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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-22 02:27
Spooky Scary Skeletons
Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

All right. Home and I have a nice glass of Yellowtail Wine so let's get going!

 

In Ararat, an earthquake reveals the Turkish mountain to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. Of course the archeological world is fascinated and chomping at the bit to study it. As they investigate, though, they find a sarcophagus with a decidedly not human corpse inside. Paranoia and fear start to spread like a virus. Then the murders start...

 

As I mentioned earlier, I really liked this book. I find biblical history fascinating and this take on the Great Flood was ridiculously interesting to me. It's an original concept that I haven't seen done before, investigating why Noah's Ark may have been remained hidden, what the flood was really meant to wash away, etc. Great premise and for the most part, great investigation. The elements of fear were lovely and I had a lot of fun reading it. 

 

One thing I particularly liked was the way this book is similar to The Thing. Spoilers, the demon can body hop and it's very similar to The Thing, right down to body horror-esque face ripping. The John Carpenter classic is one of my favorites so it did help me enjoy the book a lot more than I may have otherwise. I do wish Golden had played on the themes of paranoia and Man v Nature more, the story still embodied those themes enough for it to be enjoyable. 

 

Also, the ending. Amazing. The last line in particular is one of my favorites in a book ever. It wasn't super poetic or anything, it just had a punch to it that I loved. 

 

There are three reasons why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5: the pacing, the characters, and a lack of originality. Let's start with the middle one . Overall, I found the characters kinda meh. There were too many, in my opinion, so I wasn't able to really form a connection to any. That said, I did really like Walker's squad and Adam. Still, in horror I think it's really important that you make at least one really loveable character for the reader, or else it won't be as scary. 

 

In regards to the pacing, there was something just kind of off about it. I would never say the book was boring, but there were many places where that wasn't a ton actually happening, mainly characters reflecting on their lives/relationships or archeology work. Then things got super actiony super fast and it had an odd beat about it. It wasn't enough to keep me from continuing to read, but I could definitely feel the off pace. 

 

Lastly, it felt like Golden took the easy way out. This book is original in it's concept. I stand by that. But, the concept in action became kinda standard demon horror. I was expecting the demon to be like manipulating the people into worshipping/sacrificing it, or that they'd flee deeper into the cave where things go even worse. Instead the demon just wanted to brutally mass murder them all, which is kind of demons are portrayed as doing traditionally. I feel like Golden missed an opportunity to follow up on an incredible set up and settled instead for standard survival plot. It went from The Thing to Predator and, while both are good, the latter is kinda the standard angle. So it was a little disappointing on that front. 

 

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely recommend and would read again. Just a little underwhelming. 

 

Final thought: After reading the part about the nail gouges in the door, the kittens started clawing at the door and spooked me. 

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review 2017-07-22 00:47
Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

At work so no full length review until I get home. Overall though I liked it. Wasn't amazed by it but I liked it. Excited to discuss it once my shift ends. 24 minutes left to go. 

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text 2017-07-19 22:00
So, B&N cancelled my preorder.
Golden Age and Other Stories - Naomi Novik

Uh-huh.   Pre-ordered it via Amazon now, because I didn't want to have to deal with shipping and handling on separate packages if I wanted Well's All Systems Red in paperback, too. 

 

Golden Age is something I definitely want in paper for the illustrations, by the way.  I was going to skip this.   All side characters from what I'd read, and none of them interest me as much as Temeraire. 

 

None other than Novik herself claimed this was like 90% Temeraire.   So, I immediately pre-ordered it after Readercon.  I tried from B&N because I could have gotten it with my employee discount.   I don't want to have to wait and remember - which I'll end up flaking on, especially since it's coming out soon before school - thus the Amazon pre-order.  

 

By the way, she's turning a fairy tale short into a novel, too, but not sure when that'll be ready/out.  

 

 

I also need to pre-order Akata Witch 2, and Binti: Masquerade both by Nnedi Okorafor.   Sadly, this will be the last Binti for a while, but she said she loved this world so it might come back in the future.   Fingers crossed. 

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review 2017-07-19 09:54
Golden Age and Other Stories
Golden Age and Other Stories - Naomi Novik

by Naomi Novik

 

I wanted to read something by Naomi Novik, but didn't realise this collection of short stories was fan fiction related to the Temeraire series, which I haven't read. Never mind, it's a good test of a story collection like this to see if it can stand on its own.

 

The first story, Volley's Cow, did leave me a little bewildered. I think there was an assumption of familiarity with the characters, both human and dragon, as well as adventures they had been through in the series. The second story, Planting Season, was more self-contained and stood on its own well.

 

This was followed by Dawn of Battle, which I think probably reflected the sort of military battle atmosphere of the series and gave me a taste of the dragons and how they work in this world.

 

Then there is the title story, Golden Age. This one is longer than the others and rather good. My impression was that it was an alternative history using the characters from the first book of the series and focused very much on the nature of the dragons.

 

The next story, Succession, takes place in China and tells about how the French came to have a Celestial egg. This is followed by Dragons and Decorum, about a young woman being recruited into the air Corp, because female dragons will only have female handlers. Although I haven't yet read Pride and Prejudice, the use of the names Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy suggest there might be a nod to that book in this story.

 

The book wraps up with a section of Drabbles, 100 word stories. These were amusing and gave me some snippets of the world in which this series manifests. thought it was a nice way to finish up the collection. The artwork alone is worthwhile.

 

Over all an enjoyable read that I'm sure will be indispensable to readers of the Temeraire series.

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text 2017-07-16 08:47
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