The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter (Riyria Chronicles #4) ★★★★☆

32177852This 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 Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter
Series: Riyria Chronicles #4
Author: Michael Sullivan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 344
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Royce and Hadrian are hired to avenger the death of Genevieve Hargrave who is the daughter of Gabriel Winter, a rich merchant. She married Leopold Hargrave, the Duke of Rochelle and Winter is convinced that Leopold married her for her dowry and then murdered her. But no body has been recovered. So Winter wants the duo to find out what happened to her and then avenge her death with a fountain of blood, a fountain he is willing to pay for with everything from his coffers.

Once the duo reaches Rochelle, things don’t quite add up. At the same time the head of the Church of Novron is calling for a new King and every noble must be present to be in the running. This leads into Church politic’ing and a desire for revenge by a Mir, a half-human, half-elf named Villar.

Villar wants to murder all the nobles, take over the city of Rochelle and make it the capital of a new Mir city-state. What looks impossible isn’t so when it is revealed that he has the help of dwarves who can bring stone golems to life.

All this time Genny is alive and held captive by a faction of the Mir who just want equal rights in the town and a peaceful resolution to everything.

Everybody collides in a finale of bloody death but thankfully Hadrian and Royce rescue Genny, she is reunited with her husband who really does love her and events are set in motion that will have repercussions in the Riyria Revelations series.

 

My Thoughts:

Most Important!

This ebook says it has an ISBN of 978194336317 but if you can count, that is only 12 numbers. The hardcover I got through the Kickstarter has the correct isbn listed as 9781943363117. Goodreads still has it wrong. Business as usual for that place!

/End Important!

I really enjoyed this read. The banter, the danger, the mystery. It all came together just like every other Riyria book has. There is a flavor, a tone, to the these books and Sullivan keeps it unique and never strays from it. I like that.

I also liked that we didn’t have to wait until the end to know if Genny was alive or dead. She had her POV almost from the beginning and while it lessened that particular mystery, it simply increased the tension on other parts as I tried to figure out WHAT was going on and who was motivated by what.

I tore through this in about a day and a half. Kind of sad since I had been waiting 2 years since Death of Dulgath but hey, I’m not going to waste time artificially stretching my read out. I paid my money and I’m going to get my enjoyment Right Now!

Now that I’ve read this, I kind of want to re-read all 6 Riyria Revelations books and the previous 3 Riyria Chronicles books. Just to get a fuller picture. Also, to see how Sullivan’s writing has progressed. Well, maybe in a year or two. Honestly, I’d really like to wait until there are 6 Chronicles books to balance the Revelations books and then have a go. But since Sullivan is independently releasing these through Kickstarters and he has contractual obligations for other books, I doubt that will happen any time soon.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

Grey Seer (Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper #1) ★★★☆☆

greyseer (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: Grey Seer
Series: Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper #1
Author: C.L. Werner
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 296
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Thanquol is a skaven magician, one of the Grey Seers. After having several of his plots foiled by Gotrek and Felix, Thanquol is sent on a dangerous mission to Altdorf, capital of the Empire, to recover the Wormstone, a huge piece of warpstone that will give its user tremendous power.

Of course, being skaven, Thanquol plots how to seize the stone for himself or at least how to use it to climb up the rungs of power. But since his “allies” are skaven too, they all are also planning on how to take it for themselves.

Upon finding out that the Stone is actually weapon more effective against skaven than humans, Thanquol plots on how to wipe out the city of Altdorf AND the skaven city of Under-Altdorf, thus gaining prestige and favor with the Council of 13. A human wizard of Altdorf has been keeping an eye of the skavens and with his cronies does his best to stop said plan. The other skavens of Altdorf also do their best to stop Thanquol, since dying isn’t really what they want to do.

The book ends with Thanquol’s plan going awry yet again, most of the skavens fighting him dying and most of the humans fighting the skavens dying.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, Boneripper is just a name that Thanquol gives to his current giant rat bodyguard. It’s almost more of a title than a name, as he seems to go through them at a pretty rapid pace. Now that I know that, I won’t be expecting a real duo as main characters.

I’ve not read any of the Gotrek and Felix books, which I gather is where Thanquol is originally introduced. From the little bit that is referenced, I’m not sure I WANT to read those books. They sound like a right pair of brutal thugs. Given, I’m getting that from Thanquol’s viewpoint, but even still.

