Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh Boy Oh Boy!

Quick announcement. My wife and I just had a 3D ultrasound done and ... it's a boy!

My wife's been making fun of me since we found out she was pregnant because I automatically started referring to the baby as he and him, but little did she know, I knew it all along. :)

We got to see a yawn and found out he's got a big head and long legs. Takes after Dad I guess (I'm 6'5").

Hope everyone's having a great weekend, we're a bit excited here at The Stamp.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Borders vs. Barnes and Noble

One of my favorite things in the world to do is to go through a book store, picking up random copies of books that look interesting though I've never been one to actually buy a random book.

When it comes to buying, I have to thoroughly look up blog reviews and opinions on forums before I'll actually buy a book, but I'd like to one day have the courage to do so.

Barnes and Noble has a much better selection of speculative fiction books than Borders, at least as far as I've seen and yet Borders has become my favorite store to shop in.

First off, Borders offers a free membership program. No yearly fee here and yet I get great coupons all the time; anywhere from 20 to 40% off any book I choose. Not only that, but they'll order any book I want and ship it to their store, so really they're not that far behind B&N.

I don't work for Borders or anything (promise) and sadly Barnes and Noble will probably far outlast Borders, but I just wanted to explain my preference in addition to posting the latest coupon:

What does everyone else think?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I hope everyone's had a great week so far. For me, this is many times contingent on how much reading time I have available, so not too bad on my end.

I have a few updates, comments, etc. to note so stay tuned for more (below) from your friendly neighborhood Seak.


First off, I've finished Malice by Chris Wooding and I had a great time with that. I plan on having the review up soon. Malice is a mix between a novel and a comic and it was pulled off quite well, so that's on the docket.

I'm currently reading Armageddon Bound by Tim Marquitz, which has surprised me in many ways, mostly in that at about the halfway mark I already love it. I won this copy from Fantasy Book Critic in collaboration with the author as an ebook.

Next off, I just wanted to address and make my own meager comments on the controversy that is even mentioning George R.R. Martin's name. As noted on Of Blog and mostly concerning the rampant trolling that happened when Pat (of Fantasy Hotlist fame) posted an excerpt from Martin's latest novella found in the Warriors anthology. I'll let you check out the blog to see the actual comments.

That said, can we give it a rest already? Why is it that every time anyone mentions George R.R. Martin, it automatically means that someone has to make a comment about how he's taking forever to finish A Dance with Dragons and to top it off by bashing him personally. We got it that it's taking a while. Can I just announce that? We got it, but what does that help to get mad? Does it speed up the process? I can actually argue that it slows it down if anything because Martin feels like he needs to clean up the messes.

I'll admit to having my moments of annoyance at George for taking so long to publish A Dance with Dragons. But, I have a giant To-Read list that will give me plenty to do until that happens. Maybe that's what I'll work on next. The list to read while we wait...

Thanks for letting me rant a bit. I'm just tired of reading that everywhere. Genre reading and discussion is great, but lets have fun with it and bring out the best in it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Republic of Thieves is Possibly Complete!

I mentioned in a post not too long ago that I absolutely loved Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora and now we have some good news from The Wertzone and Suvudu's Shawn Speakman.

Scott Lynch has been rumored to have finished the manuscript for The Republic of Thieves and the editors are awaiting it any moment now. The date for publication has now been set for January 2011 although it's not set in stone.

I have yet to read Red Skies over Red Seas but it's on the bookshelf and ready to go since I was waiting for the next installment to be ready. I guess it's time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spellwright Prologue at Mad Hatter's

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was excited to read the new Spellwright by Blake Charlton. The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review has the prologue up, so enjoy, I know I will.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The World According to Americans

I saw this going around on Facebook and I had to repeat it here because I'm still laughing at it.
(Note: I love Europe and even lived there for 2 years so not all opinions shown above are held at The Stamp, although it's pretty accurate)

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's News to Me

Good things going on in the world of sff.

Shadow and Betrayal

Seasons of War

First, Orbit has released the UK cover art for the omnibuses of Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet. This is also a chance for me to talk about one of my favorite "new to me" authors. I have to say I'm a fan, not only of the new cover art, but of the series itself. After reading A Shadow in Summer recently, I am hooked and if you haven't read it yet, put down what you're reading right now and get this series immediately.

Second, from an article in Publisher's Weekly (through A Dribble of Ink through Mad Hatter's Bookshelf - hey I wanna comment too!), Lev Grossman's The Magicians will have a sequel called The Magician King. I have The Magicians sitting on my shelf (thanks to Simcha at Sff Chat) and I plan to get to it very soon. It's received mixed reviews in the blogosphere, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Last, Alex Carnevale counts down his Top 100 sff picks of all time here. I find it a bit heavy-handed on a few authors and to be honest I've only read about 20, which makes me feel like I haven't read a darn thing. After saying that, it's his list and he's entitled to his opinion, which I will defend to to the death his right to give. Let me know what you think. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

StampReview | Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke

Over at Of Blog of the Fallen, Larry issued a challenge to read a book written before 1960 and give a review. I thought this was a great idea and began to scour my shelf for some older stuff, but kept finding books from the ‘70s and almost gave up until I found Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.

Like the only other Clarke novel I’ve read, Rendezvous with Rama, even though Childhood’s End was written decades ago (and in this case over half a century), Clarke has the amazing ability to create a future that is still believable and just as interesting as I’m sure it was when it was first written.

mmpb - 218 pages
Publisher - Del Rey
First Publication Date - 1953

Earth is on the cusp of entering into space, when space comes to earth. Out of nowhere come what the people of Earth begin to call the “Overlords”. People quickly learn that nothing can be done about them and the fact that everyone is subject to their will. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Immediately, the standard of living goes up, wars stop, and people have much more free time (the average work week even shortens to 20 hours a week).

Thus enters the first ethical dilemma; is it better to be free or live in a world where peace and prosperity abound? Most of the world accepts the rule, though they really have no choice in the matter, while a few factions continue to fight for freedom. Add to this the fact that the Overlords refuse to divulge their intent and only refer to themselves as guardians of the human race.

I have to say I enjoyed Childhood’s End from start to finish. The story evolves quite a bit and the ending half of the book is much different than the beginning while losing nothing of the story. I do have to warn you not to read the blurb on the back of the book (at least my 1978 printing) because it gives away some events that don’t even occur until the end, which I was waiting to happen from the beginning.

Who should read this?

If you are in the mood for a philosophical novel that doesn’t seem so at first glance, Childhood’s End might be for you. This is a quick read with a surprisingly interesting end.

3/5 Stars

3/5 Stars for the Cover


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

StampReview | 7th Son: Descent by J.C. Hutchins

Book 1 in a trilogy, 7th Son started out as a podcast series (found here) and is boasted as the most popular one in history. Now, they are being published by St. Martin’s Griffin.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before and this probably won’t be the last time either, but there is a lot to be said about the readability of a novel. J.C. Hutchins’ 7th Son: Descent was a very readable novel. It had me going from the very first page and had me interested until the last. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have its flaws, but 7th Son: Descent was a fun read throughout.


Book 1 in a trilogy
Trade Paperback - 356 Pages
Received from Graeme's Fantasy Book Review (Contest winner)

A four-year-old murders the President of the United States and people are scrambling for answers. How could a 4-year-old do such a thing? The government has some ideas, but likes to keep its secrets under wraps. Thus brings together 7 people who happen to look very similar to stop a killer in a murderous conspiracy that directly involves each of them.

Hutchins’ book reads like a movie almost at times and this has its benefits as well as detriments. While adding to the readability, it would also make the bad guys read like James Bond villains, which the book ironically refers to as well.

It made the characters seem a little overdramatic when the villains were doing some seriously bad stuff. I also thought the 7 “brothers” were going to shout “Go Team!” at times and because of this movie-esque feeling, I felt it took away from seriousness of the situation.

Mostly self-contained, 7th Son: Descent delivers an exciting finale that left me a little disappointed. It seems like it is mostly a set-up for what’s to come in the further installments, which leaves me excited to read (or listen to) the rest of the trilogy.

One last gripe, I promise, but there seemed to be an unnecessary amount of profanity. I may delve into this at another point on the blog, but I really feel like this dumbs down a novel and I’m just not a fan.

Who should read this?

If you’re in the mood for a fun, fast-paced novel you may want to give this a go. It was filled with conspiracy theories and technology that was both interesting and believable.

3/5 Stars

3.5/5 Stars for the Cover Art


Monday, January 18, 2010

Some Recent Reviews

I just wanted to point out a couple reviews of some books I've been interested in.

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman. This book's been getting a lot of buzz lately and the more I hear, the more I like.

The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway. Ever since I heard this book has a combination of mimes and ninjas in a believable scene, I've had this on my To-Buy list.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert Redick. Another book that's been getting lots of good reviews and which I'm really excited to read.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I loved the book when I first read this a number of years ago and here's another look at the classic.

From Peter's Ubiquitous-Absence:

Elfsorrow by James Barclay. I own Dawntheif, which is the first in the Chronicles of the Raven and Elfsorrow is a little further down the line in the series. Looks good.

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolf. This series is considered one of the best out there and Peter seems to agree.

From Mark's Walker of Worlds:

Cosmopath by Eric Brown. This is the last in the Bengal Station Trilogy and I can't help but be interested in a series Mark gives two 9/10's and a 10/10.

From Ken's Neth Space:

Sleepless by Charlie Huston. Again, I'm always intrigued when someone gives a book a 9/10, but Ken mentions that it breaks genre barriers and I'm even more intrigued.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why don't people read?

It's a sad fact and I know I'm stating the obvious, but I was recently sent an email by Audible (they sell audiobooks) that said that people who listen to audiobooks tend to read twice or even three times as much in a year as those who don't. Or something to that effect.

This got me to thinking, what does the average person read in a year, etc., etc. I did some research and found an article from The Washington Post that does a good job explaining this, even if it is a little old (2007). If anyone has anything more recent please let me know, but I wanted to share some of my findings especially in light of my reading from last year.

An AP-Ipsos poll was conducted by telephoning 1,003 adults and interviewing them. Obviously that alone has some draw-backs, but the pole has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent.

The poll found that 1 in 4 adults read no books in 2006 (actually it was 27%) and in that category of those who read no books, one third of men and one fourth of women belong. Big surprise I know, women read more than men.

The average amount of books read not counting those who read none was 4 in a year. In a similar Gallup Poll from 2005, it was found that people had at least started an average of 5 in a year, which was down from 10 in 1999. Compare this to the 41 that I read in 2009 while starting 3 more. I feel pretty good about the amount of books I read in a given year having read over 10 times the average.

Some other random statistics to throw in are:
- Democrats and liberals read more than Republicans
- whites read more than blacks and Hispanics
- those with college degrees read more than those without
- people 50 and up read more than those who are younger
- Popular fiction and religious works were read the most
- Women read more of every major category besides history and biography (men tend to read more nonfiction)

I thought this would make a pretty fun post even though it's a little disappointing, especially for the men (you're letting me down guys!). The article cites what else but internet, tv, and movies for the low readership.

The article also talks about those that are obsessed with reading. I might count myself in this category - or at least my wife would. But, a common viewpoint that is shared is why read when you can get your fill of stories by watching movies or tv.

Besides the fact that not all people enjoy being spoon-fed every stimulus, an avid reader would probably find that viewpoint pretty funny. When was the last movie that was actually better than the book? I know they exist, but not very often.

I would probably go crazy if I didn't read. I can watch tv, but only to a certain extent. I watched quite a bit when I was in high school and growing up, but I finally got to the point where I was really just wasting time watching so many reruns. That lead me to reading where I not only enjoy it immensely, but I feel a sense of accomplishment.

One of the ways I tricked my wife into dating me further was my vocabulary developed through reading. So I guess I can honestly say that it's possible to find a spouse through reading. :) Convincing enough? Now get out there and start reading.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010's gonna be a good one!

The following are a few books to add to my ever-growing to-be-read pile that are expected to come out this year. I can't place too much hope in all of them coming out, but I'm giddy with anticipation nonetheless.

Without further ado:

Not only am I eagerly awaiting the final volume of The Malazan Book of the Fallen in The Crippled God later this year, but I'm excited to see the new novella Crack'd Pot Trail. Actually published at the end of 2009, this will continue the story of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, who had a little bit of face time in the third installment of the series, Memories of Ice.

I was highly impressed with Scott Lynch's debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I read last year and after some set backs and personal problems, the buzz around the blogging world is that the third installment of the series, The Republic of Thieves, is due out some time this year. Fingers crossed.

After some delays through the past few years, the sequel to The Name of the Wind is in the works to come out this year. Yes, it seems to be the trend to be unsure of release dates, and yes, I haven't even read The Name of the Wind (though it's sitting on my shelf), but it's had such a great reception by critics and fans of the genre alike that I've jumped on the band wagon.

Another author I have yet to read, but who's also made quite a splash is Brent Weeks. After his successful Night Angel Trilogy, he's got another coming out this year with The Black Prism. There's a summary floating around out there, but the author's not happy with it and I don't think it's too accurate so I won't even bother posting it here. Publication is set for August 10, 2010. (Yay, a firm date!)

Blake Charlton's Spellwright has been making some waves in the blogoverse and I'm really excited to check this out. There's already a review up at A Dribble of Ink even though the publication date is set for March 2, 2010.

What list would be complete without mentioning George R. R. Martin's epic masterpiece, A Song of Ice and Fire. Random House lists the release date as September 28, 2010. As we've learned in the past, these dates from the publisher can be trusted about as far as you can throw them, but they make a nice security blanket.

A Dance with Dragons is actually the reason I became interested in genre blogs. I had just finished A Feast for Crows and was expecting the fifth (and what I thought to be last) installment shortly. Well, five years later and we still don't have it and there's been quite the uproar about it at the same time. Having been optioned by HBO and with a pilot already shot, hopefully there's enough impetus to get this series done.

Some others that are possibilities:

The Way of Kings - Book 1 in The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson
Towers of Midnight - Book 13 in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Moving on to 2011, we should see the next in Joe Abercrombie's arsenal, The Heroes, set for February of the same year (see Pat's interview). I thoroughly enjoyed his First Law Trilogy and last year's Best Served Cold has been topping quite a few "Best of" lists for 2009.

Hopefully you're now as excited as I am. I wouldn't hold my breath for all of these to happen, but there's a good chance that we'll see quite a few out this year.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

StampReview | A Shadow in Summer, by Daniel Abraham

Not all books that I’ve read can I pick up and immediately become engrossed in the story again and again. Many books can take a couple paragraphs or even pages to figure out what is going on or where I’m at. That was not the case in reading A Shadow in Summer. This book sucked me in almost from the very beginning and I can’t wait to read the next in the series, A Betrayal in Winter.

The story begins with Otah Machi, a student at a school that is anything but what it seems. Everything is a test for the students and studying letters and numbers is only a useless exercise; the real purpose of the school is to begin the training of poets to handle the andats. Andats are powers made flesh and poets are the men who can control them, forcing them to do their bidding in the name of the empire of the Khaiem.

Book 1 in The Long Price Quartet

Mmpb – 356 pages

Publisher – Tor

Publication Date - 2006

Abraham does a wonderful job creating a world ruled by the Khaiem through the use of the andats, both recognizable and foreign. The world becomes that much more its own through the culture of the Khaiem, which is governed by poses and movements that each person uses to express feelings such as gratitude, sorrow, or even greeting. If you’ve learned or speak a foreign language, the nuances of respect and affection that are added to names will also feel similar while forming a realistic, yet believable world all its own.

This is not a novel that is full of swords and fighting, but spins a tale of political intrigue that keeps a fast and engaging pace. While tackling adult material such as whorehouses and slavery, I was impressed that Abraham can express a scene with deep emotional impact while refraining from going into graphic detail or foul language.

Who should read this?

This is recommended to anyone and everyone. If you are in the mood for a fully-realized world full of rich characters that are flawed as much as you and me, but who are ready to make the tough decisions, you are in for a treat. Amazingly, this is Daniel Abraham’s first published novel and quite impressive at that.

4/5 Stars

4.5/5 Stars for the Cover Art


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winner of The Ubiquitous Stamp to State Giveaway!

Seak’s Stamp

The Winner is: Merrick Smith of Sussex, WI

Thanks to all who participated! Another contest is in the making so check back soon.

Also a thanks to Ubiquitous Absence and State of Review!

Friday, January 8, 2010

StampReview | Agyar

Agyar by Steven Brust (author of the Vlad Taltos series) is a tough one to review. I don't want to give away too much or it will ruin the experience of reading the book. And, since it's only 254 pages in mass market paperback, if it piques your interest at all, you might as well give it a try. Don't worry, I plan on keeping this short and sweet with no major spoilers.

This is the story of John Agyar, who recently moved into an abandoned home that happens to also be haunted by a ghost named Jim. Agyar finds a "typewriting machine" as he calls it and the entire book is written as a journal that Agyar keeps on this machine.

mmpb - 254 pages
Publisher - Tor

I didn't really get into the story until about 90 or so page in, but I was still interested enough to keep going. About this time, Agyar begins to get more and more creepy and I started to wonder about what was really going on. I promised no major spoilers, so I'll stop there. Suffice it to say, it should keep you reading.

Who should read this?
If you're in the mood for something different as well as something short and entirely self-contained, this may be for you. I enjoyed the story, even though the beginning dragged a bit for me and I would definitely recommend it.

3/5 Stars
3/5 Cover Art


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Any writers out there?

I found an awesome blog that I could literally spend hours looking through by Janet Reid, a Literary Agent. In the post that's in the link, Janet explains what manuscripts she turned down in the last year and why.

In addition to this, there's tons of content to help all those aspiring writers fulfill that elusive dream of becoming a professional writer. Have fun.

StampReview | The Last Wish

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (I don't know how to pronounce it either) has so much going for it, but in the end it was a disappointment. The title is great, the cover is awesome, and the story premise is just cool. Who wouldn't want to read about a guy that goes around fighting monsters and demons for a living? And now that I have, I don't know if I can recommend it.

Sapkowski is one of the best known fantasy writers in Poland and it's sad because it seems like there are some things that were lost in the translation into English. The dialogue sounds like the characters are overacting and that's about as close as I can come to describing it. The way the monsters interacted with the Witcher just didn't seem real, even for the world that was created.

The Last Wish (The Witcher, prequel)

mmpb - 359 pages
Publisher - Orbit

I really wanted to like this book, too. There are such a variety of monsters, vampires, etc. and Geralt, the Witcher, is a great character who can stand up to any of them. In the end, it just didn't do it for me and I even debated giving up on the book multiple times throughout reading it.

Who should read this?
If you're in the mood for something really fast-paced and light with very little world-building, this may be right up your alley. This also happens to be the book that inspired the video game The Witcher, so that might be another reason. Otherwise, it may not be for you.

2.75/5 Stars

4.5/5 Cover Art


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Last Chance to Win!

Seak’s Stamp

Just a reminder that there are only a few days to enter the Ubiquitous Stamp to State Giveaway, which ends on January 10, 2010 when the winner will be announced.

Make sure to check out these fun sites while you're at it and earn extra entries as per the rules:

GuestReview | The Hunger Games

I want to introduce a good friend of mine who is actually the main reason for my addiction to reading. In our sophomore year of undergrad., my roommate and one of my best friends, Matt Pettit, had stacks of books all over his room. This piqued my interest and he gave me a few books to read, which happened to be Melanie Rawn's awesome Dragon Prince series.

Since then, Matt's never lead me astray, having recommended such great authors as Kurt Vonnegut, George R. R. Martin, John Marco, and the list goes on. In other words, you're in good hands with any recommendation he makes.

Without further ado, here's Matt's review of The Hunger Games.


I've been hearing about Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for some time as it has slowly built a buzz based on it's strong young adult fanbase. My Mom and my younger brother had both read it and loved it and have been nagging me to read it but I had other things on my plate at the time. At Christmas they made that final and all important recommendation of just buying the book for me. I read it in a day. The setting for the story is a post-apocalyptic North America and civilization is currently under the iron fist of the 'Capitol', a strong central government which is located somewhere in the Rockies. It is written in the mold of a classic dystopian novel with the struggle of the protagonist giving us a microcosm of the larger struggle against the establishment. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is a teenage girl who has raised her family after the death of her father. She is forced to participate in the Hunger Games, a yearly event in which one male and one female representative from each of the 12 Districts under the Capitol's control are forced to fight to the death. What follows is a violent depiction of her struggle to survive; both physically in the arena, and mentally in the larger sphere of humanity. As Katniss fights against the Capitols yearly reminder of its control over the populace, she finds herself unintentionally becoming a symbol of resistance outside of the arena.

Hunger Games is very simply written. To add a little perspective, Twilight author Stephanie Meyer wrote one of the recommendations on the back jacket. As far as writing level goes Hunger Games does hover above Twilight, but not by much. However, it is void of some of the more mindless melodrama that Meyer's books are so riddled with; and the short, almost flat sentence structure that Collins' adopts in the Hunger Games lends itself well to the harsh and brutal story. It is done without the artistry and poetry of Cormac McCarthy but does achieve a similar effect in increasing the emotional impact by showing more than telling. Hunger Games has some flashes of real creativity, especially when Collins takes us to the Capitol and seems to have a blast showing us the decadence of the ruling class and the contrasting their unique interests and pursuits with the day to day drudgery we see in District 12 earlier. In the end though, Hunger Games is more of a page turner than a thought provoker. While you can't stop reading because you have to know how Katniss escapes whatever new crisis comes her way, when the book is done there's nothing to reflect upon but a trail of corpses.

Who should read this?
This is a great book to read if you're in a long series and needing something to hold you over until the next release or are in the airport waiting for your flight. It's an fast-paced, enjoyable adventure and doesn't need any time investment from the reader. Lion's Gate has already acquired the rights to the movie and production is set to begin next year. Since the book is basically a screenplay, if you don't have time for the book you can always catch the movie.

3/5 stars
4/5 stars for the cover art


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

StampReview | The Forever War

Touted as the best sci-fi military novel ever written, I went into reading The Forever War with a lot of expectations; probably too many. Not to say that I didn't like it. I liked it a lot, I just didn't love it and I don't think it's the best military sci-fi novel ever written. I liked Starship Troopers by Heinlein much more. Where Heinlein takes a positive look at war, Haldeman uses his experience with the Vietnam war to paint a more dismal picture, not that this was the point that makes Starship Troopers my favorite of the two.

In the version I read, there was an introduction by John Scalzi who compares The Forever War to his own novel, Old Man's War. I can definitely see the comparisons, but I even enjoyed Scalzi's novel a bit better.

The Forever War

Trade Paperback - 265 pages

Okay, enough with the comparisons, I did actually like this book, so I'll get into the good stuff. Throughout the novel, Haldeman plays with the theory of relativity and time dilation. So, the main protagonist, William Mandella, becomes an old man of two or three hundred years old at the actual age of 25. Or is that switched. Anyway, his body is a 25 year old's. This is always interesting and Orson Scott Card plays around with this in his Ender's Game series too.

Because of this time dilation that's going on, the earth is going through many changes while Mandella is away. The portrayal of earth was done really well throughout the book. One time Mandella returns home to find earth to be a far different place than he remembers it. Food is running out and crime has become such a problem that people need body guards or at least a high powered gun if they go anyware. This causes Mandella and the rest of the company that returned home to earth to get back into the military, where there's at least some stability.

