The Bear and the Serpent (Echoes of the Fall #2) ★★★☆☆

bearandserpent (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 Bear and the Serpent
Series: Echoes of the Fall #2
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Asmander has returned to the River Kingdom with Maniye and her Steel wolfpack, only to find he is too late and the kingdom is already riven asunder between the 2 siblings vying for control. Asmander’s father continues his manipulation to make the best of a bad situation (in his eyes) and Asmander is finally forced to realize how bad his father truly is.

The male heir, who Asmander is championing, is set upon by assassins and his own supposedly loyal servants. He escapes with the help of Maniye and the Wolfpack and they have adventures out in the swampy swampland. They come across a segment of the Serpent that is trying to make a deal with the plague people, who are their mythical enemies. However, the plague people are on the run from the soul-less people from over the ocean. A lot of pointless crap happens and Asmander finally sneaks his two friends (the siblings) together so they can talk. The female heir takes the crown and her brother takes the number 2 place. Their storyline ends with the news that the soulless have already started attacking the River Kingdom and the Horse People are almost gone.

The second storyline deal with the Bear and his attempt to bring all the northern tribes together when he finds out that the villages of the Seals have been attacked and all the Seal people have turned into their animal forms but lost their minds. He puts together an Olympic style event and everyone does feats of this and that and eventually they go after the soulless people invading their land. They drive them off but with horrific losses and we the readers are shown an airship in the colors of Black and Gold.

That storyline ends with the Tribes victorious but the Bear realizing just how small their victory actually was.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I’m actually disappointed in. Even when I read Spiderlight back in ’16, I was more pissed off than disappointed. I was bored for most of this book and it felt like it was re-treading so much from the first book in terms of the Tribal abilities and the reveal about the Wasp Kinden being the soulless people, while it should have been wicked awesome, just left me feeling kind of “Oh, ok, whatever. Next!”

I can remember halfway through when Maniye and her crew are dealing with the male heir and all I could think of was “throw that pussy to the crocodiles and get this story moving, please”. The Bear story didn’t please me any more with “fear” just turning everyone into animals. Whatever. Master your fear or you DESERVE to go extinct. Needless to say, I was not feeling generous and nothing in this book made me feel like being generous.

Now, with all of that being said, the reason I gave this 3 stars is because it is completely up to par in terms of technical writing. Tchaikovsky can write like a master wordsmith and even in books like this where I’m just blah’ed out, I can still appreciate the skill even while not really enjoying the ride.

My expectations for the third and final book have really taken a nosedive with this. Poop.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Advertisements

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)

 

Count to Infinity (Count to the Eschaton Sequence #6) ★★☆☆½

counttoinfinity (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: Count to Infinity
Series: Count to the Eschaton Sequence #6
Author: John Wright
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 321
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Montrose survives for another 18+ billion years and he and Rania see the Universe become perfect through outside influence.

The End of the Series. THANK GOODNESS!!!!

 

My Thoughts:

This book went from a very few really cool sequences to me skimming 10+ pages at a time as the author whacks off to his own words. If philosophy wrapped in a hard sf container is your thing, this might be for you.

Wright is a Roman Catholic and that shows through so strongly here. In many ways, his theistic evolutionist outlook and how he reconciles that to Scripture takes over this book and I actually enjoyed reading his viewpoint (while being in total disagreement). But that wasn’t what this series started out as and it really shouldn’t have ended that way.

However, like I mentioned previously, the plot is burdened by stretches of description that bored me to death. Really, this could have been a short story and been more appealing for it. I would have dnf’d this at the 10% mark but I wanted to see how Montrose and Rania finally get together and since that didn’t happen until over the half way mark, I figured “in for a penny, in for a pound” and finished it.