So, I finally read a book about the skavens. Giant magical rat people with all the characteristics of rats. Cowardly, self-serving, backstabbing and generally bad guys. You’d think that would depress me but for some reason it really didn’t. What DID get me down was how the humans opposing the skavens were just as much scumbags, even the wizard guy. With characters like that fighting against Chaos, I’m kind of glad Chaos ends up taking this world.

I keep going into these Warhammer books thinking they’re alternates to the Forgotten Realms books. Ha, not even close. Warhammer is bleak, bleak, bleak. It is a good thing I have a month or two between them. Any sooner and I’d be overwhelmed and have to defenestrate myself, which just wouldn’t be cool.

I’ll definitely be finishing this trilogy. I’ve also got 2 more Age of Legends trilogies to work through but after that, I don’t know that I’ll be staying in this world anymore. It’s just too bleak and depressing for me.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

Book Haul – The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter + Bonus Content

wintersdaughter
Smexylicious!

I participated in the Kickstarter for this hardcover of the jolly Riyria Chronicles series by Michael Sullivan.  It arrived Wednesday and it immediately went on my shelf next to all my other hardcover Riyria books by Sullivan.

Sullivan
Is that not a veritable vision of beauty?

Dang, I do love me some hardcover pictures, Mmmm, mmmmmm, good! That is all, carry on.

 

Bonus Content:

Not really, but this way I get to blab and you are tricked into reading it. Am I a smooth operator or what?

im-a-smooth-operator-21570203

Back in 2015 I also participated in his Death of Dulgath kickstarter, which is book 3 of the Riyria Chronicles. I have come to realize that Sullivan is one of the few authors that I’m willing to pay $35+ for a hardcover just so that the book will exist. Both Winter and Daughter were great successes on Kickstarter and while it has been 2 years between books, I don’t have any problems with that wait.  I wonder if I’d be willing to fund more Kickstarters if they were handled like Sullivan handles his?

My recent Surviving a Bad Book post brought Michael Stackpole back to mind and his fantastic book Talion: RevenantThere has been a push over the years to get a sequel but Stackpole doesn’t seem to have ever really wanted to, for various reasons. That would be a Kickstarter I’d be willing to back just for an ebook edition, much less a hardcover. It just makes me wonder why he doesn’t try a Kickstarter though? Winter’s Daughter had 2000 backers and over $80K raised. Of course, Sullivan is always out there interacting with his fans and mugging for more. One of those ineffable mysteries I guess?

 

bookstooge

The Skinner (Polity: Spatterjay #1) ★★★★★

skinner (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 Skinner
Series: Polity: Spatterjay #1
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 433
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Sable Keech, a dead ECS agent, is a member of the Anubis cult. When he died 700 years ago tracking down infamous slavers who sold their product to the Prador during the Prador War, he was reified and continued his hunt for the Eight most prominent members. Jay Hoop was their leader and Sable has accounted for the other seven members. Rumors bring Sable to the world of Spatterjay, named after Jay Hoop. A world where a peculiar virus gives immortality but with the risk of becoming inhuman.

Janer, a human who was indentured and now works for, a Wasp Hivemind, is on Spatterjay on orders from the Hive. He doesn’t know why and in all honesty, he doesn’t want to know why. But the Hive wants to expand and a world outside of the Polity would suit it perfectly. Janers is along for the ride and the promise of ten million new carth shillings, enough to allow him to be free of the Hive forever.

Erlan. Young hooper. A hooper is someone with the virus. A young hooper is anyone infected for less than 200 years. She was infected and then left Spatterjay to explore the galaxies. But now she’s back and she’s not sure she wants to keep on living. Her mission is to find Captain Ambel and either have him kill her or show her how to live, as all the Captains of Spatterjay are over 700 years old.

Throw in a Prador trying to clean up its trail from the Prador War 1000 years ago, one of the Eight who isn’t dead, Jay Hooper who is now a 12foot tall monstrosity that is practically unkillable, some mercenaries and a couple of AI’s and you’ve got yourself quite a story!

Oh, I forgot to mention the sentient Sails, which might just try to take the planet for themselves.

 

My Thoughts:

This was the best Polity book by Asher so far. It had super bloody ultra violent action. It had dead people, it had the Skinner. That thing is surviving even after having its head cut off and kept in a box by Captain Ambel. Hiveminds and Prador and the list goes on and on and on.

