Year Zero

Posted: May 29, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Nick Carter (no not the same one from the backstreet boys) is a low-level entertainment and media lawyer specializing in copyright laws trying to work his way up the ranks at his law firm. He is on the verge of being fired if he does not do something special soon to prove to his bosses that he is worth keeping around.

He also has a neighbour whom he has a big time crush on who he is trying to impress. She lives down the hall and is a local musician named Manda.

What seems to have started as a normal day at work ends up anything but normal. You see seemingly out of nowhere two strange people show up at his office. A red-headed mullah and a curvaceous nun that goes by the names Frampton and Carly. They are there to get a license for all of earths music. You see it turns out they are actually extraterrestrials who are now dealing with the largest copyright violation in the history of the universe. One so large that the universe is literally bankrupt. If they do not get this resolved soon aliens will come and destroy earth in an effort to wipe out the debt.

You see, Carly and Frampton are part of a group of aliens who make up what is called the refined league. They are obsessed with art in any form. When they first heard Earth’s music in 1977 (what they call year zero starting with the Kotter moment. The kotter moment being when aliens first heard the theme music to the 1970’s sit come Welcome Back Kotter.) It created this kind of alien mental addiction and the universe began copying music somewhere to the tune of 25 million songs for every individual alien out there. This resulting in trillions of copies of illegally downloaded music and the universe is now faced with paying humanity a fine of up to 150,000 dollars per song unless they can secure the music rights from each and every music rights holder on earth.

You see this alien society has this law that says that all forms of art must be enjoyed and are bound by the respective laws of the society which created it. And While humans are not part of the refined species group they are the best musicians in the universe.

Now Carly and Frampton think that Nick Carter lawyer is in fact Nick Carter from the backstreet boys. Something he must deal with while trying to hold off an alien invasion of angry aliens trying to wipe out humanity to nullify their debt due to copyright violations.

In the mean time Paulie an alien parrot and his side kick, A alien vacuum cleaner, are working on a plot to cause humanity to destroy itself. (you see, the laws strictly forbid them from destroying humanity themselves but if they can get humanity to destroy itself they have not technically violated any laws)

Carly and Frampton in the meantime try to recruit their father (they are brother and sister) to help them expose this plot via the most watch reality tv show in the universe. Their show is based on being a behind the scenes show (kind of like the Osbornes) of their father’s family who is a music impersonator that puts on concerts on a planet designed for that purpose.  Of course if it were not for their show the flaw in the massive space shield surrounding earth to prevent anyone from coming to earth would not have been exposed in the first place. You see they had to put up this shield in order to stop earth from being crashed by all the Guess Who fans in the universe.

And of course all the aliens elements have been named after earths bands, such as metallicam the most powerful element in the universe. It can cause annihilation and be the basis for life. The alien vacuum cleaner is in fact a metallicam based life form.

So to sum up this book we have reality tv shows that serve as the best and most accurate journalism in the known universe. You got Talking and plotting parrots that pull off some crazy bird kung foo while pooping in peoples eyes. You got vacuums cleaners that are not vacuum cleaners but alien metallicum based life forms. You got the largest copyright violation in the universe since the big bang and 48 hours to save earth from total destruction and annihilation. Oh and Bill Gates is really an alien who is here preventing earths tech from expanding and growing in any realistic pace simply by releasing windows updates and new versions so as to ensure that earths music can continued to be enjoyed throughout the universe.

This is a wildly funny and entertaining read. I have not read anything this funny since The hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Honestly if you liked hitchhikers Guide you will like this book. I am ranking it right up there with Douglas Adams. Just hilarious. Good for a laugh but I warn you make sure you empty your bladder before reading it because you likely will laugh so hard you will pee yourself otherwise.

9/10 book worms for me. Just awesome!

