Dragon's Lair

Dragon's Lair
Picture is from Marc Adamus

Michael's bookshelf: currently-reading

Pandemonium
0 of 5 stars true
tagged: currently-reading

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shadow Review

Shadow of the Wraith (Nexus)Shadow of the Wraith by Ross Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very good book and I am very glad that I was able to read it. This book starts out a little slow but as soon as all of the characters are introduced, the action picks up rapidly. That isn't to say that the book does not have action from the beginning but more the frequency increases after the characters are introduced. The characters are very full and vibrant, with rich deep back stories as to how they are all interconnected through Archer in some way, and how he comes to decide on them. The characters also aid in the progression of the plot by playing pivotal roles in the storyline that push it along. There are many twist and turns present in the book and this helps to keep the reader guessing as to who the villain is and what is going to happen next. Be that as it may I did find the ending to be a little bit foreshadowed early on in the novel, but that doesn't mean the ending isn't good, but it is definitely ironic in many ways. Another aspect that makes this novel great is the rich and lush universe that the reader is introduced into, we only get to see a couple of the planets of this universe but those are shown in such a light that you want an entire book written on just the history of each planet. The author weaves the planets', characters', and events' back stories all together seamlessly and in such a way that you do not get bogged down with any one element of the story

Of all the characters that are present in the book, my favorite would have to be Arkuun-Marl. The mix of humor and serious moments give him an aire that has only been seen in the beloved HK-47 protocol droid of the KoToR series. Marl does not have the same beloved homicidal tendencies as HK but I think there are many aspects about Marl that make him my favorite character in the novel. One in particular being that even in the most tense and dangerous situations nothing seems to faze him, or he will crack a joke at the most inopportune moment but still make you laugh.

All in all this is a must read for sci-fi fans who enjoy the massive worlds and galaxies like in Star Wars and Dune. Also readers who enjoy the Dragon Lance novels because of the number and uniqueness of the characters will greatly enjoy this novel.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shadow Pre-post


I will be the first stop on the tour and the links to the other blogs on the tour are as follows, as well as what you will be able to find on each blog

June 2: http://bookishlydevoted.blogspot.co.uk - Review and Interview
June 3: http://sammyhksmith.wordpress.com - Interview
June 4: http://zigzagtl.blogspot.com - Interview
June 5: http://tea-and-text.blogspot.ca - Review and Interview

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In a Wolf's Eyes

In a Wolf's EyesIn a Wolf's Eyes by A. Katie Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book, it engrossed me right from the beginning and didn't really let up until I was able to read the last words on the page. This story is a great work of High Fantasy, with a rich and enveloping world that would rival any that I know of in depth and grandeur. There seem to only be humans in this world, but the different nations and cultures present make it seem as if each nation is a different race of beings, and that adds even more to the story. The author alternates POV between the two main characters, and I believe does so very well, even though the book is written in first person. I think this adds to the book because you will get to see/read the thoughts of the two main characters as they go through each event. She also goes back in time in order to explain what is going on with both characters during a given time frame, which is important for me so that I can find out what is going on and how each event in the novel has a relation to both stories. They do eventually meet and travel together, and it is then that many secrets are revealed, and many bonds are formed.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and whenever I felt that a little back story would be good to have the author had one within one to two pages that allowed me to understand the scene that was occurring. I found that the story flowed naturally and well from one scene to another, and this is accomplished by the use of flashbacks as well as some rather comedic moments of the book, that had me laughing many times. These moments are what make this book so hard to put down, even though there are times when I just wanted to put the book down because I was upset that something had happened or that I thought something was going to happen. And on that note, this book was not very predictable, I found myself wrong about a lot of the predictions that I was making and that kept me interested in the book also, because most things that I was wrong about turned out to be better than what I had expected to happen.

I think the language and details of the scenes are appropriate for this book and an adult audience. There are not many instances of swearing or other foul language but when they are present they are done in a very tasteful manner. As for the battle scenes, they are well done also. The actions flows very well from one encounter to another and gives you the feeling that it is a fluid battle instead of a choppy and forced one. The details given of the battles are also well done, giving the reader enough information to know what is going on while not giving so much grotesque details to make a reader shy away. As for other adult scenes, there are not that many, actually there are only lead up scenes, and never any actual actions are taken. This is good because I don't think this book would have worked with adult scenes in it, the next story I am not sure as much but this book had the feeling of a getting to know the world and characters, and in the next book we would be able to see the personal lives and interactions of the characters in greater detail.

