Sunday, December 29, 2013

POV Book Review


Chris Bosnahan

HarperCollins UK, Digital

Pub Date: Sep 26 2013

3/5 Stars

               Writing this review of POV, has been really difficult.  I found myself belaboring the fact that the book was very short but also inexpensive.  The book was a product of National Novel Writing Month(Nanorimo) in which participants are set to write 50,000 words in a month.  Most professional, published writers use this as a kind of exercise, never publishing what comes out of it.  Or they use it as a way to generate some cool ideas that they MAY use.  But this book wasn’t self published it was published by HarperCollins UK, so who am I to judge it based on that.

               So I decided to judge it for what it was only and not take any of those of considerations into account.  That’s all I can do as a reviewer…  So here we go;  the main story POV, is very short, but well paced.  The characters are somewhat well fleshed out except that the two or three changes in perspective can be a little jarring in a story that short.  But again, the story is paced very well, giving the reader the feel of watching a movie or a television episode rather than reading a book.  I would have liked to see the middle of the sotyr developed more as it stands it seems like the story he wrote for the contest with no additions.  People don’t do that with their stuff for Nanrimo and I hope this author didn’t either.  But the brevity of the entire work certainly hurts it.

              The other three stories; Warning, Happy Pills, and The Knight in the Library were good short stories.  But a strange inclusion here as they had nothing to do with the main story whatsoever.  So being bonus content they were a nice addition.  However, having one reasonably long story that seemed like more than a novella, would have also been nice.  If you’re interested in POV, it’s very reasonably priced, so go a head and give it a try.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Reaver the Sundering Book IV Book Review

The Reaver

Richard Lee Byers

Wizards of the Coast

Pub Date: Feb 4 2014

5/5 Stars


               Reaver is an incredible book.  Not so much for the story, although I did really love the story.  But the way that the author takes great pains in bringing the point of view of all of his main characters to bear throughout the work.  I was often delighted and surprised by it the frequency at which the point of view character changed.  Sometimes only for a chapter, sometimes for more than a chapter.  Obviously Anton was the main character of the book, but the way that the perspective shifted the reader might think that Stedd or even Umara might be main characters.  The reason, that this was important was that the motivations and certainly the off stage actions of these point of view characters were essential to the story and made the entire narrative much richer for having them.

             This was a very well written work with an interesting plot and some wonderful characters, I was also happy to see that some evil gods were finally added to the Sundering’s reveal of Chosens.  It was getting rather boring with just the good aligned gods being represented.  Also, speaking of boring if I never read about the Morning Lord again it will be too soon.  I will be very happy if that particular god is no longer represented in this series or it is simply explained why he is being represented so often.  He is not a deity I remember from the pre-Spellplague Faerun and therefore seems completely trivial to me.  Except that this is the second book to  cast him as the main deity.   One was enough, two is starting to make me think there is more to this than simple coincidence and that’s fine as long as there is.

             The only things that annoyed me about this book were it’s slow start and the use of, “Spell and sword.”  And “Magic and blade.”  These are both used too often(more than once) and I found the phrases incredibly annoying.  The slow start might have been necessary for some characterization but I felt the first 20% or so of the book could have been tightened up a little.  Otherwise, I really loved this book and hope that the rest of the books in the series of the same quality you will find here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fiddlehead Book Review


Cherie Priest

Tor Books

(November 12, 2013)

4/5 Stars

            The first book that I’d read of Cherie Priest’s like most people, was Boneshaker.  I found it a pretty good read, the end was a bit rushed and the middle was a bit long.  But for an author’s first book it was amazing.  This book, Fiddlehead, is the final book in the series of the Clockwork Century and it is the second book of Cherie Priest’s I’ve read.  Which I thought was both ironic and kind of crazy.  It also took me almost a month to read this 348 page book.  Which usually means that the book is terrible and I’m having trouble getting through it.  But actually, it was because the book was so good that I had to take my time reading it.  I usually rush through the good books at lightning speed to find out how they end.  But not in this case, from the first chapter sample I was able to read.  I knew I would enjoy this book.

            Unfortunately, the book had some issues.  Pacing being the chief among them.  I was a little put off by some of the beginning and almost all of the middle.  I felt that the book moved unnecessarily slowly.  But that the story that it was ultimately telling was interesting and compelling.  I would venture to say that around the 60% mark the book falls into it’s own and I was completely riveted.  Also trying to prevent myself from reading the rest too quickly simply because I knew that this was it.  I would never be able to read about Gideon Bardsley and his wonderful machine.  I loved Gideon and while in the beginning of the book he seemed like a character of unresolvable discrepancies;  in the end he came together and became one of the strongest characters in the book.  Again the beginning and the middle of the book could have been a bit better.

              Finally, I would like to suggest to any fan of the Clockwork Century series that this is an excellent book and if you haven’t already read it to do so.  For those, like me who have only read Boneshaker… Perhaps reading the other books in the series first will give a new gravity to this one.  You certainly won’t be lost; but then, that isn’t always the only reason to read the previous books in a series.  There are certainly characters from other books in there.  So it is well worth really knowing who these people are before reading this book.  But if you really don’t want to take your chances on the other books or for some reason you can only find this book; you will still love it.  Certainly, Fiddlehead is the best Steampunk book I’ve read this year and I read Boneshaker this year.  So Cherie Priest has certainly done a fair job of outdoing even herself, with this book.

This is Embarrassing… I think?

       So in an effort to create for a you a timely experience.  I’ve been reading some newer books as well as older ones from the year.  The older is obviously easier to get a hold of and the newer sometimes can be a little expensive.  By this time tomorrow or before there should be a new review from Cherie Priest’s book Fiddlehead.  This book has taken me almost a month to read and I’m sorry it has taken so long.  Also, I’ve had some technical difficulties(my computer died) but those have been resolved as well.  So I’m sorry this has all taken so long but we will be getting our mess cleaned up shortly.  And expect this to not be the normal course of business around here.  Thanks…

                                 Timothy Pecoraro

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sword and Laser Author Interviews FTW!

