The Well Read Viking

The Well Read Viking

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Warbound by Larry Correia

Man was this a fun book to read. In this thrilling conclusion to the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia has once again managed to write a novel that I was hard pressed to put down. As with his MHI series (Monster Hunter International) Larry has created a world that is full of violence and war, but that hasn't sunk itself so deep into a mire of misery and pain that it would be impossible for people with purely good motives to exist. While it is bloody, this book is not what I would call gritty. The  book doesn't leave you gaping at man's depravity, but rather it has you looking more towards a hope for the future of these people. I will admit that I do enjoy that type of book, but this one was refreshing change of pace.

This book series takes place in the 1930's. In this alternate history a power began to appear in certain people. These people began to develop certain abilities. Some were able to manipulate gravity (Heavies), some could control fire (Torches) and a whole host of other powers. Some of them are more common than others, but those with the same ability are limited in the same way, with the only difference being the level of power of the individual and their ingenuity with the power. As with any type of power, some will use it wisely and some will use it for evil purposes.

The characters created by Larry Correia were all very well done. Each character is unique and each character had something that drew me to them and made me want them to succeed (villains excluded). The world building in this series is top notch. He manages to take magic and the world state of the thirties to create a believable world situation. It shows that the setting and background were both researched quite well.

As I stated with Monster Hunter International, this book is not going to test your intellect and force into any deep philosophical discussion or contemplation. Rather it is what I would call a fun summer read. It is a lighthearted fare, full of action and guns and interesting superpowers. While it does have some things in common with the other series (like being awesome), this series is quite different. Larry manages to keep both worlds afloat without crossing the ideas of one into the other.

If you are looking for a fun summer read full of action, guns, superpowers and a smidgen of Lovecraftian horror, then this is the book for you. I am sad that the trilogy has come to an end, but at least I know that Larry is working on other books that will take me on lighthearted romps through worlds of violence and mayhem.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Emperor of Thorns is the final book in the trilogy The Broken Empire. I have found myself engrossed time and time again by the characters and story that Mark Lawrence has created. The main character, Jorg, is not what you would call a hero, not in any sense of the word. He murders, sometimes for the fun of it. He sleeps around and at times is contrary just for the hell of it. Even with the fact that he is a clear antihero, you find yourself rooting for him and his goals.

If one line could sum up the contents of a book the phrase "Dark times call for dark choices. Choose me." would be the phrase. This book is dark. The world in which this book takes place is not a pretty one. People are living in the crumbling remains of a past society that has mainly been forgotten. There is clear evidence that this world was devastated by nuclear disaster and they are trying to put things the way they were as best they can.

As with the first two books of this series the timeline jumps back and forth. It gives you a current look at Jorg and his situation and it also gives you a glimpse into different parts of his past that has some import on what is going to happen. When you reach the end of the book you will not find the ending you expect, but you will find an ending that makes perfect sense given the world and the character.

If you are looking for a book to set aside all fantasy tradition and tropes, a book that treads in uncharted territory, then this book is for you.  This book series, in its way, is just like the New York Yankees. You either love it or you hate it. Middle ground is basically nonexistent.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Eyes of God by John Marco

Recently I won the fourth book of this series. I figured to give it a fair shake I should probably read the first three. As I started into the first book of the series I couldn't help but make comparisons to a famous legend.

As the book starts out King Akeela (Arthur) is trying to make peace with the lands around him and he ends up engaged to a lovely princess named Cassandra (Guinevere). The King's champion is named Lukien (Lancelot). He has never been beaten in battle or game, he is simply the best my far. (Camelot reference for you folks out there) Both Lukien and Cassandra love the king, but sadly they both love him like a brother. They try to tell themselves that their affection for each other is wrong, but it is too powerful. They end up betraying the king by getting together to act on their love. They hate what they are doing to the king, but they are unable to stop.

Sound similar at all? Oh and did I mention that the young king is an idealist who is trying to make his kingdom one that is based on equality? To make your life easier just remember this legend and skip to page two hundred and once you get there be prepared for a rough slog through the next few hundred pages. Normally a book of this size will take me a few days to read. Pages 200-370 took me about a week and a half. I just could not find the energy or interest to keep reading. When I read a book and I am distracted by needing to work or do real things (it happens on occasion, not often mind you, but it happens) I will almost always head right back to the book as soon as I am able. That was not the case with this book. I would finish my work, look over at the book and decide that staring out the window seemed like a much better use of my time.

Eventually the writing of the book improved and the story seemed to take off. After the rough start I finally found myself interested with what was happening to the characters and the story arc. Maybe it was because the story jumped to 16 years in the future or maybe it was just the fact that the characters seemed more rounded and less like their counterparts in Arthurian legend or maybe I knew that I couldn't move on to another book until I finished this one. No matter the reason the last four hundred pages went by like a breeze.

If you are willing to give an author a chance on their first book and you don't mind a blatant rehashing of a legend for a quarter of the book I guess you could do worse than pick up this book. The last half of the book gave me enough hope to go on with the rest of the series. Fingers crossed that this doesn't become a decision I regret.

Rating: 3 Stars