Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Createx, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Well, I can agree about “ridiculous” (I'd use “wacky” instead), but awful ... I enjoyed it a bit too much to even think of calling it that.

    Then again, to each their own.
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  2. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    It does go off the rails, and isn't up to quality of the rest, but I still enjoyed it. Though there's parts where I just scratch my head.
    Like: why didn't she absorb the arena's power? It would've made the final battle a certain victory, and it would ensure the enemy didn't get that power.
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  3. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Honestly, no idea. But then again, while we want authors to make sense with what they write, characters themselves sometimes don't make sense, just like humans. Was it like that this time or was mister Canavan simply deprived of caffeine or something is anyone's guess.
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  4. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    "Mister" Canavan is a woman.
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  5. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Than madam Canavan. Sorry about that, Althea, it's been quite some time since I've read her books and as her name does not have any equivalent here, it sort of fell out of my memory.
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  6. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    Come to think of it, it's very similar to another series I liked: Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, which also derails. The first book in that series is the best by far(similarly to how the second book is by far the best in The Black Magician).
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  7. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Seems like a lot of series of that nature (sort of the young-adult/adult fiction crossover area) do tend to do that. I know The Hunger Games just completely tanked for the final book, Harry Potter seriously hit a whole minefield of issues with book five (and book four to some degree - I've not read six or seven so will not comment on those), The Black Magician trilogy really just fell flat in the last 400 pages to me - I felt like I'd started another series entirely, and I failed to get into the third Widdershins novel by Ari Marmell.
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  8. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I finished reading Sand by Hugh Howey the other day, and I do recommend it. I will warn you though that it feels like there's more to come, that this may become a trilogy or series, or at least have a sequel -- the story has a definite ending, but it's clear that there's enough unanswered questions and places to go in that universe, and that the 'ending' can be considered the lead in for a sequel. The story is unlike the Silo stories, except that it does take place in a future that is not so cheery or optimistic. The science of it, if you look too closely, is not particularly believable, but if you think of it as more 'science fantasy' rather than science fiction, it does work.

    The world is one in which most of our past is long forgotten, and there's little explanation as to how the world got into the situation it's in. Also, really, it's a very local story, taking place in what you can surmise is far future Colorado, although place names have changed, and old cities have become buried under sand, which blows relentlessly and continues to cover anything or everything. Much technology has been forgotten, and people live off of the scavenged remains of the past, recovered in part by sand divers who wear special suits to dive deep below and recover all sorts of artifacts. The science part that is most strange (And why I call it science fantasy) is the whole sand diving thing, where divers use these special suits to control the sand and cause it to flow around them, to become more or less densely packed at will, and to 'see' through the sand for air pockets, and metals and so on. To me, it seems like an anachronism, that everyone is using scavenged 20th/21st century appliances and tools, yet they have this one impossible-sounding technology that they can make and wire these suits by hand.

    But if you can accept it, the story itself is interesting and exciting at times, and keeps you cheering on the various characters, who are mostly immediate family -- Rob, Conner, Palmer and Vic (3 brothers and a sister), as well as their mom, Rose, and absentee dad (who may or may not still be alive). The characters are interesting and 3 dimensional, and are each likable though certainly imperfect in various ways. The book did have one annoyance in it, and I'm not sure if this was on purpose or if it was a problem with the editing. And that's with the frequent misuse of pronouns. 'Her' instead of 'she', 'him' instead of 'he' and so on. Since I did not notice this with any of the Silo books, I am surmising that it's either bad editing or Howey did this on purpose to show how the English Language has changed over the years (he does coin a number of new words, including MANY words for different kinds of sand of various textures and density and location.

