I'm very undecided about the rating - 3 or 4 stars? As the last book Sir Terry has ever written - for that heartbreak alone - it would probably deservI'm very undecided about the rating - 3 or 4 stars? As the last book Sir Terry has ever written - for that heartbreak alone - it would probably deserve 4, right? On the other hand, it is very clear while reading the book that he never got to finish polishing it. It is not, quality-wise, a VERY GOOD book. In the end, I went with quality as guide. Reading The Shepherd's Crown made me very sad, because it was so clear that it wasn't done yet, because of all that is missing (is Tiffany always wearing black now?), because of the deaths, and because there will never be another Discworld book. There were some small sections that made me laugh, too, though. The book is like a minimal, shortened version of a good Discworld novel, and I am glad that Sir Terry got far enough into it that it could be published. The world is changing......more
In Foxglove Summer, DC Peter Grant travels to the country to look into the disappearance of two eleven year old girls, just to make sure that there isIn Foxglove Summer, DC Peter Grant travels to the country to look into the disappearance of two eleven year old girls, just to make sure that there is no magic involved. Peter is a pure-bred Londoner, though, and has some trouble adjusting - especially when his stay lasts a lot longer than planned. Luckily, he's got local police man (DC) Dominic Croft and river goddess Beverly Brook to help him along. Oh, and it turns out I love Beverly. She's awesome, clever and fun, and one can but hope that she will be as involved in the next book as well. Dominic also turned out to be a great partner to Peter, but I guess he was a one-time character, seeing as he has his life out in the country.
The editorial stuff wasn't very well done, sadly. There was one time when Ben Aaronovitch confused the name of the mother with that of her (vanished) daughter and let her contribute something to a conversation. There was one time when someone wrapped the end of a string around his wrist, only to give it to someone else in the next paragraph, and some minor mistakes as well. Nevertheless, I gave this book five stars, because...
THIS IS THE BOOK! This is the book in which we learn more about Ettersberg. This is the book in which we learn more about Molly. This is not a book with the Faceless Man in it, though, only with the promise that it will take a few more books to close that story arc. The story itself was very interesting, with lots of twists and some unicorns (and who doesn't like unicorns in a story about magic?). Some twists I could see coming, some were pleasantly shocking. In the end, many loose strings were still dangling around, so the book could have been longer. I'm relying on the author to tie them up in The Hanging Tree, though, because he's done a good job of picking up loose ends before.
Foxglove Summer is dedicated to Terry Pratchett - a dedication which, if I can read dates correctly, happened before he died. That, of all Peter Grant books, this one was dedicated to Sir Terry could merely be a coincidence, or due to some inspiration Ben Aaronovitch took from discworld books. I've seen some parallels to my favourite mini series around Tiffany Aching (Tiffany Aching Complete Collection: 5 Books) here, which I enjoyed immensely. This also gave me a pretty good idea what to read next, while I'm waiting for the release of the next Peter Grant novel (I still haven't read The Shepherd's Crown, because I'm waiting for the paperback). ;-)...more
Broken Homes is the fourth instalment in Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series mixing magic and today's police work, and while there's still a lot of pBroken Homes is the fourth instalment in Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series mixing magic and today's police work, and while there's still a lot of policing going on, I didn't feel like the case (or a case) was the focus of the story. So many things happened... The rivers had a party, which was a convenient way to introduce another one of them and bring Beverley back. Ordinary people did things without always knowing why, bringing the Faceless Man back into focus. Lesley started a thing with Zach, and Zach brought the quite people up for a pub crawl. Oh, and a late German architect did some pretty weird things... (Also, as always in English books, they didn't get all of the German right, but it was close.)
The pacing of the book wasn't so great, which is probably why I lost track of the story line inbetween. The humour was great as always, though, and I loved learning a bit more about what Nightingale can actually do, and what's going on (or was going on) with magic in other countries. There was also, once more, the introduction to a new character who will hopefully get a place with the other regulars, even though it's getting a bit crowded. I think everyone from before was included in Broken Homes, but sometimes only with pretty minor roles that could have been left out to leave more room for an overall story arc.
