Jump to content

What have you been reading recently?


Word-Kenning
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

I also enjoy Watership Down a great deal, and have reread it several times, although not near as many as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Dark Lord of Derkholm, or Howl's Moving Castle.

 

Most recently I've finished reading Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy; I liked the books pretty well except for the final climax. I won't spoil it, but I was just left with a rather dissatisfied feeling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Second last book was rereading Life, the Universe, and Everything. Still don't think it's as good as the first two in the trilogy, but still decent. Surprised by how much of the plot I forgot from the first time (the flying cocktail party, for one).

 

The one I just finished was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Meh. Like many things, the concept is better than the implementation. You'd think the author (editor? contributor?) would make more of an effort to integrate the zombies into the story. You have a few little things: Darcy and Lady Catherine are separated from the Bennets by more than just class - they trained in the finest dojos in Japan while the Bennet daughters were trained by Shaolin monks (and yet, Elizabeth wields a katana - did not do the research). But other than that it's just P&P set in a zombie apocalypse setting, and the novelty wears off quickly. The zombie appearances and other changes are much longer and detailed in the early parts of the book - it could be that the author/editor/contributor/whatever didn't want to distract from the plot near the end, but more likely it was rushed.

 

If you're curious how Elizabeth defeated Lady Catherine's death squad of ninja, read it, otherwise give it a pass.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The last book I read was a biographical novel, Thousand Pieces of Gold, by Ruthanne Lum McCunn. It is, unlike my first suspicions, a very good book, all things considered.

 

It's about a Chinese girl who gets sold into slavery in the Pacific Northwest, her eventual freedom, and other, less interesting aspects of her life. It actually stays exciting for the majority of the book. Not to mention that it touches on a few good topics, such as predestination, as well as providing a great historical perspective on the post-gold rush mining towns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hackmaster Basic manual is funny in that it's no longer a parody of the D&D manual and they can really go all out. The best part is reading comments on the website. For legal reasons they can't use any material from D&D since they no longer have a license, but you can see them winking and nudging.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished The Botany of Desire. Good stuff.

 

Not too long ago, I read the Clingfire Trilogy (The Fall of Neskaya, Zandru's Forge, and A Flame in Hali). It wasn't too bad, but it did have a silly conclusion.

 

The Fall of Neskaya also featured a character named Aran MacAran. Dikiyoba snickered at that one. tongue

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The Everything Guide to Pirates". My girlfriend got it for me for Christmas. I've barely started the first chapter, but I already love it so far, having read the introduction and the contents and the other stuff at the beginning of the book. It's written engagingly, even the Acknowledgments page which I usually skip.

 

My girlfriend is the best girlfriend ever! She knows me so well. I don't know how I got lucky enough to end up with her, but I sure am glad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I reread The Song of the Lioness quartet, since I haven't read it for years. Apparently, I had somehow not read the third book previously. I kind of wish I hadn't read it this time either. It was just tedious.

 

Dikiyoba also stumbled across this, which is unfortunately based on the new movie instead of the book or original movie but is still a decent read.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just finished Daemon by Daniel Suarez (previously published under the pseudonym Leinad Zeraus). The Wikipedia summary is (currently) spoiler-free. It's a well put-together novel, and being a former consultant, the author knows his stuff (and researched the rest). I really enjoyed the fact that all (well, most) the tricks and exploits in the novel are believable, and that the majority are social engineering hacks, many of them very subtle. It's also how the author gets his social commentary in.

 

The writing style has been described as a cross between Tom Clancy and Neal Stephenson. I've read neither (the latter is still on my to-read list), but from what I know of them, the description fits. Myself, I was finding parallels to the late Michael Crichton. Slightly less swearing. Less explanations of technology and science - Suarez mentions things like RSA, TCP packets, and biometric scanning in passing, but doesn't draw focus by talking about it. There's still that one monologuing character, but that character has good reasons for doing so in this case.

 

Familiarity with cryptanalysis, the TCP/IP stack, MMORPGs, and the US political system isn't necessary, but deepens the experience. If you're intrigued by the summary on Wikipedia in the slightest, I highly recommend you check it out - one of the best reads I've had in a while.

 

Oh, and apparently the movie rights have been optioned. By the guy who produced WarGames. Please don't go and destroy the realism, Hollywood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like Goodbye World, i also read Mage Guard of Hamor. I have read every book in the recluce saga, and I must say reading Modesitts books in that series is starting to get a little irritating.

 

Every book seems(at least to me) to be about a young man who cant help but feel that knowledge should be handed to him. Except The Fall of Angels which was about a slightly older man who felt he was unappreciated. Each novel, or two if he splits the story, always involves said young man finally being happy with his consort.

 

Now I'm just starting to feel like I'm playing a Final Fantasy game every time i read one of those books.(ie: man loves girl, needs to learn a lot to save what he is fighting for, and you cant forget the "surprising" twist ending)

 

But i have been reading his books since i was 10 so maybe that is just shows how your taste in reading material changes as you age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, L. E. Modesitt. I have many somewhat fond memories of the series, but I'm glad I stopped when I did.