While the Prador War was mentioned in passing in the Agent Cormac books, it was more of a blip than anything. Here, while it was 1000 years ago, we get a lot of information about it that helps develop the Polity into a more realistic society. It isn’t all knowing and all powerful and the Prador War showed that. That is a good balance to some of the power we saw in Agent Cormac where it appeared the Polity just rolled over everything.

If I had to recommend a place to start the Polity books, this would be it. It is filled with awesome new ideas and the action and thrillaminute ride never stops. The other thing is that while this is part of a trilogy, it tells a complete story. The Skinner is brought to justice, each of the characters finds closure in one way or another and there are no dangling threads “forcing” you to read the next 2 books. You could read this and see if Asher’s style is for you and if it isn’t, you don’t have that “incomplete” feeling that a lot of series rely on these days.

This is a good sized book. This edition is only 400+ pages, but when I read it back in 2010, it was over 700 I think? Probably those larger numbers were based on a paperback edition. Either way, this is not something you skim through in an afternoon. I spent a day and a half devouring this and “devour” is a good word. Everything on Spatterjay is trying to eat something else, all the time.

I also liked the introduction of the Hive Mind. Sadly, beyond a couple of short stories in some of his later collections, Asher never really delves into this aspect of the Polity. So don’t get too excited about it as it never pans out.

As a re-read, this almost came across as a new book. I remembered the basic details of Spatterjay being a world where everything was eat or be eaten and that there was stuff to do with the Prador and that a dead guy was involved. But honestly, this book and my review from 2010 are part of why I now review the way I do. That review did nothing to help me remember what I had read, while I’m hoping this one does when I decide to re-read it again in another decade or so.

Last time I rated this 4 stars. This time around, with it still being so enjoyable and such a fun read, I’m slamming that up to 5 stars.

★★★★★

bookstooge

 

 

The Human Factor (Omega Force #8) ★★★☆☆

humanfactor (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 Human Factor
Series: Omega Force #8
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 250
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Jason and Omega Force are back and on track. Only to get pushed off a cliff when they find out that human bounty hunters are looking for Jason.

Humanity has allied itself with a little known species and has been given the slipdrive and a new planet. All the aliens want in return is the old drive from the ship that Burke destroyed in Savage Homecoming. This is all being done in secret with only a select few knowing about the wheeling and dealing. One of those select few cuts her own deal with the aliens, takes over the colony planet and strongarms Earth into making her its ruler.

Now it is up to Jason, with no help, to save Earth again. Of course, one of the girls saves his bacon. But is it the former military captain who is now an Admiral, or the Pretty Pretty Princess? The mystery, the enchantment, the romance of it all!

By the end of the book Earth and everyone on it now knows they are a 1bit player on a very large stage.

 

My Thoughts:

The Galactic Princess girl from the previous book is pretty much dismissed. Kellea saves Earth but only because Lucky writes her a note telling her that Jason still loves her. Come on, a fracking battle robot has better relationship skills than these 2 humanoids? I don’t like relational drama in my books. Jason is still acting like an 18 year old boy instead of the man he is. For all that the Princess was the focus of the previous book, I also didn’t like how she was just shelved when it wasn’t convenient for her to be around. It felt VERY heavy handed by the author especially after how she was so played up before.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the rest of the book. Probably one of the best Omega Force books so far. There is so much potential here and it’s really only limited by the author’s imagination. I hope he’s up to the task of thinking of new, cool storylines and doesn’t fumble and turn this into one of those “it’s obvious the author has no idea what to write so he just threw some stuff onto the wall to see what sticks” kind of things.

Writing relationships is definitely not Dalzelle’s strongpoint and I hope that he either does a lot of practice and gets better or just leaves it alone in future books. If he can avoid making “relationships” a prop in his stories, he’ll probably be ok.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

Ghost in the Shell (2017 Movie)

gitsblurayGhost in the Shell.  I’ve got a history with this franchise, so I’ll get that out of the way first. Going to be a long paragraph.

I got into anime in roughly 2001. Things like Tenchi Muyo and whatnot. In my quest to explore more anime, I joined various forums and heard tons and tons of praise for an anime movie called Ghost in the Shell. I watched it and was shocked at how graphic it was in terms of sexual content and violence. I wasn’t into paying attention to artists or directors at that time, just the name. So Ghost in the Shell, to be abbreviated GitS for the rest of this review, became something that I wanted nothing to do with. By 2004 I was more aware of things like artists, creators, directors, etc, etc. I became a huge fan of the Appleseed movies and realized that Shiro Masumi was the creator of them. That was when I realized that he was also the creator of GitS. So I figured I’d check out the source material for GitS and read the manga. That was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in regards to my anime/manga time. Halfway through the manga was a large section that was in color and it was a pornographic orgy between the Major and her lovers.  I’ve never read another manga by Masumi again and it cooled my interest even in Appleseed.

