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thepaladin

thepaladin

Wonderful Book....But Now I'm Waiting for the Next

Blood Song - Anthony  Ryan

Okay, "first off" I know some don't care for long reviews and sort of skip through just interested in the "bottom line" so to speak. I have a few things to say, but for you who want things boiled down to the basics...in my opinion, that's "In My Opinion" this is an excellent, even an exceptional book. I have moved it directly on to my favorites shelf. The only negative I have here is that the next volume isn't due out till July 2014. God willing and I'm still alive, healthy and solvent I plan to snap it up as soon as it's out and that my dwindling time lasts through this series.

Clear? This seems to me a great book. That paragraph should help at least two groups of people. First those who find that more often than not they agree with my taste in books, second those who find that, "more often than not" they "disagree" with my taste in books.

Now, for everybody else who'd like me to say a little about the book, here we go.

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How to Survive a Horror Movie

How to Survive a Horror Movie: All the Skills to Dodge the Kills - Seth Grahame-Smith, Wes Craven

I saw this book reviewed...and felt strangely compelled to reserve it at the library. Just after picking it up and reading the opening chapter on how to tell if you actually are trapped in a horror movie....I discovered a box of very old books I hadn't realized I even owned??? Upon finding them I went searching out shelf space for the dusty old volumes (oddly as soon as I went into the dark bed room to shelve the books my cat screamed and leapt from one of the shadowy shelves right at me. She'd never done anything like that before...weird.)

 

Well anyway, as I settled down to read How To Survive a Horror Movie...an unpredicted thunder storm broke outside and we had a power failure. Well, doing the obvious thing I went into the dark attic to rummage through a still packed box to find a flashlight, (we just moved into this place...it was oddly torn up before the landlord did the repairs, he was strangely close mouthed about who lived here before, and what happened.) Anyway, having gotten the flashlight (I'll have to check out that odd noise, the rattling scrape that kept up over in the darkest corner of the attic while I was up there, but I don't have time now.) I returned to my dark chair, near the unusual little rock I found in the garden, the one that seems to have a human face on it. I keep it on my computer desk, right next to my chair.  At ant rate, with my flashlight I started to read again only to be distracted by a huge clap of thunder and an unusually bright flash of lightening. The flash showed a face outside the window, some guy in a hockey mask...

 

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The Broken Sword

The Broken Sword - Poul Anderson

I also reviewed this book on "Goodreads". There they have a simple 5 star rating system thus the "rating choices" are more limited. Here I can go 3.5 stars for The Broken Sword. This book is better than a simple 3 star might indicate. The problem is that I don't like it as much as many 4 star books...or many of the books I've rated four(4) stars. I'll note here that I'm not trying to rate this or any book on things like, writing quality alone. I suppose I basically rate on what I think of as overall enjoyability.

This book is exceedingly well written. Based on several types or areas of mythology from northern Europe the story telling style is patterned after the Icelandic Sagas. With influences from Norse mythology, the folklore of Iceland, Scandinavia, England Ireland and Germany the story ranges forth. Beginning with a violent act leading to an act of revenge that brings about the substitution of a changeling for a human babe in turn leading to a Troll /Elf war and even referencing the coming of Ragnarok this is a true saga.

 

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Deed of Paksenarrion

The Deed of Paksenarrion - Elizabeth Moon

I want to say first that I've read hundreds if not thousands of books and the largest percentage of them are probably fantasy. I love this book and rate it as one of my top 3 or 4 favorite novels. I can't recommend it too highly. I really don't think I can recommend it highly enough. Please read this book. I keep multiple copies on my shelf and have loaned out (read given away) many copies. This one is great.

I read the omnibus edition of this book. It’s actually a trilogy. The Deed of Paksenarrion contains Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Divided Allegiance, and Oath of Gold. I find it a truly exceptional high fantasy read. I rate it five stars as it’s in many ways (in my opinion of course) the best of it’s type. In a time when “attempts” at epic fantasy are a dime a dozen, a good (or great) one should be noticed.

I don’t want to include any spoilers in this without warning (and I know some actually look for them) but, let me mention what the book is actually about.*********Note please that what follows may be considered by some a spoiler. If you'd rather not chance it, skip this part.******

 

********It follows the life and career of a young woman (Paksenarrion)who wants to be a soldier (the author Elizabeth Moon was military) from her beginning training throughout her life to her development into a paladin.

