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Temporal Instability

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Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and Honey  - Mary Robinette Kowal
Recommended by: Mary Robinette Kowal (on Writing Excuses)
Recommended for: people who like Jane Austen
Read from January 30 to February 11, 2014
Read count: 1


It was ok. I really wanted to like it, since I love Mary on Writing Excuses. Usually when the author narrates his/her own book, it is a disaster, but not so for this one. She does a really good job.
The story is gentle, mellow. All the Jane Austen touches are nice, but it is too much like a 'faded copy'. Jane Austen writes regency romance, yes, but with wit and an ironic tongue. She makes sharp observations and questions, gently. Mary keeps the regency romance, but lacks both the wit and the irony. I know how much effort Mary put into it, that's why I want to love it... but I don't. Taking out the element that's the most important makes it bland, almost meaningless. It's merely OK.
Maybe I shouldn't have reread all that noir urban fantasy prior to reading this. Maybe I should have eased myself into it by reading more similar works first.

However, it got more interesting near the end. There was finally some action. Less sighing, swooning and moping around, more doing.
I think I'm just not the female romance kind of woman (even though I love Jane Austen).
Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/839327106?book_show_action=false

Review: Mike Carey - Felix Castor 01 - The Devil you know

The Devil You Know - Mike Carey

Book is OK. Not brilliant, not as fun as the Dresden Files, but OK.
Dark, dry, cynical humor. Overuse of metaphors, every other sentence. The 'exorcise with music' is straight from Garth Nix's books. A lot of "Pratchetisms", sometimes almost outright quotes without a nod to the source. That irks me.
The feel of the book's worldbuilding is nebulous and sketchy, but original. I like what he does with zombies and weres. That's outright fresh in this genre. I want to know more about it.

I don't think the book is all that dark and gritty. People who call it that obviously never read dark and gritty books. Try Donaldson's later works and Erikson's to see what I mean.
The series has promise (Jim Butcher's "Storm Front" wasn't exactly brilliant writing either, even though it was a *lot* more fun and was chockfull of memorable quotes), so I'll give the second book a try.


Score: 3/5

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/410071280

Mr. Monster (John Cleaver, #2)

Mr. Monster (John Cleaver, #2) - Dan Wells,  Kirby Heyborne Narration:
The publisher has learned its lesson: this book had a proper narrator. Which made a world of difference to me. The narrator had just the correct tone to be a younger man, fitting the age of the protagonist. He put natural emphasis on the words and wasn't too dry (still a lot dryer than I'm used to lately, but that's alright).

The Book:
There was probably supposed to be a twist/reveal in this book, finding out who the serial killer was this time... but I was disappointed. I could see that coming from miles away. That was a shame, could have been so much better. Then again, I don't see how he could have not broadcasted this almost from page 1.

I liked that there was a lot more struggle in John. It was very hard for him to keep on the straight and narrow and the writer portrayed that struggle well. But aside from the very disturbing scene with the cat, there was never any fear of John actually losing it. That might have created a lot more tension, for now that part was still a bit too tame.

The atmosphere reminded me of Orson Scott Card's 'Lost Boys' or some of Stephen Kings more relaxt works. A simple story, with a simple, uncomplicated viewpoint, a teenage boy. Things happening, monsters to overcome. Easygoing.
That made it easy to read, with just a dash of tension. It wasn't horror by far. Nor was it actual suspense. I got the feeling that Dan was trying a bit to hard to create suspense, which had the opposite effect to me.
It was, however, a very amusing and entertaining read. He is definitely improving in his writing. I will continue with his next book.

I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1)

I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1) - Dan Wells,  John Allen Nelson I picked up this book because I'm a big fan of the 'Writing Excuses' podcasts. I love Brandon Sanderson's books, so I thought to try Dan Wells's.
As usual I went for the Audiobook version. Let me tell you, it was horrible. I've tried for several weeks to get past the first chapters.
I hope the narrator doesn't talk like that in real life. I truly hope for him in real life he doesn't speak every sentence like it has an exclamation mark in it. It made listening to it impossible for me.
Look, you don't have to narrate as well as James Marsters or Bronson Pinchot, or even Michael Kramer... All I ask is that you speak as you would naturally do. A little bit of dramatization is ok (a lot of it is great, as long as you know what you are doing).
Don't audiobook narrators have to auditions for the books? Don't publishers care?
I imagine they don't. After all, the book has been bought, the money is already in their pocket, so why would they care? But I say, it's bad for business. I for one will avoid any audiobooks that have this narrator in it.

