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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Del Ray Spectra New Releases (July 19th)

Del Ray Spectra has released its list of new releases for July 19th.

  • The War that Came Early: The Big Switch by Harry Turtledove
  • Out of the Waters by David Drake
  • This Shared Dream by Kathleen Ann Goonan
  • BioShock: Rapture by John Shirley
  • The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan
  • Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn
  • Return to Daemon Hall: Evil Roots by Andrew Nance and Coleman Polhemus
  • A Distinguished Collection of Dark Tales by Wayne Fabiano
  • Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield
  • Knights of Cyndroania by Nathan C. Tushar
  • The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schaefer
  • Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock
  • No Hero by Jonathan Wood
  • Southern Gods by John Hornr Jacobs
  • The Key to Creation by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Star Wars: The Lost Tribe of the Sith #7: Pantheon by John Jackson Miller
  • Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn
As a avid gamer, I am excited to read the Bioshock:Rapture novel. I am also interested to see hows Zahn's Star Wars book will be. What are everyone thoughts on the new releases?

How the Song of Fire and Ice Represents Foreign Policy

I found an interesting article on my favorite news site, Foreign Policy . The article shows how George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic describes the political policy's of the real world.

The article is full of spoilers for those who have not read the series so do not read if you have not read the series. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K Rowling

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live"
Author: J.K. Rowling
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 8,1999)
Formats: Paperback, Ebook, Hardcover

            Like many people, I felt inclined to reread the Harry Potter series because of the release of the last Harry Potter movie (which was excellent by the way). Since my initial reading of the Sorcerer’s Stone, I have been exposed to fantasy heavyweights like George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The question must be asked, how does the Sorcerer’s Stone stand up to these greats? The answer to this question is, sadly, only fairly well.

            The Sorcerer’s Stone begins with Harry, an orphan boy, being dropped off to live with his uncle and aunt, the Dursleys. For some reason, the Durselys appear to detest Harry and confine him to living in the kitchen cupboard. After eleven years of a truly miserable time with the Dursleys, Harry learns that he is a wizard, a famous one at that. With his heritage revealed, Harry is whisked away to the famous wizarding school, Hogwarts. With the help of Ron and Hermonie, two Hogwart students, Harry try to unravel the mysteries of some of the more questionable aspects of Hogwarts.

            Since the Sorcerer’s Stone is aimed at children, it would be presumptuous of me to expect an intricate story and Rowling does not disappoint in this aspect. Most of the story deals with Harry’s escapades after classes and the central villain is telegraphed throughout the whole novel.  Some of the side plots within this novel had a lot of untapped potential. For example, Harry finds a mirror that has the ability to show somebody there deepest desires.

            Although I can accept the Sorcerer’s Stone simplistic story, I can not as easily accept the cookie cutter characters, Harry in particular. Harry fits snuggly into the stereotypes of a fantasy main character: orphan boy, untold power, and a destiny that is beyond his control.  Thankfully, all of the characters are not as one dimensional as Harry, Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, adds depth and humor that the main characters lack.

            The true star of Rowling’s work is the world she has built, most notably Hogwarts.  Although Hogwarts seems to be a typical school for wizards, (as typical as something like that can be) it is filled with secret corridors, mystery, and surprising magical objects. In all honesty, reading about the secrets of Hogwarts was the only thing that made me continue to read the Sorcerer’s Stone.

            The Sorcerer’s Stone serves its purpose as a children novel. It is light on plot, has terrific world building and has gotten me to want to read the sequels. Although the Sorcerer’s Stone does not deserve the praise it receives, it is an entertaining read nonetheless.

The Sorcerer’s Stone score: 34/50 

Story- 6/10
World Building- 8/10
Magic: 7/10

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Star Wars:Choices of One Excerpt

Del Rey Spectra 50 Page Fridays: Timothy Zahn
Comes Out July 19th, 2011
     The publishing powerhouse, Del Ray Spectra, has released a 50 page excerpt of the upcoming Star Wars novel, Choices of One. As an avid reader of Star Wars literature, I am quite excited to for The Choices of One.


     What are everyone's thoughts on the excerpt? Also would you like me to provide more information of Star Wars novels since they are science fiction?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Thank you for all of the wonderful people who have visited my blog. I just wanted to let you all know that I will be updating my reviews and blog throughout the week so that my blog can be better than ever.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Reread

     I was quite surprised at how good the last Harry Potter movie was, it has convinced me to reread the series. I am quite interested to see how what I think of the series now that I am older and have read a lot more fantasy since then. This undertaking will most likely take around a month because I will be doing this and reading other books. Reviews will be posted as I go through the series.

