The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders #1) ★★★☆☆

fortressinoriion (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 Fortress in Orion
Series: Dead Enders #1
Author: Mike Resnick
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 306
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Nathan Pretorias, a secret agent for the Democracy, has returned from yet another impossible mission. Well, parts of him returned. Now he has been tagged to carry out a truly impossible mission:

replace the war chief Michtag, the universal dictator of the aliens fighting humanity with a clone raised by humans and trained

Nathan assembles his own team of specialists, all misfits in one way or another. They make their way to the super secret fortress on the super secret planet deep in the Coalition. They kidnap and replace General Michtag and successfully make their way back to the Democracy.

Where Nathan’s superior presents yet another impossible mission, a mission only the Dead Enders can take on.

 

My Thoughts:

While I absolutely loved Santiago and the Widowmaker series, this reminded much more of the Starship series. Space Opera at its most mediocre. There simply wasn’t any tension. While Resnick excels at telling a myth style story set in the future, he’s not so good at just telling a character story.

For an impossible fortress and impossible mission, everything went off without a hitch. No matter how good your team is, something is going to go wrong and everything is going to be flubbed up. That just didn’t happen here and so like I said, there was zero tension. If there had been a lot of action or something else, even that could be gotten past, but there really wasn’t much else.

Resnick seems to be very hit or miss for me and I have a feeling this Dead Enders trilogy is going to be a miss. I hope I am proved wrong, but I’m very much getting the same vibe from this book that I got from the middle Starship book. That does not bode well. I’m still giving this 3stars for the newness of the story but if the second book is just as blasé, I’ll be dropping the rating accordingly.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Sandworms of Dune (Dune 7 #2) ★☆☆☆☆

sandwormsofdune (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: Sandworms of Dune
Series: Dune 7 #2
Author: Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 628
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Duncan and the crew of the Ithaca, along with several gholas, have adventures and get caught by Omnius. Duncan, as the best Kwisatz Haderach EVAH!!!!!, is the apex of humanity and does some kinky stuff with Erasmus, the thinking Robot. Then Erasmus dies. But not before Norma Cenva, the Oracle of Time, has saved the day with her Guild and using her magic powers makes all the versions of Omnius go poof.

Murbella singlehandedly forces the known forces of humanity to band together, only to have it all fall apart due to the machinations of the face dancers. But Norma Cenva, Oracle of Time, saves the day with her guild!

Before Erasmus dies, he kills all the face dancers across the whole universe using “technology”, ie, magic. And Norma Cenva, the Oracle of Time….oh wait, not this time.

Now Grand Poobah Duncan, more powerful than any human who has ever existed, must guide humanity and the rest of the thinking machines, into a future where they all get along while singing kum by ya and roasting smores around a campfire.

 

My Thoughts:

Back in 2007, I read and reviewed Sandworms of Dune. Overall, I was wicked happy with it, giving it 4stars. That was, unbeknownst to me then, simply due to the finishing up of the storyline of Dune.

This time around I read as a more mature Dune fan and I have to say, I felt like throwing up at this juvenile, facile and stinking putrescence of a book. I didn’t even take notes of all the things I found abhorrent as it would have given this way more attention than I wanted to give it.

Trained Bene Gesserit Sisters being ambushed in plain sight by what amounts to no more than farmers. Duncan ignoring everything that came before about the dangers of prescience and claiming that he was better than both Paul and Leto II and so the dangers didn’t apply to him. Everything that Frank Herbert wrote about, using Paul, as Paul Muad’dib, as the Preacher of Arrakeen, Leto II as the Tyrant, simply flushed down the toilet like it was a huge stinking turd so that that mediocre jackass authors could do what they wanted with this story. I want to blaspheme it makes me so angry.

The writing was just atrocious with its utter banality. Frank usually didn’t write about the Great Big Events either, but he always used the small stuff afterwards to show how the GBE affected everything around it. His writing was masterful in that regards. Anderson put his stamp of complete mediocre writing on this book very heavily. Ham handed and dull, what a combo.

Normally, a bad book like this gets me raving and writing up a storm. This time, I’m just disappointed. Really disappointed. The kind of disappointment that makes a father disown his only son. I’m giving this my “worst book of the year” tag I’m so disappointed.

