Cold Copper Tears (Garrett, PI #3) ★★★☆½

coldcoppertears (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: Cold Copper Tears
Series: Garrett, PI #3
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 249
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Garrett is taking it easy, what with all the success from previous cases. However, a sultry blonde perks his interest, especially when it is obvious she is hiding the real reason for coming to him. Then the Grand High Inquisitor of the Church comes to Garrett, wanting to hire him. After accepting these two curious cases, Garrett is suddenly assaulted. For no reason that he can tell.

He gets some help from the major Crime Boss, who is then assaulted by a godlike being. Garrett, with some help from some potions from an earlier client, drives it off, thus continuing the debt of gratitude the Crime Boss owes him.

After lots of action, and a street girl suddenly becoming his understudy and claiming she’s going to marry him, Garrett puts it all together. A long dead, malevolent loghyr, has been masquerading as a god of destruction so long that it has come into being. Garrett tracks down the loghyr, informs the Crime Boss, and let’s nature take its course. A loghyr body might not decompose but it sure can be eaten by hungry rats!

Garrett is richer than ever. But now he has to figure out what do with the street girl and with Tinnie. Garrett isn’t the marrying kind.

 

My Thoughts:

I had fun reading this. I didn’t bother to try to figure out anything ahead of time. I just sat back, let Garrett get the crap beat out of him, watched him beat the crap out some others and generally had a fantastic old time.

The humor continues to work for me, Garrett hasn’t annoyed me yet and his womanizing hasn’t crossed the line yet either. I do have to say, that is what caused this book to stay at 3  1/2 stars instead of moving up to 4. Poor Garrett gets ambushed in his own bed by the street girl (well, she’s 18…). I’m getting the feeling that Female X will show up for a book or three and then shove off. I was kind of hoping that Tinnie would move into friendship territory and become a regular part of the cast. Not looking too promising at the moment.

My other gripe is the tired old cliché about gods taking their power from their believers, etc, etc. This story is dealing with gods and churches and what not, so while I was kind of expecting it, it just really hit me wrong this time. As I was reading through I had ask myself what kind of person worships a god that they themselves have created? What’s the point? Made me glad I’m a Christian who serves the One True God. He’s said He’s the only God. So either it is true and I’m all set, or it is a lie and I’ve got nothing to fear from a being that can lie about Reality itself. Despair, yes, but not Fear.

Cook writes well here and as long as he doesn’t start recycling story lines (something I can see happening with 14’ish books in the series) I don’t foresee any problems with continuing on until the end. Of course, the series did kind of peter out in ’13, so I’m only getting closer and closer to landmine territory with each new book.

My goodness, for a book I thoroughly enjoyed, I certainly rained on it enough didn’t I?

★★★☆½

 

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Stormcaller (Twilight Reign #1) ★★☆☆½

stormcaller (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: Stormcaller
Series: Twilight Reign #1
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 516
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Isak is a white-eye, a special sort of human that tends to be bigger, faster, stronger, longer lived and more angry. White eyes are something either the gods created or magicians and are now simply part of life. Isak’s father blames him for his birthing killing his mother. Isak has been taken under wing by a retired “Ghost” soldier who has taken up the gypsy life and trained as much as a young man can be.

When the gypsy train is confronted by a high ranking White Eye, who claims to have come from the lord of the land, Lord Bahl, Isak refuses the summons but the gypsy train as a whole begins making their way to the Capital. Once they reach the city the men of the train work themselves into a drunken stupor and try to kill Isak for bringing them all to Lord Bahl’s attention. Isak makes it to the palace and is given refuge. Turns out he is supposed to be Lord Bahl’s heir. He is trained by a swordsmaster, given a magical suit of armor and a magic sword (from the elf warrior who started the revolt against the gods thousands of years ago and killed a bunch of them) and finds out that he might be the focus of a prophecy predicting the rise of the Elves, the fall of humanity and yet another round of god-slayings.