            So I know you guys are really interested in content.  So here is some.  It's not mine.  But hey, Sword and Laser needs your love and they do a REALLY good job!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Celebromancy Book Review


Michael R. Underwood

Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Pub Date: Jul 15 2013

3/5 Stars

           The problem I usually have with Urban Fantasy(Dresden aside of course), is that it seems entirely unbelievable.  It seems like everyone would be running for the hills or people would just find out.  Because that kind of thing would definitely have a way of being found out.  In the world of Celebromancy there is the “Doubt.”  Which keeps people from believing the impossible things are happening.  Especially as time goes on from those impossible things.  Which seems like a great way of handling it.  I wouldn’t argue with Michael Underwood’s world building, but I might with his storytelling.  Celebromancy is a very short book to seem as long as it did for me.  Having not read the previous book in the series I was pleasantly surprised that I was caught up pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, this seemed more to do with the lack of depth on the story’s part rather than any actual catching up a new a reader.  The book is shallow, badly paced, and had a final 25% that made up for the rest of the book.  Yes, I said it, I liked the book just because of that last 25%.  The rest of the book was just a long, boring, dance waiting to get there.  I can put up with a lot of world building, tension building, characterization, etc… But when you simply wander around for the majority of the book and them come out with an excellent final act.  It makes me believe that rather than a novel this should have been a novella or a short story.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Abominable Book Review


By Dan Simmons

Little Brown and Co.

October 22,2013

1/5 Stars


        As a writer you are taught a few things right off the bat.  Things that publishers and editors will never deal with.  Things such as too much exposition and a plot that moves too slowly to engage the reader.  Also, you are taught that if you promise the reader something you had better make good on your promise.  It is the idea of Chekov’s gun, “If you put a gun on the mantle piece in act 1, you better fire it at some point.”

      I would like to submit to you, my fine reader; that Dan Simmons has actually made every single one of these mistakes as well as a few more in Abominable.  An aptly titled work, not for the story but for the quality of it.  I will begin by telling you that under no circumstances would I recommend reading this book and I was not furnished with it by the publisher.  So I’m $12 in the hole here.  I’m hoping to make sure you aren’t.  There will be SPOILERS and I try not to do this but in this case it is necessary so.  If you don’t want to be spoiled, then STOP READING THIS REVIEW NOW!  But if you are going to follow my advice and not read the book or you don’t care about spoilers please continue.


      The first problem I have with this book is simple.  It is TERRIBLY BORINGLY LONG!  The book wears out it’s welcome while talking about Alpine style mountain climbing circa 1925 for the first 400 pages!  Yes, you get to read about how they did it in old days for 400 glorious pages.  Thanks Mr.Simmons, but no thanks.  This I might have been able to muster if the work then, around 429 didn’t tantalize you with stories about yetis only to drop the subject completely only a couple of pages later.  Obviously trying to foreshadow future events…  But not really…

       Second, the author decides that the characters in it are so interesting and exciting that every time we learn some new fact about one particular character named, Deacon.  The entire conversation and paragraph should stop as if to say, “Dun, dun, dun…”  There is an entire section near the end of the book where there are people hunting our four main characters and we find out that Deacon is a Buddhist and the entire book stops while he talks about why and how he became one.  Making us think this is somehow important or interesting.  I could have left Deacon completely alone considering how poorly characterized he was and he certainly fails in his mentorship of Jake Perry our main character so I’m not entirely sure why as a reader we should have cared one iota about Deacon.  But Dan Simmons obviously loved him to death.

        Third, the entire book is told in limited 3rd person until we reach Part 3 which is around 500 pages in and then the author switches to first person.   The problem is that the author’s conceit about the book is that it’s a found journal.  I’ve never known anyone to write a journal in third person and the author even highlights this himself in the introduction to part 3 by trying to explain why 2/3 of the book was written that way.  It was sloppy and the book’s story up until that point was so unnecessary that it could have and probably should have started with Part 3

        Fourth, the book breaks a fundamental promise to the reader.  This book is a horror book where there will be yetis.  Many reviews have talked about the reader feeling as if, for some reason this should have been a horror book and it wasn’t.  That’s because the author basically plays a Scooby Doo on the reader.  Except that in Scooby Doo you are EXPECTING the monsters not to be real.  It is supposed to be a mystery.  This book’s lead up was framed in such a way that it made the mystery be the excuse for the story not the reason for it.  Unfortunately, the author was actually trying to make you believe that the mystery was the book.  He acknowledges this many times in Part 3.  And the worst part about this is that the reader never sees this coming.  Part 3 begins on page 444 of a 663 page book.  Which means that by the time the reader realizes that he/she has been duped they figure they might as well read through the rest of the book.

          Finally, I would like to say that this book is the most unimaginative drivel that I’ve ever had to waste 663 pages of reading on.  It was like watching a bad made for TV movie, where there wasn’t the budget for monsters so they had to make them imaginary.  And better still, in made for TV movie style the villains were Nazis.  The actual text and plot of this book don’t even pertain to the subject of this blog but I was reviewing it because other publications had the book in their best of October 2013 features.  It isn’t horror, science fiction, or fantasy.  It’s historical adventure fiction and horrible adventure fiction at that.  I’ve read worse books this year, but none from award winning authors and none that were so terribly long!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Grimm Fairy Tales” Robyn Hood: Wanted Graphic Novel Book Review

Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood: Wanted

Larry Watts

Diamond Book Distributors


Pub Date   Nov 19 2013

3/5 Stars

         When I picked this up it was because I had been meaning to get into the Grimm Fairy Tales series for quite a while.  I heard a lot of good things about it; and thought this one might be the place to start.  Grimm Fairy Tales comics are basically the theme or idea of a fairy tale or traditional archetype world and hero and put them into our world.  They are kind of like urban fantasy comic books.  This one keeps shifting from a medieval Nottingham and a modern day city.  Eventually the two worlds collide and madness ensues.  It’s not a bad story, if a little predicable.  I really liked the cover art.  All the covers are full page layouts in the back of the book.  But the panel art itself, I found a bit lackluster and much to light in most places.  I was a little put off by how much pastel seemed to be used in this book.

        Overall, a fun book.  But with stuff like Fables out there; I think they have a long way to go to compete.

Evil Ernie Volume 1: Origin of Evil Graphic Novel Book Review

Evil Ernie Volume 1

Origin of Evil
Jesse Snyder and Tim Seeley

Diamond Book Distributors

Dynamite Entertainment

Pub Date   Dec 31 2013

2/5 Stars

      As a side note here I would just like to say that I really like reviewing graphic novels and while the site has been a little light on them in the past I’m hoping to do more of them.  If anyone would like to contact me about reviewing their graphic novel please email me at  Thanks…



              Evil Ernie is a horror based comic that stars a serial killer as a demonic kind of “hero.”  Who is basically just out to do one gorey thing after another until you’re just sick to death of it.  The art is good in places in this six issue volume.  But not anything overly impressive.  I was also a bit put off by the reasoning of the whole book.  I guess there really was none, but I would have appreciated a little more in department of explanation.  Lord knows they had the room to do it.  I suppose that’s my problem with the series in general.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough connective story tissue holding all the gore together to make me care what happens next.  Also, ripping off the Watchmen smiley face button seems kind of poor taste to me.

