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review 2016-12-22 23:01
Heirs of Empire (The Scourwind Legacy #1)
Heirs of Empire (The Scourwind Legacy) - Evan Currie

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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(maybe) & Librarything by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.
Title: Heirs of Empire
Series: The Scourwind Legacy #1
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:


The leading general of the Special Forces of the Empire commits a coup. The only survivors of the Scourwinds are the 2 youngest. With help from another rogue Special Forces agent and remnants of those loyal to the Scourwind name, the Scourwind youngsters must go from children to a man and woman in charge.

 

The general's reasons for the coup are only hinted at and much greater threats seem to be looming in the wings. This world is enclosed by the God Walls. But that only means that there are things OUTSIDE the walls that those within should be afraid of.

 

 

My Thoughts:


For whatever reason, this just hit ALL the right buttons for me. It is one of Currie's better books, as he seems to be getting better with more experience.  This wasn't deep, it wasn't emotionally moving, it isn't something that I plan on re-reading multiple times, if even once.  But as I was reading along, I just had a blast!

 

If you've read Card's Pathfinder trilogy, the whole God Wall thing is pretty transparent. However, since I loved that trilogy, that just boosted it up in my eyes. It was only mentioned in this book along with some vague mutterings about "threats" but it is patently obvious that things are just ramping up.

 

The special forces agents are pretty cool. Half jedi, half super-soldier, half wild cards. That is a lot of halfs :-) The rogue Agent that helps the Scourwind kids is a cliche for Currie, ie, a strong woman that takes no prisoners and gets the job done.  Several ideas from previous series are used as well but it didn't come as recycled, but just little pointings back. Kind of like how an artist will use the same color palette for certain subjects.

 

While this novel tells a particular story, ie,the Fall and Return of the Scourwinds and only takes a couple of months, it is still very much a setup book. I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

 

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review 2016-10-18 00:06
Intimidation (Eyeshield 21 #4) (Manga Monday)
Eyeshield 21, Vol. 4: Intimidation - Riichiro Inagaki,Yusuke Murata

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Intimidation

Series: Eyeshield 21

Author: Riichiro Inagaki

Artist: Yusuke Murata

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 200

Format: Digital Scan

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The Devil Bats have a Pride Game against another highschool, which is known for it's delinquents and quarterback with arms like rubber bands. The Chamelion's are prepared for Eyeshield 21, but with Monta now on the team, the Devil Bats can run the ball or pass it. A good battle ensues and the Chamelions obviously lose and end up as Harima's slaves.

With the very public victory, the Devil Bats have tryouts and gain enough new members to have an actual team without Harima resorting to terror/blackmail tactics to force people to play. The Devil Bat's are on their way.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I always feel iffy about giving manga 5 stars. However, this volume had more humor than the first volume AND gives us a good football game and a tryout from hell. For a light sports manga I couldn't have asked for a more perfect volume.

 

Sena in playing the Chamelion's realizes that, since he has faced Shin and the Whiteknights, nobody else can really intimidate him. In the end it is Eyeshield 21 doing the intimidating. Monta has found his home as a receiver. He is good at it, gains encouragement from his team mates and provides the fans with all the funny monkey action they want. We also see just a little bit into some of the player's family lives and while not groundbreaking, it does create a depth that separates them from some of the more 2d characters.

 

I settled in to read this prepared to slog. Instead, I laughed my head off and tore through it like I was running a sprint. I am also adding it to my best book of the year list. Sometimes something light & fluffy is what I need and this really fulfilled that need today.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-13 23:49
Stiletto (Checquy Files #2)
Stiletto - Daniel O'Malley

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Stiletto

Series: Checquy Files

Author: Daniel O'Malley

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 585

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:  Spoilers

 

The Grafters have set in motion events so that they can join the Checquy. A Checquy agent, Felicity is given the job of being the bodyguard to a Grafter, Odette. Both have grown up with horror stories about the other's organization.

