity. He doesn't do that anymore. His last few books have trivialized and objectified women to the point that I felt like I was doing something wrong just by reading them, and I was afraid the attitude Larson displayed toward women might start rubbing off on me. He's acting like a little boy who just discovered what sex is, and has to tell everyone he meets about it. He portrays men as sex crazed douchebags that'll do anything to fuck, and women as the brainless, clingy, needy enablers that let them do it no matter what happens. I have gotten so sick of it that I gave Larson one last chance to grow up with this book. He didn't. So yeah, I'm done. I can do without this poorly written filth in my life, thank you very much.
And what's worse is this book is probably the most boring, generic piece of shit I've ever read in my life. It follows the exact same formula as the previous three books in the series to the letter. It might as well have been one of the other books with a new cover slapped on it. It took me forever to read it because I was just so friggen bored by it. Nothing new happened. It was the exact same old shit as the last three books with no new twists or turns. It might as well have been verbatim. And any time McGill had ANY interaction with a female character at all, I would roll my eyes and actually say aloud, "Oh come on, again? Really? You've got more important things to be thinking about now idiot!" There's no tension because the characters are basically immortal, and none of them are even remotely likeable. McGill has always been an asshole, but in the beginning he was a likeable asshole. Now he's just an asshole that I really don't care to read about anymore. The author treats all of the women like brainless trash that can't say no when any arrogant asshole comes along looking for a quick fuck. I mean, what the hell did I just read? Seriously. This book is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who reads it. I kept holding out hope that Larson would get past this phase and go back to the fun stuff I used to read of his, but he never did. I'm sick of putting up with this crap, so I'll go find me some authors who act their age, thank you very much.
Yes, Larson, we get it, you have a dick and you're proud of it. Nobody cares. It's nothing special. Half of us have one of our own, and the other half will let you know if they want to hear more about it. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that one if I were you. So can we PLEASE stop living out your fourth grade sex fantasies with you?
Avoid this book like the plague.
In fact, avoid this author like the plague. I certainly plan to from here on out.
I have to say, that Jack Campbell really stepped it up for this one. It's probably the best of the series so far. The thing that was really lacking inI have to say, that Jack Campbell really stepped it up for this one. It's probably the best of the series so far. The thing that was really lacking in this series has always been the human side of things. We hear about ships exploding, and numbers, but we never really see any people. This book too a few steps toward remedying that. There's some actual character development here, and real characters other than Geary, which hasn't really happened in the 10 books that came before this one. The action was really good too, with Geary's fleet against an automated fleet of "Dark Ships" that is programmed to use his own tactics against him, and to also be able to learn from their mistakes. Outnumbered and outgunned, Geary has little choice but to fight, basically, to the very last ship in order to keep the Dark Ships from attacking Alliance worlds. There's so much more going on in this book than any other in this series that it really is a step above all the others. The closest one to even being close to as good was maybe book 5 ("Relentless" was it?) when the titular Lost Fleet finally made it back to alliance space. The final battle is pretty awesome, and really exciting. It was basically watching Geary fight to the death against himself, which was extremely entertaining. Though I'm pretty sure this series is going to continue, this book would make a really good ending to the series if there's no more on the way in the future.
So yeah, really entertaining, and definitely the best book of the series thus far. The author took steps to correct some of the flaws that I saw in the series up to now, and fans of Campbell, and of military sci-fi will not want to miss it....more
Of the three current John Cleaver books, I felt that this one was probably the weakest. By this time, there's not much more that the author can do toOf the three current John Cleaver books, I felt that this one was probably the weakest. By this time, there's not much more that the author can do to shock us with John's behavior, and I figured out pretty much the entire plot as soon as the first Handyman killing happened. The mystery was a little weak and way too predictable. (view spoiler)[ I also didn't like how John wasn't the one who won in the end. Someone else had to do it for him. He's the hero of the story, and he was completely ineffectual against the villain, and just sat there and watched as his mom totally owned the Demon. Kind of a letdown after a whole book leading up to his epic confrontation with Nobody (hide spoiler)] It's still well written, and highly entertaining, but it's just not as good as the first two.
