Book Review: Soul Swallowers

Last year, I read one of D. Wallace Peach’s earlier works and ended up choosing it as my favorite indie book of the year. Excited by the prospect of truly enjoying an author’s work, I wanted to continue reading some of her repertoire and moved to one of her newest series – The Shattered Sea books.

And where else to start except the beginning? I present to you now my review of Soul Swallowers.

The Book

51n4vq2bfuylSoul Swallowers
Author: D. Wallace Peach
2018
Amazon Link

I saw this on D. Wallace Peach’s website/blog. The Amazon review touts it as a fantasy New Adult novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel explicitly targeted to New Adult audiences, so I’m interested to see how this goes.

Non-Spoiler Review

Wow.

This book was everything I’d want, indie book or not. The characters were complex, the twists reasonable yet unexpected, and the political situation was at the forefront. The fantasy elements of literal soul swallowing was fit perfectly in with the way the politics worked. Peach’s writing style has always been one of my favorites, and I’m thrilled to say that her word choice, sentence structure, formatting, and paragraph breaks all pleased me.

Basically, I loved this book. I haven’t read The Game of Thrones, but I get the feeling the politics and build of Soul Swallowers would please fans of that more famous book. This book does contain some rather hard subjects (slavery and abuse being primary among these), so it may not be for everyone. Even despite the difficult subjects, Peach does an excellent job qualifying the characters’ experiences to show the evils within the world.

I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and doesn’t think the slavery and abuse pieces of the book will get to them.

Biggest complaint: Not a fan of the title. I know it’s just a personal opinion, but that’s really all I can say that I truly disliked.

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

Usually, I’m not a fan of character driven stories, but I’d have to say this was one of the most enjoyable character driven stories I’ve read. The book makes you become invested in Raze’s well-being as well as his quest to free slaves and see lasting change in his world, even if it’s through humble and slow means.

The political saga of Azalus, Laddon, and Nallea was exciting, and that was probably the story that had the greatest semblance of a plot. Laddon’s fate (dying without a soulstone) was especially important, as it allowed us a sneak peak into the fate of unbound souls. I enjoyed that, because it helped explain the world in a way that cleared so many issues up.

By the end, Azalus and Nallea married. It’s not as exciting now, when I type it, than it felt when I read it. Even though that plot seems tied neatly with a bow, there’s much left to find out, what with the slaver Sajem still at large and bondage still occuring throughout the Vales and Ezar. I’m looking forward to book 2.

Next week:

I’m reading Kevin Parish’s book of poetry, What Words May Come!

Reading List – January 2020

Welcome to my first Indie Book month of 2020! I’m kicking off this year right with a bunch of books that I have high hopes for, and I hope you enjoy these reviews.

A Bit of 2020 Reading Announcements

First, I’ve planned most of this year’s reading. If you go to my reading page here, you’ll see the entire year splayed out! You’ll also see there are 3 open spots for indie books, and you can go to my reading page and send a review request. There’s also a few July slots that I haven’t completely set in stone, but you have to be pretty convincing to get me to switch one of those. Also, even though the open slots are for October reviews, I will do Amazon and/or Goodreads reviews far sooner.

Speaking of Goodreads, I’ve made a new Goodreads profile that you can friend. It’s not well filled-out yet, but you can expect me to start rating and filling it up.

Because I’ve joined Goodreads and committed to giving star ratings, I thought I’d put those on the books I read this year. Present on my blog posts will be Discoball Snowcone ratings!

These snowcones will be given the same as stars. I am also giving old reviews ratings!

51n4vq2bfuylSoul Swallowers – D. Wallace Peach

I reviewed The Melding of Aeris by Diane back in April 2019, and I really enjoyed it. For that reason, I decided to see if her quality carries through to her newest series, The Shattered Sea! It seems to be a fantasy with soul-based magic, and I hope it carries similar tinges of darkness as Aeris did.
Amazon Link

41lpbrmcfsl._sx322_bo1204203200_What Words May Come – Kevin D. Parish

Kevin Parish has a WordPress blog that I follow. Not only does he write good poetry for his blog, he’s one of the nicest people out there. When he announced his book, I looked at the comments on his page and saw that he’d “delayed” publishing this book so his mom could get the first copy.

