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Book Reviews & Random Detritus

Currently reading

The Nine Unknown
Talbot Mundy
A Handful of Dust
Evelyn Waugh
The Poems of Virgil, Translated into English Verse
James Rhoades

Night Shift review

Night Shift - Lilith Saintcrow

Good intro to the character, good setting, good antagonists, no vampires. That's the first thing my housemate said when I recommended this book - "there aren't any vampires in this, are there?" It's clearly a tired genre but thanfully Saintcrow avoids vamps and uses demons instead, and to really good effect too. Saintcrow has made Jill Kismet into maybe too much of a supernatural Mary-Sue, but I forgive her because the story and characters are good.

The Taking review

The Taking - Ariadne Meyers, Dean Koontz

Maybe I shouldn't post this review but boy, we're all irredeemable wretches deserving of genocide, aren't we? New heights of misanthropy are reached here. No stars.

Solstice Wood review

Solstice Wood - Patricia A. McKillip

Patricia McKillip is a wonderful writer who I wish was better known. She's a magician with characterization and a good storyteller to boot. I found this in the YA section and it's suitable for the kids and adults too. A young woman is drawn back to the hometown she dosen't want to go home to, and discovers the family secret, which involves witchcraft and the fairy folk. McKillip keeps the story moving at a brisk pace and it's over before you know it, leaving you wanting more.

Fool's Run review

Fool's Run - Patricia A. McKillip

The story is not real straightforward, but in this book are characters you'll never forget and miss once you're finished reading. Some of the best-realized characters in any book I've read.

The Dharma Bums review

The Dharma Bums (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Publisher: Penguin Classics; Deluxe edition - Jack Kerouac

Very good. Much more readable than On The Road. Japhy Ryder is way more likable than Dean Moriarity, and Kerouac looks a lot better in this book than the kind of puppy dog he was for Dean. Recommended for everyone.

On The Road review

On the Road (movie tie-in) - Jack Kerouac

Really talky. Some beautiful passages, especially towards the beginning and then at the end when the characters are driving through Mexico. Definitely written in a different style than what I'm familiar with.

The Beast Master

The Beast Master - Andre Norton

I'm giving this three stars because it's a good, servicable diversion for the reader who likes Fantasy and Sci-Fi but dosen't want anything too heavy. The main character is well-drawn and the day-to-day operations of a cattle drive on a distant, undeveloped planet are well-described. There's an alien invasion and traitor-in-our-midst angle that's not done quite as well but it's ok, and the story could've lived without the protagonists's vendetta, but I'm still glad i read this book.


Voorloper - Andre Norton

This is the first Andre Norton book I've read and I'll certainly be reading more from this author. Ths story pulls you in from the 1st sentence. She has one of those styles that makes it easy to forget where you are and really enter the environment she's describing, and she has a gift for doing so with economy, kinda like a cross between Tolkien and Thomas Harris. I must say that I liked the 2nd half of the book better than the first, but the payoff at the end was not satisfactory to me after such a good buildup, but you might think differently so don't let this put you off. Recommended.


Solaris review

Solaris - Stanisław Lem, Joanna Kilmartin, Steve Cox

** spoiler alert ** Well-written, but I don't see the point. Maybe it makes more sense in the original language but for me the book was kinda meaningless. The author goes through the whole trouble of having planet create "visitors" for the scientists only to deny them the peer-to-peer contact with the planet that they desire at the end, and then the visitors are destroyed. It was worth reading but maybe it will take awhile for any meaning to catch up with me.

The Eiger Sanction review

The Eiger Sanction - Trevanian

Better than the movie! I know that's hard to believe if you've seen the 70s Clint Eastwood flick(and you should) but just read this.

The Penultimate Truth review

Penultimate Truth LB 285NK - Philip K Dick


Weird, like all Dick books. Not his best but worth a read. It examines the official lies that populations believe.

A Thief of Time review

A Thief of Time  - Tony Hillerman

Really good. The two main characters are both interesting enough for their own series(they are each featured in their own solo stories) and the contrast in how they work is interesting to read. All the characters are drawn very well. This story's really good, too.

The Elric Saga, Part 1 review

The Elric Saga Part I - Michael Moorcock, Robert Gould

I've actually read the entire Saga and if you like sword-and-sorcery then you should, too. Moorcock is endessly creative and his gritty writing has no mercy on the characters or the reader. Don't expect sweetness and light at the end of this story.

Black Sunday review

Black Sunday - Thomas Harris

Thomas Harris' writing career starts off with a bang in this gripping tale of politics, terrorism, insanity and murder. One thing I love about Harris is how you end up becoming an enthusiast for things like airship piloting, explosives handling, model building, lots of little touches that give the story credibility, and you may find yourself wanting to get a how-to book or start a new career. I hope my first novel turn out half as good as this one.

Hannibal review

Hannibal  - Thomas Harris

This is a great book by one of the living masters of the English language. You get a connoisseur's-eye view of Florentine history along with lots of other glimpses into the cultured soul that is Thomas Harris. Plus, the story is top-notch, a suitably creepy finish to the adventures of Lecter and Clarice Starling.

Red Dragon review

Red Dragon - Thomas Harris

This is going to be a fanboy review, but I adore Thomas Harris. He exemplifies everything I want to be as a writer(if I can ever call myself that): economy and completeness. You don't lose any details of the story, but he dosen't weigh you down with boring, page-skipping unnecessaries. This is the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, and the events here get a passing mention at the very start of that book, but this story is excellent in itself.