20 November, 2014

Quick Review - The Deaths of Tao (Lives of Tao #2) by Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu came out of nowhere last year and rocked my socks off. I really enjoyed these books about an alien race that inhabits humans while fighting a secret war against each other in James Bond fashion. 

The Deaths of Tao was only a slight let down after The Lives of Tao, though not by much, and really only because of my own biases. I tend to enjoy the first of a series more than the rest. There's something about experiencing all the newness, all the clever ideas and magics, for the first time that really sells me. Couple that with a training montage type book and it's hard to beat.

Sometimes I think cliches are only for me. Everyone else on the internet hates them. :)

When you think too hard, it's barely science fiction, which is amazing that I still enjoyed it as much as I did. It's not like the aliens do all that much to enhance the host other than impart millennia of knowledge.

Anyway, Deaths of Tao was on the same level as Lives - tons of action, great dialogue, and non-stop pace. I'm looking forward to more in this series (The Rebirths of Tao and a just -announced new trilogy) and the other thing Chu's got cooking.

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

19 November, 2014

Review - Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

I do not believe it is possible for Joe Abercrombie to write a bad novel. Short or long, I'm glued to the page from the very first one. Half a King is much shorter than all his other novels, but that hardly diminishes the effect. 

I usually read multiple books at a time (cause I'm insane I know) and I found myself putting down others in favor of this one. REALLY good others too. 

Here, Abercrombie takes the point of view of only one character, Yarvi, and explores his world, his story. Yarvi is a prince and a cripple. His left hand has been cleft since birth and in a savage, medieval world that's more than enough to ridicule someone, even a noble such as he.

With plans on escaping the political life and joining the celibate Ministry, Yarvi's plans take a 180 degree turn when his father and elder brother die and the kingdom is thrust upon him.

Betrayal and hard times follow and Yarvi's life is anything but desirable. This is the story of Yarvi's growth into himself, despite his weakness.

And like I said, I was glued to the page from the beginning. There's barely a chance to come up for air as the events compound. Yarvi is a fascinating character, full of Abercrombie's wit and charm. 

In a world where we take so much for granted, especially sacrifice and hard work, it's nice to see a character like Yarvi who suffers real learning and growth, especially due to his one great weakness, his crippled hand. 

I couldn't put Half a King down. It's typical Abercrombie through and through - he'll charm you while he's pulling your guts out. 

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)

18 November, 2014

Review - Veil of the Deserters (Bloodsounders Arc #2) by Jeff Salyards

Veil of the Deserters is one of those sequels I've been dying to get my hands on. Salyards created this captivating world through the eyes of his protagonist, Arkamandos (Arki), and then made us wait two years to see more! Not only that, Scourge of the Betrayer, book one of Bloodsounder's Arc, was relatively short. It gave us a number of answers, but it left so much untold. I just knew the sequel would take this series to the next level ... or kill it. 

Veil of the Deserters killed it ... wait, I mean took it to the next level by killing it in the best way possible. 

In Scourge (book 1), we only just find out the smallest bit about the Syldoons and their mission. In Veil, things are opened up wide and suddenly the story is completely different. The Syldoon are pulled out to return to the capital, but their mission is nowhere near completion. Facing the undesirable question of losing all their progress or angering the Emperor Cynead is only the beginning of their problems.

Veil is yet again told through the eyes of Arki, who also happens to be curious to a fault. This gives us answers as readers, but also leaves us in his shoes to flounder through mystery after mystery.

One of the best parts of this sequel was that we not only get to see more of the world as the Syldoon head back home, but we get a look into the magics. The Memoridons are a force all their own and independently powerful, with a form of mind magic. It's hard to tell where their loyalties lie and they bring a lot into the story.

In the end, I'm dying to read more of this series. I've even written a letter to Jeff full of nothing but truth.

To Herr Jeff Salyards,

Jeff, you're work called me and said you're fired. No, don't ask why they called me, they just did. Oh, and so did all employers everywhere, which means there's nothing else for you to look for. There's just no chance, I already heard from them. What's with all the questions? Trust me.

So ... I guess you have to make ends meet solely through writing. Please write more, right now. I can't get enough.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)

13 November, 2014

eBook Deals - Barnes, Sykes, Ness, Westerfeld, Wurts, Sakey, King, Williams, Preston Jr.

I have a couple reviews I need to post and a couple (20 falls into a "couple" right?) reviews to write, but in lieu of that, here are some eBook Deals. A number of these are taken from the SF Signal list of ebooks, which you can find here. I like to go through and take out what's interesting to me.

[FREE] Code Breakers: Alpha by Colin F. Barnes

[$1.99] The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
[$1.99] The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness - It's a long story, but I read the conclusion to this trilogy and it was really good.
[$1.99] More Than This by Patrick Ness
[$1.99] Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld
[$1.99] Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light and Shadow #1) by Janny Wurts

[$2.00] Brilliance (Brilliance Saga #1) by Marcus Sakey
[$2.00] A Better World (Brilliance Saga #2) by Marcus Sakey

[$2.99] Everything's Eventual by Stephen King - short story collection
[$2.99] Pet Sematary by Stephen King
[$2.99] Bag of Bones by Stephen King
[$2.99] Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Ylesia by Walter Jon Williams

[$3.00] Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders (The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin #1) by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
[$3.00] Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War (The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin #2) by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.