MY EYES DIDN’T TEAR UP AT THAT I SWEAR.

Anyway, I’m excited to read this book of poetry and see what Kevin publishes that could possibly be better than what’s already on his blog!
Amazon Link

clara-fjm_thumbnail_200x300Clara – Susanna Linton

I saw this advertised for free on Twitter, and I was like, “This person tweets well and seems nice. I’m going to read this first book in the series because I don’t think it will be bad.” Epic fantasy is usually right up my alley anyway.

Want to know something else?

She doesn’t use Amazon, and her system still works incredibly well with Kindle. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve downloaded it from Bookfunnel through a link on her beautiful website (which I am freaking jealous of).
Website/Bookfunnel Link

The Leftovers: Something from YOU?

Do you have a published book and a method of purchasing it that isn’t sketch as hell? I need indie books to read, and those slots will be opening before you know it! Let me know if you have something you’d like me to peruse!

See my old reviews here

Favorite Books of 2019

Lucky for me, there’s 5 Mondays this December, which allows an excellent chance to look back at the pile of books (36! Huzzah for me!) I’ve had the privilege to read in 2019!  Here’s a few of my favorites from this year:

Favorite Book On First Read

650Without a doubt, my favorite book this year was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If you are a fantasy or a history buff, you should read this absolutely exquisite work. It’s so good that I don’t even feel jealous of the author, just ever so grateful I was able to read the book. 100%, totally recommend. If I hadn’t already given away my copy in earnest effort to get someone to read it, I’d give you mine.

Pro tip, though: get an e-book version. The binding on the paperback is a little weird and can make your experience slightly less enjoyable.

If you allow re-reads, I would have to say this book is competitive with Ancillary Justice, which I still think is probably on of the best books I’ve ever read, but perhaps less fun that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Favorite Indie Book

This feels like such a dangerous category to even have! First, let me say that so many of my fellow bloggers have written great books. More so than anything, what I’ve found to be important in finding a great Indie Book is to look at how dedicated the author is to the craft. A good blog/website is HIGHLY indicative of a good book to follow.

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That being said, I think my favorite Indie Book this year was Diane Wallace Peach’s The Melding of Aeris. While many books could boast powerful storylines and well-written prose, what continues to stick out about Aeris is the extraordinarily clever world and detailed magic system. The feel is post-apocalyptic, but it doesn’t go into detail as to why the world is such. I had a lot of fun reading it and would recommend to those looking for a way into the indie book scene.

I feel like if I do runners up, I’d just be listing off a bunch of bloggers’ books!

Favorite Series

One of my goals this year was to read more series, and I’ve read several. However, I’ve got to limit my choice to just one!

And, no doubt in my mind, it was the Robert Remini Andrew Jackson trilogy. This trilogy is a fantastic set of biographical works that incorporates both feelings from back in the day when everyone was racist and ideals from a more modern, critical era. Though Jackson was a lunatic, Remini shows you his charisma, wit, and drive in such a way that he becomes more coherent. I’ve always enjoyed studying Jackson, though, so I’m inevitably a bit biased.

Also I’ve read this series in the past, so I feel like I cheated a bit by choosing them here. A good runner up would be the Imperial Radch trilogy, but I think it suffers from having a weak second entry.

Favorite Classic

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t read too many true classics. For that reason, I’m including somewhat recent science fiction and fantasy classics.

dracula1st

Even so, I’d have to go with Dracula by Bram Stoker. I didn’t go in expecting much from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by the tension, the depth of character, and creativity with the subject matter. I think it’s a great read for anyone interested in expanding their experience with fantasy and classics. Don’t be afraid of it just because of the Twilight craze!

