Gridlinked (Polity: Agent Cormac #1)

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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 WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Gridlinked
Series: Polity: Agent Cormac #1
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 433
Format: Kindle Digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Ian Cormac has been gridlinked for 30 years where 20 years is supposed to be the maximum. Ian’s effectiveness in the service of Earth’s AI is what caused the continued link. Recently though, Ian has started exhibiting signs of gridlink addiction, an inability to interact with other humans and unable to think for himself.

When a planetwide accident happens on the remote world of Samarkand and an extraterrestial alien known as Dragon reappears, Earth Central sends in Agent Cormac. However, the AI always has games within games within games and having unplugged Ian, allows his enemies to know where he is going. Why solve 1 problem when you can solve 5?

 

My Thoughts

Another home run of a read.  Having read Asher starting in 2010, with this book and continuing on his Polity series, it was good to re-read this and see how his writing has been polished up. Make no mistake, this was rough writing; not bad, but without some of the polish you see in later books.

If I had to choose one word to describe this all, Ultra-violence would be that word. Entrails, brain matter, dismembered limbs, broken, burst, or burnt body parts, alien flesh or fluid spattered across the landscape. Guns, garrottes, bombs, knives, lasers, bare hands [or golem hands as the case may be], alien teeth, cars, spaceships, all are used as weapons. It is phracking awesome!

This is a novel, and series, about Humanity and Post Humanity. If a human can live for 200 years, upload his mind to a golem body if he so chooses all the while living in a society run by A.I.’s of godlike intelligence, what kind of society will emerge? Asher doesn’t get sidetracked from his story to show us the nitty-gritty but we do get little peeks here and there. And those little glimpses are fascinating.

To the plotmobile! Space-gates connect planets. One explodes and destroys a worlds’ population. Ian must investigate and figure out what is going on. At the same time, some of Ian’s old enemies are tracking him down to kill him. Add in an alien and my goodness, you have so many chainsaws in the air that any guess might kill you if wrong.

The whole idea of aug’s and messing around with your mind to expand it intrigues me to no end. The idea of A.I.’s ruling humanity in the background while letting humanity grow mentally is also fascinating. Of course,the whole thing is predicated on the idea that something better can come from something lesser. A machine intelligence that is greater than humanity and without humanity’s flaws. Great idea, but I can’t buy it for real and so it kicks me out of the story occasionally.

Overall, I loved this book, was just as intrigued this time around as I was in ’10, loved the violence, love the mystery of the plot and am looking forward to the rest of the series. These rereads have been good so far and so I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let’s see if I can put that off for a bit, shall we?

Here’s some alternate covers, because some of these are just plain awesome. I’m usually not a big fan of putting pictures into reviews, but in this case, I feel some of these represent the book better than the cover here, especially the last one.

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The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer #4)

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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 WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

Title: The Blood Mirror

Series: Lightbringer #4

Author: Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 704

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Chromeria is under attack by the White King, the former Color Prince. Andross Guile and Kara, the Iron White, unite in the face of satrapies falling away. Kip is married and besides leading attacks on the White King and learning to be a leader, he is dealing with some serious marital issues.

Gavin/Dazin [I’ve given up by now trying to figure it all out, he’s Gavin to me] is captured by Andross and kept in the same prison he kept his brother in. Lots of things about magic, and theology, are revealed.

Teia, now playing a triple role as Blackguard, the Iron White’s assassin AND as a double agent in the Broken Eye group, comes ever closer to her breaking point.

And so much other stuff that a synopsis is pointless. Just read these books.

My Thoughts:

Much like the previous books, I had a hard time getting into this one. I didn’t feel like I WANTED to read this book. That lasted for until about the 10% mark and then a switch flipped and wham, I was racing along again. This exact same thing has happened in all 3 other books, so something about how Week’s writes is the culprit. When I do my re-read of his Night Angel trilogy next year I’ll see if happens with that as well.

I was all over the place while reading this. So the good first.

This is epic fantasy with some hardcore action. Battles, invisible assassins, magic prisons, people growing up, people realizing that they’re not done growing up, tying this into a Christian world view. If you aren’t looking for that though, I don’t know if one would see it. Weeks uses a Bible verse or two. He also ties Orholam, and mythical fallen creatures, to God and the devil in our world. I thought it was quite cleverly done and not all shoving preachiness down the readers’ throats. Kip and Tisis growing together as a married couple. It was wicked nice to see them CHOOSE to love instead of letting their feelings set the tone. Feelings do follow, but they make that choice and it impressed me. You don’t see that much nowadays, with all the teen/YA angst romance crap.

Unfortunately, that leads me into the less than good.

