Sunday, April 27, 2014

Diablo III: Morbed Book Review

Diablo 3: Morbed

Micky Neilson

Pocket Star (April 21, 2014)

Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

4/5 Stars


         Morbed is a pretty short story.  Not that it seemed cut off or anything or prematurely ended.  But the possibilities of this book seemed to be really dashed in the limited space of the story.  But for just a couple of dollars the work is certainly worth the price of admission.  Probably only a big fan of Diablo 3 would be interested in this book.  Which is good because the types of characters that the author chose certainly will make any fan of the series smile.

          The possibilities that were evident in the first few pages are certainly never really fulfilled throughout the work.  I would have really loved to see a full descent work about a necromancer, druid, crusader, and thief.  I was incredibly excited until things started to splinter around half way through.  But again, it was certainly enough bang for the buck.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Falconer Book Review


The Falconer

Elizabeth May

Chronicle Books(May 6,2014)

5/5 Stars


          When I first learned about Falconer more than a year ago.  I was incredibly intrigued by the premise.  The whole Regency girl goes out every night and kills faeries was incredibly unique and I felt that on that basis alone it was a winner.  Then I found out that Elizabeth May was a PhD candidate and her thesis was on Scottish Folklore.  Anyone reading the Falconer will be immediately struck by how authentic all of her creatures are and how interesting her world is.  Well, there is your culprit, real information!  Very impressive indeed.  But all of this is nothing if you don’t have a good story.  Seems, the author has that one covered as well.  There is the typical love triangle that plagues so many YA books but it seems our main character isn’t having much of it.  There is the Regency atmosphere but our main character only cares about keeping up the appearance of propriety.  Also, fascinating…

          Falconer is, as I’ve commented to more than one of my friends.  Gail Carriger crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  If that doesn’t get you interested you’ve either never heard of the subject matter being crossed or you’re dead.  If you’re the former please familiarize yourself with the subject matter and return.  If you’re the latter, reading this review please contact me via social media and let me know how it is you’ve managed thus far.  Falconer is an incredibly unique and well written book.  I think everyone who loves fantasy should give it a shot.  Also, the ending is a cliffhanger so we all have to read book 2 now.  I may have to order the UK version just to find out what happens.  Thanks a lot Elizabeth!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Half a King Book Review

Half A King

Joe Abercrombie

Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra

Pub Date: Jul 15 2014

5/5 Stars


           Yarvi has only one hand.  Which in his mind makes him half a man.  His father and just about everyone around him has been telling him this since he was a small child.  How Yarvi managed to survive his birth and early childhood in this situation, in a relatively realistic medieval setting where a baby with such a deformity would most likely have been killed; is NOT the subject of Half a King.  It is basically just the main thing you have to get past if you’re going to like this book or get into it.  I found it quite easy to do this.  Especially considering the EXCELLENT writing by Mr. Abercrombie.

           Half a King is the best novel I’ve read this year.  It is fast paced, complex, engrossing in every way, and a REAL page turner.  I often found myself slowing down reading so that I could enjoy the story for a little while longer.  Especially toward the end, where I could see my remaining page count dwindling.  I wanted to stay in that world for as long as I possibly could.  There were no throwaway characters, everyone of them seemed lovingly crafted and gave you the sense that they were all real people.  Not just cardboard cutouts that were created for a scene or a chapter.

         The way that the author weaves a little politics into the book just to make some aspects of the story relevant but then never returns to the subject is masterful.  The setting was impressively created, everything had a real sense of brick and mortar.  Which essentially means that nothing seemed to be created just for a scene or just for a series of scenes.  Every where the characters went seemed to be there waiting for them, not created for them.  Very few books pull this off with any kind of regularity.

         I know that this book is a the first in a series but it definitely reads like a standalone.  There are VERY FEW novels these days that do that.  I was very impressed at how the author handled the ending.  Once you read the ending, you will look at the entire book differently and I love books that do that.  Half a King will make anyone with an even remote interest in fantasy happy.  I would say that if you love the Game of Thrones television show you will love Half a King.

Sword and Laser Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Bear

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fool’s Assassin(Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) Book Review

Fool’s Assassin

Robin Hobb

Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra

Pub Date: Aug 12 2014

5/5 Stars


         As of this writing Fool’s Assassin comes out four months from now.  Which makes me very sad.  I don’t usually comment on this sort of thing but considering how good this book is; I’m sorry it will take that long before I can share that joy with everyone else.  I haven’t read Robin Hobb since I was young.  I read Assassin’s Apprentice and decided that Robin Hobb’s writing just wasn’t for me.  I guess I was sadly and utterly mistaken. 