A Couple I Explicitly Didn’t Like

I don’t want to talk about Indie books I didn’t like. If you want to see me rip Indie books, you’ll have to go to my Reviews Page and find them yourself. Part of this is my belief that Indie Books, if done right, should explore niches traditional publishers are afraid to go down – niches that might not be for every reader.

I was sad that I didn’t like Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. I thought the premise looked really cool, and I very much enjoyed some of the short stories she’d published in other places. I thought the book didn’t explain itself well, and I could never root for the main character. It also came off as tone-deaf in a post 2016 world. 100% worst thing I’ve read this year.

Without anything coming close to Trail of Lightning in terms of sheer dislike, I moved on to thinking about disappointments. Though I enjoyed the book by the end, I was disappointed with The Warrior’s Apprentice. After having read two other novels by McMasters-Bujold, I expected more from this book. I also got more from the books following The Warrior’s Apprentice in the series. I think she tried to fit too much in the novel, and it ended up being an overwhelming tapestry of exciting stuff. It was also her first publication, so that inexperience probably didn’t help.

 

 

Book Review: The Alienist

I was flipping through some of the audiobook selections at my library, and I came across a curious book that had a sci-fi sounding title and a –

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD IS THIS A THEODORE ROOSEVELT FANFIC

Renting the shit out of this.

The Book

51jxil0exalThe Aleinist
Author: Caleb Carr
1994
Amazon Link

I hadn’t heard about this book, but I was pretty little when it debuted in ’94 (which means I’m older now, btw).  Regardless, I was looking for sci-fi about aliens and stupid computers thought this was what I meant.  I was disappointed to see it was about the 1800’s.

But then I saw it was supposed to have Theodore Roosevelt as a character.

Y’all know I’m a complete and total sucker for presidents.  I had to read this thing.  I checked that audiobook out, regardless of any regret I may later feel.

Non-Spoiler Review

I really enjoyed this book, though at times it got a bit graphic for my rather tender tastes.  I think what kept me engaged was their interesting techniques, not all of which worked (and some of which I found absolutely ludicrous from a technology perspective).  The main character, John Malone, was really a good perspective to write the book from.

One thing that I found very satisfying was the representation of characters that weren’t white men.  While it was apparent that white men were the power brokers in the world, the agency of boys, women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals was not overlooked.  The character of Sarah, especially, was done so very well.  I think Carr did great with characters from a wide swath of backgrounds, and I think people should read this book for that reason if nothing else.

Also, the historical elements were fantastic.  Sometimes it felt like Carr put things in just to include historical references (for example, the characters ate at Delmonico’s and described the restaurant in detail like 5 times).  They met people like Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and Jake Rhiis. It felt a bit forced at times, but still it added to the overall effect of the book.

Overall, I would recommend, but there are some rough places that aren’t really for the faint of heart (and probably surpassed my own abilities).

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story was really good.  The main characters used psychology – at least what was available in 1896, with a little help from having an author in 1994, to determine the characteristics of a murderer, find him, and stop him from continuing his spree.  It was deeply complex, intriguing, and full of action.  The emotional twists and turns were astounding.

The only low point in the book was, if you ask me, a bit at the climax. Kreizler, the titular alienist, quit the investigation when his girlfriend was killed by a mob boss.  He then came back at the end, almost deus ex machina, and solved the case.  As well, the mob boss was following him and ended up being important in the final showdown. To me, that final coincidence felt a bit too large, and it ignored a lot of the contributions of Sarah and the Isaacsons.  It wasn’t a bad way to do the climax, but it didn’t quite feel satisfying to me.

Supposedly there are follow up books, and I’m intrigued enough by this one to think they might be worth reading.

Next week:

This is a 5-Monday month, and what timing!  Next week, the 30th, I’ll be making a post describing my reading journey.  And what a journey!  I’m excited to share what may be my most successful reading year in a LONG time.

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is one of those “Classic” books I’ve never read. Most classes in my high school read it, but since I was in the honors’ section, my teacher said, “You all have probably read 451 because you’re smart, so we’re going to do Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Well, guess I showed her! (Though I must admit that teacher is/was brilliant).

