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Elven Nations Trilogy, Paul P. Thompson, Tonya C. Cook, Douglas Niles, 1991

This is a Dragonlance series.  I hate to say anything bad about a Dragonlance book, but these just weren’t great.

Now, I recognize that none of the Dragonlance books are high literature, but I like the characters, fantasy races,  and the pace.  They are not serious reading and good for vacation.  This particular series is nowhere as good as the Chronicles series by Weis and Hickman. 

elven nations

I won’t even try to summarize the enormous Dragonlance world.   Here is a link to the Dragonlance wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonlance

According to this webpage, there are 190 or so Dragonlance novels with many authors contributing. I had no idea there were so many.  I think I have read 9.

The focus in the Elven Nations books is, logically enough, on the Elves, and the founding and early days of the Elven nations.  There is a much lesser focus on Dwarves.  The series covers a long territory war between the Elves and Humans, and a widening rift between two groups of Elves.  Unfortunately, the first Kender does not appear until book 3. 

I think the biggest problem came from the multiple authors, and very poor editing – maybe to get all 3 books out in the same year?  I found it difficult to get past the many typos.  Plus there were major timeline problems. For example, book 2 referred to events in book 1 as variously 1 year ago and many years ago.   One Dwarven character’s name was obviously changed during editing – but several pages focusing on him were missed and he had the old name for those pages. It is very hard to write with the style of another person, and to co-author, but good editing can help. Sloppy.

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Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Fantasy

 

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The Chamber of Ten, Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, 2010

Well, I finished it.  But I can’t recommend it.

the-Chamber-of-Ten

I didn’t realize until I searched online for a cover image – that this is the third in a series.  

The authors are known for dark fantasy.  I guess possession by a malevolent spirit released from a broken jar hidden for centuries in a secret room under Venice could take this into the fantasy realm, but the spirit is not actually evil, the main characters are boring, and the story is very contrived and awkward.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Fantasy

 

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Fragment, Warren Fahy, 2010

I have to give this one mixed reviews.  It has a passable story line, but it is very formulaic. It would likely make a good action movie.

fragment

I’ll start by saying that I have read and enjoyed Jurassic Park. I like all the Crichton books I have read – and I may have read all of them at some point.

Fragment has many similarities to Jurassic Park.  The island in Fragment has been isolated for 200 million years or so, and all the island’s creatures have evolved in isolation into very different forms than we are used to.  All creatures are deadly.  The story follows scientists who discover and then attempt to explore the island.  As expected, they are attacked at every turn.

Problems.  The island is geologically unstable, and sinking into the sea just as it is discovered; this adds time imperative, but now?   I also had a problem with the creatures on the island.  They are just too different from ours, and therefore hard to visualize.  Maybe the author realized that would be a problem because he added sketches of the animals.  I also had an issue with the convenient isolation of the island.  The island’s location is well documented, but for some reason no human has attempted to explore it?  I didn’t much like the end either.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Thriller

 

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Under the Dome, Stephen King, 2009

This is the second Stephen King I have read in the past few months – and the second one that I really enjoyed.

under the dome

Make no mistake – it is long!  But the story does move along.

In this one, a small town in Maine is very suddenly and very completely encased in a transparent cover, that comes to be called The Dome. The Dome is semi permeable – but only very limited air and water can get through. Conveniently, TV, Internet, and cell phones are unaffected. It is getting hot and smoggy inside, generators are dying, and food is going to run out.

The story is about what happens to the people inside the Dome facing an uncertain future.  It’s a tale of how quickly society changes and how easy it is to manipulate people when they are scared. The characters are varied and interesting.

If I have any criticism, it is around the source of The Dome.  No spoilers in this post though.

It seems there will be a TV series based on Under the Dome in summer 2013. But, looking at the Cast of Characters on Wikipedia, there may be little resemblance to the book.

 

Lesley’s Comment June 2013 – I just watched the first episode of the Under the Dome TV series this week.  It wasn’t bad. The characters are indeed very different from the book, as I expected. I have problems following any show for any period of time, but I will try to watch this at least a couple more weeks.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Horror

 

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The Dragon Factory, Jonathan Maberry, 2010

This is what I would call a scientific thriller and an enjoyable read.

dragon factory

The hero (Joe) and his team are soldiers – the best of the best of course- who work for an unofficial elite US  organization called DMS.  Any weapon or intel is instantly available.  No expense is spared.  The bad guys are white supremacist genetic scientists who have a plan to wipe out most of the world’s population, and will set the plan in motion when the Extinction Clock ticks down to zero.  Genetics, cloning, it’s all here.  I’m not sure if the science is plausible,  but it makes sense in the context of the story and it does not require endless description.

The story opens with a scene from close to the end, then we jump back 99 hours to see how we got there.  The Extinction Clock is counting down.  There is considerable time spent describing firefights, weapons, and such, but this is nicely balanced with other narrative. The sequel is setup in the final page.  Some of the characters are a bit Larger than Life – but the plot is also outrageous so I think that fits.     

The Dragon Factory is actually the second book featuring the hero Joe Ledger.  I will keep my eyes open for book 1 – Patient Zero.  Reviews indicate it was better than The Dragon Factory.  The third book – The King of Plagues – is also available.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Thriller

 

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This Book is Full of Spiders, David Wong, 2012

Okay, so this book is a bit twisted, but it is cleverly conceived, funny, and engaging.  I really liked it.

spiders

This is the sequel to a book called John Dies at the End.   I haven’t read that, but Spiders stands alone pretty well.

The heroes (David, John, and Amy) are well intentioned blunderers.    I liked these characters because they are very flawed but brave and loyal.  The narrative is strong, and the story engaging.  

Spider creatures are taking over human hosts and spreading like wildfire; creating Zombie-like creatures. The  entire town is quarantined and about to be nuked unless someone can save the day.  There may be a conspiracy. 

Here is a link to the video trailer for the book:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5swoHS21tBw

Update August 2013

I read John Dies at the End.  Now I did read these books in the wrong order, but even so, I enjoyed Spiders much more.  I found myself plodding through John Dies at the End for the sake of finishing.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Horror, Humour

 

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Scarecrow, Matthew Reilly, 2003

First page of Scarecrow and I realized that I’ve read it before.  I remember that I liked it very much.

scarecrow

I am a big fan of Matthew Reilly.  Scarecrow is is Shane Schofield book and is military thriller.

I can heartily recommend the Jack West series.  It is more of a National Treasure or Raiders type of adventure series.  

 

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Thriller

 

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What is Ann Watching?

Musings on TV and Movies