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I encourage people to touch the sky of human imagination and read fantasy. My blog is the Importance of the Impossible.

United States | Member Since 2010

  • 4 reviews
  • 22 ratings
  • 178 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • The Killing Moon: Dreamblood, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By N. K. Jemisin
    • Narrated By Sarah Zimmerman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh's great temple, Ehiru - the most famous of the city's Gatherers - must question everything he knows.

    Paige says: "Fantastic narration!"
    "Nightmare Resolved"
    Any additional comments?

    NK Jemisin's best yet. Halfway through the story I worried resolution would be deferred to the next book, which will be released shortly, but the author slammed the end of the story down like a card player laying a flush of spades. I would love to see more fantasy like this, featuring an end at the end, a rich setting at the beginning, and a magic awash with moral uncertainty.

    What the book jacket doesn't tell you is that this is a story about euthanasia. At least, its magic is. Dreamblood seems to be the energy released when a soul is shoved/escorted to the afterlife. Two of the protagonists, the gatherers, specialize in freeing sufferers. But they also harvest the “corrupt,” a perilous term ripe to be exploited by political intrigue and fallible men. And it is. And as readers, we are disturbed no matter where we fall on the euthanasia issue.

    This struggle of using a potentially terrible magic for good lies at the frenetic beating heart of the Killing Moon. The forces of human need, free will, and religious devotion all clash, with no clear victor. NK Jemisin challenges the reader, not only with moral dilemmas but also with a frolic through tense and perspective shifts. (Yes, including second person, present tense.) A few times I had to blink and take a breath, when her words struck a perfect chord.

    The setting is non-European but what it is seems mostly understated. Mentioned in passing are a seasonal flood, camels, a few drifts of sand, and loindrapes (more classy than loincloths?). The culture's dominant feature is the religion of a dream afterlife and a goddess of sleeping peace, an invention that transcends reference to any real-world local.

    Given that euthanizing monks make up two of the three main viewpoint characters, and the tone of the story, I would be tempted to classify this as Dark Fantasy. Since it's second world, magic-centric, and has resolution in fewer than five hundred pages, High Fantasy is another reasonable description. If you like delving the uncertain waters of often disturbing ideas, of unrequited romance, and bitter triumphs, this is the fantasy book for you. Oh, and the Reaping magic is atom-bomb overpowered, but at least it has the decency to drive the user into gibbering madness.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Tooth and Claw

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Here is the tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father's deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.... Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

    Tango says: "An Austen/Aesop Collaboration"
    "Dragonoic Delight"
    Any additional comments?

    Tooth and Claw is written in the the style of Pride and Prejudice, though with more shifting of perspective from character to character within a scene (head-hopping). The story is strong enough that I might've even liked it if the characters were not all dragons. And there can be no higher recommendation.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder: Oscar Wilde Mysteries, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Gyles Brandreth
    • Narrated By Bill Wallis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    "I see murder in this unhappy hand...." When Mrs. Robinson, palmist to the Prince of Wales, reads Oscar Wilde's hand she cannot know what she has predicted. Nor can Oscar know what he has set in motion when, that same evening, he proposes a game of "Murder" in which each of his Sunday Supper Club guests must write down those whom they would like to kill. For the fourteen "victims" begin to die mysteriously, one by one, and in the order in which their names were drawn from the bag....

    A.E. says: "Luncheon with Mr. Wilde"
    "Luncheon with Mr. Wilde"
    What did you love best about Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder?

    If you've ever entertained the desire to hobnob with Oscar Wilde, this book is for you. Though I found the mystery engaging and at times intense, the book revolves around the fop playwright and his friends having luncheon, drinking, and smoking. And what friends they are! The straight-laced Arthur Conan Doyle complains about Sherlock Holmes, hoping that character isn't all people will remember him by. Bram Stoker booms his laugh. And the adorable but potential-sociopath Bosie holds Wilde in his thrall.

    The premise is that the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes were based at least in part on the mega-mind that was Oscar Wilde, and let's face it, the only thing that can make a detective more interesting than the big SH himself is heart-seeking wit and an arsenal of quips. The author portrays Wilde with spooky clarity, both his charm and his failings, and after listening to this book you'll feel you met him.

    The author commands not only quips and perfection of character but also weaves as much history as possible into the story. The grid is introduced, as well as the rules for modern boxing. (The latter should interest zero percent of the book's target market, but at least it's nice historical flavor.)

    I have a suggestion to best enjoy the novel: Skip the epilogue / afterward. It summarizes what happens to the primary (non-murdered) characters after the story, recounting their achievements and demises. I found it depressing after the satisfying final chapter. Leave it for later, if at all.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks...: And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Adam Carolla
    • Narrated By Adam Carolla

    It's a sad and eerie harbinger of our times that the Oprah-watching, crystal-rubbing, Whole Foods-shopping moms and their whipped attorney husbands have taken the ability to reason away from the poor schlub who makes the Bloody Marys. What we used to settle with common sense or a fist, we now settle with hand sanitizer and lawyers. Adam Carolla has had enough of this insanity and he's here to help us get our collective balls back.

    Brett says: "Hilarious Book"
    "Pure vitriolic bliss"

    Those not familiar with the podcast should know that Adam Carolla's rants range so far and wide that he's sure to offend at some point, but his humor is worth the occasional sting.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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