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Reading 2006

Books that I finished in 2006

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ****
Synopsis: What happens when folk lore Gods have children and pass down their legacy.
Review: While not exactly a sequel to American Gods, this book takes you down a similar line, but it’s more like a cross between American Gods and Good Omens than a true sequel, the story definitely stands on its own. Gaiman has quite a bit of Douglas Adams quirky style humor thrown into this story that will amuse, and make you laugh as you turn the pages in this quick read.

The Sword Of Truth Book 5 – Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars ** (Series ***)
Review: I think this series, as a whole would be a lot better if Goodkind would just stop retelling the story every time. He sends characters out to bring them back together, then proceeds to describes the characters retelling what happens each time they catch up. I know sometimes it is necessary for exchanges like this to happen, but not always! I ended up just glossing over sections because as the reader I already knew what happened, I really didn't need to hear the story told yet again. The ending was good though, almost good enough to bring the review up a bit, but after thinking about it, it was just too little too late which was sad because the story itself, fundamentally had some promise. I liked what he wanted to tell, I just don't think he did a very good job of it.

The Sword Of Truth Book 6 – Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars *** (Series ***)
Review: This book was a lot better than the last couple have been. In this one Goodkind corrected most of what I hated about the last one. He didn't try to ram characters that weren't part of the story so far, that he wasn't going to keep down our throats like he did in the last one, he didn't spend half of the book retelling the story from one character to another, and he found the plot he wanted and stuck with it for the most part, allowing this story to come out and flow through out the whole book which was a welcome change.

Now, what I didn't like about the book, was how heavy handed "preachy" it was! I would've thought this book was written in the midst of the cold war, for how anti socialist it was! I had to look up Goodkind just to make sure he wasn't born in Germany, or the former Soviet Union, boy was I surprised to find out he was born in Nebraska! I guess we'll have to chalk up his views to his Catholic schooling, which must have been extreme, because I know kids in Catholic schools, and they don't come out with this much resentment. I hate to harp on this subject because it was a good story, but Goodkind really brought out his views in this one.

All things considered I'd say this is probably his best of the series so far, it's really a shame that it took him this long to either hit his stride or get into the telling of the story, because it was obvious that he liked telling this one.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ***** (Series *****)
Review: The more I read from Martin in this series, the more I want to read. I've recommended this book around dragonbane and his initial comment is always that Martin kills, maims, and destroys every character he introduces to you, and tries to get you to like. (Not a spoiler, I'm exaggerating a bit.) I think the realism of jeopardy that he introduces to his character is a crucial part of what makes Martin's story so compelling though. This is not one of those stories where your hero puts on his shroud of main character protection and slays monsters, dragons, and defeats armies. This is a "Holy shit, they just killed Wash" suspension series where opposing sides play the deadly political game for keeps! Anything can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of what side they are on. Martin writes three dimensional characters with a great plot in an almost real historical setting. I cant wait for the next installment which he says is about half way done.

Orson Scott Card's review of the book.

The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card
Genre: Fantasy, History
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars *** (Series ***)
Review: While not outstanding the latest story in the Alvin Maker series is a quick, good read. I really like the the alternate history of America that is portrayed in this world and my only complaint is that it lacks a deeper "suspense" as the plot unfolds. (Which may have more to do with me as a reader, which is something I've been thinking on lately and will probably go on about at a later time.) I will confess that the end of the book had me a little muddled as there were some story lines and arcs that I felt were a bit unfinished in this last book of the series, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Non Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ****
Review: Anyone that knows me is probably aware that I am a huge Hitchhikers Guide fan. (In fact I am actually anticipating trying to read the book to the Munchkin this summer. I say trying because I’m not sure that I’ll be able to accomplish it, not because she won’t like or understand it, but because I don’t think I’ll be able to read through it aloud without dying from laughter which might make for a poor reading. Even though I know the story by heart, it still makes me laugh.) I had always heard stories about how Adams hated most of the books while or after he wrote them, but was never quite sure why. This book tells most of the story of his life, his adventures through different careers, and the story behind all of his books, which sets it apart from The Salmon of Doubt which is a collection of stuff he has written of different subjects for periodicals and such.

Legend by David Gemmel
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ****
Review: I started out thinking I would give this book a three start rating; it was enjoyable, nothing spectacular, but a good read. The more I went back over the story however, the more points I picked out that I really liked about it. The story is set in the same age type and setting as the end of the Roman Empire, a large civilization (The Drenai) took over (conquered) a large chunk of territory bringing “civilization” with it as it went. Over the course of years the Drenai are no longer as powerful as they once were, and now there is a severe threat that a barbarian horde will breach the boarder and topple the once mighty empire.

This story is set at Dros Delnoch, the keep at the border. The story revolves around the group manning the walls knowing that the army marching on them is vast in numbers and their chances of holding the walls are slim to none. The only reason that they stay to hold is to try and buy time for the nation’s army to train to meet the barbarians.

I think Gemmel did a very good job portraying individual emotions for some of the characters, and why they chose to stay and fight instead of fleeing. I was likewise impressed with how he portrayed the legendary warrior, now many years older that joins in the keeps defenses, it was these parts that I felt added so much to the story and my enjoyment that made me give the rating a bump in the end.

Waylander by David Gemmel
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars ** (Series ***)
Review: Third book in the Dranai series, and it's just not that good. The plot is thin at best, it's a cookie cutter would be hero story. I can see where Gemmel is trying to go with the series spanning plot, but I'm not sure I really want to get there if this is the road he continues to go down. This is a good book to read if you're stuck somewhere and there is nothing to do, I didn't find it particularly captivating but it passed the time nicely.

Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars ***1/2
Review: The latest in the Bean series is a quick read. I don't know that I particularly like this shoot off of Enders Game, mainly because having already read the sequels to Enders Game I already know where the world is going to end up. It is interesting to see how it gets there and watch Bean delve into his own humanity, but on the whole I feel that Card is writing this series because he knows people will buy it and it'll make money. Not that I have something against him making a living, I just want an author that I respect and has written my favorite book ever put something out there to floor me again. Which might be part of the problem, maybe I'm holding these up to too high of a standard.

I've gotten lazy and not updated this in months, here is what I remember:

The Phule Series by Robert Asprin
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars *** (Series ***)
Review: Not the most profound series, but I’ve always been a fan of Asprin’s MYTH series so I thought I’d give this one a try. I like it, but it’s no where near as much fun as the MYTH series is, a good light hearted read if you’re stuck somewhere with nothing else to do.

Listed out:
Phule’s Company
Phule’s Paradise
A Phule and his Money
Phule me Twice

The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars **** (Series ****)
Review: Like most OSC books this is well written, but I like it because it is vastly different from his other works. It is obviously influenced by the Book of Mormon, but has some interesting ideas unique look and feel.



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