The Fatal Tree (Bright Empires #5 Final) (ARC)

3e75748517fbdc4eaa07d6ce8895f5fa I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: The Fatal Tree

Series: Bright Empires #5

Author: Stephen Lawhead

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 360

 

Synopsis:

All the Universes are ending, since Arthur bringing his wife back to life with the Spirit Well pretty much buggered up everything.

Now there is a Fatal Tree guarding the Well so the group can’t get to it and stop Arthur and set the Universe back on track.

Burleigh has a change of heart and tries to help the group.

In the end, everything gets back on track and Evolutiongod can continue its plan.

 

My Thoughts:

Thankfully, this series ends.

It felt VERY fluffy and it was hard to feel connected to any of the characters. My last book by Lawhead. Sometimes you just don’t want to review a book and this is one of those times.

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Soulminder (ARC)

cover I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

 Title: Soulminder

Series: —–

Author: Timothy Zahn

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SF

Pages: 283

 

Synopsis:

Dr. Adrian Sommers lost his 5 year old son in a car accident and is convinced that if he could have had more time, he could have saved his son.

That idea turns into a full blown obsession and Sommers invents a device that can be a holding tank for the soul until the body can be healed and the soul returned.

Each chapter shows a different aspect of the implications of such a device.

 

My Thoughts:

In many ways, this is the book I have been waiting for from Zahn. Something that is science fiction’y but so theologically and philosophically laced that you can’t help but reflect on the implications of what the author is writing about.

Now, Zahn’s Mormonism shows through in how he presents the idea of what a soul is and so I deducted a half star because I really disagree on this and I think it is important.  It didn’t detract from the overall story though and if you’re not too worried about things like that, you probably won’t be bothered by this much at all.

The chapters were very reminiscent of old Asimov stories, as each chapter was a snapshot in time of one particular incident. In one sense this novel was a series of short stories that happened to all be about the same subject. I really like short stories when they are done right and most of these were done right.

So overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me think, even if just to figure out where and why I disagreed with Zahn and it presented some really good questions about ethics, morality and what is life.

I did take off a star because I thought the idea of the “airtight” security rather laughable. If it exists, someone somewhere can hack it, steal it or copy it. Reverse engineering might take years, but this book covers almost 20 years and the rewards would be astronomical.

And secondly, the ending was so deus-ex machina that I quite literally rolled my eyes. Inserted code can be found, no matter how cleverly hidden. The next generation is always producing a smarter genius *smiles*

But once again, Zahn produces a book that I can thoroughly enjoy and recommend whole heartedly.

The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire #1) (ARC) DNF

5fcfcf0eb75977a61ffe76c513fea38b I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: The Garden of Stones

Series: Echoes of Empire

Author: Mark Barnes

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 506

 

My Thoughts:

Due to the inclusion of certain subjects, I will not be finishing this book for religious and moral reasons.

Monster Hunter Nemesis (MHI #5) (ARC)

7933a80bf5458af406260842a897ad4f I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis:

Agent Franks is center stage in a Special Task Force Unicorn vendetta. Franks is on the run while he must clear his name, destroy a whole set of bodies based upon him AND prevent an invasion of the original fallen angels.

 

My Thoughts:

Just like in Alpha, this book follows a particular person in the MHI universe. Agent Franks, the mysterious, deadly bulldog of the Monster Control Bureau.

First off, the violence level is just as high as in Alpha. In fact,  the book starts off with Franks using guns, crowbars and fists to destroy a cult that is trying to raise an Elder god.

Then things really get started. Apparently, Franks has a deal with the United States, but it works both ways. One of those conditions is that no recreating of Franks is allowed. But the STFU [yeah, I love how Correia worked that] is being as evil’y as ever and the leader, Stricken, has broken that agreement and made multiple flesh golems with all the modern tech at his disposal.

So Stricken must get rid of Franks and Franks must get rid of Stricken and the copies.

However, unbeknownst to humanity, but very well known to Franks, is the fact that the bodies are taken by fallen angels, not new human souls. And here Correia gives his readers a crash course in semi-mormon theology and mixes it with Cthulthuic lore.

Pretty interesting and it makes internal sense for the overall series.

Franks must stop the invasion of a literal Hell on Earth. It is great. Huge battles involving everything from 50cal guns to fisti-cuffs. It is a pulse pounding, hard core, thrill-a-minute, roller coaster adventure.

I just tore through this book and loved every second of it. It was good enough to make me seriously consider buying the whole series in hardcover. I did drop a half star because of the profanity. It wasn’t completely gratuitous, but it was way more than necessary.