As for the characters, I absolutely loved Wolf, he reminded me so much of myself, that I was able to put myself into his shoes for much of the book. Granted he is much more imposing than I am, but I felt that the cunning and intelligence that he showed were similar to qualities that I posses, only he possesses them on a much greater scale. I found that many of the questions I had at the beginning about him were answered by the end of the story, but I was still left with the hunger for more about him.

For the Character that I hated, definitely Brutal, but as he is the main villain I find that I am supposed to hate him, and that makes it even easier to hate him honestly. As a villain he is very good at what he does, even though I don't like or agree with what he does, but that is how a villain is supposed to act. He is also a great foil for Wolf as they are the complete opposites of each other and the reader can see how they may have been able to be a lot more alike had their upbringings been different.

All in all I greatly enjoyed this book, and I honestly cannot wait to read the next book in the series as the ending has be greatly intrigued, but to find out why you will just have to read the novel yourself. I would like to thank Mrs. Ross for allowing me to read and review this book and I hope you all will read this book and enjoy it as much as I have.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Weeping Empress

The Weeping EmpressThe Weeping Empress by Sadie S. Forsythe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but only because I was able to understand a lot of the Japanese concepts of the Samurai that are present throughout the book. This book is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for readers who like a rich and vibrant back story to give them insight into what is going on in the story. This book starts very sharply and not a lot of explanations are given for the actions that occur. The reader doesn't find out about any of the real back story until about chapter 3 or 4 of the book, and even then you don't have a really good grip of what is going on until about 50% of the book. I think that this book is much more of a following the character book as opposed to presenting a world and the people in it. By this I mean that this book is very linear and one cause leads to one event and on and on; where as world books are ones that give you an event, and then explain how that event works into the overall story of the world and how that effects the people in the world. Some people may like the more linear story lines, I don't as much. With that said as a story I think the book is good, there are some things that I think the author could have done to make it better but as it is I think the story is good. The writing style is very descriptive, with very little dialogue present for most of the book. The description that is given is very vibrant and well done but I think that it makes the book thicker and more dense than it would have to be.

One thing about the story that I did enjoy about it was the realness of it. Aside from the Goddess angle and everything involved in that, this book is a Historical Fiction novel, and I good one at that. The characters are very real, and by this they become effected by what they do, which is to honestly kill people, there is no way to get around that. It also shows how even the most innocent of characters at the beginning are not as innocent as the reader believes they are at the end and the most vile and evil villians have a reason for what they do and they feel that with their whole being that they are doing what is right. That makes the reader have to take a step back and figure out who really is the bad guy in this book, is there a bad guy in this book or are there no real good guys in the book. This element of realness does make the book better but does not redeem it completely in my mind.


With all of that said, if this book were considered Historical Fiction and placed in an actual historical setting then this book would be a 4 or a 5 imo, but with that said, I don't think that it is. I think this book is a Historical Fantasy novel, going light on the Fantasy here, and as such I believe that more background would need to be given in the story itself. I understand the linear plot structure and I think that it could have worked very well had only the author given reasons for what was going on in the story, or given more of a lead up story instead of just getting thrown into the book.

Out of all of the characters the one that had any real connection with was Muhjah, as he was along for the ride in most parts and did his best in his situations. That isn't to say that he is helpless or that he is to blame for everything that happens, but I do think that he would have been perfectly fine had he not been apart of the events of this story, particularly the growth and maturation of Chiyo. My reason for this is that even though he accepts her into the group first, his feelings for her never change, he is always the outside observer and does not get to connected with her in case she were to become missing and or happen to slow them down. All the other characters I couldn't connect with them, they seemed too distant and as one of them says, doesn't really care about anything that is going on except for living to see the next day. Not that that notion isn't important in the story but I think the author could have made them a little deeper than they were.


