Review: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
3.5 Stars , Reviews / April 7, 2016

For fans of City of Stairs, I think you’ll be happy with this next installment. Particularly if you were a fan of Mulagesh. I myself just wasn’t quite as into it. I know it feels like everyone has loved this book. And by all means, I think the writing is solid. But I struggled to get into the beginning. Honestly, my reaction was that it felt like a lot of info dumping and detective work (have I mentioned I generally don’t care for detective stories). Maybe it was my mood and and/or the story set up. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it, but I just couldn’t feel the love. Another thing I noticed was that I liked Shara from the first book more than I enjoyed Mulagesh in this one. Mulagesh is forced out of retirement and given an assignment to find a missing person. This mission takes her to a broken city where the Drillings are working to restore order. There are definitely some interesting things going on including a mysterious ore, and gruesome murders. There are questions about what is acceptable when in a state of war.  There is much to like in this book, and I fully acknowledge that and completely…

Review: Armada by Ernest Cline
4 Stars , Reviews / July 27, 2015

Armada is all about fun and nostalgia. I am sure you have seen else where that Ready Player One has a more original plot line and world, and I won’t argue that,  but honestly, I didn’t feel like that was what this book was about. It wholeheartedly embraces tropes and everything it is reminiscent of by blatantly borrowing (and telling you it is borrowing) from other works. Yes, you will read this and feel the basic story has been told before, but that is the whole point of the book. It is an homage, the ultimate, well…Fanfic has such a negative connatation, but I kind of want to say it is like the  ultimate fanfic piece paying homage to so many wonderful characters, movies, music and books. And just because a story has been told before does not mean that it is not a story worth reading. The author bring his own touches to keep this book entertaining and engaging. Zak Lightman is a teenager who, like many, loves video games. He spends every night playing Armada, a flight simulator game that is protecting the earth from alien invaders. And his job? He works at a  Gaming is in his blood. Zak never…

Review: The Fold by Peter Clines
3.5 Stars , Reviews / June 1, 2015

I really enjoyed reading The Fold. It is a fun, thrilling and at times a bit creepy. It centers on a scientific experiment toying with dimensions of space and time, folding it over to allow travel as fast as teleportation, but without all the messy details of disassembling and reassembling the object (or person) that is traveling. It is a “too good to believe” type scenario that appears to be working. But, something is not quite right and someone needs to find out why. I really enjoyed the protagonist, “Mike” Erikson (Mike is a nickname that is nothing like his actual name. I’ll let you read how that came about in the book. 🙂 ). He is a high school English teacher that seems content and we start to realize he is more he initially seems. Initial tip off? His friend Reggie is trying hard to recruit him to investigate the super secret DARPA project mentioned above, to be the person to try and crack what is not quite right with this amazing project. Not normally a position that recruites High School English teacher. It turns out that Mike is quite intelligent (like aced his IQ test type of intelligent) and to top it…

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
4 Stars , Reviews / November 11, 2014

So, here it is. What seems to be the most talked about book of, if not the year, at least the season. I have had Robert Jackson Bennett on my list of authors I must try, and am quite glad to finally have read one of his books. That said, I also want to disclose that even though I love fantasy, the premise of this book was not as intriguing to me as many of his other works. I am not typically that taken with crime books, so I have to confess it took about 5 or 6 tries for me to essentially get through the first scene of this book (it starts in a courtroom). I don’t know, I think its just a mental problem on my part. But eventually I persevered, and got past it. Keep in mind, I don’t suspect many will have any issues with that first scene, but for me, any book that opens in a courtroom seems to be at a disadvantage in maintaining my interest. But, luckily, the story does not stay in the courtroom, and as long as it took me to get through it, I have to admit there is a…

The Martian by Andy Weir
4 Stars , Reviews / August 24, 2014

If Bill Nye the Science Guy and McGyver could devise a way to create a love child (and keep in mind, it Bill Nye the SCIENCE GUY AND McGYVER!! They would totally find away), well then that love child would be Mark Watney. He is faced with a constant barrage of problems, and continually finds some way (usually  unconventional way, but sometimes very McGyver, throw some duct tape on it way) to beat the odds and to defeat Mars with his fight to survive. They are most assuredly almost never anything NASA would approve of. But hey, when you’re stuck on a planet all alone, and it’s your life on the line? Guess what? You get to call the shots. A little background about Mark, he’s a botanist/mechanical engineer/astronaut. His latest mission made him the 17th person to set foot on Mars. But after  some quite unfortunate events, his crew needs to evacuate and indications led them to believe Watney was killed in an accident, there’s really no choice. They have to leave him behind. He’s dead anyway, right? And if they don’t leave immediately, they’ll get to join them as the 2nd – 6th person to die on Mars. Well, it’s not…