Dear publishers of audiobooks. The narrator matters. Big time. It makes a lot of difference. For instance, I almost put away this book and avoid the writer for the next few years because of the narrators awful performance. A different example is the graphic audio version of Warbreaker: I thought the book just so-so (a little bit boring and predictable, see my review on it) from the audible Michael Kramer version... but when I re-read (re-listened) with the graphic audio version I was very much impressed and entertained to the amount of unable to stop listening, despite the flaws the story has.
Narration matters. Have so more care with it.

Now, that's for the rant. On to the book.
I obtained an ebook version of this book in order to see if it was really as bad as the narrator made it out to be. I started again from the beginning, and this time it was an entirely different book.
I like the character of John Wayne Cleaver and as a person with Asperger Syndrome I can quite relate to his emotional 'handicap'. Rather, I was more confused about the other character's inability to understand him :-)

It is very clear in the book that the author is new to writing and being published. The book feels rough, unpolished. Not as a style and certainly not on purpose. Pacing is a bit off and the story style changes with abrupt bursts. But the idea of the story is very interesting, so that makes up for all the flaws.
It was interesting enough for me to want to read the second book in the series.

I believe it is classified as young adult (correct) and horror (absolutely incorrect). There was no horror in the story, not that I could find. Yes there were two monsters, but they were in no way anything close to actual horror or suspense.

Actually, I was really looking forward for John to let his monster free and see what mayhem it might cause... but no such luck. Maybe better next book.

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) - Brandon Sanderson 3.5 stars

Monster Hunter International

Monster Hunter International - Larry Correia I will write a real review later, this is just a placeholder with some of my initial thoughts, as I didn't have GoodReads with me when reading this book.

After I read the Grimnoir trilogy, I was very curious about the MHI books, so I started on this book. Let me say first that the two stars of my rating actually are 2,5 stars. It was OK and I like it enough to keep reading.
I did however notice throughout the book that this was a very early work. Larry's personal views shine through very strongly, which sometimes distracts from the story. Also, he is often too technical about his guns. I love his writing about the different guns in his Grimnoir books (especially books 2 and 3) but in MHI it is just too much infodump.

This is actually the main problem of the book: infodump. The book isn't balanced enough. Granted, the pacing is very good when there is action, but often it feels a bit off in the timing of adding info to it. Like missing a step and stumbling to a halt. Or crashing.

The story has a lot of potential and reminded me a lot of the Dresden Files, with guns. And less polish.
MHI is purest urban fantasy gun-wielding pulp, but who cares, it is entertainment. Not Correia at his best, but a nice first try with a lot of promise.


Legion - Brandon Sanderson This is a short story/novella by Brandon Sanderson, a writer who manages to create a brilliantly original 'magical' system.
In this book there is no magic. Well, no real fantasy magic-y magic. The idea is still brilliant and original.

Stephen Leeds, the main character, has hallucinations. He sees and interacts with other people, people who aren't there. They live in his mansion and every one of them has a unique specialty. One is a history buff, one a gung-ho gun-nut, one a megalomaniac photographer and one of them is a schizophrenic . And there are many many more.
To Stephen "Legion" Leeds these people are very real, to the rest of the world they don't exist. He isn't schizophrenic though, nor is he suffering from DIS. He is just a normal, sane, man, but his hallucinations are a whole different ballpark.
Together they are for hire to solve complex mysteries. And that's where the story starts.