            I would not under and circumstances purchase this volume.  But if you are a fan of the series, you get six issues, some behind the scenes writing that may or may not appear in the comics.  Also, there are some covers in the back of the volume as well.  All full page and all very well done.  The best thing about this set are the extras.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders Book Review

Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders

Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

Amazon Publishing

Pub Date: Jul 2 2013

3/5 Stars


         Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is a tale set in the frame work of the old adventure stories.   Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow the movie is an obvious example of this or even Indiana Jones.  But the problem with Romulus Buckle is not the setting or the way the story was told.  No the problem, is Romulus himself.  He is a very broadly drawn hero character.  He kills but feels bad about it, he has a forbidden love, and a strict obligation to his family.  If any of these had been really expanded upon I think the book would have been excellent.  He is just an archetype, a plot device, he moves things forward.  There are far too many crew members in this relatively short book to even remember all their names.  This too is a little bit of a problem toward the end.  The author must have been aware of this because during what is supposed to be poignant funeral scene the names of the dead aren’t even mentioned.  I really loved the two characters Sabrina and Max.  Both women were incredibly well characterized and both had exciting and interesting backstories with the author going deeply into both their emotional motivations and their thoughts about things.  Perhaps these two characters should have taken the place of old Romulus Buckle.  Because they were certainly the real captains of this story.  Even if he was the Captain of his airship.  While Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is by far one of the most steampunky books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  It certainly needed a little more focus on it’s story and while the early climax might have been fine in theory.  In practice, I think it bogged down the rest of the book just when the plot was starting to get interesting.

             I also think that the book’s beginning was a bit too long.  The lead up to the climax was far too uninteresting and while there was a certain aspect of all these people joining together to go on this mission.  As the reader one knows very little about the world or it’s characters to begin with for us to care about new people so close to the beginning.  While there was a definite need for those people to be there, perhaps adding them in a more interesting way or perhaps making they, themselves more interesting characters would have worked better for what seems like a very plodding first half.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Last to Rise Book Review

Last to Rise

Francis Knight

Orbit Books

Pub Date: Nov 26 2013

4/5 Stars

         “Goddess save me from idiots and holy men..”

                                                      Rojan, Last to Rise.


       I have to admit that Last to Rise was a very anticipated novel for me.  It is the third and as far as I know final book in a trilogy of books, which the first one was Fade to Black which came out back in January of this year.  Yes an entire trilogy in a year.  The book, as part of the trilogy is amazing.  Everything is coming to a head, the Storad are at the gate; literally.  Things are going to get much worse before they get better.  The story is well handled and while there are new characters introduced.  None shine as brightly as the characters who have been there from the beginning.  I find myself at a loss when I talk about Last to Rise because with the trilogy over I mostly think about the trilogy as a whole.  Nothing ends the way one might expect and I have to admit Last to Rise has one of the best Epilogues I’ve ever read.  No matter what Francis Knight writes next, I definitely NEED to read it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Unbound Book Preview(First 8 Chapters)

The Unbound

Victoria Schwab


January 28, 2014


        Unbound starts right from where the Archived left off.  I love books that do that.  But what’s more, if you haven’t read the Archived you are pretty much fully updated by the time you hit around chapter 3 or 4.  Which is also excellent.  As much as I really enjoyed the Archived I have to say that this book seems even better.  Being introduced to more characters and potentially having Mackenzie getting into even more trouble.  Seems like a definite plus for not only this book but the series.  All the great stuff is back from the Archived.  The Histories, the Archives, Wesley(yes girls, I know), and even more emotionally engaging dramatic stuff that this series is definitely known for.  I have to say that I would put this author’s dialog scenes against anyone else in the world.  They are engaging, interesting, and emotionally charged in a way that you really get to care about the characters.  I cannot wait to read the rest of this book.  As much as I loved the Archived, I can only imagine how much better this book will be.  If you want to read the first 8 chapters for yourself head over here.  And read them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Star Wars Lockdown Book Review

Lockdown: Star Wars (Maul)

Joe Schreiber

Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra


Pub Date   Jan 21 2014

3/5 Stars


     The premise of Darth Maul Lockdown is an incredibly interesting one.  A pre-Phantom Menace Darth Maul is set to a prison colony where he must not reveal his true identity in order to get to a arms dealer who is supposedly going to allow him to make some kind unique deal.  The whole thing made more complicated by the fact that he cannot use his force abilities.  Also, the prison colony holds fights between prisoners that are bet on and televised.  All of this makes for one pressure cooker of a story.  Except it doesn’t…

      The book is too long to support it’s story and I won’t spoil anything here but the last 25% of the book is better than the other 75%.  There are numerous characters introduced, point of view characters change repeatedly.  The book feels like it needed another couple of final edits.  In fact, one of the most interesting characters in the entire book seems to be revealed from no where when the book is 2/3 of the way finished.  I found myself wondering why we as readers had to suffer through this incredibly boring preamble to the good part of the book.  Only for the book to quite abruptly end.  And I do mean abruptly.  I would have either liked to read another one hundred pages with this new character or simply had the boring middle part of the book be replaced by this.  I also felt that the attempt to make Darth Maul a kind of anti-hero also fell pretty flat.  Especially in the end when it seems like he had no character arc.  So if he wasn’t supposed to be the hero, making him a little more villainous might have been a better move.  Not that he wasn’t villainous at times in the book.  But over all, as I said it seemed like the author was trying to make him an anti-hero.  I haven’t read a Star Wars book in a little while so I was eager to read this.  I’m glad I read it, but it certainly could have been a better book.  The author proved that in the last 25%.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Hangman’s Replacement Book Review

The Hangman’s Replacement

Taona D. Chiveneko

Chiveneko Publishing Inc

(January 15, 2013)

2/5 Stars

        The Hangman’s Replacement starts off extremely strong with an interesting story about how Abul has left his family and headed to the city to procure a job and thereby getting them not only a livable wage but health care as well.  This character is fascinating and the story while certainly odd and somewhat amusing held my interest for the beginning of the book.

        Then the book devolves into a series of stories with a series of characters both fleshed out and barely mentioned.  It does this in the service of the overarching story about these fire lilies that have apparently acquired a taste for human flesh and what is to be done about them.  This too would have been interesting had the story settled for this.  In the interests of some kind of misguided characterization, characters that the reader barely has met go off on tangents about everything from adultery to organ harvesting.  I was less than interested in the majority of these stories.  And this type of top down storytelling with no real regard for a character driven story might have worked in the past but today it appears as what it can only be called,”a relic.”

