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Bozimus

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Posts posted by Bozimus

  1. A few days ago, I finished reading "Three Hearts and Three Lions" by Poul Anderson. I picked up this book for two reasons...

     

    1. Supposedly, this is one of those fantasy classics that predates The LOTR trilogy (if only by a year).

    2. I usually enjoy books that feature a modern man thrust against his will into a parallel Earth where magic works.

     

    Thankfully, this is a very short book. More of a long novella in my opinion. I would not have finished it (and almost didn't) if it were longer than 170 pages. I did find parts interesting… Sadly, I found an equal number of parts annoying or just too simplistic for my taste. The majority of annoying parts were found in the first half of the book…which contributed to my early desire to stop reading. I am glad that I finished, but only marginally so.

     

    I give this book a 2 out of 5 on the Goodreads' scale.

  2. I just finished "Clementine" by Cherie Priest.

    This is the second book of "Clockwork Century" series that I have read. Not really a book, more of a novella. This was a light, fun read. Nothing stupendous, just a good story with lots of steampunk elements I have come to enjoy. Thus far, Ms. Priest has exhibited a style of writing I find very agreeable. Her characters are neither saintly nor are they evil incarnate...they come across as real people with both good and bad qualities.

     

    I look forward to reading the next book... "Dreadnought".

     

  3. This is my review of a book I just finished this morning..."The Long Run" by Daniel Keyes Moran. Part two in "Tales of the Continuing Time" series.

     

    (This first paragraph was written almost a year ago and posted on Goodreads)

    My rating (5 out of 5 stars) is based upon having read this book for the first time (on or about) the year 1989. I remember eagerly turning pages as Trent escaped one hair-raising action sequence before entering another. This book was for me like crack is to a crack addict. I am tempted, oh so tempted, to read it again.

     

    3-20-2013 UPDATE:

    Having just completed a re-read, I find that my previously high regard for this book has diminished over the last 20 odd years. I no longer consider this book to be one of my "all time favorites". The "Long run is still a good book, IMO, but no longer a "GREAT" book. The book is unchanged since my first reading, so the reason for my re-evaluation is a change in the reader...yours truly. I am a different person than I was in 1989. A lot of books have been read since 1989. The "Long Run" has suffered in comparison. IMO, in the year of 2013, the "Long Run" deserves 3 stars.

     

    SPOILER ALERT******

    For certain types of adventure literature to be enjoyable (for me), the contests between protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) need to provide a certain amount of tension. The bad guy needs to come close to killing/defeating the good guy. There needs to be a real question concerning the outcome. If your protagonist is freakishly smart and the antagonists are bureaucratic simpletons, there will not be any doubt as to the outcome. No doubt, no tension.

     

    Trent the Uncatchable is this story's protagonist and resident super genius. The PKF (Peace Keeping Force) are the story's simpleton antagonists. Time and time again, Trent effortlessly eludes or evades or outthinks these petty bureaucrats who are collectively the baddest of the bad in our Solar System.

     

    Yawn…after a while, I stopped buying the BS that Trent was in any danger of getting caught or killed. Once that happened, I lost interest and finishing the book began to feel like a chore. It is a shame really, because I had such fond memories..

    END SPOILER*******

     

    How in the world did I ever consider this book to be among my “all time favorites”? Maybe I am too jaded to enjoy a story of this type any longer?

     

  4. Re: What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finis

     

    I finished "Monster Hunter International" by Larry Correia several days ago.

     

    This book started off great...tons of action combined with an "easy to read" writing style. I was happily flipping the pages until Mr. Correia committed an unpardonable sin...not once, but TWICE!

     

    ****SPOILER****

    At one point, every main character died INCLUDING OWEN PITT the protagonist! But wait...he didn't really die! His spirit talked to the ancient artifact and told it to roll time back 5 minutes. POOF!!! Everyone is alive again and the monsters who slew them have magically disappeared. Deus FREAKING Ex Machina anyone?

     

    If that was not bad enough, just when our hero is beaten to a pulp, blinded in one eye, and about to die, something similar happens at the very end of the book. Mr. D. E. Machina spoils my reading enjoyment for the second time in one book. Yikes.

     

    ****END OF SPOILER****

    Mr. Correia obviously has the chops to be a competent writer and storyteller, but he needs to stop writing himself into corners. Monster Hunter International could have received 4 stars from me. Each time he triggered the D. E. M, it cost him a star in my rating. I have already (stupidly) purchased the second book in this series, but I will not be reading it. I prefer to spend my precious reading time on books written by authors that do not cheapen the experience in such an unsavory fashion.

