Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

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Publisher: April 2016

Publishing Date: Random House

ISBN: 9781101886694

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.1/5

Publisher Description: Rose Franklin is a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity.

Review: Interesting story line that, at times, gets mired in non-relevant dialogue. The entirety of the novel follows an interview format. The CIA/NSA? Spook interviews the people involved with his project which doesn’t make sense, really. It is more of a informational vehicle for the reader and helps the writer expedite the story line. 

For some reason this novel kept my attention. Perhaps I was waiting for the space aliens to show up or at the least, get some closure to the open ended story line that wandered blindly into the desert. I am left speculating if the story line died of thirst or is plotting a sequel, somewhere.

 

Review: The Hive Construct by Alexander Maskill

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Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: August 2015

ISBN: 9780552170383

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publisher Description: Situated deep in the Sahara Desert, New Cairo is a city built on technology—from the huge, life-giving solar panels that keep it functioning in a radically changed, resource-scarce world to the artificial implants that have become the answer to all and any of mankind’s medical problems.

Review: I really tried to like this but the characters were fairly one dimensional and the story line was meh. The characters are mired in a story line that combines political angst, rebelliousness set in an unidentifiable future. I still don’t know, really, what New Cairo looks like. There is definitely a weird “social justice” vibe to this novel, although I liked that the existing government is slowly taking away the freedoms of the people. Art mirroring reality and all that.  The writing is good but the story line sabotages itself.

 

Review: EVO: Uprising (The First) by K. Ewers

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Publisher: Evo

Publishing Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9781511776868

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher Description: In EVO Uprising, the long anticipated sequel to The First, Kipjo K. Ewers brings you deeper into the new world of the EVO Universe…where you either evolve or die.

Review: This follows in the hoof prints of the first novel only this time it is over the top action and unbelievable scenarios, and the character development suffers for it. The usual political cheap shots and grammatical errors punctuate the novel more so than the story line.

Read this while on the Titanic or getting bone spur surgery.

 

Review: Evo The First by Kipjo K. Ewers

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Publisher: Evo

Publishing Date: September 2013

ISBN: 9780615836690

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher Description: Sophia Dennison wanted a normal life. She wanted to raise a family with the love of her life, and further her medical career as an up and coming surgeon in neurology. However, everything changed when she was convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murder of her husband. After four years on death row, Sophia takes her final walk in the Mountain View Facility in Gatesville and is put to death by lethal injection at 12:00 AM. 

Review: This started out pretty good. Hot chick falsely accused of murdering her husband, some resurrections, super pows and on the run. Then a lot of things start to culminate into this synergistic ‘meh’. 

The first fail was the lengthy unnecessary back story of characters that really had no relevance to the story line. Its used to create this idea of righteous indignation coupled with retribution. For example; an inmate killed her husband because he molested her niece. So we get the whole dam story. Who cares and how is this relevant? Another problem is that the vengeance (bully) scenario is constantly worked into the story line. Sophia punches out wife beaters, family, hecklers, and cops all while delivering her speech of doom and dismay should you not heed her directives. Fug.  She goes from frail death-row damsel to bully-jerk.

The fun doesn’t end as there is a big hole in the plot. Since matter can neither be created or destroyed, how does a 5-6′, 110 lb. woman grow into a 6 foot, 487 lb. juggernaut? I get that she has super man like powers, but where does she get the mass? Additionally there is the idea that some super secret government death squad runs around with patches on their shoulders that identify their group. So much for secrecy. And how do you carve, let alone fit the sentence “Cry out for God to end your life” on someone’s forehead? The grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors are prevalent throughout as is the smug digs at conservatives and Fox news. Again, an author alienating readers with their political platforms.  I have the next installment to wade through. So here’s to limited hope that this story line will improve.

 

Review: Yesterday’s Gone: Season 2 by Sean Platt

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Publisher: Collective Inkwell

Publishing Date: October 2013

ISBN: 1230000119964

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.0/5

Publisher Description:The survivors continue to piece together the puzzle of what happened and face horrifying new realities when they realize they’re not alone. 

Review: This was a very dialogue heavy novel that lacked a depth of characterization due to the constantly changing venue. Additionally, the characters that you grow to like are killed off. 

Read this on a cargo ship bound for South Korea.

 

Inkling by John D. Waterman

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Publisher: Dennett Ink

Publishing Date: April 2013

ISBN: 9780983163633

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publisher Description: A science fiction tale, set on a nondescript planet, where our hero, Gyro, goes looking for a job and ends up on a galactic transport to a mining planet. A distortion in the hyperspace jump throws the spacecraft far off-course, and a mutiny threatens survival for all the passengers and crew, while their food supply runs out.

Review: This read more like a novella with a compacted story-line and limited character development. What little we get from the characters is still good. I think if this novel had been expanded to include the authors Universe (that we know nothing about) and less time spent on Skoots’ libido this would have been a winner.