      I would like to say that I have hopes for further books in the series.  But after reading this book, I have no interest in this topic or story at all anymore.  This may have been a good book, if the author could have just created one character and told the entire story through them.  Rather than trying to create what amounts to a short story collection with an overarching theme.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Archived Book Review

The Archived

Victoria Schwab

Hyperion Book CH;

January 22, 2013

5/5 Stars

        While the Archived did come out way back in January.  I know that the sequel is coming out soon so I decided to give it a try.  After all, I was thoroughly in love with Victoria Schwab’s last book Vicious.  So I figured, why not.

         Why not, indeed.  The Archived is an incredible book.  It does Young Adult in a way that I have almost never seen before.  It skirts the tropes and creates instead something better from them.  There are lots of spoilers if I start naming off the things I loved about what the book did, in spite of being a YA title, so you’ll just have to read the book for yourself.  What I can say, is that the author has a created one of the strongest, most believable, 1st person point of views I perhaps have ever read.  Also, she has an incredible second perspective in the 1st person by using her memories of previous events to inform what she is talking about now.  It is absolutely amazing and as far as I know unique.  I would love to steal this but it is impossible.  Because, her signature is all over it.  I loved it.

          By the time I reached the end of the book, I was completely enthralled.  It is not a matter of whether or not I will buy the next book in the series.  It is more a question of how fast I’ll finish it.  For an EXCELLENT YA read you CANNOT go wrong with the Archived. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter Book Review

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

Cassandra Rose Clarke

Angry Robot

Pub Date: Feb 7 2013

3/5 Stars

      The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a beautifully written book.  I was a bit surprised that it was written in third person limited point of view.  As it seemed like the perfect story for 1st person.  But this, I’m sure was the author’s choice to convey some of the scenes of description.  But the more powerful parts of the book definitely derived mostly from it’s emotion and the emotionally charged storytelling that went with it.  The plot was very predictable and while I was glad to see that it ended well.  It was nothing I hadn’t seen coming.  There is definitely nothing new about a person falling in love with a robot.  Or a robot appearing to have or actually having emotions.  But I think that this book was interesting in the way that it interwove some of these themes and devices together.  The author definitely did a good job of describing the world and setting through the storytelling and description.  I never felt like I was being given exposition or setting.  Which is quite and excellent feat considering the genre.  But in the end, I was done with the book long before the book was done.  I hope people who give this book a chance will feel otherwise because it was a well written and I’m sure well thought out book.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Adversary: The Sundering Book 3 Book Review

The Adversary

The Sundering, Book III

Erin M. Evans

Wizards of the Coast

Pub Date: Dec 3 2013

3/5 Stars

    Summary Time, “

In this third book of the Sundering series kicked off by R.A. Salvatore and the dark elf Drizzt, SCRIBE award-winning author Erin M. Evans thrusts her signature character Farideh into a maelstrom of devilish politics and magical intrigue that will have far-reaching implications for the future of the Forgotten Realms.
As the chaos of the Sundering rages around her, young warlock Farideh faces a more personal turmoil wrought by a deal she made with a devil years ago. Hoping to protect her twin sister, she leaves everything she holds dear to assist a wizard in a scheme that pits the devils of the Nine Hells against the gods above.
But when Farideh casts the spell to enter the wizard’s remote mountaintop fortress, she picks up a stowaway—a Harper agent named Dahl who isn’t so inclined to follow devilish demands. Dahl attempts to escape only to run into a village of odd people, lurking behind an impenetrable wall.
Forced to gaze into the villagers’ souls, Farideh points out the ones who seem different, only to watch as the wizard’s guard carts them off to fates unknown. Are these villagers or prisoners? Are they blessed or doomed by the gods? As the wizard’s guessing game proves more and more diabolical, Farideh resolves to unravel his secrets—even if it means she’ll lose her own soul to the Nine Hells.”


          The Adversary has a very slow pace.  The book introduced quite a few characters and only one that you really have any attachment to is Farideh and some what less so her sister Havillar.  The rest of the cast are quite forgettable and while some times these two tiefling warlocks are somewhat interesting and certainly some of the situations they are in could be classified as adventurous.  I would never classify either one as heroes necessarily.  They are just trying to survive a bad situation.  There seems to be quite a bit back story here that the author slowly dribbles in.  But nothing that really made me sit up and say, “Hey, I want to find out about that.”

        In fact, with the pages and pages of dialogue that never seemed to do too much except remind me how insufferable most of the characters are.  I was just thrilled when this book finally ended.  I really get the feeling that the later chapters in this book could be important to the series as a whole.  But the amount of time and effort getting to them, didn’t seem worth the wait.  I was really looking forward to this book and all I can say is that I hope the next book in the series is better.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ancillary Justice Book Review

Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie

Orbit (October 1, 2013

5/5 Stars

        A Summary, “On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren--a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose--to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.”


          Ancillary Justice starts with a bang and keeps going at an engaging clip all the way through.  The book is an incredible mix of action, intrigue, and a good dose of the mildly unexplainable.  I haven’t read a better Space Opera or even Science Fiction book in years.  To think that this is Ann Leckie’s first book makes my mind whorl at the thought of what her next book will be like.  This work is amazing and everyone who has ever even thought they liked Science Fiction should read it.  The characters, setting, and even the action sequences are so well laid out and structured that if I was going to teach a how to course in writing Science Fiction or ANY genre fiction I would use this book as my prime example.  I loved the book from beginning to end.  I would venture to say that John Scalzi’s throne might be threatened as greatest science fiction writer of the 21st century.  I cannot wait to see what Ann Leckie writes next.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Steelheart Book Review


Brandon Sanderson

Delacorte Press (September 24, 2013)

5/5 Stars

Summary for you, “Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.
But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.”


        Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson is one of the most original books I’ve read this year.  The whole superhero thing might be wearing thin considering how many authors in the last couple of years have embraced it.  But superheroes, dystopian futures, and love stories rarely seem to mix that well together.  Brandon Sanderson didn’t seem to have any trouble.  The fast paced story drives you along making the act of stopping and putting the book down an act of Epic proportion all in itself.  I loved the way the book was paced and the characters, while in some cases a little too shallow; but never so that you didn’t care about them or want to know more.  There certainly was a general lack of descriptive detail to a lot of his world building of Newcago.  But in the end the setting was really only the back drop for the events of the book and nothing more.  It was believable enough and perhaps more description would have slowed down the pace of the story too much.  I’m not sure, but Brandon Sanderson makes this masterful work look easy.  I can’t wait to read the next book.  And see what the continuing adventurers of the Reckoners are going to look like, and of course, what happens with Firefight(no spoilers….)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Shaman A Book Review


Kim Stanley Robinson

Orbit Sept 2013

4/5 Stars

       Summaries for everyone, “Kim Stanley Robinson, the New York Times bestselling author of science fiction masterworks such as the Mars trilogy and 2312, has, on many occasions, imagined our future. Now, in SHAMAN, he brings our past to life as never before.