However, I have NEVER skimmed so much of a book as I did here. I deliberately skipped huge swathes until I saw key words that were action words. Sadly, they were few and far between. While book 1 intrigued me greatly, each successive book got progressively more descriptive, less action’y and more boring. I’m going to have to think long and hard about if I want to try any of his other series.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Dinosaur Lake (Dinosaur Lake #1)

1bc28ea1d09d8e38f20c1df4d73e3829This 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  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Dinosaur Lake

Series: Dinosaur Lake

Author: Kathryn Griffith

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 439

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Henry, former New York City cop, now Chief Ranger, is dealing with budget cuts for his staff while the park he oversee’s is dealing with some minor earthquakes. One of the tremors unearth’s some heretofore unknown dinosaur bones and a group of archeologists descend on the find, like vultures on the rotting carcass of a cow. At the same time, long time members of the community are going missing, the group of local homeless people reports a monster eating some of their number and Justin, the ONE GOOD ARCHEOLOGIST, finds tracks leading from the water. Big tracks.

A dinosaur exists, it is smart and it wants to eat people, a lot of people. For some reason it is now exclusively up to Ranger Henry and his trusty cohorts [ex FBI Agent that would make Fox Mulder blush, older but stern submarine operator and of course, THE GOOD ARCHEOLOGIST] to go down into the subterranean caves, while a huge earthquake is predicted, and hunt down the dinosaur so that the namby pambies in the Gubba’ment can’t capture it and cause even more havoc.

 

My Thoughts:

What I wanted:  a story where a dinosaur caused havoc, ate people and then died in glorious battle.

What I got:  a story where a dinosaur caused havoc, ate people and then died in glorious battle. However, that was only the backdrop of the story. The real story was about how sensitive Henry, Justin and the other men were and how they all bonded and formed everlasting ties of friendship [until the dinosaur ate some of them of course] and with the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP, defeated the mean ol’ dinosaur.

At the 60% mark I started skimming. At the 75% mark I started reading 1 page in 10. And by the end I still got the story but without all the clutter.

This was over 400 pages and it should have been cut down to just under 300. To do that however, the characterization would have had to have been axed, the action ramped up and a lot of the extraneous weight gotten rid of. I don’t need to know about Henry’s daughter’s bad life choices and how she’s getting her life back on track and how Justin is falling in love with her. I don’t need to know the backstories or family histories of the 2 men driving the submersible. Sure, it makes them “real” characters but so what? Those 2 men were dinosaur food.

Now my main problem. Henry. Loving, gentle, caring Henry. Who is supposed to be an Ex New York City cop. Who got shot by a 10 year old and had to plug the kid. He is an emotional Gary Stu and really made me sick. In one instance, his wife sneaks into the danger zone to get pictures of the dinosaur to save the local paper even though Henry has reiterated over and over and over how dangerous and smart the dinosaur is. So of course she runs into the dinosaur and Henry’s best friend saves her, at the expense of his own life. Does Henry get angry or upset? Oh no. He gently and carefully takes care of his wife because she almost died and he really needs to focus on that. Forget about that her selfish actions DIRECTLY caused the death of a good man, for no point. In fact, it was probably better that George died that way, so he wouldn’t end up in a nursing home or something.  The “bonding” scene between Henry and the former FBI Agent was what made me throw up in my mouth though. FBI-man tells a story about a whole town going missing and how the gubba’ment covered it all up. It added pages to the book without adding one bit to the dinosaur eating people.

The dinosaur eating people was the blank canvas for everything else to be painted on. It was the paper while it should have been the painting. Frustrating as Phrack.

There are 2 more books in the Dinosaur Lake series, but since I’m guessing they’re in the exact same vein as this, I’d rather cut off my toes than read them. Because if I can read 1 page in 10 and still get the story, something is very wrong.

Tron

azure_cce5835bfa7328bdb76ae0f47bdad3c8This 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  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Tron

Series: ———-

Author: Brian Daley

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Genre: Movie Novelization

Pages: 186

Format: Kindle digital scan

 

Synopsis:

Flynn came up with several smash hit games, only to have them stolen by another man who leveraged that fame into the position of CEO at Endcom. Flynn is on a crusade to prove that those were HIS games and that HE deserves that position. With the help of Bradley and Laura, friends who are still employed at Endcom, Flynn breaks in and starts to hack the system.

