Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Patient Zero

Patient Zero
Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a ride. When this book picks up, it doesn't let go until all the bullets fly. Well, even after that, truth be known. The action sequences here are so nicely described, I can almost hear the shell casings hitting the floor.

I thought I was getting a police procedural with zombies thrown in. What I read was so much more than that. All of that became obvious when our policeman narrator was recruited by Mr. Church, and his ultra-secret black ops counter-terrorist group. The stuff they do is almost as scary as the things they fight.

And fight, oh yes. There are more bullets in this than the average shooter game. Sweet. It would make a killer movie. (I read that it was being prepped for a TV show, but that ABC passed on it to show the Charlie's Angels remake. Epic fail.)

I see lots of potential for this series, and will be checking it out. Hooah...

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Bearers of the Black Staff

Bearers of the Black Staff (Legends of Shannara, #1)Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting and entertaining story from the Shannara world history. This one tells us of events that occur a few centuries after the time frame of The Gypsy Morph. It gets us closer to the period of Brooks's classic work, The Sword of Shannra, but we're not there yet. This book does end with a lot unresolved, so I'll need to push on to The Measure of the Magic to get those answers.

But that said, this one is enjoyable. There are a few characters that stand out as particularly interesting (Prue, Inch, and Mistral), while others are likeable but fairly typical Brooks heroes. The story is solid, and though predictable in places for Brooks veterans, there are a few surprises here and there.

I wouldn't recommend this to a newcomer to the Shannara books (too much would be missed that happened before), but it is a good way to spend a few hours for a fan of Terry Brooks and his series.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Kenobi

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free ebook ARC copy of this book from NetGalley. Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

That was a satisfying read. Two things I've always loved are Star Wars and westerns. Here, we have a blending of sorts.

Have you ever wondered how Obi-Wan ended up living as a hermit in the desert of Tatooine? The "why" of this decision is known to fans of the Star Wars series, but here is a chance to see how things went for him as he moved in and got settled.

Lots of references to the movie series are here, as expected. But with that, it's a pretty self-contained story. Assuming the reader has seen the movies. And honestly, who would read this book having not seen the films?

There were even a few minor questions answered. One that always bugged me was about his name. He changed it from "Obi-Wan" to "Ben", in order to hide from the Sith. But why in the hell did he keep his surname of Kenobi if he wanted to hide? That's answered here.

It got a bit hokey towards the end, as the climax to the story came together. But not too bad, certainly not enough to take away overall enjoyment of the book. I will say that there are some characters I'd like to revisit later on, to see how they got along. I'd also like to see more Tatooine-based western-styled fiction. Nice....

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: The Crown Tower

The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1)The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free ebook ARC copy of this book from NetGalley. Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

4.5 stars. Very nice, satisfyingly fun read.

I really enjoy these books. Sullivan does have some great world-building going on, but it comes up in snippets, not bogging down the story. Otherwise he keeps it at a brisk pace and character driven. The characters are enjoyable and I really get invested. Royce and Hadrian are great together, complimenting each other with skills and constant banter.

And this is their origin story. Or, at least, the origin of their partnership. They're brought together and we get to see how this mismatched pair ends up working together. As prequels go, this is fantastic.

The supplemental characters are good too, notably Gwen and Arcadius. We see how they come into the story as well, as they're also familiar faces from the Riyria Revelations.

And the best part is, there's another book coming out next month...

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: Great North Road

Great North Road
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That. Was brilliant.

It took me three weeks to read this nearly 1000 page monster of a book. Normally that would seem like a long time on one book, but not here. A busy schedule kept me from devoting large chunks of time to it, but that was okay. I was able to savor it.

I'd never read Hamilton before, and now I'm a fan. It's rare for a book this size to churn along without boring parts, but this had very few of those. Part mystery, action-adventure, police procedural, epic scale space opera, and human psychological drama, this made for a fantastic experience.

It's a stand-alone novel, so there is no "next book" to pick up. I will be reading more Hamilton though, that is certain.

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