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Review: Runescape: Betrayal at Falador by T.S Church

"Fear is a greater enemy than any mortal foe"
Author:T.S Church
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher:Titan Books (October 12, 2010)
Format: Paperback and Ebook

Betrayal at Falador is a novel based on the highly successful game, Runescape. As a person who played countless hours of Runescape, I was interested in seeing if the novel could expand the world of Runescape.

The novel begins in typical high fantasy style. A girl is found shivering in the rain and is taken in by a squire named Theodore. During a routine mission, Theodore is sent to the nearby city Taverly and is greeted by a powerful mage, Castimer, and a eccentric alchemist,Ebenezer. While Theodore, and his companions, fight off a nearby army of war mongers, a creature lurks in the shadow consuming innocent civilians in a quest to appease his dark master.

            The story of Betrayal at Falador is a good introduction to those who have not previously played Runescape, and is filled with quite a few references from the game that many veterans (myself included) will enjoy. Overall the story does not add much to the fantasy genre, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.

            The characters of Betrayal at Falador are pretty standard for a fantasy novel. The White Knight Theodore is the handsome warrior who is thrust into a world that runs counter to his beliefs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Castimer is physically weak but his intellect allows him to get out of many situations. Where T.S Church takes a different turn from typical fantasy is with the characters Ebenezer and Kara Meir. At first glance Ebenezer’s musings about the world appear to be eccentric, but they provide the only intellectual aspects throughout the novel. I have quite a soft spot for strongly characterized female protagonists, and Kara Meir was quite the strong female character. Unlike the typical female protagonist, Kara is a masterful swordsman and is not afraid to be on the frontlines.

            Since this was T.S Church’s debut novel, there were quite a few issues that come with being a new novelist. Like new novelists, Church hampers the progression of the story with too many battles. Though I do like a rousing battle scene as much as the next guy, many of Betrayal at Falador’s battles were forced and did not move the story along. Church also makes the mistake of cramming to much into his novel without heeding the amount of pages his has to tale his story. This leads to some parts of the story feeling rushed and not planned out.

             Though the Betrayal at Falador did not add much to the fantasy genre, it should be read by those who enjoy/enjoyed playing Runescape. As for me, I feel a great urge to go dragon hunting in the actual Runescape game. 

The Betrayal at Falador review score: 29/50

World Building-5/10
Magic System-6/10 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: The Weight of Blood by David Dalglish

"Would you accompany me into madness"

Author:David Dalglish
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (February,2010)
Format: Paperback and Ebook

        I came into The Weight of Blood not expecting much because of its low page count and free price. This dark fantasy has taught me to not judge a book by its cover because overall it was quite enjoyable.

       The story of The Weight of Blood begins with the half-orc brother’s, Qurrah and Harruq, quest to find a purpose in their lives. While on their quest, they come into contact with the necromancer, Velixar, who promises them power and control. This alliance with Velixar leads the brothers into bloody skirmishes in an attempt to bring war to the world.

       The story of The Weight of Blood is an interesting one. The only issue I had with the story is the magic system.  The magic system appears to not really have any balancing or explanation. Qurrah and Harraq never seem to run out of magic and when they do, it is never explained how or why. In all honestly, it is a small gripe because I understand that David Dalglish was working with a low page count.

     Like most dark fantasy, The Weight of Blood has strong focus on characters. The back and forth between the brothers is interesting. While Quarrah is a cold, and merciless, necromancer, Harruq is a muscular being who sometimes can show compassion (imagine Lennie from of Mice and Men). If you like the image of the good hero with shinning armor, run away from this book. Harruq and Quarrah are cold-blooded murderers who revel and enjoy murdering citizens.

            This novel is full of extremely gory, but well written, battle scenes. The brothers butcher, maim, slaughter, and kill civilians, this includes children. If you are even slightly shaken by gore, I suggest you don’t read this because there are scenes with intestines being sliced out and heads being decapitated.

            There is not much else I can say about The Weight of Blood. If you like dark fantasy and want a quick read I would suggest you pick up this book.

The Weight Of Blood review score:  33/50

Characterization- 7/10
World Building-5/10

*If you have a Kindle or Nook, this book is available for free on the Kindle and Barnes and Nobles store. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mistborn Video

I found an awesome fan made trailer for the amazing book Mistborn. If you have not read the Mistborn trilogy, I suggest you head to the nearest bookstore and pick all three of the books up.

The Alloy of Law Chapter 3

Tor.com has released the third chapter of Sanderson's new novel, The Alloy of Law


I am quite excited for this new Mistborn novel. Has anyone else read any of the other Mistborn novels?

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Dance With Dragons Tour

Here are the tour dates and locations for George R.R. Martin's release of the novel A Dance With Dragons. A Dance With Dragons comes out tomorrow for all of the ASOFAI fans.