There is Thorn, a shaman himself. He lives to pass down his wisdom and his stories -- to teach those who would follow in his footsteps.

There is Heather, the healer who, in many ways, holds the clan together.

There is Elga, an outsider and the bringer of change.

And then there is Loon, the next shaman, who is determined to find his own path. But in a world so treacherous, that journey is never simple -- and where it may lead is never certain.

SHAMAN is a powerful, thrilling and heartbreaking story of one young man's journey into adulthood -- and an awe-inspiring vision of how we lived thirty thousand years ago.”


         There is plenty to love about Shaman, especially the details that only people who have studied Neolithic or native cultures would catch.  The characters are well drawn and have their motivations laid out for the reader to explore.  I loved all of the crossroads of the real and unreal.  The supernatural realism almost drips from some of the pages of this book.  My usual opinion of the author is that his books are too long.  On this, Shaman does not stray.  Not that I would be the first in line to cut some of the things in the book; but there are certainly areas that could have been trimmed a little.  Also, while the beginning of the book does an excellent job of world building.  It is a bit slow.  While I wouldn’t have traded some of the details of the beginning of the book for anything.  Some of the more general readership picking up this work might not appreciate it or be as patient with the book as I was.  Perhaps, this would have been a good place to make cuts.  Anyway, this book is an excellent read for anyone looking some thing different.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Doctor Sleep (the Shining #2) Book Review

Doctor Sleep

By Stephen King

Scribner. September 2013

5/5 Stars

      Wow Mom, look at the Summary…”Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

        On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.”


     If you asked me what I remembered about the Shining.  I would have probably said, “REDRUM.”  Dan Torrance, his crazy father, the Overlook Hotel, and perhaps the topiary animals.  Some of that list comes from watching the movies; the Stanley Kubrick one and then the SyFy one.  This is mostly due to the fact that I read the Shining quite a few years ago and have never picked it up again.  I don’t generally reread books, even if they ARE written by Stephen King.  So I have been exposed to the movies much more recently.  Also, I saw a Ghost Hunters special at the hotel that the Overlook Hotel was based on, so that helped too.  I tell you all this dear reader, not to bore you, but to let you know that there isn’t much reason for you to go back and read the Shining before you read this book.  In fact, good old Stephen King has you covered there as well.  There are lots of call backs to the Shining in this book.  Enough that if you only read the wiki online and had never ACTUALLY read the Shining, I think you would be good.  Now that is out of the way, on to the book.

     I loved this book, not because it was “classic Stephen King,”  whatever the heck that means.  But because it was an interesting and exciting story.  The ending was very good and rather unexpected considering how the foreshadowing seemed to be heading(sneaky Mr. King, very sneaky).  There are a few surprises for the Constant Readers, who have probably all ready finished this book.  I wouldn’t say this is my favorite Stephen King book of all time.  But I would say probably top ten.  Which also means that this probably the best horror book I’ve read in around 5 years.  Sorry Joe Hill, this book IS better.  For a book as long as this one(544 pages), it felt rather short to me.  I probably would have been good with maybe one more adventure from the True Knot crowd, to really get a feeling for who they were individually.  Especially Andi’s story which seems to start and then go completely no where.  I guess it could be just an example of the way the True Knot works, but still it seemed abruptly cut to me.  While the main group was pretty decently fleshed out, at least by the end anyway, I guess I could have just used a little more.  Like icing on the cake.

     As all ways I will be watching for the next thing Stephen King does and if he decides he needs to make a book 3 with the continuing adventures of… Whoever… I would gladly read that too.  Until then, stay away from RVs, rest stops, and Winnebagos you never what you might run into.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Republic of Thieves Book Review

Republic of Thieves

Scott Lynch

Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra

Pub Date: Oct 8 2013

4/5 Stars

      A Summary…”With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.”


         With much trepidation did I undertake reading Republic of Thieves.  I was only mildly enamored by Scott Lynch’s previous work and while many people touted the genius of this new work, the reviews were definitely mixed.  I have to say that I truly loved the main story of Republic of Thieves much more than I did the main plot of Lies of Locke Lamora or Red Seas under Red Skies.  The interludes, however, remained the same for me.  I just cannot get into them.  They seem like a wholly waste of time and effort.  I have often thought that these distractions had the sole purpose of the telling exposition but I’m all most always proven wrong in this.  I just can’t understand why Scott Lynch is so addicted to telling two stories at the same time.  I suppose it is that he likes the characters that he killed off in book one and just like the remaining Gentleman Bastards themselves, cannot put their fellows completely to rest.  Which is certainly fine for those who enjoy the interludes.  I do not.

        I have to admit however, that this is, in my opinion the best book Scott Lynch has ever written and while the ending was less than tidy it was incredibly interesting.  I will certainly read the next Gentleman Bastards book whenever it is released.  If you are a fan of the series I would say that you will have a lovely time with this book.  If you are a fan uncertain as to whether to pick this up, let me assure you that you will have fun.  If you haven’t read Scott Lynch before let me point you in the direction of Lies of Locke Lamora.  Because if you don’t read the first book in the series most this book will not mean very much to you.  While the author does an excellent job of trying to make this a standalone novel.  It is really best for most readers to simply read the series in order.  I can only hope subsequent books are as good as this, for the author is truly on a roll.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Love Song for Internet Trolls!


      Recommended by the wonderful John Scalzi on his blog, Whatever.  If you don’t know of him, please head over to and look him up his books are amazing.  And he just won a HUGO!  So there is that.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vicious Book Review




by V.E. Schwab

Tor Books Sept 2013

5/5 Stars


                 A Summary…”A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

                   Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
                   Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.”


