Category Archives: Book Reviews

House of Hades by Rick Riordan– Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12127810-the-house-of-hades?from_search=true

Book Four in the Heroes of Olympus Series.

I zipped through the first Percy Jackson series and the first three books in this series. When I was done I remember looking on in despair as I realized I would have to wait over a year to read the next one. THE WAIT IS OVER! I headed down to my local library and was lucky enough to have a copy on the shelf. I’ve had it for three days now and I’ve been reading it every chance I can get. My resounding response is… meh.

Leo, Hazel and Frank are my favorite part of the new series but I don’t really care for Jason or that other new character. Percy and Annabeth are fun to read but really it just didn’t hold my attention like the others did. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s been about a year since I’ve read the previous book in the series, I don’t know. The thing I did enjoy about the series was that the goddess Hecate makes an appearance. She was pretty cool.

Verdict: Library if you’re a fan of the series.

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Monster Hunters Legion by Larry Correia – A review

 

Monster Hunters Legion by Larry Correia – A review

Back to the subject; here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Monster Hunter International might be the premier monster eradication company in the business, but they’ve got competition.

When hunters from around the world gather in Las Vegas for a conference, a creature left over from a World War Two weapons experiment wakes up and goes on a rampage across the desert. A not-so-friendly wager between the rival companies turns into a race to see who can bag the mysterious creature first.

Only there is far more to this particular case than meets the eye, and as Hunters fall prey to their worst nightmares, Owen Zastava Pitt and the staff of Monster Hunter International have to stop an ancient god from turning Sin City into a literal hell on earth.

A brief review of the series:
The Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia follows the employees of a company named Monster Hunters International, MHI for short, which as their name suggests hunts monsters. The government has arranged a bounty system that is very lucrative and they collect these cash prized by dispatching all sorts of oogey-boogeys. There is a healthy dose of the Cthulhu mythos as well as classic versions of monsters peppering the plot. These are good books to read if you enjoy monster movies, action movies, or want something that is fun and addictive.

This is the fourth book in the series but I’d really consider it the third. Monster Hunters International and Vendetta should be read as one book for greater enjoyment. Before I purchased this book I read some iffy reviews that the series had taken something of a downswing in quality filled with expendable characters and plot holes. Every series eventually has that one book that just isn’t up to snuff and kind of just exists to move the plot from along.

This isn’t that book.

Over the series Owen has gained more depth and the supporting characters are ones I’ve grown to care about. Trip in this book really shines and Holly kicks butt as per usual. Julie and Earl aren’t given much screen time but the bits they do show up are good. The only character I really felt disappointed in was the treatment of Jason Lococo. He’s a character that deserved a bit more page time. (Some research shows that the name was actually a fan who donated money for a kidney operation as incentive. Kind of make sense that there isn’t too much on him then. Maybe the character shouldn’t have been one for the ‘redshirting’ as the website labels it.)

Overall, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Monster Hunters International and Monster Hunter Alpha I gave 5 out of 5. Why one less star for this outing? It takes a lot of time to get the real story going, plus there is build up that never pays off. The conference and other organizations are there to be a body count. When I look at it now, it feels like the book should have been longer. There isn’t really a second act. It kind of hops from Act 1: The Conference to Act 3: The Action.

My Verdict: Buy the series. You’re welcome.

Final thoughts & minor SPOILERS:
I really enjoyed the interaction between Tanya and Edward. I’d like to know more about the Elves too. A spin off book or short story collection about the international hunters would be pretty cool too. I hope we see Heather again and I’m looking forward to learning more about Franks in the next book.

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Obliterating My Geek-Cred

 

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve seen or read a lot of these ‘defining’ pieces in science fiction and fantasy. Last year I watched Blade Runner for the first time. Earlier this year I read The Name of the Wind and a couple years ago I dove into Dune and the Riverworld series.

On the whole I wasn’t really impressed. Watching Blade Runner I could see all the depth and glimpses at the stories that could be told in this setting but the movie itself was just decent. I watched the most recent directors cut or the definitive cut, whichever one they have out in the last few years with the precious seconds of extra footage but overall it was a ‘meh’. Considering it was something akin to the birth of cyberpunk I was really looking forward to it. I dove into the Sprawl with William Gibson as my guide and loved that touch of the early genre.

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, no, the entire original series isn’t worth the hype. How did this get such a following before The Next Generation?

The first book in the Riverworld series was interesting, dated, but interesting. I had accidentally bought a later book in the series first which almost killed it for me. Thanks to eBooks my interest woke up later on the banks of an online books store for further adventures.

Dune. My wife tried to get me to read the book. It’s such an amazing book… twenty years ago. This is coming from me, who went through a two year stretch where I would scour the local used bookstore for post-apocalyptic stories written no later than 1990.

The Name of the Wind, while not a long standing classic, has been called groundbreaking. Really? It was enjoyable, but I don’t see what the fuss is about. It’s rather hard opinion to have too, the author sounds like a great guy and I’d love to meet him one day.

What else?

Black Company by Glen Cook. Wow. That was amazing. Such amazing characterization. Like the character One-Eye, who had one eye. Or the character Silent who never spoke. It took fantasy to from the level of kings and queens and put it on the soldiers’ level. That’s what the dust jacket proclaimed. It was pretty much Vietnam in a fantasy world and the writing was amateurish.

I’m jumping around here, sorry, but I’m just not impressed by most of these ‘amazing’ pieces.

Here’s a fun idea. Suggest your favorite book or movie. I’ll give it a go. Right now I’ve got Flash Gordon and Iron Man 3 on my To-Watch list. My To-Read list is pretty much just Redwall. I’m open.

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Perdido Street Station By China Mieville

This book did not do it for me. After all the hype and recommendations, it really fell flat. I don’t think it would have been nearly as bad if I hadn’t experienced the audio-book, but them’s the breaks.

