severna park, MD, United States | Member Since 2014
A fun book. An interesting take on religion, benign, not heavy or preachy. Definitely funny, and strangely atheist friendly. There is some extrapolations on humanitarianism, but it stays in the shallow end. A novel approach to the relationships and mythos of deities and their followers.
Divine Misfortune is one of those books that's easy to relate with. A good pick me up listen after your car breaks down, or your boss yells at you. Lucky struck me as kind of douchey Raoul Duke (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,) but perhaps that was intentional.
I can't imagine all the research that went behind writing Stephenson's Reamde, but it's an incredible looping ride. It takes it's time, it could definitely be classified as an 'epic' fiction, as Stephenson uses deliberate extrapolation and minute details to explain some of the more unlikely scenarios in the novel. There are many scenes that are made, in my opinion, unmanageably realistic, especially toward the end, which drags the story on.
It hit close to home when one of the characters are revealed as a child of Sudan. One of my best friends growing up turned out to be adopted from Sudan, and I never knew until he gave a speech for a community college I attended, years later. He lost his entire family, and the details of his march aren't my business to share, but he never mentioned it, he did his best to move on, and made the most of his life, which is a really cheesy and harsh thing to say. When you dwell on your problems, you're only inviting them to continue to hurt you. A lot of North American kids could learn a valuable lesson from him, and from Zula.
I almost wanted to say Stephenson tried to write the Richard Forthrast as a genius level asperger spectrum, but it's actually really doubtful. The way he organizes his life, and his detachment from reality was probably written this way to detail the repercussions on his personality from years of experience with T'Rain, and from managing a huge industry at it's foundation level.
Overall it's truly a great story, and I've listened to it twice since I bought it, although I usually don't repeat huge novels unless I'm reaaally head over heels for them. I don't recommend trying to quote any of the anthropological fiction-facts without at least a Wikipedia trek.
A lot of the research behind Reamde is sound, such as flying low to get under the radar, and wangbas. Some of the research may be true, but is more opinionated, such as the differences between Go and Chess. But, all of it together gives you a small glimpse into what it may be like to grow up in another country, and the culture shock even open minded youths come across when removed from their accustomed environment. The circumstances that carry the story are as likely as winning the lottery, several times, in the same year, and the plot at times gets hair thin, but with Stephenson's deliberation, it's easy to accept the looping piecemeal situations as a more likely scenario then some of the easy answer fast fire action novels.
This book is sticky, and the humanitarian lessons will keep with you long after the epilogue. It's entertaining and masterfully written, and to be honest it was a relief getting a break from novels where the hero uses his arsenal of one-liners to punctuate explosions.
I loved Blade Runner, and Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep, so I was pretty excited to hear this novel, and it didn't disappoint. It wasn't my favorite Scalzi, but it was pretty original. The story starts out vulgar, and I was regretting my purchase with all the flatulence, arterial congestion, and bursting things. Frankly, it may turn you green, until the meat of the story really starts.
Although I could see where certain parts of the story would go, the girl was a creative and viable surprise. Not his strongest story, he uses a few deus ex machinas, but Scalzi is a master of science fiction, and I haven't been disappointed with his work yet. His characters are fun and adaptable. The story keeps a good pace. The alien incarnation representing all of our negative characteristics from the obvious to the subtle, was well thought out. The aliens remain dynamic, yet have built their society around all of our major failings. The Nidu are like a crystal ball showing us what would happen if we let Wal-Mart fashion legal doctrine for the entire world.
This book is better written then David Wong's last novel, John Dies At The End. Which was a fun read. Unlike his last, when the plot ambles, it's more on purpose, concise, cleaner, and he doesn't use periods of gross out horror slapstick to cover weak points in the story. There's still gross out horror, but it's intuitive. I mean, it's a book about sentient spiders. Uggghhuuuhhuuherr Blahhhh, my skin is crawling!
I can't remember the last time I was wide awake at 4 AM glaring at shadows in my room, certain that they would suddenly move. Maybe when I was eight? Or since the last time I watched Army of Darkness?
Don't judge. It was scary. I normally don't like horror, but when you get midway through this book you almost have to keep listening, you have to have the narrator tell you that the spiders are taken care of, and that everything will be okay. It's that well written. This book was like a literary roller coaster, terrifying, with just the right kind of humor and humanity to make it exciting. There are some really good intuitions of the human condition, including Wong's take on the Babel Effect, without getting too preachy. The alternate point of views is really interesting, as you get to see situations from every perspective. I would definitely recommend this book.
Scalzi still uses 'said' for nearly every exchange of dialogue, which will drive some people really nuts. It's the elephant in the living room for this book. If you don't zero in on it, you might never notice.
Personally, I LOVED the comedy, speed, and pitch of the banter. The first five hours are a huge laugh, with some earnest drama and important life lessons sprinkled in, from first to last. The star trek references are so very classic. And the dramatic pauses and high school theater way the officers make exchanges, then automatically switch to normal speech when not on point. So funny!
This was my first book with this author, and it had me moving happily on to Android's Dream, Agent to the Stars, Fuzzy Nation, and the Old Man's War series. A great find! Fixation on the word 'said' or no.
These books really are fantastic!
The beginning of Deadhouse Gates might confuse people following the series. It starts with the Culling in Malazan during the Season of Rot. The story then switches to, among other things, the Rising of the Whirlwind in the Raraku desert, the incarnation of the Sha'ik, the Malaz 7th Army in Seven Cities, and best of all, the meanderings of Icarium and Mappo.
There's more Icarium and Mappo banter! Eeeehehee!