    Anyway, when I finished reading that, I started reading Origins by Mark Henrikson, another science fiction novel, though this one is by an author I had not heard of before -- I only purchased it on a whim, since it had a 4 1/2 star rating on Amazon with lots of good comments, and it was on sale at the time. Unfortunately, I was having some negative feelings about it, partly because of the prose style, and partly because of the stereotypical 'Ancient Astronauts' story. It reminded me too much of that old popular book, Chariots of the Gods by Erik Von Daniken. A man goes in to see a psychiatrist and tells him that he's an alien and has been around since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, etc. helped them build the pyramids, and so on. I abandoned the book several chapters in, and returned to reading more Sherlock Holmes. I don't recommend Henrikson's book. (BTW, it is the first book in a series, I discovered). Even if you like the subject matter, his writing style leaves a lot to be desired. The story jumps around a lot and the dialog seems unnatural and too much of it feels like a clichee.
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  9. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    After reading a few more Sherlock Holmes short stories, I came across this book: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. I remember someone recommending the author somewhere (maybe here????). Anyway, I started reading the book with some degree of skepticism, since my first impression was not great, that it was kind of a Dresden clone (which in some ways it may be). But I slowly did get hooked on the story, and eventually found it to be a lot of fun.

    The general premise is that at some point, a plague triggered by some genetically engineered tomatoes (yes) wipes out a good deal of the human race, and the only thing that has kept humanity from spiraling down into extinction or a new dark age, is that there are secretly other races (witches, vampires, pixies, fairies, weres, and others) that are immune to the virus, and help keep the world from crumbllng. Now that humanity is aware of these other races, there is an uneasy truce between them and the non-humans tend to segregate themselves into their own communities. Most of the first novel takes place in and around Cincinatti, and it's mainly non-human neighbor known as "The Hollows".

    Anyway, it is a bit like Dresden, but with a female hero named Rachel Morgan, who is a witch. When she decides to quit her job at the I.S. (a kind of non-human-run law enforcement agency), breaking her contract with them, a series of assassins are set on her trail, because no one is supposed to leave without paying off their contract.

    Anyway, it was a fun book, and I look forward to reading more in the series.

    The other books I want to mention, because I just noticed they are again in print, and now available on Kindle (along with two additional sequels that I had previously been unaware of, and haven't read yet) are Anno Dracula and The Bloody Red Baron both by Kim Newman. Anno Dracula takes place in an alternate England of the late 19th century -- the events depicted in the novel Dracula are true, but instead of dying at the end, Dracula escapes and winds up spreading his Vampire virus across England, and eventually takes political power by marrying Queen Victoria. The first novel in the series deals with the hunt for Jack the Ripper. In the sequel, The Bloody Red Baron, Dracula has fled to Germany, and it is the first World War, and the German air-force are terrorizing the allies using flying vampires. It's another very fun series. There are now two more books in that series that I look forward to reading (once I refresh my memory by re-reading the first two, whenever I find the time to do so).
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  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

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  11. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I finished reading the second book in Kim Harrison's Hollows series, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead. I found it to be about as good as the first book, but I have more thoughts on that.

    As I said, the series is similar in many ways to Jim Butcher's Dresden series, but in many ways, it's also very different. The hero of the series is named Rachel Morgan, a witch who used to work in law enforcement but has gone freelance, along with some partners who were former co-workers: Ivy, a 'living' vampire (ie. she was born a vampire, and will probably become an undead vampire once she dies). and Jenks, a Pixie with a large family. To me, Morgan is not as likable as Dresden, but that may be partly because I'm a guy. She frequently acts on emotion rather than good sense, and consequently a lot of the danger that she gets into is of her own making, which can be frustrating at times. My guess is that the character may be more appealing to women, but I'll have to hear a women's view of it before I decide that.

    Ivy, her housemate and partner, can also be frustrating. As a vampire, she's often driven by instinct, and you have to wonder why they are close friends (well, close enough to share a house, anyway). Reading the book you have to start to question why Vampires are accepted in society at all, let alone. rooming together with someone who's alive and can bleed. It's a question even raised in the book, which the author probably thinks is sufficient to settle the question. But to me, it isn't.

    That said, the stories can be fun. Just saying though that it's not as satisfying to me as much of the Dresden series.