I usually don't read short stories anymore. Mainly because they aren't in audiobook format, and often because they just don't interest me anymore. Anything written by Brandon Sanderson interest me though, so I dove into this novella. It is very short, only 18.000 words. I finished it within an hour, I think. From the first paragraph it captured my attention and wouldn't let go until the very last words. I hated that it was finished, this is a story that left me begging for more.
Stephen is a very interestingly written person. His hallucinations are terrific and Brandon managed to create a surprising depth in the most important ones.
The plot itself isn't brilliant. To be honest, I couldn't exactly retell it if I tried :-) That doesn't matter. It was immensely entertaining, and that's what I think is the most important thing in a book. The concept of a camera well, flash actually that captures the past is nice and interesting. He neatly deals with the physics making something like that possible.

I really hope Brandon will one day return to this story and make a full book out of it. Or a series of books. And with 'one day' I obviously mean 'yesterday', because I want to read more about this interesting person. Well, only if he at the same time hurries a bit with Words of Radiance, of course, because that's one of the books I'm most looking forward to.

This book receives a full five stars. It's fresh, original, engaging and most of all, really leaves me wanting more, which is always a good sign.

The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist - Brandon Sanderson I don't think you can go wrong with *any* book by Brandon Sanderson. Well, any of his books angled to slightly adult persons. I am still trying his Alcatraz books, but they are just a bit too young for me (middle grade, I believe, 10 y/o).
The Rithmatist is geared towards young-adults and that's very clear in the writing. But it doesn't matter, because, well, this is Brandon Sanderson writing. He can teach a corkscrew to do some twists.

The premise is simple and reminds me of a book I once read when I was a little child, "De Schrijvenaar van Thyll", I believe it was titled, by Peter Schaap I think. Performing magic through writing.
Only, in the Rithmatist this isn't through writing but through drawing.
As always Brandon creates a magic system that is well thought out, gives the impression of having a lot of science behind it without dumping too much info on you. Creating depth without actually showing you the details of that depth.
So, a simple premise. Drawing geometry and scribbled creatures is magic. From that he creates a mystery. Again he takes a concept we all know well. The odd kid in a school becomes involved and well, wins the day. I mean, that isn't even a spoiler, it's what we expect from YA. If the kid was supposed to fail and be horribly tortured and devoured by the monsters, it would be another genre entirely.

I really enjoyed this book. It's light, it's original and it even has a tiny bit of suspense. Why then the three stars?
It's YA. I'm not really a big fan of YA, I like more grit in my book. And by grit I mean real grit, and not the adolescent 'angst' that most YA books seem to have. Not this one though, I have to admit this one is a breath of fresh air in that area. I think it is on par with Elantris. Original, fresh, engaging. Still, it is not enough to gain it four stars, because it is very light and lacks a bit of gravitas (five stars I only give to very special very very very good books).

I am looking forward to the sequel though.


Unwind - Neal Shusterman That I read this book in a single day (with a 'terrible two's toddler hanging around) should tell you something. Not that it is a very thin book. It is not (but granted, it is very short compared to the other books I read). No, I just couldn't stop reading.

The Bad:
The writing is bad. Sorry, can't help it. The writer switches from past to present tense and back. This is very confusing in the beginning.
The language used is very simple, conversationstyle, sometimes even a bit awkward. Or maybe this only seems that way after reading so much Steven Erikson, Donaldson R. Stephen and Rothfuss.

The Good:
The story. It's bone-chilling. Really. Yes, there are flaws in the story, but you will read over them, because of the immensely captivating story. Wow. I will write more on it later, said toddler wants attention ;-)

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) - Patrick Rothfuss, Nick Podehl When I found this book on GR, I was hesitant to read it, because of the negative reviews about the "perfect protagonist". I tried the first chapter and confirmed my fears, and the book ended up on my maybe-someday-list. The start reminded of all the Tolkien-clones there are in the fantasy-world. I hate Tolkien-clones.
But... being out of anything good to read, I returned to this audiobook. And was very pleasantly surprised. Let me say this first: I love this book. I don't really know why. I hate perfect protagonists with a fierce abandon ;-) I like complicated and selfdoubting characters. I like greys in morality. I like failure and reality in a story. To be frank, this book has none of that.
But it has something that I really appreciated: it tells the story behind a famous sorcerer/adventurer. I love stories about (in)famous people. The how and why. People become someone for a reason. Most stories we tell about famous people aren't true in the least. So, who is this person really?
So, I was hooked as soon as the Kvothe started to tell The Chronicler about his youth.

