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.