  5. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    Just finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Supposedly he's a local guy' date=' into SCA and gaming, massive geek cred. He also just happens to have scorched off a pretty damn good novel, the first of a short series. The hero telling his tale after his derring-do is done. Took me two tries to get going on it but once I reached the turning point I was hooked.[/quote']

     

    I have been waiting for the third book to come out before starting this one (thanks to GRRM :(). I have been salivating in anticipation because TNotW is rumored to be an excellent book. I may relent soon and begin to read it before the third book is released. Kinda depends on the other books in my Fantasy "to be read" pile.

  6. Re: What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finis

     

    I just finished "Lords of the North", book 3 of the Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell.

     

    This was my least favorite (thus far) of a very enjoyable series. Not saying it was bad, just not as good as the previous two books. This book had more filler/pointless scenes than book 1 or book 2. Most of them revolving around the character of Guthred.

     

     

    Uhtred Ragnarson has started using gimmicks to defeat much more powerful adversaries. This robbed the story of a great deal of tension. The exception to this was the sneaking into Dunholm's fortress. That was well-handled. I wish the rest of the book followed the same course as the Dunholm infiltration.

     

     

     

    Even though this third book wasn't up to the standards set by the first two, it was still a fun and exciting story. I will gladly read book four, "Sword Song", in the not too distant future.

  7. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    Finished "The Man Who Never Missed" by Steve Perry.

     

    This book may be the first "Matador" novel in published order, but it is not the first book of the series in chronological order. That honor belongs to "The 97th Step".

     

    I read "The 97th Step" approximately 10 years ago. The fact that it took me 10 years to get around to the sequel ("The Man Who Never Missed") should speak volumes.

     

    I wanted to like both of these books. The title of "The Man Who Never Missed" seems to offer a promise of lots of action. Titles such as this draw action junkies (such as moi) like a flame draws a moth. Like the aforementioned moth...I feel a little singed having finished this book.

     

    There is very little action in this book. There are more pages devoted to becoming/being a bartender. The entire book feels like a buildup...which might have been appropriate if I hadn't ALREADY read a book in this series ("The 97th Step") that was all buildup!

     

    Will I go on to book number three, "Matadora"? Probably not. If that book turned out to be all buildup and no payout, I might start banging my head on the nearest piece of furniture. My head, being rather hard, might hurt the furniture. This would get me in trouble with the Wife...since she is rather fond of said furniture.

     

    At this point in time, I will not pursue this series further. 10 years down the road, who knows? Kinda depends on what is sitting on my "To Read" shelf and how my memory has degraded.

  8. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    Lankhmar series: great stuff! Now I'm on to Amber as I work my way through the Appendix N reading list.

     

    IMO, the first 5 books of Zelazny's "Amber" series are among the best fantasy books you could hope to find. You are in for a treat!!!

    While not on the list, you might also consider "The Fionavar Tapestry" series by Guy Gavriel Kay and "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever" series by Stephen Donaldson.

     

    A word of warning about the Donaldson books...only buy "Lord Foul's Bane" (book 1, series 1). If you do NOT throw the book against the wall after reading about Covenant's despicable act (in the first 30 pages?) then you might consider purchasing books 2 and 3. I would stop there. "The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever" is quite a slog compared to the excellent first series. I never read the most recent chronicles (having heard from a friend the first book was terrible).

  9. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    I just finished "Deliverer" by C.J Cherryh...

    This is the 9th book in "Foreigner" series and not surprisingly, sequelitis has taken residence in the basement like an adult child that just won't launch. And it is just about as welcome...

     

    Let me be perfectly clear...Cherryh is a favorite author of mine. "Downbelow Station" was a GREAT book! I thoroughly enjoyed her "Chanur" series. I even enjoyed roughly 6 of the 9 "Foreigner" series books I have read (despite Cherryh's tendency to obsess over mundane details). However, that being said, "Deliverer" feels like it was written by an author who has either run out of interesting ideas for this character or is simply typing words to fulfill a contractual obligation.

     

    What did I not enjoy about this book?

    I did not enjoy switching between Bren's (what I consider the main character and the reason I bought the book) and Cajeri's (a spoiled alien brat) point of view. I kept putting this book down whenever the point of view shifted from Bren to the whiny bratling Cajeri. I contemplated simply skipping the Cajeri parts but didn't for fear that something might prove interesting. Sigh. Cajeri, IMO, has always been an inconvenience for the main character to overcome, at best. Giving him equal billing was a horrendous mistake.

     

    ***Spoiler Alert***

     

    The book only became mildly interesting when Cajeri was kidnapped. At that point, a welcome tension replaced the annoying whining. My enjoyment was less than it could have been because part of me actually hoped they would kill Cajeri off and end MY suffering! But even the "recover the kidnapped heir" plot device was mishandled by such a skilled/experienced author as Cherryh. A "deus ex machina" styled ending just left me feeling disappointed.