While Lord Bahl and Isak get along, they are both powerful white eyes and Lord Bahl sends Isak to a neighboring kingdom to learn as much diplomacy as is possible. Isak is beginning to surround himself with his own group of people so when the time comes for Lord Bahl to die, he can step in and rule the Land, with all the blessings of their god.

Mischief is afoot though and the neighboring kingdom is at the focus of several plots by powerful factions, all of whom want to control the Prophesied One. A coup is planned and while the king knows of the coup, he is counting on Isak and his soldiers’ help in overcoming it. Isak sees Lord Bahl cut down by a mysterious figure in black armor in a vision during the battle. He then gets the blessing of the storm god and uses that power to smash those attempting the coup.

He meets up with some rebel Knight Templars who believe the prophesied one is to be their ultimate leader. They present Isak with two Crystal Skulls, which are artifacts of great power that can kill even the gods. It turns out to be a trap and Isak must face down the mysterious knight in black, who is the original elf warrior. Isak defeats him and now that prophecy has been turned aside, decide where to go next.

 

My Thoughts:

First, I did enjoy this. This review probably won’t reflect that and neither does the rating, but there is reason for that. I am very glad that I started reading Lloyd’s work with his God Fragments before this. Those were well written adventure stories with fleshed out characters and well crafted writing.

This book, and I’m guessing the series, is a very much a first attempt. Too many instances of things being described that don’t advance the story and just bloat up the word count. I could tell the author was trying to flesh out characters or situations but it wasn’t done right and just made things feel long. Transitions between scenes was horrible. A double line break was all we got, within chapters. I don’t know how many times I had mental whiplash trying to get my head around that we were now on a boat where as in the last paragraph the whole group was riding horses and would be days into some vast plain.

There were a lot of names thrown about. Honestly, outside of the group of 4-5 people that Isak began surrounding himself with, I found it overwhelming. Especially so as I never knew until much later if this character was going to stick around or be central to the story or was just a one-off. The author tells a LOT of history and sadly, it is handled roughly and confusingly.

I don’t know if it was just the edition I had (I’m reading the omnibus edition ebook offered through Amazon) but near the beginning of the story there were at least 5 instances of a word missing and “[MISSING]”, all in caps just like that, inserted in its place. It felt like I was reading a scanned copy of a paperback version that had been OCR”d and then not hand checked.

With all of that being said, I did enjoy the book. The author can write great fight scenes and that makes up for a lot. I also like the core idea of the story and want to see where it all leads. Having read his God Fragments series, I know he doesn’t stay at this level of ability. I’d like to see if I can watch progress through the series.

If you want to check out Tom Lloyd, start with his God Fragments books. If you like those, then come back to check out these earlier works. Don’t start with these as they’re not representative of what he is capable of as a writer.

★★☆☆½

 

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Legend (Drenai Saga #1) ★★★☆½

legend (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: Legend
Series: Drenai Saga #1
Author: David Gemmell
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 369
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The horse tribes have united under one leader, a charismatic man who is brutal, bloodthirsty and visionary. He has kept the peace with the Drenai Empire for the last number of years with treaties. Now the time has come for him to ignore those treaties and engulf the Drenai. The first step is taking over the gateway fortress.

Druss the Legend is now an old man. Throughout his life he has been in many battles and earned that title of Legend. He has been called to the fortress to defend against the horde. What he finds is a corrupt series of officers, a demoralized, understaffed army and a citizenry already talking of surrender. Druss is a warrior though, not a leader. He can inspire and kill, but he can’t really lead. The Duke of the fortress is a good friend of Druss, but he’s riddled with cancer and dies just a few days after Druss arrives.

Thankfully, the Duke was a good man and knew his time was near. He sent out his daughter to hire the 30, a group of ascetic monks with temporal powers that translated into physical powers. They are also master strategists. Between them and Druss, the Duke hopes to give his city a fighting chance. The daughter runs into a warrior and ends up marrying him. He becomes the next Duke even though he hates fighting.