Now, the character of the paladin hasn’t been handled that well that often in literature. The paladin usually comes off as pompous, self righteous, or is handled as a parody of what the character was meant to be. (See The Song of Roland for the or an origin of the paladin as a character).

I have read this book (trilogy) many times and love it. It compares well to the “proto-epic fantasy", The Lord of the Rings.  I can and do recommend it (as well as The Lord of the Rings) highly.  As I said, I can't recommend it highly enough. Great Book. I own all the books in print and audio versions. Highest possible recommendation.

As noted above, this omnibus edition contains:
Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold.

One of my top favorites, 5 stars+.

SPOILER ALERT!

Mockingjay

Mockingjay - Collins Suzanne

****!!!!!NOTE!!!!!!!****** There are some spoilers in this review as I do discuss some things about the conclusion of the book. If you don't wish any spoilers please don't read further.

 

Bottom line recommendation wise is...I didn't/don't care for this novel and it "sort of" ruined the entire trilogy for me. I sold all 3.

 



***************** Spoilers in Review below *******************

****Spoilers begin here*****

 

 

Okay, just us now...a lot of people loved this book. I'm not one of them. I liked the first book immensely, I also liked the second volume. I appreciate the inspiration behind the books. I guess I'll say I'm disappointed but there are times when some very good writing comes through. In the end however I really didn't like the book. There were too many times I skimmed through this one, too many times I came very close to abandoning the read all together simply due to the story and it's telling.

If you read my review of the second volume in this trilogy you know that one of the things that bothered me most was the immature and selfish character of Katniss. I observed at the close of that volume that this had probably been intentional on Ms.Collins' part and that Katniss seemed to be growing out of it after the hard and troubling events at the end of said volume.

Well, Katniss had a relapse...big-time. Apparently in all the wars and all the revolutions and all the tragedies of all time NO ONE has suffered as she has. Am I the only one who got so tired of her constant bemoaning of her own fate...as the world is flying apart around her? She forces the rebels to take her back to her blasted and burned former home where she apparently wanders around saying things like "I brought this on you"... GOOD GRIEF. No Katniss, the people who dropped the bombs brought it on them...the people who ordered it brought it on...the people who have been forcing children to kill each other in arenas to hold the entire populace under their heel FOR GENERATIONS brought it on. The world didn't start when you were born Katniss.

The book becomes, it seems to me very much of a one trick pony with Katniss constantly discovering more pain and more woe. It turns into a story where the rebels seem often to be as bad as the oppressive government they seek to overthrow. A book that comes very close to one of those pompous tomes (and for that matter movies, short stories etc.) that defines itself as "anti-war" as if people sometimes get together and say, "hey, let's have a war." War is nothing more than an assault or an armed robbery writ large. Very few actually "want war" it doesn't make one extra righteous to say "I'm taking a stand against war!", just self-righteous. The choice in the story Ms. Collins wrote is the same as it has been often...war or enslavement. You can accept what you're handed and live with it, let them take your goods... your children, your freedom...your life or you can resist. The longer you wait to resist the worse it may be. It seems to me Katniss is an annoying character who (in my opinion) became badly one dimensional. There are a few bright spots and some good prose, but over all, I'm not taken with the book.

For me one of the most telling moments in the book was in a conversation between Gale and Peeta (the boy named after pocket bread) when they  are having a conversation about which of them Katniss will eventually "choose" and Gale hits it on the head. He says she'll pick the one She can't survive without. Of course from Katniss we get the obligatory self recrimination, "am I that bad", well I don't need either of them, internal monologue..but (when proverbial push comes to proverbial shove) that is exactly what she eventually does.

In the end so far as I can tell after all that's happened, after all the death and loss the world still revolves around Katniss at least so far as Katniss is concerned.

I found this an unsatisfying book and conclusion to what had been up to now a pretty good trilogy and if my children were still young I'd definitely discuss this one with them to see what they took away from it. Not my cup of tea, and puts my retention of the other two in my collection in question...I regret the money spent on this book and the time invested in it, a bad sign. The first book is a very good read, the second is pretty good, but this, the end volume is very, very weak. My opinion of course.   