  • RULE #1: There will be NO POSED PHOTOS with George at any of the tour events. You may take photos from the line only.

  • RULE #2: NO PERSONALIZATIONS. The author will only have time to sign a small number of books per person, and personalizations take up a lot of extra time.

  • RULE #3: The author will sign items that can be purchased from the store that is hosting the event. In most cases, that will only include George R.R. Martin BOOKS, COMICS, and CALENDARS. Please do not bring other memorabilia, drawings, swords, etc. for the author to sign.

  • Here are the details for each individual tour stop:
    Tuesday, July 12 – Burlington, MA
    7:00pm – Barnes & Noble, 98 Middlesex Turnpike
    Customers who buy a copy of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS at this Barnes & Noble (or bring in a receipt from another Barnes & Noble) will receive a wristband. All customers with this wristband will be in the first group in the signing line. Anyone without a wristband will be in the second group. The second group will have a chance to wait in line to get a signature, but there is no guarantee that the author will have time to see everyone in the second group. Limit of 2 books signed per customer, with the opportunity to get to the back of the second line for the possibility (but no guarantee) of getting 2 more books signed.
    Click here for further details on store website

    Thursday, July 14 – New York, NY
    7:00pm – Barnes & Noble Union Square, 33 East 17th Street
    Customers who buy a copy of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS at this Barnes & Noble (or bring in a receipt from another Barnes & Noble) will have priority seating at the event. Limit of 2 books signed per customer.
    Click here for further details on store website

    Saturday, July 16 – Indianapolis, IN
    2:00pm – Barnes & Noble, 14709 US Highway 31 North, Carmel
    Customers who buy a copy of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS at this Barnes & Noble (or bring in a receipt from another Barnes & Noble) will receive a wristband. A wristband is required for a signature. Limit of 3 books signed per customer. If you buy a second copy of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or any other George R.R. Martin hardcover in the Song of Ice & Fire series from Barnes & Noble, you will have the opportunity to get to the back of the line for the possibility of getting 3 more books signed.
    Click here for further details on store website

    Sunday, July 24 – San Diego, CA
    4:00pm – Mysterious Galaxy, 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
    This is a ticketed event. Only 300 tickets will be given out, and only to customers who purchase a George R.R. Martin hardcover from Mysterious Galaxy. Limit of 3 books signed per customer, with the opportunity to get to the back of the line for the possibility (but no guarantee) of getting 3 more books signed.
    Click here for further details on store website
    Tuesday, July 26 – Los Angeles, CA
    7:00pm – Barnes & Noble, 189 The Grove Drive
    Click here for further details on store website

    Wednesday, July 27 – Redwood City, CA
    7:00pm – Fox Theatre, 2223 Broadway Street (event hosted by Kepler’s Books)
    This is a ticketed event. Tickets available for purchase through Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park. Ticket prices include a copy of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Limit of 4 books signed per customer, including A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Only one trip through the line.
    Click here for further details on store website

    Friday, July 29 – Seattle, WA
    7:30pm – Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave (event hosted by University Bookstore)
    This is a ticketed event. Tickets available for purchase through University Bookstore. Ticket prices include a copy of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Limit of 3 books signed per customer. Only one trip through the line.
    Click here for further details on store website

    Sunday, July 31 – Denver, CO
    2:00pm – Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street
    This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free with the purchase of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS from Tattered Cover. Limit of 3 books signed per customer, with the opportunity to get to the back of the line for the possibility (but no guarantee) of getting 3 more books signed.
    Click here for further details on store website

    Tuesday, August 2 – Lexington, KY
    7:00pm – Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 161 Lexington Green Cir.
    This is a ticketed event. Tickets are available with the purchase of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS from Joseph-Beth.
    Click here for further details on store website

    4 Days Until the Final Harry Potter Movie

           I simply cannot wait to go to the midnight premier of the the Deathly Hallows. The first part of the Deathly Hallows was a dissapointment, but hopefully this one will deliver a spectacular movie.

          I found a retrospective on youtube that is pretty much a recap of all of the movies. There are spoilers so do not watch the video if you have not seen the movies.

    Iriver E-Reader

    I thank CNET for providing the information
         A new E-reader will be hitting Target stores July 19th at $139.99. The most notable thing about the Iriver E-reader is the fact that it will sport the highest resolution E-reader so far. This high resolution means crisper text and just an overall clearer reading experience.

       The Iriver will be using the Google E-book store as its primary store and will support EPUB format

       I personally do not think this will be a good E-Reader because the Nook and Kindle are the same price and have better Ebook stores.What does everyone else think?