The city has 7 walls and everyone fights until the last wall. With a million warriors, it would appear that the warlord is assured victory. However, he gets a missive that his nephew has revolted back home and is trying to usurp him. He leaves and the couple of hundred survivors among the Drenai get to live. Druss has fallen in battle, the 30 have fallen, except for one who will start the next 30 and the Duke and his wife magically survive.

 

My Thoughts:

This was decent epic fantasy. It would seem to be the end of the Drenai Empire, so either the next set of books go back in time or there is a resurgence. My guess is going back in time to see how Druss became the Legend that he is here.

The city/fortress reminded me of Tolkien’s Minas Tirith, what with its sets of walls. Also, the whole tone of the book was Forgotten Realms, just with better writing and plotting.

The magical deus ex machina at the end concerning the Duke and his wife was a bit tough to accept but when you want a happy ending, that’s pretty much your only option. That, or they both survive the entire battle, which I would find even more unbelievable.

I’ve avoided Gemmel for decades because the descriptions just never drew me in. Now that I’ve actually read one his books, I expect I’ll be searching out all his stuff and reading it. It is very enjoyable and exactly what I am looking for in a fantasy. Good triumphs, Evil is conquered and lots and lots of fighting. The battles on the walls were great.

★★★☆½

 

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The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall #1) ★★★★☆

tigerandwolf (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 Tiger and the Wolf
Series: Echoes of the Fall #1
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 603
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

In a world where people can “step” into animal form and they have all formed tribes from time immemorial, Maniye has been born with 2 souls. One of the Wolf from her father and one of the Tiger from her mother. Maniye’s mother was killed right after the birth, as she was the Queen of the Tigers. Unknowingly, Maniye was trained up to use both of her souls so that when she came of age, her father could use her to claim the Tiger throne and complete the conquest that the Wolves had been working towards for a generation.

When her father’s plans are revealed to her, her father says he’ll marry her off to a strong wolf ally, the man who killed Maniye’s mother. Maniye rescues a snake priest and together they escape into the wilderness to elude the Wolves. They take refuge for the winter with a Bear, who knows the man who killed Maniye’s mother. This man, Broken Axe, has successfully tracked her but due to both friendship with the Bear and some other considerations, gives his word he won’t bother Maniye until the Spring Solstice.

At the same time, we follow Asmander and his companions. Asmander is of the crocodile tribe from the far south, where a succession war is brewing. He has been sent north by his father to recruit the Iron Wolves, who are the only creatures known who can work iron and make it their weapon. He is helped out by the Horse tribe, traders across the whole land. Eventually, he is taken to a special holy place where he can meet Akrit, leader of the Iron Wolves and Maniye’s father. This special meeting is for all the tribal priests at the Spring Solstice.

The Bear must attend the Solstice and Maniye and the priest accompany him, hoping to find a guardian at the rites from Broken Axe and Akrit, little knowing that both will be there. Everyone comes together and Akrit tries to take Maniye by force and she kills several of the wolf clan in a sacred circle. She escapes and makes her way to the Tiger’s last standing city, where she finds that Broken Axe did not kill her mother but simply released her back to her people. Her mother rejects her as she can’t get past the fact that Maniye is a child of rape. Maniye tries to fit into Tiger society, but her two souls are continually fighting and she shows as much Wolf as she does Tiger. She escapes her mother, who has decided to sacrifice her to the Tiger and is on the run yet again.

She meets up with Asamander and the snake priest and everyone is on the run from both Wolves and Tigers, who have resumed hostilities. Battles ensue and finally Maniye must try a forgotten ritual to resolve the conflict of having 2 souls. She travels to the Other World and chooses a third soul, one that bridges Wolf and Tiger and learns its form. It is a form stronger and more powerful than anything the northern tribes have ever seen. Broken Axe challenges Akrit for control of the Wolf clan and wins. Between him and Maniye, an uneasy peace is brokered but shamans, priests and fortune tellers are still predicting a doom that will engulf the whole world.