Tisis had some sort of condition that prevented her from having sex. Weeks actually addresses the condition in an afterward, but I didn’t want to read about it. I’m a pretty private person about some things and intimate matters definitely falls into that area. So to read about those issues just made me very uncomfortable. It really added to the relationship but I didn’t like it.

The other thing was the continued profanity. It has bugged me since Book 1 and it will until the end.

The final problem is that now I have to wait who knows how long until the next book. Thankfully, I’ve got a boatload of good books to keep me distracted. Weeks tells the kind of stories I like to read and I trust he’ll keep putting out good stuff for years to come.

star40full

The Store DNF@25% w/ Extreme Prejudice

06857bcfecd93be3a7f57510477dfd94 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.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Store

Series: —–

Author: Bentley Little

Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Horror

Pages: 436

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Store is coming to smallville, Arizona. Bad things have happened at other Store’s across the country. Bad things have happened during the construction of the Store. Very Bad Things happen during the interview and initiation process to work at the Store.

And that is where I had to stop.

 

My Thoughts:

This book typifies Horror for me and why I don’t read it as a genre. I don’t have anything to say about the writing, or the story as a whole or anything else.

The 3 following happenings made me feel sick to my stomach and forced me to stop.

1) A sleazy young man is being interviewed to work at the Store. He’s taken to the video surveillance room and is shown the women’s dressing room, where he proceeds to watch the sister of the girl he’s sleeping with, try on new jeans. The manager tells him that sometimes the women aren’t wearing panties.

2) The aforementioned young woman applies to the Store. During her interview she is told that she’ll have to take a polygraph test, with only the manager in the room. He tells her to take her blouse and bra off so he can affix the electrodes to her body. She does. And the manager leers at her the whole time. Then she has to give a urine sample. In the office, in front of the manager. She does.

3) The young woman is hired. She comes early on her first shift and is taken down to the basement. She is told to strip down to her bra and panties and forced to run a gauntlet between other employees [most of whom she knows] who inflict physical and verbal damage on her. At the end, they all say they love her and she responds in kind.

Now, I don’t care if those instances are presented as wrong and bad, which they were. I don’t want to read about the degradation, humiliation, torture and complete helplessness of a young woman. I don’t want to invite the evil of that manager into my thoughts, and hence, into my house. That type of thing is sick and to use it for entertainment is sick as well.

 

Terrorist Summit (The Executioner #44)

7c137550dbbb406e87b5e8e321f4fb7aThis 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.anobii.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Terrorist Summit

Series: The Executioner

Author: Don Pendleton & Steven Krauzer

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Action/Adventure

Pages: 184

Format: Kindle digital scan

 

Synopsis:

A maniacal American kidnaps the daughter of a Tech Contractor, who has figured out how to make suitcase nukes. He uses her to get a prototype which he then plans on selling to a disparate group of worldwide terrorists.

Everyone is in one place and it is up to Mack Bolan to rescue the girl, kill the terrorists and put the fear of God into the organizations which they are all from.

If there is one man who can do this, it is The Executioner!

 

My Thoughts:

My final Mack Bolan book.

In some ways it was a good book. Tons of action and bullets and splatterings of scumbags. I really like seeing Final Justice dispensed to those who deserve it. In other ways it was very disappointing. The descriptions of the kidnapped girl were simply lascivious and not appropriate at all.

That made this an uncomfortable read for me. However, I’m sure this type of thing continues so it makes even more sense for me to stop now. I do think that next year I will pick up the latest Mack Bolan just to see how the series has progressed over the years. To put this in perspective, this book was written in 1982 and the series is still ongoing.

Ember and Ash (Castings #4)

 50145860ded845c0af454e328e1d4beeThis 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.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

Title: Ember and Ash
Series: Castings
Author: Pamela Freeman
Rating: 2 of 5 Battle Axes
Genre: SFF
Pages: 521
Format: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

The conflict between the peoples didn’t end when the original Castings Trilogy ended.

Now the gods want in on the conflict. And they’ll freeze out the whole domain, kill anyone they want to and generally act like spoiled children until they get what they want.

And only Ember and her cousin by adoption, Ash, can stop it. But instalove strikes and makes it really, really hard. Boo hoo.

 

My Thoughts:

I read the original Castings Trilogy back in ’09 and ’10. I really should have left it at that. The Castings ended a 1000 year old feud, had 6 to 10 different character viewpoints and was completely character driven. I was ok with that because of the 6-10 characters helped break things up.

This though, had 2 or 3 characters and they all were everything that I can’t stand about ya  books. Ash and Ember would have fit perfectly into ANY CW network show without missing a beat. “her eyes”, “his warm touch”, “the smell of her hair”, “his strong masculinity”. Just gag me right now.