The Book

51vsfbzlu2blFahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
1953
Amazon Link

I’ve never really been interested in this book. I know it’s about censorship, and I know the premise is that the book is about a man who burns seditious material for a living. Something about it has just made me never care to read it before.

Also, just as a note, I got a copy from the library and the cover looked terrible. I liked the HBO-film inspired cover they have on Amazon, so that’s what I put here.

Non-Spoiler Review

At least now I understand why this book is so popular among English classes. With an English professor as part of the hero team and with literary and appreciation of artistic talent a major portion of the message, this novel is a fantastic, ego-stroking, self-serving kind of book for anyone who wants to feel good about being an artist.

And that made me mad at most high-school teachers but very proud of mine.

First, I found the premise entirely untenable. A society in which education is limited will not advance, and societies that don’t advance in this day and age will fall behind and be obliterated either by revolution or outside intervention. Even North Korea, which lags behind because of terrible abuses of power, can boast of inventions and efforts to modernize in some (crazy and terrifying) aspects. The society in 451 seems so ridiculous to me.

As well, the female characters were vapid, useless objects. I tell myself, “Oh, that was a product of the times,” but then I look at my review of Twain’s works and realize that he was more reasonable in the 1800’s than Bradbury was in 1953. I also thought Montag’s weird attraction to 16-year old Clarisse a bit… disconcerting.

When I think about the theme of censorship, I find this book a reasonable example of an anti-censorship book. That being said, it was ad absurdum, and I usually don’t like that sort of thing.

1/5 Discoball Snowcones

1 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story as a whole was rather plain. It was about a guy who did something illegal, then ran away and found company with others who were like him. There wasn’t much to it, really. I’d never read the book, but I still could predict every single plotline and didn’t care when the next chapter was revealed.

This book should be read almost exclusively for its themes and metaphors. That is where this book shines. That being said, I didn’t enjoy it, and I’m glad I don’t have to read it again.

Oh, another thing: mine had an afterword from Bradbury where he complained about efforts to censor Fahrenheit 451. It was incredibly insensitive and made me question the value of the intent behind 451. I suggest not reading it.

Next week:

I’m very hype to get to The Alienist. I’d never heard of it before this month, and I can’t imagine something with that premise could suck. Tally ho!

Book Review: The Robots of Dawn

Because everything written after this book gets the Robot series involved with Asimov’s weird, canon crossover with the Foundation series (which I love and also do not wish to destroy), this is the last of the Robots books I will be reading and reviewing for at least some time. Strap in for this classic review!

The Book

51p4stbegul._sx301_bo1204203200_The Robots of Dawn
Author: Isaac Asimov
1983
Amazon Link

This book, as well as many of the sequels that I don’t plan on reading, was at my library, so I snagged a copy.  I’ve genuinely enjoyed, at least to some extent, all of the series’ previous installations.

Just so you have a short version of the review, I’ll tell you now that this 4th book in the series was a massive disappointment, but still far from the worst thing I’ve ever read.

Non-Spoiler Review

I was only disappointed in this book because the previous two installations were quite enjoyable.  I would say this one wasn’t awful, but some of the parts fell pretty flat for me.

First, let me admit that I don’t like romance or even romantic subplots.  This is probably one of the reasons I like Asimov’s earlier work – he knew he sucked at romance and avoided it.  Well, when he got older, he also got bolder, and I get the distinct feeling he still sucked at writing romance anyway.  Associated with the romance, as well, were clear and open references to what may be my least favorite book of all time, Stranger in a Strange Land.  Complete with sexual awakening and a hint at ‘teach them real sex and make a sex cult.’

Beyond that, Asimov still does a marvelous job with consistency in his worldbuilding.  The world in which Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun took place was still vivid, vibrant, and present in this installation.  Baley’s agoraphobia (fear of outside, so you don’t have to look it up) was still ever-present.  I relish reading about the Baley character, and I enjoyed learning about the new planet of Aurora.