Funny story though. When this book first came out, I had to take my truck in to get worked on. My mechanic, he's a great guy, and he usually does great work, but he does it slooooooooooowly. I was expecting to be sitting there all day while he fixed me up, so I brought the book to read while I was waiting. The dude behind the counter kept looking at me weird, and kept going into the back to talk to the mechanic. And after only 45 mins it was already done. I guess the dude behind the counter thought that some combination between the way I looked and the fact that I was reading a book called "I don't want to kill you" was somewhat intimidating.["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book is just as creepy as the first one, (view spoiler)[ especially after Mr. Monster takes over and John becomes the little voice in the back ofThis book is just as creepy as the first one, (view spoiler)[ especially after Mr. Monster takes over and John becomes the little voice in the back of his head. That was the part I actually had nightmares about when I first read this book. But, then, with my overactive imagination, it doesn't take much to give me nightmares haha. (hide spoiler)]but with the added benefit of having a more threatening villain, better writing, and an all-around upping of the stakes. If you liked the first one, you'll probably love this one....more
Though I am no longer a paid critic and have no professional obligation to finish this turd of a series, I figure I might as well for completion's sakThough I am no longer a paid critic and have no professional obligation to finish this turd of a series, I figure I might as well for completion's sake. I must be a masochist at heart. I mean, there's only one book left, and something might actually happen in this one... I hope. I think the series probably already hit rock bottom somewhere during books 3-5, so there's only one way to go now, right? Wait, what? It's not ending on book 6 like we were promised back when the series began? *&%$ *&%* &&^%$&^ *&&^*^^** %^$&^&*!!!!!!!!!!1!11!!111oneoneexclamationpointone!
*takes crazy pills*
Soooooo, I don't exactly see how this series could possibly move on to a seventh book, it seemed pretty well set up to end with book 6 at the end of book 5. You know... everyone complains like crazy when Hollywood splits the final book of a series into 2 movies, now the authors are doing it for them. Hurray. I just can't wait. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go look up if it's possible to die of sarcasm poisoning.
And then the book came out, and I sat down to read it... and I started to remember why I absolutely hate this series. First off, present tense. There are few things an author can do to make me hate them and their story more than write a book in present tense. And then, the first chapter is about a girl whose name is, apparently, "The Girl". Okay... why does this character not have a name? Is the author THAT lazy? The chapter is from her point of view, and she thinks of herself as "The Girl". WTF man. Let me give anyone out there who is aspiring to be a writer a little hint. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to keep a viewpoint character's name from your readers. Whether she is in one chapter, or throughout the entire book. If there is a chapter from her point of view, she damn well better have a name. There are very few valid reasons for characters not to have names given. Most of them are BS anyway, and absolutely NONE of them apply if the character in question is a viewpoint character. If you can't work a character's name into the story, or even think of one, it's time to find a new profession, my friend, because this whole writing thing just might be beyond your abilities. Here, let me show you how easy it is... Jan. Her name is Jan. Jan, is in her apartment when aliens attack, and tries to run, only to be caught. Then she discovers that she has super powers, and this, somehow, defeats the aliens who utterly destroyed an advanced civilization fifteen years or so ago who had these same super powers, and a whole lot more experience in using them, but hey, what's just one more plot hole to the pile, right?
It was about this time that I realized no one was forcing me to read this book. At which point I took it out into my back yard and set it on fire. This was no easy thing, seeing as how I was recently in a car accident and broke six ribs, both my arms and one of my legs. As you can imagine, indulging in my pyromania with three out of four limbs in casts, and unbelievable pain whenever I breathe, takes a bit of doing, but it was worth it. Watching it burn was probably more entertaining than actually reading it would have been. Why burn a perfectly good book that I could have taken back to the book store for a perfectly good refund you ask? Am I some sort of Nazi or something? No, I'm not an advocate of genocide, mass subjugation, and the destruction of all knowledge contrary to what I wish people to believe. That's not cool. But with this book... It's just the principle of the thing. Something that horrid just had to be killed with fire. Ask any pyromaniac. Some things just need to burn. That first chapter was terribly and lazily written, and pretty much emphasized each and every complaint I have ever had about this series, and about the authors who write it. F this series. F "Pittacus Lore". I'm done....more
With the fourth John Cleaver book coming out in about a month, I figured I'd go back and read the first three this month to prepare for it. It's beenWith the fourth John Cleaver book coming out in about a month, I figured I'd go back and read the first three this month to prepare for it. It's been a while since I picked them up, so it'll be nice to refresh my memory on what's going on before jumping into a new book.
