Sunday, June 26, 2011

REVIEW: The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman

Wow ... what a strange book. So I really loved The Left Hand of God ... it was one of those fantasy books that was a little more real, a little more brutal ... dark, and not in the warlock way. By the end it started smacking of sci-fi rather than fantasy. It was unpredictable in both the usual way, and in the way that I felt I had no familiarity with this kind of writing. The characters were well defined but also unpredictable (some reviewers claimed this was a weakness in the writing - that characters did not act as they should). The book ended with an unexpected twist too.

But The Last Four Things is totally different. It is as if Left Hand was about Cale and co.'s escape from The Sanctuary and trying to find a new life. It was very real, grounded and had a very specific course. It seems Four Things disregards all this and is now solely about the twist at the end of Left Hand.

The tone is now incredibly religious, with Cale, the supposed Angel of Death, fulfilling his destiny imposed by Bosco. All the relationships have changed and reversed and it is now very clear, where there wasn't even an inkling in Left Hand, that the story is set in a post apocalyptic Earth ... large plot points now focus around places like Switzerland and Spain.

I don't know how I feel about it. I enjoyed it and read it quickly, but I think I was questioning where it was going. Unlike other books, it hasn't provided an end goal, something the story or characters are working towards. This gives it it's unpredictability, but is also frustrating. I also found it weird how some key points, like the death of a character, was somehow tacked onto the end of a paragraph.

Next ... I'm returning to Earth's Children. I've started reading The Plains of Passage which is a deceptively looooonnnnggg mother. Already at page 50 there have been lengthy descriptions of foliage, which while interesting in previous books, is now getting old. I've found myself skimming and skipping which is usually a crime for me. But I have to finish the series .... hopefully it picks up soon!

Haven't bought any new books lately except The Infinity Gate, out of fear of missing out on the trade size paperback ... which I also need to get Wise Man's Fear because of. Other than that, trying to limit spending until I read a few more.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

REVIEW: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Well that was quick! I think I never realised how deceptively long the Earth's Children books are, with their small size. The Exiled Queen is just as big but with text size and all, is actually much, much shorter. I feel a little robbed it was so short.

I read a lot of crappy reviews on this book, which mentioned the use of overused archetypes and annoying protagonists ... I never really seem to notice things like that ... some people are just too picky - enjoy the god damn story! I enjoyed reading the book and it was one that was easy to keep reading at length (Earth's Children tires you out after a while). I find it's actually not very predictable - I have no idea what is actually going to happen in terms of the plot and character development which is great. The building tension over the future of Raisa is a highlight. I think there is only one more book to come out and I don't think it will be anytime soon. Damn.

Next ... well I'm kind of having withdrawals from Earth's Children so I am tempted to start that again ... but it's a large investment of time, when I could probably churn out another few shorter books. Probably The Last Four Things or The Novice.

No purchases since the last post (OMG) due to being sick, poor and busy with uni performance.

Friday, June 3, 2011

REVIEW: The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel

So I just finished reading The Mammoth Hunters which took a little longer than usual due to Uni and other commitments. I did like the book, but then again ... I think I found it frustrating. There are so many similarities between the first two that everything just feels like it's being repeated ... and then there is the feeling of repetition within the book itself. While I really appreciated hearing about how the Clan worked flint in CotCB, I'm totally over it by the third time it's describe in TMH. Also, if I have to endure another sex scene between Ayla and Jondalar, described identically every time ... I may kill myself.

I was quite a beautiful story, but just took a little long to get there. I felt I wanted them to hurry up and go find the Zeladonii ... which is why I am kind of dreading The Plains of Passage which is longer, and is another sidetrack before the final destination. Hmmm, I kind of feel like these two books are just fillers (even though they are full and detailed stories in their own right) - I'm just under the impression that they're not going anywhere.

That being said, I've decided to take a break and read one of the other 28 books I have yet to read. This decision was also made to delay finishing the series until The Painted Caves (the last book) comes out in Paperback, because I refuse to boy the hardback which does not match the rest of the series.

I had a moment of weakness when I went into Dymocks 'just to look' and saw The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima and The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman ... both sequels to books I recently read and loved. So of course I literally ran to the counter to buy them as if they somehow wouldn't be there when I actually had time to read them and went to buy them. I also bought the trade size version of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss second hand from London (after buying one that was not the same version AT ALL and sending it back for a refund) so it will match the recently released trade back version of Wise Man's Fear.

So I've just started The Exiled Queen ... I must admit I cannot remember any of the plot advances from the end of the last book, or some of the characters. And I couldn't find a plot summary anywhere online which I REALLY NEEDED. So I hope this book will subtly remind me as we go along.

In other news, they're now closing ALL the Borders stores in Australia. It was bad enough that now I can't buy books in my lunch break from work (Borders being the only store near by). Hopefully I can pick up some good sales at Melbourne Central when it closes.