 

 

The Defenders of Shannara: The Sorcerers Daughter

334 pages

By Terry Brooks

Its been a few years since the events of The Darkling Child. Paxon and Leofur have lived happily together at Paranor with the other Druids and Ard Rhys. Paxon has continued his employment as the Defender of the Druids and personal guard.  The Ard Rhys, Paxon and a host of delegates heads over to Arishaig the capital of the Federation in Southland. Their purpose is to begin peace talks between the Federation and the Druids.

However the peace talks are interrupted by a demonic attack by a Sleath, a creature of shadow that kills all the Federation delegates and sends the Druids fleeing for their lives while being pursued by the federation army who seeks revenge for the murder of the Federation Prime minister and peace conference delegates.

In the mean time back at Paranor, Leofur and Chrysallin are spending time getting to know each other. However when they are out in the forests around Paranor, Chrysallin is kidnapped by unknown people and taken to be held captive by Melis,  the Witch of Murk Sink. A swampy deadly land filled with all kinds of deadly and evil creatures under the command of the Murk Witch. She must partner with a reluctant shape shifter by the name of Imric to seek out and find Chrysallin and rescue her before Paxon returns.

Because of the dangers of shape shifting and causing Imric to lose his identity he needs a tether to the real world. He only agrees to help Leofur if she agrees to be his tether. This is done by forming a direct link between their minds so she feels, sees, hears, everything Imric does. This intimate connection causes them to be closer and more intimate than any other two people should ever be. Effectively becoming one.

MELIS

She is just a little girl who wants companionship, or is she a huge hideous ugly creature that keeps kidnapped young women in boxes and only lets them out to play. Perhaps she is both. She is evil, controlling and just not very nice. She has spent her time with Chrys force feeding her a root that restricts her access to speak, talk or sing thus cutting her off from the wishsong’s magic she could use to free her self from her clutches.

LEOFUR

Leofur is the sorcerers daughter, She is in love with Paxon and will do anything to free his sister, but at the same time she is miserable with life at Paranor. She feels as though she has lost her purpose and that their must be so much more to life than what she gets at Paranor. She is not gifted with magic, and finds her days boring and dull. Often lonely as her only friend is Chrys. Paxon all to often is away on missions protecting the Druids while she stays behind having no purpose. She is desperate for something, anything to do to occupy her time and finds her self growing more and more dissatisfied with life and her marriage to Paxon. Imric has provided her a purpose and she finds herself falling in love with him.

IMRIC

A tragic Character who lost both his mother and his father at such a young age. He learned early on in life that he was a Shape Shifter. His kind despised and feared by the world over and not trusted. His mother was also a Shape Shifter and when his father found out, he killed her. Imric in retaliation killed his father and spent the rest of his childhood in hiding and living wildly shape shifting.

Terrified of the addictive power of shape shifting, and terrified of it driving him to near insanity he desperately sought help at Paranor with the Druids who took him in and he has lived his life as a stable boy ever since.

Karlin and Miriya 

These two Druids did not play a very big role in this book, however I thought it worth a mention. I have now read Every Shannara book and this is the first time their has been mention of in my memory characters that are gay. I thought this was pretty awesome more so in the way it was done, rather than the fact that gay characters existed. Their relationship as partners and lovers was treated as normal and not out of the ordinary. Like everyone knew what it was and saw it no differently than a heterosexual couple. While not really touched on much and essentially mentioned in passing I thought it was good regardless and nice to see this treated in such a way within the story.

Other books I have read either over compensate on the gayness of the character or have a tendency to focus on the hate, discrimination and mistreatment of LGBTQ persons. I think this could have easily deserved a little more attention but it was nice to have gay characters portrayed no differently than normal straight heterosexual persons in a relationship.