It's an intricate epic fantasy, and although it will be kind of sort of possible to pickup at Deadhouse Gates (Book 2) without reading Gardens of the Moon (Book 1), you will miss some important plot points which will give the storyline more depth. I would not recommend jumping around in this series. To appreciate it, it's really best to stick to the sequence. Erikson cross references some of his major plot twists from book to book, sometimes, but if he recapped every small plot progression or significant back story between each book, by Crippled God, we would have to flip to chapter twenty three before we were ready to move on with the story. There really is a lot going on, and it's so inter-woven. You may not pick up on everything the first listen through, but again, the story gets so crazy, and Erikson's writing style is so incredibly lyrical, it's still a fun read, and worth listening too, again.
Listening to the audible version breaks everything down into more easily understandable portions, but don't be intimidated if something zips by you. There's even a Malazan Wiki set up to help. This book really has everything, shape changers, solid battle scenes, sun-dried ears, power struggles, senile old erudites, conflicting cultural taboos, pit quarries, resentful convicts, weird drugs, sea monsters, sand.
I can't wait for Midnight Tides! I really hope they keep these coming.
I agree with the reviews that are put off by the infatuation of teenage pregnancy. Orson Scott Card's books often come across as a pedantically cyclical read, so when the topic get's brought up, suddenly all the teenage girls in the story are obsessed with it in the same very disturbing and stupefied way. Grabbing at men's waists and demanding men 'put their baby inside me,' was an approach my mother must have missed. It's incredibly insulting to young women that this is how their teenage interests are portrayed. Really think about your teenage experience, and try to count on one hand the number of girls in your school, who would do this, and throw themselves at boys like this.
The dialogue is all in the same kidney, this adds to the cycling feeling of the book. It could almost be one person arguing with them self. The sentence structure, word usage, lines of thought, etc. cohere so that there are some golden opportunities for OSC's brand of humor, but it's not often believable that you are listening to several people talk, just one man's interpretation of a conversation.
OSC tackles Christianity, and a lot of other religions, legends, and myths, in this book. I'm not religious, but if you are, fair warning, he reinterprets the big J into his canon. Neil Gaiman did this in American Gods, then went back and edited him out, and it probably saved him some angry readers.
Stefan Rudnicki has a super creaky deep voice, like someone is opening and shutting an old door. Emily Rankin tried to match his voice in this book, which made her voice croak and crack. And to get what they are saying, you can't just dim the volume until you can just barely hear the words. The croaking is still loud before the words fuzz out. It's okay in the short term, but after a few hours it starts to hurt. When I took my ear buds out, I couldn't hear all that well for a few days.
The storyline is original. The plot twists aren't too severe. The book ambles, but it stays pretty cut and dry sequential. It'll be great for a solid OSC fan, but it's not Ender's Game.
This was an engaging remake of the old story.
There were some changes to make Jack Holloway work better with Scalzi's writing style. Scalzi still uses 'he/she/they said' to express every change in dialogue, which can get annoying, if you zero in on it. I didn't really notice it that often, and it wasn't as obvious as in his Old Man's War series.
Throughout the book Scalzi is careful to use Holloway's actions and words to describe his character. You aren't force fed his every thought, which is both a huge relief, but since Holloway is so manipulatively devious, it leaves enough mystery to unfolding events to create doubts on how the space opera plays out.
The little Davids trying to stick it to the industrial corporate Goliath is a delight, and one that will be easy for a lot of today's readers to empathize with.
Wow! WOW! This was so much happier then the other LotR books! And there's so much compacted into the story.
Now I can see why they are making this into three movies, it WILL take that long to go in depth on the battle of five armies, and the necromancer back-story, and so on. And the MUSIC! If you loved the singing dwarves in the movie, then you WILL LOVE Inglis's take on each of the songs Tolkien's written in the Hobbit. His voice is so deep and rich.
I was hopping up and down at work, grinning madly, every time I heard Inglis start singing. Even if you've already read the Hobbit, experiencing it audibly, especially with Inglis's narration, is not something to pass up.
I urge you to listen to this book, you will not regret it!
The narrator's overpower this book, and in many cases during the story, it's a good thing. The interruptions between narrators, and inter-narration banter had me laughing in public. Some of the dialogue is unbearably entertaining. The rest of it was kinda soppy.
I like very few female narrators, they over stress emotion, and get really breathy or screechy, and this is unfortunately the case with Natalie Ross. She makes a good attempt at a southern belle accent, but as you progress into the book, her voice rubber bands dramatically around making the story an endless chain of over-cooked exclamations. I got tired of the first person I-Me-Why soppy world-revolving around Mac approach pretty quickly, because of it.
Mac also becomes so wet, things kept happening TO her, she kept sulking and pouting about them, and whenever she made an action of her own volition, Ross added that umph of feminine empowerment into her voice. As if Mac making her own decisions, as a functional adult, should be liberating? What?
Basically, Mac drove me nuts. She reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, if Alice had returned from her Wonderland adventure, and been raised as an overly pampered valley girl. She's a brat, who will be head over heels for one guy, and make out with another, with no moral dilemmas.
I'm on the fence about this book. If you like book series where the ENTIRE world revolves around the heroine, like Sookie Stackhouse, Cat Crawfield, or Anita Blake, then the way the plot unfolds probably won't bother you. Or the way you're force fed every cross thought or emotion Mac experiences.
The plot itself was very well wrought and will certainly keep you guessing. Some of the things that tie together at the end could be easily anticipated if you don't get hung up on Mac's soppy emotional roller coaster, but the rest are very original, and entertaining, not out of left-field. All the pieces of the puzzle are given to you, but there isn't really anyway to piece them together yourself.
I should probably keep my nose out of this genre, but there haven't been any new Pratchett's, Moore's or Gaiman's to sink my teeth into, so I apologize for the mixed review.
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