29 October 2013

Review: Steelheart


Steelheart
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Steelheart is a young adult, post-apocalyptic fiction by [a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1201547425p2/38550.jpg]. It is the first book in what will likely be a trilogy.

In the story, Earth begins to see the emergence of "Epics" or humans with extraordinary powers. No one knows for sure what has caused these new powerful humans to emerge, but seemingly universally these Epics are using their powers for evil.

Our main story follows David, living in the city of Chicago which has been transformed into a steel by a powerful new Epic. David, wanting revenge seeks out a group of Reckoners, or normal humans who hunt down and kill Epics. His goal? To kill the most powerful Epic of all.

So I liked this book, it was a lot of fun. I debated on 3 or 4 stars, but in the end I felt this had to be a three star book. The world is interesting, though picturing a city and land where everything is steel was a difficult concept and issues like rust and tetanus just weren't covered well.

I enjoyed the action and the Epics, a fun take on the super hero genre. One problem I have with Brandon Sanderson is that he often makes one character too silly for my tastes. I think there is a place and a need for a funny character, but his often cross the line from humorous to just silly and that detracts for me. Other than that, I liked the characters, I even liked the silly character, just wish he was more funny than silly.



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13 June 2013

Review: The Innocent


The Innocent
The Innocent by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Baldacci has created a new character in Will Robie to base a series around. Robie is a skilled hit man for the US Government, so he leads a solitary and lonely life, full of routine and killing. The book opens with several scenes of Robie's abilities and harrowing escapes. In one mission though, the assignment doesn't seem right and Robie follows his instincts to discover that he's been set up.

He also discovers a young 14 year old girl who is in need of serious help. They team up and begin to uncover the reason why each of them was chosen to die.

I have to admit that I didn't think a spy/thriller book would work with a grown man and a 14 year old girl team, but Baldacci did a good job of bringing them together and having them work together in a way that may stretch the suspension of disbelief, but never break it.

I'm looking forward to reading more Will Robie books in the future.



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Review: The Drop


The Drop
The Drop by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another very solid Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly. This time Harry see's his mandated retirement time coming soon and for a man like Harry with a need to be solving crimes it can be tough. Harry and his partner take on a cold case where DNA evidence on a murder victim points to a serial offender. The only problem? The man who the DNA points to was only 8 years old at the time of the murder, so it couldn't have been him. While trying to figure out how the DNA could have been on the victim, or if it was a lab mistake, Harry gets called upon to investigate the death on behalf of a former nemesis.

One thing I've always liked about Harry Bosch is his vulnerability mixed with his toughness. A lot of that is on display here in this book where he has to come to terms with questions about his slowing down and abilities when he's not as young as he used to be.

I don't necessarily think you should start with this Harry Bosch book, but I do think you should read the lot of them.



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Review: Inferno


Inferno
Inferno by Dan Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I wanted to like this book more than I did, and I think I'm being generous giving it 3 stars, it's more appropriately 2 1/2.

I get that Dan Brown is a pseudo-intellectual, and thinks that he is offering some great insight into the future, but lets be honest, he has much less grasp on the moral issues he writes about then Michael Crichton, a true master of this kind of work, ever did. So the "moral issue" in this book comes across as rather simplistic and ham-fisted.

What I love about Dan Brown, is his insights into Renaissance Art. I'm fascinated with the art of that period and I enjoy learning about it, throw in a little thriller/myster and it's a good combination.



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28 December 2012

Review: Summer Knight


Summer Knight
Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



A good read. A continuation of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It's an urban fantasy type book. Dresden is a wizard living in Chicago, the only wizard in the yellow pages. This book covers him taking on a case on behalf of a powerful fairy/magical creature. One that's seemingly impossible.



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12 December 2012

Review: The Fires of Heaven


The Fires of Heaven
The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



As you all know, I love the Wheel of Time. This book marks a shift in the tone of the series. We begin to transition from the Quest based book structure, where in the first 3 we had 3 distinct quests that were begun and finished in each book to this book where it is now a buildup to the final battle (a buildup that will still last another 9 books).

