If these reviews had titles, I would probably go with "McDoniel earns top marks for snarkiness in his debut novel." The snark factor is through the roIf these reviews had titles, I would probably go with "McDoniel earns top marks for snarkiness in his debut novel." The snark factor is through the roof and it's wonderful. However, that's hardly a full description. The characters are wonderful! The prose is delightful! The plot moves at just the right pace the whole way through! This novel is really solid. What's more, it has an incredibly wide appeal. Do you like vampires? How about vampyrs? Do you want to know the difference between the two? Pick up the book! Do you like to poke fun at fandoms and fanboys and fangirls? Do you like the idea of dangerously intelligent kid brothers? Do you like subtle commentary on the lasting effects of New England Puritanism on contemporary society? Give this book a whirl! Whatever your reason for coming to it, you won't be disappointed....more
Utterly fantastic. It is easy to see just how much this book influenced Gary Gygax, as well as others. The world of The Dying Earth is a melancholy onUtterly fantastic. It is easy to see just how much this book influenced Gary Gygax, as well as others. The world of The Dying Earth is a melancholy one. Set in the 22 aeon as the sun is on the verge of extinguishing, men make few grand plans. Magic and technology are indistinguishable and few bother with them. The few tens of thousands of humans left eke out what existence they can in all manner of exotic and bizarre ways. Now doesn't that just sound like a world overflowing with whimsical and adventurous stories? Jack Vance has created a masterpiece of a setting and uses it to the fullest. This, when combined with his incredible vocabulary, wonderful pacing, and his knack for brilliant characters, makes for one of the most original and enjoyable science fiction tomes ever. Cugel the Clever is all that a rogue and a scoundrel ought to be. Rhialto the Marvelous is a classic example of a charismatic academic. Guyal deftly avoids being intolerably naive while still remaining a quintessential good guy. The whole host of other characters such as Ildefonse, Twango, T'sain, and all the rest are all well written, believable, and each in their own unique way enjoyable. Their adventures take them all across the wide, dying Earth as well as far out to the stars. They face many fell beasts, grues and pelgranes and deodands for starters. They encounter bizarre cults and find wondrous artefacts of aeons long gone. They even visit other aeons on occasion. This is the collection of their stories and it is a "must read" for any dedicated science fiction or fantasy fan....more
Until this point, all reviews I have posted have been created as a record of my thoughts and feelings about books I read should I want to revisit themUntil this point, all reviews I have posted have been created as a record of my thoughts and feelings about books I read should I want to revisit them at some point. While anyone could read them, they were not targeted at a larger audience than myself. The following review marks a break from that trend as I was asked by the author to read and review Olympus Union: The Past Repeated. Said review follows:
Olympus Union: The Past Repeated is probably best described as a near future science fiction novel. The setting is entirely within our solar system, specifically from Jupiter inward. Mankind has tackled the thorny issue of interplanetary travel and colonization has sprung forth in an explosion akin to the fledgling new world on Earth. Colonial sabotage runs rampant, fueled by strong sentiments of nationalism and patriotism, and largely because of this Earth's governments are consolidated into a single ruling body, the Olympus Union. A new utopia is built around a benevolent oligarchy and a sense of stellar unity. However, in an all too human fashion things quickly turn oppressive and in some cases downright brutal. The stage is set for a revolution and within this powder keg the reader finds the focus of this first in a series of stories. To say much more would spoil some of the more intriguing and suspenseful plot elements but be assured that this novel is constructed of facets designed to thrill the imagination ranging from small town revolts and riots to cybernetic super-soldiers to orbital prisons reminiscent of Alcatraz to fiery political rhetoric. Finally, like any good opener to a series, the questions a reader might have are largely answered but in such a way as to beg more questions and create a nice cliffhanger to keep minds enthralled.
The story is a fast read. However, this works to the author Gary Bloom's advantage. The pace steps lively, pausing just so when necessary and then quickly jaunting off to the next development. This is aided by the word play in play here, neither being too simple and appearing to be poorly written nor being too dense or crammed with jargon as to delay the reader when a swift pace is so enjoyable. Frustratingly, the pairing of this pacing with exploration of the universe of the OU leaves one wanting. The novel creates a strong sense of longing for deeper expeditions into the facets of this new solar system. There is a veritable plethora of areas that might be explored. Perhaps this is coming in further novels in the series but for the time being this Achilles' heel creates a strong sense of longing within the reader for deeper content. It should be noted though that there may be a plan in place to elaborate on these ideas in further novels but for now only Olympus Union: The Past Repeated is up for scrutiny.
All in all, at 159 pages this is a light, enjoyable novel best suited for those looking for a quick introduction to what has the potential to be a really amazing science fiction series....more
This book is not a zombie book. Some of the characters within will try to convince you otherwise. Disregard them. That said, for anyone who wants someThis book is not a zombie book. Some of the characters within will try to convince you otherwise. Disregard them. That said, for anyone who wants something that feels genuinely fresh and original in the horror genre, this is a great choice. The style contains something that might be best described as "lower class flare" in its telling and is all the richer for it. Combine such style with rather believable characters all around who are amazingly entertaining, a plot that is clever enough to make you think you know what's coming next when actually you don't, and a proper sense of profanity usage and you get a really stellar horror book. One so stellar that readers should be sure to read it alone in the dark before bed so as to not sleep properly for weeks after finishing it....more