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April 4th, 2017

11:23 am - With the latests changes
Not sure if anyone wants to make sure they have copies of any of the reviews they have done if they are still interested in keeping a copy of it. 

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July 14th, 2010

10:38 pm - Reminder notice
To anyone still on this list, at anytime you feel like it you can post reviews of books or series you think other people would like.

Hopefully this will blow some cobwebs off the list and maybe some of us will start using it again.

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March 10th, 2009

02:41 pm - Rebel Fay - Barb and CJ Hendee

There's really not a whole lot of action in this book compared to previous books in the series.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing as the plot advances further in one novel than it has in any two others.

But it's still hampered by a writing style that I find a bit irritating.  It's always tell, don't show.  And the characters don't TALK to each other in ways that most human beings that I know do.

Sappy, sentimental, sometimes contrived, it's still interesting enough for me to not downgrade it to 2 stars - which is "I regret buying this".

But like very other book in the series, if you haven't started it, it's not worth slogging through the previous books to get to this one.  But if you have, it's still worth continuing.

Current Location: A Secure, Undisclosed Location
Current Mood: boredbored
Current Music: Rush - Prime Mover

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February 17th, 2009

12:04 pm - Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds

Part mystery, part action, all hard sci-fi. 

Like his previous book (Revelation Space), Reynolds tends to interweave events from previous times into one narrative.  Unlike his first book, however, this one doesn't jump around illogically and in fact, the transitions between time and place are seamless in the greater narrative.

This book is related to, but not a direct sequel, to Revelation Space.  And you can read this one as a stand alone novel without any issues.  It's one of the more self-contained books in a series that I've read in a while. 

The universe is still pretty grim, but the characters in this one are easier to empathize with than in the previous book.  You find yourself liking them and cheering for them, rather than being an observer dragged along for the ride.

I liked it, and if you're up for some hard science fiction, this is a pretty good read.

And I can't wait to see how he develops the universe.  It's shaping up to be pretty interesting.

Current Location: A Secure, Undisclosed Location
Current Mood: boredbored
Current Music: Live - The Dam at Otter Creek

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February 9th, 2009

12:02 pm - Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

This is an interesting book.  It's hard sci-fi in an interesting, but pretty dark future.  The characters are reasonably well developed, and the plot takes some dips and dives that you aren't really expecting.  Or at least I wasn't. 

It's not fast paced, and it's eventual action scenes aren't cliffhangers or page turners, but it's well written for the most part.

About the only thing that I didn't like about it is the disjointed timeline of the narrative.  Flashbacks (appropriate to the story, and in context) abound, especially in the earlier parts of the book.  They lead to some confusion from time to time, but for the most part, disrupt the clean flow of the book.

Well written, interesting read.  It's a long book, so you have to WANT to read something interesting but relatively slow paced, or you're likely to not appreciate it.

3/5 stars

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January 14th, 2009

11:35 am - Sister of the Dead: Noble Dead Series 1, Book 3 by Barb Hendee

This is the third book in the first series of books by author's Barb and CJ Hendee.  They are fantasy novels set in a passable world.  It's essentially "super heroine" with anger issues battles undead with her "ultra good hearted" half-elf boyfriend and their "fey" dog companion.  The characters are decent, if not very communicative with each other - living too much in their own heads, and not talking to each other about things that most people would think were important.  The action is decent, the characters, plot, and meta-plot are interesting, but the writing needs work.

Hendee lapses into the same problems that she had in the first book, where she tells rather than shows a lot of the backstory, and has flashbacks at some inappropriate times that mess with the story's flow.

It's an easy read, but not a fast one (because of the flashback mess).  If you've gotten far enough in the series to get to this book, and need another cheesy vampire-hunter novel to read, keep going. 

If you haven't started the series and don't need cheesy vampire-hunting, this third book pretty much clinches that the first three as a group probably aren't worth the purchase unless you like this sort of thing.

It's good enough to keep going through the series as I run out of other things to read, but not good enough to start fresh if I had to do it over again.  I'll let you know if later books change my opinion.

