Monthly Archives: October 2013

Finity – Review

finityCurrently on Loan from the Library:

Finity by: John Barnes

The King’s Deception by: Steve Berry

Robert J. Parker’s Wonderland by: Ace Atkins

Earth Made of Glass by: John Barnes

Cold Vengeance by: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The Kill List by: Frederick Forsyth

Other Books I’m Reading:

Don’t Kiss with your Mouth Full by: Henry P. Mahone

Anathem by: Neal Stephenson

I was hesitant to pick up another many earths type book after my disappointment with The Long Earth by Pratchett and Baxter. However, I’d heard good buzz about Barnes’ Daybreak series. Which my library does not have access to. So, until I could chase his more recent work to the ground, I decided to go with what I did have easy access too.

I have to say I was not disappointed. Finity is 98% of a ripping yarn. Instead of the traveling through many worlds fiasco of other books, Finity starts out like you would expect an alternate history tale to start. I am a sucker for alternate history books. So I was good with that. The many worlds concept is added as we realize that people are blinking in and out from other time lines.

The hero of the book is one Professor Lyle Peripart. He is a third generation American ex pat living in New Zealand, since America is now part of the Reichs. That’s right. Germany won World War II by blowing up a chunk of the west coast. Lyle is working on some pretty abstract theories about a new kind of logic called abduction, when he is plucked out of obscurity by Geoffrey Iphwin CEO of ConTech.

Once Lyle, and his fiancé Helen are hired by Iphwin, all the crazy breaks free, and culminates in a violent road trip to find out what has happened to all the people who should be in America. It’s a fun, face paced, adventure read.

This is only 98% of a good read because of one scene of corporeal exuberance that is awkward, unnecessary, and weirdly placed. As well as, the ending. They sort of find the answer they are looking for, and then everyone left alive goes home. It’s exceptionally anticlimactic.

It is possible that Finity was intended as the first of a series.  If that is the case, then the ending is a little less grievous.

Favorite Scene: The incident at the Curious Monkey.

Favorite Quote: “Some of the answers correlate,” Helen said, “but that kind of figures. Hardly anyone has Mickey Mouse being a Disney character and a newspaper character named after a brand of chewing gum; nobody had Teddy Roosevelt assassinated by German agents in 1916 and being Secretary of War during World War Two.”

Enjoyability: Four and a half stars. Everything except of the ending was a five.

Where to read this book: Anywhere. But afterwards you may want to stay away from phones for a while.

Further reading: I started the Steve Berry book. Looks promising.

NaNoWriMo???

It’s that time of year again.  The temperatures are going down, the holidays are just around the corner, and the annual urge to write 50,000 words in a month is upon us.

Do you NaNoWriMo?

In past years, I have, and I’ve won all but once.  Still, I’ve got a so much other stuff on my plate now.  A book I’m writing a book I’m rewriting, and all the other things that go with November.  I just don’t know.  It’s not really looking good for this year.

On the other hand, I could be just on the edge of a brilliant idea.  Hummm.

And the Mountains Echoed – Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed by: Khaled Hosseini

The King’s Deception by: Steve Berry

Dissolution by: C.J. Sansom

Earth Made of Glass by: John Barnes

Finity by: John Barnes

Young Petrella by: Michael Gilbert

Other Books I’m Reading:

Riotous Assembly by: Tom Sharpe

Don’t Kiss with your Mouth Full by: Henry P. Mahone

Anathem by: Neal Stephenson

First I have to admit that I’ve never read either of the other two Khaled Hosseini books The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. It is possible that my lack of experience with his other works coupled with my lack of knowledge about Islamic traditions, and Farsi poetry are about to lead me to be very cruel to his hauntingly lovely and misunderstood work And the Mountains Echoed. But I don’t think so.

And the Mountains Echoed is not so much a novel as a series of vignettes about loss and endurance. Which could be okay, except that the author tips his hand in the first fifty pages essentially telling the reader how the book it going to end. How it has to end. Sadly between the start and the obvious ending the plot arch is jerky as teen learning to drive a stick shift. There are characters that show up with no explanation, and disappear when their section is done. Leaving me with the feeling that Hosseini was simply trying to get his word count up. There are interesting things that happen off to the side and are never explored. There are parts of the book that are long retellings of what happened with none of the emotion or interest that would have been present had the reader been shown instead. Perhaps most confusing of all, the time line for all of the characters is frankly mushy.

The whole book felt flat and educational. Not educational in that good way either. Where the teacher has peaked your interest in further study. Educational in that way where you end up being thankful that you got a good grade on the test and can move on.

Which is what I’m going to do now. Move on.

Favorite Scene: Abdullah realizing why they are in Kabul.

Favorite Quote: “Or rather, someone’s tragically misguided idea of a mansion, three stories high, pink, green, yellow, white, with parapets and turrets and pointed eaves and mosaics and mirrored skyscraper glass.”

Enjoyability: Two stars. And that’s taking into consideration I’m a white midwestern Lutheran who doesn’t know the first thing about Farsi poetry.

Where to read this book: Somewhere with lots of caffeine close at hand.

Further reading: I’m thinking some John Barnes. The covers look really promising.

I Wish I Was Kidding

I picked up a mystery novel today, by an author I’ve never read before.  One the first page there were five of the most commonly used clichés in mystery writing.

They were, in no particular order:

1. I died twice

2. Some one tried to save me

3. Some one tried to kill me

4. Dying isn’t what you think

5. My father hated black, so when he died I wouldn’t wear black.  Even though Mom tried to make me.  (This one is so epic, it probably counts as a cliché across all literature)

On the first page!

In a way I don’t know what to do next.

Do I:

A) Turn the page and keep reading, because hope springs eternal?

B) Close the book and return it to the library?

C) Drive it to the library immediately and demand something that has been edited more harshly?

I await your guidance.  Because I’m totally bumfuzzled.

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