Feb. 4th, 2008 11:23 am
blue_ant: (daniel [bookstore superstar])
[personal profile] blue_ant
11. Selling Out by Justina Robson
As with Keeping It Real, Robson continues to mix a little science fiction with fantasy and romance. She effortless creates worlds (since there's not just one) that the reader can drift between along with Lila Black, our heroine. This sort is a bit darker than the first book, there are more deaths and more dangers, but somehow Robson manages to keep the humor throughout the book. One of the surprising things was that we had a few unexpected reveals, and as trite as Robson could have been (Lila having to go to Demonia to get to Hell), she manages to avoid it. I really enjoyed reading it and I look forward to the next book in the series.

12. 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles
I read this so I didn't have to go see the movie. I have to confess, this was a huge disappointment. I was completely bummed by the way the graphic novel ended. I have placed an ILL request for the sequel, but I don't hold out much hope. Also, I still have no desire to see the movie.

13. The Killing of Worlds by Scott Westerfeld
I was really, really excited about reading this one. I loved The Risen Empire and I think it would have been fun to read the books together. Taken separately, it would seem amazing how well Westerfeld managed to keep the plot and characters together. But since it was originally published as a single work, it's not that hard to imagine. As with the first book, I loved the characters (especially the Captain and the Senator -- which, I know, was the point). There isn't really much to say about this, except that it was a good ending to the "series" (since it's only two books).

13 / 80 new reads. 16% read!


Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:54 pm
blue_ant: (daniel [rock star])
[personal profile] blue_ant
08. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
I finally read it. I've been putting it off since the day it came out and I must admit that I'm glad I did. While almost everyone I know who read it, did so in one day, it took me three days (partly because of work and partly because I wanted to take my time reading it). I'm actually very glad I did. It did not drag, I thought that the story was interesting and the end fulfilling to the effort I put into reading it. I realize this differs from a lot of opinions, but I quite enjoyed it and found that it was better than some of the other books. It was, of course, still too long (who really needed all that stuff about the wedding and then the time spent in the tents, no one, that's who). But, that being said, I'm glad I read it and I am definitely glad I waited.

09. The Return by Hakan Nesser
I'm a sucker for a good Swedish mystery and Nesser did not disappoint. I'd read his previous novel (translated by the Laurie Thompson, the same person who does the Åke Edwarson books I love so much). I found this one to be just as good as the previous. I don't really have a lot to say about these because I don't want to give away plot points, but I have to say that the atmosphere that Nesser creates is fantastic. And, of course Thompson does a fabulous job bringing that across in English.

10. Voices by Arnaldur Indridason
Not a Swedish mystery, but a Scandinavian one nonetheless. Indridason's books all take place in Iceland and feature the troubled and philosophical Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson. I love Indridason's books and he was one of the first Scandinavian authors I read. His writing is dark, but his books have their light-hearted side and he makes a strong effort to explore the inner workings of his characters, especially Erlendur. While the crime is not quite as horrific as some detective novels, Indridason builds a compelling story with a tightly woven plot. He, as all good mystery writers do, leaves the reader guessing as to who really committed the crime. Unlike the all-knowing narrator, we see the world through Erlendur's eyes, knowing what he knows. In spite of the dark topic, the novel is actually quite fun.

10 / 80 new reads. 13% read!


Jan. 11th, 2008 09:43 am
blue_ant: (my neighbor totoro [movies])
[personal profile] blue_ant
05. Windfall by Rachel Caine
This is the fourth book in a series of books called the Weather Wardens. Though the stories are about weather, the series is not in any way science fiction. It's much more along the lines of fantasy, which actually works in the books favor. There are djinns and demons and demon marks and the wardens, which are humans who can manipulate the weather (Earth, Fire, Air, etc). The books aren't great and Caine won't win any prizes, but they are extremely fun to read. As with the previous three, I throughly enjoyed Windfall. Unfortunately, I'll have to find another way to read the newer books, as none of the libraries are here seem to have them.

06. Empyre by Josh Conviser
After reading Echelon last year, I knew that Conviser and his writing was something special. He writes (surprise, surprise) science fiction, but in the cyberpunk style that I adore. While Echelon was not focused as much on the love story, it's in many ways at the heart of Empyre. The book begins, not where Echelon left off, but instead a little bit in the future. We gradually find out what's happened to our characters (Ryan, Sarah and Madda) and we meet several new characters (friend and foe) throughout the novel. It is, I'm happy to say, a perfect sequel to Echelon. The ending definitely caught me off guard and I think that Conviser managed to capture the essence of the world he'd created (and what it would become) by the events that happen at the end.

I highly recommend reading Echelon first, reading something else and then coming back and reading Empyre.

07. Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón
I have so much to say about this book and I will probably say none of it. Alarcón's writing is stronger than the other two authors that I've mentioned here, his character development is on par (if not better) than Conviser's (ignoring the genre for the moment). What makes Alarcón's book exceptional for me is the fact that he talks about a subject I have no desire to read about (war -- though again, science fiction and fantasy war are exceptions) and he creates a world that is like our own, while unlike anything we've ever known. In interviews, Alarcón says that he wants to create a world that was like the one he was born in (Peru), but at the same time, something that could appeal to everyone (the book has been mention in the same breath as 1984, for example).

From the first pages I read, and really, from the very first page itself, I knew I was going to like Alarcón's writing. I literally fell in love and it only grew as I read the book. His writing style is beautiful and moving and everything I want out of an author. I highly recommend this book to pretty much everyone. There is more I want to say, but I am stil processing, and if you're on my LJ flist, you know what I mean.

Books Read
7 / 80 (8.75%)

ETA: Progress meter from here


Jan. 7th, 2008 10:02 am
blue_ant: (devon [fandom + work])
[personal profile] blue_ant
04. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
This was another one of those books that I didn't know what I was going to be reading until I started reading it. I'd heard mixed reviews about Murakami's writing, a friend never really liked it and one of the librarians I work with really loved him. Many of the reviews for After Dark is unlike a lot of what he'd written previously. Taking that into account, I doubt I'll read anything else he wrote. But, ignoring that fact, this book was fantastic. It's short, people call it a short novel or a novella (sometimes both at the same time), regardless, I think it's the perfect length.

The story follows Mari Asai and, to a lesser extent, her sister Eri. The PW and Bookmarks reviews at Amazon, give a really good summary of the book, so I won't do that here. What I will say is that I couldn't stop reading this book. I finished it over tea this morning and found myself lost in this world. I had to know what happened to the characters (who were quite well developed and sympathetic). While I wanted to know what happened, Murakami never really gives us resolution. Not only does that not detract from the book, it provides a nice conclusion, because this book is so real and yet not real at all. There's a little twist of metaphysics (or something supernatural), but not enough to really make it fantasy/horror/etc, and so the lack of resolution fits perfectly into the story.

4 / 80 new reads. 5% read!


Jan. 5th, 2008 04:07 pm
blue_ant: (gaël [look up])
[personal profile] blue_ant
03. Gridlinked by Neal Asher
I've been reading this book for almost a month and a half, not because I was savoring it (which I'm actually doing with another book), but because I wasn't sure I liked it. Now, after finishing it, I'm still not sure. I've read a couple of reviews, and people go on about how it's fun and fast paced, and yes, it is fast paced. And I can see how someone might find it fun. But I'm not sure I was one of those people. It was shockingly violent. As in, I almost put it down and gave up on it (which I try never to do). I don't really have problems with violence (either in books or movies), but for some reason, Asher's was extremely and gruesomely detailed and rather vivid. I don't know if all of his books are like this (this was his first), but it was kind of a shock.

I think this was in part because I've read a lot of YA recently, and the other science fiction I've read has been very tame (oddly enough). Overall I'm glad I didn't stop reading it. The development of the main character, was well done (though I agree with the reviewer who said there needed to be more character development). There is a sequel, but I'm not sure I'm not sure I want to read it. Aside from his overuse of violence, the plot was just interesting enough that I wanted to know what was going to happen next, which is partly why I kept reading. The middle was by far the best part of the book, which was kind of surprising. For a while I almost liked the book.

I will say that Asher is a good author, but I'm not sure his style is something I really like.

3 / 80 new reads. 4% read!


Jan. 3rd, 2008 10:15 pm
blue_ant: (devon [fandom + work])
[personal profile] blue_ant
01. The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld
This was the first of his adult books that I'd read. It was a little odd to read, because I forgot that he likes to alternate points of view, but I had no trouble following the characters. One of the things I loved about this book was that some of the points of view were totally unexpected (like the house) or important events being written from the point of view of people who weren't sure what was going on. One of the best parts of this book was the completely unexpected and amazing love story. I cannot wait to read the second book.

02. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
I don't usually like young adult coming of age novels, unless they are science fiction/fantasy. But once again, they realistic fiction books turn out to be something really quite extraordinary. This is the story of war, though we're never quite sure with whom the English are fighting, and the story of how Daisy ends up in England for the war. It's sort of dream of consciousness, in a way, but well written in other ways. I did cry at the end, but I cry at a lot of things. It's very different from Life As We Knew It, which is what it's most often compared to, but just as good, I think. It's kind of the kid in a disaster situation, only this Rosoff's book is much more without adults than Pfeffer's.

2 / 80 new reads. 3% read!


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