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. That being said, I wouldn’t want to read this by itself as a standalone again. Maniye does nothing but run for 90% of the book and it became wearisome. She didn’t have any choice, but still, it’s not real fun to read about a character who just runs away all the time.

Once I see how this trilogy resolves, a re-read option will be on the table.

Tchaikovsky definitely brings his A-game to this story. Not so much in terms of excitement but in terms of working out how a society would turn out that has these abilities. He describes the fights in great detail and the way warriors slip between their animal and human form to give themselves advantages and their opponents disadvantages is great. Like the fact that the animal form can incorporate whatever the human form was wearing at the time. The Wolves have learned to have iron claws and built in armor. Tigers have brass claws, etc.

On a bigger scale, it is obvious something is coming. Whether it is a natural disaster (honestly, my first thought was an asteroid strike) or some new empire that will simply sweep over the land, it has all the inhabitants of the land seeing visions of war and fire and ruin, for everyone. I am looking forward to seeing what it turns out to be.

Now that Maniye has found her Champion form (the 3rd connecting soul), I suspect she won’t be running in the next 2 books. Of course, knowing Tchaikovsky’s penchant for lots of character arcs, it wouldn’t surprise me if we go somewhere else and with a completely new set of characters for the the next book.

I might have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t had such a streak of bad reading before it. But regardless, this was a good book and I enjoyed it.

★★★★☆

 

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The First Name (Twilight of the Gods #1) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@18%

firstname (Custom).jpgThis 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 First Name
Series: Twilight of the Gods #1
Author: Dennis Schmidt
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 307 DNF@18%
Format: Digital Scan

 

My Thoughts:

Due to there being 2 rape scenes which were graphic enough, I am done with this book.

★☆☆☆☆

 

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The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen #10) ★☆☆☆☆

crippledgod (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 Crippled God
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #10
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 934
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Adjunct Tavore and the Bonehunters separate from their erstwhile allies as they make a 3 pronged attack on the heart of the recently arisen Forkrul Assail empire, which holds the Crippled God’s heart. Along with gods, various elder races and even the dead, all conspire to set the Crippled God free to return him to his own world and thus begin the healing of their own world. The Perish Grey Helms turn traitor and massive amounts of people die.

At the same time an Ototaral Dragon is resurrected and set free. She is the opposite to all the other Eleint, dragons, who are at heart forces of chaos while she is a force of utter negation. The embodiment of Chaos, known as Tiam begins to manifest but the Ototarol Dragon is chained thus setting the Eleint free from their own frenzy, which dissolves Tiam’s hold over them and dissipates her own Manifesting.

Lots of other things happen.

Tavore and the Malazans and their allies are able to free the Crippled God and he returns to his own world. Shadowthrone and Cotillion hint at each other that everything has been part of an even bigger plan but mention zero details or anything concrete.

As good an ending as one can hope for with the author’s known penchant for deliberate obfuscation and outright misdirection.

 

My Thoughts:

I read over my review from 2011. Eight years later, not one single thing has changed in my mind about this book. It is remains a piece of trash where the author masterbates to his own supposed cleverness with words and is nothing but a dung heap of rubbish pseudo-philosophy.

I finished this and all I could think was “Why did Erikson even bother writing this?” The battle scenes were incredible and show that the skill in writing the first book was no fluke. Which makes my question even more pertinent, as it means he wrote such pointless reams of words on purpose. FOR NO PURPOSE.

What a killjoy way to end a series that started out so promising 2 years ago. And this re-read did not change my mind about the series overall, as I was hoping it would. Well, it does reinforce that I’ll not read another book by Erikson, no matter what. He wrote this book and ended the series this way, he doesn’t deserve any more of my money, time or attention. I almost feel like I’m doing a disservice to book bloggers everywhere by even bringing attention to his name now. Bleh.

