Sigh. A cute premise and pretty decent writing is solidly ruined by most of the plot hinging on everyone the heroine meets acting irrationally pissedSigh. A cute premise and pretty decent writing is solidly ruined by most of the plot hinging on everyone the heroine meets acting irrationally pissed at her, and refusing to clue her in to WTF is going on. If you want me to believe that an uptight preschool teacher is the chosen one, for the love of monkeys give her a rock star support team, not these bickering assholes. ...more
like a lot of americans that aren't into the manga scene, i picked up Sakurazaka's book after loving the 2014 action flick. the same fantastic premiselike a lot of americans that aren't into the manga scene, i picked up Sakurazaka's book after loving the 2014 action flick. the same fantastic premise is intact in the book, with a lot of tonal differences in the how of things. instead of Tom Cruise's self-assured grin and cushy officer gig, 'All You Need is Kill' tells the tale of the rawest recruit in the Japanese branch of the world forces fighting the aliens who have come to destroy earth. Keiji gets slaughtered on the battlefield like the cannon fodder he is, only to wake up and re-do the whole thing from 30 hours prior. over the course of his groundhog day loop, he learns what it is to be a soldier, how to fight, and how to kill. the author's afterword tells you everything you need to know about this story (by any of its 3 titles): heroes aren't destined, they're made by hard work and practice at the thankless task of hero-craft. ...more
most romance novels rely on utterly absurd contrivances and miscommunication to create a plot. Quick has come up with a way to make the contrivance acmost romance novels rely on utterly absurd contrivances and miscommunication to create a plot. Quick has come up with a way to make the contrivance actually BE the plot, and that bit of built-in sensibility works beautifully.
Elenora is a young woman of decent family (because, hell yes regency romance where things like "the ton" are important and all) that's gotten the short end of the stick after her parents die. Arthur is an overly responsible (and, of course, overly rich and overly handsome) gentlemen trying to figure out who murdered his uncle. he figures his sleuthing among society will be far less disturbed by the marriage brokers of the peerage if he already has a fiancee, so he hires Elenora to pose as such during all the big parties one goes to while hunting for murderers. turns out she's quite clever, and really good at digging up the things he's missed, so they make a dynamic duo. also, they're of course swoonily attracted to each other and there's some sex, because this is a romance novel.
romance isn't my typical genre - i just can't turn my brain off enough to enjoy stupid failures of communication, the threat of rape by a dastardly villain, or the reliance on a timidly virginal heroine that so many of them rely on. finding a book that subverts or avoids all the usual pitfalls and is a snappy-paced read to boot? pure fluffy fun....more
Morris is an extremely average guy - wife & 2 kids, stable middle-of-the-road job, and a firm policy against making waves. so naturally,2.5 stars
Morris is an extremely average guy - wife & 2 kids, stable middle-of-the-road job, and a firm policy against making waves. so naturally, in the height of the Bush-era patriot act freak-out, he becomes a high value terrorist suspect.
this keystone kops version of g-men alphabet soup had potential to be an incisive satire, but 'Morris' feels more than a little like a vanity project. the author is a senator, so presumably his name and "insider info" got this little smidge of winking humor to sail on through a slush pile to publication. even though i agree with this sort of politics (e.g., Cheney was in fact the evil overlord of the Bush administration), it suffers from being a few clever moments sandwiched in a blandness of plot (kinda hard to get excited about a character whose defining trait is inertia). ...more
yep, just like the first time i read this one, the follow-up to the super fun adventure Grimspace falls rather heavily into second-tale-itis. while thyep, just like the first time i read this one, the follow-up to the super fun adventure Grimspace falls rather heavily into second-tale-itis. while the characterization feels much more solid and real this time around (there's plenty of good reasons to make our headstrong heroine an ambassador), it's still a lot of wheel-spinning. in other words, if the mission is stated explicitly from the first as "we need to go to this other planet to open diplomatic relations" but you never actually make it to that planet, the plot feels a little aimless....more
dear Max Gladstone: your picture should be right there in the literary dictionary next to the term "worldbuilding" so that people can look up how to ddear Max Gladstone: your picture should be right there in the literary dictionary next to the term "worldbuilding" so that people can look up how to do this concept right. plenty of people that have wonderful imaginations love to throw everything whackadoo they dreamed up into their fantasy/SF/horror/genre-mashup novel, and end up coming off like ADD children, blinking at a whole bunch of pretty but meaningless images in quick succession. 'Two Serpents Rise,' like your series starter, comes off like this at first. the city is full of mystical ex-disciples with no gods left to pray to, flying Quetzals bearing cops on their backs, a skeletal King in Red, and an economic firm that governs commerce based on a soul rather than gold standard (as in, pieces of one's soul are the literal coinage of the realm). these cinematically painted images are tossed in front of the reader like scattered coins so effortlessly that watching the author pick them back up again and pocket all these seemingly throw-away ideas into vital parts of the narrative is masterful. AND some characters happen to not be straight, AND AND some happen to not be white, and who they are and who they love is, again, part of the plot and not just a haphazard colors-of-benetton random choice. the story is a little slower in some places than the impeccable Three Parts Dead, but just as well-written. i almost didn't miss that first book's heroine in getting wrapped into this one - turns out that Serpents has absolutely nothing to do with the prior book, other than that they clearly have happened in the same world, so feel free to read out of order....more
'Night's Master' - 4* - a collection of linked myth tales about the darkest of demon lords and his manipulation games with humanity, the first in this'Night's Master' - 4* - a collection of linked myth tales about the darkest of demon lords and his manipulation games with humanity, the first in this series reads more like a vintage mythology book than a plot-driven fantasy novel, and that's a wonderful thing. vain kings, wicked sorceresses, blind seers, and lovers of all stripes have their lives cracked and shaped by their collisions with Azhrarn's power. by the end, little pieces of story that were dropped in the beginning get picked back up and placed into a satisfying conclusion that's all about the subtle delicacy of her writing craft. Lee's lushly dreamy language was already well-honed, despite this being one of her earlier books....more
after a pair of somewhat lighter historical-fantasy-romances (albeit, ones with a darker undercurrent in the form of nasty villains), the series divesafter a pair of somewhat lighter historical-fantasy-romances (albeit, ones with a darker undercurrent in the form of nasty villains), the series dives much more deeply into that dark tone with the 3rd installment. Hobson has apparently completed the tale of the delightfully-named Dreadnought Stanton and his dirt-witch bride, moving on to tell the story of the couples' youngest son here. from the get-go, the main character is a pretty gawd-awful jerk (his willful carelessness likely killed his elder brother's favorite horse), but again, the interesting little twists on both the world Hobson has built for these interesting people to walk through and their own personal foibles keeps being engaging. there's a lot going on here (Tesla and his super secretive factory, the remains of the magic rock system, a whackadoo preacher, some "cursed" children), and with the book ending on an almost-cliffhanger, we're left wondering how much of it is red herrings or real plot anchors....more