The cases mostly couldn't be solved in a satisfactory way, at least not for the public. I won't add spoilers here, so just assume that the Faceless Man was quite active in the background. He was also very active behind Peter's back, showing how convenient it can be to have a first person narrator sometimes. Ben Aaronovitch really dropped a bomb on us readers in the end, holy shit!...more
I really liked Whispers Under Ground, the third PC Grant novel after Rivers of London. Peter starts out with a visit to a girl from his parent's neighI really liked Whispers Under Ground, the third PC Grant novel after Rivers of London. Peter starts out with a visit to a girl from his parent's neighbourhood, who saw a ghost and knows that Peter can do magic and stuff - so she called him. That has nothing to do with the actual story, though, which starts the following night with the discovery of a dead man at Baker Street station. Peter got called onto the case because something seemed off, but it is "only" the murder weapon that seems to be imbued with magic. At the same time, the people from the Folly are also busy trying to find the Faceless Man, an "ethically challenged" magician hiding and working in London.
The story around the Faceless Man is definitely set out to continue for some time, and didn't play a major role here. Nevertheless, it was nicely interwoven with the story. Just like Abigail, the girl from the neighbourhood, who kind of closed the circle of the book. The cast is generally still increasing, it seems. The rivers from the first book still always appear somehow, Abigail was already introduced in the last one (Moon Over Soho), and Peter again got to know a few new characters from the "magical London" who, at least I suspect that, might turn up again. It seems that the magical world is a small world indeed.
My only qualm - no, disappointment - with the book was the final reveal of the murderer and his motive. It seemed so... dumb, dull, something like that. And it most certainly wasn't what the blurb on my copy said: "whispers of vengeance from beyond the grave". I wonder who made that up....more
The Rosie Project is a "romantic comedy" (I guess) about a genetics professor trying to find a life partner. He's clearly somewhere on the autistic spThe Rosie Project is a "romantic comedy" (I guess) about a genetics professor trying to find a life partner. He's clearly somewhere on the autistic spectrum and reading the story from his (quite) unfeeling point of view is interesting, though it didn't always work.
I wasn't very impressed with this book; for me, it couldn't deliver what it (and the critics) promised. Here are some of my main qualms with The Rosie Project:
Right at the beginning, Don's supposedly best friend Gene has asked him to deliver a lecture that he was supposed to give himself. Fine. The lecture is on a topic Don knows nothing about (Asperger's syndrome). Ok, weird, but he's very intelligent, so he can probably cope (at least he didn't complain). Gene also neglects to mention what kind of lecture is required or whom it's for. This leads to a near-catastrophe when Don launches into a genetics (because that's what he's a professor of) focussed lecture on Asperger's in front of parents with kids affected by this illness. Why would Gene, as a friend, not warn Don who would be his audience? And why would an always deliberate, plan-based individual like Don not ask for this information in advance? The same question, about Gene being a friend, also applies to Don's shock when he learns that these lectures never start on time. A warning would have been nice...
The time it takes to test the first blood sample against Rosie's cheek swap was way too quick. Even considering that he prepared the blood sample before the written part of their conversation occurs, even with that "very quick" new equipment... It looks like only a few minutes, and that's just not possible. And, by the way, for someone who is so much into science and has lots of high quality science discussions, Don is incredibly reluctant to mention anything scientific in his account of these events. Neither about how the equipment works, nor what he actually does or what his group/institute is working on. We only have that information about Gene.
Upon their first arrival at the lab, Don takes two beers for himself and Rosie from the lab fridge. Later, he even goes from his office to the lab to get one from that fridge. I don't know about Australia, but in Germany you don't usually keep beer in a lab fridge. We have social rooms and kitchens for that, and knowing what's also in a lab fridge really makes you think twice about keeping food or drink in there. Plus, it's of course absolutely forbidden. And, seriously, in the same room with that new, high-tech and probably expensive machine?? Why would they place it in a former tea-room, anyway?
The book is written in first person, from Don's point of view. There's a ball scene which starts with him not being able to apply the theoretic dancing skills he learned in ten days to actual music and a live partner. He blames this on having not trained with actual music. Soon after that disaster, he dances with someone else - perfectly. A few pages on, he admits that he could have done better, but failed on purpose because he didn't like his partner. What kind of first person POV is that??
Last but not least, Don changes his appearance and his behaviour for a woman who doesn't quite match with him (she's a smoker, for God's sake!). He gives up almost everything that kept him grounded, turns his whole life around (at age 40) - for whom? The woman he apparently (for the more emotional reader) fell in love with on first sight, with no rationality behind it. It's so dumb it made me realise I shouldn't read any "romantic comedy" any more. Also, imagine the gender roles were switched - feminists would be all over this!
