Posts tagged "Review"

Short Story Review: The Old Scale Game-Tad Williams, Unfettered

Tad Williams. A name I know, but have never had the opportunity to read.

This story, is a very familiar one. Not the story itself but the plotline. In the intro the author admits to taking the idea from an old movie. But more then that the idea I have seen in other movies and stories. Don’t let this detour however, because the story is still well written and cute. 

It is the story about an aging retired dragonslayer, needing money, and hatching a scheme with an aging dragon, both tired of the rote behaviors, slaying dragons, and eating knights. So they hatch a scheme to fake a fight, rake in some money, and move along. They do it repeatedly and eventually take on even more monsters to help in their rouse. 

It’s quick, it’s short, and well worth the read. I recommend it.

Short Story Review: How Old Holly Came to Be-Patrick Rothfuss, Unfettered

I would like to start off this review by shaking my fist at Patrick Rothfuss. This man has quickly wormed his way up into my top authors list (you can see my previous reviews on his books “The Name of the Wind” and “A Wise Man Fears”)

Mr Rothfuss also writes the foreword for this collection, in his typically amusing yet deep self.  This short story however, in my opinion more resembles a poem. I have to be honest, at first I was thrown off by the style and tone of the work, but it did not take long before I was captivated.

I hesitate to summarize the plot here because I feel to do so would be to take away from the work itself, but since that is part of reviewing a story I guess I must. 

The story is essentially from the perspective of a Holly tree, outside some stone tower, where a lady comes to live. There is a relationship between the lady and the tree, it follows as the lady meets a man, falls in love and leaves, only to come back years later to rekindle the friendship with the tree. You get the sense that she is some sort of sorceress of druidess, as she brings the tree to life and it helps fight off monstrous men intent on destroying the holly grove and tower.

In the end the lady, now old, leaves again, and the tre is left to guard over the area, and await her return for all eternity.

It’s both a sad and happy story, and it leaves me wanting to know more, but like the tree itself, you too will be waiting for all eternity.

Short Story Review: Imaginary Friends-Terry Brooks, Unfettered

So I finally started the short story anthology “Unfettered” edited by Shawn Speakman, and published by Grim Oaks Press. If you have been following this blog you know the story behind this already so I won’t repeat my self. If you haven’t then I suggest you go back a few posts and check it out.

I still to this day remember the very first book I ever read by Terry Brooks. It was entitled “Magic Kingdom for Sale: SOLD!”  I read it when I was in 7th grade, 19 years ago. It is sitting just to the left of me on my book shelf. I loved it so much that I am keeping it for my son to read when he is old enough.

  That being said I have not read any of his books in quite a number of years, and so I began reading this story with great expectations, and I am happy to report I was not disappointed. The story is about a young man, battling cancer, and an imaginary friend that helps him through his struggle. 

in typical Brooks style, the story blends reality with fantasy, the boy living in modern times is given a glimpse behind the curtain into a magical world that exists behind his house in a large park. While the story is not filled with magics and action, it has just enough to make it a true fantasy story. The ending was not terribly unpredictable, but pleasant in it’s familiarity. It is easy to picture anyone, even ourselves as a child living this out.

All and all I think this is a very nice short story, that starts of this collection wonderfully, tieing in the reality of what  the collection is for, with a bit of magic and wonderment along for the ride.

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Unfettered and The Dark Thorn

Hey Book peeps,

just received two new books in the mail. The first is The Dark Thorn by author Shawn Speakman. For those of you who do not know this guys story, He was diagnosed with Stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphomia in both sides of his neck, chest, and spleen. As an Author he did not have health insurance, and so he created Grim Oaks Press, which currently has released three books of which one is The Dark Thorn. He did this in order to help pay for his treatments. You can read more about it and how to support him here:

http://grimoakpress.com/about-grim-oak/

Now I have to start off with a little bit of a Negative. I paid $75 for a leatherbound, signed and numbered, first edition copy. What I received in the mail was the standard $35 trade Hardback. This was disappointing, but mistakes do happen so I have emailed them, and hope to hear back from them soon with good news. 

Never the less, once I finish reading it, I will not let that sway my honest review of the book and it’s content.

The other book I received, (and the second one published by Grim Oaks) is a collaborative effort. It contains short stories written by Terry Brooks, patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Jacqueline Carey, Tad williams, R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, and a few others. Now if you don’t recognize at least some of those names, then you need to read more books. 

It is my understanding that all the stories were created specifically for this publication, and can not be found anywhere else. This is Unfettered. I definitely look forward to reading it and giving it a proper review.

The last book published by Grim Oaks, was actually an E-book by Terry Brooks, which you can check out at the above aforementioned link. I don’t know where I stand on e-books yet, so not sure if I will be giving that one a read. 

Anyways, these should be coming out as soon as I can get through them!

