This one feels different from the rest of the series so far. Over the past couple of books, I've really enjoyed the support Harry has been getting fro...moreThis one feels different from the rest of the series so far. Over the past couple of books, I've really enjoyed the support Harry has been getting from other characters. I liked seeing that he had back up in dealing with threats to the city. This time, it feels like Harry's the back up. Some of the threats he faces this time are a few steps above Harry in power. And while some of the returning characters from Harry's stable of allies seem to be able to step up their game to the level of the threat they're facing this time, Harry's kind of reduced to supporting them. The main character of the series isn't the main character of this story.
Also, this one is the most open ended of the series so far. The case Harry is working on gets closed, but the threats introduced into the world don't get tied up like they have been in the previous books. Well, one of them may have been, but it's handled off screen, so there's no real confirmation beyond "news reports say no one could have survived".
Otherwise, everything I've enjoyed about the series so far is still here. Butcher continues to add to the world he's been building for the past several books, and the sense of humor is still present.(less)
First off, you may have noticed a similarity of title between this book and the fourth film in the Johnny Depp pirates franchise. Let me list for you...moreFirst off, you may have noticed a similarity of title between this book and the fourth film in the Johnny Depp pirates franchise. Let me list for you now everything that's the same between the book and the film:
*They both involve pirates. *They both have Blackbeard. *They both mention the fountain of youth.
And that's all. Moving on.
I had a hard time with reading this one, which is my fault. I had a number of distractions which made getting through this book take longer than it normally takes me to get through a three to four hundred page book. But the book didn't make it any easier. There were times where it felt very bloated with characters. We have a couple of characters that are introduced, given a backstory to explain how they came to be a pirate, just so that they can have one chapter where they get removed from the story, and thus screw up some other character's plans in some way. Plus, just about every main character (and a few minor ones) bounces between several different names and identities. And sometimes these secret identities are only known one random new character that gets a backstory just so the reader can understand where this new guy has come from and why he's now become important for a chapter.
Add to this that the second third of the story is a bit of a slog to get through. I can see what the author was trying to do. Sending your characters into a mystical place with very flexible rules of reality can allow you to get away with doing all sorts of things. But when the best description I can come up with is "characters went in, weird stuff happened, characters came out" I would say your losing your some of your readers to the randomness your putting in there. Also, I've never seen a book before where an epilogue was used to end the story. Not really a complaint, but while reading it, my brain kept asking why this wasn't just labeled chapter 30.
Most of the book is pretty good, and I wonder if I gave it a reread in the future when I would be better able to give it my full attention, if I wouldn't like it better. But for right now, I can't see myself doing that any time soon.(less)
Not a bad entry into detective stories for someone that hasn't had much experience with them. I went in blind, so I was a bit unprepaired for how heav...moreNot a bad entry into detective stories for someone that hasn't had much experience with them. I went in blind, so I was a bit unprepaired for how heavily dated the book feels. It wasn't too distracting. There were just moments where I wasn't catching the reference or I had to look up what a term I was unfamiliar with meant. What I really liked the bits of business that helped develop the main character. I'm not a huge fan of stories where the action gets paused for several pages to give descriptions I think it works here because it helps to establish the character's attention to detail. Like someone taking stock of all the important notes they would want to remember if they needed to provide that information to a police officer later. Also there was some nice showing and not telling of the main character's off hours hobbies.
I'm undecided on if I'll come back to this series. There wasn't anything here that really put me off of it. It's just that it's not in my usual wheelhouse.(less)
A quick entertaining read. Quick in that it pulls you along. There were also a few occasions when I was ready to put the book down for the night, read...moreA quick entertaining read. Quick in that it pulls you along. There were also a few occasions when I was ready to put the book down for the night, read the first sentence of the next chapter, and then ended up needing to finish one more chapter. It also had me laughing in a few spots.
My one problem with it is that it doesn't feel done. There's a definite end point to the book. It does a good job of not leaving any lose plot threads for the main character that need to be tied up in other books. I think it's a big picture thing. There is a war being fought on several fronts. After a big event in one of those fronts, the book takes a chapter to mop up a few details and then ends. Granted, trying to end the whole war in one book would have greatly increased the size of book. The sudden stop feels arbitrary to me.