Still… the final solution to the murder mystery, as well, made me groan.  I’ll talk about that more in the spoilers review, but it was bad.  It made me groan to the point that I almost put the book down with only 6 pages to go.  After I ate supper, however, I was able to come back and gag myself through to the end.

2/5 Discoball Snowcones

2 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The mystery of the book wasn’t done very well, at least in comparison to the earlier works.  Thanks to things like the romantic subplot got in the way, and the lengthened status of the book made the singular offending sentence – the one which Baley’s entire theory hinged on – easy to forget after another 100 pages of reading.  It wasn’t pointed out at the time of the offending interview, either, which made it feel less impressive a stunt.

Still, the part that got me was the very ending, where Baley actually solved the crime, not the one where he satisfied political needs.  In it, he reveals that the murder was committed by a psychic robot.  Wat.  WAT.  This was 7 pages from the end of the 500 page book and you’re going to bring in PSYCHIC ROBOTS now?!  Horse hockey.

Yes, he called back to that one episode in i, Robot wherein there was a legendary, psychic robot, and made it happen.  Simultaneously, he revealed all sorts of what I found to be BS motives, crossovers with his Foundation series and Empire series, and just altogether destroyed the entire book.  I had suspected that particular robot of the crime due to some of the facts, but the way Asimov had Baley solve the problem was so dissatisfying.

Next week:

I’ll be re-reading one of my favorites, The Remains of the Day.  You should stay tuned, and READ THE DAMN BOOK too!

Reading List – December 2019

This year has just flown by!  And, what’s more and just as exciting, I’ve done a great job with my reading schedule!

As a reward, I’m reading ‘Whatever the hell I please’ this month.  So here’s a hodge-podge of stuff, fresh from what I want to do.  🙂

The Robots of Dawn – Isaac Asimov

51p4stbegul._sx301_bo1204203200_If you’ve followed me for long, you know I’ve read all the previous books in Asimov’s Robot series.  You also know that I’ve liked them all, and you know that I’m aware Asimov’s later works kind of go off the rails and start doing crossover-fanfic level of stuff.  Well, I think this entry is where that starts, but I felt like trying anyway.  Screw it.  Let’s see if this one’s as bad as the Foundation series where the crossover fanfic type stuff starts happening.

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

51vsfbzlu2blI’ve never read this sucker before because my high school was weird and we had waivers to avoid reading anything our teachers didn’t want us to read. I think we read The Chocolate War instead, or perhaps Something Wicked This Way Comes. Either way, this book is supposed to have a lot of messages about censorship, writing, and thought. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I think I need to read this in order to be up to par compared to my well-read cohorts.

The Alienist – Caleb Carr

51jxil0exalI thought this one looked pretty legit when I came across it on accident at the library.  And what’s more?  IT HAS THEODORE ROOSEVELT.  One of the few ways you can convince me to read a book faster would be to include Andrew Jackson.  Anyway, this is about solving a series of gruesome murders during the time Roosevelt was police chief of New York.  It seems like it’s pretty diverse, and I’m a bit excited to see where this weird book goes!  I hope it’s like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in some of its qualities!

The Leftovers: Something from YOU?

Do you have a published book and a method of purchasing it that isn’t sketch as hell?  I need indie books to read next year, and those slots will be opening before you know it!  Let me know if you have something you’d like me to peruse!

See my old reviews here

Book Review: The Lost World

After finishing Dracula on audiobook from my library, I immediately sought out another audiobook to listen to.  Why not, after all?

Since my library’s audiobook selections tend to have enormous waiting lists, I found that my best option was to continue through another classic.  Thus, I went for some very classic sci-fi, The Lost World.  

The Book

51k2nege9hlThe Lost World
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1912
Amazon Link (Free edition for Kindle!  It’s public domain!)

