Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: Dragons at Crumbling Castle (RIP Sir Terry Pratchett)

Dragons at Crumbling CastleDragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fun little collection of early Pratchett stories for kids all ages. They were told as if they were children's tales, but there is always an undercurrent of humor that's a treat to adults. Kinda like his later work in that respect.

This book was chosen as a March 2015 book selection in a Good Reads group that I'm in, Flights of Fantasy. Little did we know when we nominated it and voted it in, that it would appear on our group shelf in the very month that Sir Pratchett passed away.

That's a sad coincidence, but at the same time I'm glad we had the book on hand to read. Those of us that have read Sir Terry and those that haven't but have felt his influence can take this moment to celebrate his life, and his body of work. I've also been working on some of the early Discworld novels, and this was a nice sidetrack in that pursuit.

So delve in here and meet the Carpet People, and the citizens of Blackbury. We also meet some dragons, and we learn how Father Christmas sucks at other jobs. It's lots of fun, without being too heavy (even rhinos can fly, it seems).

Shortly after Sir Terry passed, I saw this tweet that I loved, and I feel that it fits this book:

"Pratchett wrote incredibly smart, insightful, and true things about what it means to be human. And then he added jokes and dragons." Chris Farnsworth @chrisfarnsworth

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here's a well crafted mystery/thriller in the vein of Gillian Flynn, only not as sinister. The plus is that while it's not as nail biting as Flynn's, the characters are more likable. On its own, it's a pretty good mystery with some nice twists and turns, just paced a little slowly.

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Review: Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi

Heir to the Jedi: Star WarsHeir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

3.5 stars.

To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed for the majority of the time I spent reading this book. Once again, a big name author was chosen to write a Star Wars novel, and like with the previous few, it didn't capture my attention the way I'd hoped. It was a good story, but not real exciting or engaging.

But then the last couple of chapters brought it home and was enough to bump my rating by a half star. I finished the book feeling satisfied with the read, though not compelled to run out and buy books by Kevin Hearne or other Star Wars novels.

This book does take an interesting perspective that I haven't seen in the others I've read. That is, a first person narrative from the perspective of Luke Skywalker. It was intriguing to get into his head and see how he felt about events in the Star Wars: A New Hope film, after which this novel is set. It was also interesting to watch him deal with his powers with the Force, and his role in the Rebellion. The final climactic scene really delved into his mind, and his heart. It was a bit gut-wrenching, and very significant to a reader that is familiar with all of the films (so far). The fact that Skywalker himself doesn't catch this significance is great. He will later, of course. But for now the author was skillful at keeping his insights limited to the character as he was before The Empire Strikes Back.

So all in all, I'd recommend this book to the Star Wars fan. I wouldn't say it ranks among the best of the EU novels, but it's a decent read on its own.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: The Gun Fight

The Gun Fight
The Gun Fight by Richard Matheson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Matheson was amazing, that's all there is to it. He was brilliant at capturing the human spirit and conveying it to readers, regardless to what genre he was writing in. This Western is no exception.

It really deserves more, but I'm still feeling sucker punched from the amount of emotion Matheson put into this.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Sourcery

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars.

I hate rating this low, but I have to be honest. I spent more time counting off pages to completion than I did on reading it.

There were some really funny parts and snippets of awesome. But in the end, it just wasn't connecting with me. It took me a month to finish. Ugh...

Still, I certainly didn't dislike it. I'm just hoping to get more hooked on the series before too much longer....

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: The Price of Spring

The Price of SpringThe Price of Spring by Daniel Abraham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, great ending to a great series. This one was almost a letdown after the last two, but it turned into more of a slow build with yet another great payoff. That's a trademark of this series, the endings.

I'm a bit sad that I've finished this. While I didn't ever love it enough to quite give it 5-stars, it came damn close, and it held that 4-4.5 star range beginning to end. The characters were a strong point too, many of them coming to full resolution here in the last book.

It really makes me look forward to Abraham's other fantasy series that starts with The Dragon's Path, as well as getting back with the series he co-authored as James S.A. Corey, The Expanse.

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