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review 2018-02-20 13:53
Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson, Abandoned @ 10%
Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2) - Steven Erikson

Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen #2

 

I'm invoking the "Life is too short and I have too many better books to read" clause.

 

I really wasn't a fan of Gardens of the Moon, the first book in the series, but I kept hearing from my friends that the first book isn't actually all that good and that Erikson learned how to write in the interim. Maybe. But the writing wasn't my only criticism of Gardens of the Moon. Mostly I was just bored.

 

The same thing happened here. The "clever" banter felt stale and I just didn't find myself interested in any of the characters. I was briefly interested in the apparent storyline to go assassinate the Empress, but honestly the plan felt so convoluted (yes, we want to go to point A but first we have to go to points B and C so that we can get further away to point D so that eventually we can get to point A and have our backup magically parachute in...ok, I admit I was probably half-skimming at that point) that I don't feel there will be enough pay off even there.

 

Sure, Erikson has invented a complicated fantasy world...but I just don't find it very interesting. This is the tired old fantasy in a new setting, the kind of stuff that made me swear off most fantasy (except for Pratchett) for the better part of a decade growing up.

 

I'll admit I decided to bail after reading the part about how Felisin is trading sex for favours, not because this is happening in the story, but because of the way it's described. It's a tired old cliché that's so impersonal it's just dull. The funny thing is that Felisin is supposed to be a protagonist and you feel absolutely nothing for her. Anyway, I basically went "Oh, so it's going to be THAT kind of story again...sigh. There are way too many pages left..." And put the book aside.

 

There are better books out there. Hell, there's better sword & sorcery fantasy out there. And by better I mean not clichéd and can actually hold my interest.

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review 2018-02-20 13:10
Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary - Stephen King

Wow. So this is marked as a favorite, I have only read this one twice. It's a lot to sit through. At times you hope there is going to be a break or some sort of happy ending. Instead we get a book about consequences and things perhaps set in motion by something dark that wanted to ruin a happy family. I have to say that I do love most of King's earlier works. They tend to be more raw and real to me. Pet Sematary made me cry when I read it as a teen and it made me cry again this weekend.

 

When the Creed family (Louis, Rachel, Ellie, and Gage) move from Chicago to Maine, Louis is hoping that his new position and home will be the beginning of a new start for his family. Moving next to Jud and Nora Crandall, Louis feels like for the first time ever he has a father in his life. The two men become great friends and pass the time having beers together and talking about life and death. When Jud takes the family to a nearby pet cemetery, the first dark tidings start to come out and King gives warnings throughout about what is coming next for the Creed.

 

All of the characters in this one really work. You end up having sympathy and sadness for everyone that you read about. Most of the story really focuses on Louis since he is the one that is starting to be warned about what is coming next for his family. But the book shifts at times to Rachel and Jud.

 

The writing is so good in this one as is the flow. Some of the stories that Jud tells Louis feel a bit long, but all are important to get to the larger part of the story.

 

The setting of this one is Maine. I swear based on all the goings on in King's books, I have maybe unconsciously stayed away from that state. King has a way of describing the inhabitants and locations with such description you often at times feel as if you are walking with Louis across the deadfall to the "true" burial ground.

 

I think the saddest thing about this whole book is that if the family had been able to actually talk about death and what it means without Rachel reacting so badly to it, perhaps Louis wouldn't have done what he did throughout the book. He wanted to make things good for his little girl and then wanted to make things right for his family. At one point he just goes past the point of no return and you are just forced to read until the very end. I always wondered why King didn't refer to the Creed family again in any of his other Castle Rock books since they seemed to very close to Jerusalem's Lot and the location of Cujo based on remarks made in this book.

 

This book is in my top five favorite of King's works. In order of my favorite it is:

1. Bag of Bones (last book I read with my dad and holds a place in my heart because of that)
2. Desperation
3. The Drawing of the Three
4. Lisey's Story
5. Pet Sematary

 

Image result for pet sematary gif

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review 2018-02-20 12:51
Dune Messiah
Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert

I can honestly say that this will be the last book I read in the Dune series. I have been warned after the next one it just gets even more convoluted. That's a shame. I really loved the story-telling in the first book, but this one made barely any sense and there was very little dialogue. You just keep reading what someone was thinking, what they were doing, and the machinations at the court. I started to skim towards the end. The last couple of pages were the most exciting in the whole tale.

