I always have a thing for vampire stories with 19th-century Old South setting. Not sure why, but I think the atmosphere suits those stories. I don't r...moreI always have a thing for vampire stories with 19th-century Old South setting. Not sure why, but I think the atmosphere suits those stories. I don't read many vampire novels but most of them have this setting. Anne Rice's works, Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mystery novels and now this one. Having GRRM as the writer closed the deal for me because I absolutely adore his ASOIAF novels.
Not a completely new take on vampire lores (my last vampire novels were Del Toro&Hogan's zombie-like vampires) since they were described as elegant beautiful magnetic (and very, very pale) and many other clichés. However the strength of this novel lies in the story telling. For some reasons, I am not bored with the lengthy description on steamboats and river navigation. I find it interesting to have half of the stories set at those boats while cruising the rivers. GRRM really has that arresting quality, not only in his grand ASOIAF novels. In fact, the vampire stuff is not the main attraction to me. I think the story could be anything, ghost or werewolves or witches any other paranormal beings and I would still love this novel.
The plot is pretty interesting but not special. I like the human characters (Marsh and Sour Billy) even though pretty predictable. I like York because he was York and kind of reminded me of Anne Rice's Marius. The villain was, well, pure evil. Typical of GRRM, he is not afraid of putting some really grotesque violent scenes in the novel. Dude really likes chopping body parts.
Overall, the storytelling is what makes me award four stars. It got me glued to it; I managed to devour 400 pages in a day. I think I have to read GRRM's other works now.(less)
Hmmm. I do not dislike this novel. It was a quick read and had great quotes. Maybe I am just not interested with the story. I think the stuff with the...moreHmmm. I do not dislike this novel. It was a quick read and had great quotes. Maybe I am just not interested with the story. I think the stuff with the horrendous author was plain boring and annoying; I'd rather read more about Hazel and Gus' cancertastic journey. So yeah, this book disappoints me and doesn't worth my money. Note to self: don't buy books unless you're really, really sure.(less)
seharusnya 4 bintang tapi kebanyakan pake bahasa Inggris nih nulisnya. ada malah beberapa paragraf yang seluruhnya dalam bahasa Inggris. jadi males de...moreseharusnya 4 bintang tapi kebanyakan pake bahasa Inggris nih nulisnya. ada malah beberapa paragraf yang seluruhnya dalam bahasa Inggris. jadi males deh.(less)
Have y'all seen the HBO miniseries, The Pacific? It's not as great as Band of Brothers but it is good. My favorite parts were Eugene Sledge's stories...moreHave y'all seen the HBO miniseries, The Pacific? It's not as great as Band of Brothers but it is good. My favorite parts were Eugene Sledge's stories (I somehow dislike Leckie, but probably because of the actor hehe).
This book is his memoir and I loved every single part of it. It is as good as William Manchester's masterpiece Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War. The following may not be a review after all, it's me pouring my thoughts on this book.
A professor of biology Sometimes we forget that once a trooper, you're not always a trooper. There is always an "after-life" and it is often the hardest part. Eugene Sledge, after the war, became a professor of biology at a university in Alabama. If you remember the last scenes of Band of Brothers, it included stories on the post-war occupations of each member of Easy. Very colorful. But these people had one thing, one job that they would never forget. Battlefield. Does it define each of them as a person? I believe it does. One does not simply forget about the hardship endured and the brotherhood forged. Oops, getting more sentimental here, let's continue...
"Scared? Are you kidding?" Everybody gets scared and anybody says he doesn't is a damn liar. I like the way the old salts (i.e. marines with battle experience) "educate" the newbies. They don't hold back truth, no matter how gruesome. Sledge bestowed a lot of praises to the vets; he clearly worshiped them. I noted however, that the new recruits/replacements sometimes disregard the warnings and obviously nothing good came out of this. Being lulled into a false sense of security is never a good recipe to survive a war.
Vital, essential, classified work Well, this work sometime included collecting rotten coconuts. I chuckled reading Sledge's frustration when doing this chore - pretty sure that he and his buddies had not imagined they would be doing that glamorous task during the war.
