Lucien21 Books 2015

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LadyKestrel
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby LadyKestrel » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:16 pm

Lucien21 wrote:Finders Keepers - Stephen King

I bought this one about two weeks ago but am in no hurry to read it yet.
Winter is an etching, spring is a watercolor, summer is an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. -Stanley Horowitz
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:04 pm

Armada by Ernest Cline

Second novel by the author of Ready Player One.

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.


Like Ready Player One this book is bulging with pop culture quotes and Science Fiction tropes. A Last StarFighter or Iron Eagle for the current age. It's a wish fulfilmant novel that most geeks day dream about. If the game/book/comic was just real life and you were the hero, how cool would that be.

I don't think this is as good as RP1, mainly because I occassionaly get the impression that he is trying too hard to prove his geek cred with all the nods and references to movies and video games he forgets to put in plot. However I may forgive a certain amount of this because as a gamer like me it was fun picking them out.

I don't read books to play spot the reference, but at it tries to subvert the obvious plot at most turns and especially the ending.

Reasonably fun.

3.5/5
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:26 pm

The Darkling Child - Terry Brooks

Paxon Leah has joined the Druid Order as a paladin, tasked with protecting the Druids with the aid of his magical sword. But Paxon’s toughest assignment will come when he must track down a young musician with newly-manifested magic before a rival sorcerer can corrupt the boy.


Claims to be a stand alone novel in the Defenders of Shannara trilogy, while it doesn't directly carry on from the previous book it does have the same characters and bad guy in this book that the first one did.

If you have read any of the other 28 Shannara books then this will be very familiar, The Sword of Leah, Druids and the Wishsong all feature promenantly. The book switches between Paxon and the evil Arcannan as they play cat and mouse over a young musician with magical powers. Paxon wants to find him for the Druid order and Arcannan wants to use his powers for revenge on the Federation.

It's a solid book in the series, but not one that strays from the familiar path.

3.5/5
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:58 am

Echo Burning - Lee Child

5th in a very slow read through of the Jack Reacher novels.

This time around the completly unlucky life of Mr Reacher (He seems to wander into these scrapes blind) he gets mixed up with a Mexian woman in Texas who picks him up hitchhiking.

For some unknown reason he then gets involved with trying to rescue her from a bad marriage and ultimatly stop her from ending up in jail. Also in one of lifes great coincidences the Texan family seems to be under surviellence by some bad guys.

Oh how does he get into these messes :)

It's fun reading him get out of them.

3/5
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Diat60 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:02 pm

1st Jack Reacher - Wow! 2nd - good stuff. 3rd - not bad. 4th - ho hum. 5th - definitely my last.
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby draclvr » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:18 pm

And my husband and I have read them all!
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:55 pm

Time Salvager - Wesley Chu

Convicted criminal James Griffin-Mars is no one’s hero. In his time, Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humans have fled into the outer solar system to survive, eking out a fragile, doomed existence among the other planets and their moons. Those responsible for delaying humanity’s demise believe time travel holds the key, and they have identified James, troubled though he is, as one of a select and expendable few ideally suited for the most dangerous job in history.

James is a chronman, undertaking missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. The laws governing use of time travel are absolute; break any one of them and, one way or another, your life is over. Most chronmen never reach old age; the stress of each jump through time, compounded by the risk to themselves and to the future, means that many chronmen rapidly reach their breaking point, and James Griffin-Mars is nearing his.


If time travel gets your mind in knots then this may not be the book for you. It's gets pretty Timey-wimey straight out the gate. The present is a dystopian nightmare set after a lot of wars, while people are living in space after abandoning a devestarted Earth they have lost a lot of technology knowledge. Megacorps rules the solar system and hire the ChronoCom time agency to do jobs for them recovering technology from the past.

The time laws are quite interesting in this novel, to protect the timestream the Chronmen are only allowed to jump into locations on the brink of disaster and steal power sources and other resources in the minutes before they would normally be destroyed. (e.g stealing the deckchairs off the Titanic before it sinks) It means there are no ripples in time and the present doesn't alter. The resources and power sources are essential to keep the present day running.

While reading the book I started to wonder why they didn't just bring scientists and people to the future, turns out that is Time rule numero uno.

This is the main thrust of the book as James breaks that rule for a woman and they end up fugitives on the poisoned Earth, on the run from the Megacorps and the time agency.

I enjoyed the vision of the future and the tech involved in time travel etc. The characters are well written and plausible.

The only issue that I had with the book was the ending. It seemed rushed and doesn't wrap up a lot of the story, leaving it wide open for a sequel.