Castings did not strike me as young adult or stay focused on a doomed love. This book did nothing but dwell on that. Just about everyone, at some point in their life, will have a doomed love. But most of us grow up, get over it and move on. And find something even better. For example, what I share with my wife is so outside of what I could have imagined as a 22 year old that I probably would have rejected it when I was 22. But now? My wife fits me, complements me and generally makes my life better in ways that I wasn’t even aware that I needed when we first got married. And I never would have had that if I was focused on the girl I couldn’t have back in my 20’s.

While I recommend the Castings trilogy, with the caveat about the character driven’ness of it, this I can’t recommend. A younger group might enjoy this, but then I don’t know if they’d enjoy the Castings and that was the far superior set of books.

So it all boils down to “bleh”. I won’t be trying anymore by Freeman.

Badland (Warlord #3)

 a9546170ac7a0d7c69213964a3964b7eThis 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.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Badland

Series: Warlord

Author: Jason Frost

Rating:   1 of 5 Battle Axes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Pages: 171

Format: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Eric Ravensmith continues his hunt of Dirk Fallows who still has his son Tim.

And the United States is sending in a space shuttle to recover some secret science stuff that is on the now island of California.

 

My Thoughts:

Man, this was pretty bad. Cannibal children, the freaking space shuttle! Come on, if the mainland wanted something from California, there are easier ways than the space shuttle. And astronauts with a minimal of military training.

Eric almost rescues his son, Fallows is brainwashing Tim and one woman leaves on the space shuttle and the other stays behind. Gratuitous sex scenes allround.

Ugh….

Duainfey (Duainfey #1)

0b31be70d314226d547211f1dc9dc779This 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.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Duainfey

Series: Duainfey

Author: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Battle Axes

Genre: SFF

Pages: 496

Format: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Rebecca Beauvelley is a ruined woman.

In a moment of girlish folly, she allowed a high-flying young man to take her up in his phaeton, not realizing that he was drunk. When he dropped the ribbons, she recovered them, but could not avoid disaster. The young man was killed. Rebecca survived, crippled, and with a reputation in tatters.

Against all expectation, her father has found someone who will marry her. Rebecca’s life seems set, and she resigned to it. Then, Altimere of the Elder Fey enters her life—and everything changes.

 

My Thoughts:

The synopsis is straight from the book page and it describes how this book starts perfectly, hence why I used it.

This is a story of good people and bad people, of good fey and bad fey. Rebecca is one of the good people. Her soon to be husband is one of the bad people. Meripen is one of the good fey, caught and tortured by humans with his lover who sacrificed her life so that he could escape. Altimere is one of the bad fey, a high fey who will do whatever he wants to regain his High status.

Things start out pretty average with poor crippled girl being swept away by enchanting fey who promises to save her from a horrible future. Problem is, the future with the fey is even worse.

And that “even worse” is why I could only give 2 1/2 stars here. I loved the writing, the story, the “overall’ness” of this, but the domination of Rebecca by Altimere was not only magical, it was sexual as well. It was explicit enough that it went beyond the boundary of “part of the story”. Also, Altimere uses Rebecca as a sexual lure for other Fey to steal their powers and she is raped, singly and by group and once again it was graphic enough that it turned my stomach. There are other ways to describe what happens without being sexually explicit.

I have enjoyed Miller and Lee’s Liaden Universe books a lot and so was really looking forward to this. So to have the above dropped on me was unexpected, unwanted and disappointing. There were several times I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to finish the story.

Thankfully, it wasn’t all rape all the time. It was still a good story. I really enjoyed Meripen’s story, a fey ranger. We come across him as he is awoken from healing sleep and slowly learn of his past while he must deal with the present. The present involves Fey and Human working together, something Meripen can’t really comprehend due to what happened so many years ago.

I will be reading the finale to this duology but it isn’t on my “must read” mental list and I won’t be moving it up the line to read right away. Overall, my feelings are so mixed between the bad and the good that I’m not even sure of this middle of the road rating.

Blood and Bullets (Deacon Chalk #1)

13f316f2010e247b540703e79558171cThis 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.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Blood and Bullets

Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter

Author: James Tuck

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Pages: 350

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Deacon Chalk is a haunted man. Vampires killed his family years ago and that set him on the path of so many other Hunters. Deacon rescued an angel and died because of it. Now he has angel essence to help him in his fight.

Today, somebody ambushed Deacon, with 50 vampires.

Deacon doesn’t know of anybody, or anything, strong enough to do that!

 

My Thoughts:

This was really a 4 star read for me, except for the following two items.

1) The F-word was dropped way more liberally than I was really comfortable with

2) The “almost” sex scenes. I don’t need sex thrown in to make a book interesting. Tell me a good adventure story instead.

 

If more paranormal was written like this, I’d probably be reading more of it. I really liked the intro where Deacon name drops a bunch of other fictional vampire hunters. I only got about 1/2 of them, but that was a fun tidbit.