Overall this was a good and fun read. Like all of Terry Brooks Shannara books this one is just as good as the last ones. One of the best sci-fi/fantasy writers of the 21st century. 8/10 book worms and looking forward to reading the final installment of the Shannara series The Fall of Shannara: The Black Elf Stone. (Though considering the title it seems ominous that Shannara will no longer be at the end of this next book series, it kind of scares me lol)

 

Defenders of Shannara: The Darkling child

By Terry Brooks

300 pages of awesome

Paxon has spent his time since the events of the High Druids Blade living, learning and practicing his new found skills with the High Druids blade at Paranor. Their is a new Ard Rhys after the death of Aphenglow Elessesdil and a new Druid companion for Paxon named Avelene.

Isaturin has advance to position of Ard Rhys of the Druid order. Avelene has become Paxon’s new companion on their adventures seeking out magic and sorcerers around the world.

Reyn, our main character which this story revolves around,  is a man who has been on his own since he was a child. He has spent his time singing in taverns to make a living and survive. He has become quite famous as his music seems to entrance the listener and create in their minds worlds and emotions and stories that captivate his audience. Little does he know however that what he is doing is using the magic of the wish song. His singing and ignorant use of magic attracts the attention of this series primary villain, Arcannen.

Arcannen however has come along and has hired a woman named lariana to seduce Reyn and cause him to fall in love with her so he is all the more easily manipulated into doing what he wants. In this way he can take control of his powers and use them to achieve his vengeance for the destruction of his home, the notorious pirate city of Arbrox.

Reyn’s powers come to the attention of the Druids of Paranor after he uses them to protect him self in a explosive and un-controlled magical outburst. Isaturin dispatches Paxon and Avelene to seek out this boy and try to bring him back to Paranor. However by the time they find him he has already under the influence of the dreaded Arcannen who is using him on his bloodthirsty quest for vengeance.

Paxon seems to have problems, you see he keeps falling in love with the wrong people. First Leofur, Arcannen’s daughter, whom he missed his chance with in the first book. Avelene seems to be the girl of his choice in this book. Everyone he loves he loses and this has brought him to near breaking point. He has spent 5 years as the sworn protector of the Druids. He is now feeling lost and distraught at the course his life has taken. He agreed to serve the Druids because he felt that his life was going no where and they offered his family protection from Arcannen who has been hunting him for his magical sword.

This story, While focused around Reyn and his magical wish song, seems to be more about Paxon, from the first book through till what I expect will be the last book in this series. The last sentence of this book really sets up for the continuation of this story and also Leofur story to continue quite well. Reading it my first thought was don’t stop, I need to know what happens. But then I remembered that their is one more book which of course I need to read now.

With every large scale series of books like Shannara, currently sitting at over 30 books, Their is one element that must be present throughout all books to really tie them together as part of that world. With Shannara that element is not a thing, or even theme but rather it is a place. The Hades Horn is in the heart of the valley of shale.

This place is the where Druids go to die. It is deadly and poisonous to mortals. The valley is dark, rock strewn and lifeless. The Hades Horn is a Lake in the center of the valley that has a strange glass like surface, not solid and yet not quite liquid. It is still and silent and yet evident of energies lurking beneath the surface. It is here that the spirits of Druids long since dead reside for eternity.

When a druid go there to die they are greeted by the spirit of the first druid Allanon. It is when his spirit comes forth that the waters become violent and explosive as his soul, and energy break the surface to greet the Druid who comes, and takes their hand to lead them into eternity. Like a Pyschopomp guiding them across the barriers of mortality to the eternal realm.

Every time I read about the Hades Horn and the valley of shale I cannot help but envision this awe inspiring site that invokes both terror and reverences at the awesome power of the Druids of old.

Their is no way to describe Shannara or any book within this world as anything but amazing and awesome! I just love these books and cannot wait to read the Sorcerers Daughter, book 3 in this Defenders of Shannara series. Jut an incredible series and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! Easily 8/10 books worms. If you have not read it what are you waiting for? Get on it already.

Terry Brooks is truly a master of story telling and I will never hesitate to read anything by Terry Brooks. This book gets 8/10 book worms easily!