Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Of the three gods who created the world, one has been killed–murdered by her jealous brother–one is imprisoned inside a mortal body, and the third is left to rule creation as he pleases.  After her mother’s murder, Yeine, half barbarian half high-blood, is summoned to the palace of Sky and named one of three potential heirs to the throne, but she must navigate the complicated palace relationships with not only the humans, but fallen gods while trying to discover her mother’s murderer and stay alive.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a great debut novel by N. K. Jemisin.  It’s told with a distinct voice and style that really worked for me (though some might find it distracting).   It has a refreshingly small cast of characters while still establishing complicated ties and relationship.  On the whole, it was easy to finish but not a book I couldn’t put down.  If you’re looking for a book that’s a bit steamy, with an intriguing premise, and a strong female protagonist then this is for you.

Book Review: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

September 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

I just finished Dragonflight over labor day weekend.  It tells (primarily) the story of Lessa, who has telepathic abilities to speak with dragons, and is chosen to lead the dragonriders, just before the traditional enemy of the dragon’s, the Thread, begin to fall.  It’s been on my list for a long time and after how much I enjoyed it, I wish I’d picked it up sooner.  A great adventure and a fascinating world, there’s a bit of excess men-grabbing-females-by-the-shoulders-and-shaking-them, and the tension didn’t climax as well as I would have liked, but I look forward to reading (at least some of) the sequels.

Book Review: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

September 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

I also read this book on vacation, in the two days after the two days I spent reading The Warded Man (what can I say, reading is relaxing to me). It follows 75-year-old John Perry as he starts a new life in the army, defending humanity and it’s colonies from hostile aliens, in exchange for a rejuvenation that leaves him in a suped-up 25-year-old version of his body.  Basically the exact opposite premise of Enders Game.

I’ve always been a big fan of Heinlein in general, and Starship Troopers specifically (the book, not the movie), and Old Man’s War takes all the best parts of that and trims the long chapters that feel like lectures (or at least hides them better).  A great read that’s well-written with a fascinating plot and some interesting twists for good measure, I loved it and would recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction.

As an interesting aside, he originally published it as a free serial on his web site, though he doesn’t recommend you try the same.  In an even more interesting aside, Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker, was discovered the same way.

Book Review: The Warded Man by Peter Brett

September 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

I started this in the car on the way to vacation, and my wife didn’t hear a word from me for the next two days. The Warded Man takes place in a world where no one ventures far from their homes during the day for fear of being caught outside when the sun sets. Each night, demons rise and brutally attack anyone not sheltering behind warded walls.  It’s primarily the story of Arden, a farm boy who’s tired of hiding from demons.

It’s not the best written story out there and the title gives away a major plot point that comes late in the book, but it’s Brett’s debut novel so I’ll cut him a healthy amount of slack. I can’t say what pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go, it could have been the unique magic system, or the frightening world, or the slowly mounting tension, but I loved The Warded Man and would recommend it.

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

September 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve never read a vampire/zombie/werewolf book and (until now) I’ve never had the desire to, but I’m a sucker for Abraham Lincoln (he’s actually my first cousin, six times removed) and when I saw this book at the library I couldn’t resist. Grahame-Smith does a masterful job creating a world where 18th century America is brimming with vampires and the way he ties them into Lincoln’s life, explaining everything from why he was such an amazing wrestler, to how it enlightened his views on slavery is nothing short of brilliant.   And to think I never knew.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Loved this book!  A great read.  I read this back in January, but I still can’t say enough about it. Set in a future where the world has been ravaged by nuclear war and North America has been divided into twelve districts all ruled by the elitist capital, each year two children are chosen from each district to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. Loved the setting, loved the characters, loved the tension. I checked it out at noon and didn’t sleep that night until I finished it. It’s a great example of a young adult book that appeals to all ages. The sequels don’t quite capture the magic of the first, but it’s a book you don’t want to miss. Here’s hoping the movie doesn’t ruin it.

For other Young Adult books you shouldn’t miss, check out the reading recommendations.

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