Books

Ten Books, a Thousand Pages: Part Two

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Ten Books, a Thousand Pages: Part Two

Welcome to part two of “Ten Books, a Thousand Pages,” where I read the first hundred pages of ten books released this year. (Part one is here.) My rules for the books I picked:

  1. They need to have been written in 2012.
  2. They need to be sci-fi or fantasy titles.
  3. They need to be sitting someplace front-and-center at the bookstore.

With any luck one of these will make a perfect Christmas present for your favorite book geek. Or a present for yourself, if someone put a bookstore gift card in your stocking.

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Ten Books, a Thousand Pages: Part One

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Ten Books, a Thousand Pages: Part One

Over at the pixelatedgeek.com offices, there’s been a lot of talk about Holiday Gift Guides and presenting a list for every category of entertainment. As one of the book reviewers, I couldn’t make up my mind: do I list a bunch of great books I’ve already read, or do I review the new books that have everybody excited? I figured the second would be more fun, except for the fact that there’s no way I can finish reading enough books between now and Christmas to make a worthwhile list.

I read pretty fast, but I can’t read that many books in time. But I can certainly read parts of many books.

On that note I bring you “Ten Books, a Thousand Pages.” I’ve picked ten books and read the first hundred pages of each title. Some might argue that a hundred pages isn’t a fair assessment of a book (what if it’s a terrible book with a great ending?) but I think that far into a book, you’ll either love it enough to continue or quietly put it down and go find something you like better.

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Review: Raiders!

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Review: Raiders!

Raiders!” is the story of a Raiders of the Lost Ark fan film made by several boys in their teens back in the 1980’s. What started as a summer project ended up becoming a spectacular cult classic that even got Steven Spielberg’s attention.

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

I was honestly relieved when I ran across The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, because here is a book that has everything I was looking for.

Lately I feel like publishers are pushing so hard for books in the currently popular genre of vampires, magic, Game Of Thrones ripoffs, et cetera, that they’re not paying attention to the fact that half of it reads like bad fan fiction–full of predictable plot lines and really awful dialog. (Yes, I read fan fiction; we all have our guilty pleasures.) So I’m always happy when an author like Catherynne M. Valente, who knows how to write, gets published.

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Book Review – The Black Prism

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Book Review – The Black Prism

I myself had all but given up on reading. Not finding too many titles that interested me, I felt I needed to be a tween to enjoy any of the current medium. (Not to knock Potter or even the Twilight series; I understood the fan base and I was glad that someone was writing for them.)

In my last attempts to find a book before I just gave up, I came across a white book with an assassin on the cover. I won’t lie, coming off a Assassin’s Creed high, the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks seemed a perfect fit. Now a trilogy later, Mr.Weeks set off to write a new series, departing from the lands of the Night Angel for the new realm of Chromeria.

So what is the Black Prism?? Does he hold the same light as the fabled Durzo Blint?

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China Miéville’s Railsea

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China Miéville’s Railsea

The secret to reading a China Miéville story is this: he’s going to give you an impossible premise to accept. It’s going to be weird and unrealistic and against all laws of nature, but you’re going to have to believe that that’s the way this world works. Once you accept it, your reward is a very tightly-woven creation built on an internal logic that always makes sense within the boundaries of his world.

And the first impossible premise of Railsea is this: you can’t walk on the ground.
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Review: China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station

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Review: China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station

China Mieville’s newest book actually came out a couple months ago, but I’ve been saving it for the long flight I’ve got to take next week. So in the meantime I’ll just do a little review of the book that turned me on to his writing in the first place: Perdido Street Station.

I’ll say right from the get-go that I don’t feel this is a steampunk story, though I’ve heard a few people call it that. Steampunk tends to cover a pretty wide range, so I get why people lump Perdido in there. But I think its only steampunk element is that it takes place in an extremely high-tech world that never got further than the steam engine. Instead of planes, you have dirigibles. Instead of robots, you have steam-powered “constructs” clanking past with coal-burning boilers inside. There’s plenty of clockwork and trains and “computers” that are programmed with levers and punch-cards, but that’s where the steampunk element ends. There isn’t much of a Victorian feel to anything, there’s an almost modern industrial grittiness to the world, and the aliens all over the place detract from any steampunk vibes.

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Review: Mostly Harmless

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Review: Mostly Harmless

(For anybody who’s wondering, I promise I’ll eventually review a book written in the past five years, it won’t always be these decades-old books. Honest. I promise.)

Like many people I read the first four books of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guild series and stopped there. I’d heard the fifth book, Mostly Harmless, wasn’t as good, wasn’t funny, and that I wouldn’t like the ending. And I’d loved the fourth book so much, especially the ending, so I thought “why ruin it?”

Recently, though, I met someone who seemed appalled that I’d gone twenty years and never finished the series. “You have to read it,” he said. And since he seemed so enthusiastic, I read it. So for anyone who never read the fifth book but wondered “can it really be that bad?” the answer is: no. It’s much much worse.

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Review: Lost Souls

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Review: Lost Souls

If you ever hear me say “Oh, I’m not really into the whole vampire thing,” feel free to smack me. I don’t know why I say it; it’s probably because I don’t dress in black or wear fake fangs (much) but as I was reading Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls, I kept comparing it to other vampire books.

It turns out I’ve read a pile of them: Anne Rice of course; but also Stephen King (most everybody’s heard of Salem’s Lot, but there’s also a great short story in the Gunslinger universe called The Little Sisters of Eluria”); the first book in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series (I like the show way better – True Blood, in case you weren’t aware); Neil Gaiman’s short stories (although he put aside writing a vampire novel because he thinks we’ve got enough of them as is (huge shame)); the first book in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series (I’ll review that one later); and many more. And yes, I’ve even read Twilight, which I both loved and hated, putting me squarely in the middle of that controversy, so nobody can hate me. Or rather everybody can hate me and send nastygrams to my inbox that I will print out and make into paper hats. Either one’s good with me.

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