Unfortunately, a small group of young Grafter's doesn't WANT join the Checquy and they are willing to go to war, and kill millions of normals, to keep the merger from happening.

Now Felicity and Odette must work together to stop this group while their bosses must work together to make sure the merger happens. Magic and Bio-Technology working together.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

When I finished this, I realized it had been 4 [!!!!] years since I had read the Rook. Definitely worth the wait though. I was expecting another Myfanwy Thomas story and it took me a while to realize that this book was NOT about her. Took me even longer to realize that Felicity and Odette were the main characters and not just the openers.

 

The humor was just the same as the Rook. The action however had much more to do with genetic thingies than ghosties and goblins, even though there was an incident that involved a dead Checquy agent gone bad. The twisty-turny plot raced ahead at Formula 1 speeds. It felt like a Thriller, whereas the Rook definitely had that Mystery vibe going on.

 

O'Malley can write! I laughed, I got frustrated and I was triumphant. I can't ask for much more than that. Of course, I hope it isn't another 4 years before we get the next Checquy book. I also added this to my Best Book of the Year List.

 

Oh, does anyone know what Checquy means? I'm too lazy to look it up :-D

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review 2016-09-02 23:57
Dune (Dune Chronicles #1) (Project Reread #8)
Dune - Frank Herbert

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.anobii.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Dune

Series: Dune Chronicles

Author: Frank Herbert

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 894

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

Project Reread:

 

I am attempting to reread 10+ books in 2016 that I have rated highly in the past. I am not attempting to second guess or denigrate my younger self in any way but am wanting to compare how my tastes have changed and possibly matured. I am certainly much more widely read now [both in the good and bad quality sadly] than then.
I will hopefully be going into the reasons for any differences of opinions between then and now. If there is no difference of opinion, then it was a hellfire'd fine book!
Links may link to either Booklikes or Blogspot, depending on when the original review was. 

 

Synopsis:

 

Paul Atreides, born of rebellion and love, has the potential to be the next step in Humanity. A man who can look into the past and into the future. But becoming a superman is not easy, nor is it guaranteed.

With a space operatic House feud, the Bene Gesserit bent on creating and controlling him, a Galactic King bent upon his House's destruction and a prophecy that was seeded by the Bene Gesserit hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago, Paul will succeed or die.

 

My Thoughts:

 

What do I say? This is just as good as ever.

 

Having read more of Herbert's works since my last read of Dune back in '11, it is very apparent that Dune was an aberration in Herbert's style. It is easy to understand, light on the psychosexual tones that Herbert seems to revel in and keeps the monologuing on philosophical themes to a minimum. None of those things are gone, but they aren't in the foreground.

 

While the Dune Chronicles continue for another 5 books and then has its final sequence penned by the execrable Kevin Anderson & Brian Herbert, Dune can stand on its own and in many respects, it should. It tells a complete story arc. If you LOVE Dune, then I recommend reading the rest of the Chronicles. If you aren't sure, then read another book by Herbert, perhaps The White Plague, and see if you like THAT style. If you can enjoy that one, then you'll probably enjoy the rest of the Chronicles.

 

I was also reminded of Red Rising by Pierce Brown, in that the main character was young [Paul is 15 at the start of the book and it covers no more than 5 years] but this is in  no way Young Adult. I think part of that is because Herbert has his main character becoming an adult at an accelerated pace due to circumstances. In fact, the more I think of it, Darrow from Red Rising reminds me more and more of Paul. Young, but having gone through a crucible, emerges from the other side with all adolescence burned out of him and maturity, responsibility and ability coating him like an armored suit. An adult with a purpose and the will to accomplish that purpose.

 

This Project Reread was a complete success and I got to read a 5star book that STAYED a 5star book. It just doesn't get much better than that.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-05-20 14:22
Red Rising (Red Rising #1)
Red Rising - Pierce Brown

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Red Rising

Series: Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 400

Format: Kindle Digital Edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Our culture has stratified into Colors. Darrow is a Red, working in the mines of Mars to make it habitable for the masses of Earth. When his wife is killed and he himself smuggled out of the mines, change is in the wind.