Regarding those negative reviews here on GR... I get the impression those people haven't read the same book, or maybe not in its entirety. Or are maybe immature young boys or something. Or maybe just don't like it, taste is a very personal thing. But the things these review mention I can't really find in the book.
Yes, there may be a homosexual relation between Kvothe and Bast. Maybe. Might be just a really good friendship/bromance, in my opinion.
I can really find no traces of an Oedipus-complex. Yes he loved his mother. That's what mentally healthy people do, especially when their mother is taken from them. They idealize them in retrospect. And most men are really attracted to women that resemble their mother (and women to men that resemble their father). I have studied Psychology and I just can't find traces of anything of the sort in this story.

Kvothe isn't infallible, does make mistakes and big ones. He gets in trouble at every opportunity, and yes that is a bit tough to swallow sometimes, because I think he shouldn't be thát dense. It a bit 1 dimensional, his flaw not to see those traps. But then again, a lot of real people are this stupid, so why not a brilliant fictional sorcerer.

Well, I can't say much without spoiling the story, so I'm not going to try. I loved this story. It's light and fluffy but nowhere near as fluffy as David Eddings. Reminded me more of Robert Jordan (which I still consider fairly brainless Soap-reading, until Brandon Sanderson took over) but with teeth.
No, it's not literature. It doesn't come close to real writers like Steven Erikson or Stephen Donaldson or Patricia McKillip or... well a lot of them. But by my book, it high on the "normal" ranking list for enjoyment and readability, and most of all: entertainment.

My first fears about the Tolkienality were groundless. It veers of into an entirely different direction.

I immediately went on to the second book, and that says a lot.

So... Give this book a try. Don't let yourself get turned of by the synopsis or bad reviews or the first chapters. Give it until Kvothe gets near the University. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Battle Royale

Battle Royale - Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki Since my earliest youth I have weird vivid and recurring nightmares. One theme is being hunted for sport, having to find and kill my friends or be killed. Not long ago I finally dared to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It fit in with my dreams, and that was disconcerting. But it was an elegantly written book that made you think. I liked it (the first one) I really did. It did give me some kind of 'closure' or 'background' to my dreams, even though that may sound strange. So when I found out that people where mentioning this book, Battle Royale, and that it looked way too much like The Hunger Games, I wanted to read it. And I liked it, a lot. But let's discuss that.

The bad:
1. Translation
This books translation is awfull. I hope that there will be a re-issue after The Hunger Games movie has aired. A re-issue translated by someone who can actually translate the language, idiom and such, instead of merely skimming around the edges. At times I thought Google Translator could have done a better job! Clumsy, weird choice of wording etc. It felt very unnatural at times.
So, it may be that the translation is in fact accurate and the late-writer was a half-illiterate with a publisher that didn't employ any editors or QA at all, or the translation is rubbish. Call me crazy, but I go for the latter.

2. Guts and G(l)ory
While this book is about the guts a winner of a cruel game like this one must have, it is mostly about the guts of the other players being splattered around the pages. It is one of the most gory books I've ever read. A spatter-movie in book-form. It serves a purpose and you have to view this in a cultural context (Japanese, directed at young adults) but I think it's too much. My taste is much more refined than this, and weren't it for the great storytelling, I wouldn't have liked the book at all. Now this isn't because I can't stand a drop of blood or suspense in a book. Books by Bridget Wood are for instance much more cruel and devious. But they splatter less.
A good horror movie usually is good because of abstainance of excessive gore and blood, and clever use of psychological suspense.
That is what this book lacked. The author went for quantity instead of quality in the violence department.

3. The names
Oooookay, call me an ignorant western world biased reader, but I had a hard time at the very beginning with the names. I've read a lot of books based in Japan, but come on... Yuko, Yuka, Yuki and Yukie as seperate names, most of them in the same scenes?? I had a laughing fit when I started to read the lighthouse scene. When it should've been poignant. Surely even Japanese names can have more variation to them? I really understand why the studentnumbers are necessary ;-) It's way easier to remember the numbers.