Catching Fire

Catching Fire - Suzanne  Collins

This book starts slowly but manages to pick up steam along the way.... Then there's out protagonist. There are times, a great many of them actually, when I really just don't like Katniss. But to be fair, I believe that's how Ms. Collins wrote her. This is a well written book. It starts a bit slowly (as said before) with some relatively extensive recapping but "it" finally does get into the story and moves right along. I found that I needed to keep reminding myself, "this is a 16 year old girl, this is a sixteen year old girl... I'm not a "YA", but this is a YA book.

As the book opens I felt (and it's possible you will to, though of course I have no way to know) that Katniss was caught in the middle of a teen "everything revolves around me" state of mind.... My frustration with her was finally relieved a bit when she seemed to realize this herself. But that didn't keep her from sliding back into this particular state of mind on and off later in the book. As a matter of fact, there were times when I wanted to tell the girl she was a selfish, thick, little twit... But again I believe she was written that way, for a reason. I believe Ms. Collins was/is writing Katniss as a primarily emotion driven girl. And she succeeds.

So, after all that why do I give the book my recommendation? Because it's a good absorbing read with fairly believable characters and a well constructed dystopian world. So far it's an excellent series and I look forward to reading the third volume.

Hunger Games

The Hunger Games  - Suzanne  Collins

For a while I considered giving this YA novel "the full five stars" (so to speak). It's extremely well written and has blown away readers in all age groups. I got caught up in it and recommend it highly.

But there are a couple of problems. The heroine is sadly rather dense for someone so smart. You'll spend a lot of time shaking your head at Katniss. I won't say more as that would entail a spoiler or spoilers, so....

I finally settled on a "four star rating"..."almost top of the heap".. because of a few glitches that just drove me crazy. For example,the protagonist standing giving a blow by blow account of someone being killed until the killer turns on her. You're wondering Why the h*** aren't you already twenty yards away. Katniss has stayed in one place for no good reason leading to her being in  very bad spot when she could have taken to her heels during the fight (assuming she wasn't going to take part when it would have been more advantageous for her of course). There were several places where I wanted to put my head through a wall (or at least in my hands) in frustration asking "why aren't you..fill in the blank..." or "why are you ..fill in the blank".  A few times it was like watching a character in a "dead teenager movie" go to the basement "armed" with only a flash-light to investigate the "strange noise" when they know the slasher has already killed three of his/her friends.

But that was only a few times...on the whole this is a wonderful read. I had a library copy, but went out and bought a copy of this and the next volume.


Recommended.

SPOILER ALERT!

Mockingjay

****!!!!!NOTE!!!!!!!****** There are some spoilers in this review as I do discuss some things about the conclusion of the book. If you don't wish any spoilers please don't read further.

 

Bottom line recommendation wise is...I didn't/don't care for this novel and it "sort of" ruined the entire trilogy for me. I sold all 3.

 



***************** Spoilers in Review below *******************

****Spoilers begin here*****

 

 

Okay, just us now...a lot of people loved this book. I'm not one of them. I liked the first book immensely, I also liked the second volume. I appreciate the inspiration behind the books. I guess I'll say I'm disappointed but there are times when some very good writing comes through. In the end however I really didn't like the book. There were too many times I skimmed through this one, too many times I came very close to abandoning the read all together simply due to the story and it's telling.

If you read my review of the second volume in this trilogy you know that one of the things that bothered me most was the immature and selfish character of Katniss. I observed at the close of that volume that this had probably been intentional on Ms.Collins' part and that Katniss seemed to be growing out of it after the hard and troubling events at the end of said volume.

Well, Katniss had a relapse...big-time. Apparently in all the wars and all the revolutions and all the tragedies of all time NO ONE has suffered as she has. Am I the only one who got so tired of her constant bemoaning of her own fate...as the world is flying apart around her? She forces the rebels to take her back to her blasted and burned former home where she apparently wanders around saying things like "I brought this on you"... GOOD GRIEF. No Katniss, the people who dropped the bombs brought it on them...the people who ordered it brought it on...the people who have been forcing children to kill each other in arenas to hold the entire populace under their heel FOR GENERATIONS brought it on. The world didn't start when you were born Katniss.

