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Book Blog

January 12, 2014

The Shelter (Review)

The Shelter is another one of those marketing uploads onto Amazon (hey, I’m thinking about it too), a short story that leads to a greater story. This one is for free. You’ll pay for the rest. It has some good things going for it. We open in an apartment in a failing urban setting where everything is falling apart. Little Sunni is garbed in her ballerina slippers, practicing her lessons while doper-mom Shannon wonders where the latest man in her life has run off to. With food riots cracking open the city, it’s a bad day to get evicted, but […]
January 5, 2014

A feast for Crows (Review)

So this is now, what? 2400 pages in? You know that most people don’t read 2400 pages of novels – total! – over their entire lives. And this is the fourth book of this massive series, The Game of Thrones. So far, Westeros is playing out like a game of Risk. It looks like House Lannister has finally won, but then someone gets three matching cards and suddenly forty armies pop onto the board. Now its the ironmen of the Greyjoys. And then the desertmen of Martell are back in (well, they haven’t moved yet, but they are like a […]
December 29, 2013

Lords of the Stratosphere (Review)

So it’s another shorty this week, a novella from the 30’s by Arthur J. Banks in the golden (and wildly off scientifically) age of Scifi. Game of Thrones takes up so much of my time. But it’s not a bad little shorty, a tale of high (50,000 feet, which feels like we’re talking outer space in this age of Ford Trimotors) adventure. As usual, there are two toothy, swarthy, intellectual yet two-fisted heroes, these with the unlikely names of Lucian Jeter and Tema Eyer. And Tema and  Lucian (I kept thinking of that movie) are going to go for a […]
December 22, 2013

Free 5 (Review)

I‘m laboring through one of the Book of Throne tomes, those massive cinderblock-sized efforts that require weeks to get through. And this is a problem for someone who hosts a weekly book blog. As I’ve been thinking of just this thing (for marketing myself), I went onto Amazon and looked for free fiction, something short and sharp and clever that I could read in a setting or two, and was reviewable and enjoyable. Happily I found this in Free 5, a collection you can locate on Amazon without too much trouble. Paul Dail went after flash fiction here, very very […]
December 15, 2013

After the Golden Age (Review)

There is first-tier storytelling, which is where you tell a story that everyone knows, like about Superman or Spiderman. Then there is second-tier storytelling. In this case, it’s taking a first-tier story and expanding it in some new way. Like in The Incredibles, where we see domesticated superheroes dealing with modern life. After the Golden Age is then about 2.3, which is close to The Incredibles  but perhaps just a touch more realistic. The story is told by Celia West, a mid-twenties accountant who is somewhat estranged from her parents, who just happen to form the core members of Commerce […]
December 8, 2013

The war that killed Achilles (Review)

So, in a show of fair advertising, I’ll point out that this book’s sub-title, The True Story of the Iliad, is not entirely truthful. That’s why I bought this book when I found it at Slightly Foxed in London. But this isn’t about the war behind the Iliad. It’s about the Iliad. It’s nothing more than a complete breakdown of the elements of the epic, how they fit into the overall stream of storytelling, and how these elements relate to us in our modern world. There is nothing about the actual Trojan War except a map in the front and […]
December 1, 2013

The New World (Review)

I‘ve gone onto a different tack here. Originally I was trying to get a review for a full story a week. However, my Dad (a frequent contributor) passed away a while back and I’m having a hard time knocking down a book each week, especially monsters like Game of Thrones and Pillars of the Earth. With this in mind, I’ve used Dad’s eReader to search around Amazon and pull down free short fiction, a way I can honor my commitments here and not have to read every waking hour. So, this week, our first shortie – The New World , […]
November 24, 2013

The Count of Monte Cristo (review)

Ignore that recent movie adaptation (i.e. the same way thuggish joyriders adapt your car when they are done with it). This book isn’t about sword fighting. It’s about vengeance. And not vengeance just served cold – vengeance left to itself over a decade of being locked in a cell, of simmering about the people who profited from entombing you from the living sunlit world, and what you could do if you could ever got out. Such is the sad fate of Edmond Dantes, unjustly locked up on an island fortress during the pro- and anti-Bonaparte times following the Emperor’s exile […]
November 17, 2013

The City & The City (Review)

There have been divided cities in the past. Even in our lifetimes, there was Berlin and Jerusalem. Cities have quarterings: rich and poor, indigenous and immigrant. But no two cities have been divided as Beszel and Ul Qoma. Vaguely placed somewhere in our modern Balkans region, the two cites exist in the same geographic location but slightly different phases. Patches of each city are visible from the other. Some places are crosshatched, meaning you actually interact with pedestrians and traffic of the other. But they are as separated as if there was a wall between them. The Breach (or, strike […]
November 10, 2013

Pillars of the Earth (Review)

It’s a tale about the grandiose cathedrals that sprang up across Europe, massive stone buildings that pushed the bounds of architecture, finance and time. And it features all the people involved with the raising of one specific cathedral; the builder, the priest, the local earl, the bishop, a witch, and all the other characters who swarm across the novel’s 816 pages. By the time you finish it you’ll understand the complexities of vaulting a ceiling with stone, financing a gigantic project through wool trading, and traversing the complexities of church politics. And unlike my usual reviews, I’ll start with the minor […]