Category: Book Reviews


Angels and Demon

Read it finally.  Meh.  I liked Da Vinci Code more.  And if you’ve read my review of DVC, then you know exactly what I mean.

 

As a side note: 95% of the “Catholic facts” were false.  Research, Mr. Brown.  Research.  Or at least admit a piece of fiction to be a piece of fiction.  And I am sorry that the Vatican turned down your request for access to their “secret archives”.  You should have just contacted me.  I visit that place twice a month, and then plan world domination with ol’ Benny.

 

I thank you.

I won’t say anything about the title.  It just…is what it is…

To the book itself.  Where to begin?  Let’s start with background.  First off, because it is the middle of the semester and I do not get a lot of reading opportunities, I read every 5th chapter of this book – and so probably missed a lot of little details, but I like to think I got the premise of the story and met every character as lease once.

(If nothing else, I saw the book title, read the back cover, and saw the picture on the front.  “You have just read the book without ever seeing a page!” rang through my head like a klaxon)

Premise is, by its title, pretty basic.  If you know anything about urban fantasy stories.  “Resisting heroine is forced out of her comfort zone and grows up through the process of being placed into catastrophe after catastrophe.”  Friends and enemies ensue mad-cap-ly.

The story itself was predictable but enjoyably so.  I never felt the urge to throw the paperback across the room in anger, so thumbs up.  Parts did drag on, and that was only reading every 5th chapter!  Mostly, the details of clothing and the like got to be tedious, and I like clothes.  I find them to possess both fashion and function with equal grace.  In this book, however, I wanted a story plot not a runway display.

The writing was not bad.  It’s urban fantasy; no one is expecting Jane Austen.  But, for an urban fantasy, the writer uses more than just the usual 300 word dictionary most modern day fantasy writers depend upon.  *cue applauds*  and the sentences aren’t too long running.  Structure is solid.  And the names were brilliant.  I looooved the names of all the characters.  Some of the characters themselves (eh) but the names were so much fun!

 

All in all, it’s long trip reading; buy on one end of the journey and leave it for someone else on the other.  Sharing the love, saving some trees, and admitting that you probably won’t read it again until your next long trip.  I look forward to picking up and dissecting book two.

The Iliad and rambling.

Re-re-rereading it.  Never gets old.  Best.  Book.  Ever.  Homer is my god.  Well, God is my god, but if I were into that type of thing, I would worship at the temple of Homer and all his epic poetic prose.  And stuff. 

 

Also, Battlefield: Earth is a reeeeeeally long book.  Where did L. Ron Hubbard find the time??  And it’s such tiny print!

Read The World of Jeeves.  It’s proper British hilarity.  I just finished it after reading it off and on for about 2 years (It’s that kind of book where you don’t have to read it all together but take each chapter as a story unto itself) and might add it to my list of “to-read-annually” list.

 

Ok, I’m done being a bad person.  Back to Japanese homework and conjugating words properly so Sensei does not shake her head pityingly in my direction anymore.  It’s not my fault, though; no one told the Japanese that dyslexic people exist!  Is that insensitive?  That felt a little insensitive.  I’m sorry, Japan.  I apologize.

 

No.  More.  Coffee.

If you have not read Richard Armour, then stop reading this post and do edumacate yourself.  I cannot have barbarians reading this blog and giving me a bad name.

The man is a friggin’ genius.  Taking history and making it funny, one has to be, doesn’t one?  Although Armour does not completely destroy the point behind reading about dead people and their their silly mistakes (namely, to either learn from them or repeat them), he can take you out of how “dreadful” it all seems and let the readers realize how pathetically hilarious everything in life can be.

From Marx’s “humble” beginnings to his theories of life in their full power around the globe, Armour gives the reader a pretty comprehensive step-by-step of how Marx, and Marxism, rose to their theatrical power amongst the peoples.  Although Armour is not out to make a point, he sees no reason not to laugh at everybody, and so that’s exactly what he does.

A man after my own heart, with probably more fondness of the human race than I shall ever hold in my soul, Armour is witty and quick – the books can be done in a night if one doesn’t worry about seeming to be “pondering” every single sentence.  Like a lunatic.

Go make yourselves smarter.  Then maybe you’ll become sentient enough to read as a blip on my radar.

Editor’s Note: I in no way agree or follow the path of Marx’s teaching or ideals.  Thank you for reminding me to clarify, rogueoperator

Phoenix Unchained

I haven’t finished it, but I am about halfway through and, despite the fact that I have no understanding of the obvious background going on with the story, I am enjoying the writers’ style, and the reader’s ability to make that style clear. 

His, the reader’s, voice for women, and whining teenagers, can be hair-tugging at times, but for the most part he reads well.

The story with a background, like I said I have no connection of understanding, seems to wrap around the overly-used and commonly common notion that there is a good and a bad, a dark and a light, a jedi and a sith, and the two must always balance each other out in the spectrum of the universe, or we’ll all perish in a coming of apocalypse the likes that 2012 could never reenact.

Basically, though, the story goes like this: 

“Man decides that to save the dragon he loves, he must bring evil to world.  Enter meddling kids.  Meddling kids have superpowers.  These superpowers negate the need to tell any adult of the danger.  Meddling kids make improbable conclusion that only they can save the world.  Chaos and needless death of thousands ensue.”

And that’s where I am right now.  More to come, but I just had to get this out there.  Like that itch you just gotta scratch; I had to mock this book a little bit before I finished it.

 

As an aside, I recently realized (thanks to a cousin of mine) that my knowledge of the scifi/fantasy world of books is seriously out of date.  We’re talking Windows XP while everyone else has got W7 Ultimate.  So, I’ve set on a mission to update myself, while retaining my personal promise to not read anymore books that I actually desire to burn for heresy, blasphemy, and poor grammar.

