Friday, October 31, 2014

Review: Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That wasn't normally something I'd read, but thanks to Audible and the Ford Audiobook Club on Goodreads, I scored a free download and gave it a try.

I'm glad I did too. This was an engaging study of a mixed race Chinese-American family in the 1970s, and their way of dealing with the prejudices of the time. More than that, in their coping with outside sources, it's a study of this family and their relationships with each other. It's a study of the ways they deal with a tragedy, as well as the people they became leading up to the tragedy.

The five members of the Lee family are all sympathetic characters, each in their own way. While I certainly wouldn't agree with many of their choices, it was very touching to see how they became the way they were.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: The Dragon Factory

The Dragon FactoryThe Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Honestly, this was a bit of a letdown from Patient Zero. It had plenty of action and suspense, and plot and characters. It just didn't have the bullets-flying kick assery of the first book.

Still, pretty good stuff. Some of the villains were stereotypically dastardly, but others were good. I didn't care for the increase of POV switches away from Joe Ledger that this one took. It was jarring for his story to be first person, and then about half the rest of the chapters were third.

The extra .5 star comes from the ending. I was rather impressed with the way the final shakedown came about. Nice heartstring play there, Mr. Maberry.

ETA: Oh yes, at least a half-star must go to Ray Porter for his reading. Very nice. His character voices were excellent.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: The Company

The Company
The Company by K.J. Parker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So how do I review this? Hmmm. I think I'll begin by warning off those that might want to read this without any expectations going in. I won't post spoilers per se, but I will be addressing the flow of this book, beginning to end.

That said,

What in the actual fuck? There, I feel better for having said that. Truth is, after finishing that I wanted to tear my copy to shreds, stomp on them, and kick the scraps into a firepit with the the heat of a thousand hells blazing through it.

So yeah. What the holy fuck was that???

Let's start at the beginning. The premise looked interesting, a story about five war veterans getting together after the war and settling a new home on a faraway island. Rewards for their years of service, yada yada. Of course there will be a conflict of some sort to stir things up, etc. Good so far.

I love the writing. K.J. Parker has a real talent for storytelling and character development. She (or he?) uses the flashback method interspersed with the current story flow to get us to know how these characters click and how they got to be the way they are. Great.

Then the middle happens. Or, I should say, it's more "middle" than "happens". Long narrative that seems to go nowhere. Then it breaks through and starts to get interesting, mildly.

Then we get near the end.

Shit goes down. I'm really getting interested now.

Then. All hell breaks out.

And I'm left with...????? The fuck???

That ending. I'm sitting there going, for real??

Seriously. If the middle had been a little less boring and the ending had been a little less FUCKED, I might have given this book 4 stars. It was well written, (somewhat) engaging, and had good characters.

Oh, and for the record, I don't dislike fucked up endings. Sometimes I actually prefer them. But it needs to make fucking sense. It needs to be a reasonable end of the path that we walked along the journey.

I did actually like the last paragraph or so, regarding the legend that the Company survived to fight each other continuously but it really didn't fit into the context of the rest of the book.

I'll probably try more K.J. Parker, but she's (or he's) on notice. I won't be as forgiving if I run into another fucked up ending like that.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: The Martian

The Martian
The Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That was. Well. Wow.

I really don't have words. Except that it might be my favorite book of 2014.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review: Revelation Space

Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well. That was different.

How do I review a book I didn't understand? For that matter, how do I rate a book I didn't understand?

Or better yet, how do I like a book I didn't understand? Well, it happened. What happened, I don't know so much. But I enjoyed the ride.

So yeah. The writing is beautiful in this book. It will take you places...err places you won't recognize, but places where you will go "whoah..dude".

Seriously, I don't know what it is, but Reynolds does have a great narrative voice, even if his science is way beyond my comprehension level. Imagination like that and supra genius scientific mind, dude could be dangerous.

A special shout out to John Lee for his narration, once more being essential in getting me through out-there British science fiction.

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