Saturday, April 30, 2011

Monthly report: March & April 2011

Because it often happens that I read a book but don't review it (or I take a long time writing a review), I've decided to start posting brief monthly reports on what I read, including a sentence or two about the book if it was not reviewed.

I didn't read much in March and April, so I decided to (again) combine the two montly reports. :)

Black Man (Richard Morgan): First of 'The Pile specials' I actually managed to read! Black Man was not quite what I expected - it's a bit of an SF detective story, and while the plot had me quite interested, I didn't feel very close to either of the protagonists, I couldn't immerse myself in the story even when I tried and it was overall a very, very slow read. I have to add that these are problems I often encounter when reading SF, though; I'm never sure whether that's due to authors' style or whether it's just me.

Swan Song (Robert McCammon): A re-read. Swan Song is a total ripoff of The Stand (I mean it - the end of the world, plethora of characters, good vs. evil faction, supernatural powers on both sides, plethora of characters, a traumatised youngster who falls prey to the 'dark side' and 'the man with the scarlet eye' as the antagonists, ...), but still interesting and gripping enough to be read in one sitting.

(Karl Marlantes): While this one doesn't fall under the speculative fiction category, it seemed to be everyone's favourite book of 2010 and so I absolutely had to read it. Turns out that for once, I agreed with the praise I heard about it - the book was an awesome read, and I'm still struggling to describe it in the way that'd do it justice. Matterhorn is about Vietnam war as it really was through the eyes of a young man - mind-numbingly boring and yet incredibly exciting, futile and illogical, a dangerous game. The book was also gripping enough to keep me reading through the night until I finished it, which is always a good thing (unless you have to get up early ;).

The Folding Knife (K. J. Parker): this was another one of those curious books that are really intriguing, plot-wise, but at the same time the story is just not gripping enough and you stay somewhere in the middle, reading on because you want to know what happens, while taking your sweet time to do so because you're not that interested after all (and the pace of the book is not exactly fast, either). I know that the characters weren't the problem here - the story centers on Basso whom I actually liked very much - so maybe it was the lack of action? The Folding Knife was good enough that I want to read more by K. J. Parker, but I think it'd greatly benefit from a faster pace.

ng Fire & Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins): These two books have
exactly the pace The Folding Knife is lacking. While I was not as impressed with them as I was with The Hunger Games, I still devoured them - I read both in one sitting, and I don't think this ever happened to me with a series. There are some slight problems with the plot and characters, but this has to be one of the most exciting series I've ever read. (Review upcoming.)



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