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review 2017-07-11 15:52
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

There have already been many good reviews written about this book, some praising and some condemning.

 

I myself loved the book and the way it is narrated by the different characters. Is it weird that my favorite character is Tyrion?

 

The story is about a kingdom in turmoil for the throne (thus the title) and the many high families involved, including the exiled children of the previous king. Add to that the Black Guard that stands guard at the huge ice wall protecting the kingdom from the Others. The ending of this book was a surprise to me. I can't wait to see what Dany will do!

This book leaves a lot of unanswered questions which leads in to the rest of the series which I will most definitely read. I just hope the last book does indeed bring everything to a close.

 

One note of warning. This book describes human savagery and butchery at it's worst with beheadings and war, descriptions of rape and debasement of women and the "lowborn". If you are sensitive to that sort of thing then this book may not be for you.

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review 2017-05-22 21:14
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein

This story is a sci-fi epic retelling of the American Revolution, only this time the people of the moon are rebelling against Earth and the Lunar Authority led by a sentient computer and a ragtime group of ice miner and farmers.

Heinlein gives the reader some interesting ideological viewpoints about government, people's rights vs. government, marriage and women's rights and empowerment.

This is classic Heinlein at his best and although the story may be showing it's age a little, it is still a very fun read.

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review 2017-03-28 21:11
The Claw of the Conciliator - Gene Wolfe

I really like this story of the continuing adventures of Severian. However, if you read the first book, The Shadow of the Torturer, you probably came away with a multitude of questions but don't expect to have them answered in this second book. There there are some things where you may see a glimmer of an answer and start to get an idea for what's going on, but nothing becomes absolutely clear. And as another reviewer pointed out (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/205947975?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1) keep a dictionary handy. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.

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review 2017-02-22 14:56
To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Philip José Farmer

Good novel with a great story idea. Every human being (and one alien) that ever lived on Earth is resurrected on an alien world beside a river millions of miles long. Everyone is naked and hairless. They have a canister strapped to their arm that, when placed in "grails" spaced along the river, is filled with food, tobacco, toiletries and a narcotic gum.

 

So what does humanity do with this second chance? Unfortunately, most revert to form. War, rape, murder, but is it really murder if your are resurrected again?

 

This is book 1 of the Riverworld series. It follows the exploits of historical figures Sir Richard Francis Burton and Hermann Göring. Burton is trying to find the "why" of this alien world and after his 777 deaths gets close to the answer while Göring is haunted by his personal demons but eventually seems to come to terms with them and make peace.

 

This book will leave you with a lot of questions and few answers although there are hints such as when introduced to the "Ethicals".

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I hope the others in the series are as good.

 

Oh, and one last thing. For those that saw the made for cable "Riverworld" movie, the book is much better!

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text 2016-09-20 14:42
Meh
The Darkside War (The Icarus Corps) - Zachary Brown

Dark side war by Zachery Brown

 

So, I promised you a review of this book and here it is.   First, a caveat, I read this book as part of my awards read.   The good thing about this reading method is that you occasionally find books that really surprise you, surpassing your expectations.  The down side is, that you are just as likely to come across books that simply weren’t written for you.  Books that are written in a writing style/voice that leaves you cold or a genre that you just don’t get on with.   This book falls into the latter camp.   If you like what I call ‘mainstream genre” fiction you will like this book.  But, I prefer books that have a more experimental structure and/or lyrical language style.   So, this book is not for me.

Synopsis

 

“Aliens have conquered Earth, but they haven’t conquered humanity—yet. A young army conscript battles for survival in this action-packed futuristic thriller that will appeal to fans of Halo and Inglorious Bastards.

People used to wonder if we were alone in the universe. Well, we’re not. Not by a long shot. Aliens come in all shapes and sizes, and even the good guys are likely to haunt your nightmares. And oh, you’ll have nightmares, even after you leave the service. If you leave the service.

Devin is a reluctant conscript to an alien-run army: when the Accordance conquered Earth, they said it was to prepare against the incoming alien Conglomeration forces. But as Devin travels to the dark side of the moon for boot camp and better acquaints himself with his so-called allies, his loyalties are increasingly tested. Because the enemy of the enemy is not always a friend. Sometimes...” http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Darkside-War/Zachary-Brown/The-Icarus-Corps/9781481430357

 

Sample Quotes

“I stood at attention. My boots dug into the sad, scraggly patch of open field that was all that remained of what had once been called Central Park, and I remembered standing in the middle of a baseball field here, once. A long time ago.”  Page  1.

 

This book had a diverse range of characters.   The characters represented different ethnic groups.  There were interesting girl/women characters.  The characters had different levels of power/privilege.   They came from different political perspectives and had very different views on how to deal with their alien conquerors.   

 

To me, this novel felt disjointed.   It felt like it was divided into 3 distinct sections; each of which opened questions that weren’t satisfactory answered.    The first section, a rebellion narrative, was an interesting look at how earthlings would deal with an alien invasion, asking how many would rebel and who would acquiesce; for what reasons? It would have been interesting to explore these sections further.  But, then we and Devin are whizzed into space and intro the second section of the novel which is set in a kind of boot camp; where earthlings are tested, trained and killed by their alien overlords.  This could have been an interesting look at conquest and how people can fight for their overlords.  It could have been an interesting look at the differing earthlings and how they survive this environment and the social conditions that they found there.  To a limited extent it was. But, that was short.  Since, then we were catapulted into section three and into a tradition alien shoot out; which, I found really boring. 

 

As you see from the quote at the beginning of this review, the writing was workaday/mainstream.  Which, while did work as first person narration from a teenage boy and made the work easy to scan, made the text feel boring to a reader who prefers a more lyrical/ experimental form of prose.   To me the professionalism of the writing wasn’t exciting and didn’t feel like the speech of a young boy under stress. Surely, Devin’s speech would have been more fragmented, and less structured.  So, if you like YA type books with fairly diverse characters, set in a dark space landscape, then this book is for you.  But, this book was not for me.

 

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