Tag Archives: Read

Marriage, Portland, and Modesitt

Keeping with a series I love for this post! The Order War is the fourth book in L. E. Modesitt Jr’s Saga Of Recluce, and it is an excellent book!

A story about how I acquired this first printing because this one was the hardest one for me to acquire! For years I could only find the smaller Book Club edition hardcover. Everywhere I looked the results were the same! I started to doubt there was a full size hardcover ever made, but I looked in every used book store I walked in to. Then I met my wife. Not in a book store, I met my wife at an art show, but that’s another story, but my wedding helped lead me to this book!

You see, both my wife and I love to travel. We both agreed we wanted to go to new places on our anniversaries through the years, and on our first anniversary we traveled to Portland, Oregon and had a great time! In Portland is this amazing book store called Powell’s so we had to visit it! I looked for The Order War not expecting to find it after all these years, but to my delight there it was!

This book is all about the balance between order and chaos and how Recluce needs that balance, and what it will do when the balance is unnaturally abused. It is about a young talent wielder faced with the task of finding their center even if it costs them everything, because the cost of not finding that center would be even higher.

That trip to Portland will be a favorite memory all my days, and I’m thankful to have this book to remind me of it. You never know what adventures marriage will bring into your life, and I am thankful to have my wife to walk arm in arm with from adventure to adventure. You never know what stories a book on a shelf represent, and sometimes those stories mean even more than the stories written on the pages!

Ninth Of Nine: Galaxy In Flames

We have reached the end of nine straight days in a row making posts! Wooohooo! This has been a lot of fun and it has encouraged me to post snd engage more regularly so I think overall this has been a positive experience! I hope you’ve enjoyed it too! Thank you for reading along! All the exclamation points!!!!!

Today’s book is Galaxy In Flames which is the third book of the Horus Heresy and it is written by Ben Counter. So that is the third author so far in three books. What is up with that you might ask? Well the Horus Heresy is over fifty books long as a series, with another 18 book prequel series, and the climactic battle at the end has been made into a sequel series which is already four books long and growing! This truly is the neverending series and the only way they have been able to pull this off is to have a team of authors who work together. So multiple authors have joined together for this adventure and each author brings something worthwhile to the tale.

This book brings the opening trilogy to an intense and destructive close. In the first two books you have gotten to know Horus and several other key characters. You have such hopes for humanity! This book reminds you that this is a GrimDark Military SciFi series and those normally are books that will break your heart…

This series is amazing. It is long and drawn out, that is true, but honestly I am loving working my way through it and not eager to reach the end of it. These first three books have taken you on a fast paced linear story and after this book the story will soon go sideways, forwards, backwards, and all over as it starts to show the width and depth of the galactic civil war it covers. The scope of this series is amazing!

As for Horus…. you will have to read to see what becomes of Horus. But maybe after you do you might also come to understand Horus a little better. You might not! But just maybe you might.

Thank you for joining with me on thus journey of nine posts in nine days!! I am already prepping for more posts soon so hopefully I’ll be sharing quality content with y’all now on the regular!

Eighth Of Nine: Fall of Thanes

We reach the end of The Godless World Trilogy by Brian Ruckley in this eighth post. We also reach the best book of this incredible trilogy. Fall of Thanes is why Brian Ruckley earned a spot amongst my favorite authors!

This book is why I describe this trilogy as a darkly beautiful and moving story. Reading this book is like walking along a dark ocean at night, feeling the ocean trying to draw you out into the deepness it encompasses. This book took me a long time to read and finish. Not because I was bored, but because I was so emotionally invested and on edge that I could only handle the story in small doses.

How does a story grip a reader so? How do certain books just catch you in the perfect way at the perfect moment? That truly is the magic of storytelling. I know you can ask a reader about a book that meant a lot to them and they’ll be able to share that with you. To me that is a more fun and easier to answer question than the favorite book question!

There is always the potential to have different endings to a story, and it can be difficult to write the correct one for that story. This one has the correct ending for this story. This is a story that will break your heart while offering slivers of hope. It is a work of art. I truly hope I’ve helped inspire a few of you to pick up this trilogy and give it a read! I think it is one of the finest out there, and I think you’ll agree with me about the ending.

Speaking of endings, tomorrow’s post will be the ending of this batch of nine posts! I’m looking forward to sharing that with you, and hopefully using the ending as a launching pad into a new chapter!

Seventh Of Nine: The Magic Engineer

We enter the final run of three in this set of nine posts! This has been so much fun that today I am taking photos and working out how to continue with frequent posts. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me in this!