 

Dune Messiah takes place 12 years after the last book. We have Paul Atreides as the new Emperor, married to Princess Irulan. Paul and Irulan are married in name only though. He is still with Chani, and though they have been together this whole time, she has not gotten pregnant. The Bene Gesserit, Spacing Guild, and Tleilaxu decide to put pressure on Irulan to help them with dethroning Paul since she still desires to have a child with him.

 

Honestly you would think that the above would make the book more interesting, it does not. It doesn't help that due to Paul and his ability to know all things/sense all things he already knows there is a conspiracy against him and he even knows what Irulan has been up to. So it's just people wandering around trying to make chess moves against each other while holding up a sign saying "I am so going to get you this round."

The characters were very flat in this one. Alia is Paul's right hand or something. I don't even know. We focus on her and her emotions a lot in this book and I was not a fan. We hear about Jessica a lot, but she's not heard from at all. Paul claims to love Chani, but it felt very flat to me. We also have a ghola of Duncan Idaho. I still don't get why he accepted it since you know, trap and all, but just go with it.

 

The writing was not that great and the flow was awful. Everything felt like it was taking a thousand years. The setting of Dune didn't seem as awe-inspiring as it did in the first book. I really felt like I needed a chart to understand how everyone was connected/not connected to each other.

 

 

Image result for meh gif

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review 2018-02-20 11:04
Review: Reign of the Fallen
Reign of the Fallen - Sarah Marsh
I received a copy from Penguin First to Read.

I finished this in December last year and I’m still struggling to put to words how to review it. I sort of liked it, I loved the diversity of the characters. This was one of my most anticipated January releases, but the actual book itself? Even after well over a month later I’m still undecided. 

I think my biggest issue with it was the whole the dead rule the world thing. In this novel you have a kingdom where Necromancers are the most powerful mages and when dead nobles die, it’s their job to go and retrieve their soul so the person can keep living and ruling as they have done. Maybe I’m getting too cynical but I’m struggling to grasp this concept. Mainly because from this reader’s point of view – it doesn’t teach anyone how to deal with the concept of death. Particularly the ruling class. Even their king is the living dead. I don’t get it. 

Best thing I loved about this book was BISEXUAL LEAD FEMALE CHARACTER!!! 

The novel starts with the lead female Odessa and her best friend/boyfriend Evander about to receive their commendation as official members of the Necromancer’s guild. As full Necromancer mages they can live in the palace and lead comfortable lives. Odessa sort of secretly wants to see the world, and you get the impression she thinks that Evander did too. Odessa has a friend (lady pirate) with a ship who can offer a passage out into the wider world. However, it’s forbidden to leaving their secluded comfortable little kingdom, even though the royals are mostly wise and seemingly well-liked and respected and everyone seems pretty comfortable. At least on the surface. There’s always going to be problems hidden in a kingdom like this which is never obvious to the people whom it should be. Which should raise questions as to why no one is ever allowed to leave. Why do the dead have to be brought back over and over? (There may have been an answer in the book I just can’t remember it).

The risen dead have certain rules to live by and there’s consequences, things can take a drastically bad turn and the risen dead can become murderous monsters known as Shades. On a seemingly routine job the kingdom princess Valoria accompanies Odessa and Evander and the reader gets their introduction into the land of the dead and the way things work.

Only a short time after the task is done there is a shock death. A loose Shade on the rampage. Odessa starts to question things about her relationship with Evander. The mystery in the dead lands is progressing, the Shade attacks are getting more frequent. 

Early on in the novel there was a really surprising twist I would never have guessed at.

The characters were great, I loved them all. A+ for diversity, a lesbian couple, a gay couple, and a bisexual lead female. The characters were well fleshed out, their emotions and actions believable. Though I did feel that Odessa could be a tad over dramatic. 

That being said, in the aftermath of an unexpected tragedy she falls apart. She breaks down. Completely understandable, but she also develops an addiction to a pain numbing tonic rather than dealing with the harsh reality and emotions. There was something very uncomfortable about this. I do understand and logical that it’s so much easier to give into an addiction rather than deal with the feelings when faced with something horrible.