Sometimes I’ll enjoy a good classic, and other times I won’t.  This may be the first classic I’ve read in a long time that I’ve felt extremely ‘meh’ about.  It had a nice, wonderfully romping plot wherein the characters went on a marvelous adventure.  At the same time, it was moderately childish, had little unexpected development, was poor scientifically (Twain supplied better approximations of evolution in Connecticut Yankee), and next to the film Endless Summer was one of the most casually racist things I’ve ever experienced.  That being said, it had an enjoyable tone, and wasn’t altogether terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good.

Non-Spoiler Review

The best part of the book was how it was written as a nearly real-time journal.  It made the whole thing seem even more adventurous, even more a part of the time it was written.  I enjoyed the English-ness of the thing, and it hearkened to some of the aspects of English society that I find so odd.  The society of professors, as well, reminded me of today’s professors, their jealousies, and their eccentricities, and I found that an interesting part of the book.

Another part of the book I liked was Conan Doyle’s style.  It was understandable, and he used understatement with perfect aplomb.  I thought the characters voices fantastically distinct.  All this came together to make a rich book full of exciting adventure with dinosaurs and ape-men that really was fun (even if his ideas on evolution were garbage, even for his time frame).

But then, every once in a while, they’d remorselessly kill an Indian (native South American, for those of us who now know better) or speculate on the closeness to monkeys of the various actual races of people.  Sometimes this would catch me off guard and I would laugh because, from a modern perspective, it was so insipid.  Because of the day and culture in which it was written, I’m willing to forgive Conan Doyle for some of the awful racism, but it still drew away from my experience.

Worse, it drew away from the majority of the book’s characters.  From Zambo to the half-breeds to the Indians to the ‘ape-men,’ all of them were stupid and either hateful or completely innocent.  Of those that were hateful, it was only the half-breeds, which reminded me of stuff I read during my most recent Andrew Jackson phase.  Remember, Andrew Jackson was something on the order of 100 years before this book.  Anyway, it felt like Conan Doyle took the easy route out and made some flat-as-a-pancake non-white characters, and that REALLY sucked for the book.

Because the racism and flat characters constantly irked me, I could not suggest this book to anyone even despite the good sentence structures and interesting white characters. It’s pretty much straight-up offensive and doesn’t really have enough going for it to save it.

2/5 Discoball Snowcones

2 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

Most of this book is spoiled by its summary, but there are a couple things I’m going to just wreck for you.

First, the reason the narrator – Malone – goes on the adventure is to win his dearly beloved Gladys.  While he is gone to South America, however, Gladys marries a clerk and moves on.  From the tone, Gladys is blamed, and Malone gets upset.  I found this ridiculous; it felt like such a forced romantic tension in the first place.  I just laughed when Malone found out he’d been defeated.

At the very end of the book, Malone asks Roxton, the hardass adventurer who loved guns and saved their butts a few times in the book, to take him on another adventure.  I thought this was a great ending, and it prodded me to look for sequels.  There were sequels.

About the intolerable Professor Challenger.

Challenger, who had made the initial discovery, was always a character I rather loathed.  Bullish, hateful, violent, and yet deemed inexhaustibly intelligent by author and narrator, he was everything I hate in a character.  I thought I was supposed to hate him, but apparently he was the entire point of the book!  I was shocked and appalled, and I will not read another book in the Professor Challenger series!

Next week:

 

Book Review: The War of the Worlds

I’ve read The Time Machine before, and H.G. Wells has an amazingly British outlook on the future. I also enjoy sci-fi from a perspective that can’t be like our own, simply because it was from a different time and era of technological advancement. So I’m excited to read another bit of old-school sci-fi from the original master!

The Book

51qfskhy-yl._sx331_bo1204203200_

The War of the Worlds
Author: H.G. Wells
1898
Get it for Free on Gutenberg Project

I love that the Gutenberg Project has typed this bad-boy up. I can read it whenever, wherever, with little load time. Classic books such as these definitely are on my list so that I can catch up with those people who have more impressive arts degrees. I’m very excited to try this one out!