 

I didn't read the series in publication order. My sister owned four of them, so I read The Towers of Sunset first (I remember asking her in despair if women were in charge of every country in that world. She laughed and said no. Meh, I got better.). Then I went on to The Magic of Recluse. After that I read both The White Order and The Order War not sure which one first. The White Order was fine, as it showed the perspective of the 'enemies'. I also enjoyed The Order War as it developed Justin's backstory, and made me appreciate The Magic of Recluse more in retrospect, especially the Fairhaven sequence.

Click to reveal..
Also, the climax has a druid flying around in a hot air balloon and destroying a city with a magicpunk laser. What's not to love?

 

I then visited the library and read the books in publishing order, stopping with The Fall of Angels. I didn't enjoy these three as much as the four my sister owned, with the possible exception of The Death of Chaos - which capped the series nicely, at least chronologically.

Click to reveal.. (Speculation about another major fantasy series)
A few years later, I got into the Wheel of Time series, and I made the prediction that it would end the same way. We'll see what happens in A Memory of Light. Don't die on me, Sanderson. :-(

 

The series does have quite a few good points. I enjoyed the world building, especially as the series jumps all over the place chronologically. I liked how society keep changing over time and technology like firearms or steam engines appeared in the chronologically later books (I didn't enjoy the technology in The Fall of Angels though). The fact the characters had actual jobs added to the realism, but it also made for dull reading.

 

I stopped with Angels for the reasons Insurgance pointed out. And not only are the books repetitive, but each chapter seems to be. Each battle in Angels went the same way: the protagonist would charge in with one drawn sword and one sheathed sword. He would throw his sword and then draw his spare. The battle would rage for a bit, then he would actually kill someone. What happens afterwards is what I refer to as the 'karmic vomit' (the aftereffects of an order mage doing a chaotic act).

Click to reveal..
The karmic vomit did nothing for me after The Towers of Sunset and The Death of Chaos. Creslin makes these awesome storms, and then goes blind and nearly dies. Lerris makes the ground asplode, and then ages a couple decades. And I'm supposed to wince at someone puking?

 

Meh, I'm glad I read them for another perspective on fantasy, but again, I'm glad I stopped when I did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also enjoyed L. E. Modesitt's books. I realized they were all similar and stopped reading after Colors of Chaos, which seems to have been a good decision. I think that may have been one of my favorites though, just because the interaction of the Cerryl and Dorin stories is well done.

 

—Alorael, who picked up some Brandon Sanderson books and found the writing rather unbearably poor. This makes him worry about the Wheel of Time, which he still likes even while everyone else hates it fervently. On the bright side, he's now read Victor Pelevin's The Yellow Arrow, which is fantastic, and is about to start Omon Ra.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote:
Alorael, who picked up some Brandon Sanderson books and found the writing rather unbearably poor. This makes him worry about the Wheel of Time, which he still likes even while everyone else hates it fervently.

I find this odd, as I liked Sanderson's writing just fine. (I agree with you in liking the Wheel of Time books, though; while some were better than others I found them all worth reading at least once. It just seems to be fashionable to dislike them.)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Niemand
I find this odd, as I liked Sanderson's writing just fine. (I agree with you in liking the Wheel of Time books, though; while some were better than others I found them all worth reading at least once. It just seems to be fashionable to dislike them.)


yes it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that robert jordan was a sexist pig who coincidentally had no idea where the hell he was going with his story after the first couple of books
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Jordan knew from the beginning where he wanted his story to go. He just wasn't always sure how to get there. :-P

 

The sexism is the single biggest turn-off for the series. People like to complain about the length of the books, but the length would be far more enjoyable (or at least, less unenjoyable) if it wasn't filled with men who are stupid because of their maleness, and women who are, ah, crabby because of their femaleness (EDIT: Now that I think about it, all the men are stupid, and all the women are crabby and also stupid (but, like, in a different way!)). It sucks, 'cause I really want to enjoy the series. Like Dune, I like the overall concept, but the implementation could be better.

 

Also: Go Light!

 

EDIT: In case it isn't obvious, the link contains spoilers. Don't read it, unless you have read the entire series thus far or have no intention of reading the series. But if you haven't read the series, I recommend you doing so, just so you can enjoy the linked page more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While on vacation at a place so remote it only had really slow dial-up, and was thus effectively off the net, I read several of Harlan Coban's Myron Bolitar books. A nice premise for a mystery series, that the protagonist is a sports agent, who solves crimes in between landing endorsement deals for upcoming tennis stars, and the like. Kinda trashy, but with enough beer you can make it through several of them.

 

Just now finished The Court of the Air, by one Stephen Hunt. It turns out to be a very bad good book. It suffers badly from the common fantasy problem that mighty magic makes every obstacle, and every solution, entirely and equally arbitrary. So you don't just have a deus ex machina at the denouement: your whole darn plot is an Indy 500 of demi-gods in little buggies chasing each other around. In this particular case, Hunt has so many cars in the race it just gets silly: there are plot elements here for half a dozen solid novels all tossed in by an author who thinks he's Philip K. Dickens.

