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review 2018-04-10 12:45
UNBURY CAROL by Josh Malerman
Unbury Carol: A Novel - Josh Malerman

Hell's Heaven! I haven't been this torn about a book in a long while. UNBURY CAROL was brave in exploring new territory, (weird western, I'd call it), while at the same time it wallowed in repetition.

 

Carol has a rare condition which causes her to fall into a coma for days at the drop of a hat. To anyone unfamiliar with her disease, she appears to be dead. It's important for at least someone to know what's going on with her so that she doesn't get buried alive by mistake. However, Carol is reluctant to tell many people for fear of rejection, and in one case, the departure of her true love who just didn't want to deal with the responsibility. Will she ever find true love again? Will there ever be a cure for her malady? You'll have to read this book to find out.

 

I'm going to attempt to be honest here, while also attempting not to spoil anything. I feel obligated to mention the repetition of certain words and phrases. They had me rolling my eyes repeatedly. "Hell's Heaven" (!), is a phrase that nearly everyone uses to no end. It's this world's version of OMG, or "Holy shit!", I guess. One overused word was "outlaw." (I get it. These are outlaws. We're in the west, they're wanted men.) Lastly "pig-shitters." Low down and dirty are the pig shitters. I get it. EVERYONE gets it. I'm speculating that the author used these words and phrases with the aim of world-building, and perhaps they helped to accomplish that...at first. After that, they just became so repetitious and irritating that it became kind of funny. (Or that could just be me, I'm told my sense of humor is off.)

 

Speaking of that world-building-I've read that the hardcover has a map of the Trail. (Everything that happens in this book happens along the Trail itself, or in the villages and towns located on the Trail.) That map is something I would like to see and I'd also like to read more about the Trail in the future. The villains in this book were interesting and a lot of fun, and they ALL had seemed to have some history that involved the Trail. In most cases, those people and the Trail's history were more interesting than the main characters-at least for me.

 

So, again, I am torn. I loved the creativity and imagination that went into Carol's disease and the building of this western world, while I was bothered by the repetition and what felt like an anti-climactic finale. Where does that leave us? At a 3.5/5 star rating. As always, your mileage may vary and I wold love to hear your thoughts on UNBURY CAROL when you're done!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-25 00:34
Magician King
The Magician King (The Magicians #2) - Lev Grossman,Mark Bramhall

 

Going back and forth between the books in this series and the TV show has been interesting for me.  So far, I've watched season one, listened to the first book, watched season two, and listened to the second book.  After the first book, one of the things that struck me is how much more time is covered in that first book compared to the first season of the show.  More than five years pass in that book, while on the show, if I recall correctly, just one year of life at Brakebills passes.  Certain events from the second season lined up with content from the first book, and some of what happens in the second book had me thinking, "Oh, right,that scene happened on the show in season one"  Season one of the show followed both Quentin's and Julia's journeys, but in the first book, Julia mostly disappears, while the reader is in Quentin's mind.  The second book follows both characters, and some of that season-one "Julia" material corresponds to flashbacks in the second book. Those flashbacks chronicle Julie's relationship with magic. 

 

Early on in The Magician King, I was annoyed with Quentin.  He was bored with his cushy gig as one of the kings of Fillory (his co-royals being King Eliot, Queen Julia, and Queen Janet.  He was itching for a quest, and made a tax-collection trip that cost more than the amount of tax collected.  He encounters a customs agent who mentions that she'd assumed Quentin intended to go on a quest for a very special key.  That is not his intention since this is the first he ever hears of such a key.  But the next thing you know, she is telling him pursuing the key would be a terrible idea.  So I was irritated because Quentin of course decides this means he HAS TO pursue that key.  However, things do not proceed the way I expected them to, and instead there is a hefty dose of "don't go on a quest for the wrong reasons."  The right reasons for going on a quest present themselves as the story unfolds. 

 

The character development of both Quentin and Julia interests me, and I look forward to the next book in the series.  [Warning:  one of Julia's flashbacks involves a disturbing rape scene--if you've watched the first season of the show, you have an idea as to what to expect.]

