Monthly Archives: July 2014

KayKay #CRB6 Review #28 Wool by Hugh Howey

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This series was heavily reviewed on Cannonball last year.  I did read the sample, but it didn’t pull me in.  My book club had this listed as an option for our second book, so I figure I’d give it a chance.  Despite a very interesting premise, reading this book felt like walking up 148 flights of stairs.  I give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

In a future where the outside is toxic, humans now live in underground silos.  There are 148 floors, with mechanical being at the bottom and IT (an evil group) is in the upper mids.  There are floors for farming, nurseries, shopping, apartments, etc.  Whenever someone breaks a law (or asks too many questions), they are assigned to ‘cleaning’, which means they don a suit and have to clear off the sensors outside.  Then, unable to withstand the toxic air, they die.  The new sheriff (originally from Mechanical), Jules, after asking too many questions, is put to the cleaning.  Except, coming from Mechanical, they made sure Supply gave IT (the makers of the suits) good quality material (Surprise, evil IT was purposely giving people inferior suits so they would die).  She was able to live and walk to the next silo (Surprise,  there were other silos).  The silo she found had an ‘uprising’ and everyone (except one man and several children) were dead.  She returns to her silo in an attempt to save Lucas, only to find her silo has overturned the evil head of IT (Bernard).  Lucas will be head of IT, Peter the sheriff, and they want her to be mayor (the trifecta of power).  Jules agrees on the condition they can be honest with the people (they are in silos because something their government did to the world) Future installments of this series will show what’s going on in other books.

What did I think about this book?

I definitely needed to skim read this one.  There was a lot of descriptive information I didn’t feel was pertinent to the movement of the story.

I did like the concept, and liked Jules as a character.

Favorite Lines?

“And that’s when Juliette realized what she had to do.  A project to pull the wool back from everyone’s eyes…”

“…these are silos.  They hold seeds for the bad times.  For until the times get good again.”

Final Thoughts?

I’m curious to know what is going on in the other silos.

I’m curious to know why the government has poisoned the world.

I’m not sure if I’m curious enough to read the sequels…

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KayKay #CRB6 Review #27 A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell

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This book had the difficulty of being the first book I read after finishing the Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan (a 5 star experience).  This is also the sixth book in Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Series.  It ended up being a nice quick read that helped me move on from Tower Lord.  The series is about Lily Ivory, a witch who has a way with textiles- meaning she can get impressions / vibrations from touching them.  There is a nice cast of supporting characters, including a talking pet/familiar – Oscar, a homeless surfer and a local witch coven.  In this book, there is an evil oak tree (that is more than it appears to be) that Lily must defeat, or lose someone very close to her.  I give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

The plots of this series are normally several seemingly different story lines that end up coming together and being related.  There was the story line about the velvet cape that Lily bought from Sebastian (who was killed under the previously mentioned evil oak tree).  The cape gave her flashbacks of a witch burning.  There was a story line about the oak tree itself and what role it had in the disappearance of Oscar (who climbed up the tree and didn’t come back out).  There was a story line about Bart, an old man who had a curse put on the male’s in his family so they would never find true love.   The velvet cape (found in a chest that Bart’s niece sold Sebastian) would take Lily back to the past where Bart’s ancestor was burning Deliverance at the stake  (and Deliverance cursed his family) and Lily’s ancestor was trying to dispose of her ashes properly (but her actions were misinterpreted and she was hung).  Deliverance’s ashes ended up being buried at the base of the oak tree, which effectively made it evil.  In the end Lily battles Deliverance to get Oscar back and she seems to win.

In addition to the mystery of the current book, there isn’t a lot of overarching story line (which would probably make it easier to just pick these up and read them out of order).  There was some indication that some of the local characters were losing power- Aiden, Sailor…to complicate future maters Deliverance didn’t seem to get defeated by Lily- maybe just laying low and building power?

What did I think about this book?

It was a nice quick read that was a good change of pace from some of the more serious fantasy I’ve been reading.

I wish there was more going on with the overarching story line that would continue to pull me back into the books, instead of just being a standard mystery format.

Favorite Lines?

“Then why do I have the feeling you will soon be running around town searching for a way to break the curse and in the process encountering all manner of individuals of a sinister nature.” – Maya says this to Lily- which is a wonderful example of the light hearted nature of this book not taking itself too seriously (because that, in effect, is what happens in every Witchcraft mystery!)

Final Thoughts?

I’m sure there will be a seventh book, but I’m not sure the characters or the plot will be strong enough to pull me back in.

KayKay #CRB6 Review #26 Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

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This is the second book in the Raven’s Shadow series.  There is need to worry about the follow up not being as good as the first book- I think it’s even better.  The first book in this series was from Vaelin’s perspective.  In this book Anthony Ryan tried to pull off a George RR Martin and write chapters dedicated to different characters perspective.  Even with the typical end of chapter cliff hanger…well, George needs to take a lesson, because this is how it should be done!  All interesting perspectives, great writing, superb action (this book is constant battles) and a pace that just doesn’t stop.  I give this book 5 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

Vaelin has been freed to return to the Realm, where he is appointed Tower Lord by King Malcius (because Janus has died).  Along his way to his new home, he picks up his sister and Reva, who is the daughter of the Trueblade (who Barkus kills in the first book).  Reva ends up going to Alltor, where her Uncle is Fief Lord (after his brother- Trueblade dies).

