Book Review – Lexicon

TITLE: Lexicon
AUTHOR: Max Barry
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2013

 

Poets.  No, not the type that string words together into iambic pentameter.  Worse.  These poets understand words and language in ways that laypeople do not.  They can talk to somebody for ten minutes and understand what their segment is and know what words need said to end them entirely.

Wil Parke is a man on the run, and he doesn’t know why.  He’s got total amnesia.  Hell, he isn’t even sure that Wil Parke is his real name.  Oh, and a poet has gone rogue and wants him dead.  So two men kidnap him from the airport and spend much of the book just trying to keep his sorry ass alive.

The book flips between two story lines – one starts with Emily Ruff, who is recruited in California and becomes a poet.  The other story line centers around Wil.  Who is he, how can they keep him alive, and why does somebody want him?

The two stories come together in two places about as different as they can be – Broken Hill, Australia, and Washington, DC.   I know I’m not doing a good job explaining this, but really, I don’t want to give things away too much, and I’m not smart enough anyway. Max Barry was a friggin’ genius with this story.

I loved the background about the poets and that setup, and a lot of the information they were sharing about words is true. So it made the book extra realistic.

That said, I saw how the two stories were going to come together about halfway to when they did.  I didn’t mind, and I still enjoyed the book, but I could see how that might upset some readers a little bit.  Still, I thought the book was strong enough that it didn’t matter.

Max Barry is good about making you care about his characters, so even though you’re expecting xyz, you still want to see how it plays out.

Very happy with this one.  I give it 5/5.

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review – Alice Love Fables by Quin Rose

Title: Alice Love Fables: Toy Box

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

Now that I have nearly caught up with all off the Alice themed books at my library I am slowly waiting for them to get in the latest releases of Alice books. I know this book was released in 2013 but it took until now for my library to get the book in and I admit I was excited. I knew by reading about the book that it would have some short stories that weren’t Alice themed in it but I was not expecting over half the book to not be Alice.   I felt a little jipped that a book about Alice based on the tile was only half Alice.

The portion of the stories I read were decent. They were all very short and very quick so I felt suddenly cut off and the story didn’t give much, such as the one focused on the Bloody Twins. Then the Story with Gray Ringmark was cute and good and even better than the book Lizard’s Aid (which I did not review). I just wish the story had gone further.

In the stories that I read there were some laugh out loud moments that were rather cute that I enjoyed. Then the best two stories in my opinion was the story focused on Peter White. I’ve always wanted to see what it would be like if Alice could get past the fact that Peter stole her away and forced her to stay in Wonderland. This is why I’m looking forward to the Peter centric book that should eventually come to my library. The next best story was of course the Mad Hatter story which if you’ve read any other Alice review you know that is one of my favorite pairs but you should note that this says something when the March Hare story didn’t even register as comment worthy. The Mad Hatter story was unexpected and adorable and quiet honestly then end of it had me giggling with happiness as it was super cute and not something I expected to read for Alice and Blood Dupree.

Over all despite the joys I had with some of the stories that were in the book not only did I feel cut that more than half the book was not Alice, but I also felt cut because I had expected stores from characters that I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting a few times such as Sydney Black or Jericho Bermuda and they were not there. Of course, the latter issue was a fault of my own rather than the book, but that disappointment coupled with the other disappointments I would only give this book a 2 out of 5 page review because it wasn’t much, cute, but not much. It is worth a read for a fan, but not really worth going out to purchase unless you are a fan of the other stories such as Crimson Empire which is one of the stories and has been featured in preview form in a number of the Alice books.

Book Review – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant

Author: Veronica Roth

Format: Hardback

Published: 2013

 

After finishing Insurgent I was quick to pick up Alegiant and read it. I was excited for the read as I had enjoyed insurgent. So I delved in looking forward to getting lost in the book to be jerked right out of the story by the second chapter. Instead of the story being told in first person perspective from the eyes of Tris the story alternates back and forth from the eyes of Tris and Tobias. It is almost every other chapter that the voice changes in first person. Each chapter is marked with whose perspective the story is being told but taking the time to note that every chapter pulls you out of the story that is being told instead of getting lost in it. In addition to that if I got interrupted in the middle of a chapter it was difficult to determine whose perspective I was reading from unless I looked back a few pages at the chapter start.

 

Over all, I don’t mind changing perspectives in third person because that is easy to tell and the voice doesn’t really change just the scene does, but in first person it can be difficult to determine who “I” is. Honestly I feel the story in Allegiant suffered from the changing perspectives and in some ways it was a little necessary but a lot of times it wasn’t and I didn’t see the point of the change in perspective. Alternating back and forth I feel was a poor execution of telling the story. Honestly there are better ways of executing things if there is a need for change in perspective such sections, it still pulls a reader out of the story but not as frequently so one can go multiple chapters without being pulled out. Also a font difference would also help as it is a quick reference and easier to notice than stopping at each chapter to read a name to verify whose talking. Long rant cut short, this made me very cranky and frustrated me with the book.

 

Despite the changes in perspectives, I still read the book because I wanted to know what happened and it was still a good story that kept my attention as far as stories go and toward the end I was locked into the book and was ready to murder a person for interrupting me in my reading as the story picked up and had enough action that changing perspectives was not a bit deal. Overall the book was a pretty good read, and I will give it a 4 out of 5 pages. If the story wasn’t as good as it was the formatting would have forced this book into a 3 out of 5 but the story saves the book keeping at a strong rating and something I would say is a good read but I would warn about the changing POV’s as that can be annoying.