Great book, great read. We get a deeper view of Aiel culture and the Waste, as well as the much beloved traveling menagerie scenes with the wonder girls. Okay, maybe the menagerie scenes are not as much beloved, but on this reread there was certainly far less annoyance. I even found it enjoyable.

Enjoy!



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Review: The Fires of Heaven


The Fires of Heaven
The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



As you all know, I love the Wheel of Time. This book marks a shift in the tone of the series. We begin to transition from the Quest based book structure, where in the first 3 we had 3 distinct quests that were begun and finished in each book to this book where it is now a buildup to the final battle (a buildup that will still last another 9 books).

Great book, great read. We get a deeper view of Aiel culture and the Waste, as well as the much beloved traveling menagerie scenes with the wonder girls. Okay, maybe the menagerie scenes are not as much beloved, but on this reread there was certainly far less annoyance. I even found it enjoyable.

Enjoy!



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15 August 2012

Review: The Shadow Rising


The Shadow Rising
The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Great follow up to The Dragon Reborn, this book marks the beginning of the transition of the travelogue quest style book to the larger geo-political style story that good epic fantasy is known for. Here we see the Aiel and the Waste, as well as the harrowing of the Two Rivers.

The Wheel of Time is my favorite book series of all time, so I'll have almost nothing but good things to say about it and I really feel like everyone should read it.



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Review: The Tub of Happiness


The Tub of Happiness
The Tub of Happiness by Howard Tayler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I read the Tub of Happiness by Howard Tayler because he is a member of the Writing Excuses podcast. Otherwise, I never would have heard of his work because I'm not much into reading serialized comics anymore. I also always try to support local Utah authors, another thing Howard had going for him.

The work was good, it's the first of the Schlock Mercenary series and the early part of Howard's career as an artist and it shows. The art is amusingly simple in some parts and downright bad in others, but you can see growth in just the one volume which I find encouraging.

A good way to know if this is something that would be for your is to check out the Schlock Mercenary page, where strips are done weekly. I believe their is a full archive as well. http://www.schlockmercenary.com/





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10 May 2012

Review: The Judge


The Judge
The Judge by Steve Martini

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



This was my first Steve Martini book, I have to admit, it was a little difficult to get past the stupid name of the author. It feels too much like a gimmick. Of course, now I'm hoping that Martini is a pen name and not the author's real name.

Anyway, the book is good, but not great. I was reading a Michael Connelly Lincoln Lawyer book at the same time and it was easy to see who the better author (Connelly, in case you've never read his stuff). But this book was good and although I had determined the killer long before the end, I still found myself picking up speed and racing through the final 100 pages.

The story is about a lawyer, Paul Madriani, who finds himself defending a Judge, Armando Acosta, who has been charged with the murder of an undercover police operative. The very same operative that he was accused of soliciting. Did the judge murder the only witness against him to get out of soliciting charges? Or has a corrupt faction of the police gone out of their way to silence a judge that was looking too far into their actions?

It's a good read. Nothing ground breaking or a must read, but if you're stuck in an airport and could only find a copy of Martini's the Judge, you'll do alright.





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28 December 2011

Review: Illuminated


Illuminated
Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



Illuminated is the tale of a archeobibliologist who must unravel clues found in multiple Gutenburg Bibles to discover some deep dark secret. This is your standard Dan Brown DaVinci Code or National Treasure formula book by first time author Matt Bronleewe.

The story is formulaic, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I found that I enjoyed parts of the book and came away feeling like it was okay. There were a few scenes that felt as if they were tacked on to pad out the word count and didn't relate to the story. Several of the aspects required a larger suspension of disbelief than I was willing to give, such as solving the whole mystery that had withstood the test of time for hundreds of years within the space of a 1 hour airplane flight. Worst of all to me was the ending went out on a real whimper, with the book just pretty much ending without much action, fanfare, or strong conclusion to the mystery.

What really drew me to this book was the cover. It's absolutely gorgeous and a brilliant design. You know how they say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover? Well, this is probably a decent reason why. The cover is amazing and beautiful, but the story inside is only okay.



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