Ernest Cline‘s Ready Player One is a futuristic geek-fest that revels in the 1980’s subculture of video games, Dungeons & Dragons, comic books, science fiction (novels and films), and cartoons. If you like these things… Read More »Review: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
I’ve been sitting here trying to think of smart things to say about David Mitchell‘s Cloud Atlas. It’s not that I can’t think of things to say, but it’s that I can’t narrow it down to one pithy comment that sums up exactly what I want to communicate. Instead, I’ll say, Cloud Atlas is:
- Constructive postmodern
- Science Fiction
- Genre crossing
That works better than a blurb. It’s a messy novel and deserves a messy description. And yes, I mean that in the best way possible. If Cloud Atlas is all of these things, then what is Cloud Atlas?
Read More »Review: Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
I’ve long had a fondness for Choose Your Own Adventure books. As a kid, I’d sit on the floor, mesmerized by the pulpy covers and unknown outcomes. The storylines were simple and similar to Hanna-Barbera… Read More »Interactive Novels – Frankenstein from Inkle Studios
How does one critique a book? Examine the writing, the mechanics, the beauty of the written word? Or, does one take another approach and view the enjoyment and pull of the narrative? Steven Erikson‘s novel,… Read More »Review: Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson
David Guterson’s, Snow Falling on Cedars, is a quiet, contemplative book that depicts both the isolated life of the San Juan Islands and the racism Japanese immigrants experienced before and after World War II.
The novel revolves around one major event: the death of Carl Heine. Carl is a World War II veteran, a fisherman, husband, and father. He’s quiet with a gruff disposition. Moreover, Carl is strong, handsome and respected by the community. When he was a boy, his family owned a large strawberry farm on San Pedro Island; however, after his father’s death the farm was sold by his mother. At the time, Carl, was away at war. One could say that Carl represents the status quo or ideal of the island. He’s white, he stays out of other people’s business, he works hard, and lives clean.Read More »Review: Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson
Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company, the three novel tome which contains The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and the White Rose were not created following the classic fantasy formula. Instead, Cook has taken the perspective of a troop of mercenaries known as the Black Company and ostensibly recognized by readers as “the bad guys” and proceeds to dismantle the common theme of a prophetic orphaned child embraced by a rebellion who overthrows an evil empire. While not as morally complex as George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, the characters in these novels fall along a spectrum of good and bad, where history is relative and the winner has the last word.Read More »Review: Chronicles of the Black Company – Glen Cook
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson is a complex fantasy novel that, thankfully, is not part of a trilogy. I don’t have anything against trilogies, but it’s nice to read a self-contained fantasy novel without waiting a few years for the follow-up books to come out. Point-of-view and rapid pace make Warbreaker such a compelling read. As a reader, entering a fantasy world is a shift in perspective. It takes time to figure things out and understand the system the world is built around. For instance, take the novel Dune, while not a fantasy, it establishes a world in which spice is the dominant currency. The system in Warbreaker is that of religion, as occasionally, people come back from the dead.Read More »Review: Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson
Exclamation points, like so many symbols, have a specific function and many unintentional meanings. Technically, an exclamation point is a sudden cry or yell that can be full of emotions ranging from anger to excitement. However, exclamation points are the all-caps-email of punctuation. They often feel out-of-place and come across as unnecessary yelling, like that email from an aged relative that says, HOW IS LIFE IN THE BIG CITY? CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO VISIT. THE TURTLES MISS YOU. Of course, there is the ironic exclamation point in names like Yahoo! and Swamplandia!, but really, beyond an exclamation, what is the point?
All this is to say, readers, beware. Take one look at the exclamation point after Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and turn back, because nothing on this trip through the Floridian swamp can save you.
Read More »Review: Swamplandia! – Karen Russell
The Women by T.C. Boyle is novel about Frank Lloyd Wright in the context of the women he loved. If you’re unfamiliar with Wright, he was married three times, had a mistress in between wives one and two, and seemed to have a strong attachment to his mother. While the story is interesting, the structure of the novel is much more compelling.
Read More »Review: The Women – T.C. Boyle
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy by John le Carré is an inaction-packed suspense novel about a high-level mole in British intelligence and one man’s mission to uncover the traitor and take him down.
I say inaction-packed, because most of the novel involves George Smiley, the former second in command of the service, sorting through old files, interviewing former colleagues and contacts, and piecing together the puzzle.