I now declare:

Henceforth, let it be known amongst the nations, to all peoples, kindreds, tribes and tongues, that Bookstooge, whose works the mighty look upon and despair, shall only read Dune as a standalone. Paul Muad’dib shall live happily ever after and his reign shall be long, prosperous and fair. The known universe shall benefit, from the lowliest servant to the mightiest lord and all shall love Paul and call his named blessed.

Bookstooge thus declares it and thus reality shall alter to his will.

All Hail Bookstooge, Emperor of the Known Bookiverse!

★☆☆☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

Miss Keiichi (Oh My Goddess! #10) ★★★☆☆ (Manga Monday)

misskeiichi (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:
Miss Keiichi
Series: Oh My Goddess! #10
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Urd and Skuld are called back to Heaven, giving Kei some alone time with Belldandy. She gets sick, he messes around with some of Urd’s “medicine” and ends up turning himself into a girl. He manages to get ahold of Urd and she and Skuld come back to nurse Belldandy back to health.

Then a former lover of Urds shows up, a Plum Spirit, by the name of Troubador. He professes to want to get together with Urd but is really after her tears so he can complete his training as a bard. He is insanely jealous and so Urd won’t turn Kei back into a guy while he’s around.

Kei gets suckered into taking over the motor club since the two elder students are graduating that year. He wins a competition only to find out that the two Senpais are staying on for advanced mechanical courses and so will still be in charge.

A girl confesses to Kei in a love letter but her ulterior motive is to perform an exorcism on him as she claims she senses “unhuman” energy surrounding him. Due to her own ineptness, she calls forth some super demon dog and it is only thanks to Urd manipulating Belldandy’s jealousy that allows them all to survive.

Megumi has left the motorclub to join the softball team, but with only 4 members, they are being pressured by the baseball club to fold up and become gofers for them. Megumi, Kei and everyone else gets together as a team and end up winning on a technicality. And Urd shows cleavage.

The final story is about Megumi finding a stray dog, it worming its way into everyone’s heart, Megumi finding the owner and Kei admitting he really likes the dog.

 

My Thoughts:

The only amusing part of this manga was when Kei was a woman and preparing to take a bath. I’ll let this picture speak for itself.

omg-c55-p23

 

The rest of these chapters? Barely humorous, wallowing in vapid sentimentality (that puppy chapter just about made me barf) and generally feeling like the manga-ka was mailing it in. Nothing happens. There is no overall plot. A good manga doesn’t always need some overarching story. Yotsuba is the perfect example of that and the manga-ka there carries it off really well. I can forgive random crap chapters when they at least entertain me or are funny or “something”. However, this book felt like a big bowl of diet vanilla pudding. I don’t know if “diet” vanilla pudding even exists, but I imagine it tastes like chalk or something and that is what this book came across as. Dry and bleh.

Mediocre is a good word for this volume. “Miss Keiichi” keeps it from dropping to a 2 ½ rating since I found that panel very humorous.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Cobra Traitor (Cobra Rebellion #3) ★★☆☆½

cobratraitor (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:
Cobra Traitor
Series: Cobra Rebellion #3
Author: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 416
Format: Trade Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Merrick Broom is on a world to find the war drug that the Trofts are going to use on humans to infiltrate the Dominion of Man and cause havoc. He hooks up with some freedom fighters and a Troft from an opposing Demesne.

The Dominion of Man has taken over Aventine, the capital Cobra world and now it is up to the Cobras there to figure out a way to throw them off without getting the entire planet scorched. Or every Cobra with a slave collar on.

The Qasaman’s are playing their own games, with various drugs and secret cobra soldiers.

Everything ends with the “bad” Troft alliance falling apart due to the various other characters all working together. Jody Broom and the Cobra Traitor head to the main Dominion of Man world to show what happened and to sway public opinion in favor of the Cobra worlds.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, besides the original Cobra, none of these other Cobra books have really worked for me. This is book 9, the third trilogy and I’m done. Zahn was a favorite of mine growing up and he wrote some cracking good books, but this recent stuff, it’s boring and stilted. It doesn’t help that I was reading this on my lunch breaks and so only got in 20minutes at a time.

