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review 2017-04-12 00:24
The Line of Polity (Polity: Agent Cormac #2) ★★★★☆
The Line of Polity - Neal Asher

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Line of Polity
Series: Polity: Agent Cormac #2
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 676
Format: Scanned Digital Edition





 

 

Synopsis:


A rogue scientist begins working for the Separatists that Cormac had a runin with in the previous book. Skellor, said rogue scientist, has discovered a stash of Jain technology. Jain tech is forbidden by the Polity and as the book goes on, we learn why. Cormac is sent out after Skellor before he can become catastrophically dangerous.

 

At the same time, a rebellion is brewing on the planet Masada. Under the control of rigid belief system that is against A.I. Rule, the theocrats have been in communication with the dragon. With predictable results. The Polity gets involved, the dragon gets pissed off and a lot of people are going to die.

 

When Skellor takes over the Masada system, it appears that things have indeed gone “Catastrophic”. With a whole planet to loot and play with, Skellor has grown into something beyond human and his abilities are just beginning. It is up to Agent Cormac to deal with Skellor, deal with the theocrats and deal with the offspring of the dead dragon: thousands or millions of dracomen.

 

Thankfully, Cormac is a Prime Agent indeed.

 

 



My Thoughts:


I enjoyed this just as much as my previous read in '10. I kept the 4star rating, instead of raising it, because it is evident that Asher is as much a fundamental zealot as I am, but his god is Science and he hates any other belief system. The main difference is that he writes books and interjects that zealotry into his books while I just interject my fundamentalism into small blog posts. So that might not even cross your radar at all.

 

This is what I like about Asher's Polity books. Monstrous inhumanity preying upon everything. In later books we found out how terrifying Jain tech truly is. Whole stellar civilizations destroyed by it. Here we see it gaining a foothold in humanity's playground. It might not be sentient, but it has a Directive. We are also introduced to some alien species, namely, Gabbleducks and Hooders. Gabbleducks roam the surface of Masada eating whatever and babbling words. Hooders eat everything, are impervious to most weaponry and eat their victims alive and by slowly dissecting them with a whole arsenal of claws, blades, etc.

 

Another thing I like about the Polity books is the exploration of the bounds of what it means to be alive. One character who died in the last book comes back as a golem, ie, a recording of the brainwaves put into a near-indestructable metal body. He thinks about what it means for him to have gone from human to golem and how that affects things. Even if I disagree with Asher's conclusions, I am fascinated by the questions and how the questions even come about.

 

In conclusion, I enjoyed this and have no problems recommending this series to anyone looking for a bloody good time. Emphasis on bloody.

 

★★★★☆

 

 

 

  1. Review of Book 1

  2. Previous 2010 Review

     

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-03-31 17:44
Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey - William Wordsworth  
Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey - William Wordsworth

6 June, 1982

Read for AP English. I rather like Wordsworth, even though I'm not a huge poetry fan.

 

Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume II, which I have kept

***

31 March, 2017

Reread today because it came to my attention. Thirty-five years on, I'm not the same person who read it then. Now I have a daughter in her own senior year of high school. It seems an unbelievable length of time, and yet, hardly any. The math is accurate. But thirty-five years since I graduated high school? And here I am, full circle, worrying about Russia and nuclear war, and the Berlin Wall is now a piece of rubble in that part of the kitchen where strange things show up from time to time. Inconceivable.

I don't share Wordsworth's delight in the countryside in general, although I did find delight in standing outside just now, after the rain, looking for a rainbow. Still I think I get some of what he was trying to say. None of the people who were with me in that last year are near me now, although I suppose I could connect with them all on FaceBook, well, except my parents, who have both died. But I think I get the point he was making about being able to return to a place after whatever changes I've been through, and to feel again the same kinds of sensations. The place I return to isn't a scenic walk in the mountains at the Borders, it's a text, which is the only permanence I know.