Anyway, this is probably the most creepy book I've ever read. It's a Horror/Murder Mystery that, while not exactly frightening, definitely has a very creepy atmosphere to it. Most of the creepiness comes from the protagonist, John Cleaver, a teenaged sociopath who is fascinated by serial killers. After studying them for years, he's determined that, unless he makes strict rules for himself to avoid it, he will likely become one. (view spoiler)[But when an honest to goodness demon shows up in town and starts murdering people for body parts to replace those that are failing in its own body, he must let his inner monster off its leash in order to hunt it down and destroy it, but he doesn't know if he'll be able to put the leash back on when it's done. (hide spoiler)]
Dan Wells is extremely familiar with mental illness, and has obviously done quite a bit of research on the subject, as well as, unfortunately, having had firsthand experience with it in his own family. The three John Cleaver books, as well as his book "The Hollow City" really show that he knows his stuff and did his homework, because they're all written from the point of view of someone with mental illness, and he really brings you into it with the character in a way that is both frightening, and very informative. I've never seen any other author do half as well with this particular subject matter.
I once heard someone describe this series as "Dexter for young adults". I don't quite agree for a few reasons. First of all, Dan Wells is a WAY better writer than Jeff Lindsay, and his descriptions of what go on inside the head of a sociopath seem a whole lot more realistic in my opinion. And it's nowhere near as melodramatic or vulgar as Dexter either.
Anyway, I highly recommend this one, and the two books that follow it to just about anyone. They're short, but extremely entertaining and well written. Even if murder mysteries or horror aren't really your thing, these books really pull you in and don't let you go.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
If I can't make it past four chapters in a book, I have a rule that it gets one star (virtually unreadable) and I move onto something that CAN interesIf I can't make it past four chapters in a book, I have a rule that it gets one star (virtually unreadable) and I move onto something that CAN interest me within four chapters. I grabbed this one on recommendation from a friend who got an ARC of it, and didn't look inside the cover until I got home. If I had, I never would have bought it in the first place. This book is written in present tense. There is absolutely nothing in this world that an author can do to piss me off faster or deeper than writing a book in present tense. I absolutely despise books that are written in present tense. I typically refuse to read books that are written in present tense on general principle because it annoys me so much. It's so distracting to me that I literally cannot think of anything else but how much better the book would be in past tense while I'm reading it. I do not want to support the careers of authors who write in present tense. I do not want to ever have to read another book written in present tense so long as I live, I hate it that much. I want this annoying fad of newer authors copying the everliving shit out of Suzanne Collins to fucking die out already. The woman is a piss poor writer and NOTHING you want to emulate! There are a VERY RARE few books written in present tense that manage to grab me before I throw it down in disgust. Marko Kloos' Frontlines series being, actually, the only three books I have EVER read that were good enough for me to overlook the whole present tense bullshit. I hate it. I couldn't even get past the first page of this book because of it. I'm on my way back to the book store for a refund at this very moment. GDI authors... QUIT WRITING BOOKS IN PRESENT TENSE ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is extraordinarily aggravating. Writing a book in present tense makes it utterly unreadable to me in 999,999,999,999/1,000,000,000,000 cases. I always get people telling me that it's not that big of a deal. But, you know what? To me, it IS that big of a deal. Most of the time, a book being written in present tense is just completely ruined for me, because all I can think about while I'm reading is how fucking annoying it is. A book written in present tense is a book that has been completely ruined 99% of the time. Was looking forward to it. Was let down by an idiotic style choice made by the author. I'm not paying money for shit like this. Hurray for refunds.
