The Vindication of Man (Count to the Eschaton Sequence #5) ★★★☆☆

vindicationofman (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 Vindication of Man
Series: Count to the Eschaton Sequence #5
Author: John Wright
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 450
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Rania returns! And she is carrying new Monument coding from M3 that will bring peace to all of humanity in all its forms. Problem is, she’s a false Rania and the coding will turn humanity into docile sheep who demand a ruling hand.

Montrose runs away and ends up fighting Blackie, again. They are forced to make peace as they want to go to M3 and find out what happened to the real Rania.

Blackie pulls a fast one and forces a duel, the apparent Final Duel, between them. Which they both want. However, Blackie has rigged the game and leaves Montrose in a dead ship with no energy while he continues on to M3 and Rania. The book ends with Montrose’s intelligence shutting down to keep its coherence.

 

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, this book was just plain boring. Wright delves deeply into philosophical and science fictional asides and the plot has barely advanced from the previous book.

By the halfway mark I could tell when it was safe to skip a page or two of SF-babble. When he does decide to actually plot, it is good. Montrose and Blackie are awesome characters, when they’re actually DOING something. But my goodness there is so much talking about energy and various types of future technology that it became pointless. Nano-technology leads to pico-technology which leads to phenitol-technology which leads to fermo-technology which leads to poop-technology which leads to…, and on you go.

Thankfully, there is only 1 more book in this series and while I’m ok with reading it, I’m not “excited” to read it.

I follow Mr Wright on his blog, one of the extremely few authors I feel comfortable doing so. Once I’m done with this series he has a couple of others that I do plan on checking out.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Advertisements

Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen #9) ★☆☆☆½

dustofdreams (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: Dust of Dreams
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #9
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 950
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The White Faced Bargast, now returned to their ancestral lands, are hemmed in by the lands current sets of clans and misused.The Bargast are now led by Onos Toolan, a resurrected T’lan Imass. He is trying to change their ways but in the face of a hostile land, the Bargast reject Toolan’s leadership, kill him, hobble his wife and drive off his children. Toolan comes back as a T’lan (hence the Dust of Dreams). The Bargast face their enemies but everyone is destroyed when “something” simply freezes them all into little pieces. Toolan hunts down the survivors and kills them all to fulfill his vengeance against the Bargast. In doing so, he ignores a summons by Adjunct Tavore and the Bonehunters.

The Bonehunters are leaving Lether to head through the Wastes into a kingdom where a piece of the Fallen god is. The Adjunct’s plan is to destroy said piece. They are supposed to meet up with the Bargast (that obviously doesn’t happen) and the Grey Helms, a mercenary branch. The Bonehunters are accompanied by Brys Beddict and his elite guards from Letheri.

A Skykeep of K’chain Che’Malle origin, with the help of a lone surviving human, must find a Shield Anvil and a Mortal Sword if this set of K’Chain want to survive. They get Stormy and Gessler. They meet up with the Bonehunters.

Icarium is now a ghost and haunting a group of people who have found an abandoned Sky Keep. They begin to awaken the Keep, which was created just to destroy the short-tailed K’Chain, the Narruk.

The Narruk, who have a dozen skykeeps from another realm, invade the world of Malaz and end up in the Wastes. It is up to the Bonehunters and everyone else in the area to destroy them. But without the help of the T’lan Imass, the outcome is in doubt.

There is a huge devastating battle at the end and whole armies are destroyed. We don’t know who survives.

 

My Thoughts:

Before I started writing this review, I went and read my original one from 2010, just to see if my perspective on this book had changed. A lot of the time the years give me a new viewpoint and something I used to like I no longer do or something I hated I now enjoy. Unfortunately, the review from 2010 is pretty much exactly the same as what I’ll be writing here.