         Robin Hobb is a master at the fantasy novel.  She has incredibly engaging characters, an amazing world, and she tells a story so thoroughly that some might say that her stories drag; I would not.  Her foreshadowing is first rate, dropping hints that seem meaningless at the time but once events that were foreshadowed occur the reader can’t help but remember back to when they were first hinted at.  Her world is fantastical but utterly believable.  While this is not generally the type of writing I love, with all kinds of real world touches.  I find hers to be first rate and amazing.  In a world filled with so much urban fantasy, grim dark fantasy, and of course the romance obsessed fantasy.  I find Robin Hobb’s writing to be like a breath of fresh air.  Harkening us back to a time when there could be AMAZING traditional fantasy.  Not that there are elves or dwarves.  But a more traditional European setting; with all that, that entails.

       I’m terribly sorry for all of you who can’t read Fool’s Assassin yet; but I’m going to start back up with Assassin’s Apprentice.  So perhaps when I’m done with all the books up to this one; it will be just about time for you to begin reading Fool’s Assassin.  Buy Fool’s Assassin!  You don’t need ANY prior knowledge of the characters or the world.  Many people complain of feeling left out or not getting the “in jokes,” when picking up a book this late in a cycle.  But not this one, it is a TRUE first book in the trilogy.  Certainly, all the characters have long histories and there are lots of historical events in the world that won’t be crystal clear to you.  But the author does an AMAZING job of making sure that nothing that TRULY MATTERS is left out.  I NEVER felt lost or left out!  While Robin Hobb has written MANY other books in this world to keep you busy until Fool’s Assassin comes out; trust me you will LOVE THIS BOOK! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Darkling Sea Book Review

A Darkling Sea

James L. Cambias

Tor Books (January 28, 2014)

3/5 Stars


      A Darkling Sea is an ambitious novel.  The book is about first contact under the surface of a frozen sea on an ice world.  The aliens are highly intelligent fish like creatures.  This is the kind of book that I REALLY love to read.  Except that this book I couldn’t go along with it.  The fish people were to too anthropomorphic, their speech patterns were too human.  They acted far too human.  Especially when in all other respects they were very alien.  I know that this seems like strange criticism.  I mean if the aliens are too ALIEN then the author would have a hard time having one of them as a point of view character.  There would be all kinds of things that the reader would have a hard time understanding.  Yes, that’s all true.  But this book reads more like an episode of one of those 80s or 90s dramas where the kids hear a portion of what their parents are talking about and decide they want to kill all of them.  Hilarity ensues…  Except this wasn’t supposed to be an 80s or 90s comedy.  It’s a science fiction novel.  I just didn’t buy it, but then that’s just me.  Otherwise the book was excellent; and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of Hard Science Fiction.  You might like A Darkling Sea, unfortunately I didn’t,


The Herald: The Sundering VI Book Review

The Herald

The Sundering Book VI

Ed Greenwood

Wizards of the Coast

Pub Date: Jun 3 2014

4/5 Stars


         I’d been waiting to read this book since it was announced by R.A. Salvatore around the time of the first of the Sundering books came out.  Of all the books in the series this was the book I was the most anticipated to read.  Especially because it was the last book and certainly that would mean that it would be climatic and exciting.  When I found out Elminister would be the main character, I nearly lost it.  Elminister is my second favorite character only to Drizzt Do’Urden so, this book was basically going to be a no brainer five star review.  Right?  No, alas not…

         There is quite a lot to love about the Herald.  I was pretty much up to my eyes in excitement through the first 40% or so of the book.  I was loving it.  But the actual story was so boring.  That even with the wit and humor that was added by Ed Greenwood.  Which must have been a second pass kind of a thing.  Because this book would have been horrible with out it.  The book just feels tired.  Like we have been fighting these freakin Netherese for SO LONG that any interest or excitement that might have been there way back when is completely and utterly spent now.  The final stroke was some of events that occur at the end.  Not mention the inconsistencies of the Weave and what it is or isn’t and how it does or doesn’t work.  The very last chapter was certainly very nice and a well made ending to be sure.  But everything from right before the climax to that point was dreadful.  Also, the constant fights with the baelnorns were absolutely ridiculous.  I was SO TIRED of these battles and yet there were some as close as 25% to the end.  They were boring and practically useless considering that you knew that the Shadovar had to win them.  It was pointless and a waste of time.