When I met Miss Librarian, later to become Mrs Bookstooge, we both had an interest in anime and manga. She started talking about this tv show, GitS: Standalone Complex (abr GitS:SaC). I was shocked that this lovely christian woman was watching something like that, as I figured it was at the same level as the original movie or manga. Thankfully, she informed me otherwise and we ended up watching it together after we got married and it became one of my favorite animes. GitS:SaC 2nd Gig was just as fun for me. GitS: Arise (a reboot/retelling of the origins of Section 9) was even better but had such a limited dvd run that I was never able to afford them.

Edited to Add: It appears that Amazon has the Arise franchise on bluray for pretty cheap. I now know what I’m getting myself for Christmas

So the long and the short of it is that I have a very mixed set of feelings about GitS. I love the ideas, what it means to be human in a world where robotics and humanity are almost interchangable. I just didn’t like the graphicness of the movies.

Ok, now on to the review for this live action 2017 movie.

First, I probably wouldn’t have given this the time of day, given my history with the movie side of GitS, except for all the ballyhoo by “social justice warriors” decrying the complete rascism and whitewashing of everything in Hollywood. I think Hollywood is already a pit of iniquity, so to hear people like the SJW’s suddenly getting up in arms about it just made me roll my eyes. It also kicked in my perversity gene so now I wanted to watch this. Yep, kind of the opposite side of the “it’s popular so I must hate it” coin.

This was the origin story of Major Kusanagi. I enjoyed my time watching this. There is a lot of angst about just what Major is, as she can’t remember things very well before her inception into the new robotic body.

Plotwise, I was afraid they were going to just copy a version of GitS:SaC and have the Laughing Man storyline. Thankfully they didn’t and had their own little cyber-hacker monster storyline. It did a good job of introducing us to the world of tomorrow. I did feel that Section 9, which deals with cyber-terrorism, wasn’t explained so well. I had no problems with it but I’ve also got some GitS experience to fill in the blanks.

I really liked that the head of Section 9, Aramaki, spoke in japanese. I’ve seen the guy in other japanese movies and enjoyed his performance. Aramaki was always in the background and that was kept the same here, as it should be. The guy they chose to play Batou was spot on and I enjoyed how he got his distinctive set of eyes.  I thought Johansson did a good job of playing Major and that the studio made the right choice in employing a big name actress in the lead role. They wanted to draw in more than just die-hard GitS fans and Johansson’s presence would definitely do that. With the Major being a construct, they can also easily replace her with other actresses in future movies and have it be explained by her changing shells. Bodies for the Major are like clothes, easy to change.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than Doctor StrangeNot a movie I’d want to own or even rewatch to be honest but if they make more and turn it into a franchise, kind of like the Resident Evil franchise, I’ll definitely tune in. If you liked this movie, then I’d definitely recommend watching the 2 GitS:SaC tv series.

 

bookstooge

Final Exam (Oh My Goddess! #3) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

finalexam (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: Final Exam
Series: Oh My Goddess! #3
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paper edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Various chapter stories usually with comedic overtones. Belldandy is crowned Queen of Nekomi Tech. Belldandy and Kei go on a date only to have it ruined by Urd and Sayoko. Megumi invites the motor club over and Urd has them play a magical game of Life.Kei has to take exams but ends up with a brainless double that gets dressed up like a girl taking it for him. Finally, Sayoko’s cousin attends the Tech and tries to make moves on Belldandy with rather predictable results.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a very humorous volume. What stood out to me was the dinner date between Kei and Bell where both Sayoko AND Urd interfere. Sayoko to try to steal Kei from Bell. Ok, an aside here. I still don’t understand why Sayoko is SO determined to steal Kei. It makes for a great ongoing plot point but I really do have to turn my brain off to accept it. Urd interferes because she’s on a mission to get Kei and Bell together conjugally. And yes, conjugally is a real word, I looked it up to make sure! So, during this dinner date Sayoko is trying to be a third wheel and Urd sees it. Urd enchants a roasted turkey to life and it jumps off the serving cart and begins running at and attacking Sayoko. I just about died laughing.