 

Everything Darrow has been taught has been a lie. Humanity spans the Solar System and the Reds toil for the pleasure of the other colors. They are slaves. Turned into a Gold, Darrow must now infiltrate Gold Society and try his best to bring it to its knees. But first he must survive the Academy and its no holds barred weeding out process. The Golds rule because they are as brutal with their own culling as they are in dominating the other colors.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Holy Smokes!!   (long for me review ahead)

 

First things first. A huge thanks to Dang Rover for reviewing this trilogy and explicitly stating that this was NOT young adult. I had seen glowing reviews, but everything led me to believe it was YA and I just wasn't interested. However, Dang was right, this is definitely not YA. I can see why I thought it was though. On the cover, it has a blurb by that asinine author Scott Sigler saying:

"Ender, Katniss and now Darrow!"

Then the continual references in reviews to the Hunger Games. Also the fact that Darrow is 16-18 during this book. All the YA tags too. And the publisher promoting it as YA on various outlets.

 

So let's deconstruct WHY this isn't actually YA, shall we?

 

Darrow himself. While he is 16 at the beginning of the book, he is already married and a skilled and ethical worker. He believes in what he is doing and that the sacrifices everyone in the Red community is making are worth it because it betters humanity. In other words, he has already grown up by the time we meet him. The whole death of his wife and revelations about society do not essentially change him. He is already formed in his character.  In this same vein, as he goes through the Academy test, what he experiences is not something new, as it is for other young Golds. Deprivation, violence, the hard knocks of life, are all things he already knows about.

 

The violence level. I gave this my ultra-violence tag and it definitely deserves it. It also pushes the book clearly into the adult section. Violence is a huge part of this book, as it is the way the Gold's weed out the weak.  It is brutal, it is harsh, it is explicit at times and it is unrelenting. There is rape. Thankfully, not graphic or sordid, but it plays a large part in several instances and people should be aware of that.

 

Finally, Darrow's focus on his mission. There are several times where he lets things happen that are wrong because his job is to become a high ranking Gold. He feels bad about it but knows his mission must come first. As an adult, I can separate from that. I sure wouldn't want to expose any young minds to that kind of thinking though.  It is very much a "Ends Justifying the Means" kind of philosophy being displayed. I find the underlying philosophy to be highly questionable at best and wouldn't want to expose a young mind to it before said young mind had already had a solid base from which to judge for itself. Kind of like a very dangerous rock climb. After some experience, or with an experienced rock climber, you can let them have at it. But before? You'd be criminally negligent in letting them try to navigate this by themselves.

 

So those are the reasons why this isn't YA. I also find it distasteful that the publishers are pushing it as such.

 

Now on to a more "regular" review.

 

Again, I say "Holy Smokes!!!"

 

I read this book in ONE sitting. I stayed up until 2am to finish it. I paid for that the next day, and I'll keep that in mind for when I read the next book. Probably save it for a weekend. It dragged me in and kept me glued to my kindle until the very last page.

 

Darrow's narration could be at times a bit flowery and I did find myself thinking once or twice "nobody is going to talk or think like that". However, it worked out ok.

 

The action was incredible. The battle in the Academy was awesome. Taking up almost a whole year, we get to see fighting from one on one to group tactics. We also get to see the class take on the Proctors [the Gold's assigned to oversee the whole process] because of their corruption. Having the Proctor's be corrupt also added an additional level of tactics, as Darrow not only had to overcome his classmates, but the Proctors as well, who were experienced Golds.

 

I also enjoyed how Brown made Darrow think and choose between several goals at once. Does he want revenge for the killing of his wife? What does he do when finds out he isn't the only Red turned into a Gold? Can he fall in love a second time? Can he put up with serving someone who pretty much embodies evil to further his aims?

 

Loved this book and am really looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy as I get around to it.

 

 

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