Archive for December, 2016

HELLHOLE AWAKENING

Posted: December 29, 2016 in Book Reviews

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Hellhole Awakening

By Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson

631 pages

Its been a while since I read and reviewed the first book in this series Hellhole. As I recall I did not give this first book a very good rating. Perhaps that is why it has taken me over 2 years to get to the second book in this series as a whole.

Hellhole is awakening. The planet is coming back to life from its long slumber and mysterious ships are appearing the skies planting life and animals back on this devastated world. The mystery of these visitors and what they are doing is only hinted at. Why are they doing this and who are they has yet to be revealed. But first

As established in the first book of this series, General Adolphus has declared independence from the constellation. The Diadem and the constellation are sending Adolphus’s arch nemesis, the Hallholmes against him with a fleet of war ships that out man, out gun and can easily over power the defenses of the deep zone.

More and more people have joined the shadow Xayan community by immersing themselves in the slickwater. Through the combined human alien hybrids they have begun to develop their telepathic powers which prove useful as a psychic weapon against the Constellations fleet. However the Constellation is not the only threat, it seems the Xayan’s have their enemies as well which may very well prove to be far more dangerous that anything humanity has ever encountered before.

The last review got a bad rating because the elements of the story did not seem to have any relevance the what was going on. I do think that perhaps while that criticism was well deserved this book has helped to shed much light on the importance of those elements. At least with respect to the Xayan’s. Keana’s role still seems to be not that important to the overall story arc but perhaps will become more apparent in the 3rd volume Hellhole Inferno.

The further developing of the psychic powers of the Shadow Xayan’s is, for me at least, one of my favorite aspects of this story. The introduction of new information regarding the factions of the Xayan species will serve to be a key player in the up coming volume. This seems to be evident in the Constellation defeat but leaving the world of Candellla in ruins, not from a human, but a Xayan war.

This volume really has helped me see how the different aspects of the story, which originally seemed to be virtually useless part of the story, are now coming together as an even bigger plot line than the original deep zone vs Crown Jewel war. General Adolphus’s challenges it seems are just getting started. The Xayan’s have helped the General defeat the Constellation and in return he must help them achieve their races goal of Alaru, the next step in the species evolution. With the Xayan’s enemies posing a threat the General may have gotten himself in to a war he cannot win.

Considering the problems with the last book this book is a huge improvement upon the first volume. The links are all coming together and the story is starting to make much more sense now. I am looking forward to reading the final volume to see just how this will play out and if Alaru is accomplished and reached.

While the last book got a 3/10 bookworms, this one is getting a much better rating and I will bump it up to 5/10 book worms. We shall see if the last one in the series breaks the 5 mark or not.

EARTH AWAKENS

Posted: December 16, 2016 in Book Reviews

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Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

395 pages

Earth first was unaware, Then the Earth was Afire and now it has awakened to the threat of the first formic invasion of Earth.

The Formics have landed and begun to terrorize the citizens of Earth. They have landed in China and are burning cities to the ground. The military cannot fight them off and the Earth is still so divided that their has been no organized offensive to the alien threat.

Ukko Jukes of Jukes limited seems to be the only one who is working towards saving the world in any formal cooperation with the free miners from the asteroid belt. Victor and Imala have been in the Formic ship and have gained valuable intel into how the Formic ship operates and its weakness.

Mazer Rackham is working with the MOP’S (Mobile Operations Police), A kind of international peace keeping military organization. Uniting with both the Chinese and Indian militaries and with the intelligent mind of young Bingwen (of course it’s a kid, this is Cards trademark. You didn’t really expect that their would not be a kid involved now did you?)

These insectoid like aliens are a threat that the Earth had never imagined possible. The people are burning and dying by the millions. The Earths crops are being destroyed by flesh melting acid sprayed by the Formics. It is a scene of pure terror and horror beyond our worst nightmares.

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Card and Johnston in this case lose some points for stereo types. Bingwen the asian tech genius who figures out how to solve all the problems revolving around computers, tech etc. The playing up of this stereo type is highly over rated and over done in way to many stories and forms of media.

