Friday, 30 July 2010

BR: Lord Loss

Lord Loss (The Demonata, #1)Lord Loss by Darren Shan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Darren Shan. I loved his vampire series (although I read the last page first, and when I saw **spoiler** that he was dying **spoiler** I didn't dare to finish the book). Lord Loss is the first book in a new series about the Demonata. And I'm proud of Darren, because this is a completely new series. It doesn't feel like Cirque du Freak at all. The only similarity is the first person narration.

This book follows Grubbitsch Grady, who likes to be called Grubbs. I immediately fell in love with the name Grubbs. Been thinking about calling my kids like that. Anyway, Grubbs's family bears a secret. Grubbs notices his parents and sister acting weird. He knows there is something going on, and when he is shipped off to aunt Kate, he walks back home to find out what is going on. At home, he is the witness of something terrible. His dad, head chopped off. His mom, in a pool of blood. His sister, used as a puppet by a demon. Like a miracle, Grubbs escapes the slaughter. And that's only the beginning.

This book has a warning on the back, and for the first time I really thing the book deserves the warning. This book is scary. It's disturbing and gross. It's amazing. This book is not childish at all. The writing style is short and simple in places, to pick up some speed, and descriptive and extensive in other places, to set the scene.This is a quick, surprisingly dark read.

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

BN: King's planning to take over the world...

Renowned horror author Stephen King finds himself after 36 years of writing hungry for power. He has decided to build an empire, online. How? By photographing anything that has something to do with good old Steve or anything from his books. Like Stephen’s Record Shop, or King's Cross. Just take a picture and send it to Steve, and his empire will grow. 

The reward? Well, Stephen King watching your picture off course, and maybe you're one of the lucky bastards that wins a signed copy of one of his books. But then your picture must be quite awesome.

I'm competing in this contest as well, just have to make the picture. When I send it in I'll put it online.

Join in, and make the King-Empire grow!


BR: The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book follows several characters in their struggle with the hard world this story is set in. We meet Logen, aka the Bloody-Nine (he only has nine fingers left), a barbarian who doesn't seek out trouble, but well, trouble finds him. Then there is Glokta, a cripple Inquisitioner that doesn't do much asking, but more torturing instead. We also follow Captain Luthar in his struggle to become the winner of the annual Contest. A small role is for Mayor West, and his sister Ardee. And then, the person that connects all these people: the mysterious First of the Magi Bayaz. Also notable is his sickly assistant, Quai.

There are so many characters in this book, and at first that is rather annoying because it makes it harder to really get to know them, but as I continue reading, it struck me that this really is the strength of this book, because they actually are all interesting and have so much depth, that they indeed deserve a story of their own.

Thumbs up for Mr. Abercrombie for the highly original fantasy story he has created. It is hard to write in a genre like fantasy, where is written so much and almost everything has been done before, and still he manages to write a book that feels refreshing.

Be warned though: this book contains a lot of dark humour. If you don't appreciate that, please don't read this. If you can't handle torture, don't bother trying it. This is not for the weakly minded.

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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Short break

The next two weeks I will be somewhere in Italy, cut off from the world, away from the stress and hectic life, and reading a big book. Will be back after that with some new reviews and other book stuff!

See you soon :)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

BR: The Magician's Nephew

  The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Magician's Nephew is the prequel to the famous Narnia Chronicles. It has been written in 1955, five years after the best known book in the series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's actually the first Narnia book I have read because I decided to read the books in chronological order.

The story begins in London around 1900. Two children, Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, meet while playing in the adjacent gardens of a row of terraced houses. They decide to explore an attic connecting the houses, but take the wrong door and surprise Digory's Uncle Andrew in his study.

The evil Uncle Andrew then sends Polly to a different world, and forces Digory to go after her. This is the beginning of a series of adventures caused by Magic.

I kind of thought this book to be quite slow for a children's book. Maybe it's because I had the wrong idea when I started reading, but I wouldn't read this book first. It is more about explaining where the Witch comes from and how Narnia took shape than that it's an enjoyable stand alone story. It takes way too long before we finally arrive in Narnia, and when we do, we see more of the environment (which is quite okay) than of the inhabitants (which are way more interesting). This book did have some brilliant moments (like planting the Uncle.. I actually giggled at that part), and I didn't found the Christian references troublesome at all. They gave the story a nice classic mythological touch that I liked. And of course, in the end, everything works out. (Except for the Witch problem, we still need her in the next book).

It has potential, and I hope The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe proves to be the real classic it is labelled as.

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Friday, 9 July 2010

No way out...

