Imperfect Sword (Lost Stars #3) (Lost Fleet)

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: Imperfect Stars

Series: The Lost Stars #3, Lost Fleet

Author: Jack Campbell

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 379

 

Synopsis:

President Iceni and General Drakon must defend themselves yet again from the remnants of the Syndic Gov’t. The best way they can think of to do this is to help their neighbors and form some sort of loose Coalition or Alliance but without becoming the Syndics 2.0 or an Empire.

The Ulindi Star System is in rebellion and looks promising to both Iceni and Drakon. But can they help that system without endangering themselves or the people they have sworn to protect.

 

My Thoughts:

First, it has taken me 3 books to put the facts together that Iceni’s name is Gwen and Drakon’s is Artur. Arthur and Guinevere. Doh. Hope that doesn’t bode ill for the ending of the series.

Loved, loved, loved this book! It was the perfect mix of space fighting, ground fighting, intrigue, mystery with just a hint of romance. I have to admit, I think I am enjoying this Lost Stars series more than the original Lost Fleet books. And I definitely enjoy having 2 main characters instead of just Jack Black Geary.

This series continues to explore non-Alliance space, politics and the after-affects of Jack Black ending the war. With the introduction of the Dancers’ cryptic message about “different stars” you know this series is going to go for several more books. Honestly, I’m hoping for another 3, to make it match the original series.

While my enthusiasm for the spinoff series Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier waxes and wanes, these books have consistently kept my interest and kept me wanting the next book, now. Highly recommended to any SFF fan, with the caveat that you read the first 6 Lost Fleet books to understand the universe you are in.

The Zero Stone (Murdoc Jern #1)

coverThis 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: The Zero Stone

Series: Murdoc Jern #1

Author: Andre Norton

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 250

 

Synopsis:

Murdoc Jern, son of a famous jemologist, is pushed out on his own, with only an unknown stone as his inheritance.

Plying his trade as an apprentice, his master is murdered and Murdoc is on the run. From the Guild, the Patrol and other sources. He hooks up with an alien, born from a cat, named Eet to find out what the Zero Stone is.

 

My Thoughts:

This was typical Norton, with brains being the most important thing. Action happened, but it was described so stultifyingly that it was a relief to get to other stuff.

I did enjoy the overall story but there are times that Norton’s style grates. It is a testament to her writing skill and storytelling ideas that even with that, I still keep reading her stuff. I love the story and the idea of exploring space for Lost Civilizations is cool.

I liked this enough that I am now in the middle of the second book.

Forever Odd (Odd Thomas #2)

coverThis 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: Forever Odd

Series: Odd Thomas #2

Author: Dean Koontz

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 309

 

Synopsis:

Odd must rescue a young man with brittle bone disease. Said young man’s mother and adopted father were brutally murdered in the kidnapping.

Only, things aren’t quite as they seem and the young man isn’t the final target. Betcha can’t guess who is?

 

My Thoughts:

While the first book involved Odd, it wasn’t ABOUT him. That changes in this book. In a big way.

We also aren’t dealing with run of the mill psycho’s but with a psycho bitch who seems to have some kind of connection to the supernatural.

Odd’s narrative voice is soothing, calm and laid back, even while telling horrific happenings. Who would think that a battle in the sewers could be exciting and yet perfectly calm? Koontz pulls it off seamlessly.

On general principle, I am not an urban fantasy fan or a paranormal fan, but this series is pulling me in. It is hitting all the right “thriller” buttons and I am finding Odd to be a completely likable and sympathetic character.

Wraith Squadron (X-Wing #5) (Star Wars)

coverThis 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: Wraith Squadron

Series: X-Wing #5, Star Wars

Author: Aaron Allston

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 416

 

Synopsis:

Wedge puts together a new X-Wing group, one that is multi-talented in more than just flying and fighting with X-wings.

However, they are all the dregs, the washouts, the problem children, of other units. Can Wedge forge them into a new squadron, one that is equal to Rogue Squadron?

Or course he can; this is the Star Wars Expanded Universe after all!

 

My Thoughts:

Stackpole’s writing was much more intense, almost darker. Allston on the other hand, injects a much needed dose of humor throughout the whole book and makes it work. I like Allston’s writing and am sad that we’ll never be reading any more new stuff from, as he died earlier this year.

With a different author, we veer away from Rogue Squadron and into the Adventures of Wraith Squadron. A more disparate crew you won’t be able to find, except maybe on the Millennium Falcon. A whole group of sentients with some serious issues, in one form or another. It is a lot of fun to see them coming together as a group and fixing their issues.

Wraith Squadron’s mission, overall, is to find and destroy Warlord Zsinj. And these books focus on the little missions leading up to that denouement.

Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War #1)

coverThis 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: Old Man’s War

Series: Old Man’s War #1

Author: John Scalzi

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 287

 

Synopsis:

A “Space Army” exists, but you can only join once you turn 75. They have amazing tech, which they dribble to Earth. They also protect Earth and her Colonies from everything else Out There.

Follows one man whose wife has died and he joins up on his birthday.

A military story ensues with just the right amount of Future Tech and a slight mystery to keep things interesting.

