Torchship (Torchship #1) ★★★☆½

torchship (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Torchship
Series: Torchship #1
Author: Karl Gallagher
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 300
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Michigan Long is some sort of undercover agent. After rescuing a scientist who is delving into AI and getting him out of the Fusion (a collection of worlds with a lot technology), she takes up residence as a pilot on a Disconnected (a group of worlds without tech and where slide rules are used for space travel) ship, she has several adventures.

One, their ship is hired as a tour ship that is a cover for a high profile kidnapping. Michigan helps save the day and brings some much needed attention to their ship by powerful people, with money.

That leads into them coming to the attention of the Terraformers, humans who still have contact with uncorrupted AI (corrupted AI are known as Betrayers as they took over the Sol system way back when and are now at quiet war with humanity). They go to a terraformer world only to find a powerful poacher killing wildlife left and right. They deal with him.

The third adventure is a story and a story. They are approached by a man who claims that his grandfather fled from Earth during the betrayal but buried 2 cargo loads of invaluable treasure on a meteor in the Sol system. He has the coordinates but needs a ship and crew willing to risk their lives to enter AI space. To avoid treasure seekers following them, they hire out as a Pilgrim ship. Pilgrims are humans who want to return to Earth, thinking that they will be integrated with the AI. No one, or even any information, has ever returned from a Pilgrimage. They are successful at dropping the pilgrims of in the Sol system and at picking up the treasure.

On their way home they run into an eruption of the war between AI and humans. They are used as bait by the Fusion navy, who uses a new secret weapon to wipe out the Betrayers. Michigan marries the mechanic on the Torchship and is instructed to inform the captain of the ship on her secret military status.

 

My Thoughts:

This was science fiction in the vein of Heinlein, what with the slide rules, etc. Gallagher did a good job of revealing information about the existing universe without me feeling like he was infodumping OR with-holding info “because of reasons”.

I was not expecting the various adventures format, so it threw me at first but once I realized what was going on, it was enjoyable.

In regards to Michie, there is a lot of hints but very little concrete. I figure the next 2 books will delve more into what is going on with her. This book felt like an introduction to her, the crew & ship and the existing universe in general.

There was a little side plot about the scientist she rescues at the beginning running through the book and I figure since he’s into AI that he’ll be central to defeating the Betrayers if that is the route Gallagher takes us. I hope so because I LOVE humans vs AI stories where humans kick some silicon butt.

The nice thing is that I already know this is a trilogy, so no cliffhangers for me!

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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Haunted Forest Tour ★★★☆☆

hauntedforesttour (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Haunted Forest Tour
Series: ———-
Author: James Moore & Jeff Strand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A forest grew up in one day in New Mexico, destroying a small town and killing almost all of the inhabitants. The survivors reported seeing otherworldly monsters.

The owner of the land opened up a tourist attraction where people could take a ride on armored buses through the edge of the forest to see the various creatures. He also hired cryptozoologists to study the remains of the creatures. The Haunted Forest Tour has a 100% safety rating and no one has ever gotten hurt.

For months now, crew have been laying down new track to the center of the forest. On Halloween a select group of 80 people are invited to go deeper into the forest than anyone has ever gone before. Unfortunately for them, the power goes out on the track and an accident occurs between 2 of the buses. Also, the monsters begin attacking, something they’ve never done before. The tourists split, some staying in the buses to wait for rescue and others to try to strike out and rescue themselves. Those who stay are eaten rather quickly.

The group we follow make it to an abandoned facility within the Forest. They realize they’ve gone even deeper into the forest and one of them strikes out on his own to follow the rails back to the edge of the Forest. The remainder are split up. It is revealed that the Forest is an intrusion from a demonic dimension and that the ruler has made a deal with the owner of Haunted Forest Tours. This demon needs a willing sacrifice AND a willing host to fully integrate his dimension into ours. He gets the sacrifice but is outwitted and some other humans destroy his host.