I'm torn on if I want to continue on in this series. It ends, if somewhat suddenly, on a good note. Given the brutally violent nature of the universe, the war, and the aliens in it, I'm hesitant to pick up the next book out of fear of what may happen to the characters. There's probably only so many times someone can survive kicking one's own uvula.(less)
My understanding of why this novel was choosen for a book club I'm a part of was for two reasons: 1) The club wanted to feature a science ficiton nove...moreMy understanding of why this novel was choosen for a book club I'm a part of was for two reasons: 1) The club wanted to feature a science ficiton novel written by a female author, and 2) There was a request to read something that involved space battles.
Well, as far as I can tell, they got one out of the two.
What do I mean by that? I've listened to audio books in the past. Nothing that I would call really weighty, but I've finished a couple books that way before. And seeing as there's no way to purchase an ebook and my book club is sponsored by an audio book service that had this novel, I figured it would be my best option.
Now I don't know of anyone that sits and does nothing except listen to an audio book. You listen to an audio book when you're doing something else. Driving to your job. Doing house work. Mowing a lawn. An audio book is something to keep your mind on when doing something that may not require all of one's mental focus. Except, for me in the case of this book, my mind was more focused on the tasks than this book. I would be doing something, I'd pick up where I had left off previously on the book, finish what I was doing, and not remember what had happened in the book. There were several occaions when I had to back track because I had missed a switch between pov characters. I don't know if this is due to the quality of the writing (which is incredibly dense) or the quality of the narration (which wavers between Ben Stein reading tax laws and "Let me reach through the speakers and choke this alien to death so I don't hear your voice for it anymore").
So was there a space battle to be had? I don't know! I can recall a section where we were leading up to one but didn't actually happen. In fact, that was a time I went back to figure out if my mind had wandered off. It hadn't. From the description of events, a retreat was called less than a minute into the fight. And except for that, anything else may have been lost to the entertainment value of washing a car. Even in the climax, not a shot is fired between ships. They do more damage leaving station unexpectedly.
This is like an early season episode of Deep Space Nine of Babylon 5, back before those shows wised up, gave the crews their own ships, and and got them away from boring station life.(less)
I'm not sure what I was expecting going into this book. I think this may have been the first biographical work I've chosen to read on my own (possibly...moreI'm not sure what I was expecting going into this book. I think this may have been the first biographical work I've chosen to read on my own (possibly ever; I'm not sure if I had to read something for a report in school at some point along the way). I'm a fan of Star Trek, but I don't really dig into behind the scenes info. I think was got me to read this was having attended a w00tstock performance in San Diego a few years back. Mr. Wheaton was there, and he read several pieces he had written to the audience. There was no connection or theme of his performance that night. It was just a scattershot of things he'd written for his blog. Stories telling both real events from his life and random flights of fantasy that were inspired by the randomness of life. So maybe that's what I thought this would be. A collection of random blog writings that would be mostly funny.
What's here isn't quite that. It's a narrative of events from Mr. Wheaton's life as he was going through a rough patch in his life. We get several postings from his blog, but they're all him expressing his emotions regarding the events he was going through. There wasn't anything that got me to laugh or chuckle here. I think at a different time, I would have liked this more. What's presented here is good, but it wasn't what I was looking for at the moment.(less)
I wanted to like this more. I'm trying to think of how to explain what I liked and what I didn't like about this story. And I think the best way I can...moreI wanted to like this more. I'm trying to think of how to explain what I liked and what I didn't like about this story. And I think the best way I can put it is that for the most part, it's forgettable.
As everyone has said in every other review of the book, the magic system provided is unique and interesting. Most people that can perform magic can only do variations on one "school". So our main cast is filled with one trick ponies, so that all the known magic abilities are covered by other people beyond our two main characters that can do everything. Can I tell you anything about those characters? Maybe a tidbit of information here or there, and I can't be sure that I wouldn't be attributing correct info about one person to someone else. I certainly can't remember names. Best I can do right now is "The Smoker, the mind control guy, and... the rest...".
So what is our group going to do? They're going to try to steal the evil government's supply of an incredibly expensive substance, which may destabilize things enough for a rebellion to be successful. So how they going to do it? Well, they're going to find a complete novice to magic and each take turns in training her how to use her new powers. And then they're going to infiltrate her into the nobility for... reasons. Look, I'm sure they've got some sort of plan here. But they're running such a long con that I'm not even sure they've taken any major steps towards their goal before major disaster number one occurs and half the cast starts going "Well, we tried, better luck next time.".