     

    ***Spoiler Ends***

     

    In conclusion, if this had been a book by another author, I might have thrown it down in disgust early on. However, I trudged onwards trusting Cherryh to steer the book back onto a proper course. I doubt that I will read another "Foreigner" novel as I have begun to believe that Cherryh is milking the proverbial cash cow for all it is worth. This is a shame, because I derived a great deal of pleasure from some of her earlier books in this series.

  10. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    Reading Orb, Sceptre, Throne.

     

    Very nice return to Malazan but sort of a weird timing thing considering Crippled God came out first. I'm very surprised by the number of Erikson characters Esselmont uses. Korbald and Bauchelain? Really?

     

    Jason, I plan to follow the Malazan chronology listed here...

    http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-malazan-reading-order.html

     

    Erikson and Esslemont have made a mess of their series' chronology. I have forgiven them for this small inconvenience since they have provided me with thousands of pages of dark fantasy goodness. :winkgrin:

  11. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    Did you ever hear the story of how he started the series? It is awesome.

     

    He was in an internet argument. You know, lots of typing in all caps and calling people Hitler. The argument was on where great stories come from. The other guy argued for the "sanctity of the idea". Even a mediocre writer could make a great story if he had an idea that was just perfect. Jim argued that it was all about the skill of the writer and the effort put into the craft. Even a terrible idea could be good if a sufficiently talented writer put enough work into it.

     

    So the guy told Jim to put his effort where his mouth was. Make a great story with a terrible idea, one that the guy would supply.

     

    "No! You will give me TWO bad ideas and I will use BOTH!"

     

    "Fine. The first is the Lost Roman legion. The Legio IX Hispana. I've seen too many silly period novels and fantasy novels speculating on what happened to them. It's overdone."

     

    "and the second?"

     

    "Pokemon."

     

    So Jim read up on Pokemon and found that it was itself a fusion of two things (WWF and literalized Shinto religion), so he wrote a story in which the decendants of the Lost Legion duel using the spirits of the earth.

     

    Thanks for sharing that! I think Butcher proved his point...

  12. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    Just finished "Captain's Fury" by Jim Butcher...

    This may be the fourth book of a very solid fantasy series (Codex Alera) but it is the first book of the series to earn a five star rating from me. The previous three books came close to 5 star ratings...but minor quibbles kept them from getting a full five stars. This book has everything I like to see in a book (lots of fighting, pathos, unique magic system, logical/interesting character progression, etc). Author, Jim Butcher, is a very good storyteller who knows his craft. I eagerly await the next book, "Princep's Fury".

  13. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    I just finished "Revelation Space" by Alastair Reynolds...

     

    I have wanted to read this for a long time, but other books got in the way. It took a little while to get REALLY interesting. I read a little, put it down, read a little more, put it back down....lather, rinse, repeat. Then the pace began to pick up a third of the way in.

     

    At roughly 66%, the two groups of major characters began to interact in earnest. I like books whose protagonists have hard edges and this one had plenty of gritty types (murderers, mercenaries, and prima donnas to name but a few). Reynolds did a good job of fleshing out the major characters. But I don't read science fiction for good characterization...that is usually considered a bonus.

     

    I read science fiction for the "WOW Factor". I want to be enthralled by cool tech, powerful spaceships, and world-shattering events. This book delivered all three. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I will be reading the next book...."Redemption Ark". Reynolds is a writer to watch, IMO.

  14. Re: What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finis

     

    I just finished "The Sun Over Breda", book 3 of "The Adventures of Captain Alatriste" by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

     

    I started this book with slight reservations. The previous book in this series, "Purity of Blood", did not exactly "knock my socks off". But I decided to give this third book in the series a chance based upon the high regard I hold for the author, Arturo Perez-Reverte.

     

    I keep hoping for another "El Club Dumas" and I keep getting disappointed. Don't get me wrong...this book was a pleasant read. However, it did not quite deliver what was promised on the inner flap of the hard back cover..."a gloriously dramatic novel of war and honor...". I am an action junky! I WANT to read the blow-by-blow of a sword/pistol fight... But Perez-Reverte (too often) abstracted the action. He would get to a juicy fight scene and poof...he would sum up the outcome instead of letting me see/experience it. ARRRGHHH!!! Arturo, You lost at least 1 full star for that, me bucko. If your intended audience were the women buying "50 Shades of Grey" I could understand abstracting the violence. But how many women are going to buy into this series?

     

    To sum it up, there are better examples of historical fiction out there (Bernard Cornwell's excellent "Saxon Tales" to name one). I doubt that I will read book 4 of this series "The King's Gold".

  15. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    I just finished reading "Under Heaven" by Guy Gavriel Kay.

