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review 2017-07-05 17:10
Reamde - Neal Stephenson 
Reamde - Neal Stephenson

Gold farming in MMPORG, and game building, veterans and draft-dodgers, a British writer of fantasy with exquisitely hand-crafted languages and cultures and also an American fantasist of the most prolific stripe, Seattle hipsters and Iowan wind farmers, private jets and slow boats from China: everything and everyone has a foil in this book, but since it's over nine hundred pages, an exhaustive catalog would be really long, and far less entertaining. Stephenson manages to take a Clancy-like scenario, give it a Dickensian and international cast, keep up a Dan Brown kind of momentum even as he takes time for National Treasure sort of thinking. Lots of thinking.

 

And also I happened to notice a particular device Stephenson used to good effect: the first time a name is introduced he spells it kind of phonetically, the way the character heard it, but when the character actually appears on stage, as it were, the name is spelled as it is using the Roman alphabet and English transliteration. It's important because there are quite a few people with nonEnglish names and nonRoman writing. In the same way he keeps the plot going without taking the time to explain everything: eventually all becomes clear for a character without a lot of telling. I don't usually notice technical aspects of a novel's construction, but at over 900 pages I had a fair number of opportunities to ponder whilst doing other things which were not reading.

 

So, the upshot: an incredibly entertaining book that one can feel smug about reading. Recommended for ereaders because of the heaviness and awkwardness of holding a bound copy.

 

Library copy 

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review 2017-04-15 00:58
Review of "Rebel Flight" (Darkbeast Chronicles #1) * by Mindy Klasky
Rebel Flight - Mindy Klasky

I loved this one.  Okay, had no clue what I was getting beyond finally finding another fantasy genre book by the author of a fave series that started with The Glasswrights' Apprentice.

 

Turns out it is a Middle Grade read with a just-turning-12 heroine.  Glad I didn't know that going in.  On the other hand, the pacing and subject matter really read a bit intense for MG audience.  Had an air of many fairytale and fantasy books set in small villages.

 

The worldbuilding is a fantasy setting where (not a spoiler, right at beginning and in synopsis) children are bonded to animals -- dark beasts -- a few days after birth so the animals can absorb all their rebellious and bad feelings/thoughts.  On their 12th birthday, they are expected to sacrifice their dark beast.

 

But, Keara loves her Raven, Caw.  She cannot bring herself to sacrifice her friend and instead runs off with a troupe of traveling players.

 

I liked the ensuing adventures, the characters, the worldbuilding, the story telling ... I did have to stop thinking "so really, no one in troupe or villages passed thru thinks a 12-year girl shouldn't be out n her own?" 

 

* It was previously published under a different pseudonym (probably how I missed out) as:

 

Darkbeast - Morgan Keyes

 Darkbeast - Morgan Keyes 

 

 

Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:


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text 2017-04-04 15:02
Reading progress: Finished
Rebel Flight - Mindy Klasky

Finished.  Really enjoyed it.  Another review to write.

 

I think I may have missed this when published elsewhere under a different title because it may have been an age of character (turns 12 in the book) imprint?

 

At any rate, didn't read MG, YA or children's except for some thwarting of parental authority and zero romance or sex.  Questionable if completely suited for younger set given social and religious issued raised -- plus the (not a spoiler, right in synopsis and opening part of the book) customary sacrificing of the pets/darkbeasts babies are bonded to from the first month they are born (so could be one not well known or popular if had been in one of those publisher imprints).  

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text 2017-04-04 01:02
Reading progress: 10%.
Rebel Flight - Mindy Klasky

The antitheses of those horrid books I avoid where someone has to sacrifice a beloved pet or familiar as part of their training.  The ones I DNF.

 

Looking forward to this one (a fave author).  So far, an air of Witches in Red or Uprooted -- maybe just because starts in a village.  Was published before (but I missed it somehow).

 

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text 2017-03-31 19:25
March 2017 Round Up!
Frozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms Novel - Morgan Rhodes
Half-Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire
Heroine Complex - Sarah Kuhn
The Undoing - Shelly Laurenston
Cast in Flight - Michelle Sagara
The Undead In My Bed (Includes: Midnight Liaisons #1.5, Dark Ones #10.5, Half Moon Hollow #2.5) - Molly Harper,Jessica Sims,Katie MacAlister
Joy of Witchcraft: A Humorous Paranormal Romance - Mindy Klasky
The Fiery Heart - Richelle Mead
Legacy of Honor - Linda Hilton
Haunted on Bourbon Street - Deanna Chase

I'll jump n the bandwagon and try to round up my March reads.  By and large, great reads that cured a reading slump, but many put me behind on reviewing because I basically had little to say beyond "I enjoyed this book."

 

I also did this year's Big Library Read (global buddy read where Overdrive makes a voted ebook 100% available -- no waitlist/hold -- to participating public libraries).  This time was, surprisingly, a cookbook.  A good one with a mix of sweet, savory, basic and advanced pies:

 

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life - Kate McDermott,Andrew Scrivani 

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life - Kate McDermott,Andrew Scrivani  

 

What reviews I've written, I try to remember to tag as "Reviews from Spurts" (booklikes link to that tag is http://booklikes.com/dashboard?tag=Reviews%20from%20Spurts ).

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