 

My Thoughts:

Sadly, Scalzi crossed one of my Lines in the Sand, so I won’t be reading any more by him.

That being said, if it wasn’t for that, this would be a 5 star book. This is what Science Fiction should be like.

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.

The Alabaster Staff (The Rogues #1) (Forgotten Realms)

1d43cffc3a491e68e73d70de456e2005 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: The Alabaster Staff

Series: The Rogues #1, Forgotten Realms

Author: Edward Bolme

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 320

 

Synopsis:

A young girl is entangled in a plot between factions of the gods Tiamat and the fallen god of Unther [where this story takes place]. Also in play are the political powers of Unther and another nation that is trying to take them over.

Kersin [or whatever “exotic” spelling the author makes it to be], the young woman, is forced to steal the Staff of Necromancy, give it away, watch her erstwhile allies get slaughtered, taken into protection by a powerful lord, shadowed by said lord’s bodyguard and in the end, try to prevent the raising of a dead mad god.

 

My Thoughts:

The first chapter is very misleading, as it follows a young boy who steals into the city and steals some fruit to survive. He then gives some fruit to Kersin and we never see him again. I felt very bait-n-switch’ed.

But after that, I enjoyed this. The purple prose was really kept to a minimum and that in and of itself made this worthy of enjoyment. Kersin was a likeable main character and there was no love story, or even worse, a love triangle. Thank goodness for that!

The inclusion of the Harpers was a nice touch too, especially since I like the idea of an underground group of Good Guys doing good things to make the world a gooder place 🙂

The ending fight was nice and climactic, with a zombie god and all. Looking forward to the next book in the Rogue series.

Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt #10) (Final)

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Title: Seal of the Worm

Series: Shadows of the Apt #10

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 624

 

Synopsis:

The Wasp Empire is collapsing beneath Seda’s actions. The Worm’s Empire is breaking free.

And the world as the Kinden all know it is changing.

 

My Thoughts:

This was more enjoyable and a good bit deeper than I was expecting.  I suspect it had as much to do with my frame of mind [ie, Thanksgiving] than with the actual book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It wraps things up while giving us a rousing good adventure story.

The series overall made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. Not because Tchaikovsky’s style significantly changed, but because it seemed the focus, the sub-genre almost, changed at the midpoint.

From starting out as a Heroic Quest to save Collegium from the Wasp Empire it changed to a much more relational, “think out the consequences” type of story.

I have to admit, I did NOT like the change after book 5. But the stories were still good, just different than what I had started out with.

With this ending book and seeing how everything works together, I do heartily recommend this series to any Fantasy fan who wants something that is just a tiny “bit” different. I did find the whole Kinden aspect to be wicked cool.

Masters of Doom

a1f0746bff57404fbd8571963c3d75fe 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: Masters of Doom

Series: —–

Author: David Kushner

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Biography

Pages: 301

 

Synopsis:

A Quick and Dirty Biography of John Romero and John Carmack, the Co-Creators of ID Software, which gave us Doom and Quake.

 

My Thoughts:

Overall, I’d say this was a pretty lackluster book. Serious issues were quickly gone over, motivations and thoughts barely sketched out, no footnotes, quotes or anything of substance.

However, it brought such a dose of Nostalgia that I practically felt like a kid again! I remember my first computer, a dx2-66, on which I ran DOS 6.22 [not that nasty ol’ 6.20 mind you!] and was the envy of my friends because I’d saved up and bought a cd-rom 4x. Oh man, I was blazing.

I didn’t really play Doom, but was introduced to Doom II: Hell on Earth. It was fantastic. It was everything my young self craved. Guns. Violence against a legitimate target. Being a bad ass hero. Double barreled shotgun. Puzzle solving along aside adrenalin inducing action.

Then Heretic and Hexxen came out, based on Doom’s graphic engine. Medieval Doom with bows and arrows, magic arcane items, more intricate puzzles. And Hexxen with its multi-hub puzzles. It was all awesome.

Then Quake. I remember Quake so well because it required a Pentium 75 and my neighbor had just gotten one and there was no way I was going to be able to afford one for quite some time.

And this book brought back all those memories and feelings. And that is why this was rated so high.

The book itself was about two raging egomaniacs with different strengths who wouldn’t and couldn’t work together or with others. Because of that, they made and lost great people, companies and games.

Kushner tries to end on a happy note, but you know it won’t last because nothing has changed in the John’s lives except their current circumstances.

Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Longstocking #1)

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Title: Pippi Longstocking

Series: Pippi Longstocking #1

Author: Astrid Lindgren

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Children

Pages: 80

 

Synopsis:

Pippi Longstocking, the strongest girl in the world, moves into Villa Villecula, all by herself.

Her neighbors have adventures with her and romps ensue.

 

My Thoughts:

I remember reading this back in gradeschool and thinking it was the most humorous book ever. It was the Gold Standard of Funny.

Reading this now, I can understand why my young self was so enamored. It is immature, all about the kids and them having Adventures that every kid can only dream about.

The adults are adults from a kids perspective, existing but usually getting in the way.

I’m rating this 3 because I’m an adult. But for kids, and my Inner Kid, I’m giving it a 5.