Non-stop, adrenalin pumping action. Ambush, rescue and finally, Destruction! Deacon talks a lot and I could see that getting on peoples’ nerves, but besides two instances of almost word for word repeat of info [one about guns and the other tattoos], I found it quite bearable. The whole “my wife and kids are dead” angst thing was done just enough but not too much.  I didn’t feel like rolling my eyes at it, which means it was done right.

I did like the twist about the Wandering Jew and his connection to vampires. The so-called theology was thrown in to explain some stuff but it was so empty that I couldn’t even find the “harrumph” to lambast the shallow triteness of it. And the smoking, drinking, womanizing, super killer/exorcist priest is old hat. EVERY vampire hunter knows one of those!

Overall, enjoyable with some edges I didn’t care for and would cause me to not out right recommend this series. I will be, however, reading the next 2 books in the series. Guess I’ll be finding out if this is a trilogy or a series. Oh, and that series name. It is way to long. Just call it Deacon Chalk, kind of like I did *wink*

 

Dark Intelligence (Transformation #1) (Polity)

f5c20b1147913d15c73b181229ed7c8cThis 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.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Dark Intelligence

Series: Transformation, Polity

Author: Neal Asher

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 416

 

 

Synopsis:

Penny Royal, a rogue A.I. that went black after the Human/Prador war, is back. It should be dead.

One man and one woman, working with and against each other and Penny Royal, seek it out to find out what has happened.

But how do you fight an A.I. that can turn you into another creature or change your very memories?

That is what Spear and Satomi must figure out if they want answers to their questions and an end to their quest for vengeance against Penny Royal.

 

My Thoughts:

I love Neal Asher’s Polity books. Hard Technology [as opposed to High Fantasy] and ultra-violence all wrapped into a thrill ride where you don’t know which way is sideways or how you’ll get there.

I always know I’ll enjoy these books and hence tend to save them. But at some point I just have to start eating and then I enjoy every minute of it.

Even though the book is ostensibly about Penny Royal, everything is through the eyes of Spear and Satomi, both whom have been wacked by Penny in one way or another. So it starts out as a Quest for Vengeance type story but as you read along, both Spear and Satomi realize that things don’t quite add up. By the end of this book [it is supposed to be a trilogy] it appears that this story is a story of Redemption and making things right.  However, my experience with Asher leads me to believe that the convolutedness of this story is JUST beginning and that I still don’t have a clue as to the End Game.

I did knock off half a star for the 2 unnecessary sex scenes. They weren’t “explicit” but were graphic enough that I thought noting them was necessary.   I also added the “Ultra-Violent” tag, but to be honest, I had to stop and think about it. So I’m either getting jaded or Asher is getting mellow.

To end, a really fun book that continues my love affair with Asher’s Polity Universe.

 

Blood Brothers (Vampire World #1) (Necroscope #6)

9646d828af4789632d30a70ae2e3b094 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.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Blood Brothers

Series: Vampire World, Necroscope

Author: Brian Lumley

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Pages: 622

 

Synopsis:

Harry Keogh is dead. But before dying, he got it on with a Szagny woman who ended up having twins.

This sub-series, Vampire World, of the Necroscope series follow Nathan and Nestor on the Vampire World. One lusts after the power of the fallen vampires, the other trying to figure out what that wall of numbers in his head means.

 

My Thoughts:

This book, at 600+ pages, was a monster [hehehehehe]. However, it was mostly setup.

The first 10% was retelling the end of Deadspawn from another viewpoint than Harry’s and finding out that even when mostly dead, Harry is a real horndog. Letting us know that Harry’s line will survive.

The next 20% – 30% was retelling the Shaitan origin story. How the nuclear blast from Deadspawn sent him back and started the whole vicious cycle. It is more about the rise of the Vampire Lords than anything and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Filling in the history gaps.

Then another 10% – 20% [this is all just really rough guesswork, as I didn’t realize how things were going to be at the beginning and hence didn’t keep track really] is about how there is yet another group of Vampire Lords in yet another Mountain area. These vamps fight their primal urges and are basically ascetics. This leads into one of them going back to Starside to take over since the original vampire lords were all wiped out.

Finally, we get to Nathan and Nestor, the twin sons of Harry. We get a little bit of their growing up and then we really join them when the vampires return and attack. Both go their own ways. One to learn about his abilities, the other to become a vampire.

And there is a girl involved.

This was not nearly as depressing or perverted as Deadspawn. There were graphic descriptions, but they were short and not pages long, nor were they as monstrous as in the previous book. Felt like Lumley pulled back and it really improved the book in my opinion. This book passed muster and allowed the Necroscope series another chance at life for me.