There are only two kinds of poetry I care for, still: light verse which amuses and delights Old Possum's Book never gets old to me, nor The Jabberwocky, and poetry like this, that gets at the feelings. I suppose it is the same way I feel about music, that it is an easy and reliable way into a particular emotion.

None of this sheds any light on Wordsworth's poem, and my AP English teacher wouldn't have accepted a paper like this, but this is what reading is for me: a way to share emotions with other people across space and time, or even just with myself. An emotional time machine. I think he'd understand that.

 

Free copy from Project Gutenberg

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-25 17:21
Weirding It Out with Weird Enough: Dune Re-Read Update #4

 

 

 

Brief Recap:

 

1. Paul & Jessica finally meet Fremen, Stilgar's clan, who are about to kill them but are convinced to take them along. This decision is due to convergence of multiple factors, including Kyne's (who is the Liet) last decree to the Fremen, Jessica's sharp mind, BG myth-seeding, Fremen legends, the duo's weirding ability to fight etc.

 

2. Kyne is left to die in the desert by Harkonnen and takes part in a huge info dump before he kicks it. The main idea behind that dump and what Stilgar lets on to mother & son is that the Fremen are slowly amassing enough water to change the face of Arrakis. It won't happen in a day, it won't even happen in their time, but the world'd better watch out when it does!

 

3. We meet Paul's future intended, Chani, who is also Kyne's daughter & Stilgar's niece. Paul struggles with the pressure of the impending bloody future, crippling presence of prescience, and killing a person not because his life was in danger but because the Fremen was an idiot! The Fremen's wife and two sons are now under his care and will remain so for at least a year. His legend continues to grow and overshadow what he is trying to do.

 

4. Jessica enters into a whole ritual back at the Fremen settlement and walks out irreversibly changing her unborn daughter and with the memories of the previous Reverend Mothers.

 

5. Harkonnen is his evil, loathsome self but Feyd isn't a lightweight either. Then there is the emperor who is trying to make things uncomfortable for the both of them.

 

6. Of the Atreides can, Idaho is dead, Hawat has been employed by Harkonnen (and seems to be driving a wedge between the Duke & his nephew), & Halleck is on board a Guild ship along with a few of his men.

 

Find the rest of the review here, here and, here.

 

This time, we started at the beginning of the third book and read all the way to the end.

 

A summary of what happened:

 

1. Paul kicks Harkonnen, Guild, and Royal ass and takes over the world!

 

The Major Players

My Thoughts

 

Wow! I thought there wasn't that many pages left for all that to happen and I could not have been wrong. When I think back on everything that happened, it seems as if the author first intended Dune to be just one novel and not a sweeping series. I mean, that could be the reason behind packing so much of action in the last third of a novel that was not too thick to begin with.

 

This part of the story was filled with amazing lines that made my eyes pop out quite a few times.

Consider the time when Paul faced 3 Sardaukars and refused to be cowed, instead saying:

 

 

 

 

and these two ver different interactions with Gurney:

 

 

 

Surprisingly, after all the doom and gloom, this part seemed lighter to me, even though it had a climactic battle etc. For instance, we find out that Paul tried to go where even Reverend Mothers are scared of stepping. This is the conversation between Jessica and Chani while they stand over Paul's head and argue:

 

"How could you do such a foolish thing?

He is your son", Chani said.

 

Then, there were some deep insights that we hear from Paul as he evolves and becomes wiser. Thinking about Sardaukar, he muses:

 

They'd never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself.

 

Saddened about Stilgar's awe and obedience for the Lisan al-Gaib, Paul thinks:

 

It was a lessening of the man, and Paul felt the ghost-wind of the jihad in it.

I have seen a friend become a worshipper, he thought.

 

We also see changes in Paul's and Jessica's characters and it was amazing to read how far they've come. Paul still has some of the bitterness towards how his mother treated him. When she asks him about the many legends that the Fremen believed about him, he scoffs at her and replies:

 

"A Bene Gesserit should ask about legends?" he asked.

"I've had a hand in whatever you are", she admitted.

