Sunday, December 07, 2008

Catch Up Reviews

No, not like ketchup you put on a burger, catch up like I'm behind in writing a few reviews.

First, we have Crusade, the latest book of the Destroyermen by Taylor Anderson. Now, his first book was okay. Clearly not in the league of S. M. Stirling, but decent enough to read the next book in the series.

His second book follows much in the same vein, but shows some signs of improvement. There are certain aspects that I still don't much like (especially the pacing), but Anderson seems to have gotten better at his craft. The characters are developing (slowly) and the action has certainly picked up a notch (and far outpaces the first book). Anderson shows clearly he knows about battle at sea and on land. His Grik bad guys and Cat Monkey good guys make for an interesting twist on the "normal" alternate-history genre.

What I noticed most about this installment was the humor (it's getting better and is well placed) and the dialogue. Certain characters seem to have these two or three page speeches throughout the book. While certain books couldn't support this style, Anderson does well with it.

Next, we have the books that I had to stop reading. Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley, The Disappeared by Kristine Kathyrn Rusch, and Roughing It by Mark Twain (I've read it before, but had to stop since it was pretty dry listening). Most disappointing was Winterbirth as I really, really wanted to enjoy this one. Unfortunately, it was just waaaaaaaay too slow for me.

Which brings us to Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by Nathan Hale (no relation to the first two). I'm not a big graphic novel kind of guy, but this one had a cover that caught my eye at the library (yes, the library, that's your one and only clue about my next project idea).

The art inside was fantastic and the storyline was much like Shrek. Funny, entertaining, and pretty close to the original stories to bring in some big names. Like Jack (of beanstalk fame). Anyway, a pleasant read.

And I'll finish off with A Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Stirling. This one was actually a re-read (well, I read it the first time and listened to it this time). As usual, Stirling delivers. Plenty of action, drama, double-crosses, and witches. Can't wait to get deeper into the storyline of the Change because I'm hooked again.


John said...

I totally agree about "Winterbirth." It was just so slow....I kept plugging away and finally put it aside! It was a big disappointment.

sparkly_jules said...

I picked up "A Meeting at Corvallis" last night and started it. I'm taking my time because I only have one book left in the "Change" series to read ("Scourge of God"), and I want it to last.

I also picked up the "Island in the Sea of Time" over thanksgiving, but I'm saving it until I finish "Corvallis."

Aside from the hypothetical no more electricity or things-that-go-boom alternate history, which is brilliant, I love the characters. I feel like with each book I'm reuniting with friends. I especially love Juniper and her Clan. Imagine, a city full of Wiccan Pagans!

I hope Stirling writes lot's and lot's more Change books. I get the feeling that "Scourge" will not be the last of the series. (Please!)

Sparkly Jules

TK42ONE said...

If you're a Stirling fan, check out It's pretty comprehensive and has lots of sample chapters.

I got hooked on Island in the Sea of Time when it came out and have stuck with Stirling through all of the Change books. You know the Island book is part of the series, right? It's about the people on the other side of the Change in Nantucket.

Juniper and Rudy are great characters. Mike Havel is awesome as well. I like how Stirling grows the characters and moves into future generations. He does a great job of describing the social cultures as well as the people.

And no, Scourge isn't the last. I think there's at least one more after it and plans for another series after that.