So, all in all this book was good, it has a lot of ways that it could improve but as it is I think it is good for people interested in Samurai fiction novels or simply Samurai stories

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Monday, May 14, 2012

The Crimson League

The Crimson LeagueThe Crimson League by Victoria Grefer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, WOW. Did not expect this book to be as good as it was, but it outshines all of my expectations. When I say that this book is an adrenaline rush every chapter I mean it. There is some sort of drama or action scene each chapter that keeps you on the edge of your seat while reading. Whats more is that the author introduces plot twists enough to keep you guess but not so much that you don't know what is happening or are unable to predict some of the stuff that is going to happen. This novel is very refreshing, it is not superficial in any way, and it does not go into tedious detail about what is going on in the story. That isn't to say that the book isn't slow at parts but the author mixes up the detailed sections and the actions sections. Another thing that is refreshing is that there is no true love triangle, nor is there any "true love" back story, it is a direct story about the main character. The love triangle that is present is such that the reader can see it coming but the author does not push it on the characters. This is interesting to me particularly how the book ends, because it does not happen how the reader would expects the book to end, that isn't to say that the ending is bad. Instead I think the book ends very well and the author finishes with tying up all of the loose ends as well as give the reader a little insight into the future of the world that has been created.

This book is incredibly realistic in its depiction of events, more so that most other fantasy war books that I have read. By this I mean that even though there are magicians present they are not given miraculous powers like they are in other novels of this type. Instead they have very clear limitations that they have to deal with. Also this novel gives the villains attributes that makes you want to hate them as well as makes it difficult to hate them. I enjoyed this because it lets the reader decide which side to pull for, though as a reader we understand which side is going to come out in the end. Also the main character, Kora, is portrayed very wells in that she isn't completely innocent and heroic, as is true with all true heroes.

There was only one true problem with this book and that is that the author would occasionally speed the storyline up and make it seem that there was nothing for the characters to do. But then the author would introduce a seemingly random tangent that would introduce a new plot line that was eventually brought back into the main plot or it was wrapped up at the end. Another aspect that was detracting from the story is that there were sometimes that the story would become drawn out for a bit when the author may not have needed it but there was always some way that it would come back to the main story.

Ok, now for the characters.

The main character that I liked the most was a tie between Kansten and Lanokas. I liked Kansten because of her attitude toward the leaders in the Crimson league as well as her desire to take Kora under her wing and protect her as they both grow as characters. I also find myself wishing that Kansten and Kora could become sisters in some strange way so that they would have a reason to stay connected, but of course that cannot happen, but they do stay connected in a unique way. I liked Lanokas because he was a true gentleman, even in the face of adversity and all that he had gone through as a child. He truly cared about those around him and would do anything to help them survive the war.

The main character that I did not like was Menikas. i understand why he was the way that he was, due to what happened to him as a child also, but I felt that his character was a foil for Lanokas as well as Kora. I think the main reason that I don't like him is that he is too focused on his job, and while that is beneficial it still causes problems within his group. Had he been more lenient in his leadership I think the major rift that forms could have been prevented.

The main reason that I only rated this book a 4 instead of a 5 is not that I didn't enjoy the book enough but that I was able to put the book down. I know this is weird but the book did not have that engrossing factor that made it where I couldn't put it down, but that may have just been because of the intensity of the story.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Amalgam

Amalgam, The Valaran Chronicles: Book 1Amalgam, The Valaran Chronicles: Book 1 by Byron A. Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is 4.75, but I still would consider this a must read for Sci-Fi fans. I can't remember if it is posted in the synopsis so I will say it here, Do not read this book if you are not comfortable with adult scenes. With that said the scene is done as well as it could be considering. But for my review, I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the changing of perspectives worked very well to give the reader a total view of what was going on. The author provided enough information to allow the reader to follow the series of events and provide adequate back story, but did not put so much detail and information that the book became tedious at an point. There was an adequate amount of action scenes to progress the story and keep the reader interested. There were some story lines that were brought up that were not concluded that I felt could have been wrapped up easily but those were not critical so the author may be giving the reader the ability to put in his or her own ending to that plot line. I did feel that the book was short, but considering all that is involved in this story I think the length is perfect.

Now for the Sci-Fi aspect of the story. This is a very good Sci-Fi story that contains alien races, androids, and AI. Wells works all of these elements into a contrast with pre-industrial society of Redwall. I also liked that Wells allowed the advanced elements to be decaying and to allow them to have a weakness that is not seen in many Sci-Fi stories.