Funnily enough, my review of Cobra Outlaw really sums up how I felt about this book. Too many viewpoints, too much going on and not interesting enough. It came across as a political thriller in space with more focus on the Cobra worlds trying to deal with bigger forces by means other than violence. Sorry, Cobras are super weapons, use the heck out of them and let the chips fall where they may. I know that Zahn CAN write politically oriented SF very engagingly, as evidenced by his Conquerors trilogy but this wasn’t the series of books to do that. Super Soldiers, Super Soldiers, Super Soldiers. Come on, USE them.

It also doesn’t help things that I read Cobra Outlaw almost 3 years ago and Cobra Slave almost 5 years ago. If I were going to force myself to read any more Cobra books, I’d have to wait until the entire thing is completed and go through it in a couple of months. Zahn is not a fast paced author in terms of plot and action and so his stuff really relies on ideas, which get fuzzy after a couple of years.

Can’t recommend this to anyone besides really diehard Cobra fans. Honestly, I might just go read the original novel and pretend none of these other books exist.

★★☆☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Terrible Master Urd (Oh My Goddess! #6) ★★★☆½

terriblemasterurd (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: Terrible Master Urd
Series: Oh My Goddess! #6
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 140
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The first full book plot. Mara is trying to awaken the Lord of Terror and it is revealed that Urd is his heir. She’s had her goddess license suspended for constantly lying and so is wide open to the temptation to take power whereever it may come from. LoT (Lord of Terror) possesses Urd and is on the way to destroying the whole universe. Keiichi gets captured and then accidently reveals that there is a master Total Destruction program. This allows Urd to release the wolf Fenrir and the LoT then jumps from Urd to Fenrir.

Fenrir/LoT then summons the Cosmic String (string theory plays a rather large part of this plot) and is going to cut it and so destroy the universe. Only he needs a goddess made 10 Dimensional scythe to do so. So the LoT jumps from Fenrir to Kei, as he knows that the 3 goddess will make one of those handy dandy 10D scythes to separate him from Kei’s body. Belldandy disobeys ‘daddy’, ie The Lord and releases her seal, making her “Nigh Invulnerable!” (if you don’t get the Tick reference, go read ben edlund’s graphic novels).

The 3 goddesses trick LoT to jumping into a computer disk, hence freeing Kei and stopping the threat of the end of the universe. Skuld then wipes the disk clean with a magnet thus removing the threat of the LoT for good. The whole Yggrasil system is out of whack though, so there will be consequences. The book ends with Belldandy revealing that she is staying with Kei becomes she loves him and not because of the contract.

 

My Thoughts:

This was just ridiculous. 15 years ago I could read, accept and enjoy such ridiculousness with ease. It slid down my throat like a bite of chicken finger dipped in sweet&sour with some vegetable fried rice on top. Mmmmm! However, while I still really like said food concoction, the same can’t be said for the shenanigans pulled here.

This was the first time that the manga-ka goes from a chapter by chapter story to an overarching plot and his lack of experience really shows. Things “just happen because” and they make zero sense. The revelation about Urd being part demon? I’ve been under the assumption that the Lord was the father of all 3 of the goddesses but with this revelation, does this mean that god sleeps around? Or is the Lord not actually god but just a super powerful angelic being? Fujishima just pulls explanations out of a hat to suit where he wants the story to go without thinking through the consequences of those explanations.

This was definitely slapstick humor. One thing I did laugh about was when LoT takes over Kei he, the LoT, threatens to hurt Kei by hitting himself on the head with a hammer. Now that is funny! The rest of it though, it kind of flew by me and made me go “huh” instead of laughing.

I know I’ve complained a lot here but this wasn’t a bad volume, it was just a very juvenile volume. I do have to admit though that my heart kind of sank when I was done with this volume and I realized I had 42 more volumes to go.

On to the artwork! Here we get Keiichi possessed by the Lord of Terror. Goth Kei! His “look” and how the LoT used him was probably what saved this volume from a blasé 3star rating. I mean, look at him! Hahahahahaa.

uomg5_28

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

Six Heirs

cover
Six Heirs

The Secret of Ji #1

Pierre Grimbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Take a classic David Eddings and make all the characters unlikable in a variety of ways and you get the group brought together.

I was expecting a lot more from this, as what I’d read about Grimbert painted him as THE voice in French fantasy. Well, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to be disappointed then.

It wasn’t that this was bad, it was just mediocre. And I was not led to believe this was going to be mediocre. I feel kind of cheated actually.