If anyone else out there is even close to as annoyed as I am when a book is written in present tense, please, for the love of god, do not pay money for them. Send the publishers a message that we don't want their authors to use this shitty writing style anymore, and it's not going to make them any money. You're the one with the wallet, so you're the one with the power. You can help change the publishing world by simply refusing to pay money for books that are written in styles that you just can't stand to read....more
Book 4 of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy is, unfortunately, my least favorite in the series. It relies heavily on Arthur Dent as a charaBook 4 of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy is, unfortunately, my least favorite in the series. It relies heavily on Arthur Dent as a character, and up until now, Arthur Dent hasn't really been a character. He's more a vehicle to move the readers from one gag to the next. And now I'm expected to care about his romantic escapades, while absolutely nothing else happens? Newp, sorry, I totally don't. It wouldn't have been so bad, if only there were something--ANYTHING--else in this book, but there's really not. The comedy just isn't there either. There's hardly any tangents off into Hitchhiker's guide entries, which are, by far, the most entertaining part of this series. And mostly, it was just boring. Even the author himself wasn't happy with it after it was published, saying that he wasn't given enough time to really make it what he wanted it to be. There were a few gags that poked fun at British society at large that I found funny, but that which, unless you've spent any amount of time living in the UK, you're probably not going to understand. But other than that, this book was really lacking in generally ANYTHING that made the first three books so entertaining. It is required reading if you want to pick up book 5 of the trilogy, but don't really expect it to be anything like the previous 3 books....more
This is the first book in the series that has an actual storyline, where there's an ancient evil that needs to be, and is eventually, dealt with in thThis is the first book in the series that has an actual storyline, where there's an ancient evil that needs to be, and is eventually, dealt with in the end. The really amazing thing is that this series went two entire books before it even really needed to happen, and no one really seems to care, because the first two books are so entertaining without any real plotline tying all of the random events together in them. I mean, for a book that doesn't have a girl who discovered a way that everyone could just be happy without anyone needed to be nailed to anything first, it was okay, I guess. This book is actually probably my favorite in the series, because you get to find out the all important answer to the question "why did the bowl of petunias say 'oh no, not again?'" It's probably my favorite gag in the entire series. I don't know if Adams had that all planned out when he wrote the first book or not, but it goes back to a pretty funny joke, and then makes it even more funny. Just that combined with the flying that takes place afterward makes up my favorite scene in the entire series. And the Krikkit thing is just plain funny as hell too. Adams manages to make fun of not just those who don't understand the game of cricket, but those who understand and enjoy it all at the same time, which takes talent. Certainly recommend this one, and the whole series it's part of, to anyone who enjoys really well thought out comedy....more
Loved the second book in this numerically challenged trilogy just as much as the first... probably because it actually is the second half of the firstLoved the second book in this numerically challenged trilogy just as much as the first... probably because it actually is the second half of the first... I mean, for a book that doesn't have an immortal alien who invented time travel out of sheer boredom so he can insult everyone who has ever, or ever will live in alphabetical order, it's still quite good. The search for the ultimate question about life, the universe and everything continues to it's hilarious conclusion in this book, and all I can think while reading it is, thank god the 2005 movie bombed so they couldn't ruin this one too. I've heard it said that Douglas Adams is to science fiction as Terry Pratchett is to Fantasy. I would not say so exactly, because if that were the case, there'd be another fifty or so Hitchiker's books for me to laugh my ass off at. (Not only was Terry Pratchett a comic genius, but he would also publish 3 or 4 books even on a bad year.) Maybe that's a good thing, I'm rather attached to my ass, what would I sit on without it? If you liked the first book, this one is the other half of the story, and it would be rather silly not to read it, or the three books that come after it either. I have to say that Douglas Adams certainly had a very interesting view of life, the universe, and everything, and it was wonderful of him to share it with us all. Not only is this series completely hilarious, but it's also extraordinarily creative in the way it presents the hilarity to us. And the funniest part is that, in a weird sort of meta way, if you really think about it, the ultimate question and the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything, really are completely brilliant, not just as a comedy gag, but as an actual metaphor for the point (or pointlessness) of all creation. (It doesn't add up, so something must be fundamentally wrong with it.)...more