     

    G.G. Kay is one of my favorite authors. I had high hopes for this book because of my interest in ancient China and I was not disappointed. This book is like a pot of red beans & rice...it took awhile to really start to simmering. Then it became hard to put down...a good sign that you are reading a good book. Lots of politics and world building with fully developed characters. A little light on the action side, but for once, I didn't mind.

     

    Some of Kay's books are hard to put in a specific category. Even though there was a smidgen of magic, this does not feel like a fantasy to me. The most appropriate category seems to be "historical fiction" even though this book takes place in an alternate version of ancient China. This book successfully transported me to ancient China without constraining the setting by using actual historical events. I believe that this was the intent of the author and he carried it off rather well. I eagerly look forward to the next Kay book on my "To Read" shelf..."The Lions of al-Rassan".

  16. Re: What Non-Fiction Book have you just finished?

     

    Another section details the policies of the British government that led to the American Revolution and the inevitable defeat of the efforts to suppress it (Tuchman contends that it would have been virtually impossible for the British to win the war' date=' and that there was no possible outcome of the conflict that would have been in their favor regardless of what happened on the actual battlefield).[/quote']

     

    I am not a historian, nor am I well-versed in the history surrounding the Revolutionary War, but this view strikes me as a little hard to believe. Can you elaborate further on why the most powerful nation on Earth (at that time) could not have been victorious in this particular revolution when they had proven quite adept at squashing Irish, Scot, Welsh, etc. insurrections throughout their history? I learned (maybe incorrectly) that the Revolutionary War was a "near run" thing... Sounds like an interesting premise, however.

  17. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...

     

    I just finished "Hounded".

     

    This is the first book of the "Iron Druid" urban fantasy series by Kevin Hearne. I finished this book in a little over two weeks, which is pretty fast for me since I read three to four books simultaneously. Hearne has impressed me with his ability to write such a compulsively readable book. Why did I like it so much? The main reasons are listed below...

     

    I am a big fan of Jim Butcher's "Harry Dresden Files" series. That series has a wise-cracking wizard for a protagonist and tons of interesting supporting characters. When an author takes those characters and presents them in a fast-paced setting that liberally mixes action and humor, readers cannot turn the pages fast enough.

     

    With "Hounded", Hearne has perfectly channeled his inner "Butcher". While this book resembles the Dresden series, it does not feel derivative. I never felt as if Hearne had ripped Butcher off. Instead, I received the same "comfort food" feeling I normally enjoy when reading a "Harry Dresden File" book. In short, many of the same characteristics that lead me to enjoy Butcher's books are found in "Hounded".

     

    First books in a series tend to spend a lot of time introducing the cast. Hearne managed this necessity without making me feel impatient. To my delight, there was liberal amounts of action interspersed between cast introductions. In other words, the pacing was "spot on".

     

    To sum it all up, I am glad that I bought "Hounded". The second book "Hexed", is already on my "To Buy" list.

  18. Re: What Non-Fiction Book have you just finished?

     

    Just finished "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James D. Hornfisch.

     

    Taffy 3, equipped with 6 converted cargo ship aircraft carriers (CVEs), escorted by 3 destroyers (DD) and 4 'escort destroyers' (DE) were preparing for thier morning ground support for the troops ashore on Leyte and anti-submarine patrol when over the horizon comes 4 battleships (including Yamato, world's largest), 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers.

    The American carriers immediatly launch whatever aircraft they have ready for combat, however they were armed (Mostly fragmentation bombs, napalm, and depth charges) while the destroyers ("Tin Cans" in navy slang) first laid smoke then closed into torpedo range. Last stand time indeed, as destroyers first launched torpedoes then turned around and *pretended* to launch more torpedoes. Aircraft dropped bombs etc. then turned around on fake bomb runs.

     

    Drama on the high seas, told almost entirely from the point of view of Americans who were there. As history, it's shaky, since it relies almost exclusively on American sources, but as action/adventure, well, they should make a movie of it.

    (Clint Eastwood as Admiral Clifton Sprague. "Admiral, look! They're getting away!"

     

    This one is on my "to read" list!!!

  19. Re: What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finis

     

    In the first case the killer murdered Hammer's buddy and went on to kill the spouse as well before Mike caught on. In the second case the guy is the head of the vice racket in New York and had his own grand daughter murdered. Hammer had met her briefly and gave her some cash to get her life back on track. So he decides to avenge her.

     

    That explains things! Thanks!

  20. Re: What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finis

     

    My Gun is Quick by Mickey Spillane. In the previous book' date=' Mike Hammer kills a naked woman. This time he kills an old man who is trapped by falling beams by shooting him in the head before the firemen can get to them. This would not pass muster today. It is brutal. Good but brutal.[/quote']

     

    You must be leaving out some important tidbits about the victims. Unless Mike Hammer has become a psychopath?

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