Monday, July 30, 2012

2012 July Reading List

11.22. 63 by Stephen King – I was reluctant to read this book because I have zero interest in Kennedy's assassination. The good news is that only a small part of the book is focused on the actual event. From this point of view, all the hype is based on false advertising. The not so good news is that the book is awfully long. For several hundreds of pages I couldn't help feeling that the author was stalling before getting to the actual story and it took me a while to realize that this was the real story. King is a great atmosphere writer, but a story can't be based only on atmosphere, it needs a plot too and here the plot drags. And if you dissect it bit by bit, it turns out it's not such a great plot after all. I'm not that happy with King's time travel solution, but then again I wouldn't really call him a hard sci fi writer so I wasn't expecting much. 4/5 stars

The Spook's Destiny by Joseph Delaney – Delving into little brother's fantasy books again. I used to like this series, but this is already the eight book and you know what the problem with the long series is: all plots tend to blend into one and after a while you can't remember what happened in each book anymore. I could barely find the patience to read it all so this was the last book from this series for me. 3/5 stars

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – All the great ideas are there, but the presentation is lacking. The book failed to engage me as a reader, there's no excitement in it. I felt like watching a Discovery documentary. If there had been a power failure, I would have just moved on to something else without giving it a second thought. 3/5 stars

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – I had the same problems with this book as I did with The Shadow of the Wind only that beside the fact that is rehashing most of the plot point the book is longer and the plot goes off the rails much worse. It frustrates me to see a writer who writes so well, and Zafon writes better than well, being unable to come up with a believable plot. Really, I don't care how well it's written, if the plot makes no logical sense then the book gets the thumbs down from me. Actually, it's even worse if it's well written because otherwise it could have been great. Anyway, I didn't really connect with Martin, I hated Cristina, but I loved Isabella. Her interactions with Martin were the best parts of the book. The Sempere men felt a little faded in the background, but they were still nice. And another little nitpick: all those streets mentioned, if you've never been to Barcelona they bring nothing to the story, they're just names. 3/5 stars

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – I liked it much better than The Angel's Game. The only problem is that it relies heavily on the universe developed in the previous books from the series. I don't think it would do so well as a standalone especially since it's a rather short book. But I liked the policier feel. I didn't like the ending though. It's not a bad ending, it's just unsettling, and I don't like that. 4/5 stars

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – First of all, I will never understand while people keep retelling old stories instead of inventing new ones. This being said, and keeping in mind that even as a kid I wasn't a big fan of Cinderella, the story wasn't too cringe worthy. The technical part managed to keep me interested, but the plot twists were predictable and the romance just silly. And I didn't like the ending that isn't really an ending at all. 3/5 stars

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson – The world building is superb. Unfortunately, it takes precedence in front of the characters and the plot sort of stealing the show while the story itself fades into the background. One thing puzzled me: why did Swan have to speak out loud with her qube? What's the point of having the quantum computer embedded into her head if all the data transfer isn't done internally? Also, the characters left me cold and Swan was annoying too often. 4/5 stars for the world building, otherwise 3/5 stars

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