I caught the 2005 movie of Hitchhiker's the other night on some cable channel while flipping through, and it made me want to reread the books, becauseI caught the 2005 movie of Hitchhiker's the other night on some cable channel while flipping through, and it made me want to reread the books, because they're just so much better than the movie. So much of the humor was lost in translation to film. I first read this book as a kid, it came out the year I was born, in fact. And it's been an old favorite for most of my life. It's pretty much pure, unadulterated, British humor, with a few bits of sci-fi premise stringing it together. I, for one, LOVE British comedy, and so loved this book, but if you don't really get it, you're probably going to have a hard time with this one. One of the things Adams does really well is randomly saying the utterly ridiculous, making it seem completely normal, proving that it is with examples, and then implying you're a moron for not having known beforehand. Makes me laugh every time. That aside, this book has been, strangely enough for what it is, pretty influential in the Sci-fi genre. Pretty much everywhere you look in sci-fi these days, you can see references from this series. Which is weird, because the entire book is just one gigantic joke. The book isn't even complete, and has gone down in the annuls of science fiction lore for it, as Adams' publisher gave him a deadline, he didn't make it, and they sent someone to his house to collect what he had finished and they published it as is. But despite that, it managed to be an extremely entertaining book, so long as you get British humor. Definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys satire, or anyone who would like to see the origin of a whole lot of jokes used in sci-fi these days that have probably gone completely over your head without having read this first. Much like Terry Pratchet, Robert Jordan, and many other great authors, we certainly lost Douglas Adams far too soon. ...more
Basically more of what we got with the first book. If you enjoyed the first one you'll probably like this one. Again, teenaged romance as written by aBasically more of what we got with the first book. If you enjoyed the first one you'll probably like this one. Again, teenaged romance as written by a retired military man leaves something to be desired, and Alain's complete and utter social ineptitude is really starting to grate on me a bit too. It was still a fun book, for what it is, and is generally harmless, with nothing really offensive or terrible about it. It's a little old-fashioned and cliche as far as modern fantasy novels go, but it's nothing too horrible....more
Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Book 2: Stone of Tears
By Eric Allen
Well, I said there might be a bit of time between reviews inAn Opinionated Look at:
Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Book 2: Stone of Tears
By Eric Allen
Well, I said there might be a bit of time between reviews in this series since I'm not being paid to do this anymore. Apparently I meant it. It's been, what, 4 months since I posted the last one? Anyway, for a very long time Stone of Tears was my favorite book in the series, right up until Faith of the Fallen came out and bumped it down to number 2, where it remains to this day on my list of favorites in the series. I really do love this book, even though there are many things in it that I utterly abhor. For example, there is more violence against women in this book than all of George R. R. Martin's entire written library combined. These are things that as a male teenaged high school student didn't strike me as all that bad, but as I got older and hopefully wiser, I find to be pretty horrifying and in rather bad taste. This book would have gotten 5 stars if only it had just known when to tone it down a little bit.
We begin what seems like mere minutes after the previous book ended. There seems to be great trouble with the Underworld, and Zedd takes off to enlist the help of Addie, who is the most knowledgeable person he knows on the subject, to try and put things right again. Meanwhile, Richard and Kahlan return to the Mud People because reasons, and make plans for their wedding. But, it seems that killing Darken Rahl in the previous book has activated Richard's innate magical abilities, and these abilities are now killing him. Enter three Sisters of the Light and long story short, Richard is taken away to learn magic while Kahlan heads north back to the midlands only to find an army doing horrible evil things.
The Good? While there isn't much improvement in the writing over the first book, the quality doesn't really go down in this book. It's still pretty well written, if clunky at times. I think this one could have used maybe a little more editorial influence, but as a whole, the writing is pretty good for someone who had only written one book ever at the time of it's publication. (including unpublished works)
The world, which was magical and mysterious in the first book has been expanded upon greatly in this book, adding in more of the Midlands, more of how governments work, more of how magic works, and we see more locations and things to make it feel a lot less like a few scattered towns in a vast wilderness as it sort of did in the first book. It gives the book, and the series, a far more epic scope and feeling to it.