We find that Frentis was captured after the Empire re-took their three port cities and enslaves because of the scars that were given to him by One Eye in the first book. Frentis was picked up by a woman who uses him to kill people on her list – including King Malcius, his wife and his two kids.  This is the beginning of a Volarian take over of the Realm.  The capital city burns- along with Lyrna (the now queen), who is captured and being returned to Volara as a slave.  The only good to happen from this is that Frentis is finally freed from the woman’s control and he goes on a mission to kill as many of the Volarians as possible.  Along the way he finds that Master Graelin is the Aspect of the seventh order.  We leave him with Master Sollis.

The book all builds towards the Volarian attempted capture of Alltor.  Reva is in the city (with her uncle, who dies and leaves Reva as the Lady Governess), Vaelin is on his way and picks up help from the Seordah Sil, who not only allow his army through their forest, but they fight with him in Alltor.  Lyrna escapes the Volarian slave ship and is picked up by a Meldenean ship and convinces them to come into battle with her (re-instating their champion The Shield who was shunned after Vaelin beats him in the first book).

The real enemy are these three spirits that can take over bodies of the gifted when they are close to death.  Now that the Realm has recaptured Alltor, I’m waiting to see if the next book will be about the taking back of the capital and the defeat of these spirits.

What did I think about this book?

I was worried that I wouldn’t like to read any chapters except Vaelin’s- I mean, he is the hero, and he is awesome.  But I found myself loving the other perspectives as well, Reva, Lyrna and Frentis.  I would have to say Lyrna’s was especially intriguing, because it gave you a new perspective on this elusive character.  In the first book we only know Vaelin is wary of her, so we are too, this time, we see her motivations and her true intentions.

I really enjoyed the perspective of war, it wasn’t glorious, it wasn’t clean, the good guys die.  You really understand why Vaelin hates it.

I’m worried about Frentis and how Lynra is going to react because he killed her brother- but she didn’t know he was under someone else’s control.  I don’t want any miscommunications to kill Frentis.  Although I hope he isn’t really in love with his captor.

Favorite Lines?

I loved Lyrna’s snappy response to the traitor Lord Darnel after he suggests to challenge Vaelin “It is my fervent hope, my lord, that you make such a challenge.  Then I’ll be able to choose my tribute from whatever remains of you.”

Final Thoughts?

What is up between Lyrna / Davoka  and The Shield- possible love triangle?

Note to self: Re-read book 1 and 2 before book 3 comes out…it’ll be worth it.

KayKay #CRB6 Review #25 Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

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I read this book a few years ago (before I started participating in Cannonball Read).  The second book was about to come out, so I decided to re-read the first one, since I didn’t have a detailed review.  Reading this book was like putting on a comfortable pair of pants.  The writing is beautiful, the story is engaging and original.  If you are a fan of Patrick Rothfuss or Peter V Brett, then I’d bet you will love this series as well.  I give this book 5 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

This is the story of Vaelin Al Sorna, son of the Battle Lord, who was given over to the Sixth Order.  There are 10 other boys in his class, but only 5 make it through training: Vaelin, Barkus (has special abilities to heat metal without a fire), Caenis Nysa, Dentos and Nortah (son of the first Minister, who gets hung at the kings orders).  Along the way they also pick up Frentis, a young thief in the city who begs to for Vaelin to vouch for him so he can join the Order.

After killing an innocent man at his final test, Vaelin makes a deal with King Janus, to do as he commands, for the release of the mans wife.  From here, Vaelin is assigned to many missions to ‘protect the realm’.  He ends up in a battle for three port cities of the Empire.  The Empire wins their cities back, while Vaelin is captured and jailed for five years.  He is released to fight The Shield, the champion of Meldenean (Vaelin’s dad had burned the city when he was battle lord, and the people wanted revenge).  Vaelin wins (but does not kill The Shield) and is freed.

In this world, there are people who are gifted with special powers, Vaelin has a ‘blood song’ which gives him an extra instinct, he fights better, he knows when people are lying, he is led in the right direction.  Other people have uncanny ability with metal (like Barkus) or to see the future, or to control weather, etc.  In fact, there is an entire Seventh Order that specializes in The Dark, but because it is so feared, they aren’t well known and are scattered.

There is a lot of theories on what happens to your soul when you die, Vaelin’s Faith doesn’t believe in any gods, but they do believe when you die your soul goes on to be with other Departed souls.  There is some ‘bad’ soul that can take over bodies near death.  In this book it turns out Barkus had died in one of the order tests as a boy, and the evil spirit (for lack of a better term) had taken over his body.

The orders:

1- ??;2- The Order of Contemplation and Enlightenment; 3- Scribes; 4-??; 5- The Order of the Body.  The Order of Healing; 6- The Warriors; 7- The Order of the Dark

What did I think about this book?

Simply put, I loved it.  It is one of those books that you think about when you aren’t reading it- and you pick it up at every free moment.

The characters are fantastic.  Vaelin is the narrator of this story, and he struggles with the power his blood song gives him and would prefer a quiet life with Sister Sherin, but is pulled into battles by circumstance.

“I can kill without hesitating.  I was meant to be a warrior.”  “Vaelin had never truly wanted to kill before, never felt a real bloodlust.  But now it raged in him, a song of fury blinding his reason.”

The writing is beautiful, the pace is amazing, and the characters are developed and the plot is interesting.

Favorite Lines?

“It’s always a mistake to underestimate a fat man in a fight.”

Final Thoughts?

One of my favorites.