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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Immortal Guardians (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts, Book 1) by Eliot Schrefer


This is a fantasy that I think is targeting upper elementary or middle school kids.  If you have read

any of my reviews, you know I am fond of anthropomorphism.  The idea of spirit animals is intriquing to me and I am well, immeasurablebly well beyond middle school years.

This is the begining of a series that should be appealing to a wide range of kids.  It is well written and has a clever but not overly complicated plot.

I enjoyed it.
The author has garnered a number of awards and appears to be prolific in his writing.

http://www.eliotschrefer.com/

Snyopsis: 
In the world of Erdas, every child must discover if they will summon a spirit animal, a rare and incredible gift. Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan were rare even among those few. They summoned four animals who were once Great Beasts, immortal guardians who sacrificed everything to end a brutal war.
 
Now, in the wake of that sacrifice, more special children are appearing all across Erdas who are connected to these legendary beings. But something else lurks in the shadows of this hard-won peace.
 
A dark force is hunting the Great Beasts, just as the world is rebuilding. Older and more powerful than even the Great Beasts themselves, it has slept for centuries beneath the surface of the world. Now it has awakened ...and if the young heroes can't stop it, it will consume everything.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fool's Quest: Book II of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy by Robin Hobb (a.k.a. Megan Lindholm)



This is the second  book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy.   This follows the Farseer series.  FitzChivalry, the royal bastard/assassin living the life of mellow, Tom Badgerlock is yanked back to court intrigue by public exposure of his inaccurately reported death.  The Fool, near to death, once again drags him into danger.

As in my review of the first book, Ms. Hobb seems to specialize in self doubt.   Her characters seem to revel in questioning their own values.   Ms. Hobb provides her characters with nearly bi-polar emotions, ranging form rage to near disabling despair.   There are vague references to other books but I think this book would be confusing if you hadn't read the previous book.  A lot of things would also make more sense if you have read all Ms. Hobb's books.  That, in itself, should be no hardship as I have enjoyed them all.  

Repeating myself, the wallowing wordy introspection occasionally gets tedious but overall the pace is satisfactory.  Ms. Hobb develops her characters meticulously.   They are full fleshed and as real as fiction can be.

I enjoyed the book and will wait quite impatiently for the third in the series.

Web Site:  http://www.robinhobb.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Princeps Fury by Jim Butcher


In fear of repetition I am going to keep this short.   This is an outstanding series and I strongly suggest reading the books in order.   Butcher's Harry Dresden Wizard for Hire series works fairly well in stand alone mode.  Too much back story would be needed to be read to truly appreciate this series.  Tavi (Tavar the change in name is only with the Canim) is recognized as the First Lord's legitimate offspring.   That does not in any way remove him from danger. 

The Vord, a pestilence, masquerading as merely an enemy is not the focus of the series.   Tavi enlists previous enemies as he successfully shows them that a common good is needed for any of the races to survive.

Once again I am truly impressed with Butcher's ability to craft his characters and to imbue humor while immersed in deadly straits.  

I give this series my strongest recommendation.
      
I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

I highly recommend the book.
My previous reviews of the series.



This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Straits of Hell by Taylor Anderson

This appears to have shades of Eric Flint's alternate worlds books.  A WWII destroyer is transported to an alternate Earth, I think.  On that alternate reality world a war is being waged by a variety of transported Earthlings and alien races.

This may be a good book but it is most definitely a sequel and there is a definitive lack of back story.   The characters, races and alliances are totally confusing due to that lack of a back story.

This may be a good book but I can't really say as I didn't finish it.  I got too frustrated  trying to guess my way through the plot and characters.  I like the writing style but there are too many other books out there that don't usually frustrate me. 




Web Site"http://www.taylorandersonauthor.com/books/straits-of-hell/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump by Harry Turtledove




David Fisher is an EPA agent, Environmental Perfection Agency.  This is the first clue that  "we ain't in Kansas anymore".   Turtledove is the master of alternative history.  This particular tale is heavily laden with Turtledove tongue in cheek humor while maintaining a consistent and intriguing plot.   GM isn't General Motors it is General Movers, manufacturer of flying carpets.   The theme is a realty fueled by religion and magic being threaten by "Powers"  that may be trying to start the Third Sorcerous War.

Turtle writes a great story and twists his plots to sufficiently satisfy any plot driven reader.   Fisher is a civil servant with a conscience and is driven to perfection by both his ethics and his love for Judy, a proof reader in a scriptorium.

There is plenty of action, lots of really, really interesting and funny characters or scenes.

I highly recommend.

Site:  https://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/turtledove.html

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Evolution of Robert Carr



This is my brain on Lovett
I don't normally post a review here and on Pick of the Literate but there doesn't appear to be a major crossover in my readers and this book was worth ballyhooing to the world.  

Che Guevara doesn't have a cameo in this book, except for reference to a poster, but he could have had one.   Lovett is a revolutionary masquerading as a satirist or a satirist masquerading as a revolutionary, I frankly am not sure which.   Regardless of his motivation, this book made me ponder many things.   The least of which was neural enhancement, although that was captivating, the addressing of social inequities was virulent, passionate and sadly realistic as it claimed the right of primogeniture.   The book claims to be social commentary but I would be more specific and say I felt it was satirically critical.

The main protagonist, Robert Carr, reluctantly accepts neural enhancement in able to be competitive in a increasingly dystrophic society.  His enhancement comes with a surprising bonus.  His bonus leads him to be targeted and to evolve as a person.  

Nothing is sacred, including or perhaps pointedly the sacred.  Pontification on greed, religion, the industrial revolution, mechanization, the impact of technology and far more provides a surprisingly captivating book.   Proselytization running amuck or merely driving home a point with the finesse of a sixteen pound sledge characterizes the book.  

I loved the book, Lovett succeeded admirably in initiating critical thought while remaining entertaining, Kudos on a great job!

Site:  https://www.facebook.com/paulklovettwriter/timeline

Neither his blog or website was active.  Since I first wrote this Mr. Carr let me know he is aware he has a problem with his website and blog and is working on it.  I was pleased that he actually read my review and he liked it.!  Nice to be appreciated.  :-)

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher


This is book four on the Codex Alera.  The main plot in this volume it the opposition to the Canim invasion but running through the story is the continuing sub-plot of a rebellion and those who oppose it.  Tavi, a young man without any "crafting" in a society that is characterized by "crafting" or the manipulation of materials through an immaterial method, ie wizardry or sorcery is coming into his own.  He has grown both in size and in talent.  

Butcher does a lot of "for the greater good" philosophizing.   The all powerful First Lord is forced to balance "for the greater good" with the realities of maintaining the loyalty of his minions

The Cane are formidable foes with a predator's sense of ethics.   Keep one's enemies closest as they are more predictable characterizes the Cane.    The Marat and the Cane are confused by the excesses perpetuated by the Alerans in their insatiable desire for power.   The contrast of the "barbarian" behavior and the "civilized" Alerans is glaring. 

As said in my previous two reviews, Butcher's characters are his stories strength.   His villains are more believable due to their pragmatic nature.  He gives back story on his villains so they are far more than just the embodiment of evil that seems to be prevalent in most fantasies. The motivation behind the villainy provides succulent content to the story.
      
I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

I highly recommend the book.



This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.