Rate the last book you read Page 39

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  • Tonka 24 Sep 2013 06:58:30 20,546 posts
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    LIttle Brother by Cory Doctorow

    In a not too distant future the Department On Homeland Security cracks down on San Francisco and a gang of teenagers decide to fight the power.

    Really hard to rate. It's clearly written for 15 year olds as a "Primer for the formative mind" to make kids think about freedom of speech, government abuse, crypto and general geekism. As an adult none of the ideas are eye openers and the lengthy descriptions of crypto and freedom etc are redundant.

    Yet, there's a cool story in there in a pump your fist and go "Yessss" kind of way. And Cory clearly knows his shit. And the timing couldn't be better with the recent NSA "reveals" etc.

    So yeah... rating it wouldn't be fare. But when my kids are 14 years old I hope their english is good enough to read it.

    Edited by Tonka at 07:03:45 24-09-2013

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • TechnoHippy 24 Sep 2013 11:51:52 14,718 posts
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    My Granny Writes Erotica by Rosen Trevithick

    I've read a few of this author's books before and they have always entertained, she does humour very well, but this latest title from her is the best yet. It even had me laughing out loud, which is rare for me!

    The story concerns a grandmother called Betty, she has been writing her romance book for many years and has been constantly rejected. At the same time her marriage crumbles leaving her in severe debt with her mother-in-law, her daughter and her granddaughter to look after. She needs money desperately and hits upon the idea of writing an erotic novel for some quick money.

    Naturally things don't go quite as expected and from that premise hilarity ensues. This is a very funny book, Betty's exploration in to hardcore BDSM is brilliantly done. The mother-in-law's occasional appearance also spices things up and the early scene with her and a bruiser was my first big chuckle of the story.

    As with some of the author's other stories it pokes some fun at writers and publishing, although there's humour throughout it's also a solid story. As ever the writing is well constructed and flows nicely, making this a quick, but excellent read.

    I'm pleased to hear that there will be a sequel, so I'll be looking out for that.

    8/10

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • senso-ji 28 Sep 2013 15:38:43 5,921 posts
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    Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

    A nightmarish walk through 1970 Bombay slums, seen through the eyes of narcotic addicts.

    Thayil casts a critical eye over Indian culture by drawing comparisons between the degrading nature of slum life and drug users. There is some brilliant prose in here, but also some boring fluff as the authour weaves a story through the perspective of an opium haze. My biggest issue with this is that I felt less empathy with the main protagonists than I did with the desperate, nameless slum inhabitants that surrounded them.

    All in all, though, this was a good read, and marks another talent amid a growing number of Indian writers.

    8/10
  • spindle9988 8 Oct 2013 19:15:00 3,596 posts
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    Doctor sleep (the shining 2)

    Wow, what a great read. Haven't read a book that quickly for a long time. Was a bit apprehensive at 1st due to the shining being such a famous book. Not really a horror like the 1st but still plenty of creepy moments

    9/10
  • glaeken 9 Oct 2013 10:52:58 11,197 posts
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    The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell. Tricky to rate this one. The initial part of the book about Orwell's experiences in the North are great and very much reminiscent of Down and Out in Paris and London. The chapter on being down the mine is a particular stand out. It's superbly written and really gives you a feeling of being there.

    The latter half of the book is a little more difficult to rate as it's pretty much a critique of socialism in the 1930's which I actually found quite interesting but I doubt many people would. I wonder what Orwell would have thought about what has become of socialism now. He already thought in the 1930's it was on the wane but at the time in favour of fascism. The book does pick up a good deal when he tackles the trend for mechanisation which is really interesting from the perspective of our times as we have come so much further down that path since the 1930's. Orwell saw it as an unstoppable trend which is self-perpetuating so he pretty much nailed that one.

    Overall I am glad I read it and it's a good book but definitely not one everyone would get on with in regard to the second half of it.

    Edited by glaeken at 11:03:37 09-10-2013
  • Tonka 9 Oct 2013 11:43:24 20,546 posts
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    SHIFT the prequel to WOOL

    People trapped in a Silo in a post-apocalyptic world. The why is explained as is the how.

