The much-anticipated sequel to last year’s debut hit Night of Redemption, Shadowy Stillness picks up with Meri Halsin (sister to protagonist Aidan froThe much-anticipated sequel to last year’s debut hit Night of Redemption, Shadowy Stillness picks up with Meri Halsin (sister to protagonist Aidan from the first book) as she is beset by a family curse dating back all the way to Roman times. The Halsin Legacy threatens to end Meri’s life prematurely if she can’t get to the bottom of things, and track down the mysterious slayer plaguing her family since antiquity....more
I’ve never read Neal Stephenson, but I’m given to understand from the grandeur of the esteem in which he’s held, that he’s better than this. Most of tI’ve never read Neal Stephenson, but I’m given to understand from the grandeur of the esteem in which he’s held, that he’s better than this. Most of the reviews I’ve read (good and bad) seem to agree Stephenson’s role in this was probably minimal.
To be fair, I went into this with high expectations, which is always a recipe for disaster with me, but I didn’t expect it to be as thoroughly bland as it is. Not even the subject of the Mongols could save it for me. The worst part is that actually own the second in the series, which now I won’t be reading. I couldn’t even finish Book One.
In any case, this hasn’t dissuaded me from exploring Stephenson further, but I did have to abandon this book....more
A presentation grand in scope by lacking in many, many details. I know enough about Genghis Khan and Tamerlane (and even the Xiongnu) to kno3.5 stars
A presentation grand in scope by lacking in many, many details. I know enough about Genghis Khan and Tamerlane (and even the Xiongnu) to know he skimmed a great deal - though, it was interesting learning about the War of the Heavenly Horses, brief as that was....more
I really want to prime myself for a read of R3K, which I'm going into knowing the reputation of it being one of the most epic pieces of literature eveI really want to prime myself for a read of R3K, which I'm going into knowing the reputation of it being one of the most epic pieces of literature ever written, which is why I went to this Jr Comics recreation. A primer before I attempt my first read.
But alas, this is not the best of graphic novels. It is written for a teen audience, and it quite readily shows. the chapter synopses work nicely, but the dialogue itself is too stilted, too forced. There's no character development, a lot of skimming of story without actually showing any meat of the story, and, the final straw, I was dreading picking this thing up every time I did.
This graphic novel’s come under some scrutiny for poor, expositional dialogue, for which I can’t fault it. After coming off of Brian KRating: 5.6 / 10
This graphic novel’s come under some scrutiny for poor, expositional dialogue, for which I can’t fault it. After coming off of Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga”, this by comparison is a second rate comic. There is bad prose throughout, a poor pacing to the story, and ultimately Sven (and his struggle) isn’t that compelling.
But alas, this is a Viking-themed comic, and I have a soft-spot for the Vikings, so I did rather like this. I’m given to understand that the following six volumes of this series serve more as vignettes into the Viking Age rather than following Sven throughout, which is both a blessing and a curse – a blessing in that we’re sure to get everything you want from the Vikings (raids, Icelandic settlement, war bands...) but Sven’s story was abridged from what it should have been to this jumble of events.
I’d say the biggest sin here is the haphazard pacing. It’s all over the place, and for the most part, it’s too quick. If Wood had taken the time to spread things out, slow things down a little bit and introduce some of these plot elements a little more gently, this novel could have been great.
At the end of the day, however, this is a rogue antihero Viking plotting revenge with plenty of gore and a sexy nubile blonde warming Sven’s bed, so I’m not complaining. I didn’t so much like the ending, but I’ll probably track down Volume 2, and probably continue with the series right through its finale....more
This was an okay book. There's few books available on Tamerlane, and this one's a tour-de-force that covers everything, right down to the palatial garThis was an okay book. There's few books available on Tamerlane, and this one's a tour-de-force that covers everything, right down to the palatial gardens so grand that a prized horse managed to be lost in them for 6 months. I was overall not thoroughly impressed with some of the detail Marozzi went into, the long tangents where he's arguing with Uzbeks or the Taliban, the history of Marlowe, but I suppose some readers would greatly like this information and it's a good book if you know how to needle your way through it.
In regards to the travel writing aspect, for which this book has had some criticism, I'd say some of it was interesting, but ultimately he's writing from a very vacant POV; in other words, we have very little image of who this author is as a "character" in this book. He deliberately keeps himself stale, almost keeps himself out of the novel. By contrast, one of my favourite non-fiction books, "Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection" by John Man, does the exact opposite, and Man thoroughly invests himself in the travel writing aspect.
I would say this is a good book. Perhaps not great, but decent....more
Brilliant. 48 lectures from The Teaching Company on the complete history of ancient Egypt starting with prehistory and ending with the legacy of CleopBrilliant. 48 lectures from The Teaching Company on the complete history of ancient Egypt starting with prehistory and ending with the legacy of Cleopatra. Bob Brier, who is most clearly passionate about what he teaches, recounts this 3000 years’ worth of history with vim, the mere tone of his voice keeping you interested.
Just prior to starting this lecture series, I learned a little something about Akhenaten, the man that first came to the idea of monotheism, which I was quite interested in. That whole period around the change of the dynasty was fascinating and covered quite thoroughly in this series (King Tut, the rise of Ramesses the Great, the Exodus all in this span). There’s also a lot of interesting stuff about Sneferu and Khufu and the great pyramids, most of which I knew already, but getting it all in perspective was great.
If there was two things I wish Prof. Brier had have covered which he didn’t really, it’s these: 1) the trend of Egyptian women to shave their heads smooth enough to gleam like a bronze mirror, and 2) the incest between a pharaoh and his sisters. Brier touches on each of these in very minor ways, but hardly enough for a complete cornucopia of all things Egypt.
I’m quite enjoying these Great Courses, and recommend them to everyone. Next up, a history of the steppe, or maybe the Vikings....more