Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: The Stupidest Angel

The Stupidest Angel
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

This really had some potential, and some of the stuff was downright hilarious. But it did seem to run a bit long at times. Still, Christopher Moore is a funny dude and I'll read more of his stuff.

Plus, the audio was dead-on. The narrator, Tony Roberts, had a great voice for narration and nailed the characters. His delivery of Moore's punchlines was spot on too.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: The Free

The Free
The Free by Brian Ruckley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eARC review copy from NetGalley.

Looking for a stand-alone epic fantasy? Want some grimdark gritty kick-ass action and some badass magic-fuqery? Look no further. If Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson had a secret love child, this would be it. A gruff company of legendary warriors thrown in together with some cool battle scenes, occasional humor, and a wicked magic system with such dire consequences. Magic users that throw this fuqery and its results, along with the cost of these energies, both to the receivers and casters of said magic.

Why 4-stars rather than 5, if it has all the great things I like about fantasy? Well, the pacing was a bit slow at times, and the ending had some parts that seemed rather abrupt. Though the majority of the ending was good for me.

This book is satisfactory as a self-contained story, but it might just leave you wanting more anyway. There's a lot of great world-building going on that is out there for just this one book. I'll definitely read more books if you write them in this world, Brian Ruckley!

For that matter, I need to go back and check out his earlier work. He was on the radar for fantasy to try, but now he's definitely on my list of authors to read.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: A Christmas Carol: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry

A Christmas Carol: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry
A Christmas Carol: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry by Charles Dickens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant! Here we have the wonderful prose of Charles Dickens, read by one of the best voices out there, Tim Curry. I love Dickens for language and humor, and Curry captured that perfectly here. He really brought Scrooge to life. A great story to begin with really comes home for Christmas with this audiobook.

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Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eh..I didn't like this as well as Dark Objects or Gone Girl. Still pretty good, though. Flynn is certainly good at characterizing messed up people, and making the unlikeable ones compelling. Twists and turns and dark secrets. Good stuff overall, and pretty good first novel all in all.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Dark Places

Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Another mindfuq from Gillian Flynn. I see a theme in the making.

I think I still liked Gone Girl a little better, but not by much. This had some really interesting developments too. I probably liked the character set a bit better in this one, though to say I like any actual Flynn characters might be a stretch. Some I thought I liked, but eventually decided they were fucked up.

Some characters I loathed though, which didn't really happen as much in Gone Girl. I really hated Runner and Deondra with the heat of a thousand hells. I haven't loathed characters like this in some time.

And when I say I hated the characters, I mean that I hated the actual characters. I love how they were written. I'm supposed to hate those two, and Flynn did a really good job making me loathe them.

So yes, after two of her books that what I think Flynn specializes in: well written good characters that make good story but that I wouldn't like at all in real life.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: Willful Child

Willful ChildWillful Child by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars, rounding up.

I'm rounding up because I thought this was a successful break for Erikson from his Malazan series, and it was well written, for the most part.

But it got on my nerves. Part of that is my limited patience with comedy/parody. I like funny, but after the joke has been told I like to laugh and move on. When you stay on the joke for too long, it loses its funny.

As a Star Trek parody, this was pretty funny. If it had been the length of a novella, I would probably have liked it a lot more. As it was, it dragged on too long to keep me amused.

Though I did laugh at the battle near the end, (view spoiler) Some of the dialogue was pretty good. All in all, Erikson did a good job with his story. Not everyone can pull off the humor as long as Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams can.

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Review: A Betrayal in Winter

A Betrayal in Winter (Long Price Quartet, #2)A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars.

And I rounded down? Well, it was closer to 4 than 5, but still more than a run of the mill 4. So there we are.

Despite a similar rating, I found this book to be much more enjoyable than the first in the series. Where Abraham was getting his footing in A Shadow in Summer, his voice was firmly established and comfortable here. His unique portrayal of body language had characters using poses to substitute for excessive words (like I wish I could have done with that sentence). In the first book, this was intriguing but I remember it become a bit overdone, tiresome by the end. Here, the poses were executed perfectly and had the exact effect needed.

Abraham had some great intrigue going on with this novel, and though it reached a satisfying conclusion, he set the stage for further books. Which I'm pleased to say are available now for me to continue with.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was a bit of a mindfuq.

I was actually pretty impressed. Flynn has a nice style of suspense and drama. She takes a basket of characters I would hate in real life, and makes their story compelling. I wouldn't say she makes them likable, but the reader (or listener) can't help but cheer them on.

Twists and turns aplenty, and though some of it is a bit far fetched, the writing makes up for it. I'll definitely be interested in reading other Flynn books.

Audio readers were excellent. Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne each took one of the main characters and read their chapters. Both of them hit the voices perfectly.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: Legion - Skin Deep

Skin Deep (Legion, #2)Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A nice sequel to Legion, Sanderson has developed an urban fantasy here that I could really get into. With all his other projects, I expect this series to remain something of a side job, but if fully developed it could really be near the top of the sub-genre.

This one is a bit longer than the first, being more of a short novel than a novella. On audio, it came out about double the length. That's good, as it gives us more room to develop the main character. Since there are so many of him.

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