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January 13th, 2009

11:48 am - Starting off 2008 with "Night Angel"
Well, since nobody has posted anything yet for 2009, I thought I should contribute.

At the end of 2008 and the first few days of 2009, I read a series of books called, "Night Angel", that I'm going to review here as a single entity.

Each book is long, coming in around 700 pages each, but doesn't have much in it that isn't pertinent to the story.  While each book is fairly self-contained, this is definitely a series that NEEDS to be read as a trilogy.

It's basically the story of a street kid, Azoth, who looks for an out from his horrible life by becoming a Wetboy.  They're kind of like an assassin, but they don't miss.  He apprentices to Durzo Blint, a lengendary killer, and over the course of the first book grows and develops as both a man and as a killer in his own right.  It's got an Empire Strikes Back type ending, where the heroes succeed, but don't win, and it leaves you wanting more.

The second book has Azoth (now known as Kylar), conflicted about his profession, and trying to figure out how to do the right thing in a world gone mad.  He's missing his best friend and his mentor, and is trying to come to terms with his newfound powers.

The third book is a story that has all of the surviving characters in pursuit of redemption for lives that didn't go the way that they wanted.  It somehow manages all of this without becoming maudlin or having people regret the choices that they made in their lives that put them in need of redemption in the first place. 

All in all, these are some of the most realistic characters and relationships that I've ever come across in any series.  The setting is gritty and dark, but in a way that provides perspective.  It doesn't hide the depths of the human soul, but it revels in the lofty heights of strong character, faith, and love.

There's a bit of deus ex machina where unexpected "cavalry" arrives to save the day, but no more than in most epic fantasy.  Kylar is far from the perfect hero, and far from undefeatable.  Which makes him all the more realistic.  Lots of plot twists and turns, and things that don't make sense early on fit perfectly into the final story tapestry.

I read these books and I was humbled.  Not only is this a story that I really enjoyed reading, but it was one that I wanted to write.  But Brent Weeks craftsmanship is of such a high level, that I'm not sure that I've got the imagination and skill to pull it off.

These books are a definite read, and they're even available in the UK.

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October 11th, 2007

03:43 pm - Tap Tap Tap

Is this thing on? We really need to start using this thing again. And maybe pimp it out on our friends list to get more  suckers victims readers onto the group.

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March 21st, 2007

09:59 pm - The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson
So I picked this one up at Borders the other day, and finished it that night. Suffice it to say, it's pure fun. Pettersson's debut effort, it features some of my favorite hallmarks of this particular brand of horror/fantasy fiction. She's got a smartass heroine who likes to beat up on badguys, a couple of male hotties for virtual ogling and a perfect setting in the artificial light of the Vegas strip.

But those standard ingredients aren't why I loved this book. I loved this book for two reasons:

1. Superheroes and comic books play a major role in her story, and that's just cool

2. Her heroine is dark, really dark. We get actual emotional depth from her, from true sadness, to anger, to introspection, to lust. It's rare to see a range of emotions from an ass-kicking heroine. Lately it seems like we just get to see them vaccilate between their versions of power-boosting anger and bone melting lust. Pettersson lets us see the hurt girl that still lingers in her character, and that's a nice change.

Anyway, it's pure fun. The first in a series. Don't know when book two is coming out.

Current Mood: amusedamused

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February 21st, 2007

04:12 pm - Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
Yes, I'm finally posting a review. Please don't fall over with a heart attack. :)

I a d o r e Guy Gavriel Kay's work. His latest, Ysabel, is no exception. Ysabel is basically a not-quite-dark bedtime story about the 15-year old son of a famous photographer who accompanies his father to France and gets...sucked into a love triangle over two millenia old.

In my opinion, quality of storytelling just doesn't get better than Guy Gavriel Kay. His prose manages to walk that razor line between overly poetic and just not pretty enough. I never fail to fall in love with his characters, and he is a true master at weaving fantasy in with reality and vice versa.

So. Check out Ysabel. And then once you're hooked, check out the rest of Guy Gavriel Kay's work.


Current Location: home, on the floor in front of the couch
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: vacuum cleaner

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