With this book Erikson has cemented in my mind that he is a real bag of crap. Out of 950 pages, the plot is only forwarded by maybe 200 of those pages. The rest is devoted Erikson spewing out depressing cant and nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense. When somebody does do something good and heroic, Erikson makes sure to piss on it by having other characters destroy the moment with their own regrets and melancholy and depression. Any possible good thing Erikson squats over and craps on with a diarrhea quality.

This is a junk book and once again, while the series starts out so awesomely with Gardens of the Moon, it has descended into a morass of soapbox preaching and what’s worse, extremely BORING soapbox preaching. I no longer recommend this series because of the last 3 books.

This is the level of bloviated writing that destroyed the sales of his Karkanas trilogy (which is stuck at book 2 and looks like it will never get finished). Thankfully, Ian Esslemont seems to be doing a good job of actually writing a real trilogy with a real plot and keeping the world of Malaz alive. I do plan on reading the last book in this series but after that, I’ll just stick to Gardens of the Moon if I ever feel the need to dip my toes into the world of Malaz. It just isn’t fun sticking my head under this faucet of filth.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen #8) ★☆☆☆☆

tollthehounds (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: Toll the Hounds
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #8
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 1299
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

I’m really struggling with this.

The Tiste Andii have a big part. Nimander and the young Andii, led by Clip, are on a journey to Black Pearl to pledge allegiance to Anomander Rake. During this journey Clip is possessed by the Fallen god and it is up to Nimander to stop him. Rake himself leaves Black Coral and faces down Hood himself and kills Hood with Dragnipur, thus bringing Hood into the realm of Dragnipur. This allows Hood to bring his armies of the dead against the forces of Chaos within that realm. Rake then faces Traveller, who is revealed as Dassem Ultor, First Sword of the Empire and not only dies in a battle with him, but is killed by Dragnipur as well. This places him in Dragnipur’s realm as well and somehow makes it possible for him to confront Mother Dark and convince her to take her children back.

Karsa Orlong and Samar Dev had been travelling with Traveller and are witnesses.

There is a lot going on in Darujhistan itself. Cutter and others have returned. The remaining Bridge Burners who run a bar, have a contract taken out on them by the Assassins guild. Rallick Nom and Vorcan both recover in the Azath House and get back into the thick of things. Gruntle ends up working for the Trygalle Guild and Mappo takes their services to try to get back to Icarium. Only Mappo and Gruntle get called into the Realm of Dragnipur to help lead the forces of the Dead against Chaos.

The Broken god is also making a play outside of Black Coral to subsume the newly ascended Itkovian, now known as the Redeemer. Using his own corrupted blood, a black addictive druglike sludge, he enslaves the high priestess of the Redeemer and it is up to a former Pannion Domin of all people to defend the Redeemer, who has chosen not to defend himself.

After the battle between Rake and Traveller, and the battle that ensued for control of Dragnipur, Caladan Brood emerged in control of the sword. With the help of the remaining Torrud Cabal, he destroys the sword with Burn’s Hammer, thus releasing all the souls still in existence within the sword.

 

My Thoughts:

Last time I read this, I called this a bloated piece of crap (to summarize). This time around, I have much more to say.

It IS a bloated piece of crap. At 1300 pages, this easily could have been pared down to 800 or 900 pages simply by removing the monologuing by every character about despair, hopelessness, the pointlessness of existence, etc, etc. I found myself skimming pages at a time and not missing any actual plot points. Erikson becomes as bad as Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged with the monologue by John Gault. Erikson gives full vent to his existential beliefs and in all honesty, it is horrible.

Lots of Christian theology and personal philosophy coming up, so be warned.

Sometimes, books can affect us in deep and profound ways. We always hope that it is for the better but sometimes it isn’t. This time around, it wasn’t for the better. Over the last 10 years I have learned that I am particularly susceptible to the weakness of hopelessness and despair. Whether in a sermon or in a book, if the negative is at the forefront, it will bring my spirit down and affect me physically. I can not live without Hope. That is part of why I am a Christian.

