Author Topic: What are you reading, part 3  (Read 114734 times)

guessingo

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1815 on: July 15, 2011, 06:41:50 PM »
Reading Axis by Robert Charles Wilson. Also recently finished Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International and Scott Westerfeld's Pretties.

I did not like Axis at all. The first book in the series "Spin" is becoming one of my favorite science fiction books. Generally it takes a while for a book to truly settle in for me to decide how much I like it. I may find that I burn through a book and think it is entertaining, but find that it is not memorable and I don't remember much of anything about it a few years later (RA Salvatore Drizzt books, Riftwar books), but others settle in with me over time. Spin combines the elements of an epic movie where you meet some kids who are friends and following their friendship and life to later stages in life with a fascinating science fiction backdrop. Axis bored me. I did not like it and found the ending dissapointing. The third book in the series just came out. I am sure I'll read it, but now I am skeptical that I will like it. Wilson is critically acclaimed. He is Stephen King's favorite Sci-Fi writer, so I do plan to read more of his books.

just really dissapointed in Axis, after I was stunned by the first book Spin.

haperez

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1816 on: July 17, 2011, 06:30:54 PM »
Hey Guys I just finished the CHRONICLES OF ELANTRA and I am looking for something to read I am torn between  PARANORMALCY or INSIDE OUT... or the last books of the INMORTAL series... anyone has a good recommendation ?

guessingo

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1817 on: July 18, 2011, 03:29:40 PM »
Long Prince Quartets series by Daniel Abraham. Just finished the 4th and final book. I don't think I would have liked this when I was younger (I am 37). Now that I am getting older and I have read alot of books, I really appreciate this book. It is pretty different from alot of epic fantasy. It basically follows to sort of friends for their whole lives. The books focus on regular people. The most interesting parts of the books are how he combines the regular day to day lives of the characters with larger issues going on in the world. Some of my favorites parts are when Maati is trying to have a relationship with his long lost son, Liats strange and selfish relationship with Maati (I kept thinking... Maati kick her to the curb in the 3rd book). Otah just being a regular guy who never did anything special to become emperor. Just did the best he could. I even understand the crazy girl who almost destroyed the world in the last book. I understood why she was so damaged (her whole family was murdered when she was a little girl).

I like the way Abraham presented characters who made ambiguous moral decision or had to since the world left them with no choice, but left the read to decide how they felt about it. He didn't judge. In the first book, the cities had what seemed to be a horrific government. You had to kill your own brothers to be king of the city. If you didn't they would kill you. As the books go on, you understand why they had to do it. The king receives control of an all powerful magical beast. If there is a war or competition for ruling, then these kings can attack each other with them. This destroyed earlier empires.

This was a very unique story. It is also adds an element that I think alot of fantasy does not. It has alot of cross over to popular fiction. Most fantasy is about action and adventure. These books are really more about regular people, who have a life to live and are just trying to get buy.

Currently Read: Towers of Midnight. I know I am slow. I have been reading these books since I was 16. I did not want to read it right away since there are only 2 left. When its done, its done.

Audio Books:
 Doing a couple of non-fiction books
The History of Warfare
Why the Weest Rules--For Now
Then back to fiction, going to Audio Way of Kings. I believe it is the same people who read the Wheel of Time and they are very good.

Sigyn

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1818 on: July 19, 2011, 05:32:08 PM »
I'm reading Leviathan Wakes and I love, love, love it.
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fireflyz

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1819 on: July 20, 2011, 12:03:31 PM »
Just finished GRRM's Dance.  For those of you worried about spoilers, the only spoilers I'll post will concern some of the POVs in the book.  GRRM has already said who was (and was not) in the book, but if you'd rather not know don't read any further.  To those that don't want to know anything, but are on the fence about picking it up I would say it's definitely worth your time.  GRRM at his best.