    I didn't care about any of the characters so it was just a tedious plod through endless padding to get to the nuggets of insight into a fascinating world.

    Really padded. Reeeeealy padded. To the extreme. I've never skipped so much in a book as this one. Shame, cause I really enjoyed Wool where there were plenty of likable characters. Shift aalso commits the cardinal sin of having a character behave like an idiot just to prevent the reader from finding out too much.

    Now I can't be bothered with Shift which is the final and concluding part.

    Could someone please write a plot summary on wikipedia?

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • senso-ji 12 Oct 2013 15:51:39 5,921 posts
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    Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey

    Enjoyable but shallow science fiction thriller.

    While it was entertaining in parts, the story was too linear and it was bereft of original ideas to make it stand out from the crowd. The character development outside of the two main protagonists was lacking (even though the authors had nearly 600 pages to play with) and the inane political themes got lost in all the fast paced action.

    6/10
  • Deleted user 12 October 2013 17:06:41
    Filth - Irvine Welsh

    Fucking hell.

    9/10
  • Deleted user 15 October 2013 11:08:21
    Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut

    Really interesting, and a well constructed book. Funny, and hopelessy sad in places. I guess a lot of similar things have been said since the book, but this is my first time reading it, and i still found it cutting, and insightful. With a lot there to talk about to other people whom have read it.

    8/10
  • imamazed 15 Oct 2013 11:11:17 5,701 posts
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    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Just wonderful. Somehow managed to never read this until now.

    10/10
  • Metalfish 15 Oct 2013 11:23:48 8,819 posts
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    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

    Yeah, it's great, ain't it?
  • LeoliansBro 15 Oct 2013 11:45:18 44,415 posts
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    senso-ji wrote:
    Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

    A nightmarish walk through 1970 Bombay slums, seen through the eyes of narcotic addicts.

    Thayil casts a critical eye over Indian culture by drawing comparisons between the degrading nature of slum life and drug users. There is some brilliant prose in here, but also some boring fluff as the authour weaves a story through the perspective of an opium haze. My biggest issue with this is that I felt less empathy with the main protagonists than I did with the desperate, nameless slum inhabitants that surrounded them.

    All in all, though, this was a good read, and marks another talent amid a growing number of Indian writers.

    8/10
    You read Shantaram?

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Deleted user 15 October 2013 15:27:36
    Been a bit of a bookworm of late...

    Noah's Ark (Andrew J Morgan) - 8.5

    Picked this up on a whim and wasn't disappointed. fantastic pacing and two characters I actually cared about. A nice premise that wasn't too stingy on it's reveals yet kept enough back to keep me intrigued.

    A bit derivative of other sci-fi films and books, I still think there was enough originality here to recommend it. The fact that the ending felt a bit rushed is my only major complaint. Other than that there seemed odd lapses in writing quality but on the whole highly recommended for some post apocalyptic sci-fi.

    Doctor Sleep (Stephen King) (Shining Book 2) - ?

    To begin with I was loving it. Danny all grown up, references to the Overlook, Jack, Wendy and Hallorann and then... Then it kind of went all "new King". Somehow it lost it's heart. The True Knot were not a palpable menace, Abra was difficult to relate to or care about and everyone else, including Danny, just seemed to lose all individuality. Everyone became a stock SK character. Well, apart from the True Knot themselves which I ended up feeling quite sorry for.

    Which is maybe the point.

    Anyway, can't rate it yet. I think I'll have a break and read it again. Although it won't ever be as good as I'll want it to be.

    The Deep Dark Sleep (Craig Russell) - 9
    Dead Men & Broken Hearts (Craig Russell) - 8

    In Lennox, Craig Russell has a character that beats his own Jan Fabel. The novels he gives that character are set in 1950's Glasgow and couldn't be more cliche noir P.I. If he tried. Full of dirty cops, dirty gangsters and dirty women it would be hackneyed under a lesser talented author. Russel is greater than that however and injects his characters with enough personality and his plots with enough depth that elevates these books up a couple of notches.

    Page-turning stuff.

