Apr. 30th, 2010 02:14 pm
fiveforsilver: (Doctor Who [sonic screwdriver])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
56. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 4
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 336 page

Zoe's Tale is another fantastic book in the Old Man's War universe. Zoe is the adopted daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan, and this book is a retelling of the timeline of The Last Colony from Zoe's perspective. Because she's a teenager, she isn't privy to everything the adults know and do - and, likewise, they don't know everything that happens to her - so Zoe's experience of that time is quite different from her parents'.

Scalzi writes the Old Man's War books so that each of them is a stand-alone as well as part of a cohesive story, and Zoe's Tale is no exception. And although I found it shelved in the adult science fiction section of the bookstore, this was intended to, and in my opinion does, bridge the divide between adult and YA. It is also hysterically funny throughout much of the book. Scalzi wrote Zoe as a brilliant, sarcastic, irreverent character who talks back to adults (human and alien alike) and uses her wits to save the day, yet still manages to act and sound like an believable teenager.

57. Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper series, book 1
Young Adult, fantasy, 563 pages

Terrier is a fun, fast-paced story about Beka Cooper, a former street urchin who is training for Dog (police) work.

The book is set up as Beka's diary or journal but reads like a first-person novel, and as with many of Pierce's heroines, Beka has special features and abilities which help her on her chosen path. It's an enjoyable book, though not without flaws, and a good set-up for the sequel Bloodhound, which is an excellent book.

58. *Doctor Who: The Story of Martha by Dan Abnett, read by Freema Agyeman
Adult/Young Adult, Science Fiction, Audiobook, 2h27m

It's an account of Martha's travels during the Year That Wasn't, while the Master and the Toclafane ruled the Earth.

Since we already know how it's going to end, it could have been extremely boring and drab, and the first half wasn't particularly exciting. But it picked up in the second half and not only becomes a pretty exciting story but also explains several things that were mentioned in the episode Last of the Time Lords.

59. Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper series, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 538 pages

(Copied from previous review)

As much as Kel (Protector of the Small) is still my favorite Pierce heroine, it is my opinion that Bloodhound is the best book so far in the Tortall series, if not the best Pierce has ever written. I wasn't overly thrilled with the first book in the series, Terrier, but this book more than made up for it. Bloodhound is well-written and the characters are believable and interesting. The plot strong and intriguing, magic is used occasionally and not as a constant crutch, and Pierce is not afraid to put characters in real, even deadly danger as fits the plot and setting.

I do have two minor technical issues with the book. The first is that, as with Terrier, Bloodhound was supposedly written as a "journal", but, again like Terrier, it reads like a first-person novel. I've read journal-style books that are good reads but also are believably journals, and this is not believably a journal. However, it doesn't detract much from the book and is amusing at times.

The second issue is that it's never explained how the coles (counterfeit coins) are being made. One can't simply melt silver and pour it over brass disks to coat them. And what kind of 'silver paint' would match so perfectly with real silver as to fool suspicious people? But as I said, this is a technical issue and it wouldn't have come up if I hadn't studied metalworking, or if I hadn't been so impressed with how she'd dealt with metalworking in the Circle series.

But those are small issues, and those two small issues aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes a fun fantasy read with a bit of crime drama mixed in (although you should probably read Terrier first as there are some things that will be pretty confusing otherwise).

59 / 160 books. 37% done!

27 / 80 *new books. 34% done!

3 / 7 ^non-fiction. 43% done!

16495 / 48000 pages. 34% done!
Audiobooks: 23h46m


Apr. 30th, 2010 10:00 am
fiveforsilver: (Text [So Much Wasted])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
51. *Wizards, Inc edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Loren L. Coleman
Adult, Fantasy, short stories, 306 pages

Most of the stories in this book are so-so but a few - including Theobrama by Diane Duane and No Rest for the Wicked by Mike Stackpole - are very good.

52. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 265 pages

(Copied from previous review)

A fascinating book about a girl who was in an accident and remembers very little about it or her existence before. She spends the book re-learning how to use her body, regaining old memories, discovering new things she doesn't know why she remembers at all, and learning things about herself that don't seem quite right.

This book has been compared to Skinned by Robin Wasserman and that is not an unjust comparison, but the two books are different enough that each can be judged on its own merit. In Skinned, Lia is in an accident and is uploaded into a biomechanical body that does not look like her. In this book, Jenna still looks and sounds like herself and some of her body is still her original. Both books are filled with questions about trust and friendship and family and humanity. They also look at a parent's relationship with their children, what they're willing to do - and how far they should or shouldn't go - to save their child's life.