Of course, things aren’t quite so funny when Sayoko’s sleazy cousin shows up and tries to force Belldandy to abandon Kei and be his girlfriend. It had real stalker/rape vibes and while it was shown as something bad, the fact that a character was acting like this at all was a reminder that I was reading something from almost 30 years ago. I don’t remember this type of thing being an ongoing issue in future volumes but I’ll definitely be more aware of it now.

On to the art!

belldandy1

This is a very simple and clean piece of art but at the same time it really expresses everything I like about Belldandy. It’s obvious she’s no ordinary girl, as evinced by her sitting on top of a power pole. At the same time her femininity is in no way compromised. The long flowing hair, the simple shoes, the dress with the sash and apron, the small smile. It all comes together to show a beautiful woman who is extraordinary but not a sexpot. I think that Fujishima did an excellent job of creating beauty without salaciousness. * thumbs up *

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

Surviving a Bad Book – An Enemy Reborn

cover (Custom) An Enemy Reborn by Michael Stackpole and William Wu.

My initial review isn’t very critical but I gave it one star and I can still remember how I felt when reading and finishing it. If I can remember those feelings from 2003, then the book is deserving of the moniker “A Bad Book”.

This isn’t an angry feeling, but that feeling you get when a favorite author writes a completely amateurish piece of garbage that isn’t even worthy to be in the Forgotten Realms series. Kind of a melancholic sadness.

So, some history.  I grew up with authors like Stackpole and Zahn and the such being favorite authors back in the very early 90’s through the mid ’00’s. Stackpole was my fantasy guy.  He wrote books like Talion: Revenant and Once a Hero, books that I love and re-read multiple times. 4 times each since 2000 and once or twice before that. Therefore, Stackpole was one of those towering pillars of an author, the kind you get excited about, the kind that naive readers believe can do no wrong, until the author in question proves it beyond all shadow of a doubt.

An Enemy Reborn was originally published with ONLY Stackpole’s name on it and in the beginning was a little blurb about how this duology (A Hero Born was the first book) came from a gaming session. That should have been enough of clue and to my wiser and older self, it would have been. But to me in 2003, it wasn’t even a blip. So I read this piece of subpar garbage and wondered how Stackpole could write something so bad and in such a style that I didn’t even recognize. It wasn’t until years later when I was cleaning up my data that I came across the fact that this now had a co-author and was probably written by him with Stackpole’s name stamped on to sell. What a betrayal, a veritable sword in the back! Yet at the same time, knowing that it is actually written by someone else allowed me to begin the healing process and to allow the 5 steps of grief to truly begin.

denial
William Wu, I FORGIVE you!

Actually, I don’t. Stackpole’s career went on a slow downill trajectory after this book and to this day I pretend that a lot of his more recent books don’t exist.

So there you go, another story of how I survived even the Publishers lying to me and selling me bad dope, really mediocre, cut with white flour dope!

 

bookstooge

 

all-the-things-meme-collection-1mut-com-1

 

Pines (Wayward Pines #1) ★★★☆½

pines (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:
Pines
Series: Wayward Pines #1
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF, Thriller
Pages: 315
Format: Digital edition

 

* SPOILERS *

I am usually not one to worry about spoilers in my reviews. However, this book is predicated on the tension created by the main character, and hence the reader, not knowing what is going on. So read further at your own risk. I’ll make the last paragraph a quick summary of how I felt about the book without any spoilers so you can have something to read if you’re worried about spoilers.

 

 

Synopsis:

Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke wakes up next to a river. He stumbles into town, apparently called Wayward Pines, without much memory of anything. He is taken back to a hospital where it is revealed to him that he and his partner were hit by a mack truck and he left the hospital without permission. Little things aren’t adding up though and Ethan’s inner self keeps warning him.

Alone, with no money, no weapons, no vehicle, no way to contact his superiors, Ethan must survive whatever is going on at Wayward Pines. He does remember that he was tracking down some other secret service agents who disappeared after investigating Wayward Pines.

When he comes across his ex-partner, who is now inexplicably aged 30 years and runs into another woman claiming to be from the 1980’s, Ethan is completely confounded. Then when it becomes obvious that the road doesn’t lead out of the town and all the ways out on foot are fenced off, Ethan knows SOMETHING isn’t right.