Erikson puts forth that Oblivion is the end of everything. Good, bad, right, wrong, all will end in nothingness. You can only witness existence and hope someone else will witness you as well. This directly cuts across the fact that God Himself is our witness. He has always been and He will always be. Oblivion is not the end of God, even though it is the end of humanity who are not saved by Jesus Christ. Our lives are being watched and recorded by God and we are not alone.

Erikson also writes how everything good is essentially pointless since it is tainted in one way or another. God is not tainted. God is Good. Everything good flows from a Perfect God and it IS good because it aligns with His character. Erikson takes everything that is written on our very hearts as good and drags it through a shit hole and stabs it with a rusty butter knife all in an effort to show how it really isn’t good.

Sadly, it wasn’t until I was at the 80% mark that I realized how this was affecting me. My attitude was horrible about pretty much everything and the world seemed grey and blah even while I was objectively having a good time. I could have taken steps to counteract this much earlier if I had realized what was going on. I do plan on reading either Mark of a Man by Elizabeth Elliot or one of C.S. Lewis’s books immediately after this.

In the future, I will never read this book again. I also plan on waiting an extra cycle before attempting the next Malazan Book of the Fallen. I’m giving this book the “Worst Book of the Year” tag as well to help remind my future self to never even look at this thing again.

★☆☆☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Interview with the Vampire (Vampire Chronicles #1)

4ceb9ee92fb47c2933f6d60150dd73b1This 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 Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Interview with the Vampire

Series: Vampire Chronicles #1

Author: Anne Rice

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Genre: Horror

Pages: 354

 

Synopsis:

A long winded, angst ridden vampire tells his tale to a young reporter in hopes of invoking sympathy for his pathetic life and the choices and the feelz he has made and experienced.

 

My Thoughts:

Utter and complete tripe. I was expecting something more ghoulish and horror like. What I got was a genteel vampire who does NOTHING but whine and complain even when he gets exactly what he wants. He refuses to be satisfied, with anything.

How this spawned a whole series is beyond me. In Twilight at least there was some action mixed in. This had action as well, but it was so thoroughly mixed in and hidden by the main characters long-windedness that it might as well have not been present.

I’ve never taken part in anything to do with Anne Rice and her recent “activities”, but with a book like this, she doesn’t deserve one more iota of my attention. I tried this, it failed to capture my interest and I can’t imagine wanting to read more of this crap.

Next!

The Boy and the Peddler of Death (The Tale of Onora #1) DNF @40%

cover 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 Boy and the Peddler of Death

Series: The Tale of Onora

Author: Dylan Saccoccio

Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: DNF at 40%

 

Synopsis:

From what I could make out, some great mage had destroyed the Elven Empire of the North a generation ago.

Now there is a boy, who I can’t tell if he’s human or elven or something else who is verbally sparring with his father, who it turns out ‘might’ be the aforementioned mage? I really couldn’t tell.

There is also an Elven woman with a baby, but all that is said is that she is running away from something.

 

My Thoughts:

The spoiler following is a sample of what the writing has been like for my entire read so far.

AT THE OPPOSITE END of the Steppe, the aroma of foreign spice and earthiness drifted with the breeze, swirling with the scent of vanilla and clove. A legion of figures swiftly crept out from the valley towards the break of day. Their silhouettes coasted over the arid terrain. They displayed a sexually attractive dexterity. Though the figures were young, they were suitable for midnight deeds by virtue of their maturity.

Beneath the veils of their elegantly shrouded bodies, the Oussaneans had bronze skin. Their fiery hair and feline irises ignited with enthralling sensuality. The Oussaneans habituated that it was not enough to merely conquer a people. They must seduce them.

The Caliphians had a lust for these women, an addiction even. The Oussaneans would hardly succeed at the art of seduction were they not masked by some sort of honor. If one had experienced the dilemma between stealing the life of his soul mate and refusing to do so at the consequence of his own death, he may know the feeling of fighting against these women.