          Unfortunately, rather than Elminister getting the majority of the screen time it seemed that the Shadovar had to dominant there as well.  For every point of view chapter that Elminister had, the Shadovar had at least three.  I honestly can’t remember another more Shadovar dominated book.  My hope is that with the Sundering over, the Shadovar will fade into the background.  They aren’t interesting any more and they have completely used up their drama as villains they are little more now, than annoying.

         Ed Greenwood is one of my favorite fantasy authors; not just D&D but for anything.  I don’t know what happened here but this book had such potential, even in the earlier chapters to be excellent and by the end it just fell flat.  I tried to review this book without letting my expectations influence it.  I hope I’ve succeeded.  If you have been reading the series so far, you MUST buy and read this book.  If not, why are you reading a review for book 6 of a series?  Even though I was disappointed by this book, I DO really hope that Ed Greenwood follows the suggested promise at the end of this book and continues to write Forgotten Realms titles.  Especially with Elminister; now that we don’t have the Shadovar to worry about anymore, hopefully things will get more interesting once again.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sword and Laser AuthorSpotlight Brent Weeks

Peacemaker Book Review



Marianne De Pierres


Pub Date: Apr 29 2014

3/5 Stars


        I found Peacemaker to be a very strange book.  There are lots of things about the setting that even once you’ve completed the book are probably going to be a mystery.  Like is this a distant future where something bad has happened that has hampered some technologies while allowing other technologies to flourish?  Hard to say…  Why do all the main characters have names out of Saturday morning cartoons?  Nate Sixkiller, Bull Hunt, Heart Williams(He is a stripper, but they seem to insinuate that’s his real name), and Virgin(why would you name your kid Virgin?  I guess it could be short for Viriginia?  Except that NO ONE EVER calls her that).  How is it that the US Marshalls don’t have authority over state police in a State Park?  Not sure…  Oh and where are all the cars?  Why can’t Virign’s disincarnate hurt anyone?  Where are all the freakin Police?  Some of the areas are so crime ridden that there are people having shoot outs in the middle of the street.  With not even an after thought of Police.   But the main character sneezes and they are all over her.  What is going on?  None of these questions will be answered for you in this book.  Sorry…

       There is an odd detective style novel in here but some of the setting questions really start eating away at the suspension of disbelief.  Virgin is a pretty could main character and the book IS told from her point of view.  Which might have been part of the problem.  Sometimes you feel like you’ve started watching a movie after it’s already been on for a half hour and you missed all the setup.  I can usually pretty easily roll with this.  But the author takes WAY TOO LONG to explain some things and some things she NEVER explains at all.  I really liked the story in Peacemaker and I think I would have liked it even more if I understood how everything that happened fit into the setting.  Some things I’m fine with not knowing, but the list on this book is a little too long for my tastes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hollow World Book Review


Hollow World

Michael J Sullivan

Tachyon Publications

3/5 Stars


            If you have ever read the Time Machine by H.G.Wells you know that the book isn’t really about time travel.  If you don’t know this and you have read it, perhaps you were too young when you did read it.  Anyway, Hollow World is similar.  The book is allegorical.  While Hollow World brings up some interesting points about the world and what people are always striving to achieve.  I felt myself very bored overall with the book.  The main character Ellis was nice enough, seemed generally a good guy.  But a few of the contrivances for the sake of said allegory seemed a bit much.  The story itself was a tad on the boring side.  Some of it felt like Flash Gordon other parts much like the Time Machine.  I guess that’s one of the main issues with writing a book about time travel.  It has been done so much, so often, and generally so badly; that it’s hard to be given a fair shake.

            By the end of the book, I certainly appreciated the point the author was trying to make.  But I also, felt like he should have made in a novella or short story.  As this book was much too long and much too drawn out for the “moral” for a lack of a better term.  Some people may find Hollow World a fun read.  There is some action in it and the end is quite a twist but I just never got into it. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wolfhound Century Book Review

Wolfhound Century

Peter Higgins


Pub Date: Feb 2 2014

3/5 Stars


          Wolfhound Century is a very frustrating book.  It starts VERY slowly as a Soviet Style crime novel where a budding revolutionary means to take down the regime and our hero is trying to prevent him from doing so.  But that isn’t what Wolfhound Century is about at all.  The book is instead about a world much like our own but VERY DIFFERENT where there are things in the shadows.  REAL THINGS!  There is some magic and there are even monsters.  Some human and some not so human.  This strange midstream shift, while interesting from a literary point of view.  Often makes the reader feel as though they are missing something.  In fact, as the REAL story and REAL world of Wolfhound Century come to light.  It is hard for any reader not to feel a bit cheated that they didn’t know all this from the beginning and with this knowledge what could have the rest of the story meant to them.