 

The admission from Jessica isn't the only evidence that she has changed. She doesn't know if she wants to leave this harsh planet and go back to a life of opulence. Moreover, at one point, she gives Paul her blessings that he should marry out of love and not to make a political match.

 

So Shipping These Two!

 

She even starts to equate herself with Chani:

 

While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine -- history will call us wives.

 

Weird Enough's Musings

 

Yes, I missed writing the last review. Guilty as charged. But now that I have finished Dune, I CAN FANGIRL PROPERLY! HOW AMAZING WAS THIS!!! Why, WHYYY had I not read this before! I will be forever grateful to my book dealer, aka Midu, for showing me the right path in the literary world.

 

Sooo, starting after Leto dies, we see Paul showing signs of the Kwisatz Haderach (but of course we knew that). The shocking thing was how quickly he grew from being a smart kid to understanding fully what he had become. His BG training and the fact that he was a Mentat combines to give him skills to see possibilities in the future. It makes him, as he says, “a freak.” (That right there broke my heart when he says that). It’s not fair for someone so young to see all the different ways that he can die.

 

Anyway, Paul moves on to become lead the badass Fremen while the Lady Jessica becomes the Reverend Mother. But, in the process, she shares the knowledge and memories with the fetus inside her. The girl who is then born is not a normal child, and many Fremen women are afraid of the way she carries herself like an adult—which, technically, she is.

 

I think I should mention here that I simply LOVED the details that made this book so real. The politics, the religion, the layered meaning of words, the ecology and how the Fremen adapted to it, the Shai Hulud and how it fits into the ecology, the weapons, the stillsuits—EVERYTHING! I loved how it all came together so perfectly (this was mainly why I actually Googled “How long did it take Frank Herbert to write Dune?” I just couldn’t believe that so much detail could be put into a book that has been worked on for a couple of years. Just for reference: it took Herbert six years).

 

Okay so back to the story. I appreciate how Paul takes the lead, even beating his own mother when it comes to observing a situation and handling it like a pro. His relationship with Chani was very sweet. I love how he cares for the Fremen and chooses another way when he is pressured to kill Stilgar.

 

The Baron’s death scene was great in the sense that with all the build-up of his schemes and villainy, his death wasn’t so special after all (what I mean is that we don’t see him thrashing and twisting away in agony as a typical book villain is usually “supposed” to when he is being killed). He loses what respect he had in front of the Emperor, and before he gets a chance to even take it back, Alia (Paul’s sister) kills him with a gom jabbar.

 

The Siblings Together

 

The fight between Paul and Feyd-Rautha was super-satisfying. :D I was all DIE YOU LITTLE BITCH during the fight (it is really, really, really difficult to keep a straight face, and not make any noise when you are reading the most exciting parts while commuting, just so you know).

 

The bonding at the end between Chani and Jessica hits you. Jessica doesn’t approve of Chani, mainly because her BG training keeps her thinking that she is not the right match for Paul—that he should be married to someone with a higher lineage. Her views change when Chani essentially saves Paul’s life. And when Paul sees Princess Irulan (the daughter of the Emperor) as the key to his success in the future, and plans to marry her, Chani becomes insecure.

 

Princess Irulan

 

This probably reminds Jessica of her own position as the Duke’s concubine, and the book ends with this powerful quote:

 

“Think on it, Chani: the princess will have the name, yet she'll live as less than a concubine - never to know a moment of tenderness from the man to whom she's bound. While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine - history will call us wives.”

 

Okay, since this is going to be the last instalment, here's all the fun stuff that I came across:

 

Make Sandworm Bread Today!

 

The Gummy-Worm World of Dune

 

Make your own Maker Hooks

 

And an interview with Frank Herbert himself in which he discusses the ecology of the world that he created!

 

Featured Image

 

We had an amazing time with this re-read. We hope you did too! Keep checking this spot to find out, if we do decide to continue with the other books in the series or not!

