Earth Inc – Michael Bollen

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Earth Inc is an enjoyable ride through a capitalist world.
The humour is not as overt as in some similar books – but that is a refreshing change. Certanly an enjoyable read, although it doesn’t leave you with any form of after-thought, which would be a nice addition.

The actual plot is surprisingly well written, despite a lack of real substance to provide some backbone.

And yet, in spite of all this, it is still entertaining. I can’t place why, but it is. And this is, I suspect, it’s main redeeming feature

4/5

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Published in: on September 29, 2008 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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1984 – George Orwell

CoverA novel that is very much considered a classic, and which is often regarded as becoming more like reality, 1984 was bound to take a while to read. Despite it’s modest word count, it is the kind of book that needs to be mulled over between sessions.
As a novel – discounting the political essay behind it – it is a highly readable book that will keep you reading – even when you find the main character changing. However to ignore the political statement behind the novel is to do it a great disservice.
As a political work it is even greater. The empathy provoked with Winston is astounding, you can really find yourself passionately praying that the Brotherhood is real. Even a simple thing such as coffee is a reminder of the message – the poor, cheap taste is contrasted with the name “Victory Coffee” cleverly designed to instill the sense that Oceania is on the brink of victory. The amount of thought put into the very names of such simple things sums up the novel as a whole – it is delicately crafted to give a reasonanse throughout the story that is constantly there – whether it’s at the surface of the text, or just in the background.
Finally, my one crticism of this text is the large dose of the political history and Ingsoc philosophy from Goldsteins book. Such a large block of text in one session is, in my opinion, too heavier dose for most readers who may well give up reading there.
But, regardless, this text remains a literary and political masterpiece.
5/5

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Twilight Saga – Stephenie Meyer

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#1 – Twilight
#2 – New Moon
#3 – Eclipse
#4 – Breaking Dawn

I started reading this series reluctantly – Twilight was on one of the ‘buy one get one free’ books and I needed another to get the deal. This doesn’t include the fact that i’ve never considered Vampire Romances to be my kind of book. It took me by surprise. The originality in the traits of vampires in this series, and the gripping plot made it a very interesting read.

Unfortunately I never felt that attached to Jacob – one of the major characters; and this did make the majority of New Moon uninteresting to me. In addition, a couple of the surprises were foreseen by me. My one final gripe is the ending. I just wish that we found out a bit more about the lives of the ‘survivors’ after the climax. Let me explain, Breaking Dawn near the end after the main climax mentions in passing that it may not all be over; and yet it then ends with the impression that all the survivors lived ‘happily ever after’. This incongruency, to me, leaves something to be desired.

However, it is still a very enjoyable series – it will definitely be re-read at some point.

4/5

Published in: on August 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Superior Saturday – Garth Nix

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Keys To The Kingdom #6

A light read aimed at Young Adults. It’s certanly an entertaining light read, however that is all it is. There is no real suspense during the book and the plot moves in such a way that nothing ever seems to be long enough. There is, put simply, just not enough detail. Even the ‘cliffhanger’ ending, leaves much to be desired. The outcome is almost certainly predictable as is the rest of the plot.

I’m sorry to say that having had such high hopes for this series, it pales into insignificance against other, earlier, works of Nix’s – so much so that I begin to wonder whether his writing skill is deteriorating.

3/5 – Distinctly average.

Published in: on August 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sherlock Holmes #1 & #2 – Arthur Conan Doyle

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#1 – A Study in Scarlet
#2 – The Sign of the Four

These two books are my first foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes and both were immensly enjoyable. The logic of deduction is perfectly intombed in these books – the theory, the methodology and the practise. While I do find the Holmes’ near flawless logic implausible – only minor mistakes are made – when presented fully formed the logic is certainly convincing.

In Study in Scarlet the first half of Part 2 is a dramatic change in style, and one not too my liking – after being used to Watson’s narration, to find a full time and place shift is off-putting. However, thankfully, that did not happen in Sign of the Four and it should by no means detract from this addictive series.

Both perfectly portray the world as it was. The amount of detail is substantial and one could almost suggest that Doyle knew that they may well be read in a different day in the future when readers would need the descriptions of the infamous smog.

They are certainly worthy of their place in any bookshelf devoted to ‘classics’.

5/5

Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Awakened Mage – Karen Miller

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Book Two of King Maker, King Breaker

This book follows in the style of it’s companion, that makes you both want to keep reading, and to skip parts. Yet, I can safely say that as the climax nears it becomes much more fast-paced and gripping. One word of caution though: I found the true climax rushed. What could, nay should, have had a sizeable chapter, was instead over in a few pages. Thus it felt like more of an anti-climax than a climax.

3/5

Originally posted at LIbraryThing at http://www.librarything.com/review/31997202

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Innocent Mage – Karen Miller

CoverBook one of King Maker, King Breaker

An interesting tale that slowly builds up the back story in small drips.
Certainly an enjoyable read once you got used to the style, however at times I felt that too much time was spent on the normal day-to-day life and I was tempted to skip parts until something interesting happened. However, the further towards the end I got the better it seemed to get.
I would recommend reading my review for the sequel though before making up your mind.

4/5

Originally posted at LibraryThing at http://www.librarything.com/review/28869268

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Merlin Conspiracy – Diana Wynne Jones

CoverAs I started The Merlin Conspiracy I found myself confused about what was happening, who was who and who was where. It was a hard slog there’s no question about it.
Yet, I persevered as I knew that Jones can deliver.
And as I reached the mid-way point and the bigger picture started becoming clearer, I found the story had this new sense of purpose and direction which the first half had been lacking. Eventually I found myself unable to put this book down until I had reached it’s thrilling conclusion.

4/5

Originally posted at LibraryThing at http://www.librarything.com/review/27567936

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart

CoverThe claim that “this book will change your life” is one I have heard many times before, and it often fails to do so. In this case however it did.
The book spends its first few chapter building up your sense of the established order, only for it to be rapidly torn down in the following ones. As you follow Luke on the roller coaster ride that is the life of the die you see him slowly destroy everything we hold dear to us, yet you also see him have moments of questioning what he is doing. It is this aspect that makes him come to life.
You will find yourself both repulsed and attracted at the thought of The Dice Man.
After reading this book, I thought well it hasn’t changed my life, but I was wrong. I found myself paying more attention to my desires and all the little voices. I found myself questionning what I had previously taken for granted. I may not have gone to such an extreme as Luke, but I have certainly discovered more about myself, my stereotypes, and ultimately society.
This book HAS changed my life… and I don’t regret it.

5/5

Originally posted at LibraryThing at http://www.librarything.com/review/27575107

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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Dark Sun – Robert Muchamore

CoverAs a mini-book released for World Book Day, I did not have high hopes. I was wrong. This is a good introduction to the CHERUB series showing the main characters engaging in a typical ‘mission’. Yet, in addition to being a good introduction it also provided for the already established fans of the series, by allowing the main character in the series to take a back seat and giving other, more minor characters a chance to shine. Despite a few spoilers for those who will pick up ‘The Recruit’, this mini-book provides an entertaining read for both new readers, and aficionados.

4/5

Originally posted at LibraryThing at http://www.librarything.com/review/27749146

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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