I also like the way he described the non-battle hardship. How hard it was to take a bath, for example. Imagine the rain is your only option and you wish that it will last long enough or else you wouldn't be able to rinse the soap. Or imagine that you have to chase land crabs who would got into your shoes, boxes, bags, cots and whatnots. A marine seemed to always have something to do in the Pacific campaign.
Gone Asiatic Asiatic is a Marine Corps term denoting a singular type of eccentric behavior characteristic of men who had served too long in the Far East. One of them was Haney, a gunnery sergeant, who was very Asiatic apparently with his antics (won't spoil them here - you have to read it yourself!). Sledge's description about him was hilarious. One of them : "I felt that he was not a man born of a woman, but that God has issued him to the Marine Corps".
"The NCOs run things when the shootin' starts" Well, NCOs seem to be the best position if you're in the army or marines, based on this book and every other books I read on World War II. You are well respected, you know your company/squad well, you're usually battle-hardened, you have authority but not too much responsibility compared if you're an officer.
"Corpsman!" I always love reading about medics/corpsman. They are almost always among the bravest and most dedicated part of a unit. Sledge told about a corpsman, Ken Caswell, who continued to treat his patient although his face just been stabbed by a knife to the bone. Yikes! Earlier this year, I read Medic: Saving Lives From Dunkirk To Afghanistan, a splendid book about combat medics earlier this year and it was highly recommended.
Analysis on Peleliu Sledge the professor made some bullet points of his analysis on the battle at Peleliu. My fave is this one: "Peleliu was proof that the critical factor in combat stress is duration of the combat rather than the severity." Agree on that. I can imagine that going through intense artillery attacks for a prolonged period or staying knee-deep in the mud and constant rain for days can make anyone go crazy.
"Why the hell did we have to take Peleliu?" The risk of going to war is sometimes not knowing you have to be in a particular place that might be your grave. Peleliu campaign is debatable: was it useful? could it have been bypassed? I'm certain it sucks if you're in that situation and I'm amazed that there were no riots or mass disobedience from the marines. I guess: 1) deep inside they know they'll be able to face hell and back after all 2) they are numb already 3) they trust their buddies and officers 4) all of the above
"On 8 May Nazi Germany surrendered. So what?" Hahaha. Poor marines. It took two atomic bombs before the Japanese surrendered. They really couldn't care less about what happened in Europe. (Although the European troops did care about what happened in the Far East because they might be deployed there!).
All in all, this is very insightful book. Easy to read, very detailed (but not boring) about the daily life of a marine in the Pacific. I like that he told stories about the land crabs and the (now) silliness of the war. And the gore, oh how could I ever forget about the gore of souvenir hunters. As for the marines, I have a new found respect for all of them. Semper fi!(less)
Loved this book. It renewed my respect towards the medics. Some parts are a bit dragging and repetitive, but I appreciate the efforts to pull all the...moreLoved this book. It renewed my respect towards the medics. Some parts are a bit dragging and repetitive, but I appreciate the efforts to pull all the heroic stories from various wars and battles. I especially like the Falklands part, so gripping. A must read for all military history buffs.(less)
It was good and enlightening at first but it really bores me at the second half. Sick and tired reading about X Prize and stuff. Hence, it took me fou...moreIt was good and enlightening at first but it really bores me at the second half. Sick and tired reading about X Prize and stuff. Hence, it took me four months to finish it.(less)
scary and informative at the same time. made me hold my breath several times. wonder how men are being cruel to animals, especially the one so majesti...morescary and informative at the same time. made me hold my breath several times. wonder how men are being cruel to animals, especially the one so majestic like the Amur tigers.(less)
My only complaints for this installment is that it is too short and the action part at the end should have been more exhilarating. Other than that, I...moreMy only complaints for this installment is that it is too short and the action part at the end should have been more exhilarating. Other than that, I truly welcome the plot, the revelations, the banters, the adventure and of course the return of the good ol' formation. How my heart leapt with joy seeing Lily, Maximus, Nitidus, Dulcia, Messoria and Immortalis rejoined Temeraire!
I hope they all would be back to Europe soon after China. I had enough of travelogue, really.(less)
**spoiler alert** Not as good as the first three, although slightly better than AFFC :(
I think it's because the Dany and Tyrion POVs are boring and sh...more**spoiler alert** Not as good as the first three, although slightly better than AFFC :(
I think it's because the Dany and Tyrion POVs are boring and should be more condensed.