          I loved Vicious from practically the first two chapters.  It reminded me a lot of the movie Flatliners, but a WHOLE LOT BETTER!  As the book goes on however, it blends elements from movies like Chronicle to more comic book inspired fair.  I was also very much impressed by the way the author handled the great amount of backstory for each character to really show how their motivations drove them to the point they were at in the story.  While the story isn’t some kind of crazy original thing, it is incredible by making a super hero story so much more believable than anything out there right now.  I have to admit this book made me gush.  It was so compelling from beginning to end that I read the entire thing quite quickly every time I picked the book and finished it in only two sittings.  Every time I thought about putting the book down, I thought I would read just more chapter.  Then another, and so on.  Until I was done.  Not that it would be necessary or even a good idea but I would love another story with some of these same characters in this world.  Everything about Vicious is addicting and you would do well to pick up a copy today.  This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Unfed Book Review


Kirsty McKay


2/5 Stars

      Summary Time,”Fresh meat! From a hospital of horrors to a runaway zombie train, it's an all-new onslaught of the slavering undead in the sequel to Kirsty McKay's killer debut!
Just when you think you're's the morning after the night of the return of the living dead. Or something like that. After running/bus-driving/snowboarding for her life alongside rebel Smitty, geeky Pete, and popular Alice, Bobby thought she'd found the antidote to the Carrot Man Veggie Juice that had turned the rest of their classmates into zombies. When Smitty (mmm...nom, nom) got chomped, Bobby pumped a syringe full of it into him herself.
But now Bobby's a prisoner in some hospital of horrors, with no clue how she got there. And Smitty is missing. What if he isn't cured after all? Bobby knows she's got to find him, even if it means facing Scotland's hungry hordes -- plus Alice's buckets of snark -- again. And this time, zombies aren't the only evil stressing her out. The brain-dead are bad enough, but how can Bobby stop the big pharma business behind the epidemic? Especially when her own mom works for the company?”


          I really have to say that you should NEVER judge a book by it’s cover.  I was pretty excited to read what at first looked like a novel version of Lollipop Chainsaw.  Oh well, guess I was wrong.  I was somewhat interested in the story of Unfed, and would have been more interested if it didn’t seem like the author was rather interested in trying to make her female characters into being helpless as possible without killing them off.  Alice, is worthless except for a tongue lashing which can be kind of annoying but that’s about it.  Bobby, the main character tends to flip some where between Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the TV show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the Movie.  Which really got old after a while.  And for pity’s sake Ms.McKay give the girl some pants.

       I definitely understood that the majority of this book wasn’t to be taken seriously;  but on the whole the book just wasn’t very funny.  I thought Smitty was a jerk, Pete a dink, and Russ, the only seemingly normal one in the whole group had a bad end.  What the heck?  The last third of the book is predictable but good and I did enjoy it more than the rest of the novel.  I would have really liked the author to make this book about a girl fighting back and surviving rather than a girl being helped by boys every inch of way and lucking out.  Many of the situations are about as realistic as the Resident Evil movies; which are so apropoly mentioned at one point.  Which isn’t exactly a knock against the book, just an appraisal for anyone who might be interested in the reading the book to know what they are getting into.

        I was not a fan of this book and won’t read any sequels.  I also wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone born in the last 20 years.  Anyone else, have fun…


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

City of Devils Book Review

City of Devils
Justin Robinson

Candlemark & Gleam

Pub Date: Sep 24 2013

4/5 Stars

   A quick summary, “

World War II was only the beginning. When the Night War ravages America, turning it into a country of monsters, humans become a downtrodden minority. Nick Moss is the only human private eye in town, and he’s on the trail of a missing city councilor. With monsters trying to turn him – or, better yet, simply kill him – he’s got to watch his back while trying to find his man. Or mummy, as the case may be.
Once, it was the City of Angels. But now, Los Angeles is the City of Devils…and Nick has a devil of a job to do.”


     Going into this book I had no idea what expect.  I have to say that if City of Devils does nothing else, it does original.  I loved the world, the characters, it was an excellent book.  The idea of using every monster ever in the same book at the same time; to help make your alternative history Raymond Chandler story was a stroke of brilliance.   However, said tale wasn’t very good.  That was my only real problem with City of Devils; great world, great characters, and one long boring story.  Boring is a bit harsh, I suppose; not boring more like uninteresting.  Too much happens that has no real effect on the story as a whole.  Without getting into spoilers, the book spends a REALLY long time just wondering around trying find some plot points to bump into.  There are no side stories or alternative plot lines.  So you are stuck with what you are given.  I suppose this didn’t really bother me all that much until I reached around 2/3 of the way through and things really had formulated very much yet.  The finale, while in a very Raymond Chandler/Columbo style seemed sudden and bit forced.  But this book is really not about this half baked story.  It’s about the incredible characters and world Justin Robinson has created; that is the reason I’m recommending it.  Also, if you really love Raymond Chandler type stories; maybe you will like this.

    Note on availability: Normally when I write one of these reviews I put a link in to Amazon so the reader can buy the book if they desire.  It appears I’m unable to do this with this book.  I also checked Barnes and Noble and they don’t have it either.  So, I hope this book s made more broadly available so people who didn’t get advance copies can read it as well as everyone else.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reign of Blood Book Review

Reign of Blood

Alexia Purdy

Indie Inked

1/5 Stars

    Here’s a summary for you,”"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..." In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.”


      I will start by saying to anyone reading this that I know it is a convention in Young Adult Fiction to use slang and other ways of shortening sentences to make them sound more relatable.  I also I understand that sometimes an author tries to create a sense of connection with the audience by using this type of language.  But there are so many instances of such terrible murdering of the English language in this book I could hardly stand it. “One of those ones,” “Katana sword,” “it was truly a battle of fang and sword.”  Really?  Sorry, not buying.  Along with that, so many cliches used SO often.  If she said caress one more time when she just meant touch, I was going to scream.  I could quote more than a half a dozen examples from the beginning of the book alone.

      The story is a typical post-apocalyptic story where vampires have taken over the world and killed everyone.  Except seemingly the hero and her mother and brother.  The problem with this is that she begins by saying it’s a viral out break and then says that crosses and holy water work on the vampires.  That’s illogical, either it’s a viral outbreak or vampires are the result of demons and magic.  Can’t have it both ways, it doesn’t make any sense.

       At one point in the story the main character is worried that the vampires are going to get into her bunker where she and her mother and brother have been living for the totality of the outbreak.  So in the whole time the outbreak had occurred which was seemingly over quite a few months, this had never occurred to her.  Except she keeps saying how protected they are in said bunker, so then what are you worried about?  This seemed like a lame way to try and create tension where there wasn’t any.

       The main character in the story does a lot of things that don’t make sense just from a common sense point of view and the world is painted very illogically.  So I guess they have that in common.  I really would hope no one would read this book.  It is much of the same thing that is all ready out there, except that it executed incredibly poorly.