There are some pretty amazing action scenes in this book. Kahlan's nighttime raid on the Imperial Order. Awesome. Richard vs. Lilianna. Awesome. Sisters of the Dark vs. everyone. Awesome.
Something I've always liked about this series is that the solution to the conflict in one book will often be the direct cause of the conflict in the next one. I've always liked the cause and effect sort of thing Goodkind tries to implement in his stories. Every action has a reaction. Everything you do has consequences even if you can't see them at the time. It's a pretty good lesson to learn in life, and a pretty entertaining way of trying to teach it.
The Bad? The beginning of this book is kind of a mess. It jumps around all over the place, and a lot of what's happening just isn't all that interesting or exciting, and it takes quite a while for things to really start moving at all. We have characters we've never seen before showing up just to give long stretches of exposition. Action scenes that are somewhat out of context, and therefore also somewhat boring. We have characters revisiting places they've already been and doing things they've already done. It probably could have been handled better, but Goodkind was a relatively inexperienced writer at the time, so it's forgivable. This is part of the reason I said this book could have maybe used a little bit more editorial influence in it. A good editor could have sat down with Goodkind and tried to sort some of the mess at the beginning of this book out, and maybe made it a little more exciting and enjoyable.
There are some very, very uncomfortable moments in this book. Moments when characters do or say things that are pretty horrible, and not usually what you would be expecting the heroes of a story to do or say. When Kahlan makes Richard put the collar on for instance. That scene is pretty painful. Kahlan down in the pit. That one's pretty bad too. Verna flat out giving her blessing to the murder of the innocent, or stabbing one of her best friends in the back? These people are supposed to be our heroes?
The romantic plot in this book is pretty cheesy. It's better than the constant one-note, OMG we love each other but we can never be together line we heard 73,000 times in the first book, but it's still pretty clunky. And the resolution to the conflict in the love story is pretty heavy handed and laughable too.
There's more cheese in this book than Wisconsin. Now, there's two ways you can really look at it. As something to be constantly annoyed by, or as part of the book's charm. I prefer the latter. I know I'm reading an extremely cheesy story, and I enjoy it for what it is, rather than complaining about it. Of course, if your tolerance for cheese is low, you're probably going to want to skip this one.
The Ugly? Again, the violence against women in this book is so over the top into horrors out of H.P Lovecraft's worst nightmares, that it really puts a stain on the rest of the book. It drives home how evil the Imperial Order is, but it is extraordinarily offensive, crass, and frankly childish of the author to have done so in such a way, and in such vivid detail. There are other, better ways to show how evil people are than to show the aftermath of an entire city's worth of women raped to death. Honestly! Kahlan in the pit is another pretty offensive part to get through. Instead of, oh, I don't know, using some of that awesome martial arts training she displayed so often in the first book to bring the hurt on and buy her enough time to figure out what's wrong with her power, she lets the guy grope her? Really? Bad, Terry Goodkind. Bad! No treat for you. THAT'S NOT HOW WOMEN THINK OR ACT!!! Honestly, I used to think he was good at writing strong female characters... now I'm starting to wonder what I must have been smoking when I thought that. There were just a whole lot of horrifying, terribly offensive things toward women in this book that really didn't even need to be there at all.
Anyway, in conclusion, the beginning of this book is pretty clunky and terribly put together, the book is unrepentantly cheesy, the love story has some really stupidly artificial tension tossed into it and it's resolved in such a cliche way, and the violence against women is pretty over the top. However, despite it's flaws I still enjoy it quite a bit. It's still my second favorite book in the series, though having reread it, I'm starting to see where some of the bad writing and terrible storytelling decisions Goodkind made in future volumes came from. If you liked the first one, and can stomach a ridiculous amount of sexual violence (or better yet just skip it entirely because it adds exactly nothing to the story), this is a pretty good followup. But, again, this series is not for everyone. It carries a pretty strong "R" rating,if not an "NC-17", for extreme violence, much of which is against women, sexual content, and detailed, graphic descriptions of gore, rape, other sexual violence, and so on.