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
4 Stars , Reviews / May 4, 2014

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is like something you just take pleasure in looking at or watching, enjoying and appreciating just the simple beauty of it because it is there That is something that I haven’t run across much with books. I also love the flow of prose in this. It’s not face paced, it just takes you on a meandering stroll through a magical and mysterious world. The setting of the Night Circus is just … Magical. It appears in the night, and has never before seen, and quite unexplainable wonders. A true air of mystery surrounds the place. There can be magic in words that captures the imagination to a higher level than normal. Part of the beauty of this book is that experience. Morgenstern guides us very well, but it’s up to us to see the real magic in the circus. I just don’t see how this could be replicated in film, or images as it strips the reader (or viewer) of filling in the blanks, deciding for them self how to view these things. Pretty much, I feel the beauty of the book is caused by the prose and the response it invokes from the…

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
4 Stars , Reviews / April 1, 2014

  I heard about Dark Eden probably close to a year ago. The blurb definitely intrigued me. It describes a population of humans on sunless planet where light comes not from the sky, but from the things that live and grow there. It’s a story of one young man breaking from the confines of the group, determined to explore the Dark that surrounds where they live and change the way their world thinks and acts. So why didn’t I read this sooner? It certainly got a lot of praise in the UK, winning the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel in 2013 and was a British Science Fiction Association Award Nominee for Best Novel in 2012. Well, while it was busy doing well in the UK, it was not released in the US. Until today, that is. So, now that I have my hands on a copy of this book, what do I think? Does it live up to the hype? Hmmm. I suspect that will depend on who you are. It is different different. Personally, I quite enjoyed it.  The world was eerie, yet had a beauty to it. Light (and not just white light, but variable colors…

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
4 Stars , Reviews / March 3, 2014

  I have to admit that Seraphina by Rachel Hartman was quite an enjoyable read. There are dragons, there is murder, there is intrigue and there are secrets. And our protagonist, Seraphina, finds herself in the middle of it all while trying her hardest to not be noticed. Why does she not want to be noticed? Because Seraphina has a dangerous secret that makes her feel an outsider within her world, a secret that could bring her world crumbling down. Seraphina is an intriguing character. She is a wonderfully talented musician and has a strong and forthright personality. She lives in a society where humans have been living in peace with dragons, for forty years. The dragons live amongst them and maintain a human form. But a story of easily maintained peace would likely be a boring story, wouldn’t it? So when a much loved member of the royal family is found dead, with the cause of death looking suspiciously like dragon, the four decades of peace become threatened and our story unfolds. To be honest, I am not always a fan of YA, but because of this, I am actually quite happy when I read one that works for…

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
5 Stars , Reviews / December 11, 2013

  Red Rising by Pierce Brown. How to write a review for this one? Well, just to start, I will say it was fantastic. This is a fast paced book that is very hard to put down.  It is a story of life, of love, of society, of justice, of evil and of vengeance. It is also dark. Yes, there are similarities, parallels to other books out there, but I did not feel like I was reading the same story or reading it in quite the same way. Hunger Games, Ender’s Game (there is even a reference to Ender’s Game) are the first two books I think people will compare it to. But you can find similarities to even Kingkiller Chronicles, Blood Song and Harry Potter (it’s like a ‘roided out cut throat Hogwarts). But, just because Red Rising may be reminiscent of parts of other novels does not mean that it tells an unoriginal story. It has it’s own story to tell with Darrow in the center. In a universe (because this goes beyond just one world), Darrow is born to the lowest of low of the castes. Castes are so separated here, they you can tell what caste…

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
3 Stars , Reviews / November 11, 2013

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately. Snow Crash is my first book by Neal Stephenson and I absolutely loved the opening. Unfortunately, I also felt like the book was never as much fun to read after that first chapter.  It is a different experience with this book. I found much to love, but also much to dislike and that left me feeling less and less engaged as I read. I did like both Hiro and Y. T, our protaginists. However, the parts I didn’t like started to drag me out of the story and therefor care less about what happened to the characters and reading on. One aspect of the book that didn’t quite work for me is that there is a lot of separation/delineation of the different races/sects of society in this book,…