The Good
1. The Story
The author plunges you almost directly into the story, and this is a good thing. There are too many people in the story at the beginning, too many alike-sounding names. Too much pre-game-story-building would have turned me off the book.
So instead it plunges you right into the game.
The story is fast-paced and gives most of the players some background. This is nice. In The Hunger Games, everthing is so black-and-white. Katniss is good, the rest of the world outside District 12 is bad. Everyone of the contestants is out there to win against all costs.
Here in BR it's different. Almost every contestant gets a bit of backstory, explaining the persons behavior. Even the cruellest become a little bit more human, understandable. They are not excuses from their deeds, but the readers knows now why they are/act as they do/are. It makes them human.

2. Thoughtprovoking
And that is what this story is all about. Humanity. How do humans react in a horrible situation like this: trapped on an island, having to kill oneother or be killed. They are friends, they are children. Not many of us would refuse to play the game. I know I would play, if it meant a tiny chance of seeing my family again. I would loose ;-) but I would try.
We humans are no angels. Extreme situations bring out the worst ánd best in us. Unfortunately, the worst is usually the strongest.

This book, and others like it, stay with you. They permeate your thought when shopping, going outside, among other people. They make you think. Not only about the game and the contestants, but also (and more importantly) about the government. Panem et circenses, bread and games, is with todays media saturation more than ever a hot topic to be aware of. What do we sacrifice for cheap entertainment? What are we willing to accept for entertainment? What are we willing to accept for our own simple wellbeing? What are we willing to ignore as long as we have our entertainment?

This book caused a lot of unrest in Japan after it's release, more so after the movie came out. Japan is a troubled country, with an entire generation of youths spinning out of control. Having to resort to extreme measures like something like this game, may have been a real option, in a parallel universe. We see it in our 'reality shows', the lust for more and more extremes. The need to be more shocking, more real, more dramatic than the last show. The need of the media to control the population through fear. Almost everyhing on tv is about fear. It's there to both entertain and control. This is even more true on Japanese tv than on American.

I'm afraid we aren't far from seeing the first kill-shows on tv. And like the romans of yore, most of the people would only demand more blood. And gore. And guts. The stringy bits.

Hello copycat
Well, I have to confirm that Suzanne Collins really copied a lot of this book. When you've read both, it's hard to miss the the similarities.
It is more than just the premise. She can spin a beautiful story about being inspired by watching tv and greek mythology. Alright, I could swallow that. I did, actually, untill I read this book.
Everything is here, with some variation. Everyting in the first two books relates to elements in this one book. Even the leg wound and (suspicion of) sepsis, the bom, the return of a former winner, the forming of groups, the strung wire across a large span of land for escaping the game, and more . It's undeniable, and the fact that she tries to deny ever having read this book or seen the movie, is unbeleavable to me.
It isn't an exact copy and from the half of the book it diverges a bit more. And, and this is important, The Hungergames has an entire different feel about it. It feels more polished, focusses on the future and media-influence instead of just government. It has more romance (however hollow that became in books 2 and 3) and is a real 'hollywood' novel. It also has a lot less violence and erm well splattered guts.
I like both of them, they complement each other. Reinforce one message. Which message that is, can differ form person to person.

I really liked this book. Will I re-read? I don't know. Probably not. It doesn't really have re-readability quality, like eg. Steven Eriksons books. But it is a book that will remain with you for the rest of your life.

The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive)

The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive) - Brandon Sanderson Sometimes you come across a book that is simply magical. I don't just mean that it is about a kind of magic, or even has magic in it. The book just transports you to another world, painting a picture of epic proportions. It shows you the lives of people you really care about. Real people, not the typical fantasy stereotypes.