The Oussaneans swept over the terrain. Their glaives and scimitars swayed gracefully like willows in the wind. Every tangible piece of their armor and weapons bore the inscription of the moon, the symbol of the Lunaega Province.

As the legion made their way east, an ominous gallop grew louder and louder until it matched the sound of thunder breaking the sky. A warhorse, blacker than oblivion, more powerful than a herd, tilled the soil as each hoof cut through the earth. The monstrous steed was clad in dark obsidian armor. Its ruby red eyes burned like embers from a diabolical fire. However, it was not the horse that was frightening. It was the rider of that demonic steed and what followed him that struck terror into the hearts of men.

(hide spoiler)

A whole book like that folks. Over-dramatized, bloviated, purple prose that mires you down in its own self-importance.  A whole blasted book.

At 40% I thought I would have had some idea of what was going on. But the characters were simple delivery mechanisms for the author to describe to his heart’s content while at the same time informing us of all sorts of deeply mystical/philosophical musings/rants. And info dumps. In Purple Prose.

It was puerile. What is worse, it thought it was grandiose with all its verbiage and synonyms and utterances beyond the ken of mortals. It was not engaging, it was not interesting, it was not well written. It was the superfluous spew of a wanna-be philosopher who didn’t have enough sense to realize what silliness was coming out of his mouth.

In all fairness, this is probably not any worse than some young silly lord composing Poetry [with the Capital Emphasized!] for his latest infatuation back in the day. But back then only the poor young lady and maybe a close friend or two, had to listen to his stuff. If he tried to read it at the local tavern, I’d be the first to call him drunk and dunk him in a water barrel. Water barrels are known for their powerful restorative effects.

The one positive was the cover and the cover for the sequel. They were both GORGEOUS and I say that as a man. I will probably visit the artist (Virginie Carquin) 0n her own site and check out what else she has to offer.

 

Cyador’s Heirs (Saga of Recluce #17)

cover 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: Cyador’s Heirs

Series: The Saga of Recluce #17

Author: L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 629

 

Synopsis:

Cyador is gone and its survivors are in Hamor, trying to carve out a kingdom amongst hostile dukes of surrounding kingdoms.

The younger son is sent off to be trained and ends up fighting a war in defense of a new ally.

 

My Thoughts:

The fact that I am still reading this series should say something. However, I am not sure what, as I do nothing but complain about each book as I read them.

Modesitt has a certain voice when writing the Recluce books and it is one that can stupify, grate and generally annoy. Even while telling a rather fantastic story. And that is what keeps me coming back. The stories.

The stories are formulaic to the extreme,  nothing is original and you’ll be sick and tired of people eating by the time the novel is done. But you’ll read it to the end and read 17 books worth and read the next book when it comes out.

What can I say? I still enjoy these but it is with the knowledge of the flaws, deliberate I believe sometimes, of these books.

Walden & Civil Disobedience (Classic)

5997be5bd8ee2b38e747e0ccc14a1368 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: Walden, Civil Disobedience

Series: —–

Author: Henry Thoreau

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Genre: Classic

Pages: 326

 

 

Synopsis:

Thoreau moves to Walden pond to live as a squatter for 2 years and rhapsodizes, as all scatterbrained, out of touch with reality poets are want to do, about how wonderful Nature is and how the Simple Life is the best.

In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau shows how him going to jail for a week because he wouldn’t pay his tax is the height of him being completely independent. He also tries to make the case that any group of rational human beings really don’t need a government because the Milk of Human Kindness will naturally flow between them all.

 

My Thoughts:

What a monumental tome of total Prickness.

Thoreau is an ass and every line he writes in this book simply confirms that fact. Nothing he writes has a true bearing on reality, everything is colored, warped and distorted by his belief that Nature is Pure and Kind and can Teach us Lessons. (and yes, the caps are on purpose, you can practically hear them)

I am glad I read this but no more Thoreau for me.