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Book Review: In the Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss was a refreshing read. I found the style to be interesting. Most books in this genre tend to be 3rd person narrative lets go off and kill things with magic and swords. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love that too. In this book however, Rothfuss takes a different approach. All the action has already happened. You meet the main character after he has already retired, living in a small town, hiding his identity, playing the role of a tavern owner.

The story unfolds slowly as he (Kvothe) tells his full history to a chronicler for the first time ever. It has very interesting characters, and while sounding like it is slow is actually very intense, and attention grabbing.

After reading this book I get the feeling that Kvothe’s adventures might not quite be over as we hear slowly about whats going on in the world currently.

This isn’t just a book about a hero mind you. This is a book about THE hero. This is the Hercules of their world. The King Arthur and Merlin rolled into one. No one doesn’t know his name, thus the hiding out in an attempt to find peace.

If you are looking for a new author, I strongly recommend Patrick Rothfuss. The Name of the Wind is the first book of a trilogy  in which the second book is already out and the third in process. A very good distraction while waiting for the next George R. R. Martin book to come out, without having to dip back down into the atrocious writing of some of the less known Forgotten Realm and Dragon Lance writers.

All in All I give it a 9/10 for Creativity, inventing a new kind of magic, and not relying on the standard story telling methodologies. 

Also as you can see I got mine signed. You can send your own books to be signed, or buy them from the authors foundation outright here:

http://www.patrickrothfuss.com/content/index.asp Official Author Page

http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2007/08/faq-if-i-mail-you-my-book-will-you-sign-it/ His interesting thoughts on sending him books, and how to do it.

And for those of you interested, the author also hosts a writing workshop 1 Tuesday a month called Storyboard, which you can find on Geek and Sundry!

geekandsundry.com

Edit: Apparently the show is currently on Hiatus, but you can check out the first 7 episodes here!

http://storyboard.geekandsundry.com/



Apologies

Sorry everyone, this is my last semester of school, so I have fallen behind on this blog ( Just the posting of reviews, not the reading of books!)

I am however coming up on spring break in exactly 2 days, so you can count on the following reviews in this order.

  1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  2. The Wise Man’S Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. World War Z by Max Brooks
  4. The Complete Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse by Max Brooks
  5. Physics for Presidents by Richard A Miller

    These are the books I have finished reading. I will try to get one out a day until I am caught up. After that, well, I have a little more than 50 books in barrel, and ready to go. Here are some teasers!

    The American, Flatland, Dreamsongs, The Demon Spirit, HIdden Empire, Atlas Shrugged, Cold Fire, and lots more!!

    Also, if you have I book you would like me to read, just drop it in my ask box. If you have your own short story, novel, poem, or any other form of writing that you have done your self, hit me up and I will give you my email!

    Enjoy whatever book you are reading !

Book Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One By Ernest Cline

This is hands down one of the most interesting books I have ever read. This book is all about the content. The writing was done well, but nothing extraordinary. Author Ernest Cline gets high marks because of the amazing story, and thriving 80’s culture interwoven into this book.

The quick summery. Ready Player One takes place in the future, The world is having an energy crisis. Things are looking pretty bad in the world. So bad in fact that most people have completely abandoned the real world for the virtual one that now dominates society. It is so much of a main part of culture that business has moved into the virtual world, and game credit is real currency transferable back and fourth between the virtual world and the real one.

School is taught in the virtual world, where they can create anything and go any where to teach a lesson, Clothes, houses, transportation all exists in this multi-universe virtual reality that is pieced together from pretty much every game, movie, tv show, and book in the history of geekdom. 

The creator of the whole thing, has recently died, and his last act was to create a contest in which the winner gets the controlling shares of the corporation that  owns the game. The clues are hidden in the game, and the players must find 3 keys and 3 gates to win.

After years of searching for clues in the game however the common citizen has all but give it up, writing it off as either too hard, or the crazy ramblings of an old man.

Wade Watts, Senior in Highschool student, loner, and orphan, has taken on the challenge, and has become an expert in the 80’s culture that is needed to win this contest. Soon through careful study and straight up luck he becomes the first person in the world to find the first key, bringing the national spot-light and renewing the race for the prize. 

Battling other hunters which include his two best friends, and an army of people working for a rival corporation who wants to take over the game, Wade must think, his way through this to win the day.

If you like the 80’s and pop references you will love this book. I give it 4 out of 5 Dews. Go check it out! 

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Book Review: I am not a Serial Killer

I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

This is the Story of 15-year-old John Wayne Cleaver. John is well aware that he shows all the markers of a Serial Killer, and so has created rules that he lives his life by to keep him from going down a path he won’t be able to return from. Things like if he pays attention to one person too much he will then avoid them for a week in an effort to keep from becoming too interested.