Non-Spoiler Review

I expected more after The Time Machine. The main character in Time Machine was compelling, and his discoveries were intertwined with emotional responses. I found the narrating character of War of the Worlds to be dull, and sometimes – such as the chapter where his brother helped the ladies in the wagon – he felt in the way. He nonchalantly described everything despite the horrifying civilian death counts and desperate battles.

In a similar vein, the battles themselves were dull and impersonal because the characters focused upon kept changing.  The main character didn’t always take center stage, and often described the world around him without making anything feel very personally important. I am already not great at audiobooks, and this one failed to keep my attention very well.

A positive about thus book is the creativity with the design of the martians and their goals. The science, despite obvious flaws due to its era, was actually pretty good. It’s obvious how War of the Worlds has influenced literally every alien-containing story since its inception. Even if you find the book boring like I did, its influence on science fiction absolutely makes it a must read. I don’t regret reading this book because of its importance in the genre.

3/5 Discoball Snowcones

3 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story contained altogether more running and descriptions of human death by Martian machine than I found either necessary or desirable. Most of the book was about the main character’s flight, subsequent holing up in a house, then escape once the Martians succumbed to Earthen bacteria.

I did like the solution.  I remember having heard about people complaining that this felt like a cop-out, but the whole point of the book was to talk about evolution and how it proceeded differently on Mars.  With that being the case, the solution being entirely out of the main characters hands felt right to me.

The problem was that everything was out of the main characters hands. To me, that meant the story lacked a lot of tension and felt something like a snuff book. Like I said earlier, read this because it’s important, not because it’s actually good.

Next week:

Another classic is up next week! The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

Book Review: Dracula

I’ll be honest – I saw this review done by Robbie Eaton, and I thought, “You know, I should actually read that book and not just rely on retellings and various elements of pop culture.”  What’s more, she used an audiobook, and I found easily at my library an audiobook that seemed to have good production value.

The Book

dracula1stDracula
Author: Bram Stoker
1897
I’m not giving you an Amazon link because I don’t want you to feed the monstrous, bloodsucking company for a book that’s way past its copyright date.  Your library probably has an audiobook edition.

I got this from my library.  I first tried to find a free version on Kindle, but let’s be honest – I’m not paying them a damn cent for a book that they shouldn’t have control over.  I suggest you to look at your library rather thank Amazon.  That being said, this was a surprisingly good Victorian-era book.  I don’t like a lot of the books written in the 1800’s, which is probably why I hadn’t fully read this one yet, but I found Dracula to be pretty good.  Definitely suggest it if you want to read a classic.

Non-Spoiler Review

I was pleased by the story.  Though I’d read bits of Dracula for classes in high school, and though I’d heard bits and retellings here and there, I’d never heard all of the original story at once. I have to say it was a rather readable, well-told Victorian tale.

There was a transition part where Jonathan Harker was going back to England and Dracula came with him (though secretly) that didn’t make quite as much sense to me as I wish it would have.  I caught back up rather quickly, and it may have been my fault for listening while I was doing some boring things at work.  Other than that, the book was surprisingly understandable for something of its era.  I had initially feared its epistolary nature would have made it difficult to understand, but it actually worked rather well and added to the horrifying nature.

One of the things I liked from the book was the surreal horror.  It reminded me somewhat of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in this aspect, wherein it had English sensibilities cloud the supernatural elements.

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

One of the characters I hadn’t known much about prior to reading this book was Quincy Morris.  I don’t even think I knew he existed in the first place before reading Dracula in one sitting.  Anyway, I was pretty happy/excited to see an American in the book, and I was even more excited to see him as a Bowie-knife wielding, gun-happy badass who totally ran into the thick of trouble when it needed to be done.

Van Helsing was as interesting as I expected he would be, and Mina Harker was surprisingly well fleshed-out throughout the book.  Some of the stuff Stoker said about her wouldn’t have flown in a modern context, but it was really good given the time it was written.  The multinational flavor of the characters was also interesting, and I think it suited the day it was written.

Next week: