Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Book Review: Kinfolk

Kinfolk (A Mutiny of Pirates Book 1)Kinfolk by August Niehaus
My GoodReads rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall Kinfolk was an enjoyable book.
Kin, the main character, was supposed to be a war-hardened badass but he came across as an incompetent, constantly horny, distracted basket case. His awesomeness is told to us more often than shown to us.

Fraya, the captain of the pirate crew Kin serves with, is always kissing her crew, flirting with them, trying to seduce one or more of them... and it's never explained why she's like that. It's implied her crew loves her and would do anything for her, but it seems more like her crew are just thirsty for her. Most of the rest of the crew are side characters.
The main antagonist, Tana, is a cartoony villain who seems like she just wants to have sex with everything. In fact, a lot of the characters seem like all they want to do is have sex with the main character. Tana's motivations are revealed late, but not thoroughly explored nor explained other than cursorily.

Cessie, the young girl Kin kind of adopts, is awesome and the only believable character.

The best part of the book is that there's a treasure hunt, but it's not resolved, and that ongoing threat is saved for future books.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy from Netgalley for the purposes of this review.  

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Book Review: Murderbot #7 System Collapse - No Spoilers


System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7)System Collapse by Martha Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No Spoilers there, but this is another exciting, fun entry in the Murderbot Diaries. It opens en media res and the action rarely stops.

MB and it's close friend ART are a fun, playfully antagonistic pair with a high regard for the protection of their humans, and maybe the mission too.

MB is growing as a real, feeling being and it's nice to see it grow and realize it needs help sometimes, both physically and mentally. MB's mental health and PTSD is a constant subplot as its story progresses.

When's the next book out?!

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Book Review: The Ninth Metal

The Ninth Metal (The Comet Cycle, #1)The Ninth Metal by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A superhero origin story in disguise as a rough family drama.

Only, the superheroes are more anti-hero. There's really no likeable characters in this book. John, arguably, the main character is a murderer and his family is basically the local mafia. Stacie, the rookie cop, is a wholesome character but is changed by the events of the book. Victoria basically tortures a kid "for science" but knows it's wrong and wants to free him. There are other characters that come and go, all are driven to extremes because of the gold-rush atmosphere after a meteor crashes into their town and leaves masses of a new metal that has world-changing properties.

Speaking of the meteor - it's like if the vibranium meteor from the Marvel movie Black Panther crashed in Minnesota instead of Wakanda. The metal has many properties similar to that comic book metal, at least as portrayed in the MCU movies.

Hints sprinkled throughout the story indicate there may be more to the metal than just as a power source and creation of superheroes. Lovecraftian dreams, portals to elsewhere are just a part of the subtle world-building I hope is explored deeper in the sequel. I didn't realize this was the first book in a series until I looked it up on Goodreads. I'm intrigued enough by the world-building to read the sequel when it comes out.

Review eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Book Review: Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back (From a Certain Point of View, #2)From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back by Elizabeth Schaefer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not nearly as good as the first one. I found myself not caring about most of the characters that were created for this book. There wasn't any "WOW, So that's what was going on during the movie!" in most of the stories as there was during the first book.

That being said here are a few of the stories that stood out to me:
The Willrow Hood story - interesting to have some of his (and the camtono's) backstory.
The Man Who Built Cloud City story - I knew what was going on with him pretty much from the start, but it was still a cute story.
The Wampa story was interesting/sad.
The tauntaun stories made me mad at the Rebels...

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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Book Review: Hench

HenchHench by Natalie Zina Walschots
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hench grabbed me off the street and held me for ransom! I could not put it down.

As I was reading I thought to myself "Oh I know how where this is going", and it kind of did but in a way that surprised me. I was pleased I hadn't guessed the ending.

The main character, Anna, is the only main character that really gets any development. Keller and Quantum Entanglement both get some development, but I'd consider them secondary characters. Everyone else is a bit player there to serve Anna's development. That's not a bad thing as it's her story.

Perched high above my city I watch, waiting for the sequel.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Book Review: Devolution by Max Brooks

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch MassacreDevolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

When Mt. Ranier erupts, a green community in the middle of nowhere is overrun by Sasquatch and must find a way to survive, or die trying.

I liked the main character, Kate, relates her current experiences back to what she experienced during the earthquake in California. Like seeing the evacuation traffic stuck on the highways, comparing the Earthquakes happening at night, the differences in the shaking, general lifestyles, etc. Being from California, she calls I-5 “the 5” which apparently is a California thing; in the Seattle area we do NOT call it “the 5.” I found it clever whenever she addressed something ridiculous they needed to do to Siri to point out how reliant on technology they’d become.

I liked Dan’s character-change from when he first arrives to when another kicked him into action, the foreshadowing in the brother’s/park ranger’s notes: the first “find” of the animal remains, etc.

The use of bigfoot lore added to the “realism” of the story: the smells, knocking/banging/howls, rock-throwing, mention of Grover Krantz a couple of times, etc. As did the use of PNW details: blackberry bushes (are EVERYWHERE in the PNW), there really is a Whole Foods on Denny Way, Puyallup “Did I spell that right?” Heck, not even locals can spell or pronounce it right!

During the final batter, I liked the use of broken glass and their cars. The exploding houses were gratuitous but I liked it.

I had to Google what “Devolution” means:

Definition, from Google: noun - the transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration. This seems appropriate, as this is a story of the transfer of power from, eventually, the Bigfoots to the group.
Similar: Decentralization, delegation, dispersal, distribution, transfer, surrender, relinquishment. - All appropriate for this book.
FORMAL: descent or degeneration to a lower or worse state. Definitely the characters of Tony and Yvette.
LAW: the legal transfer of property from one owner to another. Applies to Kate’s house? Wasn’t it her brother's?
Some things I wasn’t crazy about:

It’s written as a “journal” or “found footage” - I’m not a fan of that style of writing. The book had footnotes. Which were only necessary because of the “journal” trope. They should have been worked into the narrative somehow. But since it’s supposed to be a “real” book about these events, I guess it fits. I was confused about the parts that aren’t Kate’s journals. Who’s writing them? Her brother? The “author” of the book? Multiple people?

I didn’t relate to any of the characters, so I didn’t really care about any of them. They were all caricatures or stereotypes. There was so much talk/info in the beginning of the book about the Mount St. Helen eruption that I forgot about the current setting, the modernity of Greenloop, that I thought the book was taking place around the time of that eruption. I didn’t remember the current-day setting until we got back to Greenloop. I was 42% in, and there was still no horror. Not even much suspense. Just the vague sense of foreboding that’s telegraphed from the parts that aren’t Kate’s journals… and the book jacket. Mostly just “this thing happened. Then this thing happened.” At about 60% in we finally get some action/thriller-type stuff.

I’m not a fan of graphic descriptions of gore. There was a lot in the final battle. Yeah, it’s sold as a horror novel so I expected it at some point, still don’t like it.

A couple of other items:

For someone writing a journal or letters to her brother or whatever, that wasn’t fond of the idea in the first place, Kate sure is good at writing and noting every little detail.

The end. While I kinda liked the author/brother/whoever is writing trying to come up with logical things that could have happened to Kate and Pal based on evidence, I didn’t like not knowing. It felt kind of like the ending the Clue movie: “but here’s what REALLY happened!” Give us a scene with a helicopter landing and seeing them cowering in a doorway, give us a scene of them walking out of the mountain into a SAR bivouac, give a reunion scene with Kate and her brother. Actually end Kate’s story.

Note, I was given a copy of this book by the publisher to participate in the Emerald City Comic Con Horror Book Club, which was canceled along with the Con due to the COVID-19 virus plaguing the Seattle area (and many other places).

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