My favorite Character is definitely Hobs. There are many reasons for that but the main is that I find that I want to be in his shoes, even though he has faced tragedy and hardship but he does make the most of what he has been given, granted he does have some secrets that allow him to do more than most other people would have been able to do. I also find that I root for Lena, and I understand why her story ended the way it did but I would have still liked it to have ended the way it appeared it would at the beginning of the book.

I found that I instantly hated Roland and all that he represented. I think the author makes it easy to hate him, but that may just be because of my concepts of proper behavior. Other people may feel that Roland was in the right for what he did, and I will understand their views but I think that most people would side with me in that Roland received his just deserts. Also I felt that I severely disliked Pol, mainly because of his attitude toward the other characters, not because of his defense of some of his son's actions. I cannot fault a father for wanting to protect his son, but I do feel that there was not much that he could have done to influence his son, but there are some things. Most of those deal with Pol's own ambition and his elitist attitude that was passed onto his son.

So I really liked the novel and I highly recommend it for any Sci-Fi reader. I cannot wait for the next book in the series and I can't wait to see what Hobs gets into.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Second Prophesy

The Second Prophecy (The Dragdani prophecies part 1)The Second Prophecy by R. Alan Ferguson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Definitely not the best book in the world but it was good in many aspects. I felt that the author tried to do way too much in a limited amount of space. The beginning of the story felt very rushed when the first 50 pages could have been elaborated and made into a decent story all of its own. I also did not like the fact that the central plot was rushed at the beginning and then rarely talked about. Also the author has to skip and jump around a lot because of the rushing through the plot, at least it seems to me. So I guess the best way to describe this book is that it hits the highlights until the main character reaches 16, and then about half the book takes place in I would say about the week of the character's 16th birthday. And in that week the author is very focused on the main character, which is good, but i wanted to know what was going on with the other characters involved. I mean I know that they did not just disappear but only 2 are really ever mentioned. So I think in general a splitting of viewpoints could make this book a lot better, but that is just my opinion. The book did feel a little cliche to me, the reason is that (view spoiler)[ They rush the prophesy just to turn out that they were wrong. It seems like a bad way to do the book. A better way, in my opinion, would have been to show the training that John undertook, and have him fight at the end, even though he still wouldn't be ready. But then have it revealed that the prophesy was wrong and the next book focus on how the Wizards were going to make it right. (hide spoiler)]

I felt that this book took a lot of influence from both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but I don't think it did so in a good way. I mean the wands idea, even though key to many ideas of wizards, seems a little archaic, and a better way could have been thought of. I am not saying that the author is taking liberty with a concept just that I think a better idea could have been used, possibly creating their own magical style. Another aspect that i feel the author used that could have been redone is the categorizing of the main race of the story. I mean it was very bland and a little confusing. I didn't know if the author was talking about a mix between the races present or if it was a category of one of the races. Also as the story progressed I think a better name could have come about for the main character. The main reason for this is that the name made no sense, based on the history presented as well as the lineage of the character. I think that it was just a way for the author to explain some of the abilities that the character had. Now if the author made it to where the mother had some of the new race's blood in her then that would make more sense but the author never really touches that aspect of the story.

Also I felt that the ending left something to be desired as it was a major major cliff-hanger in my opinion. It could have been extended just a couple more chapters to at least tie up some loose ends, but that is just my opinion. Also, sorry to backtrack, there were a couple random tangent plot elements that I felt were not needed. I liked how the author used them, but I think there could have been better ways to accomplish what that story line did.

All in all I think this book could have used a lot more depth that was present and I hope that the author will be able to include some of the depth needed in the sequels.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Mythborn Review