Before we dive into The Magic Engineer by L.E. Modesitt Jr which is the third book of The Recluce Saga and one of my favorite books ever written, let’s talk about series and book reviewing! Seriously! As a SciFi and Fantasy fan it gets crazy trying to review (for example) book 7 of a 12 book series because anything you say can be a spoiler! If I write about the plot lines too in-depth it could ruin the overall fun for someone who wants to dive into a great series BUT I would like to talk about what I’m reading and enjoying. There is a fine line and of course the reader must beware possible spoilers, but that is also why most of my reviews try to focus on how a book makes me feel, or responses a book elicits within me, or some aspect of the story that I felt was important to me without taking from the overall series. How does this tie in to The Magic Engineer? Glad you asked!

The Magic Engineer is a standalone Fantasy book set three books in to The Saga Of Recluce. You could read this book by itself and love it. You’ll love it more if you read the first two books of the series, but still you could review this one as if it were the only book in the series. The entire Recluce Saga is like this to a degree. Modesitt tells standalone stories that normally take two books to tell and places them in an overall story that grows with each book. It feels like less of a commitment than say Wheel Of Time even though there are more books in Recluce! To be fair that is also because WOT books tend to run longer but still.

Dorrin is the Magic Engineer this title speaks of and this book further examines the balance between chaos and order that is present in Recluce. Dorrin is an outcast from Recluce, the same as Lerris in The Magic Of Recluce, and he is just trying to find some place where he can build the machines that fascinate him. However neither the forces of chaos or order want him to succeed, so how do you take on the world to pursue your dreams?

As said this book is one of my favorite books ever written. If I created a top five it would be on there. If there is one book from Modesitt that would hook you in on his stories I think this is it. As a standalone you could give it a go, but the reader in me thinks it is so powerful to me because of where it fits in the overall series, and because of how the concepts of the series have been growing to this point.

Tomorrow we will return for one last look into the Godless World!

Sixth Of Nine: False Gods

From The Godless World Trilogy over to False Gods for our sixth post out of the nine! False Gods is written by Graham McNeill and it is the second book in the Horus Heresy. As y’all know I’ve committed myself to reading this neverending and highly enjoyable series, and it is important to look back at the roots as we progress.

First off let’s talk about thus amazing cover! Philip Sibbering is an extraordinarily gifted artist who does a great job at capturing masses of Space Marines united in a singular purpose of the devastation of humanity’s enemies. Next let’s talk about why there are Space Marines and Primarchs and what is the Emperor trying to accomplish.

The Emperor is the most powerful Psyker (human able to use supernatural powers) in the known galaxy. He has existed since the early days of humanity and has tried guiding the species through the years. However humanity grew too far too fast and imploded in upon itself after spreading through the galaxy. A time known as Old Night descended in which humanity lost its science, art, communications, and soul. We had spread through the galaxy but now we were lost and adrift.

The Emperor at this point came from behind the scenes to the forefront and conquered Earth, determined to reunite humanity and to guide it into a great golden age. To do this he created genetically enhanced soldiers known as Space Marines and created his “sons” the Primarchs to lead them. Then he launched humanity on a 200 year long crusade to reconquer the galaxy. Reuniting the splintered worlds of humanity under one banner, his banner, whether they wanted it or not. Thus the Imperium Of Man was founded.

To truly understand the Heresy you must understand how vital Horus is, and how much the Emperor trusted him, and how badly the Emperor misled him. To unite humanity the forces of the Imperium have to travel through the Warp. A dark place full of wonder, mystery, terror, gods, and Chaos. The Emperor thought he could conquer this too without letting his people know that chaotic gods existed and were striving to destroy the universe. But through a series of events detailed within the pages of this story Horus comes into contact with these beings. Beings his father told him didn’t exist, while knowing they did. Now Horus must decide who to trust. Chaotic false gods, or a deceitful father.

The stage is set, the players are present, and now the greatest soul to ever exist besides the Emperor must decide what path is right not only for himself, but for all of humanity too.

Fifth Of Nine: Bloodheir

For the fifth ofvthese nine posts we return to the world of The Godless Trilogy for book two: Bloodheir.

Second books are the make or break points to a trilogy. I think it is universally accepted that the second film of the original Star Wars Trilogy was the best, yes? The ability to pick up a story, tell a new tale, and bring it to such a conclusion that you must go on to the final book is a powerful ability and Brian Ruckley has that ability in large quantities! Bloodheir picks you up right where the the opening book Winterbirth left you and quickly throws you into… well into a despair really. This one is a dark and moving tale where you really are in fear for any character you care for, and truly you find yourself caring for some characters you didn’t expect to care for!

