Archive for October, 2016

THE DEMON KING

Posted: October 26, 2016 in Book Reviews

demon-king

The Demon King by Cinda William Chima

506 pages

The Demon King is the first book in the 7 realms series. The fells are one of the 7 Realms and it seems the only realm that is not at war with itself or others. Raisa is the Princess Heir and her mother, the Queen is doing her best to find a suitor for her to marry her off as soon as Possible.

Han, former gang leader in the city of Fellmarch, now retired from the gang life is trying to make a living and supporting his sister and mother. For as long as he can remember he has worn silver cuffs which it seems are impossible to remove.

The Bayers are the realms greatest and most powerful wizarding family who are in the Queens circle and seem to be exerting greater influence and control over the Queen to the concern of those around her.

It’s been 1,000 yrs since the world was nearly destroyed by the Demon King. This Demon King was a wizard king and as a result of that wizards were banned from marrying royalty to prevent anything like that from happening again. The Bayer family however uses their influence to arrange for the marriage of their son to the Princess against the naeming, which is the accord that prevents this from happening.

The tribal Clans of the mountains have control over all magical amulets which give the wizards their power. These amulets magical properties are made by and distributed by the Clans. They do not last forever keeping wizards in perpetual dependence on their control, production and distribution. The naeming accords prevent wizards from being in possession of any magical amulets made prior to these accords and ever since then the Clans have had full control of them.

Han, While out with a friend encounters Micah Bayer, who gets arranged marriage set up to the princes, and takes from him an amulet that is not only powerful but illegal. He does not know who he is stealing from however and soon learns that the Bayers are now after him to get it back.

This first book is a good set up for this former street lord and Princess to cross paths a few times and can see where their story is heading for their fates to meet again in the next volume. Perhaps on better terms than their first meeting this time.

Perhaps I am looking to much into things but I love what seems to me to be a subtle but well planned element of this story. The Bayer family is the worlds most powerful wizarding family. Bayer is also, arguably one of the worlds largest pharmaceutical companies valued at over 200 billion dollars. pharmaceutical has its root words in the biblical Pharmakei which means enchantment, magic, wizradry, sorcery etc… It seems to me that this is the perfect name for such a powerful wizard family.

Princess Raisa, it seems, is a strong-willed intelligent girl who is frustrated with the reality of her life. She hates the fact that she cannot marry when she is ready, or to who she wants to marry. She feels desperately under education in the world and is desperate to find a way out. If there is one thing I love about her character it is her strong will and determination to break through the barriers of her upbringing and conditioning.

Han’s Character is desperately trying to leave behind a life of gang banging. It’s a life that can’t ever seem to leave him alone. He is constantly having to watch his back. The local law enforcement suspects him of murders he had nothing to do with. It seems he will never be able to fully leave it behind. Now however he has an opportunity to do just that and he has accepted it.

Overall I give this book a 7/10 book worms and look forward to reading the next volume.

MENTATS OF DUNE

Posted: October 14, 2016 in Book Reviews

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Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson

445 pages

Dune is a vast universe set far into the future. Humanity has evolved so far beyond a single world to the point that earth is virtually a myth and legend as the birthplace of humanity. It is over 8,000 years ahead of our present time and humanity is the only sentient species in galaxy. Hundreds of planets make up the known universe with a single Emperor who rules it all.

Arrakis, also known as Dune, the only known source of spice in the known universe. Spice, known as melange is the only source for safe space travel. As a drug it opens the minds of the Navigators so that they can plot the only safe course through fold space and is essential for trade, transport, commerce and civilization in the galaxy to exist without isolation of worlds.

In the aftermath of the machine war many schools have been set up to advance humanity to reach its greatest potential. The school of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, the suk doctors school and the Mentat school. This Mentat school is set up to teach humanity how to in effect become living, breathing, computers.

A conflict has arisen that threatens to tear apart and destroy the vast empire and destabilize civilization as we know it. Manford Torondo is the leader of the Butlerians, a fanatical group of religious extremist who are waging a war to destroy all technology who fight with the mantra “the mind of man is holy.” This movement is named after Serena Butler whose baby was mercilessly killed by the thinking robot Erasmus, which was the spark that ignited the machine crusade against thinking computers and technology.

