Archive for the ‘Book reviews’ Category

Here’s the synopsis of what I’m about to talk about:

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

Some of you may have heard of this upcoming zombie romance called Warm Bodies. Actually, in the U.S., it just came out yesterday. Unfortunately for the good people of whichever country I’m in, it will probably be a week or so before the theaters get the DvD and start rolling the tape. Do they still have tapes?

I did, however, go and read the book. Yup. Owned them. They thought they HAD me, they thought they were SO smart… Well. TAKE THAT. So, anyways. I read it yesterday, and I was a bit surprised.

I really liked it. Why am I surprised? Lately, I’ve been having trouble finding a good book that fits my current mood. Warm Bodies, incidentally, fit my mood. I mean. Let me tell you how I came upon the book. I was at the bookstore, and I picked up It, by Stephen King, The Walking Dead: Road to Woodbury, and Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. It and Road to Woodbury didn’t seem to fit my mood, but when  I started Warm Bodies, I couldn’t seem to stop. It was really good.

Interesting thing – for a romance… The protagonists are really not perfect. Of course, that’s already a given considering the male protagonist is a zombie… but the heroine is surprisingly unique and different. I’m not saying that’s really something new. It’s just that she wasn’t really emo or depressing. Most heroines are. Sad, but true.

The writing is actually pretty good. It’s told from the perspective of R, and it’s primarily first person perspective. Zombies, in this story, eat brains because they get to experience the emotions and memories of their victims. R happens to eat the brain of this soldier, and gets caught up in his memories of his ex-girlfriend, the heroine of the story.

The inner thoughts of R, the zombie, vary greatly from what he actually says. Zombies can barely get a few syllables out, but his ‘voice’ is surprisingly intelligent and interesting. This is a pretty adult book. I mean, considering the stuff the characters talk about, everything that’s happening… Yeah, I’d spoil it for you, but I’m told that’s not a reviewer’s deal-io.

Anyways. I’m actually worried about how the movie will handle this. The movie is PG-13, and the trailer already shows a lot of different stuff. That’s not necessarily bad, but like I said, the heroine is kind of… well, unique? Oh, that isn’t the word for it. I mean messed up. R – somewhere near a quarter through the book – notes she has scars on her wrists that could not have been accidents. She also used to do some pretty hard substances, etc.

Long story short, it’s stuff that PG-13 probably would not allow. Get my drift? I also notice that the narration has been sort of toned down in the trailer. I’m not saying I want R to narrate throughout the entire experience (Dear God, an entire movie of narration?), but I mean that his great knowledge of the English language is not so obvious. From the first four pages of the book, you immediately realize, “This guy was smart in his past life.”

From the trailer, you immediately think, “This guy was a stoner in his past life.”

Hey, we’ll see from the movie. I may even review that a bit. Anyways. This is a very good book. It’s rather short, but it’s lots of good fun. And fun’s always good. (Unless you hate fun… In which case, it’s always bad for you.)

I would suggest you read an excerpt of it, see if the style is to your liking. One thing I did not really care for where the memories of the guy R killed. I understand it delivered some more insight into the world, yeah, but the entire time… All I really wanted to do was get back to R and Julie’s story. I’m a bit of a romantic like that. I don’t want to read about the ex-boyfriend, I want to read about the New guy getting the girl.

THAT is how it should be done. But then again, they were still entertaining. Like I said, I’m just biased. You should also check out Isaac Marion’s blog. He’s a pretty funny dude.

http://burningbuilding.blogspot.co.at/

And in case any of you are wondering, I’m not really a fan of zombies. I just read horror because it makes me feel better. How? Well, if you read about how a world has just gotten overtaken by zombies, and how miserable everyone is… You find that the stuff happen to you is relatively… normal. And that is comforting. Get it?

Also, I don’t watch horror movies. Not normally. They scare the living ********************************************** out of me. That was censored by the Internet because it was just so heinous. It was also in a foreign language, making it even MORE HEINOUS. Yeah, I’m SCARY like that. So. Yeah… Read this book. It’s not really packed with gore or action like most zombie books… It’s pretty funny, though, and I have to say… After reading Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor, I like Warm Bodies more.

Final verdict – it is an 8.1/10.

I give books a bigger rating when they manage to pack it with some awesome writing, great action scenes, and hilarious moments. That’s what counts in my book.

Oh. Someone I know suggested I should give Amazon links or something? I won’t link to Amazon, but I’ll just link to Goodreads.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7619057-warm-bodies

By the way, Stephanie Meyer reviewed this book. NO. DON’T LEAVE. WHY?! Seriously. Don’t get scared away by that if you’re not a fan of her. I didn’t really see her review (on the back of the book) and I only saw it after I’d finished. It didn’t really affect me. The only thing I thought was, “Damn, hope she finally learns how to write a good story after this…”

Doubtful, but I’m an optimist like that. So, don’t get scared away by stuff like that, and just enjoy the book. Yeah? All right. REEEEAD IT.

I talked about the Way of Kings in my earlier post about Touch of Power, and I decided to write a review about it. The Way of Kings is the first book of a planned 10 book series called the Stormlight Archive set in the world known as Roshar. Roshar is plagued by high storms at a near daily basis, and fauna and flora have adapted to their surroundings and most of them are crustacean of nature. The whole basis of this series is that a thousand years ago, there were these great heroes, and they suddenly abandoned their weapons, and left the people to fend for themselves.