The whole forest and all of its denizens return to the their dimension and only a few people survive.

 

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, I was hoping for more. Part of that was me wanting answers well before the authors chose to give it. I didn’t learn that the Forest was a hell pocket until well past the 50% mark and up to that point I was trying to figure out what was going on. The deal with the devil explained almost everything but it came too late for me, as I was too distracted by my own questions up to that point.

I was also disappointed in how the military reacted. They’re shown as a bunch of lackwits and idiots. I was hoping for something a bit more in the vein of Through the Looking Glass by John Ringo.

The violence was pretty high but felt like some sort of B movie violence where it was just so splatterific that it moved into silly territory when that was NOT the intention. There was one torture scene near the end though that was just grotesque.

For a horror book, I never felt a moments dread. Horror is atmospheric, not just describing people getting killed horrifically. This had as much atmosphere as an empty elevator.

Overall, I don’t feel like my time was wasted, as I got all the splatterific I could handle but there was no nuance and the whole supernatural side of things was just shoehorned in. The ending seemed to happen in 5 pages and authorial handwavium definitely occurred. This book didn’t leave me wanting to seek out any more by either author.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Happy Resurrection Day!

he-is-risen

 

““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

~Jesus, the Christ

 

Jesus, the Son of God, Himself puts paid to the idea of a multi-faith ecumenism that all religions lead to god.  Jesus is it, folks,  but the choice is up to you.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

#worldbookczar Candidate: Ildico

crown-globe-golden-white-background-48780599

 

ildico

Today’s Candidate: Ildico, better known as Mrs Attila the Hun!

 

B: So before we begin the questioning,  would you care to spill the beans about that eventful night and how Attila really died?

I: Bookstooge, I would LOVE to get this off my chest. The so-called official stories have the Old Lech getting a nosebleed and choking to death on it because he was stinking drunk, or that I killed him with a itty-bitty knife.  The real events so shocked me that I was speechless for days after the event and only now do I feel safe enough to let the world know what really happened.

There we were, the Old Lech fortifying himself with wine because he knew I wasn’t going to just let him have me, no matter what the treaty said when suddenly, 2 small grey beings with great big heads and humongous eyes suddenly appeared before our eyes. They pointed an odd looking sceptre at the Old Lech and he just keeled over. The 2 Lords told me to never reveal this to anyone upon pain of grstlzzzk. I asked them their names to prove they weren’t figments of my imagination. One answered that he was named Nashitat and the other Naziat (I could only tell them apart because Naziat had this funny little tuft of hair on his upper lip). I swore myself to secrecy but when I heard about this whole World Book Czar Initiative, I knew I had to get elected and warn the world.

I tried to contact Scully and Mulder but they were both so busy finding out that everything they knew was a lie that they didn’t have much attention for poor little me. And no offense to you Bookstooge, but your blog doesn’t quite have the reach I need. So I NEED to become World Book Czar to warn the world and prepare it for the coming invasion. THERE. IS. NO. OTHER. WAY!!!

B: Wow Ildico, I had NO idea.  Thank you for risking so much and letting us know that the Truth is Out There!

 

B:  An Orangutan blogger claims that she will read anything and that that is a good reading habit. What are your thoughts on this and what your official response be as World Book Czar? She’d also like some beauty tips, as she’s thinking of World Domination herself at some point.

I: Oh, I’m going to have to put a stop to thinking like that! Grey Propaganda is everywhere and if people read whatever they want, they’ll read the Propaganda and bow low before the Lords Nashitat and Naziat when they return. We cannot have that if we want to survive! I will be handing out free survival guides (which include a complimentary tin foil hat) and insurgency pamphlets. Also, a little paper on how to make homemade current jelly. Just because we might be hiding like rats when the Overlords return doesn’t mean we can’t eat well.

As for beauty tips. I highly recommend the blood of your enemies, applied lightly just under the eyes, once a day. Can really bring out the inner fire in a woman, errr, Orangutan.