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review 2017-10-09 20:17
Heck yeah this was good!!
An Unkindness of Magicians - Kat Howard

Oh My Lord I can not express how EXTREMELY impressed I am after finishing this book...I want to scream it..I loved loved LOVED this fantastically creul/beautiful book!!! The writing is amazing. The characters are rich and complex and interesting and loveable/loatheable like all well executed characters should be. The Magic is not new. Tithes must be paid for the use of magic and there are those with Power that abuse it and the people who are naive and/or powerless to stop them...but are they??..the Magical World as a whole felt insulated and seedy, hierarchical and often futile but ultimately redeemable and hopeful. Many MANY times I am in the midst of things, right in the thick of it, and when I am forced to put down the book and face Life I find myself contemplating whether or not to pick the book back up again or cut my loses and strike out anew. Usually I begrudgingly pick things back up but An Unkindness of Magicians never gave me a choice. I stole tiny moments whenever and wherever I could to giddily devoure this preorder. This book had me at the start and still hasn't seen fit to let me go.

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review 2017-07-26 02:16
Magicians
The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) - Mark Bramhall,Lev Grossman

 

 

I watched the show first.  My husband checked out the DVDs of season one from the library. I quickly got hooked, and when I noticed that the show was based on a book, I put in a request for the downloadable audiobook, from the library's e-collection.  It took a while for the audiobook to become available, and when it did, the library's summer reading program was in full swing.  Since the theme for week four (this week) is "award winner or classic," I hoped against hope that this book was award winner...  And it is!  ALA Alex Award (2010) and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (2011).

 

While in the show, Brakebills is a graduate school for magicians, in the books, it is an undergraduate program.  I initially had a moment of "Aw, boo."  But then it occurred to me that this helps explain why, on the show, I thought Brakebills didn't "feel" like grad school.  I am guessing that the change was because certain mature situations from the book might seem less objectionable for 22-year-olds than 18-year-olds.

 

So, The Magician focuses its third-person limited narration on protagonist Quentin  Coldwater.  It traces his acceptance into the Brakebills program, his completion--in four years--of its five-year program, and his first few post-Brakebills years.  I enjoyed this book, though it some ways, the pacing seemed odd.  In some respects, the narrative felt rushed--like years at Brakebills would race to their conclusion.  But then certain conversations and actions would seem dragged out, bogged down with more detail than needed.

 

One of the primary differences between the show and the books is that the first season mapped to one year of school.  Presumably, each season will be devoted to a year of school (though if they want to go more than three seasons, they'll need a post-school era, since the grad program on the show is three years).  One of the things I appreciated about the book is that all of Quentin's friends from Brakebills have read and loved the "Fillory and Beyond" books (a series that, in the book's universe, has the popularity of the "Harry Potter" franchise).  On the show, the other characters treat Quentin as if liking the books makes him a bit of a dork.  Otherwise, although the way the stories are unspooled differs, the show and book hit many of the same major plot points.  But I will say the differences are significant enough that viewers of the show and readers of the books can still enjoy the other medium.

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text 2017-07-25 21:11
Which Fantasy to Pick?
The Shadow Of What Was Lost - James Islington
The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer - Jonathan L. Howard
The Magicians - Lev Grossman
The White Rabbit Chronicles: Alice in ZombielandThrough the Zombie GlassThe Queen of Zombie Hearts - Gena Showalter
The Wheel of Time: Boxed Set #1 - Robert Jordan
The Malazan Empire - Steven Erikson
The Night Watch Collection: Books 1-3 of the Night Watch Series (Night Watch, Day Watch, and Twilight Watch) - Sergei Lukyanenko
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

I want to read a great fantasy series. I like it when there are lots of mythical characters/creatures. I like it where the main characters are not normal human type. I do like Tolkien, but I want something a bit grittier. I uses to read a lot of fantasy book, but lately have found myself zipping through para romance. I have recently not been enjoying them as I uses to though. 

 

I have most of those above in complete, or near complete series. I also have King's Dark Tower books, most of Brooks' Shanara books, a lot of Robin Hobb, and Sanderson. Most of what I have I have not read past the first book and do not remember much of what they we're about.

 

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I don't mind if it is something I don't have, I will get it. 

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