    The Small Hand (Susan Hill) - 6

    I understand Susan Hill wrote the woman in black so was looking forward to this. Not overly impressed. Lacked tension and saw the ending coming a mile away. Seemed over long even though it was nothing more than a novella, but yet also not long enough.

    That said would like to read some other Hill stuff as parts did have promise.

    Rain (Conrad Williams) - 7

    A big fan of Williams, I've been looking for Rain - one of his early novellas - for a while now but paperback prints were very costly. Released on Kindle recently I promptly downloaded it and devoured it. Above-par writing is the norm with Williams and this was no exception but I must admit to feeling confused at the end, and a little let down. It seemed as though the denouement didn't live up to the earlier premise and almost cheapened the rest. It was a 9 up til the last page.

    Edited by BillCityfingers at 15:45:44 15-10-2013
  • Megapocalypse 17 Oct 2013 08:20:17 5,443 posts
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    Ender's Game

    Don't read much sci-fi but really enjoyed this. Are his other books worth reading?
  • Maturin 17 Oct 2013 08:24:37 3,029 posts
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    Megapocalypse wrote:
    Ender's Game

    Don't read much sci-fi but really enjoyed this. Are his other books worth reading?
    I think the sequels Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide are even better than Ender's Game.
  • Tonka 17 Oct 2013 08:33:02 20,546 posts
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    I heard that they were nigh on unreadable. Looks like you'll have to read them and report back.

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • Phattso Moderator 17 Oct 2013 08:52:54 13,345 posts
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    A bit late to the party, but...

    The Wasp Factory

    Holy fuck but that was harsh in places. That it can be that shocking even in 2013 makes me wonder at the impact it had on release in 1985.

    I'm glad to have read it, but I must confess to not even slightly enjoying reading it, if you know what I mean?



    flies laying eggs in brains / 10
  • Deleted user 17 October 2013 10:16:09
    Tonka wrote:
    I heard that they were nigh on unreadable. Looks like you'll have to read them and report back.
    Apparently the flaming lips have written a record inspired by it and is out soon. So with wayne coyne mental workflow.. yeah you are probably right!
  • Deleted user 17 October 2013 10:21:11
    Flashman

    Really enjoyed this. Starts off with what i have heard about the books - which was a lot of fun, beer, woman and sillyness, But to its credit, it went into something much bigger, and harrowing than the bold, brash and clever coward joke of a character that is flashman. The withdrawal from afghanistan is quite harrowing. And in the last half of the book i was hooked.

    Superb

    9/10

    Edited by joelstinton at 10:22:17 17-10-2013
  • PazJohnMitch 17 Oct 2013 13:32:48 8,130 posts
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    Recently finished Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. All 3 are excellent and come highly recommended. 28/30
  • glaeken 17 Oct 2013 13:51:44 11,197 posts
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    @joelstinton The Flashman books are great. The history in them and the way it draws you into it is fantastic.

    My particular favourite is Flashman and the Great game which deals with the Indian Mutiny and it's by far the grimmest of the Flashman books. You have to read Flashman at the Charge to get to that one as of all the books those two are fairly closely linked.

    The series does get a little weaker towards the end of the run but even then they are very enjoyable. Actually one of the weaker books is the second one Royal Flash so if you do go on to read more don’t let that one put you off. It's not so much it's a weak story that is the problem but that it's more a straight up adventure story and the history is not quite as interesting. Flashman is at it's best really when it's covering military history and not much of that actually happens in Royal Flash.
  • Deleted user 17 October 2013 14:24:26
    Yeah i will definitely read more in the series. I really enjoyed Frazers writing, his characters were so well voiced. I was going to read royal flash next, still will but will keep in mind what you have said.
  • glaeken 17 Oct 2013 14:29:07 11,197 posts
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    I think it's still a good book it's just not quite the same as the other Flashman books. I think Frazer had not quite worked out the formula at that point.
  • stryker1121 17 Oct 2013 14:42:44 697 posts
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    @BillCityfingers Agree with your synopsis of Doctor Sleep. The first portion that dealt with Dan's internal struggles was quite good. But the last two acts lose Dan's inner voice and we're left with a half-assed adventure story devoid of tension, creepiness and horror. I was expecting something much darker, tbh, and the lack of stakes was off-putting.