 

B: Ichadbod has several questions and I’ll list them in order:

  1.  Are you available or do you have a sister?
  2. Is there a literacy requirement for being WBC and do you pass it?
  3. You are a hottie  *wolf whistle* (Not exactly a question but I, Bookstooge, will let it pass)

I: *blushes* *pulls out a kukri and begins sharpening it*

Yes Iccy, I am available. But I have to ask you, are you man enough? My standards are pretty high now. Especially if I’m going to be WBC. You let me know when you’ve got an  Empire going and then you can come calling. I’m kind of old fashioned that way.

After talking with the WBC Committee, they were forced to admit that there is no “official” literacy requirement. However, have no fear. I read Germanic, Latin, Greek and thanks to an unforeseen side affect of the Overlords Sceptre, Atlantean and Goa’uldian.

 

B: Ola would like to know if you were the inspiration for Barbarella. Secondly, she’d like to know how you plan to expand the WBCI, as of this moment it is NOT a global Initiative in reality but in nature alone.

I: Ha, I would tear this Barbarella into tiny bits with my bare hands if she tried to stand in my way. If I am the inspiration for her, then this world is doomed.

As for expanding the WBCI, I foresee no problems with that at all. The Overlords dropped their sceptre and with my newfound Atlantean language skills, I have reprogrammed it. Now I can control weak minds with the touch of a button. It also makes a great cheddar cheese wheel!

 

B: Cheddar cheese?!?! Well, you have MY vote, for sure!!!!

I: Sorry Bookie, I just used the device on you. I know that is kind of cheating but I had to test it you know.

 

B: That is A OK, because I already liked cheddar cheese! But back to business…

The Little Panda would like to know if the Book Blogging Community is any different from the Hunnic tribes and what would your first act as World Book Czar be?

I: Bookie, you tricked me? You already liked cheddar cheese? Well, I guess I’ll have to test this on somebody else.

Panda, the tribes were a piece of cake compared to the clans of the book bloggers. Chop off one or two heads and the huns fell right into line. Do that with the bloggers and they all start whining about their rights and then complain 10 times as much. Worse than babies if you ask me. My first act would be to show them my new sceptre and make them all love cheddar cheese. Remember, Cheddar is Beddar!

 

B: Norrie would like to know any hair care tips, as she would like to look fabulous while reading. No world domination there, just plain old book reading.

I: Mares milk mixed with a tablespoon of the blood of your enemies is a wonderful conditioner. It adds real body to your hair. It also gives it wonderful sheen and that indefinable “vavoom” that you’re looking for.  That and a tinfoil hat is a girl’s best friend!

 

B:  Ildico, I’d like to really thank you for taking the time to meet and answer our questions. Best of luck in the ongoing campaign and I trust your Cheddar is Beddar slogan catches on. As a show of support, I’ve made my own tinfoil hat already and am wearing it. It’s very comfortable and rather stylish, now that I see it.

I: Bookie, you are so welcome. I just want to save the world from any possible annihilation and this seems like the best way to do that.

 

 

The Rest of the Story:

A month after this interview took place, I received a very strange letter. Ildico told me that she had a black out and was missing for a week. When she came to, in a cornfield of all places, she was 8 months pregnant. She told me she is going to name the child Ihm Uhm the 13th. Weird huh? Well, we all wish her the best. Being a full time mom AND World Book Czar  seems like a lot but if anyone can do it, Ildico is that woman! Get out and vote! (especially if you want free tin foil hats)

 

Next Month on Meet the Candidate:

Going to be taking a break in May from all my regular weekend posts, so there will be no Meet the Candidate. June will return to form and I hope that extra time will allow me to get some answers from our next candidate, Bregalad the Ent, also known as Quickbeam.

quickbeam1

 

Remember, you can always click on the “Meet the Candidate” tag to see all the candidates as they are revealed or the #worldbookczar one. I hope you enjoyed this. Until next time, Bookstooge Out.

