Monthly Archives: December 2013

Greatfall by Jason Gurley. What an Impact! #bookreview @jgurley

712qBCnyWvL._SL1500_Greatfall
Jason Gurley
311 pps
Science Fiction > Dystopian > Fan Fiction > Wool

What an impact!

This was an incredible read and anyone that hasn’t read any fan-fiction from the Woolverse (created by Hugh Howey) is doing themselves a disservice by not reading this as it explores the role of religion to keep to keep its inhabitants in check.  For the record, I’m late to the party in reading the fan fiction that Mr. Howey has created but better late than never!

That said, Greatfall explores the role of religion to keep the people of their silo in order. By religion, I’m talking about the form of god fearing evangelism and it does it brilliantly. Unlike the other silos that use a “mayor” and “sheriff” to keep its inhabitants in check, the idea to use two deities as good and evil is what’s used for Silo 23.The explanation to get the people to believe in an omnipotent being that can be malevolent at times is credible.

The writing and characterizations were solid. Based off the predicament and circumstances of Greatfall, you can’t help but grow attached to the protagonists and want them to achieve their goals given the plot. But that antagonist!

The antagonist, Matthew, was, to put it bluntly, a big dick. There are plenty of characters that we’ve read in novels and know that are “bad”. “Ok, character X is bad. Got it,” and from there, you may just go with the flow without a reaction to his/her actions. It takes great skill to create a character that the reader can love to hate and I think Mr. Gurley nailed it with Matthew. I can recall on several occasions where I’ve read something he’s done to another character and I’ll think, “Matthew is such an ass. I hope he gets a good offing in the end.” In fact, he pissed me off so much that I had to call him a dick on Facebook. Of course, what happens to him in the end, is for you, the reader, to find out.

On a side note: A friend had recommended Jason Gurley’s Greatfall a while back.  I had it in my queue of books of to read.  During that time, I did do a beta read of one of his stories. The beta wasn’t bad but it needed some work.  “I can’t believe this is the same guy that wrote Eleanor,” because, man. Greatfall just raised the bar to what I hope to/and expect from him. As it stands now his work in progress, Eleanor, is just that: a work in progress (not a spoiler, folks; he talks about it on his blog). For now? I may need to add The Settlers to quench my thirst for more Gurley.

#BookReview: So Say the Waiters (Book 1) by @JustinSirois

So Say the Waiters book 1
So Say the Waiters book 1 by Justin Sirois
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d rate this somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars.

Imagine a world where a phone app exists that allows you to create and plan your own kidnapping. You give the parameters for the kidnapping: the duration, the experiences you want to have, the safe word for a safe escape…

Henry is a daily grind kind of guy working in a mind-numbing yet steady job in programming where he’s struggling to keep his head above water. His work is sloppy, he calls in late or sick often, skips out early, and he’s paying for it in work performance. His marriage is all but over, and his wife is nearly completely moved out. He receives a phone call and a plane ticket one Friday afternoon to send him across the country from home (Baltimore) to Los Angeles to visit an old friend with a wild and lucrative proposition.

Dani is a girl who’s barely scraping by. She’s a bartender in a band and she’s covered in tattoos. She’s one of kidnApp’s best customers, and an early adopter. She can’t make rent, and she can’t make the guy she likes want her, too, but she’s a whiz with getting swept away by a Taker.

The story winds closely around these two characters, and really does a good job building up the beginnings of a great partnership. This is only Book 1, so the foundation is laid rather well. I really feel the doldrums of Henry’s life, and I’m eager for him to take the opportunity to turn everything on its ear and change directions 180-degrees. But he won’t, because he’s Henry, and he will do this methodically and planting each foot firmly down before taking the next step. That’s where Dani comes in. These two may very well create a powerhouse dynamic duo that will accelerate kidnApp to the upper atmosphere where it belongs.

Criticisms: This book was littered with misspellings and grammatical errors. I am unsure if it was edited. It seems like it was, because it is well-written, but some of the errors are blatant and left me scratching my head. I tried to submit the errors via the Kindle interface, but I’m not sure those are reported exactly as I had it conjured in my mind. Regardless, with a bit of effort in setting aside these oversights, the book is fun and worth a shot to learn if the kidnApp world is right for you.

Book 1 is available for free on Amazon (link), Barnes & Noble for Nook (link), iBooks, or Smashwords (link).

View all my reviews

The Martian by Andy Weir #bookreview

18007564The Martian
Andy Weir
Science Fiction > Hard Science Fiction
384 pps

Fantastic. Incredible. I’m not sure what else I can say about this novel. I loved this book.

The premise is simple: A freak natural disaster gets an astronaut stranded on Mars. Said astronaut is Mark Watney. Watney has a particular skillset that allows him to extend his longevity on Mars.  How he’s able to pull this off is up to you to read learn now. I’ll just say this: if you put MacGyver with NASA into the same room, interesting things will happen.

Ultimately, this is a survival manual for being stranded on Mars, assuming you have the necessary tools provided to you by NASA. And Watney’s skillset.  This is a hard science fiction novel and you may find yourself reading lots of “science-y” passages and you may want to find yourself glazing over it which is fine, but you may find yourself doing a disservice to you. There are some great gems of commentary to his thought process.