This novella is a really good start to an expansive SciFi novel. What we got was a stilted plot and an abrupt ending that moves years into the future where the characters end up in life. Borrrring. Why not have the story of Gyro as a guy escaping a fractured marriage to train as a miner in some distant galaxy. Then throw in some threatening aliens in a fringe mining sector, a big secret that Gyro uncovers in the tunnels when it collapses and he is presumed dead, yada yada yada .

 

Review: Box 1571 by R.M. Tudor

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Publisher: Matador

Publishing Date: July 2015

ISBN: 9781784629175

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher Description: The Talbot family is in trouble. The business is collapsing, Mum can’t stop crying, and Ella will do anything to help. So when she finds thousands of pounds in Dad’s secret post office box, she thinks that all her problems have been solved. But thousands of pounds lead into six extraordinary rooms, and then Ella’s problems really begin. 

Review: Pretty fun children’s tale. Kind of like Alice in Wonderland in some respects. Her brothers over the top responses to every situation didn’t ring true as it was mostly inappropriate to the circumstances. The various rooms were inventive and mostly surprising in content.  A compacted story that could have been lengthened to develop more of the characters.

 

 

Review: An Apprentice to Elves by Elizabeth Bear

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Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780765324719

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Publisher Description: The warrior culture of Iskryne forbids many things to women—and most especially it forbids them bonding to one of the giant telepathic trelwolves. But as her father was no ordinary boy, Alfgyfa is no ordinary girl. Her father has long planned to send his daughter to Tin, a matriarch among the elves who live nearby, to be both apprentice and ambassador, and now she is of age to go.

Review: Say “Alfgyfa” 20 times. Roll it around in your mind-mouth. Now do it over 500 times. One of the joys of reading is the seamless ease at which we can move through the chapters without contorting our minds to make sense of contrived and overly ornate names and places. In this novel you may have a hard time with the elaborate naming convention. 

This novel was really good. Where the novel excels is in the world building. The evolving life and culture of a myriad of beings draws you into an intricate world. The Aettrynalf stone shapers was an inventive interlude and somehow proximal to where Alfie grew up. The Rhean threat and the subsequent buildup was well patterned to an evolving story line.  Additionally the writing is superb and the characters evolve to suit the story line.

“So why you no give 5 stars!” The novel gets a bit mired in the social structures of the various cultures and the war is not rendered in enough detail to be believable. 

Review: Paladin by Sally Slater

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Publisher: Perfect Analogy

Publishing Date: may 2015

ISBN: 9780989463324

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.4/5

Publisher Description: Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule… and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

Review: Since I am late to the party on this one, I will say that the reviews are all over the place and most of them are contradictory. I think that’s a good thing. It means the author is polishing her skill set and touching off various reactions to her work.

For kind of a YA themed novel, I liked it. Yeah some of the characters lacked depth, there’s an annoying demon-love thang, a ridiculous premise that no one in a martial training camp can tell that Sam is a woman, most of the fight scenes don’t make logical sense, Tristan all of a sudden has the hots for her when he finds out she isn’t a boy, the idea that a 16 year old girl can best people that are bigger and faster and as equally skilled is a joke. 

I liked that Sam was all spit and vinegar and could wield a sword while being conflicted. This novel sets up for high adventure with the demon boy and duchess of Haywood crossing the high seas. There are some unresolved instances about her mother that I am curious about as well.  

 

 

 

Review: The Fifth Dimension by Martin Vopenka

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Publisher: Barbican

Publishing Date: August 2015

ISBN: 9781909954090

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publisher Description: Your business is dead. It seems like a deal – leave your family behind in Prague for a year, isolate yourself in a research station in the Andes, and come home with a fortune. With a treatise on black holes for company, Jakob settles in at altitude. The air is thin. Strangers pass by on dangerous pilgrimage while his young wife and kids take life in his mind. In mountain starkness, the big questions take shape – like what happens to love inside a black hole? 

Review: **Some kind of spoilers that trip along the edge of reveal so proceed aware.**

Alone on a mountain top, Martin is either focused on spiritual revelations or creating scenarios where his wife is having sex with him or other men. The corporation that hired him to sit on top of an Andes mountain like a hermit mystic has a manipulative degenerate operative (Denis) whose sexual advances erode the straightness right out of Martin. They eventually have weird gay sex after Denis jacks off in his refrigerator. So what does this have to do with the story line and plot? Absolutely nothing. Why is he being paid to be on a mountain top in the Andes? Who knows.

As Martin comes to grip with being alone (sort of) his understanding of the fabric of our universe and the spiritual element expands to encompass his own personal gestalt. These experiences take him into unexpected places of both the internal and external kind.

This was an unusual read. The writing was very good and the characters well developed. The scenes are rendered to the point where you feel that you are standing there with dumbass on a mountain top. The story line is easy to follow yet gets inserted with these weird instances that seem more like a vehicle for the author to purge his own personal demons/desires. The “spiritual” philosophy created by Martin as the fifth dimension (not the soul/R&B group) is funky but also seems to reflect the authors own personal philosophy as there are pages and pages of dialogue devoted to it.

For the minimal and austere storyline, I was ok. It lost a star due to the ending.