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review 2017-03-16 23:47
The One Kingdom (The Swan's War #1)
The One Kingdom - Sean Russell

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The One Kingdom
Series: The Swan's War #1
Author: Sean Russell
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 544
Format: Digital Edition





 

Synopsis:


Magician's don't die. If they're powerful enough, they can exist without going through Death's Gate.

Hundreds of years ago, the children of the most powerful magician the world had ever known were each given a gift from their father. Their choices split the One Kingdom and resulted in death and devastation.

 

Now, the families of the Renne's and the Wills have their own feud that could tear apart the fragile peace of the land. One of the Renne's is determined to make the peace last while his family plots to assassinate him for such thoughts. The Wills plot to strengthen themselves through marriage with an outside family, the Innes. The Innes are being “guided” by a man who is much more than he appears and much more dangerous than they know.

 

At the same time, 3 young men from the Northern Vale take a trip down the river to buy horses. They come across a man name Alain and their misfortunes/adventures start. They come into contact with a Naga, the embodiment of the daughter of the magician.

 

The Naga, Alain and the Guide are all so much more than the people around them know. Can the land survive the return of the Children?

 

 



My Thoughts:


I went into this really wondering if I was going to like it as much as I did back in '09. Thankfully, this lived up to my memories and my current expectations of a good book.

 

This is a slow book. It meanders like the river that much of the story takes place on. In many ways, the river itself is a character, at times benevolent, at other times very malevolent.

 

Besides being a slow book, it is also very character driven. The Valemen trio start out as the main characters, but Russell deftly moves from group to group, from individual to individual in such a way that I never felt either bored or wanting something else. There is a lot of description of landscapes and what surrounds the characters but for whatever reason I didn't blow by it like I usually do in other books. I was able to sit back and take it in.

 

Where I have described Patricia McKillip's writings as “silk”, Russell's writing is like a river. Some times meandering, some times fast and furious, some times appearing calm, some times dragging you along a current you don't even realize you are in. I felt like I was sitting in a boat going down a river while reading this. Why I was intrigued instead of bored, I do not know. But I loved this story.

 

I also like how Russell portrays magic. It is something dangerous, subtle and never good. It destroys those who use it and hurts those around them. It is not flashy fireballs or the calling forth of demon lords. It is influence, power, strength, persuaviness and the ability to bend others to your will. It is scary.

 

So another fantastic re-read. Definitely glad that I bought this in hardcover.

 

 



 

 

  1. Review from 2009

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-09 23:53
Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1)
The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Way of Shadows
Series: Night Angel #1
Author: Brent Weeks
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 659
Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis: Spoilers


Azoth becomes apprenticed to Durzo Blint and becomes Kyler. Magic, politics, love and death all roll into one super messy ball.

 

Kyler becomes the possessor of a magic ball that gives him extraordinary powers. And just as he's gaining them, he's forced to kill his master and watch his city fall to invaders. Throw in a prophet, some other magic balls, a complete godking of evil, best friend becoming king and teen love and you have this story in a nutshell.

 

Oh, don't forget the violence. Lots and lots and lots of violence.




My Thoughts: Spoilers


I had forgotten just how brutal this book was. It was heart wrenching to see everything falling apart for Kyler. Yes, he's successful in apprenticing under Blint, but by the end of the book, all Kyler has is his life and the life of the girl he loves. He sees, and we experience, everything else going to the pit. Friends? Dead, killed, imprisoned. Mentors? Poisoned, paupered, destroyed. It is all torn away.

 

The book ends on a slightly hopeful note, as the city nobles and craftsmen flee and destroy everything to deny it to the invaders. Kyler is alive, even though he died. The legend of the Night Angel has taken seed and the invaders know “something” walks the shadows. The prophet has set things in motion to stop the godking from total domination. The War has Started.

 

The writing definitely shows that this is Weeks' first book and is not nearly as polished as his Lightbringer series. Nothing stood out as wrong, but some things weren't just as “right” as they could have been.

 

To end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book again and both cheered and groaned at the triumphs and tragedies woven throughout this story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Previous Review from 2009

 

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