Told in the first person from Watney’s perspective, we’re privy to all his thoughts: his scientific reasoning, the rationale of his decisions, and his humor; his personality. It’s because of this narrative that we grow attached to this character and rooting for him to get rescued.

Mark Watney is a memorable character that will last with you for a lifetime. To be honest, the only other character I’ve ever felt compassion for/with is Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series).  I would love for Mr. Weir to write a prequel.

It will be a couple of months before the novel is released (initially a self published e-book but then picked up by a publisher) and all I can say is: add it to your queue. Pre-order it. Add it to your Goodreads list of “to-read.” Whether you’re a fan of the sci-fi genre or not, it’s the compelling character driven, survival story that makes this novel spectacular.

The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins

eye of god

I like all of James Rollins’ novels. After first discovering his books last year I did a “Complete Alternate Reality Immersion” (CARI) and read everything he had published in about 3 weeks. That was 16 books. And I enjoyed every second of it.

Rollins is known for creating amazing quazi-historical, semi-real places… and then completely obliterating them. If you have read his work you know what I mean. You’ll be reading along thinking “wow, what an amazing temple/forest/cave” only to check yourself and almost immediately  think “how is Rollins going to blow it up?”

So it was with excitement and a wee bit of trepidation that I picked up “The Eye of God” last night.

Rollins delivered – again.

The Sigma Force team finds themselves trying to avert the end of the world. Literally the end of the world. And as in most of his books science and faith both play a large part.

On the faith side Monsignor Vigor Verona and his niece Rachel are back in the thick of it after receiving a strange package from another priest.

On the science side we meet a super smart astrophysicist with some complex theories on dark energy and a new SIGMA member with multiple science degrees and kick-ass combat skills.

While there is not nearly as much Painter as I would like (you can never have enough Painter) we do get to spend some quality time with Seichan and Grayson. Kowalski and Monk are back as well.

The huge blurry gray line that lies between science and faith is at the heart of this book. And Rollins does an excellent job of balancing the two. One of the themes running through not only his SIGMA Force novels, but many of his stand alone books and his YA series as well, is that not only are science and faith not mutually exclusive, they are actually incredibly intertwined.

One is used to explain and prove the other. This should end up seeming a lot less plausible than it ends up being. That is what Rollins does really well. Making Dark energy and quantum theory pair perfectly with St. Thomas and Genghis Khan = brilliant!

He also creates diverse and interesting characters who the reader is able to develop a connection to over the course of the series.

He also treats these characters as real people- meaning he sometimes kills them. And you curse outloud when he does it.

But if you like intelligent action stories liberally peppered with historical, religious and scientific awesomeness you need to read this.

 

Now… for some spoilers…. So if you haven’t read the book, stop now and come back when you have to read the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not kidding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok – I’m assuming you are here by choice, so here goes.

He didn’t blow it up!!!!! I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that the golden room in the awesome ice cave is all in 1 piece.

I love it – don’t get me wrong- but it is surprising to say the least.

But Rachel and Vigor are both dead. Talk about a double whammy. I really thought somehow Rachel was going to survive in our reality (not just the alternate one). Rollins prepped us for Vigor’s death,it still sucked, but we were ready for it. Rachel some out of the blue though. A real gut punch.

Seichan’s story  seems a little played out to be honest. I like her as a character, but I either want her to actually join the team or go away. To be clear – I think she would make an excellent team member.

I’d like to see Tucker Wayne back in the mix – I missed him.

 

 

 

Game: A Thriller (Book 1 of the Game Trilogy) #bookreview @AtriaBooks

game a thriller

Game: A Thriller (Book 1 of The Game Trilogy)
Anders de la Motte
Fiction Thriller 386 pp

ARC via Atria Publishing

The first rule of The Game is to never talk to anyone outside of The Game Community about The Game. If you rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you; I did the same. The consequences of talking about the Game? They can be harsh and never ending.

Within the first several pages we’re introduced to a hungover Henrik “HP” Pettersson. He’s found a cell phone that incessantly texts, “Wanna play a game?” despite his replies of “No.” Eventually he acquiesces.  The rules are simple: complete tasks and be monetarily rewarded. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.  That said, the higher the risks become more dangerous they are. But to someone like HP, it’s worth it, and not just for the money but for the notoriety. It’s that quest for notoriety that gets him into trouble as it quickly affects someone close to him.

HP is a broken character that you can’t help but feel sorry, and root, for. He is in essence the reluctant hero of the novel. The structure of the novel is such that it switches from HP to Rebecca, a government body guard to government officials of Sweden.  As the novel progresses, it switches from HP’s tasks to Rebecca’s protection duty at which point they will eventually intersect. And what an intersection it is!

This was, and is, a great conspiracy laden thrilling page turner. The conspiracy aspect? Totally legit. Completely plausible and may make one think twice over as they watch the local/national/international news as strange events occur. There were many misdirections thoughout the novel, from beginning to end, and they were great! Lots of audible, “Oh damn!” moments were had

As the title implies, this is Book One (1) of a trilogy. I cannot wait until book two (2), Buzz comes out! It truly is a great, intelligent, thrilling, conspiracy page turner.