    After I finished that book, I started reading the novel I mentioned in the previous message by my old friend: The Fearless Passage of Steven Kim: The True Story of an American Businessman Imprisoned in China for Rescuing North Korean Refugees by Carl Herzig and Steven Kim. Yes, it's a VERY long title (sometimes less is better lol). But so far I think it's a good book. It starts out with a prologue describing Steven Kim's horrific journey by rails to a work camp in Central China, but after that, it tells about his parents, how he grew up, moved to America, and became a successful businessman. The prologue, because of its subject matter, may be difficult for some to read, but the description of his rise from stockboy in a small NYC grocery, to successful businessman is interesting enough. I'll let you know what I think when I'm done with it. But yes, I think the book needs a snappier title lol.
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  12. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    "To me, Morgan is not as likable as Dresden, but that may be partly because I'm a guy."

    No, you don't like her as much because you don't like her as much. It's that simple. You don't need to reduce it to "eww girls and feelings". Lerris from L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s The Magic of Recluce/The Death of Chaos often reacts based on his feelings rather than common sense. Which is why he... you guessed it, puts himself in more danger than he should do.
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  13. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    You are right, I should not have modified that statement. Like Dresden, she consults for law enforcement, but unlike Dresden, it often feels like she's screwing up the case. She has a roommate who is probably going to kill her one of these days, or turn her into a vampire. And don't get me started on her boyfriend (can't without giving spoilers), but one of them is going to wind up getting him killed... or worse. Sometimes I'm enjoying what I'm reading, but sometimes I want to yell at the character and tell her to get some therapy because she's a danger to herself and those around her.
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  14. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I never managed to finish The Fearless Passage of Steven Kim... etc. I gave up on it when the story began to become too much about Steven's religious and spiritual experiences and went on and on in endless needless detail about it, which I really wasn't at all interested in.

    Instead, I read George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards 3: Jokers Wild. a composite novel completing the first trilogy of the series. The writing duties were split based on who created the main character/narrator of each section:
    Bagabond: Leanne C. Harper
    Fortunato: Lewis Shiner
    Jennifer (Wraith) Maloy: John J. Miller
    Jack (Sewer Jack) Robicheaux: Edward Bryant
    Roulette: Melinda M. Snodgrass
    James (Demise) Spector: Walton Simons
    Hiram Worchester: George R. R. Martin

    Other significant characters include The Astronomer, Doctor Tachyon, Daniel (Yeoman) Brennan, Jay (Poppinjay) Ackroyd, and Rosemary (Gambione) Muldoon, among others.

    There are a few story threads being followed, but the main one concerns The Astronomer, the primary villain of the previous book in the series, who is looking for vengeance against all of those who thwarted him in the past, on the 40th Wild Card Day, 1986, 40 years after Jet Boy failed to stop the Wild Cards virus over Manhattan (as described in book 1). It's a crazy day in New York, with everyone out on the streets celebrating (Wild Cards Day in NYC is compared to New Years Eve combined with Halloween, and St. Patricks day, with parades and people dressed up in crazy costumes and masks, getting drunk and raising hell. And The Astronomer and his cronies are out for blood, trying to pick off his enemies one by one.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the book, which includes many of my favorite characters either taking part in the story or making cameo appearances. I look forward to the release of book 4 in the series, which starts the whole 'Puppetman' trilogy. I will say that book 4 itself is kind of weak, but it gets MUCH better as the trilogy progresses.

    I'll probably read some more Sherlock Holmes short stories before I decide on what to read next.
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  15. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Just finished reading the third book in Kim Harrison's Hollow series, Every Which Way but Dead (she seems to like Clint Eastwood movie titles). It's probably my least favorite of the series so far, but still worth reading. Early on, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on a witch/vampire romance, and I was worried that I was reading a romance novel instead of an urban fantasy adventure story. Also Jenks (their pixie partner), one of the more fun characters, good for a lot of humor, is not present in this novel, so it's a bit less fun than usual.

    After that, I started reading episode 1 of The Beam by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. It's available for free in Amazon's Kindle store (it's one of those deals, like Wool where they give you a free sample, and then hook you like crack lol). And so far it's working. It's a science fiction novel (? series ?) that takes place an unspecified number of years in the future in which the U.S. has become part of the "North American Union", which has an unsual form of government. Each citizen must choose to be part of one of two groups, Enterprise or Directorate, where Enterprise seems to be more of a laissez faire economic system, where the government stays out of your hair, but will also not help you if you get into trouble (though suicide seems to be a popular option). Or you can join the Directorate, where you have a guaranteed income for life, but few opportunities to better your situation (since most jobs are automated), and you'll probably not have much more than you need to survive unless you do actually manage to succeed.

