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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-18 12:06
Rosewater - Tade Thompson
Rosewater - Tade Thompson

It feels almost miserly only giving Rosewater 3 stars but, while there was a lot I really liked about it, the fact that it's a) the first book of a trilogy and so doesn't really have an ending of its own, and b) that it jumps about between time periods and didn't quite work for me as a coherent narrative meant I ended up knocking at least one star off for just those two things. 

 

There's also a lot to like about the book as a whole, particularly that the author manages to take a protagonist (Kaaro) who is pretty unlikeable and make you care about what happens to him. Because, make no bones about it, there's a lot not to like about Kaaro as we work our way through his history and the surrounding world-building of the book. For much of the storyline, he's pretty immature and makes at least one decision (though he seems to have some insight as he gets older about this) with his penis rather than any other part of his body. Secondly, as someone who works for a shadowy secret agency and also has mental powers whose source we discover as the storyline moves along, he's actively involved in interrogations. 

 

Rosewater is set in a near-present day world where there has been alien contact on a number of occasions, the most recent being in Nigeria where something has fallen from the sky and built a dome that occasionally opens. When it opens, people are healed but not always in a way which is positive for them and also the recent dead are brought back to life, but as zombies. There's been previous contact with the same aliens and there's mention of London being devastated by a landing in Hyde Park and the US having chosen to shut itself off from the rest of the world as a result, but these are background details.

 

Kaaro discovers, as the book goes on, that not only do his powers actually come from a previous alien landing but that everyone else he knows with similar abilities is dying. He is, effectively, the last man standing for no apparent reason, like it or not. In fact, the entire world is changing as the alien influence begins to take over and human cells are literally replaced by alien ones in a larger and larger amount of people. The sequels are about resisting that change, with The Rosewater Insurrection being due out next year. Not sure if I'll read it, unless I can either get it from the library or free for review, as while I enjoyed reading Rosewater and it certainly kept me turning the pages, it didn't 100% work for me for the reasons mentioned at the start of this review. 

  

 

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-08-17 16:19
Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe

 

 

Sequart is proud to announce the publication of A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe, edited by Rich Handley and Joeseph F. Berenato.

 

Almost as soon as there were Star Wars films, there were Star Wars novels. Alan Dean Foster got the ball rolling, ghost-writing the first film’s adaptation for George Lucas, as well as penning a sequel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Novels covering the exploits of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian soon followed, ushering in what would come to be called the Star WarsExpanded Universe. The EU, like the Force itself, has helped to bind the galaxy together.

More than 250 Star Wars novels have been published by Del Rey, Bantam Books, Ballantine Books, and other companies, aimed at both young and adult readers. Spanning the decades before, during, and after the films’ events, the books have spawned new galactic governments, explored the nature of the Jedi and the Sith, and developed the Star Warsmythos well beyond merely a series of films and television shows. The Expanded Universe — recently re-branded as “Legends” following Disney’s acquisition of the franchise — has grown exponentially, comprising not only the books but also comics, video games, radio shows, role-playing games, and more.

 

With A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe, editors Rich Handley and Joseph F. Berenato continue their look back at the franchise’s highs and lows, which began with A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe and A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring Star Wars Comics. This third volume offers insightful, analytical essays examining the Star Wars EU, contributed by popular film historians, novelists, bloggers, and subject-matter experts — including fan-favorite Star Wars novelists Timothy Zahn and Ryder Windham. The films were just the beginning. Find out how the universe expanded.

The book runs a massive 348 pages.

A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe is available in print and on Kindle. (Just a reminder: you don’t need a Kindle device to read Kindle-formatted books; you can download a free Kindle reader for most computers, phones, and tablets.)

 

Find out more on the book’s official page or its Facebook page.

Reviewers may request a PDF of the book for review, and the book's editors are available for interviews. If interested, please send inquiries to sequart.mike@gmail.com

 

 

Amazon link:

 

https://www.amazon.com/More-Civilized-Age-Exploring-Expanded/dp/1940589177

 

 

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review 2018-08-17 04:03
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (audiobook)
Mila 2.0 - Debra Driza

Series: Mila 2.0 #1

 

Girl discovers she's really an android, that could be cool, right? However, I got tired of Mila's obsession over not being real and the downright silliness of some of the plot points. For example, Hunter is apparently in some of Mila's classes, but she's supposed to be 16 and he's 18 all of a sudden? Also, there was a lot of YA love interest crushing and female rivalry.