    Shame because King had been on a bit of a roll lately - I really liked 11/22/63 and Full Dark No Stars.

    Edited by stryker1121 at 14:48:20 17-10-2013
  • Deleted user 17 October 2013 17:26:53
    @stryker1121 glad it wasn't just me that thought that then. Been reading glorious reviews for it elsewhere but I didn't get what others seemed to from it. So disappointed really as so full of promise at the start.

    The final "showdown" as it were I particularly disliked.
  • dr_swin 17 Oct 2013 17:37:19 4,892 posts
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    Gold Chris Cleave

    A bit of a woman's book all told but I still really enjoyed it. It was really interesting to read a book based around elite track sprint cycling. The story was a bit 'soap' but the characters were well written and endearing. I could have done without some of the 'star wars' interludes though. It was well written and exciting.
  • Blaizefm 17 Oct 2013 18:59:29 232 posts
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    Must admit I'm confused about the raving reviews on Amazon and elsewhere for Dr Sleep. Thinking back on it, I find it a very mediocre Stephen King novel. While there isn't one particular aspect which is poor there are a number of elements throughout that put me off the more I got through it.

    Massive disappointment. I loved Joyland - his best for a good long while - but this one just left me cold. King is my favourite author, but sometimes his books don't work for me. This is one of them.
  • senso-ji 23 Oct 2013 14:07:21 5,921 posts
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    The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory

    Historical drama set during the War of the Roses.

    Started off a little slow, with certain scenes reading like one of Gregory's personal fantasies, but it definitely improved greatly after that. The White Queen's narration is well written and she is presented as a complex character who is not merely a pure trophy wife, but an individual who has many imperfections and contributed to course of history in very significant ways.

    My only complaint is that the story does get convoluted at times, as various characters are introduced and changed as the years progress, but at the same time Gregory's research and attention to detail is admirable.

    8/10
  • whatfruit 23 Oct 2013 15:00:28 1,530 posts
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    Joe Abercrombie Best Served Cold

    I decided to read this after reading “The First Law trilogy” and “The Heroes”. This is set in the same world as the First Law Trilogy Books. If you haven’t read The First Law books then I would advise that you do. They are dark fantasy or grimdark were characters are all conniving treacherous bastards and people get stabbed in gruesome and graphically descriptive ways. This follows on four years after the events of the The First Law developing two minor characters from those books and introducing a new main one. The story focuses on Monza Murcatto a mercenary captain in the country of Styria (think Middle Ages Holy Roman Empire) who after ten long years of fighting for her patron the ambitious Grand Duke Orso of Talins in order to secure him the Kingship is betrayed. Monza and her brother are beaten, stabbed and thrown off the side of a mountain. Monza survives the fall, retrieves her vast hidden stash of loot and hires a rag tag bunch of misfit mercenaries and assassins to exact revenge on the Duke and six closest associates.

    I really enjoyed this book each one of the “targets” is located in a different city or locale, each of which have a distinct flavour and visual style. The targets are all heavily protected so the book is broken up into seven sections with each section devoted to the scheme, heist, skirmish or battle that results in the target’s death. There is a strange A-Team/dirty dozen dynamic to the group that Monza hires which comprises of an optimistic barbarian, a violent autistic former prisoner, a pretentious poisoner and his young gluttonous assistant, a reformed torturer and a once great mercenary who is now a drunkard. The group is held loosely together by their love of money and they betray, double cross and flat out try to kill each.

    Overall I really enjoyed it flies along at a fast pace there were no glaring plot holes and the writing was good enough that I understood every characters actions or decisions at any given moment. There are some great moments within the book, the scenes in the third section comprising the planning and carrying out of an assassination in a brothel are told from four points of view and the tension ramps up from unease to complete pandemonium in a tightly written account. The only problem that I have is that if you have not read the First Law Trilogy then some of the events and people that the characters talk about and meet are going to be hard to understand.

    8/10
  • Salaman 23 Oct 2013 15:07:05 19,129 posts
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    The causal vacancy - JKR
    Very enjoyable. 8/10
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