Tag Archives: Book review

A fuzzy review

Reboots are common thing in films and TV, less so in books. As someone who….. let’s say does a little more than dabble in to the old science fiction genre, i’m a little ashamed to say i have never heard of H. Beam Piper; who wrote a book called “Little Fuzzy”. So it was not until my favorite author John Scalzi announced that he was to be remaking the book that it came on to my radar. I hope that one day soon i will be able to read H. Beam Piper original book, but for now i’m going to talk about the remake (boot?) itself. So giving for the fact that i have not read the original I have no idea which is the better version, or how much it differs……………

So here is the boring part, if you are not interested in finding out the story; I always find it much better not knowing;  i’d skip this next paragraph.

A disbarred lawyer, takes up a mining contractor job…. why? who knows. This is a sci-fi (syfy Not) book so it is of course on another planet. Due to some things happening (my lazy writings back),  involving letting a dog blow up a cliff, our main character discovers a huge amount of a rare material, only found on the planet. It basically makes him the richest contractor in the universe. That day he makes another discovery though, in his tree top cabin, he finds that it  has been broke in to, not by a person but by a cute cat like creature; enter the fuzzys. Our character Holloway has never seen this animal before, but he takes and instant liking to them. Through his study and the study of his ex-girlfriend/biologist, he notices how much smarter they are than just a normal animal, they make his well trained dog look like…… well a dog. More evidence is found, that show that maybe these animals, are more than just animals. The book quickly turns in to a court room drama, with at one point 3 cases going on at once.

If you did not read the above paragraph, i will just say that the story is great, and while there is not so much plot twist as gentle bends, you will be engrossed throughout.

Scalzi has a unique way of blending hardcore science fiction with comedy, while this is not his funnest work (That award goes to Agent to the stars) it has a few laugh loud moments, and more than enough chuckles to help the pages tick over. Most of these come from the main character with his dry sense of humor and sarcasm. Sarcasm is a common theme in all of Scalzi main characters, from all his novels, and by reading his blog whatever (http://whatever.scalzi.com/)  you can see he is not short of that either. Some may even call them all smartarses.

Typicaly i’m not one to swayed by seeing cuteness or a description of it, my dog being the only thing i want go “awwwwwwwww” at, but i have to admit the idea of this little fuzzy family did bring a little one out of me.  The fuzzy’s them self play an integral role, misconceptions that Holloway makes are proven wrong, which goes along way to prove just how alien the world is.

I said before that this book goes in to a court room drama. It’s not all that common for a Sci-fi book to go in this area and when it started i was slightly skeptical. The Author does it well, i in my misguided way have had a problem with law story’s, thinking they would be boring, turns out the’re not (at least not this one). I now know that the trick is in the dialogue, it makes the characters believable in their own extreme ways, and the book flows with an even pace because of it.

Now on the pace of the book; one of my few disappointed was how quick i read it. It is Scalzi’s first full book in two years while i’m not expecting him to do a James Patterson and create a factory that spews out 15 books a year, but i felt there was still areas that could have been explained in this book. Suppose that some say the key to a good book though it leaves you wanting more, though i don’t really agree with that, anything that makes me vauguly frustrated, is not a good thing.

While i hate to compare, if you do, which i hate to do, to Scalzis other books it fits more on the more lighter end of  his literary spectrum. While it’s not the bright pink that was agent of the stars, it was defiantly a light blue. Looking at what Scalzis last commercial release was The gods engine, which clearly was a Dark bloody red on the spectrum, i think  it’s safe to that Fuzzy Nation is nowhere near that colour. I think this is an allegory has gone as far as it will now. Though there is something to say for the colour green and old mans war.

I’m not expecting any sequels to this book (even though the original spawned a few) but it would be a nice surprise if this story does make a comeback. All in all very good book, something i was expecting and while i may be ever so slightly biased toward him (my favorite author who happens to be creative consultant on Stargate) i still know a good book when i read one. This is one. I thinks it’s safe to say i’v bummed the author and the book enough for you to know that it will be a high score.

So with out further ado it’s a:

9/10

Whatever Scalzi does next i will be there (hopefully) to cheer him on and read it, whether this will be a sequel to a previus book, a brand new one or even more novellas. He has not yet has a miss yet, in this hit and miss industry; which is a rare thing indeed.

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Killing Hour by Andrew Gross – A short review

The Killing Hour is by Andrew Gross, Gross is an author that i have never read before but heard of because of work with James Patterson. I do read the odd thriller (Greg Hurwitz, Linwood Barclay being among my favorite’s) but it’s been a while since i’v venture to this genre. This book was a good middle  ground for me, the last two book i read were, the god emperor of mankind and book that take’s all of my little brain power, and the world of Karl Picklington, which took a little less.
If you don’t wan’t to know any of the story then don’t look at the next Paragraph.

