Required Reading

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

An Apprentice to Elves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

This story presents elves in a different light than the fair haired, pointy eared elves of Lord of the Rings.  Elves do live underground in this book and Tin, an elven smith has a human apprentice, Alfgyfa.   Alfgyfa is silver-blond and of the Northmen.   Specifically she grew up in a wolfheall which is a wolf centered hall of those who have wolf brothers.    The story focuses on interracial tension and the invasion of Rhean troops.   Rheans show all the characteristics of Romans.

The relationship between Tin and Alfgyfa is mildly tumultuous.   The long lived elves have a very conservative outlook.   Alfgyfa on the other hand is impulsive and inventive.   The inevitable clashes occur.  

If you have read my previous reviews, you are aware I have a deep and abiding fondness for anthropomorphism so I loved the wolf/man bond.   The invasion of the Rheans and the results provide the meat of the plot.

The characterizations were very well done.  I liked the recognition that intolerance and fear of difference can be overcome.  Would be a better world of we could transport some tolerance and overcome some prejudice in the real world.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it.

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

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

I find it odd that I am not fond of short stories because, so far, all my own work is short.   Regardless of that fact, this was a compilation of Tremblay’s work.  The stories most prevalent theme was some sort of Armageddon.  

The author does not provide a lot of details as to the reason for the various dying societies but instead focuses on the people it affects.  

The darkness of the book is belied by the title but when reading the title, the nature of the growing things is yet to be discovered.

The acceptance of duck feeding was, perhaps, the most succinct depiction of societal end that I have ever read.

The stories are well written but I can’t say I liked 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.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster

I have never been disappointed with a Foster book.  His plots are always thought provoking.   I still have unpleasant visions whilst on an airplane due to Into the Out Of although it has been decades since I read it.  This book is about a physician and a Meld (body modification human being) who are traveling across a desert to find the solution to a mystery.  This is the third book in a series.  

Dr. Ingrid Seastrom and Whisper are well developed characters whose personalities feed on each other for Foster’s trademark buddy humor.   They encounter a wide variety of beings as they trek through a supposedly impassible and uninhabited desert with the assumption they are dealing with corporate malfeasance. 
The conclusion reached surprised them.

I enjoyed the book and am going to track down the two previous in the season although this book stood well as a stand alone.

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

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th

Politicians come and go,
Political parties wax and wane.
The strength and spirit of our nation is our acceptance of others. 
A refuge for all, a caring for the less fortunate.
We the people means All of the people!
If we are to survive the current divisiveness of our nation we must not forget our country’s basic truths and what and who we pledge to be, our pledge is to the nation
not to politicians, not to consumerism, not to race or religion but our 
Pledge is to the principles of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Monday, July 1, 2019

Spine of the Dragon by Kevin J. Anderson

This is a very good book but…But isn’t always bad.  The plot is excellent.   I’m going to guess that it will be a long series as there are a wealth of characters introduced.  The but is based on the fact that I frequently regret starting a series until it is complete.   I never finished the vaunted Wheel of Time series because I thought I might die of old age before it was completed.  Then I read that Robert Jordan had passed away and felt guilty that I had gotten so frustrated.   This series has a wealth of potential.   The idea of warring creators of man returning as man is attempting to destroy himself in war leaves enormous potential for tales.   I only hope that it doesn’t take too long.

Anderson does a good job showing how revenge and grief can lead to more grief.   Utho demonstrates that grief marinated to hatred and narrow-minded vengeance can overwhelm friendship and common sense.  The wealth of characters and parallel stories were a smidge difficult to keep track of.  

My advice to Anderson, as if he wants or even needs it, would be to make sure he does a thorough back story on the next volume.  This book was an excellent read but it is left wide open at the end.   I suspect the panorama of the plot is so extensive that Anderson had no choice but to leave everything open.
I enjoyed the book and hope the sequel is not too long in coming. 

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, June 26, 2019

Spotlight on Balance 12 by Ania

Mankind is only one of the twelve races, born of the twelve energies that created the universe. When the Balance that holds the races and the universe in harmony is threatened, two are chosen to restore it. Told through dual timelines that weave together mythologies, religions, and existential theories from all over the world, Ania’s breakthrough sci-fi/fantasy title, Balance of the 12 (Amazon, July 23, 2019), takes readers on a journey across time and space.

Billions of years ago, the Great War threatened to destroy the universe by annihilating the Balance between the twelve races. The attempt is thwarted by the Visionary Reader and human Protector at a great cost, but their sacrifice has since allowed the races to live in harmony. Until now. With another war looming on the horizon, Samuel, a human, and Jane, a Reader, are the only ones who can stop the war and restore peace. In a riveting tale both fantastical and futuristic, myth and reality collide in a fight for the greater good and the lives of all.

Ania is a translator, author of Balance of the 12, and mother of twin girls. She has spent the past decade studying philosophy and now holds a degree in the field, working especially in the philosophy of politics and existentialism. Watching her children grow up has inspired her interest in human nature, perception, and learning systems. A passionate traveler, her work is influenced by the different locations she travels to and the cultures she encounters

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

Monster Hunter Vendetta by Larry Correia

This is an action junkie book.   Correia starts with his peddle to the metal and then punches it right through the firewall.   Owen Pitt, Z, accountant turned monster hunter, finds himself facing the destruction of the world, again.

The plot of the book appears to be centered around how much mayhem can be wreaked.   The forces of evil, currently led by a guy appropriately named Hood, are plotting to darken the world and cruelly subjugate the world to evil tyranny.

Correia has an imagination that is awe inspiring.  He comes up with monsters galore for the Monster Hunters and Feds to destroy and be destroyed by.

If you don’t have enough caffeine in your life, read this book and it will fire you up for your day.

I enjoyed 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.