I had just a minor quibble with the way Mandella and his love interest, Potter, came together. It just didn't seem to real to me. They were not very friendly with each other and suddenly they couldn't be apart. Anyway, this wasn't a huge deal, and it still works fine for the story.

Who should read this? If you're in the mood for a war story that shows how pointless everything about war is, this is for you. It definitely doesn't celebrate war like many sci-fi and fantasy novels tend to do. This was a good story, but I didn't think it lived up to the hype and that may be it's biggest fault.

3.5/5 stars
5/5 stars for the cover art

Rating explanation: As the rating system to the right shows, I liked The Forever War a lot, just not enough to love it.


Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Recap

I know I'm a little late in the game for posting my year in review for 2009 at least compared to many other people, but I think early January is still just as much game as December. The following are my stats for the year reading-wise, hope you enjoy:

Read in 2009: 41

Books read over 1000 pages: 3

Books read 500 to 1000 pages: 8

Biggest surprises: The Man Who Was Thursday and Revenge of the Sith

I never thought I would ever enjoy a novelization of a movie, but Revenge of the Sith was amazing. I now own Heroes Die by Matthew Stover because this guy has a way with words.

Rereads: 3

The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)

I did a reread of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on audiobook. Rob Ingles was the narrator and it was really well done; he even sings all the songs and poems in the books.

Most read publisher: Tor with 10 books

Couldn’t finish: 3

I got 300 pages into The Stand by Stephen King and had to put it down. I didn't like any of the characters but maybe one and the story dragged. I still don't get the hubbub. I also own three more Stephen King books in the Dark Tower series, so we'll see if I ever get to them.

Book blog contests won: 6

It was my lucky year. I couldn't believe it. The following are the books and blogs:

Dust of Dreams, by Steven Erikson - Ubiquitous Absence
The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - Only the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (novellas in the Malazan series), by Erikson - Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
7th Son: Descent, by J.C. Hutchins- Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
The Magicians, by Lev Grossman - SFF Chat
Malice, by Chris Wooding - SciFiGuy

"Short" stories read: 2

These "short" stories were each over 100 pages, so not extremely short, but not enough to count in the books read category. Both were in Dreamsongs by George R. R. Martin: The Hedge Knight, and The Skin Trade. The Hedge Knight is a novella in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, which is one of my favorite series and The Skin Trade was a little fun reading I had for Halloween since it was about werewolves.

Audio books: 11

My Top Ten of 2009:

1. Memories of Ice – Erikson

2. Starship Troopers – Heinlein

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Lynch

4. Revenge of the Sith – Stover

5. The Bonehunters – Erikson

6. Dune – Herbert

7. Warbreaker – Sanderson

8. Midnight Tides – Erikson

9. Night of Knives – Esslemont

10. The Man Who Was Thursday - Chesterton

This is my attempt to put these books in order from my favorite to lesser favorites, but it was so close that it's really almost impossible to say I liked any a lot more than the others. The difference is really negligible. Lord of the Rings would definitely be on here, but I didn't count rereads. These are all rated 5 stars, so go to town.

This was really fun to do and I am probably the biggest fan of lists that you'll ever meet. It's the economist in me that does it. If you can think of anything more to add, please say so. Have a great year in reading!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Another Giveaway

I just found another giveaway that might be of interest to sff fans. It's found here at the Cajun Book Lady's blog. Some of the authors include, Jay Lake, Daniel Abraham, Jennifer Fallon, and Peter Watts.

Good stuff and good luck.


Hope everyone had a great holiday season and continues to have a successful new year. I've been with family for the past week and a half and it was the best. I'm still sore from snowboarding the other day, which just shows how out of shape I am.

I didn't have a lot of time for reading, but I did get The Forever War finished, so I'll have a review up for that soon along with some other updates in the next few days. I have to get in as much fun stuff as I can before Law school starts up again. :)

Have a great weekend!