It’s the story of a Dr. Jay Handler’s who lives a perfect life. But as in most books, the development happens, his bi polar nephew commits suicide. The Dr goes help out his step brother who is also Bi polar. It look’s a pretty open and shut case. The main problem is clear lack of care shown for his Nephew who was in care. Dr. Handler stays to try and get’s some answer for his family. Things soon take a sinister tone though, information that his nephew was in contact with a police officer who turns up dead; murdered. A 60’s and 70’s cult that had used sex and music to control the followers and were made famous for a number of bloody murdered, are soon linked to his death. Thus the Dr set’s about to solve his nephew death, the police don’t believe him, and only a old ex-alcoholic who had enough of his own horror in his own life, looks a little deeper for the poor (in both senses) of the child.

Unlike lot’s of thrillers that i have read, the emotion felt very real. And i was not surprised to read the afterward and find out a little more about the back story of the writing of the book. It’s a Cliche but this book was a real page turner. It can take me a month to read a book sometime’s granted the more wordy ones. It took me 3 days to read that, which is great for me. The story was enthralling, and it took me all of 20 pages for me to get invested in the book. The style of the book is very a like to James Patterson, short snappy chapter, not all that much description but very good dialogue. It’s a top book, a great read. And since my mum has a few other of Gross’s book laying around, i’m sure i will reading some more of his very soon.

8 out of 10

Other news of note
Leeds beat Crusaders in the challenge cup, though at the cost of three players getting injuries. We also got Harlequin’s at home, which all things considers in pretty good.

PSN is still down…………*sigh* pretty annoying; i should really get to checking my bank account.

I need another job

The Other lands – Acacia trilogy (book 2) A Review

I’m just sat here listening to music, browsing the internet looking at complete crap and then something made me think of my blog; that i have been ignoring the poor thing. It’s just sat here. I had no plans for a new blog, i was shocked at the realisation. I have been away playing a new game (mass effects 2 (on ps3)) , also getting prepared for a new job that starts soon. I go to look at my favourites to find the next page I should view when I see my blog. I know it has not been an age since my last update, but i normal had a plan for the next blog; however lose the plan. Anyway i sat bored, ass starting to go numb thinking of something to write here. I looked down to a pile of books that was scattered on a pouffe,Ii saw the brilliant cover art for the most the recently read book “the other lands” which is the middle part of Acacia trilogy, it is a epic fantasy book series. I say recently read, i mean it, I read the last 40 odd pages this morning. Hey presto a blog idea so crazy that it would make the man in the padded room squeam, A BOOK REVIEW.

So here it is my first book review on my blog!

The Other lands – Acacia trilogy (book 2) A Review

The other lands, is set I think around 9 years after the first book “War with the Mein”. It follows the three remaining Akaran children, now Queen Corinn, Prince Dariel and Princess Mena. All of the children (now adults) have their separate tales which all interlock with each other in to an epic story of a large force who hail from “the other lands”. I love maps of fictional worlds so when I first opened up the book I spent a good while looking at every location of the known world, and of the other lands. That done I look further in the book to find a very helpful “story so far” section, it had been more than a year since i read the first book; this give a refresher of the story and I’m sure would do the job for a new reader as well. I wish more books had them.

The first book was set in a world where magic had existed in the form of the giver tongue. But by the end of the first novel the now dead Akaran son Aliver brought back some magic to the world, which he used to defeat his enemy. He died though, very sad. The queen Corinn had now learned the givers tongue though. Magic (or whatever) is used lots more in this second book; it’s not used overkill though. The world is not filled with Gandalf’s. It makes the use of magic that much more powerful when she uses it. I don’t read all that much fantasy so not all that much magic is a good thing for me!

A good middle book of trilogy normally will set up the third book, which this did do. It did it too well. As that was more or less all it did it started a story that had no end I am sure it will start in the second book and then move in to the third, seamlessly. I would have liked a little more of a closed story in this book, like the first had. The story though was as epic as ever. Huge distances were traversed (In getting the other lands). The way David Anthony Durham built up the inhabitants of the other lands was great, using small mention in the first book and building such a large mystery around them . I was so happy when Dariel was told he would get the chance to travel to see them and their lands. The answers were all given in this book. I won’t spoil it but it’s a great dark story which  is sending shivers down my spine when thinking back on it. There is no innocents in this book; it’s not black and white, with the good side (the Akaran family) having a have a dark past, which involves giving child slaves to the other land for a drug, the drug that will make the people of the empire more subservient. While not the children (now adults) fault it created an interesting dilemma for the reader; when a rebellion pops up.

In many ways this book is better than the first; darker, not as many unanswered question, a sweet big bird/reptile and it carried on with great characters. I would have liked a little more action; I’m an 18 year old boy after all. The story is well paced; it’s not in a genre I would normally read either so it not being too hard core fantasy helped me a lot. The world is so believable too, a great mix of real life and made up things that make up this world.

The book built up slowly and an epic battle looks to be coming in the third book, which I am sure will amazing. But I can’t help but feel like the third book should have been added to end of the book though. What I mean by that is that when I finished the book it did not feel like I had just finished reading a book. Yeh I know there has to be a bit of a tease and be left open for the third one, while there was a big story twist in the last words of the book, it still just seem to end a little unnatural. That only my own opinion and you know by now that I don’t read much fantasy.

Guess i have to give it a score out of 10 or something along those lines.

SO i will give it a ………………………………………………… 8.8 very good, a must read, i would suggest after you read the 1st book of course.

Want more book reviews? tell me?!