Joseph Venport, head of Venhold spacing fleet, who has a virtual monopoly on commerce in the galaxy has reached his limit and vows to cut off and end all commerce with any world that sides with the Butlerians. A war of ideals is waged with escalating conflicts between Venhold and the Butlerians. Worlds are starved for spice, goods, and everything they need and are becoming desperate. The Butlerians continue to escalate their acts of terrorism in an effort to maintain control and rid the universe of the evil of thinking machines. The Emperor Corrino is caught between two very powerful and extreme leaders. Siding with either one will rip civilization apart at the seams.

Gibertus Albans, Head of and founder of the Mentat school, secretly has been hiding away the memory core of Erasmus who is essentially a mind without a body. Erasmus he sees as a father, and the only one he has ever known. He has been living his life desperately trying to maintain a balance between his devotion to the robot who raised him and was also the trigger for the machine crusade and butlerian movement and appeasing the butlerians while having Erasmus in hiding for decades. His true identity is discovered by the Butlerians and Manford Torondo and everything comes to a head.

I have always loved Dune and can honestly say that there is not a single Dune book that I have not just absolutely loved!. The writing and world creation is just amazingly well done. The entire Dune universe is extremely complex, intriguing, deep in both ideology, and politics. Dune is not a simply a science fiction story it is so much more than that. It is a story of humanity which speaks to the very nature of the human psyche. The constant struggle between opposing ideology and the very real struggle between right and wrong, morality and ethics, and all those gray areas in between that we just do not know which way is the right way. There are no good guys, there are no bad guys.

What is the best way to achieve our greatest potential as a species? Do we train our minds to be computers like the mentat school? Do we use the genetics of the human species to manipulate and artificially control the evolution of the species like the Bene Gesserit sisterhood? Do we consume mind enhancing drugs to open our minds to the vast and infinite possibilities within the universe like the navigators do with the Spice of Dune? Do we rid ourselves of all advance technology and live with the mantra of “The mind of man his holy”? Are all these equally correct paths?

What I love about these books is that at the beginning of each chapter there is a quote to start, usually asking a question or presenting the reader with an idea or thought designed to make you think about the implications of said idea. I would like to share some of them with you that I really liked

“Blind adherence to foolish ideas makes people act in ways that are demonstrably against their own interest. I care only about intelligent rational human beings”

“A name is a private thing, not given lightly. Have you earned it?”

“Is anything as we perceive it? What are the filters to our perception? The most honest among us will look deeply to examine how our opinions are skewed by our own delusions”

“There is strength in numbers, a raw and primal power. But as the crowd grows and grows, its ability to reason diminishes”

“Just repeating a statement often and with great vehemence does not make it a fact, and no amount of repetition can make a rational person believe it.”

“Our teachings are vital. We teach you how to think, not what to think. The mind of man is holy. It cannot be battered into submission by threat of violence. Absolute rules are for unthinking people. Sheep require fences – humans do not.”

This book easily gets 9/10 book worms. Just a fantastic read as all the dune books are

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The Mortal Insturments: City of Lost Souls

by Cassandra Clare

534 pages

Ok, I am going to be making this one a really short review. I think it is quite clear at this point what I think about this series of books, and will be the last book I read of Cassandra Clares

Jace has been possessed yet again but this time by Sebastian, Valentines son who has been resurrected via the power of his blood. Lilith has been destroyed and is slowly reforming. Jace and Sebastian are gathering an army for Sebastians quest of global domination. Clary must infiltrate their plans and report back to her friends.

As usual, this book is filled with the typical writing style of Cassandra Clare, lots of high school romance teen love and beating hearts. Cheesy cliché filled drivel and romance. one word Yuck.

The build up to the climax at the end of the book was done O.K. as was the execution of said climax leaving room for more story in the future. I, however, have no intention of continuing said story line and will not be buying any more of her books. I am honestly wondering how I managed to get through these 5 books as it is.

I am sure Jr High and High school girls will be swooning at the teen romance cliché filled drivel that fills these books. It is certainly not something I will ever read again. I have refused to read twilight and should have known better than to pick this series up as it seems to the same style or kind of story.

4/10 book worms and for the series as a whole, I will have to downgrade what I have given previous books. 3/10 book worms.

No book series is a waste of time to read however as I have learned what not to read in the future and reading this makes me forever grateful that I never picked up twilight. At least I can finally say its over.