It was an interesting, somewhat bleak start to the book, but then there was something about having sex with a bug-lady and I had to turn it off. So, yeah, that’s like the first chapter? I didn’t make it through it. Even as the bug-loving was nearing an end I didn’t like the main character and found his inner-workings to be rather pointless.

I’ll give it another go, in book form, if I find it in the bargain bin, but for now.

My Verdict: Skip.

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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – A Book Review

 

A lot of people rave about this book and the writer. I’ve come to recognize Patrick Rothfuss through his series about writing on Geek and Sundry. He is smart, funny, and it made me want to read his book. I follow his blog, I’ve liked him on Facebook, and now I’ve read his book.

From Goodreads:

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard

It ends with a lot of questions unanswered and after that journey it wasn’t the payoff it was hyped to be. I enjoyed reading it, the first few chapters really hooked me. It was interesting and kept me engaged but by the end I was a little irked. The tale tottles along, covering this and that, going along everything about Kvothe’s life and then it ends, that’s it. Want more? Pick up book two, another large tome about the further adventures of Kvothe which I haven’t picked up and I don’t plan on it.

My Verdict: Check your local library. It’s entertaining and, in a pinch, even the paperback could stop a bullet.

Image Credit:
PatrickRothfuss.com

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Dragons of Autumn Twilight – A Book Review

 

I’ve recently started reading this book for maybe the fifth time. It’s been a few years and this copy was one I purchased because my wife hadn’t read it before. I was really looking forward to rediscovering old friends.

Man. I was wrong.  It hasn’t aged well.

I know the book first came out in the 80s but it reads like a soap opera. Everyone has internal dialogues about the past or this character doing something or how INSERT CHARACTER has changed. It’s clear that Raistlin is going to get his own series because there is enough about him or how the others react to him and think of him to fill up a few chapters. The only character I still love across the years is Tas and he hardly gets any real time. It’s about Tanis, or Strum, or the Twins and after the first few chapters I really don’t care about them anymore.

I remember loving this book, I’ve read this trilogy a couple of times before, not to mention the ones that follow it, but I’m going to put this back on the shelf. It feel juvenile, unpolished, and it tries too hard to be dramatic.

My Verdict: Don’t slay your nostalgia, keep it on the shelf

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Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne – A Series Review

The Iron Druid Series by Kevin Hearne starts with ‘Hounded’ and introduces the main character of Atticus and his faithful hound Oberon. I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

Atticus is the last druid walking the Earth and is laying low in Arizona after swiping a mystical sword & ticking off a lot of Fae. I won’t say more about the story of the first book other than that. As for the characters, I found them funny, refreshing, and almost witty. There are a lot of pop culture references; which don’t hurt, but don’t do much to further the story. Oberon, the dog is linked telepathically to Atticus so a lot of their conversations are funny but kind of buff the word-count and get some jokes in. I heartily enjoyed the first book and sought out the second.

The second book in the series ‘Hexed’ is more of the same. This time it’s Atticus versus evil Witches with some cameos tossed in and side plots for good measure. It’s well written, it flows nicely, and more than once my wife had to really try to get my attention while i was caught-up reading.

The third book ‘Hammered’ is where I start to get a little iffy with the series. The story is how Atticus and a group of conspirators get together to kill the Norse Thunder God Thor. I can understand this is fiction, I can understand a writer will adjust things to fit the story but this felt a bit hollow. My religious designation is Heathen, which means I’m kind of familiar with Nordic Legends. I found the portrayal of Thor and most of the pantheon in this book to be rather off, borderline insulting. I get it, Marvel has a comic with Thor in it so it had to be different but making him an all-out super douche was kind of a bit much.

To be honest, I skipped a go portion of this book because it was too hard to read. However, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the series of seeking out the next two books.

The fourth book in the series ‘Tricked’ has Atticus dealing with Coyote and the backlash of his trip to Asgard. It was good, not outstanding, just good.

The fifth book in the series ‘Trapped’ has Atticus continuing to deal with the fallout of certain choices he has made through the entire series. With this book there is a feeling of finality to the plot. With one more book announced in the series it looks like it is the last. There were a few issues I had with this book, mainly that it deals with the Norse Pantheon more and does so in a way that just doesn’t make sense. Other than that personal influence the interaction between Atticus and Oberon were a bit tired, the pop-culture stuff is out of place with the heavier tone, and it is a bit rushed toward the end. My biggest issue comes late in the book with the mention of ‘Odinsleep’. This idea was the invention of Marvel Comics and has no basis in Norse Lore. It pretty much kicked me out of the entire book and I had to put it down.

Over the course of the books I’ve enjoyed the characters and the interpretations of supernatural beings but upon seeing this one word it make me question the entire series. I had thought the author was well researched but tossing in something made up in the 70’s by desperate comic writers. It has made me want to see exactly how bad this series really is. on the research front. Now I see that’s it’s just Urban Fantasy. Good Urban Fantasy but still just Urban Fantasy.

I get it, this is Urban Fantasy not Nation Geographic and to date it has the best version of Jesus Christ I’ve seen in modern fiction. Seriously, when Jesus, or The Virgin Mary, shows up in the series they are handled nicely. As it stands I’m not going to give up on the series and if Mr. Hearne comes out with another book, I’ll probably pick it up. His books provide a fun, quick read that are worth the price of admission.

Some reviews compare him to Neil Gaiman and those would be inaccurate. Hearne is the really BBQ joint downtown while Gaiman is the sit-down restaurant you take a date to for a good impression. I don’t really enjoy his characterization of the Nordic Gods but I understand it’s just fiction, it’s not like he’s violating the Hávamál by writing it.

Verdict: Read it, definitely buy the first two and go from there.

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