Actually, that may be the best way to describe my experience. Something would happen, and I'd be able to focus on what was going on for a while. And then it would get rambling about some lost religion, or the background of a cast member that's not really important to advancing the story, and my mind would wander off until the next time some major plot point occurred. I've said it before with some audio books I've listened to previously that they need to be more interesting than whatever it is I'm doing while listening to them. Mistborn had moments where it could pull my attention back to it, but it couldn't keep it for the whole of the twenty four hours needed to finish it. And I just don't know if that's a fault of the recording or of the story itself.(less)
In looking for a starting point to try reading more fantasy works, I thought I'd start with someone who's writting style hasn't proven a problem for...more In looking for a starting point to try reading more fantasy works, I thought I'd start with someone who's writting style hasn't proven a problem for me in the past. I came to this book as a fan of the author's work on the Star Wars X-Wing series. And now, a part of me wonders if I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been set in an already established setting where the author didn't have as much freedom to create.
I sit here trying to think of a reason why I didn't like this book more. I don't think there was one big thing that I can point to and say that "this is my problem with it". I think it was just a lot of little things that added up over the course of book. Things like deciding to use "fantasy language word" for fairly mundane item for several chapters before explaining what it means and the significance of why the word is being used. Or spending an entire chapter on world building that doesn't actually have any kind of payoff for the story.(less)
It has its moments. The world building is interesting. The bits with the medical examiner were rather nice. I feel like the conclusion was a let down....moreIt has its moments. The world building is interesting. The bits with the medical examiner were rather nice. I feel like the conclusion was a let down. Well, not necessarily the conclusion. I can respect the idea they were going for. And I think it could have been handled well. It's just that they way things play out really undercuts any attempt at building credibility for the main characters' detective skills. The ending feels like a gift given instead of a reward earned. (less)
How does a war last for one hundred years when one faction has obviously come down with a case of the terminally stupids? No, really, how does that ha...moreHow does a war last for one hundred years when one faction has obviously come down with a case of the terminally stupids? No, really, how does that happen? This book attempts to offer an explanation of how we arrive at this situation, but I can't buy it. The level of idiocy displayed by some of the characters in this story is so great, that I can't help but believe that the enemy faction should have wiped out the guys we are supposed to be cheering for long before the start of the book.
The main character of the story has been rescued from spending a century frozen in a life pod, and ends up being placed in command of a a fleet of ships. Towards the end of the story, in a moment of being high on stress and low on sleep, he tells someone that he wishes he had remained "dead". And I think I too, had I been stuck with the people he's leading, would have wished the same thing. And not even if I was stressed and tired. I ate well yesterday, and got a good long rest last night, and I don't want to deal with these morons ever again.(less)
Growing up, my parents made me take piano lessons. I didn't want to take piano lessons, but as tends to happen to a person with only one digit in thei...moreGrowing up, my parents made me take piano lessons. I didn't want to take piano lessons, but as tends to happen to a person with only one digit in their age, I wasn't really given a choice. My teacher wanted me to practice every song we were working on five times every day between lessons. And technically that happened. Regardless of what the song was, or how it was supposed to be played, I raced to the finish as quickly and as accurately as I could. And on occasion, when I noticed that the parent keeping count of my performances per song had fallen asleep, I would get to end a little early by waking him up with the news that I had just finished my requirements for the day.
This book reminded me of that. It feels like it is in a rush to be done. Not just what could be called less important parts. Like I could see skipping over parts of the main character's time at wizard school if the intent was to spend more time on his adventures as an adult. But as I neared the end of the audio book, I noticed I had less than twenty minutes left, and our hero still hadn't caught up with the main villain. I wondered if I hadn't downloaded the complete audio book, and if there was a second part I needed to get. But no. The amount of time left was more than enough to resolve the entire story. And there was still time left to have some extra flavor bits at the end about some of the other legends of the main character and how this story held up over the years in the minds of the general population of the world it's set in. Everything happened so quickly, that I just never got drawn into the story.(less)
The coming of age story of a boy in a light fantasy world. The story is told mostly from in first person, starting with his introduction to the royal...moreThe coming of age story of a boy in a light fantasy world. The story is told mostly from in first person, starting with his introduction to the royal family at the age of six, mixed with a few paragraphs at the start of each chapter used to do some world building. The main story focuses on the boy's life under various different guardians, teachers, and patrons in the royal court.
It's a slow build. You see elements of things that are going to be important later (in this book and probably other books later in the series) as the story moves along. You have to get past the half way point before there's any combat, or deep exploration of magic, or political intrigue. What's here is good, and I think a nice ground work has been done for the future, but pay offs in this book are few and late in the reading.
What's here is good. I wouldn't be opposed to reading the next part of this series. But, like the author, I'll take my time in getting there.
Also, you should probably like dogs if you're going to read this book.(less)