Second time through this book and it was excellent, just like the first time.

53. Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic series, book 4
Young Adult, fantasy, 258 pages

The Circle books aren't really my favorite but I still like to reread them occasionally. In Briar's Book, a mysterious plague is infecting the city where Briar and his teacher Rosethorn are working and they must work to contain and cure it.

Briar's Book is not one of the better in the series. It drags with too much description of magical medical practices and the story just isn't all that interesting.

54. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 1
Adult, Science Fiction, 313 pages

The first book in a series. It's set in a future time, and all elderly people on Earth are given the option of joining the CDF (Colonial Defense Forces) when they turn 75. If you do it, you are taken off Earth and - on Earth, at least - declared legally dead. Nobody on Earth knows exactly what happens next...except that they somehow make you young again, to fight in the war.

I love this book and, in fact, the whole series. Scalzi's writing is energetic and always readable; the story is fast-paced and fun with believable, relateable characters; and he delights in inventing truly alien aliens for CDF to fight against.

55. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 3
Adult, Science Fiction, 316 pages

Third book in the Old Man's War series. John and Jane are chosen to head up a colony on a new planet. Except things don't go exactly as expected and along with the normal hazards of colonizing a new planet (unfriendly lifeforms, inedible vegetation, etc), they suddenly discover that they've been made pawns in an intergalactic war.

Excellent as usual from Scalzi.

55 / 160 books. 34% done!

26 / 80 *new books. 33% done!

3 / 7 ^non-fiction. 43% done!

15058 / 48000 pages. 31% done!
Audiobooks: 21h19m
fiveforsilver: (Doctor Who [Donna])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
50. The Nemoninte Invasion by David Roden, read by Catherine Tate
Science Fiction, audiobook, 2h22m

Catherine Tate is a wonderful reader. The story is pretty good, if a bit...icky at times.

And with that, I'm going to bed. No all-nighters for me. My total for the read-a-thonl is three dead-tree books and two audiobooks.

50 / 160 books. 31% done!

25 / 80 *new books. 31% done!

3 / 7 ^non-fiction. 43% done!

13600 / 48000 pages. 28% done!
Audiobooks: 21h19m
fiveforsilver: (Text [silence speaks])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
49. A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley
Young Adult, Fantasy, short stories, 192 pages

One of my favorite short story anthologies. I wrote a review of each story here.
fiveforsilver: (Doctor Who [sonic screwdriver])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
48. Doctor Who: The Many Hands by Dale Smith, read by David Troughton
Science Fiction, audiobook, 2h26m

Great reading, but I didn't particularly like the story.
fiveforsilver: (YW [Did I do right?])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
47. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
Young Adult, Fantasy, 300 pages

Charlie has a parking fairy, which means that when she's in a car, there is always a perfect parking spot. And although Charlie is too young to drive and hates cars, that doesn't stop people around her from taking advantage of her fairy whenever they can. So she's doing everything she can to figure out how to ditch her fairy.

I've been meaning to reread this for a while. I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. It is fairly light and playful and has a refreshingly new premise. The characters act believably - incredibly stupidly at times, but believably, especially for high school students - and I love the universe that it envisions.
fiveforsilver: (Literati)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
46. The Game of Sunken Places by MT Anderson
Young Adult, Fantasy, 260 pages

Brian and Gregory visit Gregory's uncle during a school break and end up caught in the middle of a magical game.

It's rather Jumanji-esque in some ways. The writing is great, I'd expect nothing less from the author of Thirsty and Feed, but it's far too open-ended for a book with no sequel.


Apr. 10th, 2010 07:52 am
fiveforsilver: (YW [Did I do right?])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
41. *Doctor Who: The Doctor Trap by Simon Messingham, read by Russell Tovey
Adult, Science Fiction, Audiobook, 2h24m

42. The Wizard's Dilemma by Diane Duane
Young Wizards series, book 5
Young Adult, Fantasy, 403 pages

43. A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane
Young Wizards series, book 6
Young Adult, Fantasy, 320 pages

44. Wizard's Holiday by Diane Duane
Young Wizards series, book 7
Young Adult, Fantasy, 416 pages

45. Wizards at War by Diane Duane
Young Wizards series, book 8
Young Adult, Fantasy, 551 pages

My favorite Young Wizards books are actually the first three, but the rest of the series is excellent as well.

45 / 160 books. 28% done!

22 / 80 *new books. 28% done!

3 / 7 ^non-fiction. 43% done!

12848 / 48000 pages. 27% done!
Audiobooks: 16h31m


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