I read quicker than I can write reviews.  So this blog entry will try to give brief summations of a few of the books I’ve read over the past few months.  They won’t be in great detail, and I’m not going to go in depth concerning plot; but I’ll try to write more than a few sentences for each. 🙂

Let me get the one that will get me the most flack out of the way :

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I disliked this book immensely.  I thought the writing was so sub par that I was shocked every time I read a glowing review.  Maybe I missed something, but for everything that I started to like there was the prose that hindered me from even desiring to read the remaining books in the series.  It’s been a while since I read it now, so it’s hard to give specifics,  but I do remember at no time did I really care what was going to happen.  I really didn’t “buy” the “love interests”.  I did enjoy many of the scenes themselves, the desperation of Katniss in the games and the sense of hunger (which was lacking desperately in the film) and pain.  Everyone argues w/ me saying, “it was written for kids”.  Sorry I’ve read some young adult books that are of a higher reading level some adult books, so don’t give me that; young adults aren’t stupid therefore their books should be written as if they are.

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Speaking of young adult novels that don’t suck, Garth Nix (apparently a deity in the realm of Y/A lit) has written was has been deemed by some reviewers (and I agree) as Dune lite.  I really enjoyed this novel, until the end. 😦  The universe is ruled by a race of genetically altered “princes” who are the mouthpieces of an unseen and unknown “Imperial Mind”.  After being chosen based on preliminary biological tests, these princes-to-be are taken away from their parents (whom afterwards are given a choice of death, or memory loss and address change so as not to remember that their child was taken from them).  The princes are then thrown into a Battle -school type scenario in which princes try to kill princes because every x-amount of years a handful are chosen to become Emperor!  What is the Emperor?  What does one have to go through to become an Emperor?  What happens to those not chosen?  Nobody knows, but our hero Khemri is going to find out.  So many neat ideas are thrown into the mix in this novel.  Princes bodies and minds are augmented, they are stronger, smarter than the average human.  They are able to heal, speak to their bodies in physiological fashion.  When Khmeri is put through several test his augmentations are removed, allowing the reader to now better associate with him.  Princes have “priests” that connect them w/ the Imperial Mind and help the princes in their activities; such as the Master of Assasins (again Dune lite).  The first thing you learn (first page those of you who worry about spoilers), is that princes can be ‘re-born” and our hero has died three times; very cool idea and very cool to follow Khemri through those deaths.  Over -all a very fun and interesting book; one that doesn’t shy away from sex as a physical thing aside from as well as an emotional act.  Tons of ideas but some good non-stop thinking – persons action sequences.  The end, however does come on rather quickly and not as paced as the rest of the book.  The end worked it just hit you quicker than expected.  Thoroughly enjoyed this one and will look into Nix’s other series.
And lastly for this installment:

The Devil Colony by James Rollins

I enjoyed the first few Sigma Force novels (*Map of Bones, *Black, Order, *Judas Strain, Last Oracle & the Doomsday Key)[* the ones I dug].  The last three (this one included) were a chore to read.  Rollins has created a high octane updated version of Doc Savages crew (Monk being the honorary epynomous character) [someone correct me on the proper use of that word in that context please :)]  Sigma Force is the science geeks delta force, spies that deal with chemistry and such.  Rollins begins each of his novels with two abstracts; notes from both the historical and scientific records.  This is to give the sense of realism of what is happening in the novels; and that is great, but it is also the bane of fact.  Rollins chooses things that give conspiracy freaks their ammunition, hints of facts that have answers but what is written and given to the readers are superfluous and half-truths.  But CC!  it’s fiction.  Yes it is, and that is why these “facts” should  be reported as such; many writers will give a notation of “facts have been altered, many facts are true but the authors have played w/ them etc).  Rollins does no such thing, however to his credit he does give a plethora of citations and bibliographies so the reader can do their own investigations!  Kudos to that.

Anyway, the latest Sigma Force adventure deals with the the American forefathers and Mormonism and it just gets more and more far fetched as the books go on.  The writing is brisk and unrelenting and is wonderful for the action adventure it is, but it tries so hard to be based in reality that all the ridiculousness pulls me out too much.  It’s mindless action where it’s trying to be thought provoking and the two just don’t mesh for me anymore.

 

 

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