Brandon Sanderson grabbed my attention with his unconventional Mistborn Trilogy ([b:Mistborn: The Final Empire|68428|Mistborn The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312038619s/68428.jpg|66322], [b:The Well of Ascension|68429|The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1317065088s/68429.jpg|2120474], [b:The Hero of Ages|2767793|The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312051231s/2767793.jpg|2793516]) and the later fourth Mistborn book, [b:The Alloy of Law|10803121|The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1317794101s/10803121.jpg|15035863]. Those I consider pure magic. Because they are original and sketch a world unlike any that I've ever seen. The later Sanderson books were nice too, but not earth shocking. Until this one.
Here he creates another of those beautifully original worlds with a magic system that has never before been used (well, I've never read about it, so it's original to me). He imagines a world racked by devastating storms with a unique ecosystem that has adapted to them. The man can certainly build unique worlds.

The book follows four people. Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar and Szeth. There are some reviews here on GoodReads that state that the book consists of useless throw-away POV's by people who are only there to tell something about those main characters. And those reviews criticize that. Well, let me tell you something. The only way we perceive people we don't know personally *is* through the eyes of others. I think this construct is brilliant. You don't have to connect to those POV's (but I certainly did) as long as you keep an eye on the real story.
I'm used to studying history. Large spans of centuries, connecting dynasties and families, seeing patterns, flows and consequences of the actions of individuals. Epic stories. And that is what mr. Sanderson recreates within this book (on a smaller scale). Not the pre-cooked pre-cut easy to swallow cartboard fantasy that rules the current market. You actually have to think and feel in this book. So I think it is not for everyone.
This is no cookie-cutter fantasy, it's epic and intricate (okay, is still far from [a:Steven Erikson|31232|Steven Erikson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1219169436p2/31232.jpg], but that makes it a faster and more relaxed read). Totally my cup of tea.

This story is about Kaladin, mostly. He has the largest part in it, Szeth the smallest. Szeth's actions help bring Kaladin get where he is in most of the story, Shallan (and through her Jasna) provides back-story to the conflict, Dalinar gives us insight in the history and the legends, and the concept of honor. And ultimately he shows us what Kaladin's fate/destiny might be. That's the gist of the book.
I like how Sanderson feeds us Kaladin's backstory through sparsely dished out flashbacks throughout the book and how he tells the most important part (about his brother Tiam) only near the end of the book. By then we have pieced most of the story together for ourselves, which gives us a lovely sense of dramatic irony.

I like the appearance of Hoyt (sp?) in all of his books, and the book-spanning idea of the Cosmere. Something like that connects all his books, even though they are all on different worlds. Hoyt reminds me of Fizban ;-)

Michael Kramer and Kate Reading do a good job on the narration. It is a bit confusing to hear them narrate both this book, and the Mistborn Trilogy (Kramer) and the WOT books. Perhaps I shouldn't read those book at the same time ;-)

There is not much I can say about the plot without spoiling, but let me tell you, it's even more terrific with the first re-read.
There are not many books I grant five stars out of five. This one absolutely deserves it.


Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson Re-read:
I've re-read this book, this time listening to the "Graphic Audio" version of the book. And boy, does that make a difference.
Maybe it is because I have already once read the book and the resulting dramatic irony involved. Because at the first read, I really had no idea what to make of Lightsong.
But the graphic audio version really makes the story come to life. I love the Irish brogue of the two princesses, I love the characterization, especially Lightsong and Nightblood.
The story came to life in my head and felt fresh and wonderful and... colorful :-)
What possibly also helped was that I hadn't previously binged on all Brandon Sanderson's other books.

So, I'm updating this book to a 3.5 star and I'm actually looking forward to a sequel.

Oh and the last remark in my previous review, about The Way of Kings... well, we all know how that book turned out for me :-) My favorite!

I really liked Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy. So I wanted to read all his books. And, boy am I disappointed.
He is really good at worldbuilding. Interesting and quite original world and sublime and hugely original magic-systems. That's refreshing. However, storytelling is not his strong point. All his books seems to be about revolution. Common people vs nobles. That gets old after a few books. He highlights different aspect of a revolution, but there is not enough variation.

Back to Warbreaker itself.
The story reminded me of Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. I loved that book. But where that book feels fresh and poignant, Warbreaker was a chore to read. Dialog felt stunted, forced. Really, still to much "he said" "she said". That's not a naturally flowing dialog. I notice that his dialogs are getting worse instead of improving with every book. Please take some writing lessons!
Another gripe was the 'internal monologues'. I like books about people who doubt. My favorite books are about doubting and despairing people. What I don't like is reading hundreds of pages of dry internal monologues that lack a connection to me, the reader.