 

 

bookstooge

 

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) ★★☆☆½

malice (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Malice
Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #1
Author: John Gwynne
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 641
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A thousand years ago there was a god-war between the Creator and his highest created being, Asroth. Asroth and his allies came to the physical world to destroy what they could. In the god-war Asroth and his minions were banished to the realm of the spirit. Not content to exist, Asroth sent a star from heaven to the earth from which both giants and men fashioned items. Being from Asroth, such items corrupted their bearers. Eventually, giant warred against giant and man against man and each against the other. The Creator finally had enough and sent a cataclysm that destroyed much of the world.

The remnant of humanity that survived washed up on the shores of the Banished Lands and started the 7 kingdoms. Now, 1000 years later, a prophecy is found that foretells of another god-war in which the Creator will have his champion of Light and Asroth his Dark Champion. It also reveals that Asroth will try to return to the physical realm to completely destroy it to simply spite the Creator.

One of the Princes’ of the land is convinced he is the Champion of Light and determines to unite the various kingdoms into an Empire, the better to fight Asroth. We also follow a young village boy who is growing up and his challenges as he works toward becoming a warrior.

Eventually the Prince murders his father, attacks the giants and takes one of the objects of power and the readers realize, even while the Prince does not, that he is the Dark Champion. The young boy saves a small company from treachery by the Prince and it is obvious that he is the Champion of Light.

 

My Thoughts:

This book went all over the place in terms of rating from me. I enjoyed parts tremendously and would think “Oh, 4 stars easily” then I’d consider dnf’ing and at other points I thought “Not even Robert Jordan and Sanderson were this arrogant in their books”. So this might turn into something a bit longer than I intended.

I deliberately cut the synopsis down to it’s absolute minimum because Gwynne doesn’t. Gwynne makes things as complicated as possible in several ways. First off, he introduces over 35 named characters within the first 10% of the book. I counted and listed them on Librarything because it was NEVER obvious who was a main character and who was just somebody that Gwynne gave a name and backstory to. The second part of the complication was Gwynne’s shifting of Point of View every chapter. Sometimes a chapter would be 2 pages and at others 20. But it was always from somebody else than the previous POV. Finally, Gwynne had no problem with world building. He’d give as much character time to some one who we’d never see again as to some of the more central characters.

I found all of these authorial choices frustrating and incredibly anger inducing. The thread of the story was obscured by all the loose ends and dead ends, etc. I WILL NOT pay attention to 45 characters (that was my rough count by the end of the book) just because the author wants to be clever. It was overwhelming and even now, writing this, I’m getting steamed all over again. Even the Malazan books were easier to keep track of than this and that is not any sort of praise if you’ve read my Malazan Re-read reviews. I felt like I was juggling 45 balls never knowing which one had the live grenade inside that I needed to pay attention to. Juggling 45 live grenades is very stress inducing, let me tell you! I also felt like Gwynne was wasting my time as this book was almost 700 pages. Why did I need to know about Jack the boy farmer and his whole family when he dies 3 chapters later? It just came across as the author telling me that every idea he had was more important than the time I was spending on reading about them.

On the positive side, I absolutely loved the story. Two Chosen Ones is awesome. It is obvious to the reader that the Prince is the dark champion but to those around the Prince it seems like he truly is the Champion of Light. He is trying to unite the humans, comes up with new fighting tactics, achieves goals no one thought possible and wants to protect the land from Asroth. Knowing that Asroth is the arch-deceiver, it is no surprise that no one thinks they’re the bad guy. I like Epic Fantasy and this is definitely Epic Fantasy. The politics going on between the kingdoms is great and adds a real depth to the story too.

A few final negative thoughts though. I’d been warned that Gwynne takes his time and that reviewer wasn’t kidding. This meanders, but once again that is a product of Gwynne placing world building above all else. Secondly, this book doesn’t have a beginning, middle and end plot point. There is no goal. Even Robert Jordan and his first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, told a complete story. This was just 1/4th of a story artificially cut into a separate book.