The Godborn: Sundering Part 2 Review

The Godborn

The Sundering, Book II

Paul S. Kemp

Wizards of the Coast

Oct 1. 2013

5/5 Stars

         A summary for people…”In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost. Cale’s son Vasen—unmoored in time by the god Mask—has thus far been shielded from the archdevil’s dark schemes, alone among the servants of the Lord of Light who have raised him since birth.
Living in a remote abbey nestled among the Thunder Peaks of Sembia, Vasen is haunted by dreams of his father, trapped in the frozen hell of Cania. He knows the day will come when he must assume his role in the divine drama unfolding across Faerûn. But Vasen knows not what that role should be . . . or whether he is ready to take it on. He only knows what his father tells him in dreams—that he must not fail.
Enter Drasek Riven, a former compatriot of Erevis Cale, now near divine and haunted by dreams of his own—he too knows the time to act is near. Shar, the great goddess of darkness, looks to cast her shadow on the world forever. Riven has glimpsed the cycle of night she hopes to complete, and he knows she must be stopped.
At the crossroads of divine intrigue and mortal destiny, unlikely heroes unite to thwart the powers of shadow and hell, and the sundering of worlds is set on its course.”


        Most readers coming into The Godborn will probably be coming off reading the Companions, by R.A.Salvatore.  Which, from my perspective, is ideal.  Because you couldn’t have asked for two more different books to read in a series.  Paul S. Kemp does a masterful job of writing this second book in the series.  But he does it in an unexpected way.  I would say this book is dark fantasy bordering on Horror.  And I loved it.  This is not to say it is overly gory or against the tenets of the broader Forgotten Realms flavor.  Rather it is like a Halloween story for the Forgotten Realms which is great, especially as it is coming out in October.  The myriad of characters are richly drawn and while I did mostly see the ending coming I did really enjoy the journey to that ending.  Vasen made a compelling main character.  Which sometimes is a hard feat in the Forgotten Realms where characters like Drizzt and Elminister seem to overshadow everyone else.  But the author did an excellent job making Vasen relatable, cool, and capable.  I really appreciated this in a novel dealing mainly with gods, devils, and Shadovar. 

     I was also impressed at the reconstruction of events dealing with Mask.  Giving even the casual reader of the Forgotten Realms books a good place to start.  I would recommend for ANYONE who is a returning reader to the Forgotten Realms or even someone with no experience with them to start reading the Companions and then this book as a follow up to get you situated to what will be going on further down the line.  Basically, because I can see these masterful authors weaving a perfect foundation for MANY books to come.  I cannot wait for what the future has in store.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Incrementalists Book Review


By Steven Brust, Skyler White


Sept 24,2013

3/5 Stars


          A Summary if you find you need one,”

"Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money." —John Scalzi

The Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories.
Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste—and argued with her—for most of the last four hundred years. But now Celeste, recently dead, embittered, and very unstable, has changed the rules—not incrementally, and not for the better. Now the heart of the group must gather in Las Vegas to save the Incrementalists, and maybe the world.
"Watch Steven Brust. He's good. He moves fast. He surprises you. Watching him untangle the diverse threads of intrigue, honor, character and mayhem from amid the gears of a world as intricately constructed as a Swiss watch is a rare pleasure." —Roger Zelazny”


         I have to admit that this book is unlike anything I’ve read recently.  But that, is not entirely a good thing.  The concept in this book, sorry for the spoilers.  Is that a select group of people are able to live forever by transplanting their consciousness from one body to the next and in essence, live forever.  The other has to do with “meddling” which is kind of like mentalism.  Where a person can be persuaded to do something if you know what kinds of things will most affect them to do these things.  It’s kind of like very targeted, very aggressive advertising.  If you feel that this may be a little badly explained and vague.  Sorry I tried, the book DOES explain these concepts better.  But having both of them in the same book along with the idea that some secret society of 200 people has been pushing the world along for better or worse for 40,000 years(?) is a bit hard to swallow no matter how much suspension of disbelief I might manage.

         This is all explained with half explanations and a kind of short hand that may or may not be easily absorbed by the average reader.  Is this book fantasy or science fiction?  Well, if this kind of thing matters to you; I’d say it is trying to be fantasy even if it is more science fiction than fantasy.  But considering most of the concepts in the book are NEVER explained in any real terms other than, this is what happens when we do this.  I guess the jury is still out.  This is mostly my problem with the book.  Not my inability to put it into a genre, no, my problem was the book’s inability to explain to the reader in any kind of reasonable why things were happening and how they were being made to happen.  Even if at some point someone said, “Because magic!”  I would have been happier.  Most of this is just ignored and the reader is left to wonder if it will ever be explained.  It isn’t…

           The characters are descent, and the dialog engaging.  But without a descent believable set of rules to run this new fanciful world by, the reader is just going along wondering what will happen next.  It’s a relatively interesting if far too long story.  The resolution is good and intact, but I have to admit the fourth wall breaking at the end was pretty unnecessary and for a writer like Steven Burst seems a bit amateurish.  Overall, I was relatively happy with the story and interested mostly remotely by the characters.  But really, for all the running around and talking theoreticals, past lives, and such the characters do; they could have ACTUALLY explained things a little more.  They certainly had the time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

All is Fair Book Review

All is Fair

The Split Worlds - Book 3

Emma Newman


Sept 24, 2013

5/5 Stars



  A summary for those who need them,

        “In love and war nothing is safe.

William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.
While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.
Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle's controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?”


        At this point, it is probably no secret that I am a HUGE fan of the Split Worlds books.  I believe every single one may be better than the last one.  From the very first book, Emma Newman has put together some of the most interesting characters that could fill such an amazing world while keeping them all relatively believable.  This is incredibly difficult to do in such a fantastical setting as the Nether.  But she has handily achieved this and even made most of her more villainous characters interesting.  I was most impressed in All is Fair by the last half of the book where things truly change dramatically.  It is all most like it is the pay off for the entire series.  And she ends the book on a kind of cliff hanger that must be read to be appreciated.  As many of my peers have observed, the Split Worlds books MUST be read in order and it is not impossible but not recommended to miss one book in the series.  Considering there are only currently three books this shouldn’t be hard for anyone to achieve.  The depth of the characters and the reader’s love for them really depends on reading the entire series.  I have to say, that I truly feel 100% invested in this world and all it’s characters I would love for this series to go on indefinitely.  There is little more to say about this book other than it is another fabulous entry in a fabulous series that anyone who likes fantasy will truly love.  I certainly can’t wait for the next book.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl Book Review

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl

By David Barnett


Sept 10, 2013

2/5 Stars

       A Summary, for those in need of one, “Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work.  Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger.