I just couldn't really care for the two sisters in this story. The remained 1 dimensional to me. The writer told me about their problems, their feelings, but I couldn't féél it. Lightsong was nice, and his part in the story was, though predictable, interesting. But dear mr. Sanderson: please stop repeating over and over the 'clues' for developments later in the story! We readers are not stupid. Most of us are capable of putting 1+1 together. Unnecessary repetition the mercenary's 'humor' and the fullfilling of petitions by returned is really annoying. It tells me that the writer doesn't take his audience serious. I like subtlety in a story, not being smacked in the face over and over with the same fish.

The ending is satisfying, but predictable and leaves room for a sequel. In a way, the ending is more satisfying than the ending of Elantris.

Another thought, but this is only an issue when you listen to the audiobook version. The audioquality was not very good. The curious thing is that "Hallandren" sounded like "Elantris", and this was slightly confusing at times. But maybe it was because of the narrators horrible drawl.

I give this book 2 stars, one for the magic and one for the world. Both are very interesting and could have been so much more. I am going to read the last Sanderson book on my list (The way of kings), but I do this with apprehension. I really hope he gets his spark back.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard)

The Lies of Locke Lamora  - Scott Lynch, Michael Page I raced through this book in very little time, considering that I listened to it while working. The fact that it took me only 2 days, says something about the quality.
First the good:
The audiobook is very well narrated by Michael Page. He really voiceacts and has a good pleasant voice/accent (to my ears). His voice reminded me of Johnny Depp. It is just perfect for this book. Publishers undervalue the importance of a good voice for an audiobook, often they are low quality and boring.

The plot is nice, but not surprising.
As I said in the in between updates: the world reminds me of the book Cyrion (compilation of stories by Tanith Lee). However, Cyrion made more of an impression on me as a "brilliant" thief/conman. The tone of Lies is light and tasty. Easy to digest. Intriguing enough to want to keep reading. It got me hooked from the first 'page' (audiobook again). That's a big plus.

The character of Locke is mysterious and captivating, and we don't get to know much about him in this first book. Not enough for my taste. There are large gaps in his history. He is charming, clever and a loyal friend. The dialog between the characters is snappy and full of catching one-liners.

The bad.
Now, I'm reading a lot of rave reviews on this book here on Good Reads. It certainly is a good book, but I don't think it deserves the 4 and a bit star rating. All through the book you read how brilliant Locke is, but frankly, he isn't. The "twists" are not that clever, I don't even get a real 'con-men' feel of his crew. They are thieves, clever thieves, but nothing special. Telling readers over and over that something is very clever of even brilliant doesn't make it so. I expected to be suprised, and I unfortunately wasn't.
Maybe I'm spoiled in my taste. I'm an avid fan of the tv-series "Hustle", "Sherlock" or "Coupling". Those are tvseries, but for a plot it doesn't differ much from a book. They all do twists, mysteries or cons a lot better/more clever than this book.
The humor in the book is nice, but not the ROFL kind. More 'smile' than 'laugh'. The humor is refined, which suites me just fine.

For my books I look for a writer to live up to the Steven Erikson standard... and Scott Lynch just doesn't. Not in cleverness/plot. Not in character development.

This is not to say I didn't like the book, because i absolutely did. I will read the sequel and look forward to the forthcoming third book. It's a nice light snack for reading inbetween my heavier books. And I love it for that.

(Pardon me for my english, it's not my native language.)

Against All Things Ending (Unabridged)

Against All Things Ending - Stephen R. Donaldson, Tim Gerard Reynolds I wholeheartedly agree with another reviewer here on GoodReads: Will someone pleaaaaase take the thesaurus away from mr. Donaldson!
I'm good at reading english, even if my active producing of this language is plain horrible. My vocabulary is very large and divers for a non-native speaker. But these books are just impossible to read without a dictionary. Well, let's be grateful he keeps repeating the dictionary words and it is a long book :-)

I listened to this book while working. The audioquality is OK, what I didn't like is that it was another narrator than for the other 8 books. With a totally different accent. Please don't do that! Characters in a book get a lot of their personality from the narrators voiceacting and changing this is disconcerting.

