Tag-Archive for » Sci-Fi «

The Martian: A Review

I’d been seeing trailers for the film for a while and happened to notice it was based on an Indie book. When my bookclub peeps suggested we read it I was all for giving it a chance.

MartianIf you’re offended by strong language then I want to start by saying this book isn’t for you. The F word features on the first page and it and several other words like it are used throughout the book, but to be honest, I think if I was stuck, alone on Mars, and already aware I’m likely to starve to death because no one knows to come rescue me I’d not be too picky about my language either.

That’s pretty much where this book starts. Guy, on Mars, pretty sure he’s going to die but trying not to anyway. There’s a lot of science as our hero is a botanist and an engineer, but for the most part it’s well explained even if I did find myself skim reading a few bits so I could actually find out if he survived.

Martian-Matt-DamonIt had me unsure whether he was going to live pretty much throughout the book, which is pretty good going for this sort of book. Usually the writer makes it too obvious one way or another. And for a book that’s mostly held up by one character it’s a great one character and I love the idea that Matt Damon played him in the film. I think that’s likely to have been perfect casting.

The downside of the book for me was the other characters. They really were just there to support the main character and in a lot of cases were the same sort of person. They all joked in the same way (regardless of gender) and although the writer evidently tried to give them some differences they were almost identical people with different names. It was probably a good thing all the other characters had very small parts.

All in all I really enjoyed the book, even if I was a little disappointed by the secondary cast. I couldn’t put it down and loved the main character.

Mad Tinker’s Daughter: A Review

I happened to find this book free some time and thought it looked awesome, so I nabbed it.

Mad Tinker's DaughterFor starters, that cover, just brilliat. Secondly a steampunk story, so genre for the win. Thirdly, what an awesome title.

The book wasn’t totally perfect. I’ll be honest I was a little confused and there were a few mistakes here and there, but generally it was a pretty decent book. After I’d realised that most of the main characters had to personalities in two different dimensions/worlds and therefore had two names and two jobs etc, I got a lot less confused and into the book.

There were plenty of awesome steampunk style gadgets, although my favourite thing, I must admit, was a table, but it was a big circular table that seated oodles of people (I think it was 50, it might have been more) and everyone sat around the outside of the circle. The very middle of the circle was a stairwell down to the kitchens with space around it for servants to bring up meals and serve them. The inside part of the table spun around so dishes could move past people. It’s like epic Chinese style buffet tables crossed with steampunk. What’s not to love!

I thought the pacing was good in this story, not too fast that I was confused (apart from the two or more dimensions thing at the beginning) and not too slow that I was bored. The characterisation was decent, although not epic. I still don’t love any of the characters particularly, but several are interesting enough.

I’ll keep reading but as much for the genre and gadgets as the plot itself.

Two fantasy and sci-fi boxsets: Legends & Legacy

The first of two great multi-author boxsets is out today for only 99p/99c. Legends is a collection of Sci-fi and fantasy stories and has my very own Sherdan’s Prophecy among the 13 awesome books included.

Legends-SherdansprophecyThis is a total steal for that many fantastic books so grab a copy here.

Legacy promoAlso out in only two days time (and available to pre-order here) is the sister boxset with another of my ebooks in. This boxset has Wandering to Belong and is one of 10 great stories. Several of which feature dragons! What more could you want?

Interlude-Brandon: A Review

This is the third book in the Game series by Terry Schott. I reviewed the first one here and the second here.

Interlude-brandonI wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy a sort of mid series prequel, but I was so glad I was wrong. I think this is the best book of the series so far.

Without giving away spoilers there were a few nice surprises in this book and some great info about Brandon himself and how he got to where he is. I found myself confused at a few points by the events, but it’s probably because I’ve read so many books in between the books in this series that I’d slightly forgotten who everyone was.

It’s fairly fast paced again, and still has plenty of interesting action in it, although most of it is focused around games and virtual reality stuff.

I have to say though that the editing and formating leaves a lot to be desired. The last sentence of Chapter 55 just doesn’t finish and there’s two chapter 56’s, one of which is only a couple of paragraphs long and makes little sense in the context of the rest.

If all the mistakes were corrected this would be one of the best series I’ve ever read.

The Song of the Jubilee: A Review

This was an ebook I was given by the author, Raeden Zen, in return for my review, and is the first book in the Phantom of the Earth series.

Song of the JubileeThis is a science fiction sort of story with strong dystopian elements which unfortunately the cover and title don’t make obvious. I’m quite a science fan so found I enjoyed the book but there was a lot of science and complicated genetics type stuff. The book also had quite a few statistics pictures and tables to help the reader try and get immersed in the story with plenty of information which was an interesting way to handle backstory without actually giving any backstory.

For the most part this worked but I must admit at a few points I found myself confused with who was who and what motivated them and why. I liked the characters once I actually got to know them but it took a while and did make me a little frustrated. Motivations and character backstory was very lacking.