Book Review – Dark Witch

Title: Dark Witch

Author: Nora Roberts

Format: Trade paperback

Year Published: 2013

I enjoy romances. The happily-ever-after, the sure-fire knowledge that my heart is not going to be yanked from y chest and stomped on… (and then sometimes I’m WRONG, book-that-I-have-blocked-the-title-from-my-mind-but-am-still-mad-at).

When I was heavy in my romance-reading ways, I devoured Nora Roberts’ books. (Unlike what I first tried to type, I did not devour Nora Roberts.) Going back to them, however, the books are very heavily formulaic. I do enjoy reading them, still – they’re totally brain candy – however, I’ve found that once I’ve read them, I very rarely want to reread them. (And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why the library is my friend.)

This book was the first in a classic Nora Roberts trilogy – girl, who has never really fit in where she was, arrives at a new place and immediately feels like she’s at home. There she meets her cousins – usually a brother/sister combo, but occasionally they’re also cousins to each other), and immediately connects to them. She also meets and falls for a friend of the male cousin. In addition, the female cousin will have a close female friend that will eventually end up linked to the male cousin, and there will be another friend of the male cousin that she once had a torrid affair with that ended badly. There’s some sort of supernatural problem that requires all six involved to resolve. Occasionally one of the women will be a mother, but the father will either be dead or uninterested and the male interested int eh mother will eventually adopt the child/ren as his own.

So obviously I knew what I was getting into with this series. Here’s the specifics: Iona is coming from America, and already knows and can use her magic in small ways (this was a welcome change from other series, as the woman moving into town usually had no idea she was magical). She also knows the story of the Dark Witch, her ancestor, who gave her life and passed her powers on to her three children. (As a side note, the names of the children threw me. They were far too contemporary for 1263.) Iona arrives in Ireland (another big theme) and meets her cousins, Branna and Connor. They immediately make a connection and then the trouble starts – the dark force that their ancestor gave her life to defeat is back, and they’re the three that must stop him.

I enjoyed as Iona learned to control her powers, and I liked that she wasn’t the typical ‘fish-out-pond’ heroine that appears in these trilogies. She’s new to the land, yes, and somewhat new to her power, but she owns in. (I also really enjoyed that when she got nervous she babbled, as that made her seem less like a typical romance heroine and more like an actual human.)

The big fight of the book felt a little bleh. You knew going in that they weren’t going to win (how could this be a trilogy if they did, after all?) but it was missing something.

Still looking forward to the next two (waiting on my couch now), so I’ll give this a 2.5/5 – not going to win any awards, not going to wow anybody, but perfect for when you want to shut your mind off.

Book Review – Hero

Title: Hero

Author: Alethea Kontis

Format: Hardback

Year Published: 2013

Hero is the sequel/companion to Enchanted, which I reviewed last week. Hero follows Saturday Woodcutter, the only “ordinary” member of the Woodcutter family, and well-aware of it. Only then she creates an ocean in the backyard.

Saturday is then off on an adventure, from her sister’s Pirate ship to being kidnapped by a witch and taken to the Top of the World. Once there, she meets Peregrine – the Earl of Starburn, who had run afoul of the witch’s daughter and cursed to take her place. Together, they must defeat the witch and save the world (and in the process, fall in love).

Hero is a solid book that does not fall prey to the problems of Enchanted. The story scales back the number of fairy-tales-though there are still all there-to focus on the core stories, which makes the book much easier to follow. There are also no “what just happened?” moments, such as occurred in the previous novel.

I enjoyed Saturday a lot – she’s this universe’s crotchety character that I love. She is much more proactive than her sister, as well, determined to find her own way, and determined to do it on her own terms. Peregrine is a bit more weak – he’s a very passive character for the most part, willing to allow others to impose their will on him. In some cases, this fits in with how he grew up, but in others, it’s frustrating – he has the opportunity to leave, but chooses not to? WHY? (Also, it never once occurs to him that a lot of time has passed? Really? When that was the first thing I thought of?) Betwixt, the chimera that has befriended Peregrine, was awesome.

A solid story, with good action sequences and characters. 4/5 stars

Book Review – Enchanted

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Hearts The Clockmaker’s Story

Title: Alice in the County of Hearts The Clockmaker’s Story

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

Having read one story about Alice and Julius and them being in a relationship I wasn’t so sure I’d enjoy this book as it was another take on them as a couple, yet I’m glad I decided to pick this up.  This story takes place right at the start of Alice’s time there in Wonderland and started at the start of the relationship between Alice and Julius.  It was not so random as the other book and followed a very logical flow and was simply sweet and romantic.

 

There isn’t much to the story plot wise when it comes to the deeper truths and mysteries of Wonderland save for a truth that has been known for a long time.  All those of Wonderland have clocks instead of hearts in their chest.  This is something that at the start of the story that Alice did not know and she learns it in this story which everyone was worried would cause her to want to leave Julius or Wonderland in general.  Of course it doesn’t, but really despite not having any major reveals happening in this story it was still a good read.

 

Over all, I would give this a 4 out of 5 pages.  It was a good read and vey sweet and romantic and the relationship between Julius and Alice makes sense and was cute and developed very well in this story.  Really if you are looking for something like this it was an enjoyable quick read, as it took me less than an hour to read.

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