So, years of waiting for this one, was it worth it?  Yes...and no.  I'll explain further on.  A lot of our friends are back but the book mainly focuses on Tyrion, Jon, one of the Greyjoys, and Daenerys.  For those of you who are Arya fans, she makes a brief appearance (one of my favorite plot lines of the series).  The prologue seemed unneccessary to me.  I can sort of see why he included it, but it didn't do the job of a prologue IMO which is to either pull the reader into the maelstrom or else dangle something interesting before their eyes.  Honestly, the first three or four chapters were average and I was worried that GRRM might be losing it.  I shouldn't have worried.  After that I was sucked in and the prose was back to his usual excellence.  There is one plot development that happened in the first quarter of the book that felt like it came out of left field.  I was bothered by it, but decided to hold my ire until I'd finished the book.  By the end the wrinkle was given enough time and information to make it less jarring.  Aside from that, the only thing I'll say is that GRRM had me forgetting what he's famous for:  killing or maiming characters we love.  By the end I was cursing myself for ever forgetting.  Enough said.

So, if it was an excellent book why is it worth picking up, but not?  Well, much like Feast felt like half a book, this too feels like half a book.  I'm sure that if he had tried to hold the release of Feast and Dance until both were completed and released them six months apart the fans would have torn him apart.  But the books would be a much better read IMO if all the plot lines were woven together over the course of two books rather than half a story in one and half in the other.  The Meerneese knot?  I don't know.  I could sort of see a few parts where the going must have been difficult.  I can't comment as I wasn't over GRRM's shoulder for the past five years.  Was it writer's block?  An impossible situation? Laziness/loss of enthusiasm?  We'll never know, but ultimately, the man delivered.  You can't ask for more than that.

The last thing I'll mention is that the number of viewpoints has increased.  With two books left, I'm not sure how he's going to bring this to a satisfying conclusion and still fulfill all the promises he's made to the reader.  Then again, a lot can happen over the course of 2000 pages.  I'm rooting for him.  I really enjoyed this book.  It made me remember why GRRM is considered one of the best modern fantasy writers.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the next book is only a couple years away.

So if you're on the fence, I reccomend picking it up.  If you haven't read Feast in a long time I'd suggest reading that and moving right into Dance.  I think you'll find it enjoyable and it should satisfy your appetite...for a little while at least.  At the end of the day it IS a great story beautifully written and deserves to be read.
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guessingo

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1820 on: July 20, 2011, 04:15:54 PM »
Dance with dragons is getting mixed reviews on amazon. Alot of fans don't like it. I plan to re-read the whole series before I touch Dance. I read the first 3 books in 2000. By the time I got to Feast for Crows, I forgot so much, it wasn't worth it.

It seems like its a lot easier for an author to start a series that to move it along and finish it. People get excited at the start and then are often disappointed later on. It could be that as time goes by and you work out the details your original plans don't work, it could also be that you are getting older and your views and opinions change. I believe I saw somewhere that Brandon has a detailed outline of all 10 books of the Stormlight Archive and knows where he is going. I am sure this is subject to change over time, but this sounds like a first to me. Just figuring out how to organize your notes and outlines over such a long story has to be tough. I wonder how much Peter helps with this.

fireflyz

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1821 on: July 25, 2011, 12:25:17 PM »
@guessingo
  I don't think that it's easier for authors to start a series rather than finish it.  There are many authors that are very prolific and others that are not so much.  Authors are unique just like any other person.  Some are fast writers committed to putting out books at a quick rate.  Others are obsessive perfectionists who would rather take a week to get a thousand words rather than have anything less than their best come out.  And I think sometimes authors bite off more than they can chew and as any creative person knows, that kind of problem crushes creativity.  Is that what happened with GRRM?  I don't know.  I was among those who felt he was taking way too long to put this book out and that he didn't seem to be working hard towards finishing it.  Having seen GOT on HBO and reading Dance, I am feeling more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.  We'll see.