Here's my comments on each POV:
Varamyr Sixskins (prologue): interesting, great opening Tyrion Lannister: the first three were awesome, but ever since he got sold as a slave, meh. Daenerys Targaryen: GRRM has successfully made me cringe on several Dany's stories. Boring. Repetitive. I did not jump up and down when Drogon crashed the party and took Dany flying with him. Jon Snow: Actually the chapters are interesting with all the wildling affairs and internal opposition. But it was getting stale at the end. His supposedly Julius Caesar scene was shocking but not as heart-stopping as the Red Wedding. Bran Stark: Maybe one of my fave POVs, too bad too few of them. I'd love to know more about Coldhands, but I'm pretty sure he's Benjen Stark. Poor Starks :( Quentyn Martell: An okay character but I liked his sister's POV more. Maybe because Quentyn is boring like Sam. His demise is somewhat predictable but enjoyable though. Davos Seaworth: Again, one of my fave POVs. Those Manderlys rock! Reek: I fucking hate this guy. I'd flay him anytime. Why not disclose to Mance that it was Jeyne and not Arya? He should be flayed and drowned. Jon Connington: Er...yeah...could've been better. Asha Greyjoy: boring. never liked her. Lady Melisandre: interesting but it got me yawning but it's not that good. Areo Hotah: awesome! I'd love to have one of the Sand Snakes as a POV character in the next book (Maybe Lady Nym). Arya Stark: too little info, glad to know she's ok though. Can't wait for the day for her coming back to Westeros to slay Cersei. Ser Jaime Lannister: useless. Cersei Lannister: interesting. she seemed more cunning. Barristan Selmy: not bad. But maybe because I'm fond of Ser Grandfather. Victarion Greyjoy: useless chapters. His chapters are the ones that I skim through. Ser Kevan Lannister (epilogue): aaargghhhh!!! damn you Varys, he's a good man :(
Too much POVs for my taste. I hope in the next book we'll get new ones but with big roles such as Varys, Prince Doran, Littlefinger, Blackfish, Lord Manderly and Dolorous Edd (hey why not?). (less)
Actually I was gonna give it 4 stars, but I decided to give another since there were lotsa history lessons here (I know nothing about Central Asia's a...moreActually I was gonna give it 4 stars, but I decided to give another since there were lotsa history lessons here (I know nothing about Central Asia's ancient history and apparently it was quite an exciting region) and I admire the author's strength in coping with all the trials there. If it were me, I would have just cried my tears out and demanded to be brought abroad pronto. He was almost raped, mugged several times and hit & kicked into oblivion. Not to mention those hungry and tiring days. On the contrary, so many people were so kind and helpful which made me got teary eyed a number of times. Interesting country, indeed. This is the real travelogue. Interaction with the people and learning all their hardship are the things that made this book memorable. Can't wait to read Garis Batas :)
PS: I hope this book could be translated into English because it offers another point of view (i.e. a fellow Asian from a developing country).(less)
Not as good as the first three books, but it is very enjoyable. Jaime's and Sansa's POV are my fave parts, aside from the usual suspects like Arya. Br...moreNot as good as the first three books, but it is very enjoyable. Jaime's and Sansa's POV are my fave parts, aside from the usual suspects like Arya. Brienne's and Sam's are the most boring ones. I miss Jon and Bran and Dany :(
Cersei's POV is quite exciting as well, I reckon, especially those who wanna know more about this psychobiatch. Poor Tommen.
New POVs such as Brienne and Arianne Martell are kinda boring. I prefer to have Doran Martell or Kevan Lanister or even Lancel.
My wishlist for new POV characters are: - one of the Sand Snakes (too little of them in AFfC!) - Littlefinger (aside from being a perv towards Sansa, he's my fave villain. I wonder if Tyrion could match his scheming prowess) - Margaery (this girl is not what she seems to be, that's for sure) - Stannis (just curious...) - one of the Freys (again, just curious. they are my most hated House, even after the Lannisters) - Gendry! (haha, this is my fangirl wish, coz I ship him and Arya). - Prince Quentyn (if he finds Dany) - Ser Barristan (curious to see Dany through someone else's eyes)