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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Contact Harvest (Halo, #5)Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, I just didn't get into it. I was bored. I played the games and the one where we're actually ON Harvest was about 40 times more exciting than this book.

Other people might get more mileage out of it, of course. I missed the slow reveals and worldbuilding, the truly fascinating characters. Sadly, this was just pretty much a long, long sequence of jarheads doing jarhead things. It's pretty much all that I hate about MilSF. All Milspeak, go go go, little characterization, less worldbuilding. For those of you who like that kind of thing, I welcome you to it. For uberfans of the series, maybe this ticks your completionist boxes.

Me? I prefer well-rounded fiction with a little (or a lot) of everything.

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A Dirty Job (Grim Reaper, #1)A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This happened to be exactly what I needed. This is a humorous fantasy that combines neato horror elements in all the most absurd ways.

Everyman Charlie, together with his cute-as-a-button baby girl, thinks he's the personification of Death.

Of course, the big, funny, spoilery bit that is the wonderful cover of this book should not be overlooked. That's what's really funny about all this. The poor guy is just not up to the job. And then there are the hellhounds.

The tweaks, the auto-insults, the truly absurd situations, people, and monsters he gets involved with are all topped with some of the best constantly-coming zingers that I've read in years.

I know that humor is a very subjective thing, but this one constantly builds and builds upon itself. It starts out smirkworthy, but as it keeps adding to itself, I was boiled alive in laughter.

Yes, this is my first Christopher Moore. I can't believe I've never tried him before. I'm SO glad I have. These days need a great dose of funny.

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Monday, May 16, 2022

ElektraElektra by Jennifer Saint
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to this because I've read the Sophocles and am familiar with the whole Freudian aspect from within Psychology and frankly, it was just nicely MESSED up as a tragedy.

So why didn't I fall in love with this particular book?

It was competent enough, and as I was reading it, at least through the halfway point, I kept thinking it was OKAY, assiduously so, but something was bothering me. The women who are left behind are literally left behind the biggest, most exciting battle of Greek antiquity. Troy. For over a decade. All the action takes place elsewhere, and all we have to go on here is a tragedy before papa goes off to lead the army of the Greeks, the tragedy caused by the same jerk, and we're pretty much stuck in the heads of those who were left behind.

Mind you, this is a messed up tragedy that even gets the furies involved, but most of that is AFTER the war is won.

In this, it's mostly a whimper and daddy worship and mommy hating her husband and taking a lover and then going "Oh, My" when crap hits the fan. And then we have some of the OTHER more memorable female characters from across Greece, on the other side of the war, to give a counterpoint, but it's weird and hardly necessary at all except to bring in the action that has been so missing from the primary tale.

So here I am, wondering what the hell is the point. Except for a sequence that could have been finished in a hundred pages, all the exciting stuff is off-page and I frankly kinda hated every single character in the book.

It's kinda sad, but it's true. Pity can only take me so far. A good tragedy should also make us CARE about the victims. The original play was better.

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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Hidden (Alex Verus, #5)Hidden by Benedict Jacka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Re-read 5-15/22:

Still as strong as I remember. Maybe slightly more so, considering what I know will happen later. :)

One piece at a time, right?

Original Review:

This is one of those rare series that only seems to get stronger the further you get. If I'm completely honest with myself, I think it might be a function of my previous investment, but it doesn't feel that way.

So, Verus is still sliding, but the hints of a possibly heroic character change is still on the table, even if he hasn't quite picked it up. I don't think it really counts that he's only being heroic for those that he considers his friends, but at least he's doing it even when said friend is being an asshat.

I like Anne. I didn't really like her back in book 3, but she's really grown on me through this book. It helps to actually know her history, I suppose, and the fact this novel is all really about her and Verus makes it super easy.

These books are a delight to read mainly because they go down as smooth as silk, the magic is fascinating, and the characters equally so. Evil is complicated, as is good, but more than anything, these novels devote a lot of space to asking some rather hard questions about human nature. They're not just forgettable entertainment, anymore.

So who's hidden? Our dark side.

Gotta love it.

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Empress of EternityEmpress of Eternity by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm aiming for a 3.5 for this one, rounded down.

So here's what I like: all the references to the Aesir and the rainbow bridge, as done as a pure SF and not comic-booky. I also liked the idea of three different time periods eventually converging.

But ideas don't make the entire novel, unfortunately. Exploring the 2000-mile-long unbreakable canal on a far-future Earth SHOULD have been a bit more interesting, all told, and it's only as good as the characters who explore them. In this case, I may not have been very interested in any character. And that sucks. I found myself going to lunch and dinner dates in the book and began to wonder if that was what this book was really all about and shook my head.

Okay then. The book was okay and it had a pretty fun end but it could have been better.

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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time, #6)Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time I read this book, and this is the fourth time now, I read it with a very careful eye for what will soon come. All the foreshadowing, the testing, the threat of the Aes Sedai, the posturing, I keep DREADING what will come. Hell, all the things that happened in book 5 were making me think of what would happen in book 6.

What am I going on about? Just this: the character progressions. The events that would reshape the world. The sheer f**king arrogance of so many people.

What really destroyed me were all the sweet, awesomely wholesome moments with Min as she pursued a happy but clueless Rand. This kind of thing, along with all the other kinds of arrogant women pursuing him for other reasons, just destroyed me. Because I knew. I knew what was coming next -- and what will come next after this book.

Trust. What a horrible thing to lose.

Oh, all this is about Rand. I have PLENTY to say about all the other characters, too, but mostly I'm just impressed with Egwene, annoyed with Nynaeve, laughing my ass off about everything Matt steps in, and feeling sorry for Perrin in that head-spinning marriage of his. But I'll leave it at that. Egwene had some very satisfying scenes and development, especially as a spoilery status bit I won't mention, but all-in-all, I think this book was mostly about Rand's development.

Did I laugh and cry and whoop and feel very violent at Dumai Wells? Yes. A thousand times yes. It is one of those fantasy battles that still sit higher than almost any that I've ever read. I'm still shaking after the end of it. Yes. A book gave me PTSD. Or close enough.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

PlaybackPlayback by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, the final Chandler novel. Not quite as lyrically abusive as the others, I must say. The others were gorgeous and grotesque.

This one... felt like a goodbye of sorts. And maybe that was for the best, considering that it was his last.

Still, it was a decent mystery and had some good bits. I mean, it was still a Chandler, and I think I'll always be a Chandler fan, now. :)

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