Posts Tagged ‘Book Review’

Call for Book Bloggers and Reviewers!

April 12, 2012

It’s almost here! The release of my sci-fi novel, Fighting Gravity!

Are you one of those darling people who review books for the wonderful readers of the world? Would you like to have a go at Fighting Gravity?

Well it’s ready for you.

In fact, if you’re reading this the day it posts, I’m on my way up to Toronto for Ad Astra con and Dragon Moon Press‘s double launch party for my FIGHTING GRAVITY, and for Marie Bilodeau’s DESTINY’S FALL.

Anyway, check  out Fighting Gravity on Goodreads to see what advance readers think so far. Better yet, if you’re a book blogger or reviewer, contact me for a free review copy!

Review: Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

March 8, 2012

The Song of AchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I could give this an extra star past “I love it!” I would, because it accomplished something that I hardly ever find. It made me cry. Sobbed through the last five pages, could barely see to read the words.

It’s even more amazing to me that I cried at the ending of a story that I “knew” the ending of before I started it. But even if you know the Iliad, you don’t really know this ending, because this book wasn’t about the long war, or the heroes who fought in it, or the trials and adventures they faced. This book was about Achilles and Patroclus. Yes, all of the above served as the supporting cast and framework in which their story took place, but this is a love story.

On top of that, it’s told by the character we never really knew, Patroclus. His view of the war and how it plays out is nothing like those who fought in it for glory or honor or to serve the gods’ ends. You get to see the human side of the story.

And it’s amazingly done. I’ve seen some say it’s slow, and as an action-filled story of a great war and the acts of great heroes, sure, it would be. That’s not the kind of book it is, though, and as a love story it is paced beautifully. The author’s ability to evoke setting and atmosphere and pure, mercilessly intense emotion is the wonder of this book.

I will admit, reading it the first time, the seemingly random flipping back and forth from present tense to past tense for no reason I could ever figure out, was a distraction, but aside from making me pause and adjust from time to time, it was nothing compared to the power of the story.

Yes, you know what’s going to happen and how it’s going to end.

But you have no idea.

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Review: The Devil’s Garden, by Jane Kindred

March 1, 2012

The Devil's GardenThe Devil’s Garden
by Jane Kindred

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So many things to list that were wonderful about this book. Beautiful prose, fascinating world, compelling characters, heartbreaking dilemma.

BUT, my complaint is that this novella is a novel that wasn’t made to live up to its promise and allowed to be a novella instead. (Notice I said “made” not “allowed” ’cause I know it ain’t rainbows and wishes that come up with those other 50k words.)

I have absolutely no problem with novellas simply for being novellas. In fact, I love that the e-pub age has allowed so many of them to be out there that would have been turned aside otherwise. I have read and enjoyed many. There are so many good stories that are in essence only 30k pages and that’s that.

This wasn’t one of those. This was a 80k word story shoved into 30k words. This could have grabbed me by the throat and held on, broken my heart and made me sing with happiness if the world had been deepened and we didn’t simply skim over everything that built to the climax so that we could get to the good stuff. As it is, it was simply fascinating and made me a bit weepy at one point. If that’s the worst you can say about any book, I’d count that a win.

OK, rant over. It’s totally worth reading. But I’m putting in my request now for the rest of the story.

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Review: Control Point, by Myke Cole

February 22, 2012

Control Point (Shadow Ops, #1)Control Point by Myke Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stay tuned! At the end of this review is something REALLY COOL!

This was a great read. I generally avoid fantasy set in the modern (or sorta) world, and never considered myself a military-anything buff. So Control Point was a very-pleasant surprise. I devoured the book in two days.

Cole does a great job of building an alternative reality that’s believable and authentic. He sprinkles in fantastic nuggets of how the world we know and live in now would react to a subset of the population suddenly popping up with magical powers. He examines the political and social impact without ever moralizing or making a judgment. It would be easy to draw a clear good/evil line in a story like this and get preachy but Cole did none of that.

All of this in the middle of taking us into a fully-realized alien world full of its own creatures and cultures and believable magic system.

This is a great debut and I’m thrilled to have found it.

But because every book has its faults, I do have the following complaints:

I couldn’t give Control Point five stars because Cole used one of my pet peeve writing techniques, internal monologue. I’ve gone on record before about how much I hate IM, but I know it doesn’t bother most readers so that’s probably neither here nor there to the majority reading this.

I also agree with another reviewer who wondered when Britton would “man up.” At some point it began to feel like he debated a point with himself, only to forget the next day what he’d decided the day before.

That said, neither of those annoyances were enough to override the imaginative plot and worldbuilding and the realistic action scenes. Definitely a recommended read.

Now here’s a great example of one of the best things about Control Point:

See, this is a challenge coin for the SOC, the Supernatural Operations Corps. You don’t get detail like this unless you’ve got a well-built world. Cole not only seamlessly knit together a fantastical world with ours, but did it without you noticing. No long info-dumps, no boring explanations. Just great details like this drizzled in and among the action.

And the coolest thing about these coins?

I got one. 😉

But seriously, great book, totally worth the read.

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