But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day...but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?

David Barnett's Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop: the ultimate Victoriana/steampunk mash-up! “


            Let me say first that there is very little positive I can say about this book.  I gave the book 2/5 stars instead of 1/5 based solely on the last fourth of the book; which I found better than the entirety of the work.  This book has an incredibly slow, boring, plodding start that is saved only by the addition of Bram Stoker and Elizabeth Bathory.  Which is by far the craziest part of this steampunk novel.  I would have put the book down before I hit the first 50 pages if not for this seeming side-story.  When the book reaches around 70-75% to its completion it seems to come into it’s own with a League of Extraordinary men style.  Except only the women in this book are extraordinary.  The male characters in this work are stereotypes so through and through that they become insufferably boring.  The innocent hero, the old resourceful codger, the incredibly cynical reporter, the well intended but lay about homosexual, the traitorous pirate with a heart of gold.  It’s terrible…  The book, while trying to buck being predictable from the very start seems to really clamp down and become extraordinarily predictable.  Add to this a VERY unsatisfying ending to ensure a sequel and you have the hardest 354 pages I’ve tried to get through this entire year.  I don’t usually regret reading books, but I can honestly say that there were plenty of times that I regretted reading this one.  I really cannot recommend this book to anyone.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Any Other Name Book Review

Any Other Name

Emma Newman

Angry Robot (May 28, 2013)

5/5 Stars

   A book summary for those in need,  

“Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William - a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family's intentions for them both.
Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency - a mysterious organisation that appears to play by its own rules - and none of them favourable to Society.
Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife's employer - something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds”

       My expectations from the first book, Between Two Thorns; were completely blown away by Any Other Name.  I have rarely seen a better second book in a series or such improvement over the first.  Which was quite a good book in it’s own right.  Without the slow start of the first and some of the more general world building accomplished.  This book allowed the reader to enjoy the characters we were familiar with from the first book.  Really getting into some excellent scenes and story.  The pacing in this book was excellent.  I could predict when the author was going to change POV(Point of View, as in point of view character perspective) and approved of it every single time. I must admit I had some trepidation about the author matching her first book’s amazing sense of the world.  Especially moving everything to London.  But with so many returning characters and an excellent continuation to the plot of the first.  I was mesmerized for the entire read.  I was also a bit cross when the book ended.  Which is always a good sign of an excellent book.  As much as I’m STILL not a big fan of Regency.  Emma Newman can keep me reading well into the late night.  In fact, I was trying to finish the book so late last night, that I was all most too tired to get up for my early morning call to my job today.  So perhaps, you might want to clear yourself some time to read Any Other Name.  Just so you don’t lose your job, or miss an important event, if you do Lord Iris will be very cross with you.  Expecting of perfection in everything and all.  I’m sure he would be very impressed with Any Other Name, however, very impressed indeed.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Woken Gods Book Review

The Woken Gods

By Gwenda Bond


Strange Chemistry

Sept 3, 2013

3/5 Stars

         A Summary for people who need them but can’t find them,

      “Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke around the world.
This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., home to the embassies of divine pantheons and the mysterious Society of the Sun. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way back from school, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn't what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne "Oz" Spencer, an intriguing Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous relic. The Society needs it, and they don't care that she knows nothing about her father's secrets.
Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz--whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she's going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn't? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it”


        The Woken Gods is definitely a different take on the traditional fantasy teen novel.  However, I really had a hard time with some of the world building in this book.  Let me run down some of my issues.  One of which is that in the beginning of the book the author states that magic has thrown technology so out of whack that there is no point in students even studying physics anymore.  However, there are electric lights and they use them when it’s convenient to the plot and not use them when it isn’t.  They watch television news broadcasts when it’s convenient to the plot but cars don’t work in Washington D.C. because, as near as I can tell it isn’t convenient to the plot.  At one point Kyra and one of her friends watch VHS movies.  Why can’t they watch DVDs?  How much different is that?  The whole problem with technology not working makes me believe that the author wanted a certain vision or theme of the world but she wasn’t creative enough to have situations where that technology NEVER worked.  In the end, this is a very small nitpick and I’m sure some people out there are rolling their eyes.  But it really took me out of the book every time one of these things would happen.

       The magic system in the book also seems a little strange.  In beginning of the story we are told that relics need to be used by people with training.  The first ones are even shown to need special verbal commands in another language for them to work.  By the middle of the book this concept is completely gone and the story then seems to imply that you just need to get a hold of one these relics for it to work.  So the average archaeologist would be pretty powerful in this world, apparently.  But they are all held by these families that are members of this once secret society that is now in power instead of the government.  All of this seemed a little odd to me and the broad strokes that are taken with all kinds of things in the world make this seem rather unlikely or at least far more complex than the book makes out.  What’s worse is that because we see most of the book from the main character’s perspective none of this is explained at all.  Which might have managed to ground the world a little more than it did.  It’s fine to have a secret group like in Percy Jackson or Harry Potter it’s quite another to make that group not secret and the ruling the country/world.

       The other problems I had were centered around the main characters in the book.  As in many teen books, there is the main character and her friends.  Usually one or two boys and one girl.  This book is no different.  Except there are far more boys.  Anyway, while Kyra, the main character is pretty complex and has a descent background.  Some of her reasons for doing things aren’t explained very well even though the story is from her perspective.  Which left me wondering, other than the tradition of most teen books being in first person; why didn’t the author just write the whole thing in third person.

       I also wasn’t too thrilled with the switching to other characters for a chapter for a third person point of view of the events.  While this might have added a little color to the story.  What it really achieved, was pulling me out of the story’s flow and letting me know that now one of the other characters needed to be in charge.  These changes usually felt unnecessary.  They were also a wasted opportunity, because we rarely got the supporting characters motives or feelings from them.  Which meant that the reader was still left only with Kyra’s point of view on the events.  The problem with this is that about half way through the story when things really start heating up; most the action is from Kyra’s perspective and when other characters tell her she is wrong; the reader is left in the same boat as Kyra, confused.

      The main story in the book is pretty good and while the end seemed a little forced to me and perhaps the whole thing trailed off much too quickly after the climax; I have to say that  I enjoyed most of my time with the book.  As the first book in what I assume will be a series it is pretty good.  I would definitely like to read a book two if there is one.  I would also like to see some further explanation of the way the world actually works.  Which considering the next book practically cannot be set in D.C. that could be very interesting.