Reviews for 2013 Oct 19 (Lots and Lots of Books)

I don’t think I’ve posted a link to my book reviews since way back in August. As a result, I’ve got a lot of books to catch up on. There are ten in this post, and it’s only ’cause I ran out of steam before I got to my review of Elizabeth Smart’s My Story, which I also finished. I’ll add that one on to my next batch. As for the other 10, here goes!

2013-10-19 Steelheart

Steelheart is Brandon Sanderson’s newest book. This one is an intentional split from his usual schtick (epic sci fi) into accessible YA. Is Sanderon angling for a movie deal and a bigger paycut? Given the ridiculous length of his previous works, he might be feeling annoyed at his relatively low salary-per-word, so it’s possible. Read my review to find out more, but the basic take is that the book is fun but shallow. 

2013-10-19 The Handmaid's tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic, but I was a little late to the party. I only read it just a few weeks ago, but it was incredible. If I keep reading sci fi with characterization this strong and visceral and vivid I’m going to be totally spoiled and incapable of enjoying the bulk of the genre which is, sadly, quite mediocre in that regard.

2013-10-19 Hard Magic

I didn’t expect to like Hard Magic as much as I did, but I really, really liked it. I think my biggest hurdle to reading it was just the cover art: it screams low-brow and low-quality to me. But it’s deceptive. What you actually encounter within the pages is a stunningly realized alternate history where magic users appeared starting in the 1850s (and changed the course of history) and some incredibly smart, compelling characters and action to go with it. I’ve already purchased the next two books in the series. I’m a fan.

2013-10-19 Ancillary Justice

After leaving my 2-star review on Goodreads for Ancillary Justice, I skimmed the 4- and 5-star reviews and was left thinking “what is wrong with these people!?” Needless to say: I was not impressed. I wanted to be, but I just wasn’t. There are some good ideas here, but there isn’t a good story.

2013-10-19 Fool Moon

Fool Moon is the second book in my beloved Dresden Files, and I’ve been rereading all of them in preparation for the release of Skin Games in December. As with the first book, I was impressed that this one was actually better than I had remembered. The big caveat is that the audiobook quality is really not great.

2013-10-19 Grave Peril

Grave Peril has a special place in my heart because it was the first book in the Dresden Files series when I thought to myself, “OK, this is something really special.” I remember vividly the very moment I read the conversation between Harry Dresden and the new character in this book, Michael Carpenter, and just knew that Jim Butcher was on to something. This is my fourth or fifth read through, and it’s still great.

2013-10-19 Summer Knight

I don’t like Summer Knight as much as most of the Dresden Files. It’s one of the weaker books, I think.

2013-10-19 Death Masks

After the relatively weak Summer Knight, Jim Butcher kicks things back into gear with Death Masks. It’s another pivotal moment in the series as the action gets ramped up big time.

2013-10-19 Blood Rites

Blood Rites, like Summer Knight, is not one of my favorite Dresden Files. But that’s sort of like saying it’s one one of my favorite hundred-dollar bills. Thery’re still hundred-dollar bills. You’ve always got to have love for the Benjamins, and you’ve got to have love for every book in the Dresden Files.

2013-10-19 Dead Beat

I got all the way up to Dead Beat in my Dresden Files read through. And this is another good one. I’d say it’s probably #3 in the series. Which, out of 14 books in my favorite series of all time, ain’t bad at all!