★☆☆☆☆

 

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Hogfather (Discworld) ★★★★★

hogfather (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: Hogfather
Series: Discworld
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

It is Hogwatch Night and the Hogfather is flying across the world in his red suit and white beard and 4 jolly boars delivering gifts to all the children. However, this Hogwatch Night the Hogfather is looking a little different. He’s a bit bony in the face, he has to stuff a pillow up the suit to give him that jolly fat look and his ho ho ho’s are more like HO, HO, HO! Yes, Death has taken over being the Hogfather for the night.

Now, where did this all start? The Auditors. Of Reality. They hired the Assassin’s Guild to kill the Hogfather. The head of the Guild, thinking it an impossible job, assigns it to Mr Teatime, an assassin who has been causing problems lately with how much he’s been killing. He’s got no style, you know? So the HAG (Head of the Assassins Guild) gives the job to Teatime. Either he’ll succeed and the Guild will get a cavern of gold or Teatime will fail and they can let him go and be done with him. Teatime has thought about just this kind of situation and he has answers.

And that is why Death is pretending to be the Hogfather. He can’t interfere with the Auditors directly but he sets his granddaughter Susan on the case. She tracks down Teatime, who has used the power of the Tooth Fairy make children NOT believe in the Hogfather. She and the newly created god of Hangovers, with the help from a tooth fairy helper, take down the insane assassin.

It is revealed that if the Hogfather doesn’t exist, the sun won’t rise. This will destroy all life on Discworld and THAT is the final goal of the Auditors. Life is messy and doesn’t really fit into neat check boxes, so they want to get rid of it. All of it.

Can Death, Susan and sundry others Save the Most Magical Night of the Year? Of course! Not even Pratchett was so full of bilious hatred and vitriol against Christmas that he’d write otherwise. But he gets his revenge on the readers by getting all metaphysical for at least 3 solid pages. What a rotter.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, it has been a bloody decade since I last read this! Still 5stars, still a favorite and still just as good as last time.

This time around I concentrated on the character of Teatime. And you know what? He takes up a VERY small portion of the book even while being a main villain and the killer of the Hogfather. It is like he casts a huge shadow over the whole book while only being a skinny little twig. He has such presence though that I “remembered” him having a much larger role. I think it does say something for Pratchett’s skill that he can make a such a small used character be so big. Of course, him facing down Death himself right at the end does show he had some pretty big cojones.

Death gets a great bit of action and I just laughed and laughed. When Corporal Nobbs, the most venal member of the Watch, gets a super duper assault crossbow from the big red sack and he goes nutso with excitement, I just about died. It also made me remember H.P’s review of the lamest Robin Hood movie ever, complete with “assault crossbows”. Maybe it would have been a good movie if Knobby Nobbs had showed up, hahahahaa. Anyway, I did a lot of laughing.

Susan plays a huge part but unlike Teatime she was so exasperated all the time that she couldn’t be “normal” that it wore a little thin. We get it, she doesn’t want to be Death’s granddaughter. Honey, get over it. You don’t really get to pick your relatives. She started out funny with beating the crap out of monsters under the bed with a poker but became almost grating by the end.

The Unseen Academy and the Wizards are involved, as is HEX the thinking machine. HEX going insane and taking digital frog pills to cure itself was just about the highlight for me.

The only downside to this book was the few pages of metaphysics that Pratchett throws in. All crap about Justice and Mercy and Hope being nothing but lies. Then he took it do a bad place where you can’t believe those things if you don’t believe other lies, like the Tooth Fairy. What a hopeless and utterly futile way to live. He just couldn’t resist allowing his bitter hatred against God, or even the idea of God to peek on through. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to spoil the whole book. However, I tend to think I’ll have to wait another decade before I try this again.

★★★★★

 

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