Bingwen is overall a loveable kid as all of Cards children are. You can’t help but love him because of the tragic nature of his story and experience. Card is an expert and creating characters that are children that are truly tragic in so many ways.

While part of the Enders game saga, this book is not by a long shot anywhere as good as Enders Game. Honestly however I think that you would be doing yourself a dis-service to expect this to be on par. Given that this is giving the back story to the classic Enders Game I do not think Card honestly could have done a better job. The nature of this book does not give the same ability to examine the morality, ethics, and politics that Enders Game was able to do. What it does do however is show us how the world government, global hegemony came into being. This series as well as the second Formic war series which I have yet to buy, but I am sure will be in the near future, is really just going back in time by about a century to gives us the back story to Enders Game.

This is a book about war and the formation of a world government via the Global crisis that forces Humanity together.

The details of this war and the Formic invasion is overall still a great read. This entire series is fast paced, high energy and packed full of action and excitement. Like many other Card books there is plenty of politics and ethical dilemmas that the characters must overcome to achieve the objectives, and not always in a moral or ethical proper way.

I loved this book and every other book he has ever written in the Enderverse. Great read and well worth it. I would highly recommend it to anyone and can’t wait to get the second formic war trilogy. Though I expect that will be a while as I have plenty more to get through on my shelf at the moment before I buy a bunch more.

I Give this book, and overall series, 7/10 book worms.

The Crimson Crown

Posted: December 5, 2016 in Book Reviews

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The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

598 pages

The final book in the Seven Realms series.

The Kingdom of the Fells is on the brink of civil war. The Wizards councils is conspiring against the crown. The Kingdom’s Army has turned traitor and laid siege to the Castle and home of Princess Raisa. Han Alister, newly elected High wizard has been captured by the Bayers who are seeking to kill him after they discover the secret to his success and how he found the Armory of the Gifted Kings.

The Fells has been invaded by the south While under siege by their own army. It seems the situation is hopeless. The country is divided. Flatlanders, Demonai, Wizards are all distrustful of each other. Raisa must find a way to unite them to save her kingdom.

Han holds the secret to unifying this country on the brink of war from invaders and itself. He holds the secret to the Armory of the Gifted kings. But can he unite them in time to save the kingdom? You will just have to read the book to find out.

This was a good conclusion to this 4 Volume series and played out well. Though like most stories the climax came very close to the end of the story with a lot of build up and very brief execution. This seems to be common with a lot of writers and I would like to see the climax involved a longer struggle in the process.

The one drawback to this book is that with Han’s contact with the ghost of gifted kings past, the demon king, it seems that he has been given all the answers as he went a long. I loved that he had access to this throughout the series, but sometimes just the fact that someone else is giving him all the answers seems to take away from what I find to be and exciting part of any story, which is how the character manages to discover, and learn on their own from the clues and information they gather.

The series as a whole however is good and enjoyable read. Like many fantasy novels and series it does not start at the beginning of this worlds history but rather somewhere in the middle of the world’s history. There is plenty within these 4 books that provides opportunity to write about the first demon king and what happened there. We get snippets and glimpses of the story. We get the general idea but not the details which leaves it open to so much more.

One of the things I really liked about this book is that it demonstrates the principle or idea that our history is written by the victors. Often history is presented in a manner that makes those who won look like the good guys while those who lost are the bad guys. That is not always the case. What is considered factual history may not be the truth as it really was, but rather a version of the truth that is colored by bias and has been warped, distored and twisted to make those who won look to be much better than they really were.

The ending also leaves room to write about future events. The invasion from the south, while dealt with for the moment, the threat has not been ended. But for now we can be happy that our characters get to have some time for themselves as they work towards rebuilding what is left of their kingdom and unifying themselves so that they may be able to deal with the threat from the south.

Overall this series and this book is a good read and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy that is not too complicated of a story or plot line. Overall I found this to be an easy read and enjoyable for the young adult reading level and up.

I give this book 6.5/10 book worms.