    Technology has also reached the point where nanotech and biotech can work miracles, and people can purchase mods for themselves to change all sorts of attributes and abilities.

    Anyway, it's free, so even though I haven't finished it yet, I do strongly recommend you try it. It starts off slow, but it's building to some mystery of a, so far, unknown nature. I'll probably end up buying the whole series. Or novel. Or whatever it's classified as.
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  16. Fryingpan

    Fryingpan Member

    Are the Dresden files still going? I read maybe nine of them ages ago, but either ran out of time or got sick of the characters.
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  17. LionsDen

    LionsDen Member

    Yup, the Dresden books are still coming out. I have read all of them out so far and am awaiting the newest one when it is released. :)
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  18. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    It's coming out end of May: game

    The series has changed quite a lot, the characters have aged or evolved or died (or died and came back lol). It's certainly not the same as it was in the beginning, for both better and worse. Jim Butcher has matured as a writer to some extent, sometimes the stories are more or less light/dark so that can influence whether you do or don't enjoy them. I still like the series a lot, but it certainly isn't the same as it used to be.

    BTW, I finished reading episode 1/Season 1 of "The Beam", by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. Yes, I did say Episode 1/Season 1, because apparently they think it's cool to model the series like a television series of sorts (These authors have done the same thing with other series of theres, sometimes there's only one season, sometimes more, and usually there's 4 to 6 or so episodes, with episodes being the length of short novels or novellas.

    In any case, I do recommend it based on what I've read. It's a mixture of cyberpunk and techno-thriller and political thriller set in a future North American Union.

    I also finished reading the 4th book in Kim Harrison's Hollows series, "A Fistful of Charms". This is the best of the series so far, although I still want to yell at the protagonist at times. What's interesting is that the author actually calls to attention the fact that I've mentioned in previous reviews, that nearly all of Rachel (the heroine's) problems are self-created. I'm not sure if she said that because that's how she designed the character, or if her fans called her on that point and she just had to finally admit that her character is an adrenaline junky and always does the stupid things she does on purpose.

    In any case, a couple of my favorite characters are back -- Jenks the Pixy, and Nick, her human ex-boyfriend and dabbler in demonology. Nick is in dire trouble with werewolves this time (trouble of his own creation, mind you), and Rachel intends to save his life. Fun story, but I wanted to strangle her for not asking the right questions, questions that are STILL unanswered because of this at the end of the novel. Don't you hate when there's a mystery that only remains a mystery because a stupid character is too emotional to think to actually ask the right questions from the person who has the answers? Nick even TRIES to tell her but she interrupts him and won't listen. There's going to be hell to pay over this I know, and ARRGGGh!!! i HATE stupid characters...

    That said, part of the story is backwards. Nick was a decent boyfriend, and only gives her reason to break up with him AFTER she's already broken up with him.... even though she's given him MORE than enough reasons to leave her, including physical abuse (granted it was unknowing and out of stupidity, but still...). There's something really twisted about the mind of this author (or I don't understand how she thinks).
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
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  19. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I'm reading a fantasy/alternate history novel with massive Abrahamic influences (there's Jewish, Catholic, Islamic, etc. characters) set in 1899/1900's New York called The Golem and the Djinni, which I found out about after it missed out on winning the most recent James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

    And it is probably one of the most beautifully written and thought-inducing books I've read in a while. Aaaaaaaaaand one of my next reads will be a Warhammer 40k novel.

    Because I like to stay consistent.
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  20. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I saw it being pushed on Amazon, and was moderately interested. I'll probably have to check it out now.

    /edit lol, I went to the Amazon page and it told me that I already purchased the book back in November. My brain seriously does not work properly anymore. I know that people don't believe me when I tell them that, but it's true. Maybe I'll read it next instead of the next Beam or Hollows story (or maybe I'll read it after -- I have much too much on my reading list).
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
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