This is not the sort of book I usually read, but got an omnibus on kindle daily deal so thought I would try the first book. Once again Amazon has help...moreThis is not the sort of book I usually read, but got an omnibus on kindle daily deal so thought I would try the first book. Once again Amazon has helped me find another really good author. The story - and the series of 18 or something books that follow it, centres on the character of Amelia Peabody, a wealthy Victorian heiress who is a keep amateur archeologist travelling in Egypt. The book is set in 1880, and the following books range across the years with the last one set in 1923 ( when Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered). Amelia Peabody is a really strong, interesting character and this book is a gentle detective story. It is kind of a cross between Alexander McCall Smith, Agatha Christie and somebody Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael) but set in Victorian Egypt.
I really enjoyed this book and I like the idea that the series stretches across so many years of history and the characters lives. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that it really isn't my type of book, I prefer books that are epic, fascinating or inspiring awe and wonder etc. This book was never going to be that type of book, but for what it is, it couldn't be much better.(less)
This book is a biography of Steve Jobs. It is quite a quick read, and some of the information I already knew but I did learn quite a lot too. One disa...moreThis book is a biography of Steve Jobs. It is quite a quick read, and some of the information I already knew but I did learn quite a lot too. One disadvantage of the book is that at times it seemed like I was reading a summary of Walter Isaacson's authorised biography (which is about 10 times larger). However if you don't want to wade through about 800 pages, this book will be quite adequate. I read the Kindle version, and it finished abruptly at 85%, the rest being notes and bibliography. Worth noting if you are reading it on a Kindle.(less)
Michael Fletcher worked on his father's starship when, aged 17, he was suddenly orphaned after his father died in an accident. His father left him his...moreMichael Fletcher worked on his father's starship when, aged 17, he was suddenly orphaned after his father died in an accident. His father left him his starship, but he can't captain it until he's turned 18 and been able to pass his captain's his exam. Unfortunately, he learns that he was adopted, and there are family secrets that need to be uncovered...
The story is a relatively simple one of family secrets, space travel and a little bit of piracy. It doesn't bore you with tonnes of descriptions, biographies, historical backplot etc, instead getting right down to the story. One thing I really liked though is that it goes into a lot more detail (without becoming boring) about life on board a starship, how it works and what people's jobs are. There's also quite a bit about how starships travel faster than light - it covers this much better than most sci-fi books which just stick with 'go to warp speed'...
The book is approximately 300 pages, and is the first in a planned series. The storyline in this book comes to a satisfactory conclusion so you don't need to read any more books, but there's enough unresolved plot hooks in there to make you want to read more. The quality of the writing (and editing) is very good. The book really flows, and there are no silly errors or clumsy writing to jar you out of the story.(less)
Redshirts is a relatively short novel by American science fiction author John Scalzi, best known for his 'Old Man's War' military science fiction nove...moreRedshirts is a relatively short novel by American science fiction author John Scalzi, best known for his 'Old Man's War' military science fiction novel and its sequels. The book is about 300 pages, but the last 80 or so pages actually form three 'codas', linked short stories that add extra content to the book. The book won the 2013 Hugo Award, arguably science fiction's greatest accolade, but reader reviews on Amazon are decidedly mixed and some think a book as light and frothy as this shouldn't have won a Hugo.
Redshirts follows a group of junior Ensigns on a starship, the flagship of the United Union fleet. The main character, Andrew Dahl, is a new crew member who gradually realises that being an Ensign or 'redshirt' on the ship is a very dangerous occupation, as people keep dying horrible, meaningless missions on a seemingly endless stream of away missions. Senior officers never die however... What is going on?
The book starts off as a spoof on Star Trek - even referencing it in a couple of places. It gradually develops a rather interesting storyline. It's also rather funny, I laughed out loud in a few places, and quoted several bits to my wife - much to her delight! I read a few reviews of this on Amazon before picking it up, the most helpful of which said something along the lines of: 'If you read the first couple of chapters and think it is a really badly written story, then persevere. It intentionally starts out like this, and is an important part of the story.' Good advice, because this is exactly what happens.
A final note about the 'codas' at the end of the book. I got to about page 220 and went 'huh?'. The story had ended and what were these things at the end. Should I read on? I actually googled it and found a blog post from the author explaining about them. I did read them. The first was quite interesting, but not spectacular. The final two were shorter, and really good. The first coda adds a funny, interesting perspective. The other two add quite a touching, emotive and thought provoking element to the book and round off the whole thing nicely.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It a good story that had me hooked, it was very funny and also touching towards the end. While I see why some people complained, I feel it is a worthy winner of the Hugo Award, and am going to give it 9/10.(less)
The Night Circus is about a magical contest between two old men, but played through two proteges who are bound to the contest from a young age. The bo...moreThe Night Circus is about a magical contest between two old men, but played through two proteges who are bound to the contest from a young age. The book is also about a circus, The Night Circus, which mysteriously appears in a field one day, and then seemingly just as mysteriously disappears a few days later. The circus forms the venue for the contest...
This is a magical (in the literal sense) story, set around the turn of the 20th century, with lots of fascinating characters and strange and unusual circus attractions. The style of the writing is very descriptive and lyrical, drawing you in and just enjoying the words on each page. The descriptions evoke all the senses are and are a joy to read.
The characters are also good, and interesting. You really feel for both of the main characters and enjoy seeing them develop. You are also rooting for both of them, rather than one being the protagonist and one the antagonist. The plot is perhaps the weakest part of the book, but that doesn't matter too much. Overall a good book.(less)