The Well Read Viking

The Well Read Viking

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Balance Broken by J.T. Hartke

A year and a half ago I entered a giveaway to receive this book. I did not win, but for some reason I kept it around on my lists. Time past and I wound up forgetting about this book, but recently as I scrolled through my to-reads I saw this book and I figured it was time.

As the story begins we are introduced to two characters who both have visions that tell them that they will be integral in changing and shaping the fate of the world. When this happens we have no idea who these people are and what their goals might be. As the book progresses we see more about the motivations of the characters and who they really are and for what side they fight. As this is happening we get introduced to a whole host of other characters who end up getting involved in the main plot at different points.

While this book does follow a familiar fantasy pattern of a protagonist that is coming of age, it does it in a way that is not quite normal. This book actually features two main protagonists, a male and a female, and it follows the growth of the two of them in their respective spheres. I found that many of the characters had depth. They had flaws with which we could associate and they acted like real people would.

The way this book is organized is to have each chapter from a different characters point of view. This allows us to get to know them better and it keeps the book fresh throughout. The action is well paced and the book never feels like it is dragging. Each page grabs your attention and forces you to go on, even though you might have other things to do.  I do have a small complaint (I always do). Sometimes during the action an order would be shouted out or they would be going about things and it ended up feeling a little under-described. One example that comes to mind is when we are introduced to the dwarf mage. He is told to engage in battle but the description of what he did was sparse.

One thing that I really did enjoy was the system of magic that J.T. Hartke created. It was well thought out and well explained. It made the magic that happened seem more real. As a whole I really enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to anyone that likes fantasy or a fun fast paced story. I will most certainly be looking for the sequel when it comes out.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton

To start off I feel that I should say that Science Fiction is not normally my thing. I love to watch it, but to read it has been a different story. Give me swords and magic over ray guns and technology any day. With that in mind I had a friend of mine ask me for a book suggestion. He isn't really into fantasy, but he loves stories about space and whatnot. That put me in a bind. I had no idea what to recommend to him.  Time was passing so I turned to my trusty source of Goodreads. I found out what they had rated highly and placed on their Sci Fi lists and passed the news on. In reading the description of this book I came across the term "space opera". How could I not read a book belonging to the genre of space opera? I started reading the book and I was immediately sucked into the writing of Peter F. Hamilton.

The book starts off just as the human race is about to land on Mars. Humans have come a long way and are reaching further out in to the stars and are making huge advances in undoing the effects of aging. As the ship lands the world prepares for a solemn moment. As the pompous words are being spoken they hear some laughter. As they go around the outside of their craft they find a man in a homemade spacesuit watching them from a wormhole that connects back to California.

Fast forward 300 years. The human race has expanded through the universe and now lives on 600 different worlds. These worlds are connected by wormhole gateways. There also is rarely death. The technology allows for people who have aged to go through a rejuvenation cycle and come out looking and feeling like they are twenty. It is a good time to be alive. You can pretty much find a world that matches the society you would like to live in.

As the people are going about their lives a discovery is made. Two star systems many light years away just vanished. With further tests they see that it happened in less than a second. The humans were perplexed. What has the technology to do such a thing and why. A crew is put together and a ship is built to find out all that they can about the so-called Dyson Pair.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very well developed and his ideas of technology were fascinating. It is not a small book though. Coming in at over 1100 pages it is quite the commitment. The bad news also is that it is actually just part one of a two part series. If you read this one you have to go on and read Judas Unchained to get any type of conclusion. Being so lengthy at times it felt like the side plots went on a little long. Not often, but on a few occasions I felt that he should get on to the next part. I guess if you like Sci Fi or are curious about space opera as I was I would definitely recommend this book.

Rating: 4.5 stars.