Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Minority Report

Minority Report
Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic short story from Philip K. Dick. I was actually surprised at how much I liked this, as I'm not normally a huge reader of short stories and I know Tom Cruise was in the movie adaptation. But it was very engaging and quick paced. I'll need to read more of his shorts, if this is any indication of the quality. Who would have expected the short story from Philip K. Dick to be so good? While I did see that climax coming, it was still very satisfying.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Hollow World

Hollow WorldHollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free eARC copy of this book from NetGalley.

...and I also bought a paperback from the author's website, because I enjoy and collect his work.

...and this is a great addition to that collection! First off, I'll say that I did not like it quite as much as Sullivan's Riyria books, but that's more from genre-preference than any issues with this book.

This book is certainly a fine celebration of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, as well as being a seriously good novel in its own right. As the author admits in his introduction, his work is more fiction than science, as he uses fantastical methods of achieving his time travel method and the future world that's encountered there, in Hollow World. But at the same time, there's some real plausibility to it. I mean, suspending a little disbelief and it all falls into place nicely. Whether or not this ever could happen, it's explained well and works for the story.

I wasn't surprised to like this book, but I was surprised at how much of a study of sociology, religion, and the human experience we ended up seeing. This book scores a big A+ for addressing social issues that make the reader think. So not only an enjoyable story, but one that leaves us looking at ourselves as well. It's a future that could come to pass, but it's also a good introspective of our present and past.

Did I mention the world building? Yes, Hollow World has that as well. The society that Sullivan postulated in his future is very realistically detailed. It is a world any of us enjoy visiting, but one that could be scary to envision. Is this future better or worse than what we have? The answer is yes.

Sullivan had several little gems in his writing that made the reading experience more enjoyable:

"Maybe was just a convenient shield to hide behind when reality proved to be a bitch."

"...but two dead bodies in front of a farmhouse had left them helpless. Ellis wasn't a cop, and had never served in the military, but he was from Detroit."

Those are just two examples. I caught myself re-reading passages all through the book as they'd either made me chuckle, or were serious food for thought.

This could have rated a 5-star book with me, except for the pacing. Don't get me wrong, the slowish pace worked very well for this book, and it did build up to a great payoff. It just didn't have me completely engaged all the way through in the way that I see a 5-star book doing to me. All in all that's a minor thing, and not even what I'd consider a fault in the story.

So in summary, well done Mr. Sullivan! I will shelve my signed copy in a safe place for a future re-read.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Chucked at 10%. I should have known better. How many times have I seen all those awards listed in a blurb and been suckered into trying a book?

I'm just not doing it. Maybe it gets better, but no. I'm not getting trapped into losing a couple of months of my life because I'm determined to finish a China MiƩville/Gene Wolfe-type experience. Maybe I'm not smart enough to grasp this genre.

Or more likely, I just don't give a damn.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Hunt the Wolf

Hunt the Wolf: A SEAL Team Six NovelHunt the Wolf: A SEAL Team Six Novel by Don Mann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a free ebook of this novel from NetGalley.

Now this was a nice break from everything. An espionage/action/adventure that was quickly paced and well developed. The writing itself wasn't spectacular, but it was solid. The characters are interesting, though I'd like to see them drawn out a bit more. Perhaps in future books in the series.

It was a bit pro-military-rah-rah, but that's to be expected when one of the co-authors was a SEAL himself. And that's fine; it was appropriate here. I'm ex-military myself, so it's refreshing to see that patriotism and pride in service still exists out there.

I do think this would make for a cool TV series, if done right. I'm certainly interested in reading more of the books.

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Review: Dumbledore's Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final

Dumbledore's Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final
Dumbledore's Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final by J. K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sure, why not? I mean, I'd like to see a sequel as well as the next Potterhead.

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