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Tag: book reviews

[Book Review] Ganymede by Cherie Priest

With NaNoWrimo now over, we now return to our normal broadcasting like book reviews!
Cherie Priest‘s fourth novel set in the Clockwork Century Universe deals with the city of New Orleans, Texas, Air Pirates, Zombis and a submarine called Ganymede.
Several characters from the other books make their appearance in this book from Seattle Crew from Boneshaker (which has just been optioned to be made into a movie) to new characters.
And, for the most part it works and for the most part it does not.

[Book Review] Trading in Danger (Vatta's War #1)

Trade and Profit.”
Elizabeth Moon‘s Trading in Danger revolves around Ky Vatta and her unnerving ability for picking up stray puppies only to have them bite her in end. Thankfully, Ky does not stay like this throughout her adventures. Ky’s adventure begins with her expulsion from the military academy for helping out a student only to have it backfire in the end and because of the bad press she is whisked back to her parents.  The Vatta Family is in the transporting business and quickly before she can rest her on her laurels for too long her family gives her a simple assaignment to return an old cargo ship to the junk yard to get her out of the newspapers limeline only to find other problems afoot.
The characters of the book are enjoyable from the emotionally wounded/inexperienced Ky to her babysitters and her crew. The villains actions are felt and for time being are shadowy at least until their story continues in book #2. Ky’s parents and extended family never come in on a white horse to save her and even when that does happen the white knight is not the helping hand Ky wants.
The book is a relative fast read due to the fact it’s not hard core science fiction and is relatively straight forward in it’s universe building.  There are several moments when the religious angle pops up but Moon does overburden the reader.  The universe created is one any reader can enjoy even if they don’t enjoy science fiction because the hard science is kept to a minimum and there aren’t any aliens to worry about.
The overall plot is kept simple and while many of the characters are set up they appear briefly for now until the next book when many of the plots are expanded upon.
In the end, it was a fun read and I recommend it.

[Book Review] Game of Thrones

Winter is coming.”
George R.R. Martin‘s Game of Thrones premiers this Sunday on HBO. And, yes, you’re too late to go out and buy the first book now and finish it by 9pm tomorrow night.
It’s great to see cable channels taking chances on adaptations of books you wouldn’t normally see. Ultimately, adaptations can be tricky game of either sticking too close to the source material or not at all. HBO’s True Blue strayed a bit keeping one character alive for the last few seasons while The Walking Dead on AMC stayed close but strayed a bit and did not turn out so bad even if a few crowed about the lackluster writing at points. The Dark Tower is next on the list.
So what makes Game of Thrones different then say Camelot which continues to wet our midieval whistle on Starz or BBC’s Merlin or Robin Hood?
Simply put: Game of Thrones is a medieval Sopranos where death, sex, scheming and power threatens everyone.

[Book Review] Moon Called

God damned creatures of the night! They never learn!
Patricia Briggs‘s Moon Called had been sitting in my iBook Queue for a while so I decided to take a break from the sci-fi I had been reading and enjoyed some urban fantasy.
Moon Called is the first novel in the Mercy Thompson series that follows around our native american heroine while she fixes cars, gets into trouble with werewolves, vampires and russian witches. For urban fantasy it’s fairly lightweight and that’s what makes this novel a fun read since it does not over extend it’s reach. Mercy’s abilities to shift into a coyote is set up quickly enough and used sparingly not to become crutch. Her world shares several themes from Charlaine Harris’s books: The Fae have come out to humanity since forensic science, the internet and such have progressed enough to find them while the Vampires and Werewolves have stayed in the closet. Werewolves take the center stage since Mercy lives behind Adam, the Alpha Male of the Washington State Pack of Werewolves and the tension between Mercy, Adam and her werewolf teenage crush is great since Mercy is not part of pack and the Werewolves fight over her.
The over aching plot keeps itself neat and clean to an extent: Someone kills Mercy’s new garage helper, kidnaps Adam’s daughter and attempts to send the Vampires and Werewolves at war with each other. The book is not without it’s downside: Towards the end before the big finale, the plot does get a little too muddled since it involves too many people to remember and a Clan Name Guide is needed but the plot threads are tied up nicely in the end and the characters are interesting enough to warrant picking up the next book.
Overall, if you enjoy Kat Richardson’s and Seanan Mcguire’s takes on urban fantasy I’d recommend the Mercy Thompson series.

[Book Review] The Dead Men: Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

Full disclosure: Lee Goldberg posted about the book and asking for reviews and here we are...
The Dead Men: Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin follows a map that horror fans know all too well since Stephen King, Dean Koontz and others have already blazed. An ordinary person experiences something horrifying/extraordinary that changes his life. In the case of our protagnist Matthew Cahill’s life goes from being great to frozen dead, to alive to worse and for lack of a better word, shenanigans ensue.
The plot bounces back and forth a bit in time between the past and present until for the climax is sticks firmly in the present. The adventures of the widowed Cahill begin with his firing from the local saw mill, follow his blossoming relationship with fellow saw mill employee Rachel Owens while his continuing misadventures with Andy Goodis who used to be the high school screw up and continues even after they both get fired from their jobs as a result of downsizing by machine integration and Andy’s antics.
The plot begins to set up the sleepy town in Washington State where Cahill and his friends live in just long enough giving the reader a quick overview of minor characters and how their futures will end up. Unfortunately, as the screws twist, we find out many of their futures will not end so bright and cheery.
There start to be two villains in this story, the first being the big bad supernatural styled villain that King, Koontz and other horror writers have written so well in the past called Mr. Dark. The other being a medical school which I throughly enjoyed until the medical school is quickly dropped in favor of Mr. Dark.
Mr. Dark while is great to read, the check and balances of the real world get left behind quite quickly, possibly too quickly. I was half expecting the university to trying to get Matt back or someone in the Police Department to investigate Matt’s situation, after leaving two crime scenes and being best friends with Andy. Overall, these facts are throughly ignored so the runaway plot can roll down the hill towards the unsuspecting school children.
Overall, it’s a good read and never gets too descriptive for it’s own good. A brisk read at best and when the next book comes out I’ll be reading it to see how Goldberg & Rabkin takes the characters.

[Book Review] Newton's Wake

Newton’s Wake by Ken MacLeod has some good ideas and interesting characters within it’s pages but in the end it can’t find an ending or a villain to cheer for when the good guys possibly win the day.
Taking place in the future where singularities, faster than light travel and backing yourself up before going out on a dangerous mission the story is quite simple: A group of combat archeologists find a world named Eurydice that was cut off from Earth after a devastating war and bit by bit everyone from Knights of Enlightenment to AOL Off Line to the Korean Republic to intelligent machines show up.
The beginning of it turns out rather well, one of the archeologists, Lucinda Carlyle is captured and separated from the group and is introduced to a culture around her. Turns out her family owns a expanse called the Skien that allows for wormhole travel. Along the way two musicians are raised from the dead at the request for a promoter so he can produce one of his off the wall musicals that from the sound of it could have been a book all by their own. With the news of Earth still existing he sees the flavor of the month.
Somewhere along the way the evil war machines someone should be worried about finally show up and then and….I suddenly I realized by the time I got three quarters of the way through this book and I did not care.