The book becomes, it seems to me very much of a one trick pony with Katniss constantly discovering more pain and more woe. It turns into a story where the rebels seem often to be as bad as the oppressive government they seek to overthrow. A book that comes very close to one of those pompous tomes (and for that matter movies, short stories etc.) that defines itself as "anti-war" as if people sometimes get together and say, "hey, let's have a war." War is nothing more than an assault or an armed robbery writ large. Very few actually "want war" it doesn't make one extra righteous to say "I'm taking a stand against war!", just self-righteous. The choice in the story Ms. Collins wrote is the same as it has been often...war or enslavement. You can accept what you're handed and live with it, let them take your goods... your children, your freedom...your life or you can resist. The longer you wait to resist the worse it may be. It seems to me Katniss is an annoying character who (in my opinion) became badly one dimensional. There are a few bright spots and some good prose, but over all, I'm not taken with the book.

For me one of the most telling moments in the book was in a conversation between Gale and Peeta (the boy named after pocket bread) when they  are having a conversation about which of them Katniss will eventually "choose" and Gale hits it on the head. He says she'll pick the one She can't survive without. Of course from Katniss we get the obligatory self recrimination, "am I that bad", well I don't need either of them, internal monologue..but (when proverbial push comes to proverbial shove) that is exactly what she eventually does.

In the end so far as I can tell after all that's happened, after all the death and loss the world still revolves around Katniss at least so far as Katniss is concerned.

I found this an unsatisfying book and conclusion to what had been up to now a pretty good trilogy and if my children were still young I'd definitely discuss this one with them to see what they took away from it. Not my cup of tea, and puts my retention of the other two in my collection in question...I regret the money spent on this book and the time invested in it, a bad sign. The first book is a very good read, the second is pretty good, but this, the end volume is very, very weak. My opinion of course.   

Catching Fire

This book starts slowly but manages to pick up steam along the way.... Then there's out protagonist. There are times, a great many of them actually, when I really just don't like Katniss. But to be fair, I believe that's how Ms. Collins wrote her. This is a well written book. It starts a bit slowly (as said before) with some relatively extensive recapping but "it" finally does get into the story and moves right along. I found that I needed to keep reminding myself, "this is a 16 year old girl, this is a sixteen year old girl... I'm not a "YA", but this is a YA book.

As the book opens I felt (and it's possible you will to, though of course I have no way to know) that Katniss was caught in the middle of a teen "everything revolves around me" state of mind.... My frustration with her was finally relieved a bit when she seemed to realize this herself. But that didn't keep her from sliding back into this particular state of mind on and off later in the book. As a matter of fact, there were times when I wanted to tell the girl she was a selfish, thick, little twit... But again I believe she was written that way, for a reason. I believe Ms. Collins was/is writing Katniss as a primarily emotion driven girl. And she succeeds.

So, after all that why do I give the book my recommendation? Because it's a good absorbing read with fairly believable characters and a well constructed dystopian world. So far it's an excellent series and I look forward to reading the third volume.

Hunger Games

For a while I considered giving this YA novel "the full five stars" (so to speak). It's extremely well written and has blown away readers in all age groups. I got caught up in it and recommend it highly.

But there are a couple of problems. The heroine is sadly rather dense for someone so smart. You'll spend a lot of time shaking your head at Katniss. I won't say more as that would entail a spoiler or spoilers, so....

I finally settled on a "four star rating"..."almost top of the heap".. because of a few glitches that just drove me crazy. For example,the protagonist standing giving a blow by blow account of someone being killed until the killer turns on her. You're wondering Why the h*** aren't you already twenty yards away. Katniss has stayed in one place for no good reason leading to her being in  very bad spot when she could have taken to her heels during the fight (assuming she wasn't going to take part when it would have been more advantageous for her of course). There were several places where I wanted to put my head through a wall (or at least in my hands) in frustration asking "why aren't you..fill in the blank..." or "why are you ..fill in the blank".  A few times it was like watching a character in a "dead teenager movie" go to the basement "armed" with only a flash-light to investigate the "strange noise" when they know the slasher has already killed three of his/her friends.

But that was only a few times...on the whole this is a wonderful read. I had a library copy, but went out and bought a copy of this and the next volume.


Recommended.