The Hyena and the Hawk (Echoes of the Fall #3) ★★☆☆☆

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

 

Synopsis:

The End of the World has arrived. The Kinden are soulless and whereever they go, they bring that soullessness with them and force The People into their animal shapes and into their animal minds forever.

The People, under the leadership of one of the Bears and with the help of the River Kingdom, prepares a mighty army to resist the Kinden. However, whenever they come into battle, too many of The People are lost by the affects of the Kinden.

Maniye gets captured and realizes that the Kinden can’t transform and know nothing about “the soul”. They watch her as she transforms from wolf to tiger to Champion to human. Beatle researchers are intrigued and one of them tries to transform and dies. Maniye escapes.

There is a big climactic battle and Maniye and some others chase after their gods (who have run away) in the godsland. In the process they allow the gods of the Kinden into their land. Suddenly the Kinden are transforming left and right with no control. They retreat.

Everyone celebrates and prepares for the day when the Kinden return.

 

My Thoughts:

What a disappointment. This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I was disappointed in because I didn’t care one way or another about the characters, the story or anything. If this had been almost any other author I probably would have DNF’d the book.

The whole soul thingy was cool in the first book but then when it kept on going with the Kinden it just started rubbing me the wrong way.

Then the whole “gods” thing pissed me off too. I am sick to death of “gods” being nothing more than some manifestation of the believers will. That isn’t a god. And if the gods were running away from the kinden, good riddance I say. So when the kinden gods suddenly came into being, I rolled my eyes, mentally spit on Tchaikovsky and raced to the very end just to get it over with.

This has really shaken my interest in anything by Tchaikovsky that isn’t directly related to his Shadows of the Apt series. Thankfully I’ve got 4 or 5 books of short stories about them to wash the taste of this dreck out of my mouth.

Highly NOT recommended.

★★☆☆☆

 

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The Wrecking Crew (Matt Helm #2) ★☆☆☆½

wreckingcrew (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 Wrecking Crew
Series: Matt Helm #2
Author: Donald Hamilton
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 272
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Matt Helm is back working as part of the Wrecking Crew, that shadowy blacker than black government organization that carries out assassinations against targets around the world who are enemies of the United States.

Helm’s wife served him separation papers after finding out about his secret past during World War II and with nothing else to occupy him, Matt returns to the only thing he really knows. This time he is sent after a shadowing agent working for Russia that took out a valuable double agent for the United States. Hooking up with the dead man’s wife, Helm uses her to find his way to the Mastermind. With lots of twists and turns (who is working for who, are the good guys actually the good guys?), Helm bulls through it all in Norway. Using women like sanitizer soap, Helm eventually gets his man.

The book ends with his wife sending him signed divorce papers and a note that she and the boys are now with another man, a “good” man.

 

My Thoughts:

I liked the story. The twisty turny Cold War aspect was great. It was fun, it was thrilling and it kept the suspense up right until the end when Matt shoots the Mastermind.

Sadly, that just wasn’t enough. Helm’s sleeping with multiple women while still married is not something that I want to give countenance too. Someone as controlled as Helm CAN control himself in the area of sex. He simply chooses not to and I consider that a fatal flaw in a book character.

Throw in that he’s pretty “Awww, whatever” about his wife leaving him and the fate of his 3 children and he just sickened me. When he found out they were all with another man they liked, he was like “Oh good, now I don’t have to worry”.

Very disappointed with how this turned out. Matt Helm is no hero and characters like him, with an empty moral framework, do more to destroy this country than any hardline communist ever could. So I’m done with this series and will be moving on.

★☆☆☆½

 

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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.

★★★☆☆

 

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The Outcast (The Empire’s Corps #5) ☆☆☆☆½

outcast (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 Outcast
Series: The Empire’s Corps #5
Author: Christopher Nuttall
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 443
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Due to some of the subject matter included by the author, I will not be continuing with this series nor with this author.

 

My Thoughts:

3 or 4 throw away sentences. That was it.

Gahhh, the hits just keep on coming in. February is turning into one sucky month for book reading.

☆☆☆☆½

 

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To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact #3) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF#1%

totradethestars (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: To Trade the Stars
Series: Trade Pact #3
Author: Julie Czerneda
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: DNF @ 1%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

“…leaving me cold along one side until I snuggled under the portion of sheet warmed by his body.”

 

My Thoughts:

This is not SF. This is now a woman’s romance novel with spaceships. I don’t want to read crap like this, thank you very much.

What a frelling let down, especially considering how much I enjoyed the first book. But this is exactly why I tend to stay away from women writers. They’re always dragging in stuff like that that has zero interest to me. They are more than welcome to write it but don’t fracking expect me to read it or to put up with it when I do make the mistake of stumbling across it.

★☆☆☆☆

 

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Hogfather (2006 Movie)

240px-H_DVDWell, I did manage to squeeze in a movie before the end of the year. So here goes.

 

Part one of this movie deal with Teatime, successfully I might add, getting hold of the Tooth Fairy’s castle and all the teeth involved. He manages to destroy all belief in the Hogfather and the Hogfather’s Castle of Bone disintegrates into nothingness. Death has done all he can to keep the Belief alive by pretending to BE the Hogsfather but against voodoo, it isn’t enough. He knows it won’t be enough and so forbades his granddaughter Susan from interfering in any way.  She is human enough that he knows she won’t be able to stop from interfering. Susan learns that if the Hogfather ceases to exist, then the Sun won’t come up.