 

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Larry Correia

Monster Hunter Nemesis

MHI #5

Chasers of the Wind (Cycle of Wind and Sparks #1) (ARC)

fac497ebe561ff073ac4efcab92a633d I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis:

One kingdom of humans, who use not-bad magic [not to be confused with good, mind you!] are being invaded by a kingdom of renegades that use bad, necromantic, evil, etc, etc, etc magic.

Follows several pairings/groupings of people who were caught on the border of the conflict, who all have their own problems in addition to invading demon thingies, zombies and magicians who will eat you.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, this guy, Pehov, is Russian. So this is a translated work. Which is why I finished the book instead of DNF’ing it. I’m going to blame most of my issues on the translator, but my resolve to not read anything else by Pehov is on his shoulders alone.

This was choppy writing. Short sentences that should have been rewritten into one longer, well constructed sentence. I had saved a couple of particular egregious examples, but then by the end I didn’t care enough to go back and copy them out. Maybe in Russian it made sense for sword choppingly short sentences, but certainly not in English. It made Pehov sound like an amateur [and yes, I know I used the word “sound” in regards to the written word *wink*].

However, what annoyed me the most, and was all the author, was that ONE character was written in the First person, while everybody else was in the Third. It doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, when you go from a limited “I” point of view to an Omniscient narrative “they” and back,  it is really jarring. And that was deliberate, nothing to do with the translator.

The plot was ok, with a good back story waiting to be explored and a good amount of magical and mundane fighting. In many ways it reminded me of Eddings and his love of groups, just without the humor.

But it “feels” like amateur writing and I refuse to numb my reading skills. Let’s just say Pehov’s no Dostoyevsky. That being said, you won’t have wasted your time if you try this. Perhaps just not spent it as wisely as you “could have”.

 

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Alexey Pehov

Chasers of the Wind

Cycle of Wind and Sparks #1

Sphinx: The Second Coming DNF (ARC)

coverI received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

DNF’s don’t get to be “synopsized”.

2 things stopped me from finishing, much less continuing past 10%.

First, the author bio. Thorton says he is a zen-buddhist priest, but the claims made in the bio are so grandiose, so obviously ego-centric that they directly contravene his first statement. You can’t have it both ways.

Second and more importantly, Thorton can’t write. The 10% that I read, not one thing was shown, it was told. Sentence structure was choppy, uneven and almost staccato. I felt like I was being machine gunned. I wanted to be finessed into the wonders of old egypt, the sights, the sounds, the smells. But what I read was written with the skill of someone like me. Maybe good for a couple of paragraphs, but not for weaving an entrancing tale.

And I guess that brings me to my 3rd point, even though it is more related to the first point. Thorton is supposed to be a bigwig lawyer. I would have thought a lawyer would have been more familiar and adept with words.

A thoroughly disappointing book that I couldn’t finish.

 

Rating: 1/2 of 5 Stars

Author: James Thorton

Sphinx: The Second Coming

Sea of Time (Kencyrath #7) (ARC)

ec062f774c790a4843b8ea6595e3b270 I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

Kothifir the Great, ruled by an obscenely obese god-king, peopled with colorful, dueling guilds, guarded by the Southern Host of the Kencyrath. Here Jame arrives, only to find that the turbulent city claims more of her attention than she thought possible.

Traveling through Time, dealing with the four Elemental gods, dealing with her own God and his priests, Jame just deal with internal and external threats and pressures.

 

My Thoughts

I was enjoying this up until the 45% mark. Then everything that I didn’t like about the previous books reared it’s ugly head until the 90% mark.

Jame, and her brother Tori, both act stupid. They won’t take action, they hesitate, they allow threats against themselves to go completely unanswered, they practically invite people to harm them.

At one point Jame is thrown down a hole to an Under-City by the high City’s Intelligence group. They try to kill her. And she does NOTHING about it. It doesn’t enter into her equation at all.

A lot of “blind eye” turning goes on; by Jame, by Tori, by the Kothifirites, by the Kencyrath. Enough by so many people that I couldn’t enjoy my read a whole lot.

Plot-wise this book doesn’t advance the overall plot very much. The theological questions about the Three Who Are One still remain, the Kencyrath are as divided, stupid and self-centred as in any book before and the Lords of the Kencyrath, ie Jame and Tori, still aren’t leading.

I am DONE with this series. If I could get stand alone novels maybe I could keep going. But Hodgell is making this a series, albeit a pointless and never-ending series, ala GRR Martin’esque style.

 

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Author: P.C. Hodgell

Sea of Time

Kencyrath #7