If you asked me what I thought of this book, I'd probably tell you I didn't like it. On the other hand, I'm currently listening to the second book in this series, so the story obviously gripped me. (For what it's worth, I'm having the exact same reaction to the second book, too).
This story isn't really science fiction in the strict sense. It's really more of a spy thriller with a sci-fi coating. There's lots of intrigue and plenty of action, with a couple of alien ships throwing technology all over the place to make the fighting and computer hacking a little flashier. It's a pretty good story, but if you're hoping that there's going to be some epic space battle, you're going to be disappointed. If you like the idea of James Bond with ramped-up technology, this story is going to sit well with you.
My main problem with the book is that the protagonists are extremely frustrating. There's a lot of what I call "bad decision theater." Basically, the characters will make strings of stupid decisions with little or no explanation about WHY someone who's smart enough to tie their shoes in the morning would think any of those decisions were a good idea. I turned off the recording many times because I couldn't believe that someone could be as stupid as the characters in this book.
There are also two minor annoyances that keep yanking me out of the story. First, the narrator mispronounces "SIPRnet." It drives me crazy. Second, about 25% of the "hacker jargon" in the book is computer/networking terms that the author is mis-using. It's really distracting if you actually know what the terms mean.
Even with those problems, though, I'm still continuing with the series. That's why I'm giving this book three stars instead of the two that I would otherwise give it.
This is a detective story set in a "the magic is failing" world. For the most part, you can see how the mystery is shaping up based on what the characters already know, but there are a few pieces of the puzzle that just show up out of nowhere. The story is a little frustrating, but it's also interesting. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, I should also probably say that the second book is better than this one, but the third book is worse. It's not a bad trilogy to get into, but it's probably not going to be many people's favorite.
This is more of the same stuff that was in Ettiquette and Espionage (the first book in this series.) It's a light, fun story that doesn't take itself too seriously. The book is short and aimed at a young adult market, but I think anyone looking for an entertaining read will probably like it.
I think the narrator does a good job with the material. The tone she uses is a little silly, which matches the story well. She also does good voices for each of the characters, which makes the story easier to follow.
If I had a complaint, it would be that the story concludes a little too abruptly. The resolution could have been expanded a little, but it was still a fun read.
This book was a huge disappointment. The premise sounded pretty good - secret society, crazy member, potential disaster - it could have been good. Instead, it's a book where one guy works through his girlfriend issues in a batcrap-crazy memory palace.
This book is hard to follow. I say that as someone who has read A LOT of fantasy. I'm used to sorting out the details of an alternate world where things just work differently. In this book, the "garden" where, apparently, all of mankind's memories get stored is dropped on the reader and they're left to figure out what's going on. Worse, characters will often say to the newbie "That's just how it works in the garden," and there's no rhyme or reason to it. The newbie and the reader are both just expected to say "sure, that makes sense," when it doesn't. The newbie seemed to figure it out over the course of the book. This particular reader never did.
Also, there are three characters in this book - the guy, the newbie, and everyone else. It's like everyone is the exact same person, hanging out in a different body. Worse, one of the characters is actually possessed, and there's absolutely no way to tell. That character is LITERALLY another character in a different body.
This book is seriously a mess. I was glad when it started winding down, because I wanted to be done with the story. Of course, in the final few minutes, they reveal that despite the fact that it seems like they've wrapped everything up, they've actually solved nothing, and there will need to be a sequel. Keep in mind that the authors don't build this up or show it in any way, they just have the characters say it, straight out of the blue, with no support or reason.
This is a miserable book.
This book is a story about a woman in a mercenary company. The world is a pretty standard fantasy setting - castles, villages, knights, and a dash of magic. The book has its strengths and weaknesses, but I thought it added up to a good story. I'm currently listening to the second one in the series, which should at least tell you that I wanted more after listening to this one.
A large portion of this book is spent describing Paksenarrion's military training, and her subsequent participation in roughly two years of military campaigining. The emphasis is definitely on what happens, instead of on the emotions of the characters. That doesn't mean that there's no character development, it's just that it's mainly done through showing Paksenarrion's reactions to what's going on. As her reactions change over time, you see how she grows.