Little does he know that MCP has taken control of the company and it doesn’t want Flynn around. Zapped into an electronic world, Flynn must hook up with Brad and Laura’s alter ego’s and take down the MCP from the inside. As a mythical User, Flynn has powers at his fingertips not known to mere programs. With the help of Tron the Warrior and Lori the shaper, Flynn is on a journey to survive and destroy the MCP.

 

My Thoughts:

I am a big fan of the movie Tron. I acknowledge it’s complete 80’sness but that is part of the appeal. It is the Electronic 80’s in all its Glory.

Sadly, this book was deadly boring. Boring that I really wanted to DNF this. But my love of the movie overcame and I soldiered on. Kind of wish I hadn’t and started something else. Daley was a good author and his own works showcase that pretty well but this, it was just boring. I know I’m saying that lot, but that was what kept striking me in the face over and over.

Wouldn’t recommend this at all and if it wasn’t for the movie being so cool, I would give this an easy 1 Star.

The Jupiter Theft

ff57e5b6c92dee14d80ced6dc0e11157This 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 & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Jupiter Theft

Series: —–

Author: Donald Moffitt

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 339

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Humanity has expanded to Mars but at the cost of a totalitarian regime back on Earth. A scientist discovers a mass moving towards our solar system and it turns out to be aliens, who are taking mass from Jupiter to power their ships as they hop around the galaxy.

A group of scientists, and some “Security” are tasked with finding out as much as possible about the aliens and so they take some nukes along with them. Stuff happens and a couple of people survive and humanity gets a new planet and some tech.

The End.

 

My Thoughts:

This was boring. Yes, at the end a lot happens, but it felt like I’d been traveling 100 miles at 25mph and then for the last 100 yards the driver floored it and accelerated to 60mph.  Books like this are why I’ve become more of a fantasy guy over the years.

If you enjoy having numbers and “science” thrown your way like heavy brick walls, then you might like this book. I didn’t hate it, but I did end up creating a “Boring” shelf because that was my main impression by the end of the book.

And the hippy culture that permeates the future? That is what happens when you extrapolate the future from the present and don’t even try to think through what changes “might” happen. Come on, Free Love and Joints for everyone? On a spaceship? I think the author was just writing his wish fulfillment of grabbing some tail while high.

Good or bad, this book did not entice me to read any more by Moffitt. Back to the dust heaps of anonymity for him!

Iceworld

 CWRLDPDRMF1970This 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 & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Iceworld
Series: —–
Author: Hal Clement
Rating: 2  of 5 Battle Axes
Genre: SFF
Pages: 221
Format: OCR Scan

 

Synopsis:

An alien teacher goes undercover to discover the source of a new, terrible drug. He goes to a world so cold that sulfur can be a solid.

 

My Thoughts:

This book commits the cardinal sin of being boring. I know it was written back in the 50’s, but my take was that this book was written by an engineer about an alien engineer interacting with a human engineer who has engineer children. For me, engineers are like the government. They exist and I simply have to put up with them. My solution to both would be the same if I had my way: a bullet.

My second biggest issue was the whole “cold” issue. Not being up on my space history I am not sure when we found out all sorts of stuff about space, but the way Clement wrote I have to assume we, as humans, knew some stuff back in the 50’s. I was under the impression that Space was cold. Any species that could travel interstellar distances would have dealt with a wide variety of planets, as well as Space itself. So the whole “Earth is SO cold” schtick just made me roll eyes, a lot.

If this was all that poor SFF fans had to read back in the day then I’ll take today’s system. I might have to deal with 99 pounds of pure poop, but at least I know there is a solid pound of good stuff. Whereas this book leads me to believe that there was 1 pound of books and maybe 1 ounce of SFF back then. And it was boring.