Monthly Archives: October 2014

KayKay #CRB6 Review #37 Horns by Joe Hill

horns_joe-hill

I picked this book because I’ve been hearing positive buzz about Joe Hill and they are making a movie of this novel.  I normally like to read the book before the movie, so I decided to give it a shot.  Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, and he has his dads skill of making observations that gives the novel a realistic feel.  For example, I remember in one of the Stephen King books a character blows his nose and then ‘peeks at it’.  It’s that kind of careful detail that provides additional layers and reality to the characters- and Joe has a similar style.  The book was fast paced, interesting and pulled me in when I was not reading it.   I give this book 4 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?

Ignatius Martin Perrish wakes up with horns growing out of his head.  He finds the horns give him power to influence others, and that they will confess their deepest sins.  He can also touch someone and see their experiences.  He is not oblivious to pain, but, with fire, he can restore himself.  When people look away, they forget that he has horns, and when he leaves, they forget that they even saw him.  Ig is a pretty good guy, and even with the power of the devil, he generally uses it for good.  Mostly a nerdish rich kid, he had a girlfriend (Merrin) that he loved completely and a best friend (Lee).  He also has a great relationship with his older brother (who is famous).

His girlfriend is killed in a sex-murder.  Ig is the main suspect, and although they never find enough evidence, the public judges him as guilty.  His best friend stops talking to him, he doesn’t take his promising job in England, and basically shacks up with high school friend.

The book is about his journey in finding who really killed Merrin (Lee), and why (Lee is a sociopath), and what he does about it.

What did I think about this book?

I liked the writing a lot- a lot of it reminded me of the style of a young Stephen King.  I love they way a simple idea can be played out in a novel.  It was well done.

I also like that even though Ig had horns and certain powers, he wasn’t infallible.  He took a few beatings.

The characters had layered relationships, and the depth to Lee’s craziness was suspected, and shocking all at once.

Final Thoughts…

I will read more by Joe Hill.

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KayKay #CRB6 Review #36 City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

city-of-stairs

This book had a lot of buzz about it and I had pre-ordered, even though I did not know the author.  I normally read the preview before purchasing the book, and I’m not sure I would have purchased this had I read the preview first.  The book takes the philosophy that gods draw power from their supporters.  The slaves in this book have become the masters and the conquerors must, amid social unrest, must try to stay ahead of rebel factions.  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 Continent is run by gods, with Bulikov being the seat of the country (and the place where all the gods come together).  Outside of Bulikov, each god has their own areas, where their own mythology is true.  The Continent enslaves the Saypurins, who eventually rise up and to fight.  The Kaj creates a weapon (by practicing on his servant, who is part god) that kills gods and the Saypurins conquer The Continent.  When Kaj kills the gods, all the ‘miracles’ they had done to create the city and their territories vanished, crumbling most of the Continent.

After being conquered, all acknowledgement of the gods is forbidden (causing civil unrest).  Dr. Efrem Pangyui, a Saypurin, is in Bulikov to study their gods and history (information that is forbidden to the the Continent).  Dr. Efrim is killed, and Ashara’s (Shara’s)  goes to Bulikov to find out what happened.  Her auntie- Vinya- runs the Foreign Ministry and her grandfather was the Kaj. Ashara goes to Bulikov to find out who has killed . Ashara is from Saypuri, former slaves of The Continent.

Shara’s assistant / body guard / friend- Sigrud is my favorite character.  We find out that he is a long lost prince, who at the end of the book is going to go back to his people.  In their search for why Efrem was killed, they realized not all the gods are dead.  Shara eventually kills the god who is resurrected (and finds that one god lives in peace with her people).  She also realizes that her grandfather- the Kaj who slayed the gods, was really part god.

One of the themes is that the people’s desires really drove the gods decisions.  It was as if the gods were made/controlled by the belief of the people.  For example, when the people wanted to mingle with those of different beliefs, that’s when the gods came together and formed Bulikov.

What did I think about this book?

Being the first in a new world, it was complex and at times hard to follow.  I also felt it was too long and required skim reading to get through some sections.  Although it was good, it didn’t pull me into it when I wasn’t reading it.

Final Thoughts…

There will be a follow up, but not sure I will read it.  It may be easier, since the world is already established.  Or it may be more challenging because it will be impossible to remember all the plots points of the first book.

KayKay #CRB6 Review #35 The Martian by Andy Weir

the-martian-by-andy-weir

This book had a lot of great reviews on Cannonball.  After reading the preview, I really liked the voice of the main character.  Overall I did enjoy the book, but it got a little repetitive for me.  Every day for Mark Watney is about survival, there are successes and failures, none of his plans work perfectly.  I felt like I was reading Life of Pi on Mars.  I did like how the narrative was broken up with what was going on back on Earth to save him.  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? Mark Watney has been stranded on Mars.  His team thinks he is dead, but he has survived.  His mixture of biology and engineering knowledge helps him survive the Mars terrain.  He is able to adapt and survive by growing potatoes and making water and adapting the equipment left on Mars.  He encounters several set backs, and has to use his resourcefulness to survive.  In the meantime, satellites allow NASA to realize he is still alive and set out to coordinate his rescue.  In the end everyone (including the team who left him) pull together to save him.

What did I think about this book? I felt the setbacks started to feel repetitive.  He tries something, it fails, it seems like the failure will be critical and life threatening, but we know he’s going to survive.  It was a lot of cliff hangers that weren’t really cliff hangers. I really enjoyed Mark Watney, he had a great sense of humor.  There was a lot of science in the book (not that I understood it all), and it was well explained and interesting.

Favorite Lines “…that concept is critical to the “Mark Watney doesn’t die” project that I’m working on.” “The planet’s famous red color is from the iron oxide coating everything.  So it’s not just a desert.  It’s a desert so old it’s literally rusting.”

Final Thoughts… Loved the main character, but didn’t enjoy the repetitive nature of constant emergencies.