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review 2019-08-11 23:37
Slow plot compromises the book
Early Riser - Jasper Fforde

I enjoyed the concept of this one and the world building. It was interesting and definitely something different. 


Charlie is your lovable loser who doesn’t have much going for him but has this perfect opportunity to do better. Other characters make the story colorful and engaging (The Toccata/Aurora arc is amusing and fun to read). Each character has their own quirks and personality traits which makes the book develop a personality of its own. 


The concept of people going into hibernation, and the viral dreams is interesting and makes the world unique and unbelievable but also fun to read. The world building itself in the novel is also interesting. I took a liking to the Villains and their stamp collecting, although they play a small part in the novel, think of them as elegant pirates with a penchant for stamps. 


So although the characters and the setting is interesting, the plot itself falls flat and is very slow. There’s sporadic moments to carry the book along, but overall the book in its entirety is slow paced. It did feel a bit of a chore to read for the most part which is unfortunate as there the setting and the characters proved to be promising but the plot could have been better.


This was my first Jasper Fforde book, so I’m willing to give the other books a chance as I’m sure they’re better this one. It’s not that I didn’t like reading it, but it was the slow pace of the plot that nearly compromised my attention and rather affected my reading and enjoyment of the book.

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review 2014-09-05 07:18
REVIEW: The Paradise War (Song of Albion trilogy) by Stephen R. Lawhead
The Paradise War - Stephen R. Lawhead

The book begins with two Oxford history students, Lewis and Simon, who drive to Scotland to look into a mysterious appearance of an aurochs and end up in the Otherworld. It's your basic, lost in another world plot.


Unfortunately this book is one of the poorer executions. The plot of the novel is paper thin, nothing more than a chain of the 'and then this happened' sort. Substantial amounts of text are used to describe how magical and wonderful everything is in the Otherworld, which is great if you're into that (but I'm not).


The PoV, Lewis, is dull. He doesn't initiate any action, only getting dragged around by circumstance and if the plot demands it. This ruins the little plot there is, making the book a slog to read as either nothing happens or we get another scene where Lewis is lamenting his situation.



There is a particular part where they need to restore the Song of Albion to save the world, and Lewis and his bard buddy have the same conversation about it, three separate occasions, with only the third time them actually going to do something about it. Of course that third time they just so happen to be right at the location where the situation can be resolved. Yeah, it's that bad.

(spoiler show)


Final verdict

Disappointing all around. Don't bother with it unless you really like ancient Celt stuff, because that is all the content this book has.

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review 2014-08-22 04:20
Hard work
The Royal Sorceress - Christopher Nuttall

I was determined to finish this book, but it was hard work. I liked the premise well enough and even some of the characters. But the story itself was bogged down with frequent and sometimes long passages of detail and information that was not really relevant to the plot. Even the details that were relevant were usually included several times, which was unnecessary. I think this was in an attempt to give the reader a more full understanding of that world, but it only served to make the pace crawl along and it took a huge effort for me to stay engaged in the story.
Another thing - what is it about alternate Earths and zeppelins? So many alternate Earth stories I encounter have zeppelins in them! Maybe they seem a trifle exotic.

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review 2014-08-03 12:36
REVIEW: Kusiel's Avatar by Jaqueline Carey
Kushiel's Avatar - Jacqueline Carey

This is the third and last book of the trilogy that describes the life of Phèdre. This review assumes you read Kushiel's Dart and Kushiel's Chosen.


Let's get my main impression out of the way first; this book disappointed me.


Everything was fine for the first half. Ten years after the events of the first two books, Melisande's son, now ten years old, goes missing and she asks Phèdre for helps as she cannot find him.


The plot of the book consists out of her trying to find the boy and to look for a way to free Hyacinte from his curse. And that in a sense is also the problem with the book, because as a plot it's too thin. Once the first half of the posed problem is resolved, you are effectively done. You are only halfway in the book but from that point on you can accurately predict how the remaining hundreds of pages are going to proceed. The decay I noticed in the second book continued in full blaze in this one.


To put it simply, without a mystery to pursue the entire thing falls apart. The characters simply aren't interesting enough, and near all of the (few) choices they make are all foregone conclusions. The author's prose actually becomes a hindrance here and I skimmed through most of the latter half of the book. And I could do so easily, without missing a beat, which is both a bad and telling sign.


Final verdict:

The next trilogy in this series will switch to a different protagonist, but I'm done with these all the same.To me this trilgy was one of an author with an excellent start, but lacked the ability to maintain the quality.


That said, if you like the prose and feel the characters are fine as they are you can not go wrong in reading this last piece, nor, I expect, the novels that follow. I myself won't be reviewing them.

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review 2014-07-30 10:05
REVIEW: Kusiel's Chosen by Jaqueline Carey
Kushiel's Chosen - Jacqueline Carey

This review assumes you read Kushiel's Dart.


In the previous book, the main antagonist Melisande manages to escape, and she casts a challenge at our heroine at the start of this one. And that will be the main plot of the entire book, Phèdre traveling around the world to find out what her hated beloved is up to now.


To the plots credit, I didn't see the twist coming until it was only a page away. Unfortunately, once that twist happens things become very straightforward. The plot is locked in place from that moment on as you know that nothing will happen to Phèdre and as the overall structure of the book is similar to the first one, you know how it's going to end.


Luckily, the how is still entertaining enough even though I really don't like Jocelin for some reason. He just appears flat to me, having no will of his own beyond 'serving Cassiel' or 'serving Phèdre' depending on whichever plot demand is pulling his chain. I hope this trend of flat characters does not continue in the next book.


Final verdict:

If you liked the first book, you'll enjoy this one. I still grade it less than the first though because without the wonder of Phèdre growing up, the book seems to be missing that special something.

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