Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: Night of Zealotry


Night of Zealotry
Night of Zealotry by Scott Marlowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another fun, action packed entry in the Assassin Without a Name series of shorts.

They're getting more interesting, and more of the world is being revealed. I see something here that could grow into something quite epic in scope. Self contained stories so far, but enough hints of other stuff out there that it could really be expanded upon...



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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review: Murder Mysteries by Not-Gaiman

Murder MysteriesMurder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley.

This was...interesting. It seemed familiar, and I finally realized it had originally been published as a Gaiman short story in one of his collections.

Though, it seemed like it was better as a Gaiman story. This seemed more like an adaptation of a Gaiman story. That is, one of his stories that got adapted by someone who is Not-Gaiman. I believe that is the case, though Gaiman's name is on the cover.

So it brings up one question. First, why does Gaiman need someone else to adapt his stories into comics? Ummm. Sandman ring any bells? Neil Gaiman does comics. He does them well. He always has. Don't fix something that isn't broken.

The art was pretty meh in this. And wouldn't you know it, it turns out the same guy that's Not-Gaiman is also Not-Dave-McKean. Yes, he adapted the story and was the artist. Way to get the double-tap on that one, P. Craig Russell. As I look it up, I see that he's adapted other Gaiman stories into graphic novels too. Wow. Hold me back.

The story ended up falling flat and rather boring. Not horrible, but it did not have that magic Gaiman is known for. This wasn't bad, it just wasn't all that good. And it certainly wasn't Gaiman.

Oh yes. I'm aware that I keep saying "Gaiman" in my review. You might even say there's more "Gaiman" in this review than there is in the graphic novel I'm reviewing.

At least I'm not making people think Gaiman wrote this review...


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: Arctic Wings

Arctic WingsArctic Wings by L. Ron Hubbard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won a copy of this audiobook in the First Reads program on Good Reads.

Here's another Golden Age action/adventure from L. Ron Hubbard, this one set in the Canadian wilderness. This time, our hero is an aviator, but like the other Hubbard heroes, he gets into one tough situation after another and finds a way to handle himself.

While I did enjoy the fast pace typical to Hubbard's early work, I didn't care for the overall story as much as others I've read. The narrators and sound effects were very good, keeping me interested for the couple of hours it took to listen. I don't think I would have been as compelled to push through if I'd been reading a physical or ebook copy of this one. It's a well told story, but the characters just fell a bit flat. Hubbard's pulp era characters tend to be a bit stereotypical as it is, but usually he's got one or two that I can root for. Here, not so much. My favorite characters here were the airplane noises.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Star Wars - Honor Among Thieves

Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars (Empire and Rebellion)Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

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

When I saw that James S.A. Corey was doing a Star Wars novel, I was excited. I'd read Leviathan Wakes and liked it a bunch. So how would that translate to the Star Wars universe?

Very well, as it turned out. Abraham and Franck (the duo behind the Corey pseudonym) do well with crafting characters in a complex, yet easy to grasp setting. This is told from Han Solo's viewpoint, and they were able to give us a nice look inside his head to see what makes him tick. And yet, they stayed very true to the character as seen in the original trilogy. They also perfectly describe the movements, actions, dialogue, and mannerisms of the other characters we'd seen in the movies.

The world building was here too. Of course, the Star Wars universe is very much in place already, but they added rich detail to scenes that would have flown by on the screen. What I like about this is that there is plenty of room for them to explore while staying true to Lucas's original vision.

The negative points were minor. Aside from Scarlet Hark, I didn't care much for the new characters added to this story. I did like her, and would love to get more on her at some point. Also on the negative, some of the descriptions of scenery got just a tad long. While they added richness to the work, they did sway from the expected pace of a Star Wars story. That's very minor though, and one might argue that it's an improvement.

Back to the positive though, I think that my favorite aspect of this story is the way it fits into the original movie sequence. It takes place between Episodes IV and V, and fits perfectly there. It helps us to understand why Han Solo stuck around after the Battle of Yavin, and it helps to show the early development of his relationship with Princess Leia. We also get to see how Han and Chewbacca were developing a solid friendship with Luke Skywalker as well. It made great sense, filling in that gap of years between "I'm saving your ass for the money" and "I care enough about you to go out in subzero temperatures and slice open a Tauntaun to keep you warm".

All in all, an enjoyable experience. I hope to see future installments in the Star Wars universe from Corey.

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Review: Buzz: A Thriller


Buzz: A Thriller
Buzz: A Thriller by Anders de la Motte

My rating: 1 of 5 stars



I received a free ebook copy of this from NetGalley.

I tried. After reading Game, I thought I wouldn't. But I gave it a chapter to see if the writing was any better. And really, no. It was not.

I learned something though - not to request the second book in a series before reading the first. Oh well.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing the opportunity to read this.



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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review: The Green God


The Green God
The Green God by L. Ron Hubbard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I received an eARC copy of this through NetGalley.

I really enjoy these reissued Golden Age stories from L. Ron Hubbard, published by Galaxy Press. The presentation is great. This is the first that I've tried in ebook form though.

This one is actually two stories: "The Green God" and "Five Mex for a Million". Both deal with American military guys in China, during the 1930's. And both of these protagonists immediately get into a crap ton of mischief, using their wits and there general badass-ity to get out of trouble.

We get the expected mild sexism and racism typical to the pulp style and the time period. Nothing too out there. But we also get some fast paced action from start to finish. It keeps the reader's attention and serves as an escape in a single sitting (or two if you like to take the stories one at a time).

And who said pulp fiction couldn't teach you anything? From the second story, I learned that you could stop automatic bullet gunfire by wrapping some old blankets around yourself. Wow! But before you say the bullets might be defective, consider that I also learned you can put out a fire by shooting it.

WTF?

Anyway, despite these two bad moments, I had fun reading these stories. Hubbard wasn't the greatest writer ever, but he could produce some quickly paced pulp stories.



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