Read The Steel Wave and To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara.  You might be familiar with his series on the Civil War.  Gettysburg and Gods and Generals were made into movies.  The Steel Wave follows the Normandy invasion.  It was well done, showing Eisenhower, Patton, Rommel, and a few of the front line grunts including the 82nd AB.  If you're looking for a good introduction to Normandy or just a retelling with life to it, look no further.  To the Last Man is about WWI.  This was amazing.  I am a huge history buff but must confess WWI is my weakpoint.  THe first half of the novel follows the air war.  It features the Bloody Red Baron who shot down 80 planes and the Americans who went to France to fly years before America entered the war.  Shaara tells it like it is and it's bloody for all involved.  Black Jack Pershing and a frontline marine figure heavily into the second half of the book.  I highly reccomend this book.  It might just be my own personal experience, but I think too often WWI is overshadowed by WWII and it deserves to be remembered.  The British sent half a million men across Flanders Field (just one of many such attacks over the years of the war).  THe first day 40,000 soldiers were mowed down.  This was the advent of the machine gun, chemical gas, and old world tactics.  It was horror.  I live in a small town fairly close to some major cities.  My town has about 20k people in it.  I can't imagine what it would look like to see them all die twice over in the course of a single day.  Good read.

Next up?  Butcher's next novel coming out tomorrow!
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fireflyz

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1822 on: July 27, 2011, 11:56:30 AM »
Finished Jim Butcher's Ghost Story yesterday.  Haha, the same day it came out.  Did I like it?  :-)

I'll try to keep this spoiler free, but anyone reading the series knows that Harry Dresden was killed at the end of the last book and this book deals with his ghost.  I was a little leery of this plotline because it could come off as cheap.  By this point Dresden is a powerhouse of a wizard and stripping him of his power seemed too easy.  I shouldn't have worried, Butcher handles it well.  While Dresden's power is signficantly diminished and changed in many ways, he's not completely helpless.  Dresden must return to the world of the living to solve his murder or three people he loves will die.  What really sold this book was Dresden's internal realizations.  Instead of being able to go in guns blazing he is forced to think through his actions.  This leads him to realize the consequences of his actions from the last novel.  Good stuff that is well written.  Butcher's plot twists are always good and this one is no different.  True, withholding information from the reader can be cheap, but when the main character is in the dark too it feels genuine.  I'm jealous of his twists.  The only complaint I had was at one point the writing is very confusing due to the characters in the scene (you'll know when you get there).  Minor, but slightly annoying.  All in all, a very good read.

The only bad news?  It's not the longest book in the world and it's a fast read so you'll finish it and be left waiting another year for the next book.  I have to admit, I wish he'd abandon his Codex Alera series and just write Dresden books.  Paranormal fantasy is not my thing, but with Butcher and Dresden, I'll make an exception.
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Sigyn

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1823 on: July 27, 2011, 07:01:15 PM »
I finished Leviathan Wakes,  and I loved it. It's a mix of science fiction and noir detective, and I would definitely recommend it, though it does use the f-word a few times.
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fireflyz

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1824 on: August 02, 2011, 12:02:37 PM »
I've been reading a lot of nonfiction concerning the Old West of America, circa 1860s-1880s.  Research for a potential future novel.  Taking a break from that I read Mira Grant's FEED yesterday.

Feed was promoed on the writing excuses podcast a few weeks ago.  I'd been hearing buzz about it and decided to give it a try.  I'm not a huge zombie fan, but this book goes way beyond your classic zombie yarn.  It tells the story of a small group of bloggers who live in this new post zombie world.  Is this horror?  Yes.  Is this sci fi?  I would again say yes.  Is this fantasy?  You'd be right again.  It was all good.  The prose is well done.  Short, concise sentences in 1st POV.  Crunchy writing is good writing.  You won't fall in love with the prose, but like any good thriller, you won't stumble over it either.  The book takes a break in between chapters to give us excerpts from the characters blogs.  This is really just a way for the author to infodump about the world or the characters.  Having said that, while it was obvious that it was an infodump, I didn't mind.  Why?  Because it was interesting and short.  A few pages of back story interspersed amongst the current narrative doesn't bother me.  This is definitely a good read.  It's also straightforward and quick.  Good for a Saturday afternoon.