I did find the pacing of the novel very slow, something would happen and then it would emotional turmoil and meandering and seemed like ages before anything else would happen. There didn’t feel like a whole lot of action going on. The second half of the novel picked up a bit, a new character is introduced who comes across as quite antagonising for Odessa and gives her more of a challenge, a new lead into the investigation into the increasing Shade attacks sets of a new direction which breathed more life into the novel. Also hinting at the possibility of a new romance angle as well. The character is mentioned in passing a few times earlier in the novel and comes in with her own agenda but finds herself becoming part of Odessa’s investigation. 

Meredy is a Beast Master, she can control animals as well as being a Necromancer. She’s smart, sassy and not afraid to call Odessa out on her bullshit. She doesn’t follow blindly, though she has some pretty misguided ideas of her own necromancy when she makes her appearance. She provides a good counter balance to Odessa.

When the force behind the Shade attacks is finally revealed there was a bit of eye rolling why didn’t I see this coming from a mile away? Kind of amusing in a way, should have been fairly obvious but actually it was quite clever that I never managed to figure out the twist to see it coming. 

While some of the novel I found slow and boring it did have its moments. I didn’t get some of the magical concepts. There were some of it I liked. It was certainly interesting and creative and not a fantasy type I’ve seen done a hundred different times. So plus points for uniqueness. I did buy a finished hardback, I may have to read this again at some point before the next one comes out. 
 
 

 

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review 2018-02-20 07:48
Es hat nicht sein sollen
His Dark Materials: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife And The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

„His Dark Materials“ von Philip Pullman ist einer der Kinderbuchklassiker unserer Zeit. Die Trilogie gewann zahlreiche bedeutende Preise, wurde für Film, Fernsehen und die Bühne adaptiert und erzielte in den USA ähnliche Verkaufszahlen wie „Harry Potter“. Die drei Bände „Northern Lights“, „The Subtle Knife“ und „The Amber Spyglass” wurden von 1995 bis 2000 veröffentlicht. Obwohl die Geschichte somit über 20 Jahre alt ist und zeitlich genau in meine Kindheit fällt, wuchs ich nicht mit ihr auf. Ich entschied, die Lektüre als Erwachsene nachzuholen und erwarb diesen wunderschönen Sammelband.

 

In einem Paralleluniversum, in einer Welt, die der unseren ähnlich und doch ganz anders ist, wächst Lyra unter den Gelehrten des Jordan College in Oxford auf. Stets begleitet von Pantalaimon, ihrem Seelengefährten und Dæmon, verbringt sie ihre Kindheit unbeschwert in den verwinkelten alten Gemäuern. Mit ihrem besten Freund, dem Küchenjungen Roger, erlebt sie so manches Abenteuer in den verstaubten Gängen und auf den erhabenen Dächern des Colleges. Ihr mangelt es an nichts. Lyra ist glücklich. Doch ein Schatten droht, ihr Glück zu verdunkeln. Besorgte Gerüchte erreichen Oxford. Ängstlich flüstert man von den Gobblern, die durch das Land ziehen und wahllos Kinder rauben. Lyra schwört, sich niemals stehlen zu lassen und plant bereits ihren heroischen Kampf gegen die Entführer. Es trifft jedoch nicht sie, sondern Roger. Wild entschlossen, ihren besten Freund zurückzubringen, schließt sie sich den Gyptern an, dem fahrenden Volk, das auf den Flüssen Englands zuhause ist und ebenfalls Kinder an die Gobbler verlor. Es ist der Beginn einer fantastischen Reise, während derer Lyra Freundschaft mit Panzerbären, Hexen und mutigen Abenteurern schließt, die Grenzen ihres Universums hinter sich lässt und das Zünglein an der Waage eines gewaltigen Krieges um das Schicksal aller Welten sein wird.