Okay, I'm really stuck here. And then I mean, really. I started reading Labyrinth about *checking GR* the beginning of April. That is now three months ago. Three. Friggin'. Months. I have never been ploughing through a book this slowly. It's not like swimming through the current, it's like trying to swim up the Niagra Falls. And people, in case you didn't notice yet, that is not possible.

About a week ago I started skipping. It's like a horrible deadline you just know you're not gonna make. I feel like that Greek guy that's stuck in Hades trying to get this big boulder up a hill, and when he's almost there it just rolls down again. Every time I open Labyrinth, I start reading and think "hey, this isn't that bad". Then I continue and my mind starts to wander and thoughts like "I should be doing the dishes at this moment" come up. I suppress them, shake my head, and continue. Then my thoughts start to go like "doing the dishes may be more useful". After a while of a lot of description I honestly don't give a shit about, I decide that doing the dishes is actually more fun and rewarding than reading Kate Mosse's fat book of torture. Discovering that I have only read a single chapter. That's about five pages. Five pages people. And at the moment I'm at page 308. That's so many hours of me trying to push through this book.

But it has me beaten. This Labyrinth just doesn't have a hidden treasure. I seriously give up. I will keep my bookmark inside of it and put it on a high shelf in the corner of the room so I won't be reminded of this failure. I never give up reading, I never stop until I have finished it (except LoTR, but that's because of it's incredible length). I made it though It's descriptions, I have made my way though countless fantasy tomes. But Labyrinth finally got to me. Good job Kate.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

BR: Interview with the Vampire

As The Vampire Lestat is an upcoming read, here my review of #1 in the series.

Interview with the Vampire Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book in Rice's famous Vampire Chronicles series. It is basically the story of Louis's life as a vampire. And to be honest, that isn't really interesting.

The story starts off fine. Louis gets introduced, Lestat makes a grand entrance and the vampire is made. Then you get the Louis is very different blahblahblah, and then he starts to hate Lestat. That's fine. But then he starts to think that he is evil, vampires are evil, they might be children of the devil, and that really gets on your nerves after fifty pages. And even more after a hundred pages.

And then Lestat leaves the scene. And Louis continues to whine. You would think after he few centuries he would get over his self-pity, but guess again! Also, he just isn't vampire enough. He's weak, both mentally and physically, and his favourite way of handling problems is by running away or just scream "NO!". He actually behaves himself like a very stupid, strange and self-pitying human.

That being said, I think the side characters (Claudia, Lestat, Armand) were very enjoyable and interesting. The vampire lore is of course well-known but not boring and doesn't feel repetitive.

And in the end, everything gets turned around, and I found the conclusion quite satisfying.

Shame of that poor Lestat though, but he has still some books to go, so I guess he'll redeem himself.

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Monday, 5 July 2010

BR: Bloody Bones

Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #5) Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #5) by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the 5th instalment of the Anita Blake series, Anita is summoned to resurrect a whole hill of scrambled zombie mess. When she arrives, the police wants her opinion as monster expert on a slaying of a couple of teenagers.

Of course, nothing is what it seems and throw in some master vampires and fey magic and a boggle, and you get Anita in a whole lot of trouble.

It is fast paced, as we are familiar with from the other books, but this one sees a lot of growth in some characters. Anita is still the ass-kicking heroine we are used to, but finally, she's learning an important lesson: not every vampire belongs to the monsters.

We see Larry grow from shy animator to a relentless vampire killer. It's good to see that he still has compassion and isn't as pitiless as Anita, but he is getting close.

The bathroom scene I totally loved. Jean-Claude for once isn't the arrogant bastard, and he's actually... kind of cute.

The clothes thing is starting to bother me. I don't need a total description of someone's wardrobe. Hamilton is actually ruining some scenes for me because, I'm just not into white suits with lace and blouses with long sleeves that cover hands and jackets that hit mid waist. If she would have said nothing about his clothes, he would have been so much sexier in my imagination.
Okay, I admit, Larry in leather pants was kind of funny.

There are also a lot of repetitive sentences that once you notice them, start to get on your nerves. Sharp and immediate pain, anyone?

I just wish Hamilton would leave that final chapter. It doesn't add to the story, and overall feels a little anti-climactic. We spend 300 pages fighting the baddies and she closes off with, "Ah well, everyone's hurt but okay. And the lesson we learnt today children, is that not all monsters are that bad".

Overall, fun book to read, gets you on the edge of your chair, we get to see more of Anita's powers which is nice, we get to see a sensitive JC, which is nice, and Richard isn't there to play jealous alfa-werewolf, which is even better.

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