Awesome! So glad to see that book 13 was a dismal fluke as Butcher is back in true form. Once again this installation has everything you would expect; familiar characters, Harry in another impossible situation, the pending ending of the world by mysterious forces... perfect!! This is why I love this series. Great plot twists and turns that ring true and bring in tons of elements from the previous books. Now that I'm finally caught up with the series I feel the pain of having to WAIT! It was nice to start the next as soon as I finished one.
I will preface my review by saying it only covers around the first half of the book. After six 1/2 years and 162 books as hard as I tried I just could not finish it and here is why. To all you authors out there please do not go to all the effort to create an in depth fantasy world that you fill with numerous characters, an alternate history, glorious artifacts,parallel universe, and imaginary beasts and NEVER EXPLAIN ANY OF IT! It creates a reader who doesn't give two s#!ts about your story (I've moved on to the Lies of Locke Lamora so hence the reason for the language). Now maybe it's all explained later in the book but as a reader I shouldn't have to dread picking it back up to get to that point. Also the main character is impossible to connect with and the writing style and prose could have used significantly more editing, to the point that it distracted the reader from the story.
Stephenson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Reamde was awesome and Snow Crash might be even better. Loved how post apocalyptic world was never really described or how it got to be. Just a given of this is how it is. Overall very enjoyable and great read.
I think what Maberry does better than any other current author I'm reading right now is how well he captures the humanity and emotions of his characters. These are not just simple hard ass macho types because Maberry takes the time to delve into the raw emotions of how the characters feel not only in the "moment" but the after effects as well. This simple layer adds so much depth in the mastery of the delivery that it takes the story to a whole new level. With this latest addition this solidifies this series as my absolute favorite currently being written. Each one is consistently better and builds upon the characters so much that the plot; which is excellent in both delivery and research, almost becomes secondary.
Clines took a bit of a risk here by the diverging plot. Sometimes this can not go over well as Butcher found out with Ghost Story. Clines was able to pull it off with much more success as you got a glimpse of the characters in normal life, kinda like a prequel of sorts. True to my nature once I am into a series I never read anything about the plot before I read it so this was a pleasant surprise and in the end I found myself enjoying the story.
After hitting the mark consistently over the previous 12 installments I guess it was inevitable that sooner or later we would see that Butcher is in fact fallible. The whole story plot and events just didn't do it for me and I really wanted to give this one only 2 stars but hey it is still Harry Dresden so he gets the third star.
Ender's Game was great and Speaker for the Dead is in my list of all time favorites as it is a phenomenal story! Xenocide on the other hand has so many flaws that it as an absolute disappointment. I don't think I have ever seen a book in a series diverge so much (in terms of quality) from the others. To start, much of this book deals with an entirely new story line with the introduction of the world of Path. For me I found the chapters that dealt with this new world insufferable and the characters impossible to relate to or care about. To avoid spoilers there is also a plot twist with Ender that to me makes no sense and only aides in bringing the character of Ender down to the level of the characters of Path. Worst of all this book just ends and does little to nothing in tying up any of the loose ends. With the first two books I couldn't wait to start the next one in the series. I think it will be awhile before I decide to pick up Children of the Mind. Once the memory of this disappointment fades I may think about it.
This was an excellent conclusion to the story arc. Throughout the series Larry has stayed true to the characters he developed that we have come to like so much. I follow Larry's blog and as he was writing this story he would post comments such as "I just had to kill of a major character" or "Faye really is scary". This just built up my anticipation for reading the book and made it that much better as I was actually reading it. I found myself saying "Oh, this is the part Larry was talking about. REALLY enjoyed this series and I hope the rumors aren't true and that someday another story arc comes out.
I think this is my favorite of the series. Ended on a great note and I really liked the new plot twists that; for me, were unexpected. It brought something new to this genre which keeps it exciting and looking forward to the next installment.
To start this is a weak 3. It is an excellent story on the life and history of Palpatine but that is also the critical flaw as it reads more like a history text book. The Star Wars technical handbooks on the vehicles and spaceships was more interesting. Don't dive into this one thinking your going to get a great story but if your a die hard fan looking for a history lesson than this will be perfect. This was my fifth Star Wars book in 6 months and I think I am done with this franchise for a good while.
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