While things are hard they are acceptable, and things are being kept mostly under control. These rules are put to the test however when a real Serial Killer shows up and starts killing in his town. He is left with a choice of keeping to his rules, or breaking them in an effort to track down this serial killer because the Police aren’t able to.

The more he finds out however, the more he realizes he may be dealing with something far worse then a Serial Killer.

This book is a fantastic thriller. Another page turner that I could not put down. The way that it is written with this 15 year old Sociopath as the star is intriguing and gives a glimpse into the mind of potential serial killers.

It is scary to see in stark detail how methodical and logical this kid can be without the moral and ethical guidelines enforced by emotions and empathy.

I will say however that this book takes a drastic turn into Sci-Fi, that really irritated me at first. However if you stick with it, it is handled in a great way and the story is amazing.

All in all I think I will give this  3 and a half dews out of 5 

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Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Having seen the movie Stardust I was very interested in reading the book, as books are pretty much always better then the movies.  This of course was no different.

Stardust takes place in a little town called Wall in England in the early 1900’s maybe late 1800’s. It is truly a fantasy story but not in the traditional sense. All that we consider to be imaginary, unreal, or made up in the sense of creatures, people and places exist in Faerie, just across the wall. There is a market every 9 years which is the only interaction the people in the “real” world have with the inhabitants of Faerie.

Tristran is the son of a man from wall and a woman from Faerie, though he is not yet aware of this. In his efforts to win the hand of the girl of his dreams, he offers to travel beyond the wall to retrieve a fallen star for her in exchange for her hand in marriage.

Setting off on his adventure he meats some interesting people, and to his surprise finds that the fallen star is a living, thinking being. The Adventure truly begins as he attempts to bring her back to wall, forcefully chained at first. They meet all sorts of people intent on slowing them, killing them, or taking the star from him.

As they continue you also follow the stories of the sons of the Lord of Stormhold, as well as a couple witches which end up playing roles in the sotryline.

I wouldn’t say there is a surprise ending, but it is certainly not the ending that Tristran had foreseen when he started his quest, but as most fairy tales, it ends happily .

The book is beautifully written, simple and yet elegant, and I would rate as a true masterpiece of it’s age.

I did find that there were quite a bit of things added to the movie however that were not in the book. The biggest one that upset me was that Captain Shakespeare, played by Robert De Nero  in the movie was a completely different person in the book. In the movie He was a cross dressing Skyship Captain, who hid his pleasures from his crew, putting on a fierce face for them. 

That is a dramatic change from the tone of the book, and is a very huge character addition to add in. I feel like it is almost too big of a difference to make. The biggest reason the addition of this to the movie upsets me is because in all honesty is was one of my favorite parts of the film, and I was looking forward to reading about it, which left me disappointed.

This is of course no fault of the book and I of course will not fault the book for it .

All in all I rate this book a 4/5 and suggest that if your into fantasy style books you give it a try! 

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Book Review: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (3/5)

Well I finally got around to reading this book, and I have to say I have some good and some bad to say about it. First off, unless you completely forgot about everything that happened in the previous books, I would go ahead and just skip the prologue, entitled In the Beginning. It is a very dry read. In fact The only thing I can liken it to is the Bible. I felt like I was reading Genesis with the way that it was written. Which for me is about the most boring way to ever write anything. I have had more fun reading Physics and Calculus text books.

The good news however is that the book gets drastically better pretty much immediately. I felt like Paolini actually put a lot of work into, unlike the last book in this series, Brisingr, which was horribly written and rushed. In this book you can start to see the potential of a really good Author coming out from adolescence.

The only complaint I have about the main portion of the book is the detailed writing. I had a hard time reading it, and felt my self skimming over paragraphs that seem to have no importance to the story or whats going on. Don’t get me wrong, I love detail, but I love relevant detail.

The closer the book gets to the end the better it is, and the more I really didn’t want to put it down. There were some great surprises in the book, and some good character development.

The ending was great, and even though it had the expected ending, the moment of victory was pretty well thought out, and imaginative. I was satisfied.

unfortunately, for some reason the book continued another 6-7 chapters, approximately a hundred more pages after  the ending, or at least the part that I consider the ending.

Paolini basically took the loose ends normally addressed in the epilogue, and extended it across 100 pages, and intermixed it with more non important details, and musings. At some point it really just felt like an extremely detailed day to day account of Eragon wandering around.

At the end of the day I would have to give this book a 3 / 5 Great work on improving the writing style from the last book, and a great job in how much hard work was obviously put in to making this a good book. I think if the first chapter was rewritten, and the last 6 chapters condensed into a nice epilogue, It may increase to a 3.5/5

lastly I was a little upset that we did not find out more about Angela, but I will leave that at the Authors discretion, and not  knock off points.

If Christopher Paolini writes another book, whether in this world or another, I will probably read, but I won’t be waiting at the store on release day for it.