Sunday, September 02, 2007

Recent Books

I haven't put up a list of books I've read recently for ages.
Here goes - I may have missed some though.

The next after the Bourne Trilogy is the Bourne Betrayal. Eric Van Lustbader wrote this one after Robert Ludlum's death and with the family approval. - He has done a great job you would think you were reading Ludlum himself.

I give this a 4.5 out 5 and definitely recommend it for any other Ludlum fans out there.

This book is a great spy thriller. Set in a futuristic but fairly realist world, the cold war is back - only this time its USA vs the rest of the world, and the argument iis over who controls near space. GPS satellites are the only way anything happens, airplanes land using them. ships navigate with them, the world will grind to a halt without them. Enter a family man spy, his brilliant scientist wife and their precocious daughter and you have a recipe for a gripping thriller. I couldn't put this one down.

4 stars out of 5.

Ben Bova's "The Precipice was a little disappointing. I like my science fiction to be also a head jerk, and this one was very formulaic. The results were fairly predictable (although there is a twist at the end) and the characters were very flat. Not up to Ben's usual standard.

2.5 stars out of 5

Elizabeth Boyer has written a series of novels based in a world of Alfar (Elves) that exist side by side with the normal realm of humans. None of them seem to be connected (I have read the first 4 so far) but the stories all stand on their own anyway.
The stories are quite fun and have some humourous moments in them. the characters are not well developed emotionally or intellectually, but there is enough depth to the story and the description of the environment to be believable (for fantasy). Quite worth it for offbeat fantasy lovers.
I have read "The Sword and the Satchel", "The Elves and the Otterskin", The Thrall and the Dragons Heart" and "The Wizard and the Warlord".

3.5 stars out of 5

This is a cheap trashy crime novel with not much of a plot and not much in the way of a story. I picked it up out of a bargain bin at the train station and almost threw it away but I wanted to read something on the train. The trashy free newspaper would have been a better choice. Don't bother buying it, or wasting your time reading it.

0.5 stars out of 5

John Fullerton has written "The Monkey House" in a very believable style. Makes you think he had been there. Set in Sarejevo in the heart of the Balkans crisis and seen from the viewpoint of a policeman there this is an impelling inside story of the war's effects on law and order in Sarejevo. Fullerton is a war journalist and covered this war so the reality described is obviously been experienced by him.
The story itself is the attempt to solve a seemingly inane murder in a city full of death and dying. The monkey house itself is an apartment block curiously untouched by rebel fire in the heart of shelling. Apparently their own live there.

I recommend this one - 4 stars out of 5.

A series of very offbeat fantasy / fiction short stories with authors commentary between them. I think it would have helped if you had read her previous work (which I hadn't). Gentle has some reasonable craft as a writer, but she seems fixated on the development of a few specific themes, women in military being one of them.

2.5 stars out of 5

Elizabeth Moon is a fantastic writer. I owned one of her books "The Speed of Dark" before and bought this series of 3 books in an omnibus edition. Fantastic. They flow from one to the other in one large book!
The story is awesome. The plot has lots of twists and there is a huge amount of character development. There are 2 main characters, and 4-8 sub characters who are well developed, but even all the ancillary people needed to make a huge space faring book be put together are well explained and don't seem out of place. In fact the only errors I could find in the books were 2 spelling mistakes and 1 typesetting error.

I really enjoyed these novels and Moon does a great job and providing very realistic descriptions of haute cuisine, horse riding (eventing and to foxes) as well as space warfare that you can imagine yourself being there.

5 stars out of 5

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