Overall, The Rosie Project neither entertained me nor did it make me laugh (although I did recognise some scenes that were supposedly funny, just not for me). The only light in all this mess was the preview of the next book, where Don apparently starts regretting how he changed - at least partly. I'm not sure I should dare to read that, though......more
"Moon Over Soho" took up the story that Rivers of London left us with: more men who got their penises bitten of by a woman's vagina. In addition, PC P"Moon Over Soho" took up the story that Rivers of London left us with: more men who got their penises bitten of by a woman's vagina. In addition, PC Peter Grant has to deal with a number of jazzmen who apparently died of natural causes, but maybe not... Then there's of course the recoveries of his superior, DCI Thomas Nightingale, who got shot in the chest and can't be bothered to take time off to recover, and of PC Lesley May, whose face fell of at the end of their last big case. The rivers, i.e. the Thames family, also get their chance to participate, although that felt a bit forced. And there's more of the science aspects of magic, which I liked very much. After all, it was Isaac Newton who started all this, and that Peter and Dr. Walid try to figure out some of the basics is awesome.
All in all, the book was again a great read. A bit more creepy this time, while not feeling much more dark - somehow, Peter's voice won't let that happen. Two style things irritated me while reading: as in the last book, there were sometimes - from my point of view - small words missing, like "the" or "in". I noticed this in "Rivers of London" as well and am still not sure if that is on purpose or not. The other thing started in "Moon Over Soho" and is one of my pet peeves: forgetting that there's a singular for that plural word the author invented. In this case, it's "vestigium" as singular for "vestigia" - Ben Aaronovitch/Peter Grant almost always uses "vestigia" here, with apparent disregard to how many there are. Why would any author do that??
Below follows a minor spoiler, so consider not reading on.
There are certain clichés that are always followed (in this case in crime novels and shows), when you're trained to expect foul play. Examples would be that old partner that suddenly turns up and assists in an investigation, or a new relationship of one of the main characters which seems to get a little too much attention. That person who turned up out of the blue is normally one of the bad guys messing with the main character(s), usually on purpose. I saw it coming here, and needed some time to adjust to the fact it was not (really) the case. Great!...more
I finally got around to reading that book! It was on my reading list for some time, but in the end it was my better half who bought it for me after heI finally got around to reading that book! It was on my reading list for some time, but in the end it was my better half who bought it for me after hearing about it in one of his podcasts.
"Rivers of London" is told in first person narrative by a young constable, Peter Grant, who discovers that there's magic to be found even in modern day London. He describes how he learns to do spells and meets and deals with gods and ghosts and vampires in a very entertaining, slightly sarcastic tone of voice that makes it all sound natural and perfectly normal. That is what fascinates me about the book - the way Peter barely sounds surprised by or excited about learning magic or meeting Mother Thames and other London rivers (hence the title, I suspect). There's no Harry Potter style weirdness or insecurity ("Where's platform 9 3/4, why did nobody explain that?"), and also no official hiding or separation of the "magic world" from the "normal world". There's only this one world, and it contains magic that most people just never notice.
Therefore, the focus of the book is not learning magic, or learning about the magic world, but about crime and politics. The crime part deals with multiple people going insane and murdering other people, and the politics deal with the rivers of London and their territoriality. Peter has to deal with both, only sparsely guided by his Master/Instructor/superior, but I don't want to write spoilers, so let me just say that it was a very interesting book both in style and story. I'm looking forward to the next part....more
Die Geschichte an sich war nicht schlecht gemacht, aber der Editor/Korrekturleser hat übel geschlampt.
Das Buch ist erzählt aus der Perspektive von HarDie Geschichte an sich war nicht schlecht gemacht, aber der Editor/Korrekturleser hat übel geschlampt.
Das Buch ist erzählt aus der Perspektive von Harper Cole, einem Systemadministrator eines exklusiven online Erotik-Forums, dem auffällt, dass Kundinnen die Plattform verlassen ohne die monatlichen Zahlungen einzustellen. Als er vom Mord an einer der Frauen erfährt, meldet er sich bei der Polizei - und hetzt damit einem genialen Mörder nicht nur die Polizei mehrerer Bundesstaaten sondern auch das FBI auf den Hals. Der fängt daraufhin an, durchzudrehen, die Kontrolle zu verlieren, und ziemlich unangenehm zu werden...