The Good:
This is an intense book. Starts awfully slow (and I mean SLOW) but when it at last gets going, it is one big rollercoaster. Donaldson does it again: He knows how to get us interested in a story in which you sometime are really really really annoyed with the main character.
How many times I'd loved to grab Linden Avery in her collar and shake some sense in her.
He does that too in the earlier books. Tomas Convenant is a real ass in the first one. Detestable. And while he gets better in the next books, he annoys the hell out of me. But this makes the main characters so incredibly realistic/believable.
Just imagine: you are transported from this world to a fantasyworld, with strange beings and people who insist you are going to save them all. Would you just step up and say, right, let's start cracking?
No. Well I wouldn't. I would doubt and unbelieve ;-) and doubt some more. Myself and everybody else.
In fantasy, this aspect of human psychology is highly underlighted. Real people doubt. Most of them derrive their strenght from doubt. Or fail. We all just fail, all the time, on some level. Failure may lead to great things. Because of failure and doubt we strive to be better, but really... we strive to 'not be in charge and be responsible for ending the world'.

Well, the world is ending, in this book. Absolutely. Just not in one big flash (what a short book it would have been). Linden is totally believable, annoying as she is, filled to the brim with crippling doubt and rage and, yes, despair. Whatever she's done, everything leads her to more despair. She strives to be better and just can't. This is very refreshing.
I love the character of Covenant, what he's become. Reading his parts is a joy. I missed him :-)

The adage "Joy is in the eyes of the beholder' is absolutely true. This book is rutheless on its characters. I've secretly and silently cursed the heavens blue after reading some parts of the book. I've cried and laughed. Stephen Donaldson hasn't lost his touch of creating wonderfull enthralling worlds that take youre breath away. He introduces new vista's he's never visited before.
When the book gets going, I really loved it.

The Bad.
Now that's the thing. When the book gets going. It doesn't for at least one third of the (very large) book. Said third is sloooooooow. Boring boring boring and slow. Some parts of it are necessary for background on later developments, some are good for character building and Lindens slow spiral into despair and rage. But most of it is unnecessary wordiness. Not A Good Thing.
Later in the book there's another "gosh let's have endless slow discussions and do nothing' part. This is what made me give this book a 3 star instead of 4. The actionparts really deserve a 4,5 star, but not the book as a whole.

BTW: I loved having to use a dictionary, whatever I said in the start of this review. It's refreshing ;-) Donaldson has gone far from his crude use of language in his Gap and less so in his Mordant books.

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) - Joe Abercrombie First: I didn't finish this book. Now, for me, this is very unusual. Most of the time I give a book a fair chance, and want to judge it only after I read all of it. But not this one. These days, I have limited time to read, and so what I read better be entertaining for me. Or gets shelved again.

I liked Glokta. Well, a bit. You can say he was my favorite character. Had the most depth. Which was relative in this book. I always root for the quasi-bad-guy, so that was easy. I liked how Glokta thought about his work (a torturer/inquisitor), how he used to be a golden boy, but got maimed and crippled by torture, returned, and decided to deal out his share of truthfinding.

Logen Ninefingers started pretty good early in the story... and diminished into a strangely uninteresting 'barbarian ruffian with a heart of goldish' kind of person. He just faded out. No real action, no real fighting, certainly no doubt or angst or uncertainty. Wallpaper. Perhaps he'll get fleshed out more in the 25% I didn't read.

Bayaz was funny and had some potential, but screeeeeamed 'stereotypical enigmatic fantasy wizard' to me. Which I dislike.

All through the barbarian-crew sections I kept seeing Terry Pratchetts Cohen the Barbarian and The Silver Horde. I love them, but these (I even already forgot their names) were bland. No life.

Maybe I'll try this book later. Maybe soon. But I want to spend my precious time reading books that make me want to know what's going to happen, books that keep me from putting them down. I want to care for the characters, or at least have a strong feeling about them. This book doesn't do that.