 

Other than that, he seems a good writer; if he ever settled for telling a simpler story, it might well be a good one. Worth reading just to see what's so wrong with a novel as everything bagel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
Just now finished The Court of the Air, by one Stephen Hunt. It turns out to be a very bad good book. It suffers badly from the common fantasy problem that mighty magic makes every obstacle, and every solution, entirely and equally arbitrary. So you don't just have a deus ex machina at the denouement: your whole darn plot is an Indy 500 of demi-gods in little buggies chasing each other around. In this particular case, Hunt has so many cars in the race it just gets silly: there are plot elements here for half a dozen solid novels all tossed in by an author who thinks he's Philip K. Dickens.

Other than that, he seems a good writer; if he ever settled for telling a simpler story, it might well be a good one. Worth reading just to see what's so wrong with a novel as everything bagel.


On the bright side, TM's chances of becoming a published novelist are now looking a whole lot better.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Insurgance
Sorry for the double post... but A Song of Ice and Fire still has me wondering how in the world its gonna end....


Yeah, me too. I'm re-reading it for the second time (so, 3rd reading) and I just love it, it's so incredibly epic! My husband and I have been toying with getting the Game of Thrones campaign setting and playing it when we get tired of D&D.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Lucheiah
Originally Posted By: Insurgance
Sorry for the double post... but A Song of Ice and Fire still has me wondering how in the world its gonna end....


Yeah, me too. I'm re-reading it for the second time (so, 3rd reading) and I just love it, it's so incredibly epic! My husband and I have been toying with getting the Game of Thrones campaign setting and playing it when we get tired of D&D.
Not a bad idea, but keep in mind a couple of things:

First, the company that made AGOT RPG (Guardians of Order) went under. I don't know how hard it would be to get a copy of either the standard of deluxe edition of the rule book, but it probably won't be easy. At any rate, don't expect any new material. Apparently, another company made an RPG in the setting (Green Ronin), but it doesn't use the d20 system like AGOT RPG did.

Second, it plays a lot differently than D&D. You're in for a shock if your D&D sessions are combat oriented. AGOT RPG really makes fights seem as deadly as they are in the books. There are wound rules, stun rules, maim rules, you name it. Don't rush into combat without planning. Also, all these combat rules increase the bookkeeping the GM has to do. We didn't play much AGOT RPG, but our GM was overwhelmed keeping track of everything. A large part of this was because this was his first time running a game and he said he bit off more than he could chew. But I do think that the extra rules means more time playing with numbers instead of with the game.

On the other hand, the setting isn't designed for a combat focused campaign, which is what we did. The rulebook has rules for playing nobles and keeping lands and all that. If you're looking to roleplay characters in major houses, the setting would be a better fit. Otherwise, you might want to stick with vanilla D&D. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from playing AGOT RPG and dropping some of the combat rules, or even just using D&D's combat system.

--

I brought Reflections
of a Siamese Twin
with me camping, as a way of expanding my horizons by reading authors I don't particularly agree with (also, my history is lacking).

Meh.

Actually, more than meh. The essays/book starts off with renouncing Canada's 'victim mythology'. Fair enough. It goes on by basically saying "Wouldn't it be nice if Canada was formed equally by anglophones, francophones, and natives?". A nice sentiment, but perhaps not completely supported by the facts. At any rate, large regions of Canada outside the original four provinces were formed with little francophone influence, or native influence. I'm also not a fan of putting the Québécois on a pedestal as a distinter society and ignoring other groups of immigrants, or grouping them with the British (for instance, consider the Ukrainian influence on Alberta). Even if Canada was brought together solely by Saul's three groups, it doesn't say anything about how the country should be run now, which is what Saul seems to be saying.

"Seems to be saying". Yup. As the chapter go on, he doesn't try to make focused, detailed points as much as provide a rambling manifesto of his point of view. He also rarely backs up his views, and several times dismisses rebuttals as 'cheap shots' and moves on.

Eventually I just got disgusted with what seemed to be out of touch musings, and picked up the first volume of KPA. It's been years since I've played Go, but I'll play it again before I read any more of that book.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been really wasting away my summer with reading old classics like "Frankenstein Or the Modern Prometheus" (Yes thats the original by Mary Shelley) kind of reminds me of Geneforge a bit, you know with a mad man who creates life and wants total control over it -cough- laugh and books on vampires like Anne Rice's books because I can not at all stand twilight

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frankenstein in Frankenstein is very much like the Shapers. He creates something, doesn't take care of it, refuses to free it or help it, and then doesn't properly take responsibility when it goes rogue until he decides it absolutely must die for his sins.

 

—Alorael, who found the monster quite sympathetic, if clearly sociopathic, and Frankenstein himself to be simply bad in most senses of the word.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read the whole of Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski in two days. A rather honest view of the church in America from the perspective of two chosen-to-be-homeless Christians. While they had some good examples of mercy and grace, most of their experience was rather bleak. They make no excuses for the rampant hypocrisy they report, only sound a call to action in the church's failure to respond to the needs of the homeless as the Bible calls for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...