Die medizinischen Details, die im Buch angesprochen werden, scheinen soweit gut recherchiert zu sein, und die Geschichte ist ganz gut erzählt, auch wenn es zum Ende hin etwas abgedreht wird und Harper mir zwischendurch echt auf die Nerven ging. Der Kerl ist manchmal ein ziemlicher Idiot. Einige Grammatik- und Logik-Fehler hätten außerdem vor dem Druck ausgemerzt werden sollen, das war schon peinlich (für den Verlag)....more
Since I don't want to add spoilers, I'll keep this very general. The third part of The Long Earth series was - for me - a bit better than the second (TSince I don't want to add spoilers, I'll keep this very general. The third part of The Long Earth series was - for me - a bit better than the second (The Long War). There were some interesting story lines which actually included some action. Sadly, it turned out the author(s) can't really write action scenes, so they ended up being boring. Still, that's a vast improvement over nothing happening at all! Speaking of which, there were multiple occasions in which a potential action was stopped in its tracks by either "and then they moved on" or "they did that dangerous/difficult thing" without any explanation as to how they actually managed to pull it off. What I still despise most in this series, and it happened again in The Long Mars, is the way almost all information is conveyed through conversation between the characters. In the last book, I had heavy objections against people discussing other people/beings/potential enemies even - while they were present and listening. This time, it was a different matter: if I know, from the main characters in the book, that something terrible might happen at a certain place, I expect them to bring people to somewhere else. They, instead, brought them to that place - and then were surprised when danger called. Seriously? You knew, damn it!
Anyway, the book was a bit better than the last (no conversations about people in front of them and more things actually happening), and there's only one left to read. I guess I'll be able to cope with that as well (after a break with a potentially more interesting book)....more
Blade of Tyshalle is the follow-up to Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die. Sadly, it's only available as eBook, but since I enjoyed the first book soBlade of Tyshalle is the follow-up to Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die. Sadly, it's only available as eBook, but since I enjoyed the first book so much, I got it anyway. This volume follows Hari Michaelson in his life after the events of Heroes Die, and shows his return to his life as Caine - but I don't want to add spoilers, so we'll not talk about that.
Overall, I didn't enjoy this book quite so much as the last one. Every chapter ended on a cryptic note about strange gods, crooked knights and others. It took me some time to figure them out, and in an eBook, it's difficult to go back and read them with more understanding. That was a bit annoying. Additionally, the story itself was a bit more obscure. I especially hated the description of the virus, which was said to sporulate (as far a I know, viruses don't do that). The unexplained panic everyone got when just thinking about HRVP was irreproducible for me as a reader, so I probably missed out on some of the feelings. There were some really disgusting things included this time, too, which were even more random, and a bit too much for me. The ending, on the other hand, was interesting enough to make me consider getting the next volume (also only as eBook) as well....more
Don't judge a book by its cover - especially not this. I bought it as a blind date book, wrapped in brown paper with just a few keywords for guidance.Don't judge a book by its cover - especially not this. I bought it as a blind date book, wrapped in brown paper with just a few keywords for guidance. I regretted that when I unwrapped it and judged by the cover, but not after I had started reading it. This book is seriously awesome. OK, it's also bloody brutal, but, surprisingly, I could handle that. Let me start at the beginning, though.
It takes some time to read far enough into the book to grasp the setting (but it's very well done, the explaining within the story), so let me give you an introduction. The story takes place somewhere in our future - when English is almost the only spoken language left on earth. The society is a rigid caste system, with Laborers, Professionals, Administrators, Businesspeople, and Leisurefolk. At some point in their past, humans discovered that there are parallel universes which, kind of, vibrate at different frequencies, and can therefore be reached by changing your own frequency. One of the parallel worlds is called "Overworld" - and it is here that the fantasy part of the novel happens. On Overworld live not only humans, but also elves, dwarfs, ogres, trolls and so on; there's magick and very real and present gods. People from Earth send Actors to this world to have Adventures. These can be experienced in real time (or recorded) by the rich and bored on Earth for entertainment. Great, huh? The most famous Actor right then is Hari Michaelson, also known as Caine, whose main talent is killing people. In Heroes Die, he is sent to Overworld to rescue his wife, who doesn't know that she lost her connection to Earth and is - therefore - about to die in a few days. And he won't stop hurting (and killing) people until she is safe.