First off, 4.5 out of 5. Now to the review, this book was amazing and very refreshing. It is a true epic fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien, Jordan, Feist, and Goodkind. ( I know there are other great Fantasy writers but these are the ones that I am thinking of now.) The story is deep and encompassing, there are twists and turns around each and every corner, some are predictable others are not. The world is also complex with many facets that make it to where you have to learn and grow as your understanding of the story, the world, and the nature of the world changes. One thing I did notice about the story is that it takes place in two main locations but that is acceptable as it is the first book of the series and it uses the locations well to build the proper backstory. The story does alternate perspectives, and I believe it does so very well. These changes are either designated by page breaks and follow a scene that clearly indicates a shift in perspective and/or time or they are designated by a new chapter. Both of these serve to progress the story well as they allow the reader to catch up on events from another character’s viewpoint. It also allows the reader to fall in love with certain characters and to begin to despise others.
With that said my favorite character is Arek. I find that I want him to succeed no matter the consequences of his actions to either himself or those that he loves. I also enjoy following Ash and finding out more about him. I have some predictions about him and why he is able to do what he does but I am going to keep that to myself, at least until the next book is released. I don’t care too much for Niall, which is the king’s son. But that is just because he wants to be a warrior but when given the chance to prove himself he freezes on two different occasions. I hope that his character continues to grow. I also find that I don’t like the Lore Fathers, but I think that comes from the fact that they are manipulators and do not give their underlings the information that they need to survive and thrive.
I truly can’t wait for the next book because there are many question that I hope are answered or at least cleared up a little bit. All in all, I just can’t wait for the next book and I am grateful for being able to read this story.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Boy who Plaited Manes

The Boy Who Plaited ManesThe Boy Who Plaited Manes by Nancy Springer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good story, and it was very interesting. My only complaints with it are that the boy had not reached puberty, or it seemed as if he hadn't so that made one part of the story a little awkward. Another thing that might have been good to know is who the boy actually was, like he could have been some legend or mythological figure. All in all as a short story it was very good and I think that it wouldn't take much work to be brought to a full length story if the author wanted to do so.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Children of the Gods

Children of the Gods (A Chosen Novel)Children of the Gods by Monica Millard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book started off a little weird but in the end I found that I didn't want it to end. The concept of the book is a little different then other things that I have read, but once I was able to understand the thoughts and who was speaking I found that the book was very very good and well written. I enjoyed the fact that there was not a heavy emphasis on the love triangle that was present at the beginning and that the author allowed her character to overcome her previous love in order to help he family survive. She then found that she does fall in love with her new "husband".

I enjoyed the plot twists that occurred throughout the novel that helped keep me guessing and kept my attention wrapped in the story. I did think the author did the duality of the main character was very well done. She showed the two sides clearly, my only problem was that I was not used to the concept at the beginning but I was able to pick it up very easily.

I found that I really did like Reka and Jaxson, I wanted them to be able to actually fall in love, and I wish that they were going to be able to live with each other once they realized that the love was real and not a cause of the gift that Reka has. I do feel that the end is a little disappointing but you will have to read to determine why, but there is a bit of hope for the future.

If there is going to be another I cannot wait to read it, if not then I think this book would be a great stand alone novel

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Angel Evolution

Angel Evolution (The Evolution Trilogy, #1)Angel Evolution by David Estes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like YA paranormal/Fantasy Romance YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK, PERIOD. But DO NOT read this book from a Christian perspective of angels and demons or you will be mad or offended. Ok now that that is out of my system. This is one of the better books I have read in a long long time. It does stars four college freshmen that are pivotal in the war between a new breed of angels and demons. No love triangles in this book folks, but there is a little bit of angst, so take it as it comes. The story is amazing, with plenty of plot twists that you see and some that you don't. I enjoy reading about each and every character present. The author utilizes different POVs very very well to get the story across, and for readers who have shorter attention spans, the longest chapter in the book is maybe 20 pages, probably more like fifteen. Just all in all a really good book for fans of Angels and Demons novels, even though they are not your typical ones. And I will say this, it isn't Fallen Angels vs Angels, and there are no Nephilim, it is pure angels versus demons. All I can say is read this book and see what you think, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised with the reading it.

My favorite have to be Chris and Sam though, not because of who they are but because of their actual character. I was rooting for them since the start of the novel and I was so happy when they finally said that they loved each other. Taylor is a really good character also, she is smart and very observant, when she is able to be. The only thing I wish was different about her is that she wasn't so naive at the beginning but I think that the author did it well enough that it isn't annoying and it is done in a very realistic manner. For Gabriel, I had questions about him at the beginning, which made me question the entire novel in the first place, but it fits so well with the overall story.

So again, Love this book and if you get a chance you have to read it.

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