One aspect of this story that I really love is that the world itself is a part of the story too. That is something I love about Dune as well. In this case it isn’t a hot desert planet. It is a vast frozen wilderness. It is ancient and hate filled forests. It is breathtaking mountains. Above all it is snow. And in this snow a battle takes place. A battle that will stretch loyalties to their breaking points. An intense battle first against the elements and then against the enemy. I love it when the world itself is a huge part of the story.

I admit that I was concerned when I started this book that the story wouldn’t draw me in further. That it would feel unneeded. However I quickly grew to appreciate this story. Truth told I thought the disasters and catastrophes that happened in the first book would be the worst of the series. Then I read this book and learned how disastrous it could still become! This book was even better than the first book. But it wasn’t the best book of the trilogy! That book is yet to come! We’ll talk about it soon.

Four Of Nine: The Towers Of Sunset

The Wheel Of Time turns and as it turns facts become stories, stories become legends, legends become myths, myths become forgotten, and the forgotten comes again…. or something like that. Why on earth would I start a post about the second book of the Saga Of Recluce with a butchering of the opening of the WOT? It is in answer to a question posed in the First Of Nine post from a few days back (which you should check out for an explanation of this crazy numbering system) about what led me to Recluce.

You see long long ago when I was a teen reader I encountered this series around the same time I encountered Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan and noticed that they both have the same cover artist and RJ complimented the Recluce Saga in a cover blurb. Now this story should go that I read WOT, trusted RJ and picked up The Magic Of Recluce because that is the first book of the Recluce Saga. However as ages have passed since I was a teen reader the story has moved into the legendary myth status so I need to write it down before I forget it. Here is the true myth:

My library didn’t have The Magic Of Recluce. It did have The Towers Of Sunset. It didn’t have The Eye Of The World but it had other WOT books. I tried to figure out which book came first in Recluce but there wasn’t an internet and I was horrible at figuring out library records so I figured that this book looked interesting and that author I want to read recommended this one so… yep. You guessed it. I read book two of the Saga Of Recluce before I read book one. The Towers Of Sunset were my gateway into this wonderful world.

The good news is The Towers Of Sunset don’t really spoil The Magic Of Recluce as there is almost a thousand years between the books, mainly I knew the answer behind who was in some paintings Lerris sees in TMOR. Overall the stories are very separate. That said this does again raise the Publication vs Chronological reading order question and I’ll again side with the author and say the Publication order is the way to go as the concepts being explored in this series grow as you read the series.

The Towers Of Sunset features two primary POV characters who find themselves linked in ways they might not fully understand as they both start to journey inwardly and outwardly in their lives. This is a book of great change and upheaval, and what remains at the end is different than what is present at the start of the story. This story is one with deep emotions and transformations. Really a great story for those who enjoy character development.

Recluce is a saga that pulls me back into its embrace time and time again. It is a series I find both challenging and comforting and one I can’t praise enough! I am really looking forward to my next post on Recluce as the third book of the Saga is one of my all time favorite books! Tomorrow’s post though returns us to a Godless World.

A Voice That Gave A Voice

Creative titles are fun aren’t they? I mean I at least think it’s creative. Ok on with the reviewing before I think I’m more clever than I already think I am ha!

Years ago I accepted an ARC of A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall and was really excited! A GrimDark Fantasy of a conflicting character from an earlier generation setting out to make the world bleed for their vengeance. Sounds promising! Unfortunately it failed to live up to its promise.

I know I know I rarely books that I don’t enjoy. I rarely read books I don’t enjoy or DNF them and then move on. Life is too short and my TBR too massive to spend time on books I’m not enjoying. However I felt I owed this one a read through as I did accept the ARC. It was taking me ages to make any headway though and so I ended up buying a physical copy to accompany my Ebook ARC. Maybe that will help me connect with this story but again I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept wondering why I wasn’t enjoying this tale, where was the disconnect? Suddenly it hit me: The characters didn’t have anything to truly distinguish themselves from each other.

Oh sure they had different names and physical attributes and backgrounds, but all of the characters were the same dull overly snarky attempting to be witty tough character. You could have replaced any of the primary characters with any of the secondary characters and not noticed a difference in the story. That’s frustrating.

I felt I owed it to the publisher to not give up, but a third of the way into the book I almost caved. Then I remembered I had an Audible credit and needed a new audiobook! Did this one have a good narrator? I decided to find out and I am so glad I did!