Strong points of the book: Emotion. The reader gets to feel what Caine feels, just like his audience on Earth (or almost). That's great to keep you glued to the book, but also means you get to imagine how it feels to have someone stick a sword through your liver (just as an example). Yay? Action. There is almost no time to breathe, or put that book down. Very good craftsmanship of Matthew Woodring Stover - all around, by the way, that man knows how to tell a story without having to talk to the reader directly (except for once breaking the fourth wall very effectively), or obviously inventing scenes just to get some explanations across.
Warning: If you do not like sarcasm, swearwords, casual rape (mentioned in passing), or lots of graphic violence much, this might not be the right book for you. On the other hand, I don't like violence or torture either, but still loved that book.
I have two questions left in my head the - otherwise wonderfully written - novel did not answer: how does the Ritual work and what's that about the black Shell? Maybe the latter will be answered in the next book in the series, which is unfortunately no longer available in print.
Conclusion? Heroes Die is a SciFi & fantasy mix that's very well done, (but also) full of violence and testosterone. It was so vastly different from the Long Earth books I've read before that I loved it right from the start - no more boredom! I don't know how I'll be able to cope with The Long Mars now... Oh, wait, I'll get the next Cain novel (Blade of Tyshalle) as eBook afterwards, and I'm already looking forward to that!...more
The second instalment of The Long Earth was a bit more enjoyable for me than the first. Since most of the characters were already established - and thThe second instalment of The Long Earth was a bit more enjoyable for me than the first. Since most of the characters were already established - and the setting as well - there was more room for real development and action. Nevertheless, I'm still fighting with the writing style at times. These are my two main qualms: Imagine you're some kind of hostage, in a room with the people who've captured you and some of your friends. Would you expect your friends to openly talk about their interpretation of the other people's motives? Would you expect the others not reacting to that in any way? That was a very, very weird situation - or description of a situation. My second problem is the lack of climax - at least that's what it still feels like for me. Suddenly, all the different story lines and problems are resolved. Sometimes with no real explanation I could see/understand, or a change of heart for no apparent reason. Then the book is over and I'm left wondering what it was that I read, hanging in limbo, so to speak. Not very satisfying. Will it get better in the next book? We'll see......more
"The Long Earth" was only OK to me, which at Goodreads means only two stars, although I would tend to three.
I bought the book because I love Terry Pra"The Long Earth" was only OK to me, which at Goodreads means only two stars, although I would tend to three.
I bought the book because I love Terry Pratchett's work and my boyfriend likes SciFi. Also, I was curious - and the idea behind the book is really interesting and worth exploring. The problems I had all originated from the writing style.
I won't complain that it didn't sound like a TP book. It has two authors on the cover, so I didn't expect a typical Pratchett. I did, however, hope for some humour (which I didn't find). That alone is not a good reason for such a low rating, though. For this, I have two other reasons: First, the dialogue. The characters are suddenly faced with a reality where a (probably) unlimited supply of parallel Earths becomes accessible to them. They can't explain it any more than the reader can, but of course they discuss this (and related phenomena) a lot. And of course I wanted to read what they had to say; only, there were road blocks. Someone would say something interesting, and before I could read an equally interesting answer, I had to figuratively climb over a "XY said,". Sometimes, this (traditional?) writing style really disrupted the flow of the story. Secondly, there were multiple moments when the characters seemed to be extremely sure about what needed to be done and would just go ahead and do it - but I didn't know why this specific action was the only possible way (even if someone could get hurt). I'm not sure if it was my lack of experience with SciFi, or the way the book was written, but I had problems following the story, understanding the characters and motifs... Things that a reader should be able to do in a good book. That justifies giving only two stars in my opinion.
Nevertheless, I will probably get the second book as well, and give the whole thing another try. As I said earlier, the concept is interesting, and I hope that somehow now that the stage is set it will get better....more
Even though I'm not much into space novels (or movies), I found this to be a gripping and entertaining novel. Andy Weir has a great writing style, mixEven though I'm not much into space novels (or movies), I found this to be a gripping and entertaining novel. Andy Weir has a great writing style, mixing humour with suspense and - a different kind of - action. No wonder they made this into a movie ....more
I have a new Surface Pro 3 to play with. I have things I wanted to do over the holidays/between the years. Then I got the Johnny Maxwell trilogy for CI have a new Surface Pro 3 to play with. I have things I wanted to do over the holidays/between the years. Then I got the Johnny Maxwell trilogy for Christmas, and all I really want to do is read.