If anyone who reads, or comes across, this blog knows anything of modern day scifi/fantasy books that are worth my precious time, please drop their title and the name of the writer (because people who write fiction are not authors), I would be much obliged.

That doesn’t mean I would suddenly like you; I still hate you all.  But I would hate you in an obliged manner.

Yeah, yeah – I know it’s been a while since I posted.  Gads, life has been overly busy.  My first order as queen of the world will to demand all work and toil and socializing to end at 5:00pm exactly, so that people can do other more important things.  Like sleep and eat and such.

 

Anyway, what has been going on?  Nothing.  I have, however, as the title of this post might suggest, read a book or so.  I’ll do the “or so” in their own posts, just to be fair and balanced with all of the books.

Daughter of Time – a mystery by Josephine Tey – is such an easy read that not even the detective and hero ever left the confines of a hospital bed in order to solve the case.  “What case?” you might be thinking, as this point completely confused and befuddled and bewildering and in between.  The case of “who was Richard III and why was he so evil?”

The hero of the book, whose name now escapes me, is a reader of faces.  When he sees the face of Richard III, he decides that the man that stares back can’t be as evil as history makes him to believe.  So, the hero sets out on a historical adventure(?) to uncover the real man behind the mask.  Without giving anything away to those who never read beyond what the conventional – and boringly clichéd – history tell them, the ending is pretty predicable from the outgo.

The book itself was short – I read it in a week, given that I had to read it in between classes and work – with big print, which made the story itself shorter.  Quick to read, Tey is no master of pen and paper, but she writes a cute mystery for the casual skimmer of pages.  I would recommend it for lite bus rides reading we all like to think we do.

Yes, I read religious stuff.  Yes, I am of a religion.  Yes, that makes me totally better than most of you.  No, that doesn’t mean I understand a word in this book.

But, Benny is still a wizard with words.  Pope Benedict XVI (Benny to his close friends) writes about finding hope – by finding God – in one of his early works published after rising to the see of Peter. 

I won’t wax poetical, or try to pretend that I can explain with as much word magic as the Pope can, but I will say that “Saved in Hope” was my favorite religious writing when I first read it, and remains my favorite religious reading today.  I’ve skimmed, flipped, (not dog-eared because that’s wrong) bookmarked, copied down on 3×5 cards, and generally tried to live memorize this work.

It’s religious, it’s spiritual, it’s uplifting, it’s God.

 

Oh, and I still hate bipeds.  Thanks for nothing, Trebek.

Book Corner: Mort

The fourth book in the Discworld series, created by Terry Pratchett (sick of him yet?) it was definitely better than Equal Rites in the sense that it felt more like a story and less like a written walk through the park. 

Mort was an interesting read, simply because I started out by reading it, stopped and decided to listen to the BOT instead, then found out 3/5 into the story that the CDs were so scratched up that I couldn’t continue, so I went back to reading it. 

From manual to automatic to manual again, I suppose.

The general story revolves around my favorite character, Death, a lot more, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I found the ending a little contradictory at some points.  Nothing going against my moral fibers, both real or imaginary, but it was confusing with the last parts what was actually happening and who was who, and why.  I guess that was the point, wasn’t it?

Character development was contrived, but what character development isn’t?  Dialog was good and scenes make me laugh out loud in that embarrassed way a person does when they’re sitting alone on the couch and suddenly read something funny and cannot contain a burst of chuckles.

Yes, the book has made me pumped about reading book five, as soon as I can get over to the library.

Another Terry Pratchett masterpiece (in my opinion) and kinda apropos, considering I started it around Christmastime.  Yes, I admit that I watched the movie first, but that was before I realized the genius of Pratchett’s books.   Hogfather is a lot of fun, mostly because of all the Christmas and Seasonal jokes that take place.

I concede that it was probably, as books go, a dozen pages too long and the ending itself – the very, very ending – was a tad dragging.  Still, Death is hilarious as always and remains my favorite character (is it a problem when one best connects to the most anti-social and socially awkward “person” in the book that isn’t really a person, but an anthropomorphic personification ??).

Fun read, fun plot, fun characters and fun sidetracks.  Again, the narration alone makes the book worth while and I do not think it requires a great amount of intelligence to find it amusing.  Just a sense of humor that’s tinted with the wrong kinda colors.

Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table was, like all Agatha Christie’s, a bit of a cheat by her simply because of all the red herrings and innocuous characters introduced and then forgotten.

Hercule Poirot are her best works, though, and that’s just a statement of fact.  There’s just no two ways around it, we all want to be that fussy just once in our lives.  In this mystery, Poirot’s joined by other detectives by Christie.  Not as famous, but characters none-the-less.  Superintendant Battle, Colonial Race, and the indefatigable Ariadne Oliver (which is based on Christie herself). 

The mystery, who killed a pompous blackmailer, Mr  Shaitana.  A man who specializes in finding and threatening those who “got away with it.”  Frankly, if you’re stupid enough to threaten a person who has already proven they have the stomach to kill another human being, you deserve what’s coming your way.  But that’s off point.

With the help of Battle, Race and Oliver, Poirot jumps to an almost impossible conclusion based on improbable evidence and manages to get the killer to reveal themselves with the trite but true “Damn you, you French nosy parker!” method.  But, of course as we all know, Poirot is Belgian.

Now, because all the suspects are all murderers, it makes for a lot of moments where you will be like “Oh, so they did it?  Oh, nevermind then.  Fine…” and you continue to read, because everyone pretty much had not only the motive but the mental nasty to have done it.  Don’t cheat and only read the end, because the story is a fun one, and the small sub-plots are cute, if not that well fleshed out.

All in all, not one of her best works but it’s Christie, can you really say no?