Angele Masters is an amazing narrator and she breathed life into the various characters within the pages of this book! Her reading of it and the voices she made for each of the characters turned my experience of this book completely around from one I was about to DNF to now having me interested in listening to the next two volumes of the trilogy.

If you enjoy GrimDark this story is worth a try. You may find more life within the characters than did I. If you enjoy GrimDark and audiobooks then this is a must listen because you’ll enjoy the experience!

Hello, Thank You, And Books!

Allow me to start by saying thank you for staying with me even when it has been a little while since my last post. Life has been a bit busy! A few months back my wife and I welcomed our beautifully amazing daughter into our lives and I also started a new position at work. Both of these life changing events have reduced my reading and writing time, but both have also been very rewarding. One day I’ll post more on being a father but today I can say there is nothing more amazing that holding your child in your hands. It is as if you are holding your heart in your hands. Simply amazing. But this post is about books isn’t it? On to the post!

Once upon a time when I was a young lad with a library card I discovered a few authors who managed to capture my attention and fire up my imagination! Robert Jordan was one such author. Wheel Of Time has just reached its fifth volume (The Fires Of Heaven) and I devoured the series! I read through the first five books three times before book six had a chance to be published and then with each new release I would reread the entire series. I loved it. I discovered friends in the pages of those books that I identified with more than I did the people around me. As a result those first five books are intensely special to me and I’ll forever be thankful to Robert Jordan for them.

Around that same time I also discovered an author by the name of Tad Williams and I leapt into his Memory Sorrow And Thorn trilogy! I was young so I thought I identified with young Seoman Snowlock and I sadly rushed through the trilogy trying to get past all the other bits to enjoy the adventures of Seoman. I loved the story, and I know I appreciated it at the time in my limited way, but just this past year I returned to Osten Ard (the land the books are set in) with a reread of the trilogy. My first time returning to those books in about 25 years! What did I discover? Beauty. This trilogy is a beautiful work of marvelous art and I can’t sing its praises enough! I truly identify with the side characters. The ones whose stories I couldn’t get past quickly enough to get back to what I thought was the main story. Now I see the beauty in their inner struggles and understand how very human they are and how amazing of a work Tad Williams created.

You never know what treasures you might find when you open a book, even if you’ve read that book before! Rereading Dune Messiah gave me a deeper appreciation for Frank Herbert because when you realize just how much he packed into this tiny book you are amazed! Such a short work yet so powerful!

Those are my bookish musings for the moment. I wanted to say hi to everyone and to continue our conversations on books! I intend to be a little more present here but I know you’ll understand if the posts aren’t as frequent as we’d all like. However I do intend to announce something here soon so do keep checking RedStarReviews for some fun upcoming news! 😊 I appreciate you all so much!

Damming The Heresy Or Adding To The Flow?

When reading a never ending series you realize the only way to reach the end is to never stop reading. That said every so often it’s good to pause and evaluate if you’re enjoying the series. Upon finishing the thirtieth book of The Horus Heresy I decided to do just that.

One of my early complaints about The Heresy was that every few books you’d get a story that didn’t advance the overall storyline. It felt like it would go sideways. This was a way of building up the series, of showing you what was happening all around the Imperium Of Man during The Heresy. The Damnation Of Pythos by David Annandale felt like one of those sideways books and I won’t lie I was a little frustrated by that at the start. Especially considering the previous book actually featured Horus and advanced the story greatly! To go from a book that’s focused on one of the central characters to the Heresy to a book that features a battered and near destroyed company of Space Marines trying to pull themselves together after being almost destroyed in events that took place in the fifth book of the series was a little like changing gears while driving without using a clutch.

However I must admit that as I read on in the book I started to see how this story fits in the overall story, and I was able to appreciate the added depth it brought to series. It’s also an amazing example of GrimDark SciFi such as you often see in the pages of a Warhammer40K book, I say that to say it felt more WH40K than Horus Heresy style and I’m happy with that. This book, whether intentionally or not, started to form more of a bridge between the events of The Horus Heresy and the events of the every day Imperium Of Man in the 40K universe. Less hope and more faith combined with inner struggles and ultimate sacrifices for gains you can’t yet see.

Thirty books into this Heresy and I’m still quite happy with this series and the directions the authors are taking it in. Truth told I’m going to be sad when I reach the end of this never ending series. I’m going to miss it because it has been such a great reading experience.

That said I’m also starting the thirty-first book right now. Because the only way to reach the end of a never ending series is to never stop reading it. Let The Heresy Continue.