Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review: Fool's Errand


Fool's Errand
Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I see that I still haven't reviewed this, and I'm already 40% into the second one.

Well, there isn't a lot to say, really. If you like Hobb and her previous two trilogies about the Elderlings Realm, you'll want to continue. Here, we're back to the first person narrative of Fitz himself, and it's great to catch up with old friends.

The story itself is decent enough, but what struck me about this particular book was the slow build. True, this is a staple of long Hobb books, but here is where it really works. Not a lot happens for a long time, but with Hobb, that's ok. She doesn't make it boring, but rather gets us into a comfort zone from which we can branch when it is time for stuff to happen.

So there, not a lot to review. Just enough to say yeah, I liked this and I'm moving right into the next one...



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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: The Windup Girl

The Windup GirlThe Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wait, what? What did I just read?



Yeah, something like that, Captain.

I tell you what though. I liked it! If this was a series, I'd read more of them. Yeah, if you write a Malazan Book of the Windup, I'll damn read it.

Because there was so much I didn't understand. There was so much I scratched my head about and wondered WHY?! But I was engrossed. The future Thai Kingdom depicted here and the world it's set in are brilliant. I felt like I was there. I didn't always get what was coming, but if you saw someone with a white shirt, you want to blend into the crowd. I wonder though, what those white shirts were made of. I mean, as hot and sticky and humid as it was, how did they stay white?

Mr. Bacigalupi is definitely on my radar.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Clash of Eagles

Clash of EaglesClash of Eagles by Alan Smale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

What a satisfying read. Imagine an alternate history where Rome didn't fall, and was responsible for leading the age of discovery into the New World. How would their early encounters with the Native Americans go?

This book turned out to be much more than a "what if?" situation, developing into a richly constructed historical fantasy. While the author mentions it as the first of a trilogy, the story here is pretty much self-contained. Still, I'll definitely want to read more!

The pacing is good, though a bit on the slow side. It feels alright though, as it takes time to properly world-build and to get the key players into place. Smale does a good job keeping it interesting even at points where he has to make brief info-dumps. It's a little a time, and is interspersed with bits of humor and action scenes.

And the battles! Oh yes, Bernard Cornwell take note. Alan Smale can stir the dust and kick up a shit storm with his epic battles. In many books, these grow tedious, but here they managed to hold my interest all the way though. Easy to visualize, you feel like you're right there in the heart of it all.

But really, this book is more than the sum of its parts. It's more than a Native American story with Romans dumped in for flavoring. It's more than cool battle sequences. I think what we'll see in the final product won't be really known until the trilogy is complete. I for one am looking forward to the journey.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: Once Upon an Ever After

Once Upon an Ever After (Once Upon a Road Trip, #2)Once Upon an Ever After by Angela N. Blount
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here is the disclaimer that Angela N. Blount is a friend of mine on Goodreads, and that she provided me a free ecopy of this book.

I will say that I like the author's writing style quite a bit, and not just because she is my friend. Though after reading these, I would want her to be my friend if she wasn't already - the autobigraphical character in her stories really rings true, someone that I would like to know. As such, it's a character driven story and Blount's skill at bringing out her characters echoes heavily.

This was a shorter book than its predecessor, Once Upon a Road Trip. It was longer than an epilogue but shorter than a sequel of equal importance to the original story would have been. It completes the story (for now) begun in the first book and is good closure after reading that.

That said, it's not quite as engaging for me as the first book. It's just as well-written, but I think the style of third person interspersed with diary entries worked so well in that first book. This one is told entirely as a series of journal entries. It works too, just doesn't have that same movie-quality road tripping ambience. This was a little more of a romance story, where the first felt like a life-story/coming of age adventure. All of this isn't criticism, just insight as to whioh book I prefer as a reader.

Still, this was a satisfying read at a good length - not too long, and not too brief. Once more I'm impressed with Angela Blount's easy flowing, personal narrative voice. I'll be looking forward to more of her work in the future.

Angela, thank you once more for the ebook copies, and for sharing such personal moments with your readers.

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