           While in the last few chapters of Wolfhound Century I feel it almost redeems the entire book.  I do mean almost…  Because I was still a little raw from reading the other 75% of the book in which things were so slowly revealing themselves that it might have made the reader feel that there was an actual mystery to be revealed rather than just information that the author was choosing to withhold from the reader.  While what Wolfhound Century finally turned into is usually the type of story I enjoy.  The road to the story was so long and uninteresting that I’m done reading this series.  If you can forgive the author making you read through the rest of the book; you might really like the overall story in Wolfhound Century.  But I didn’t….


Friday, April 4, 2014

Shadow Ops: Control Point Book Review


Shadow Ops: Control Point

Myke Cole

Ace; Original edition (January 31, 2012)

4/5 Stars


       Going into Shadow Ops, I had some expectations.  Mostly thinking that the book would be totally different than it actually turned out to be.  Which I loved…  Oscar Britton the main character is our lens through which the story is told.  Which while the book is not in first person it definitely is from his perspective.  While this was a really good way to understand the world, especially in a first book of a series.  By the end, I was starting to lose the love.  Not that the story is bad, it most definitely is not.  It’s not that Britton, who is supposedly a special forces trained solider just seems to be such a wishey washy fool.  He can’t seem to make up his mind, he can’t seem to stick to anything for too long.  Seems like his moral high ground is not exactly the only thing that is keeping him from going along with the program at SOC.

       SOC is not a good organization, and while written by someone who is a part of the armed forces.  This book is definitely one of the most anti-armed forces books I’ve ever read.  Which is interesting and cool all on its own.  I suppose this could be somehow discounted to the Independent contractor aspect of the book.  But I mostly could not tell the difference.  I find that the book is pretty excellent.  But some of the handling of the characters and their motivations weren’t very clear…

      By the end of the book, it was hard for me to understand why everyone was on the team they ended up on.  Also, the main climax in the book seemed a bit forced and while I was a big fan of the actual occurrence because it had been foreshadowed throughout the entire book.  I was a little confused as to why Britton did it. Or why the precipitating action happened either.  Basically what I’m saying, is that the end of the book; around the final 25% seemed weak compared to the rest of the book.

       I can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens next.  So if nothing else, at least Myke Cole caught me there.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Half a King Preview with impressions!



         So right at the top I’ll give you the link to get your own sample chapters of Half a King,



           OK, for those of you still here or for those who are just getting back from downloading the sample chapters.  I’m going to give my quick two cents about the book.  I loved it…  I thought the world was interesting, the characters well done, and even if the premise is a bit hard to swallow at first.  I think the story is worth a suspension of disbelief.  Also, don’t be fooled into thinking this is only a YA book.  I think everyone will really like this book and certainly anyone who likes Abercrombie’s work already will really love this.  While I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of the First Law series I think that has more to with the setting than anything else.  As the preview chapters blew me away and I immediately pre-ordered my copy of the book.

          I could certainly spoil the preview for you here by going through it.  But I think you’d be better served by reading yourselves.  After all, it’s free!



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Seed the Book Review


Ania Amlborn

47North (July 17, 2012

3/5 Stars


        There is a lot to love in Seed.  It is a well crafted story with some interesting characters and the children are especially well done.  The characters are empathetic and I was really hooked.  The problem with Seed is that it has been done before.  A LOT in fact!  Anyone who has read horror fiction or seen a movie in the past 5-10 years has seen something like Seed done.  In fact, I’ve even seen a couple of real life accounts that bare some resemblance to the general plot line.  Not that there aren’t some key differences and I’m certainly not saying that the author just cut and paste another story into her book.  No, not at all…  Rather what I’m saying is that perhaps the author isn’t widely enough read in the horror genre.  Or perhaps, she thought this would be more of a dark fantasy book and it just didn’t quite hit it’s intended audience.

        In any case, I loved Seed right up until I knew exactly what was going to happen next.  Which was around 40% of the way through.  I think Ania Amlborn is an EXCELLENT writer and I cannot wait to see what her next book brings.  But this one is just a little too by the numbers for me.  But it is scary as hell, if you’re not a horror reader you might want to give this one a shot.  It will definitely make you keep the lights on at night.  Which is why I think that Ania Amlborn has a bright career ahead of her.  Because she has half the battle already won.