  The only issue I have with this novel is that it's completely plot driven.  The only character development is done through the backstories to explain to the reader why the characters are the way they are currently.  The characters don't want to change and they don't.  This becomes an issue because the plot driven concept turns Feed into a mystery whodunnit novel.  And as a mystery Feed fails to deliver.  While following a presidential candidate, someone begins using zombies to try to assassinate the candidate.  This is considered terrorism in this new zombie world.  But there's very little suspense.  There's very little in the way of mystery.  The characters do decide to look around, discovering that a plot to kill the candidate and themselves exists, but the evidence just falls into their lap.  That brings the book down a bit and definitely reduces it's rereadability.

  All in all, Feed is a mundane mystery set against the backdrop of a very, very interesting world.  The writing is good, the characters are interesting, if flat.  To go back to an earlier statement, good for a Saturday afternoon read.
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fireflyz

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1825 on: August 04, 2011, 12:02:52 PM »
Just finished Deadline, the second book in Mira Grants's Zombie Trilogy.  There will be spoilers for those who haven't read the first book, but I'll refrain from referencing anything from the second book.  Who starts a series with the second book anyway?

Deadline begins where Feed left off.  We're now in the head of Shaun Mason, Georgia's brother.  I was critical of the character development (or lack thereof) in her last novel.  This novel has character development, but it's external.  Essentially Shaun hears his sister's voice talking to him because he can't deal with reality.  That he was the one who killed her.  This changes his character signficantly, but it's a change that occurred off the pages, in between books.  For the remainder of this book his character will remain essentially the same.

The plot was even better than Feed.  Grant does a good job of providing realistic explanations for the virology behind the zombie virus that's been raging on the planet for over two decades.  I think that's one of the best things about this series, Grant takes it seriously and so the reader must too.  There's a whole new host of characters with their own little quirks, but most of them are just scenery. 

Deadline was a quick, fun read.  It's definitely a page turner.  The issues I have with this book are similar to the last.  There really is no attempt at character development.  Grant has an annoying habit of constantly having Shaun think about punching anyone who reacts to him speaking aloud to the girl in his head.  In the beginning of the book that was fine, but after 500 pages we don't need to hear it again.  The plot is interesting, but again as a mystery novel it leaves much to be desired.  A ton of information is withheld from the reader so it's impossible to know where the book is headed.  That's alright, but I think the book would've been better if she allowed us a clearer picture and developed the suspense more.  As it is, some of the plot movements seem contrived and make little sense.  I will say that I saw the epilogue scene coming a mile away and it should make the next book interesting.

I'm not sure how she's going to wrap everything up in one more book because there's a lot left unexplained.  Both her books clock in just over 600 pages so maybe the third will be larger.  Or maybe she'll extend it past a trilogy.  I know that my reviews have been cricital of Grant, but that's the writer in me.  I'll still read them because sometimes it's alright to read a page turning thriller and let your brain go on autopilot.  And Grant's writing is good.  It's very entertaining.  But this isn't something I'll be thinking of after I close the book and it isn't a series that I'll be dying to reread over and over again.  In this case, what you see is what you get.
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Sigyn

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1826 on: August 04, 2011, 08:22:29 PM »
I'm reading Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede, and I like it so far, though it's hard because I haven't felt much like reading lately. This was the only thing I've picked up that held my attention for more than two minutes.
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1827 on: August 04, 2011, 09:17:55 PM »
Uh, I've read a lot of stuff lately.

Never Knew Another
God's War
Deadline
With Fate Conspire
The Immorality Engine
Midnight Riot
Monster Hunter Alpha
Spellbound (the sequel to Hard Magic)
Variant
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Ghosts of War
The Hugo nominated short fiction

Then I have Alloy of Law, some more James Barclay, and some other random ARCs.  Business as usual.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1828 on: August 04, 2011, 10:19:07 PM »
Does Spellbound have illustrations, and are they better resolution than the ones in Hard Magic?
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1829 on: August 05, 2011, 04:07:49 PM »
I'm pretty sure the completed version will have illustrations, but as for the resolution I have no idea--alpha reader.  I'll ask Larry.

The book itself, however, was my favorite of his works so far.  It was an absurd amount of fun to read.
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