 

Ich bin der einsamste Mensch der Welt. Ich glaube, ich bin die einzige Person auf diesem Planeten, die „His Dark Materials“ nicht bezaubernd fand. Vielleicht stimmt etwas nicht mit mir. Ich bin fest davon ausgegangen, dass ich die Geschichte mögen würde, ich hatte überhaupt keine Zweifel daran. Pustekuchen. Was ist da nur schiefgegangen? Ich bin erschüttert. Ich verstehe nicht, wieso ich keinen Zugang zu der Trilogie fand, obwohl ich mich anstrengte und abrackerte, immer wieder Anlauf nahm, mir der Rhythmus der Geschichte jedoch verschlossen blieb, sodass ich nie in ihr ankam. Mir fehlte der magische Sog, der so viele Kinderbücher auszeichnet. Ich konnte mich mental nicht in Philip Pullmans Multiversum hineindenken und war nicht fähig, Beziehungen zu den Figuren aufzubauen. Stattdessen erschien mir das gesamte Werk langatmig und zäh wie eine alte Schuhsohle. Es kam mir vor, als hätte sich Pullman nicht entscheiden können, ob er nun ein abenteuerliches Kinderbuch oder eine theologisch-philosophische Abhandlung schreiben wollte. Der Autor wurde für den angeblich anti-religiösen Ton der Romane scharf kritisiert, besonders von der katholischen Kirche in den USA. Wie irgendjemand auf die Idee kommen kann, „His Dark Materials“ als anti-religiös zu bezeichnen, entzieht sich meinem Verständnis. Natürlich ist es ein kontroverses Werk, das sich von den Lehren der christlichen Kirche distanziert, demzufolge lautet der richtige Begriff allerdings anti-institutionell, keinesfalls anti-religiös. Pullman bespricht zahlreiche religiöse Motive und betont die schlichte Schönheit des Glaubens, wird er nicht vom Klerus gesteuert und beschnitten. Intellektuell und theoretisch weiß ich diese Herangehensweise als faszinierend zu schätzen – praktisch und emotional blieb sie mir leider völlig suspekt. Ich konnte mit dem Auftauchen von Engeln, einer göttlichen Vaterfigur und der Verarbeitung des biblischen Sündenfalls überhaupt nichts anfangen. Es war mir alles zu viel, zu gewichtig und zu symbolisch. Ich vermisste Leichtigkeit, Spannung und Witz, war von der verbissenen, künstlichen, geballten Kritik der Geschichte abgeschreckt. Ich quälte mich mühsam durch die Lektüre und sah nur selten einen Lichtblick. Beispielsweise mochte ich das Konzept der Dæmons als ausgelagertes, externes Stück der Seele eines jeden Menschen, hätte dieses aber ohne die Einleitung meiner Ausgabe wohl nicht oder erst spät verstanden. Auch sympathisierte ich mit vielen Figuren, war von ihrer jeweiligen Rolle in der Geschichte jedoch nicht begeistert. Der Panzerbär Iorek Byrnison und der Aeronaut Lee Scoresby sind tolle, liebenswerte Charaktere, doch ihre Beziehung zur Protagonistin Lyra, die ich ohnehin nicht mochte, konnte ich nicht nachvollziehen. Es war wie verhext: ich entdeckte in „His Dark Materials“ einiges, was mir für sich genommen gefiel, nur im Rahmen der Geschichte überzeugten mich diese Elemente nicht und halfen mir nicht, mich durch diesen dicken Wälzer zu kämpfen.

 

Am Ende einer enttäuschenden Kinderbuch-Lektüre stellt sich natürlich immer die Frage, ob die Geschichte auf mich anders gewirkt hätte, hätte ich sie gelesen, als ich noch zur Zielgruppe gehörte. Im Fall von „His Dark Materials“ glaube ich das nicht. Ich wäre zwar nicht in der Lage gewesen, die vielen kritischen Nuancen der Trilogie zu benennen, aber ich hätte wahrgenommen, dass da etwas zwischen mir und der Geschichte steht. Ich bezweifle stark, dass ich im Alter zwischen 6 und 11 Jahren Spaß mit Lyras Abenteuern gehabt hätte, weil sie eben einfach nicht abenteuerlich genug geschrieben sind. Ein Kinderbuch, das lediglich von Erwachsenen verstanden werden kann, verfehlt meiner Meinung nach das Ziel. Nun gut. Es hat nicht sein sollen. Das ist sehr schade und ich bin immer noch völlig perplex, wie sich diese Lektüre für mich gestaltete, doch damit muss ich jetzt leben. Es ist ja nicht meine erste unpopuläre Buchmeinung, die ich in Zukunft beständig verteidigen muss. Ich habe Übung darin, der einsamste Mensch der Welt zu sein.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/philip-pullman-his-dark-materials
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