Ethan finally escapes, only to fall into the hands of David Pilcher, a super rich, super smart genius who has predicted the end of humanity due to gene and environmental failure. Pilcher has setup Wayward Pines as the last bastion of Humanity and it is now 1000 years since Ethan walked the earth. Humanity is no more and what humanity became, brutal carnivores that were intelligent but without enough intelligence to build a civilization, now roams the desolate earth. Pilcher deep froze his 1000 chosen in the hopes of restarting humanity and by the end of the book Ethan chooses to become his right hand man and enforcer.

 

My Thoughts:

My very first thought when starting this was that Ethan was doing some sort of cross reality transfer between blackouts, much like the main character in Ted Dekker’s The Circle series. Something was obviously off, but I had no idea what. After the second time when Ethan pulls some bone headed, gut reaction, thing, I just decided that I wasn’t going to figure out what was going on and to let Crouch chauffeur me to the end of the book, like he was going to do no matter what I wanted.

It was a very frustrating experience but not at all bad. It was meant to be frustrating and I felt so much sympathy for Ethan even while yelling at him in my head. He didn’t know what was going on and I had no idea what was going on, so I couldn’t even call him on being stupid. And he really does some stupid things. For a former military vet AND a secret service agent, he didn’t strike me as aggressive enough or willing to do what was necessary. Now, he’s injured and without money or much clothing, so some of it is understandable. But if you wake up in a town where other Secret Service agents have disappeared and even the sheriff is acting weird, you steal some clothes, some money, a car and get out. And when the road loops back and you’re weirded out, head out cross country on foot, but BE PREPARED! It wasn’t until he was being chased by the blood thirsty mob of townsfolk that he really started showing his qualities as a vet and agent.

The revelations by Pilcher about his Frozen Chosen [hahaha] and the state of the Earth was really interesting. Of course, Crouch’s assertion that humanity would e/devolve into some kind of super predator is so much bs that I knocked a star off just for that. For frack’s sake, genes don’t work that way. If there was a breakdown in the gene code, you’d simply have a massive die off of humanity. I’m a diabetic being kept alive by 1st world tech, so I fracking know. Genes breaking down would lead to massive deaths at births and any that survived would be crippled in body and or mind and would be killed off by nature in one form or another. It would NOT turn us into super predators that could survive the conditions. But with all of that, I have to wonder where the next 2 books are going to go? How do you fight a whole world over run by creatures like that?

Overall, I enjoyed my read of this; much better than his blankety blank Dark Matter and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the trilogy as I have no idea what those 2 books could possibly contain.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

The Heretic’s Apprentice (Brother Cadfael #16) ★★★☆☆

hereticsapprentice (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 Heretic’s Apprentice
Series: Brother Cadfael #16
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 256
Format: Digital edition

 

Synopsis:

A young man returns with his dead master from their journey to the Holy Land. There is some question about whether said master can be buried at the Abbey due to some of his statements said many years ago. All is resolved.

However, a jealous man then accuses the young man of heresy so as to get him out of the way of a job. When said jealous man turns up dead, things don’t look good for the young man. Throw in a young woman, a dowry, an Abbot that toes the Church line completely and you have a recipe for a mystery.

Cadfael and Hugh solve the murder mystery side of things and Ellis Peters gets to view her theological views using various Abbots, Bishops, whatevers. If we could only all get along, then it wouldn’t matter what we believe or the words we use to express said beliefs. (My synopsis of Peters’ views, which I vehemently disagree with)

 

My Thoughts:

Every once in a while I am reminded that I am reading about a Catholic monk in the 1100’s. As such, the views expressed by various characters can run very counter to my staunch Protestant beliefs. But it makes for a very interesting read instead of just a dull murder mystery. The biggest thing that I enjoyed seeing was how the characters referenced Scripture very rarely and various Church Fathers quite a lot. You can believe in almost anything if you just go with what men have written ABOUT the Bible instead of reading it for yourself. But even that idea goes against everything that the Catholic Church calls orthodoxy. Thank God I’m a protestant.

The whole mystery part was rather blasé to be honest. The man we’re supposed to think is the main culprit practically has neon signs pointing at him, so I knew it couldn’t possibly be him even while having no other options. I’m not the kind of reader that tries to figure the mystery out before the main character. Besides, arrogant jackasses like Poirot withhold information, so what’s the use? I’m just along for the ride.

On a completely non-review note, I’ve begun using “series” tags on WordPress. I have to admit, I never understood why people did that before, but now that I’m thinking of organizing my WP site to be more user/link/post friendly, I understand. I LOVE how my reviewing style keeps on changing to meet various wants and needs. Still not going to see me on twitter or facebook though.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge