SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States | Member Since 2011
I think this series has potential. This is a coming of age novel and involves magic. I was impressed with the beginning of the story. We are introduced to the protagonist, a young boy named Magpie, who was raised in the mines like a slave in very harsh conditions. I enjoyed how the author described the conditions for this camp of orphans who needed to find gems if they expect to get their evening meals and had to huddle together for warmth at nights. Then the story changes settings and we enter a Hogwarts like environment where there are different areas of study for students that are talented in the arts of bard, healing, and heraldry. The school is part of a kingdom and has medieval level of technology. At this point I found events went a little slow for my taste. Magpie has his issues due to his harsh upbringing. He has a lot to overcome being uneducated and having a tendency to be a loner. Most of this section is about different connections to people he makes and the things he learns at his stay in the collegium. There is an element of magic and supernatural lore. Our protagonist is a herald with the power of mind speak and is able to communicate to his companion, a horse. Most of the time he has the voice of this companion / mentor in his head. The narration does a little extra special effect with the voices when Magpie is talking internally in his head to his companion so you will not get confused. It wasn't really until the end that Magpie or any of the characters actually do much with their abilities. The ending felt anticlimactic and needs a follow up. We are left with a ton of questions and I even had to review the last part because I felt like I missed something that was not there. Basically, you need to get the sequel, and I will at some point.
I though this was an okay listen, but I am not generally a fan of the vampire and monster genre of fantasy. The way of the Wolf is about a futuristic Earth that has been devastated by by an alien race known as our mythological vampires. They have learned to feed off humans for immortality and their cruelty has no ends. There are also good aliens that help our protagonist, Valentine, become imbued with wolf powers. Basically this is a story about humans fighting back.
I liked the main character. Valentine struggles from a tragic history and this tale is about him coming of age. We are given enough reasons to dislike the enemy alien vampires that rampage across Earth and the reader comes to identify a hero in the protagonist. I thought the author has some interesting ideas and was very creative with his post apocalyptic world of monsters.
I have a few criticisms. Some of the story felt a little hokey. Everything seems to go right for the main character as he seems to be in the right place at the right time. Allies also seem to pop up out of nowhere in critical times. The main characters morals are a little ambiguous to me. He certainly isn't above torture and killing at times. There is some profanity and there are many amoral characters. The author describes a world where women are raped, people are slaughtered and eaten alive. There is use of profanity and there is a sex scene that gets a little explicit. Maybe Twilight has shaded my view on vampire and werewolf literature, but it seems like authors always feel need to put some romance into their writings. So, unsurprisingly our protagonist becomes love sick and is driven to some irrational gallantry.
I wasn't expecting anything deep out of this novel, but I felt the author did an alright job overall. The narration was great, but I thought the introduction from EE Knight was unnecessary. I will probably pick up a sequel at some point down the line.
I have listened to the whole series. Overall, I liked the world Robin Hobb created but the characters were a little frustrating at times. Also, the conclusion of this series wasn't that great. However, it did wrap things up for the most part and I felt compelled to keep buying into each book with my credits to get a conclusion. But it is really hard to sympathize with the main characters motivations and understand his loyalty rulers of this society. I have mixed feelings about some of the characters too. I just felt the story could have been written better and I think generally that is my opinion about some other Robin Hobb works I have listened to as well.
Despite those complaints I would still say this is worth a listen, but be prepared for a long story. This is a series about a boy coming of age and being outcast because of his blood. There is a mentor component and a struggle to find ones identity. There is also magic and adventure in the later books.
Mars by Ben Bova is about Earth's first manned mission to mars. The book was written in 1992 so it might be a little out of date. The main character, Jamie, Is half Native American and the story makes a big fuss about racism in America towards this culture. This book isn't my favorite of those that I have read so far from Ben Bova. The story went by very slow. Yet, Ben Bova is a good enough writer to keep me interested enough to listen to the whole thing. Just do not expect high amount of action. This has a more realistic feel and might be more similar to a real mars mission, not some Buck Rogers fantasy adventure. I found the characters likable. I think mainly this book could have used a nice editing job and a little more suspense. Overall, I am satisfied with this read and I will continue to buy Ben Bova's work. A bunch of other stand alone novels falls in the same time line as this one, so there is more to look forward to after this read if you like it. As to that, I can recommend Empire Builders.
This story is about a boy and girl who are in a car crash and find themselves as ghosts in a sort of limbo world. They children must come to terms with their new ghostly lives and figure out how to interact in this new world where the laws of physics are a little off. This story is mostly told from the perspective of the girl. There are only children ghosts in this universe because adults obviously know where they are going after death. This book is appropriate for children and young adults. As someone who doesn't read many ghost stories I found the ideas fresh enough. However, I found some of the characters are a little too thick headed.
There are some strong similarities to the Dresden Files series, however, Pennies for the Ferryman is no where near the same level of quality. The protagonist, Mike Ross, is similar to Dresden in that he is dirt poor and is an investigator of paranormal situations. Mike Ross is more like Mortimer from Dresden Files. He can see and talk to ghosts and help them move on. The exception is that Mike Ross is more aggressive and a little bit of a smart aleck. He is also a bit of a juvenile and lives at his moms place. He is an Afghanistan war veteran who had injured his eye during his service requiring him to get a new eye implant that allows him to see ghosts. This upsets the ghost community and soon finds that life at home is as dangerous as life was over seas. The style felt a little military oriented. There were some issues with the writing and I was up in the air as to whether I care much for the characters. Mostly I felt the writing lacked originality. You might think an author named Jim B. would want and try to separate his writing from other known writers in his category of work. Overall, it was a decent enough one time listen. Maybe some day I will will pick up the sequel, but this one isn't very high on my list.
I will take a different approach with this review and include some reasons why people who have seen the movie should check out the book as well. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I have read and listened to many times. This work by Orson Scott Card is the crowning achievement of his career and I am glad that he finally agreed to bring this book to a movie format. If you have not seen the movie yet and want a review of the book by itself, skip the next paragraph.
While the movie release was done well in the given time allotment, I believe that it is still worth checking out the book itself; the real genius. In the book we get a better look at the family of Ender Wiggin and see their effects on Ender. His brother and sister are equal to Enders genius and play a role shaping society. There is a larger focus at the battle school. The overall tension is greater and we see better character development. Ender shapes the pupils around him and the reader can understand more what makes him a good military commander. The reader comes to understand just how manipulated Ender is throughout the book and can find some sympathy with his actions. Without much politics of the time explained, the ending was altered to some extent as well. Lastly, Orson Scott Card wrote a book about Bean himself that takes place from his perspective during Enders Game. If you haven't read/listened to either of these versions yet, then you are missing out on two different and complex stories.
Enders Game is about a world consumed with the fear of annihilation after an alien fleet had invaded some years ago. With similarities to starship troopers, nations have come together to provide a fleet of spaceships for the salvation of Earth. This Earth is overpopulated and there are laws that prohibit having more than two children. Only for special exceptions are "thirds" allowed to be born. Such is the case that Ender Wiggin who is marked by birth with the intent to be the savior of the planet. Ender himself is a tactical genius. He has been recruited at a young age to go to a battle school in order to train to become a commander. There are some interesting applications of futuristic technologies and include mind invasive tech, and battle room facilities in space. Children are brought together at very young ages and forced into hard realities with no privacy. They are hence analyzed and shaped into effective weapons. The story pushes at the limits of human tolerances and shows at what lengths these military leaders will go to produce a commander of battle fleet that they believe will determine the fate of human existence in the stars.
This is a worthy followup of one of my favorite series.
The Republic of Thieves picks back at the end of book two. Locke is extremely sick from the mysterious poison he consumed and the gentlemen bastards are on a mission to find a cure. Scott Lynch likes to infuse flash backs to give depth to his protagonists and show how they reached certain conclusions and skills in the present day story. In the Republic of Thieves we get an on and off again flashback to the days when Sabetha was part of the gentlemen bastards crew and Father Chains was training them. In fact, half of the story is about one of the first con jobs and the subsequent trouble that follows. The other half is about Karthain and the Bondsmage and takes place during present time. The two stories flow nicely together. In the end we are given a lot of new information about Sabetha, the society of Bondsmagi, and Locke's past. We also see a powerful enemy arise which gives us promise of future conflicts for the gentlemen bastards.
Scott Lynch delivers a fine addition to the Gentleman Bastards series. Once again we see Locke spin his lies and use his silver tongue to get out of trouble. I would have liked to see a little less of the romance. Love does Locke in as he gets played more than once by his lady love. I also would have liked to see less of the play acting and more of Locke and Jean trying to con others. In addition, there were a couple parts I found a little obvious. In part because of those reasons I didn't feel this sequel was as good as the first two books. But the standards given for this series are extremely steep. However, we still get a few surprises in the end and overall I had a hard time stopping for anything length of time. There are two satisfying conclusions, with promises of better story to come and more mysteries of Locke's life to be unraveled.
I have returned for another Brandon Sanderson read and I am never disappointed. I enjoyed this book as much as my Mistborns and Elantris reads. This story is about the struggle between two kingdoms and involves a system of magic. I felt the story was a little drawn out, however, it kept me guessing until the end and it included a few surprises. I enjoyed the characters and I think Brandon Sanderson did a great job with their development.
Warbreaker is about the struggle between two kingdoms called Hallandren and Idrian. As part of a promise to keep the peace long ago, a daughter had been promised to Hallandren to marry their God king. In this universe some people are able to return from death for a short time and they have a mission. Each person in this world has their own breath (a sort of magic in this story) and some have more than others. These extra breathes come with magical abilities. For a person returned to life to survive they need to feed on this breath. In Hallandren the returned are considered Gods and they themselves have different powers which include prophecy. In the palace of the Gods there is much intrigue in different factions in the palace. Perspective switches between four main characters who eventually unite in some fashion by the end. Lightsong is a God who tries to make a joke out of everything and is troubled with his existence. His part in the story was very refreshing while switching between the two other female protagonists. In Hallandren things are not as they seem. The characters will be surprised at how much their opinions and understanding of themselves will change by the end.
My favorite character would have to be the returned God Lightsong who has a very relax and non carrying personality. He is clever and makes jokes about everything. I thought the narration was fine. And I found the voice of Lightsong really fit his character. The story wrapped up fairly well, but I could see the author eventually writing a sequel if he is so inclined.
I am intrigued enough with Sandman Slim to try book 2. However, I think 4 stars is a generous rating. The story and protagonist did remind me of the Dresden Files a little bit, but a more rate R version. The story is of a darker quality and the writing is not on the same level of a Jim Butcher novel.
The story takes place in a world where heaven and hell exists. There is magic and supernatural creatures. James Stark is a magician who is sent to hell by the people he trusted. No human had been known to survive a trip to hell and his eleven year stay there was not a happy vacation. However, he did end up learning new, more powerful, magic. Also, he found out that as he got hurt he became stronger until he was able to make his escape. Now back on earth he is on a mission to get revenge on the people that cast him to hell in the first place. Along the way he seems to find himself directed into all sorts of trouble.
Many of the characters seemed very seedy. The main character curses like sailor and convincingly portrays the perspective of a man who survived and flourished from a trip to hell. Stark portrays a badass type of attitude. He is a reluctant hero and more like a mercenary. People in the story call him a monster who kills other monsters. There was a little comedy written in which kept the atmosphere light. Overall, I think it was worth the listen if you can find this one on sale, and I will hold my judgement for the next book in the series.
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