Night Watch Reviews

A Blog of All Things Science Fiction and Fantasy

Friday, July 29, 2011

Went to the Bookstore (July 29,2011)

   Like most avid book readers, I get more books than expected when I go to the bookstore. Here are the books I bought today from the wonderful Half Price Books Store.

1.The Dragon Reborn (Robert Jordan)
I actually have the first two books of the Wheel of Time series. I bought the third to try to compel me to read the series ha

2.Knight Errant (John Jackson Miller)
I have heard this is suppose to be one of the better Star Wars novels so as a Star Wars nerd, I am excited

3.Cavern of Black Ice (J.V Jones)
I have heard good things about this novel so I am quite excited.

4.A Hero Born (Michael A. Stackpole)
I am huge fan of Stackpole because of his X Wing series and his stand alone novel, Talion Revenant.

5.Elven Star (Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman)
The first book in the Deathgate cycle was amazing so I hope Elven Star is too.

6.Fire Sea (Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman)
This is the third book in the Death Gate cycle, I hope it is good

7.The Jedi Academy Trilogy (Kevin J. Anderson)

I am not look forward to reading this trilogy, but sadly I must because they contain a lot of information for future novels.

8.Magican:Master (Raymond E.Feist)
Sequel to Magican:Apprentice. I need to read this because it is a classic.

Review:Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

"The choices of one shapes the future for all"
Author:Timothy Zahn
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Lucas Books (July 19th,2011)
Format: Hardcover and Ebook

             Reading a Star Wars novel is a bit like playing the lottery. Sometimes you hit the jackpot (Revenge of the Sith) but more often than not you end up wasting your time (Planet of Twilight). The most consistently good Star Wars author has been Timothy Zahn and his newest novel is no exception.

            The Choices of One takes place in between a New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back. The Rebel Alliance is in need of a new base after the Empire’s siege on their base on Yavin 4. To alleviate this situation, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Axlon, a Rebel Alliance ambassador, are sent to a small planet known as Poln Major to negotiate a deal for a new base. Of course the Empire has taken notice of the Rebel’s recent activities and sends in the assassin, Mara Jade. Mara Jade understands that she cannot complete this mission alone so she enlists the help of the renegade storm troopers, the Hand of Judgement. In the shadows, the alien warlord Nuso Esva pulls the strings of both the empire and the republic

            To truly appreciate the story, it would be best for somebody to have read some of Zahn’s other work. Choices of One is truly a fan novel because it contains some of the most loved Star War characters (Mara Jade, Thrawn, Pellion). Of course those who have not read Zahn’s other work will still be intrigued by the technology and action that occurs in the book. I urge everyone to stick with the book until the end because the last 100 or so pages greatly expand the plot.

            Like most of Zahn’s work, the characters are the true star of novel. Since this takes place prior to the Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is still very much the shy farm boy which is quite a relief because in later novels, he is a lightsaber wielding god. Zahn does a great job with Han Solo’s characterization because he shows why Han wants to be an official part of the Rebel Alliance. The most interesting character throughout the novel is the alien Thrawn who, despite imperial prejudices, enlists with the empire and is a superb tactician.

            Sadly there are quite a few issues with this novel. The first is that Zahn uses the same phrase a bit too often. For example, you would think that Han Solo was raised by wolves because he growls almost every other sentence he says. The second issue is that some of the characters do not act in accordance with their profession. Mara Jade is the best example of this because all though she is technically an assassin, she tends to do her job in a very loud way and relies on her lightsaber a bit to much. The granddaddy problem with this novel is the fact that some of the characters meet to often. Most of the characters in this novel are not suppose to meet for ten more years but there are quite a few scenes that are to close for comfort.

            Overall Choices of One is not a good place for a person to get into Star Wars novels, but fans of Zahn’s previous works will eat it up.

Choices of One review score: 35/50

World Building-7/10

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reviews For Tomorrow

I apologize for the lack of updates in the last 3 or so days. I have been preparing for my first year at college so I have been quite busy. Tomorrow I will have reviews up for Timothy Zahn's Choices of One and Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. Remember everyone, keep reading .:)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review:The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

"I'm not as reckless as I use to be. You know when I was little."
Author: Scott Lynch
Mass Market Paperback: 736 pages
Publisher: Spectra (June 26, 2007)
Format:Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook

       The best way to describe The Lies of Locke Lamora is to envision a peaceful walk through a meadow, where everything is going well and there are clear blue skies. What am I saying; The Lies of Locke Lamora is a heart pounding thriller that will tug on your heart strings. If you did not have heart problems before reading this novel, you will afterwards.

       The novel takes place in Camorr, a parallel version of Italy, and follows the escapades of the thief, Locke Lamora. Locke has been described, by his friends and enemies, as cunning, arrogant and an all around bastard, a Gentleman’s Bastard to be exact. The Gentleman’s Bastards is a small group of thieves who amass a ridiculous sum of money by stealing from the oblivious nobles of Camorr. Of course Locke, being the arrogant thief he is, decides to steal the largest amount of money he has ever stolen. This decision leads to many dangerous run-ins with the Capa Barsavi (imagine a mafia boss) and the mysterious magical rebel, the Gray King.       

         The Lies of Locke Lamora’s story is wonderfully told, brimming with intrigue, plot twists and all around entertaining good fun. You will always be eager to see how the Gentleman Bastards will escape from their dangerous situations. 

            Even though the story of The Lies of Locke Lamora is a great one, the true star, or should I say stars, of the novel are the members of the Gentleman’s Bastards: Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo and Bug. Locke is a slap in the face to all other typical fantasy protagonists, he is not handsome, good with a sword or tall, but he is cunning. Jean is the son of a merchant and has a frightful temper. The twins Calo and Galdo are the jack of all trades of the organization. Bug brings up the rear as the youngest Gentleman Bastard whose goal is to prove his worth to his fellows. Taken as individuals they sound interesting enough, but as a group there friendly banter, close friendship and hilarious one liners will make even the grumpiest person smile.

            Though I have heaped a truckload of praise onto The Lies of Locke Lamora, it is not without faults. Scott Lynch occasionally will go on long tangents about the history and geography of Camorr and it does not add much to over arching plot and some of Locke’s plans rely on luck more than his cunning. Of course these are rather small gripes and should not prevent you from reading this novel.

            Since this is a dark fantasy I have quite a few warnings for those interested in this novel. I am sure everyone has heard the phrase “curse like a sailor” it should be changed to “curse like a Gentleman Bastard” because they curse, a lot. The cursing in the novel is complimented by the violence that the characters participate in. The violence can range from a scuffle in the streets of Camorr, to someone being drowned in horse piss (yes this actually occurs).If you are looking for a light, happy fantasy, look elsewhere.

            Like the characters in the novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora will steal your precious sleeping hours and leave you with a smile as you eagerly await to see how they will top it next time. This is a truly wonderful tale.

The Lies of Locke Lamora review score: 39/50    

World Building-7/10