If you really hate battle scenes in fantasy novels, this isn't the book for you. If you enjoy action and struggle, then it's probably a good choice.
If you like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, you're probably going to like this book and the series that it starts. October Daye is a little bit broken, which makes her a good protagonist. She's trying to muddle her way through in a world that contains people who are dangerous and unbalanced, while dealing with some personal issues of her own.
The story follows the blueprint for a noir detective novel pretty closely, while being trimmed out with the details of a fairytale world. The writing is good enough that even though you know there are sequels to this book, you still wonder if October might not make it through alive.
There's good news and bad news about the sequels. The good news is that they are each as good as this one or better. The bad news is that the series isn't finished yet, so when you get all the way through Chimes at Midnight (the latest one at the moment), you'll be impatiently waiting for the next installment.
What's your opinion on fart jokes? It's going to influence your perception of this book a lot. This book is definitely not for you if you're looking for serious literature, or really anything deeper than a beach read, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's not trying to be deep, it's trying to be fun.
This book is funny in places, crude in places, and generally fast-paced. There's no character development to speak of, the story doesn't really go anywhere unexpected, and you have to wade through a lot of "weird for the sake of weird." Wil Wheaton does a pretty good job narrating.
It's kind of the potato chip of books. A little bit is enjoyable, but you wouldn't want to base your entire diet on them.
This book had a slow start. It drops you right into the middle of things, and fills in some details with flashbacks. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to be invested in the world and the story at the very beginning, where you have very little to work with.
If you give it two or three chapters, though, it turns out to be a pretty good story. The concept of zombies in a world with super-heroes is a good twist. The characters have enough depth to be interesting, but not so much that you get bogged down and lose the cool story.
This book did not go where I expected at all.
I really liked Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series, so I decided to try this one. It's a good story but it's also very different from that series.
The strongest part of this book is the characters. They're well written and realistic. There's also a good mystery about what's actually going on with the near-death experiences that the main character has.
My only criticism is that the book starts to drag around the halfway mark, and doesn't really pick back up until about three quarters of the way through. The last quarter is good, but the book could use a little trimming so that you get there faster.
This book talks about some of the fringes of scientific understanding. Specifically, it talks about 13 different instances of observed data that either contradict the predictions of currently accepted theories, or simply don't have solid theories to explain them yet. That description might make you think that this book is anti-science, or that it caters to fans of pseudoscience, but that isn't the case. The tone supports rigorous application of the scientific method to refine our understanding of the data in every instance.
This is definitely a book written for the average person. The author does a good job of explaining the concepts that he covers so that they are understandable. Since the fields he covers range from physics, to medicine, to neuroscience, that's a good thing; It would take an exceptional person to be well-versed in all of the fields that this book touches on.
Here's a simple way to tell if you'll like this book. If I say to you "the 'cold fusion' results that basically ruined Stanley Pons' and Martin Fleischmann's careers weren't necessarily all that crazy," do you want to know why? If you do, then this book is probably the kind of material you'll find interesting. (It will also elaborate on that particular statement in one of its chapters.)
I hoped that this would be a series of lectures that talked about C.S. Lewis' life and the major themes in his writing. I already knew that most of what Lewis wrote is either an allegory of Christianity or directly apologetic of Christianity. I'm fine with that, and I expected that it would be a major recurring theme in this course. Unfortunately, this isn't a series of lectures, it's a series of sermons. Essentially, every lecture boils down to "here is one of the Truths of Christianity" (notice the capital "T") and a few quotes from one or two of C.S. Lewis' works on that theme. I'm a practicing Christian, and the problem wasn't that I was offended by the professor's sharing of his faith (he and I are probably 80% faith-compatible, if that's even a thing). The problem was that I wanted a literature review mixed with some biography, but I got twelve sermons with passing references to C.S. Lewis. If you want twelve sermons with references to C.S. Lewis, then this course is a good choice. Unfortunately, the description implies that it's something very different.
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