The book was beautifully done and stands at a whopping 1,036 page book. You heard right. And that’s the epub version. It’s probably way longer in the paperback version. Back to the story. There are basically three main protagonists. There’s Kaladin Stormblessed, a former captain in the army that is now a slave working in a bridge team, and has to deal with seeing his comrades fall to the arrows of the enemy as they lay down their bridges to cross some terrifyingly deep chasms. There’s Dalinar Kholin, the brother of the king that is killed in the Prologue, and because he was drunk and unconscious during the death of his brother, he has now taken to following the rules assigned to the army thousands of years ago to the absolute letter. Finally, there’s Shallan, who is trying to track down an elusive scholar/heretic called Jasnah Kholin (Dalinar’s niece) and is planning on stealing a priceless artifact from the unsuspecting scholar.

All in all, the book was just astounding, and I loved every page of it. The book is split up into parts, and in each part, there is a brief intermission or interlude, and you’re introduced to the perspective of an entirely new character and will be shown the rest of the world that’s intelligently crafted by Brandon Sanderson. But, in case this might confuse you, I would suggest you read only the chapters integral to the plot, I.E. the chapters in Dalinar’s, Kaladin’s, Shallan’s, Adolin’s (deuteragonist), and Szeth’s (technically a protagonist, but his chapters are just so few.)

The plot was masterfully done, and I simply loved the magic system that Sanderson has crafted for Roshar. I can’t even begin to think of a description adequate enough to convey the brilliance of the book. You are introduced to entirely new creatures such as the Parshendi and the Parshmen. Two species so alike to each other, yet so different in mannerisms, skills, and intellect. You will become emotionally invested in the characters as they tread carefully around the dangerous political ground of the war going on, as they grieve after a heartbreaking death of their comrade, or as they contemplate the consequences of the act they are about to commit. You’ll be in a roller coaster of a ride.

If I was forced to find a few problems with the book, and yes, this is me forcing myself. I would have to say the problem with the book is that it takes a few more dozen pages than most regular people would like before you’re hooked into the story and taken on an adventure you’ve never seen before. But, if you’re an avid fantasy fan, you’ll have absolutely no problem with that.

I’ve also noticed that some people have difficulty with the fact that you’re not really told what is what in the Prologue, but if you just tough it out, it will all be explained within the next few chapters. If not, then it’s probably integral to the plot of the next books. Here’s another problem that is so minor that I ignored it. The series has a planned 10 books in it, in relation to the fact that 10 is a holy number in Roshar and it takes 10 heartbeats to summon your Shardblade (their almighty powerful weapons).

Some of you may have a problem when it comes to waiting such a long time for the next book, but I don’t regret reading it for a second. It just means that I get to have an excuse to re-read the previous book each time before the next one comes out so I can catch myself up on the story.

Now, go read it now, or ELSE.

Oh, you think I’m kidding? -raises shotgun toward your head- That’s right. Go read it.

When I first heard about Maria V. Snyder’s new book, I immediately thought of disaster, train wrecks, and nuclear bombs accidentally going off. Why? Well, she debuted with a great book called Poison Study that was literally one of the first books I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I loved it. Sure, I’ve read some better books, but it was pretty damn good at the time. So, when I heard she was making a spin-off series from the original trilogy, I was ecstatic. Then I heard about the protagonist. Imagine, if you will, if you’d just finished reading about a strong woman that did not shy away from danger, yet still knew the meaning of fear and was human in the sense that she wasn’t perfect. Then imagine that you read a book supposedly considered its successor where the protagonist is a weak willed worm that cannot even stand up for herself to the simplest things. I’m not saying you have to be powerful to be strong, but if you have a weak personality, weak power, AND a weak story… Well, it just doesn’t sound all that good.

So, naturally, I assumed the worst when I heard about a series she was starting about a Healer. Now I scold myself for my cynicism, because it was honestly a great book. I’ve read quite a bit of books set in first person, and while I much prefer third person perspective ( my own style for when it comes to writing), I do like reading some tales in first person. Problem is, only very few people can manage to pull off first person because, first of all, your protagonist HAS to be likable, or your reader is stuck with someone they hate for the next hundred or so pages.

Second of all, I would suggest you make your protagonist very satirical or at least slightly funny. Because, let me tell you, if we were reading Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and the entire time, we were stuck with Kaladin… Well, it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable, since I didn’t even like his chapters all that much to begin with. I loved Dalinar’s and Adolin’s chapters, though. Back to the point, Touch of Power was fast paced, filled with dozens of plot threads that were nicely tied up in the end. There are some issues that I did have with the story, though.

For example, the overall mystery they left the ending in. I’m not saying you need to flat out tell the reader, “And they lived happily ever after,” but if you leave the reader without a definite ending of the plot you started out, it’s going to piss off a lot of people. Once again, I go back to Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. The ending was handled perfectly. Mysteries were finally solved, but mysteries also had just begun, and for me, that was what it made it special.

Don’t get me wrong though. Touch of Power is a wonderful read. You are introduced to fully formed and lovable characters, and brought into a world where healers are executed for twenty gold pieces, realms are at war with each other, and you’re in constant danger of being eaten by a giant flower. It’s a great tale, and I would suggest it to anyone.