3.5/5
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Jude » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:28 pm

That sounds like an interesting book. I just reserved it at the library. Thanks, Lucien. :)
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:38 am

Image

Half a War - Joe Abercrombie

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.


The final part of the trilogy. Technically they are seperate novels with different protagonists in each, but the ongoing world story is such that they sit better read as a trilogy. Finally all the characters come together for the big battle against the High King and his Minister Grandmother Wexen.

Totally outnumbered there is one last desperate plan to get cursed Elven Weapons from the forbidden zone and hope that the loose coilition of nations can hold off the High King long enough for it to matter.

Overall it is a nice fantasy trilogy, but the inclusion of the "Elven magic" at the end slightly spoiled it for me it was too much of a deus ex machina ending. I would have prefered it to be real magic instead of what it actually was.

It was still a good read with a bunch of memorable characters, some of who go through big changes over the course of the three books.

I enjoyed it.

4/5
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:26 am

Touch - Claire North

Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.

Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.

Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life -- be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.

Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.


I read this book because I thought it was an interesting premise. The main character can switch bodies at will just by touching them. The host bodies have no memory of the experience, it's like they black out and only wake up when he/she switches to another body. Presumably this can be traumatic and confusing as hell to wake up minutes, hours or even years later with no memory of what happened in between.

So this sets up a strange dichotomy of who the good or bad guys are in this novel. Yes Kepler states he loves the bodies he inhabits and even has at time saught permission from the host to take over, he tries to take bodies that he can leave in a better position than he found them. On the other hand though I can see from the other side that someone has violated your body, done god knows what while in control and you have missed out on however long Kepler or his like have borrowed.

So when someone tries to kill him, not just the body he is currently in, he realises that there is a group out there that knows about his existance and wants to end it.

The book switches between the present time where he is investigating the group responsible to try and get some kind of justice and also gives us a decent look through history at some of the bodies he has inhabited, we meet some other entities with the same "gift" and get a sense of what it may be like to life that kind of life.

Switching bodies can be awkward as it's not a two way street. Kepler doesn't have access to the hosts memories etc so friends, family and mundane stuff like pin numbers and signatures to get money are not immedietly apparent. It requires reseach on a target or picking someone with little or no ties to others. At sone point we see people selling Estate Agent type services to them to pick new hosts.

However switching bodies does allow for easy access to fame, fortune and good looks if you can maintain the ruse. It's too easy though as one character points out, jumping into a top chef or a ballerina doesn't make you that the muscles or the pallet might be there but without all the hard work and experience you wouldn't be able to replicate the skills.

It's a great What-if book, What-if you could become anyone you want to be with no consequences. Could you live what we see as a normal life. Could you fall in love and live a full life. What happens when you move on when that body is dying? What happens to the shell of a person you leave behind?

All things you will think about while reading the book.

In the end though the book boils down to a mystery thriller that occassionally gets over complicated with it's body swapping. The Evil or Nice organisation trying to kill Kepler and the others, what ever your moral stance on who is the bad guy here, it still ends up with a big action sequence that is satisfactory.

Overall I enjoyed the concept of the book maybe better than the exacution, but it was ok.

3/5

P.S Claire North is the pseudonym of Catherine Webb who also writes as Kate Griffen.
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby LadyKestrel » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:44 am

I like the premise of this one, Lucien. I think I'll give it a try.
Winter is an etching, spring is a watercolor, summer is an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. -Stanley Horowitz
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Jude » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:21 pm

That does sound interesting. You might also be interested in this movie, which uses a similar concept from a different viewpoint (the detective trying to catch a killer who can switch bodies, then leave the host person to take the blame):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119099/combined

I thought it was pretty good.
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Lucien21 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:16 pm

Jude wrote:That does sound interesting. You might also be interested in this movie, which uses a similar concept from a different viewpoint (the detective trying to catch a killer who can switch bodies, then leave the host person to take the blame):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119099/combined

I thought it was pretty good.


Havn't seen that film in years. If I remember the bad guy can't stop whistling the same song and the director uses it to indicate which new person he is.
Being human totally sucks most of the time.
Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.
—Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1–2
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby Kickaha » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:02 pm

I remember reading "Valley of Lights" (1987) by Stephen Gallagher which has a body switching killer. There's also the fantastic "Anubis Gates" by Tim Powers which one of the elements is a body switcher.
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Re: Lucien21 Books 2015

Postby draclvr » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:26 pm

And of course, the body switching of Lestat the Vampire in Anne Rice's "The Body Thief."
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.

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