 

Really it was just so YA. And it ended incredibly abruptly. My library doesn't have the audio version of the second book, though, only the ebook, so I'm not sure if I'll ever find out what happens to Mila. Maybe I can skim it really quickly? [Eyes Mount TBR....sigh.]

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review 2018-08-17 00:49
Lord of Light
Lord of Light (SF Masterworks, #07) - Roger Zelazny

The hope of a prosperous future of human colonists on an alien world who for generations have believed they were looked out for and ruled over by the gods, is one named—among other things—Sam.  Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny follows the struggle of one individual to throw off the tyrannical rulers of a colonized world posing as Hindu deities that he’s known for years and the strange allies he makes along the way.

 

The deathgod and technological mastermind Yama finds the soul of Sam from the ionosphere of the colonized planet that remnants from Earth settled centuries before.   Sam has through numerous names and plans slowly undermined the rule of ‘Heaven’, those crewmembers who over the centuries have fought the indigenous lifeforms of the world to make a place for man and then ruling them as gods as they used genetic manipulation and technology to gain powers.  Though not originally opposed to his fellow crewmembers, their sudden radical shift from benevolence to tyranny makes him rebel.  Through the years, Sam becomes the Buddha and as a way to undermine the hope of rebirth, then he unleashes the Rakasha that he had bound through his powers, then when given the opportunity he spreads his message in the Celestial City of the gods before being “killed”, then after stealing a body from another god about to be reincarnated he kills two high leaders then leads an allied army to battle the gods in which he loses and his soul is sent to the ionosphere.  After his return Sam leads another army, this time in league with the gods to face an insane crewmember with a zombie army that ultimately leads to Sam’s goal of the colonists allowed to determine their own fates.

 

Zelazny’s story explored some really big ideas of technology, politics, and religion throughout the book that intertwined with one another as the narrative progressed to build the world.  Yet at many times the world wasn’t built enough and leads confusion at important parts of the story that hurt the overall quality of the book.  While Sam and a few characters are developed, many others really aren’t which hurts the overall quality of the book as well.  But the biggest personal frustration was that the two big battles of the book aren’t impressive as the language wanted to give the impression of, it was a letdown after the long buildup of Sam’s plan.  These three issues are both good and bad for the book, which makes me feel that if this book had been longer to develop more of the characters, the description of the technology, and more battle details.

 

Lord of Light is based on the imaginative idea of human colony being ruled by fellow humans who pose as Hindu deities and a man who decides to let the colonist develop on their own.  Roger Zelazny’s writing style isn’t perfect and while I have problems with the book, if I had choice to reread the book.

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review 2018-08-16 21:21
Book Review of Sentinel (Book One of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning
Sentinel - Joshua Winning

This is a fantastic start to what looks like an exciting trilogy! I loved it!

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much; and felt extremely sorry for him, as he dealt with a tragedy that destroyed his world. When he is sent to live with his godmother, Nicholas has no idea what mystery and danger awaits him.

This is an exciting, danger-filled YA Fantasy novel set it Cambridge, England. I found myself completely hooked from the first page! The characters come alive as the tale unfolds. Samuel Wilkins is Nicholas's parents friend. I liked his spirit! At 71 years old, he's still got a lot of it! Nicholas's godmother seemed a bit flighty to me, but when I read the full story of how she became that way, I could understand why. She's a powerful witch, but emotionally damaged by an event in her past. Isabel is a unique character, and her snarky and sarcastic comments had me giggling! I liked her very much! It's amazing what havoc a misfired spell can do to your perspective! However, there is one character that sent chills down my back, and her name is Malika. She is a creepy and dangerous individual! Well, I suppose you would have to be, working for a demon!


I struggled to put this book down, and couldn't wait to get back to it when I had to! There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to a totally enthralling read! By the end of the book I still had some questions that needed to be answered, such as: Why were the Sentinels created/formed? Who or what is Esus? And, what will happen next? I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy as soon as I can!

Joshua Winning has written a debut novel that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I loved his fast paced writing style, which made the story flow beautifully. This author is one to watch. If he's not careful, he'll be on my favourite authors list in no time at all! 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 12+, and adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

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