This did mean the book was very fast paced, which is something I prefer. There wasn’t a lack of action and plot within this book for sure and it was an interesting story. There were several things hinted at about the scoiety and I got to the end with plenty of questions and desire to keep reading despite the few flaws, so there’s something awesome in this book for sure.

I’ll keep reading the series (there are 5 books in the series out as of today). I just hope the later stories explain a bit more and I can properly get to know the characters.

Digital Heretic: A Review

This is the second story in The Game is Life series by Terry Schott. I reviewed the first book here.

On TopThis book starts off pretty much where the first one left off, following the characters both in the game and outwide of it. It has the same sort of feel to the first although I think the writing is a little improved and it flows better than the first in the series.

As I loved in the first one the chapters in this open with snippets of information written by fictional people as well. Something that helps the world outside the game feel real and reactive to the events in the book. I still have lots of questions though and feel like very very few of the ones I had from before were answered. Mostly I just have a bunch of fresh new ones that I want answering.

My favourite character is still Danielle, although I really quite liked Carl in this one too. The book felt like it was heading a bit in the vein of the Matrix but that might be inevitable given the setting. It did make things feel a teensy bit predictable in the sense that there was always some sudden extra something that meant the character could survive everything thrown at them, which took away from the suspense a little.

All in all another good book in the series, if not quite as good as the first, but also ends on a cliff-hangar.

Dust: A Review

This is the third book in the Silo series by Hugh Howey and finishes the series.

DustThis was shorter than the other two books in the series and tied up at least some of the loose ends the previous book had created, but still wasn’t quite as good as the first, I don’t think.

It was better than the second in that it finally moved forward the timeline from the end of the first combining characters pov’s from both the first and second books in the series, but it still didn’t explain what has happened to silo 40, or if it did then it was only a passing remark that they might have been bombed.

It was pretty typical in style for Hugh Howey and had a similar pacing and build up towards the end of the book, but once again the ending felt a little too anti-climactic. I liked most of how the ending was portrayed but felt there were a few people who really didn’t need to die to make it happen, and I also don’t like how quickly the peole in silo 18 unraveled when they found themselves somewhere else. It felt too much like it happened without masses of warning.

With that said, I think the main characters were great. Donald’s regrets and decisions were great. Also loved Solo and his character progression.

Still five starring this book because it’s a great read, just not quite good enough to be one of my all time favourites.

Shift: A Review

This is the second book in the Silo series by Hugh howey, and I’ve reviewed the first one, Wool, here.

ShiftThis book starts off in the past and from the perspective of a fresh set of characters at first and I found it was a little difficult to keep reading everything as I really wanted to get back to the characters in the first book rather than past characters, although I did really like the look into how everything began.

It felt like it had a slower pace and seemed to build up to an ending that never really quite happened. Almost slightly anti-climactic really. I can only assume it was setting up for book 3, Dust, but I felt it was weaker than book 1 and I can only hope the final book restores the series.

Some of the information dotted among the story was useful to know, especially that there was ten metres of concrete between each level of the silo, as I found myself wondering when reading book 1 why it took so long to climb up and down the entire thing. Having that between each level is a detail that makes it all so much more sensible.

All in all, not as good as the first but probably because it’s setting up the next book. Still a reasonable read.

The Game: A Review

This was one of those bookclub books that one of us stumbled upon and recommended to the rest of the group.

The GameThe premise is very interesting. A virtual reality that kids use to learn about life before they become adults and live their own life. It feeds everything wrong with celebrity culture as it exists today while at the same time still helping some of the kids.

The book was as good as I’d hoped it would be. It’s not perfect but close enough it’s a great read. The book follows a couple of players, one who has always been doing really well and another who had luck throw her a curveball she’s still trying to recover from.

With such an interesting idea the book handles informing the reader without info dumping incredibly well. I love that every chapter starts with a quote from some fictional interview or book about the game and it gives back story while making it really interesting and building the world around this virtual reality.

A great book I could barely put down. Definitely reading onwards with the series.

London Belongs to the Alchemist: A Review

This s the fourth book in the Class Heroes series by Stephen Henning and I was given a copy of the ebook in return for my review.

London Belongs to the AlchemistThis book started a little after the third book from the usual protagonists point of view and continued the adventure of Sam, James and Lolly as they try to navigate being teenagers with superpowers. It also introduces some new characters which helps to keep the plot fresh.

As usual with these books there’s plenty of action and the characters are wonderfully consistent. I adore Lolly after book 3 and this story continued to build on the way I felt about her. Definitely think she’s my favourite character now.

Plot wise, I think I still like number 3 the best but this one wasn’t far behind. My only dislike was the book having a bit of a cliffhanger ending. I will have to read the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it.

All in all another great book in the series with more of the good bits of the previous books, just don’t start this one until the next one is out if you can’t stand a cliffhanger.