Part 2 reveals that Teatime has much bigger plans that just getting rid of the Hogfather. It appears that he has his eye (the one that’s not glass anyway) on World Domination. If Teatime can control the tooth-fairy, he can control the belief and hence existence, of anything. The storyline proceeds by the book, as it were, hahahahaaa.   Teatime comes back from defeat at the hands of Susan, forces a confrontation with Death and loses. Banjo, one of Teatime’s former associates ends up as the new Toothfairy.

The movie does a really good job of following the book’s story. In some ways I thought it did a better job actually. It smoothed out some of those leaps of intuition that Pratchett required of his readers.  Certain issues were plainly spelled out. I also thought the chronology was presented better too.

And Teatime? Oh my goodness, what a complete FREAKAZOID! He scared me.  His voice was spot on and his casual dismissal of everything except himself was exactly as I imagined it when reading the book.

With those improvements, did I like the movie even more?

HA, NOT EVEN CLOSE!

The couple of Discworld movies I have seen all suffer from the exact same problem. Pratchett’s humor does not translate from the written word onto the screen very well at all.

While I wasn’t laughing out loud the whole time reading the book, I didn’t even crack a grin while watching the movie.  It felt too long and all I could think of was “when is this going to be over”? That is the death blow thought for any movie for me.  Also, why is Albert front and center of the dvd cover? He’s Death’s lackey,  a minor side character.  And he looks like some dirty monkey on the cover. He’d be better served as a villain in some Dickens book.  I wouldn’t buy that dvd if you paid me!

A complete, utter and abysmal failure of a movie. I would not even recommend this to a hardcore fan because the humor just doesn’t translate. And Pratchett without humor is like vegan icecream.

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And I’m doubly disappointed because the book was so good. Well, there’s always next year to find a decent movie.

 

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Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) ★★☆☆☆

wizardsfirstrule (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: Wizard’s First Rule
Series: Sword of Truth #1
Author: Terry Goodkind
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 852
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Richard Cypher, still dealing with his father being brutally murdered, and forbidden from investigating by his elder brother who is about to become the most powerful man in Westland, rescues a young woman from the clutches of four men. Her name is Kahlan.

Kahlan is from the Midlands, a land where magic abounds and that is cutoff from Westland by the Border, a magical construct. But the Border between the Midlands and D’Hara has already fallen and Lord Rahl, lord of D’Hara, has taken over the Midlands. A prophecy says that Kahlan will find the Seeker, the wielder of the Sword of Truth, in the Westlands. This Seeker can only be appointed by the last remaining wizard, a wizard so powerful that he cast a spell that made everyone in the entire world forget his name and his face.

Richard takes Kahlan to his old friend Zed, a rascally old man who has trained Richard throughout the years in woodcraft and various other skills. Richard does something or other that makes it obvious that he is the Seeker Kahlan is looking for, but where will they find an unkown wizard who has the Sword of Truth to give to Richard? Oh wait…

Richard, Kahlan and Zed are on the run, as Lord Rahl is able to send magical creatures across the Border to hunt down Kahlan. Richard has memorized a secret book and Lord Rahl has done some magical stuff with some magical boxes. These boxes will either give Lord Rahl complete power, certain death or the destruction of all living things. Only Richard knows the correct box to pick.

Lord Rahl pulls shenanigans and ends up with everybody at his castle. Everyone is so busy trying to protect everybody else that they give Lord Rahl exactly what he wants. He opens a Box of Orden, only Richard, being such a super smart Seeker, tricked him. Lord Rahl dies and it is revealed that Richard Cypher is actually the son of Lord Rahl and the grandson of the Wizard Zeddicus. Long Live the Good Lord Rahl!

 

My Thoughts:

Awwwww man! This went from a 5star read in ’04, on my Loved side of the 100 books of Bookstooge down to a 2 star! Folks, that is a crushing blow. I am not sure that Life itself is worth continuing. With a blow like that, my confidence is shattered, my ego destroyed and my ham-handed self-righteousness has been shish-kebabed.

Where do I start?

Well, the writing I guess. It was bad. It was clunky. It was choppy. It did not flow. When I read the words I felt like I was in a wagon going over a cobblestone road. Richard did things. Richard said things. Kahlan also did and said things. Zed AND Lord Rahl both said and did things. It felt like watching a marionette show. I have no memory of the writing being this unskilled 14 years ago. Guess I’ve matured in that time. Thank goodness!

The characters. Most of the issues with the various characters stems from the writing skill (or lack thereof) and not because of any inherent flaws in the characters. They are mainly flat without any real individuality. The romance between Richard and Kahlan has all the texture, flavor and excitement of drying cement. Zed, for being a wizard of great strength and age, is as much an idiot as Richard.

The Mord Sith. This was just disturbing this time around. A group of women broken in every single way so that pain is pleasure to them. Lord Rahl then somehow makes them able to control any magic used against them and the Mord Sith can torture the magic user until they are the Mord Sith’s slave. This was gone into in way more detail than was needed and I just felt dirty after reading it.

Everything is resolved because Richard is the golden boy. I usually like a protagonist who is capable and smart and able to handle everything thrown at him. This time though, Richard didn’t work that way for me. He’s so golden King Midas would be envious. It didn’t encourage me, it made me nauseous. It didn’t help that Goodkind uses Richard as a mouth piece and Goodkind blows the trumpet loud and long.

Overall, a very bleh read that really crushed me with how disappointed I was because of my memories.I will be removing this from the Bookstooge in 100 Books list once I find a suitable replacement to go on the “Loved” side. Way to go Goodkind, make MORE work for me almost 15 years after I read your book. You’re a real peach…

★★☆☆☆

 

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