Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Leviathan Wakes By James S.A. Corey

Leviathan WakesLeviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey, is the first book in the Expanse series. It is a space opera set only within our solar system. Corey is writing a series that spans the sub-genres of planetary to galactic space opera. It will be interesting to see if the galactic aspect involves warp drive, worm holes, or generation ships (as already established).

Reading Leviathan Wakes has reminded me that I have not read the 3rd book in the The Quiet War series (In The Mouth of the Whale) by Paul McAuley since it also spans from a planetary to an extra-solar space opera milieu. The difference is that the post-human aspect of the Quiet War series is homegrown while the Expanse's is introduced by an alien 'virus'.

Many authors use the novel structuring technique of alternating point of view into chapters among a collection of several main characters, both hero and villain. In Leviathan Wakes the authors alternate between two fascinating characters. Jim Holden is an officer on a ship of little importance thrust into a position of power. His self-righteousness and dedication to the truth and justice meets the real world. Detective Miller is a classic noir character. An alcoholic world-weary cop knows too much about the darker side of human nature. His love for a girl he's never met leads him down a rabbit hole bordering on insanity and possibly the salvation of the human race. The skill with which Corey alternates the stories of the two men from chapter to chapter is masterful.

Looking forward to reading the next two books in the series: Caliban's War (out now) and Abaddon's Gate (later in 2013).

James S.A. Corey is the pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sharps by KJ Parker - magic free fantasy

Sharps by K. J. Parker is an fun adventure tale that focuses on political intrigue set in an intricately designed feudal world. A fencing team is sent on a diplomatic mission under the guise of a series exhibition matches. A series of misadventures eventually culminates in the exposure of and thwarting of various plots. A splash of wry humour rounds out a well-written action-adventure story.

If you enjoyed The Folding Knife by Parker, but found it a bit depressing, then you will really enjoy this tale that is set in the same world.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

Just finished The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks. It is the second book in the Lightbringer series. I enjoyed the second book even more than the first. The first book introduced a novel but, I thought, simplistic, magic system and a number of interesting characters in a variation of a court politics plot.

The second book fleshes out the magic system admirably and firmly embeds it into the religious and political context. The character development is very good. The plot is well-paced and the action is believable.

The ending is pretty good considering it is the second book in whats planned to be a four book series. Looking forward to the next book.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2012 Nebula Award Finalists Announced | Tor.com

2012 Nebula Award Finalists Announced | Tor.com:


Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Drowning Girl, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc)
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

I haven't read any of these.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Moon Reader (app review) TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

Moon Reader (app review) TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics: After Moon Reader was reinstated in the app store, I bought a copy to play around with. I figured it would be like other e-reading apps I’ve tried: I’ll use it for a couple of books, but find it’s just not compelling enough to make me switch from the Kindle app.

Not so with Moon Reader. It’s a great app, and worth taking the extra step of manually syncing between my Kindle Touch and Moon Reader.

I still prefer FBReader for its speed and simplicity.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance By Lois McMaster Bujold - comfortable

Read Captain Vorpatril's Alliance  by Lois McMaster Bujold. If you have read the rest of the series you are going to enjoy this. If you haven't then you should start from the beginning. Its a light-hearted story set in the Miles world but centered around his cousin Ivan. Its one of the romance-centric books in the series so its lots of fun and an easy read by an author who knows her craft.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams - flavorless

Dirty StreetsThe Dirty Streets of Heaven is the first volume of Tad Williams's new Bobby Dollar urban fantasy series. While a decent enough read, there was nothing especially outstanding to recommend it. The plot is tight and the action is well written. Coming up with a cast of interesting characters was the main difficulty. The world-weary gumshoe/angel Bobby Dollar wasn't particularly endearing as a protagonist. The cast of supernatural characters were mundane and the mundane characters were cookie-cutter stereotypes.

I'll probably read the next book in the series only to see if the author can find a way to put a unique spin on the sub-genre. If you want to read urban fantasy with an angelic hero dealing with hell on earth you're better off reading Kadrey's Sandman Slim series or Simon Green's Nightside.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jack Glass by Adam Roberts - weak 3rd act

The full title is Jack Glass The Story of a Murderer. The book is structured as three short stories, each paying homage to the classic Arthur Conan Doyle-esque murder mystery. The inspired twist is that the protagonist in the stories is the murderer (not a spoiler since its in the Prologue). The author combines the classic murder mystery with the classic rocket ship space adventure.

The first story is an incredible tale of a locked room murder told from the inside out. The gritty story is a masterpiece of pacing and tension and the dramatic reveal of how the crime is committed is inspirational. Unfortunately the remaining two stories, while entertaining and innovative, do not raise the dramatic stakes. A bit of a let down.

Definitely worth reading. Many reviewers are putting this book on their top ten lists of 2012, even book of the year. It definitely deserves a top ten nod but that's as far as I will go.