Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: Sons of Zeus

Sons of Zeus
Sons of Zeus by Noble Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this audiobook through the First Reads program here on Goodreads. Thanks to the author, publisher, and Goodreads for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Now that was a pleasant surprise. Well, I did expect to like this book as the idea seemed really interesting, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. An interesting premise became an engaging story.

I listened to the audiobook of this, which I received as a GoodReads First Reads Giveaway. I was pleased with that, as a lot of the audios I listen to are historical fiction, and this seemed to fit the niche just right. And while it had lots of what I enjoy about historical fiction from the time period (ancient Greece), it also improved on some.

The battles. Sometimes I find that battles are too drawn out in historical fiction. Too detailed, they often drag on and lose my interest in the telling. But what I liked about Smith's battle descriptions is that he gives it to us in small chunks, then moves the story on to something else. We get the feel of the fighting without the play-by-play that so often becomes tedious.

The characters. I really found myself liking the characters here. There were a lot of them, and it was tough at first to keep up with all of them. (This is a drawback to audio and epics - without seeing the names, I have a harder time learning them. Also, no point of easy reference to go back and look them up). But once I got a handle on who's who, I cared about what happened to them. The villains were pretty cool as well, and even sympathetic at times.

Some of the character voices were a bit off, but that was more the narrator's interpretation than what the story had. I did feel like the dialogue was a bit too "modern" at times, but that did make it easier to follow as well. So there are two sides to that coin.

I'm purposely vague with character names and specific comments for two reasons. One, I'm not sure of the spelling of many (see audio comment above). But more importantly, I don't want to post any spoilers. I'd like anyone that picks this book up to enjoy the discovery as much as I did.

Let's just say I'm very much looking forward to book 2 in the series. From what I understand, it is a planned trilogy. Which should be just about right.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Now that was strange. I fully expected to hate this book. It's gimmicky and thrown together randomly, or so it seemed.

But I found myself strangely compelled to keep reading. It grabbed my interest without warning. I wouldn't say I loved it, certainly, but it kept me engaged well enough to give it an even 3 stars. Maybe my expectations were low enough to make this possible.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: 1356

1356 by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a decent read, but a bit disappointing to one who has read a lot of Cornwell. It really seemed too light hearted, almost slapstick at times. It was more like a caper than a historical fiction novel, but had a drawn out battle thrown in at the end.

I did like the book, but never felt engaged like I have in other Cornwells. It just didn't match up with the previous books in the Thomas of Hookton series.

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Review: The One-Armed Warrior: A Short Story

The One-Armed Warrior: A Short Story
The One-Armed Warrior: A Short Story by Noble Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very nice. I enjoyed this short story which I received from the author today. It was a bonus teaser in addition to the novel Sons of Zeus, which I won as a First Reads giveaway on GoodReads.

Well, I will say that if this short work is any indication of what I can expect to see in the novel, I'm looking forward to that one.

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Review: Guns

Guns by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well done, Uncle Stevie. I hesitated to read this for a long time because I don't own a Kindle I don't agree with liberal politics and I'm frankly annoyed at the number of celebrities that blindly follow such. It's tough to follow people like that who I like for their art or craft, but I keep getting political rhetoric that I disagree with.

However, that's not what this is. While there is a liberal agenda being illustrated, it's done in such a way that it appeals to the conscience, rather than the left or right of the issue. It's shown here to make us think, and that can't be a bad thing. His solutions are much more middle of the road than I would have expected, and it gives me hope that a compromise might be possible.

Another reason for me to admire Stephen King, even if I don't always agree with him.

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