I do plan on reading the next book. I am desperately hoping that there is not another list of 40 new characters to juggle. If there is, then I’ll be parting ways from Gwynne after that. All of the before mentioned issues might not bother you, but they bother me immensely.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Hatching (The Hatching #1) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@20%

hatching (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Hatching
Series: The Hatching #1
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 353/ DNF@20%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF’d at roughly 20%

 

My Thoughts:

I dnf’d this for the usual reason of the inclusion of homosexuality. That being said, before that I was “this” close to pulling the trigger and dnf’ing it anyway. This was laced with profanity, the majority of the characters were either having affairs, had affairs or were considering affairs and generally speaking, everyone involved was a scumbag. If killer spiders were about to consume the entire world, I wouldn’t shed a tear for a single one of these people.

It got me thinking though. I am tired of dnf’ing books because of objectionable content as it simply wears down my soul and I feel tired and worn out from just trying to simply believe what is true. Books like this degrade that and I’ve come to realize that it is not enough to simply dnf a book or avoid an author that espouses perversions as normal.

Reading non-fiction has always been one of the hardest things for me. But to combat the constant degradation of my spirit I will be starting to rotate in non-fiction into my regular reading schedule. It probably means that the months I read a non-fiction book my overall book numbers will go down as I won’t be racing through them. Which will mean less overall posts. I doubt that these non-fiction books will appeal to the majority of those who follow me, which is why I’m giving you all the heads up.

Right now I’ve got several books by Ellen White (the un-official founder of 7th Day Adventism), C.S. Lewis (a lay, ie, non-ordained, theologian) and the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, in 3 parts. These three authors will be a test run for the next 2 years to see if I can handle a steady diet of non-fiction every couple of months.

I realize this “review” has pretty much turned into more of an announcement post and I thank you for your time and understanding.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Silmarillion (The Lord of the Rings Prequel) ★★★☆☆

silmarillion (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
The Silmarillion
Series: The Lord of the Rings Prequel
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy History
Pages: 367
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A book that outlines, briefly, the world of Middle Earth from before its inception up until the conclusion of Return of the King.

Iluvatar made the Valar but one, Morgoth, decided to do his own thing. This set him in defiance of Iluvatar and against the other Valar. Iluvatar made the world and the Valar and Morgoth had their way with it. Iluvatar created the Elves and Morgoth tried to become king of the world. Iluvatar made Men and the rest of the Valar chained Morgoth forever. Sauron, one of Morgoth’s most powerful underlyings, himself a lesser Valar, took up the cause of becoming King of the World in defiance of Iluvatar. He is destroyed by the last alliance of men, elves, dwarves and others and thus the history part of the book end.

There is another 60-70 pages of indexing where every name of every place and person mentioned is listed.

 

My Thoughts:

To be blunt, while I gave this 3stars, it was boring as all get out. It took me a bleeding week to power through this.

I gave it 3 stars because it is well written and gives the context for the story we know of as the Hobbit and then the trilogy named The Lord of the Rings. However, when I say it is well written, that is within the confines of it being a history book and nothing more.

I did not like this book. Being boring was its most egregious sin but I have to balance that statement with that this book was supposed to be this way. It is an oral history written down. If that kind of thing floats your boat, then dive on in and enjoy. Everyone else, don’t bother.

I did not like this book because it was nothing but a chronicle of failure and despair. Great men and women (applying to all races here) rose up and were either broken, destroyed or backstabbed. When they did, rarely, succeed, we are then given a timeline of how their descendants descended into destruction. No hope from Tolkien. Everything turns bad.

I was hoping that the end of the world would be described, to show Iluvatar triumphing and restoring all but no such luck.

I read this back in highschool before I knew better. Now that I’ve read it as a mature adult, never again. I don’t recommend this to the casual movie fan of the Lord of the Rings but only to diehard fans of Tolkien himself.

BORING

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)