Y’all know I try to not post negative reviews. It’s just how I tend to prefer running my page. I try to avoid reading books I won’t like so that I’m not stuck feeling like I have to explain why I don’t like a book. One of the reasons is that I know if there’s a book I dislike one of you probably would love it so I don’t want to color your experience. That said this will possibly be as negative a review as I give. As this book is already widely loved and revered I’m confident I won’t scare any of you away from it by sharing my personal opinion. Mild spoilers ahead. Ok. Let’s talk about The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.
This book started out heartbreakingly beautiful! The whole first half of this story is a gorgeously tragic look into the heart of humanity and it is such a rewarding read! The first half is incredible! The second half is almost as if it was another book that the author was told they have to make fit into the pages of the story. It’s boring and uninspired. The beauty in this book was never going to be in the alien civilization, it was in the human interaction. The author lost that in the second half.
If the second half had only been the interrogation/debriefing then the story would have been true to itself. However that isn’t the story written, and the story written doesn’t measure the promise of the start. As a result I forced myself to finish this book, but I wish I had walked away halfway through it so that I didn’t have to read the second half and be this disappointed.
Please keep in mind I’m in the vast minority in my opinion on this book. Also I should note that it isn’t the fates the characters encountered that turns me off for the second half. It’s the story itself. The time spent on the planet was so boring, clunky, and dull. This author did such an amazing job looking into humanity, then lost the plot and thought the aliens were the story. They weren’t and a beautiful book was wasted. As it stands I finished it, and I won’t be reading the sequel.
As y’all already surely know if you’ve been following me for any amount of time: January is always Vintage SciFi Month and this January’s reading was incredible! Let’s take a look at the three books I read this year.
Tactics Of Mistake by Gordon R Dickson is the fourth book of The Childe Cycle which I’m working my way through bit by bit each January. While it isn’t the best book in the series it is really good! It is a strong addition to an excellent series. If you’ve read Dorsai and wanted to know how the Dorsai became the most badass soldiers in the known universe then this is the book for you! If you’ve never wondered that but you still enjoy Military SciFi combined with Vintage Philosophy then this is still the book for you!
Up next was Philip K Dick’s classic of SciFi: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep and it was an excellent story! I watched Blade Runner as a kid but I had never made time for the story it was based upon. I am glad I finally did! It was a very subtle story with a slow burn that once lit wouldn’t go out. Very enjoyable and easy to lose yourself in the story.
This January close to fifty people joined me for the #ReadDune Group Read, several of them reading Frank Herbert’s Dune for the first time! The good news is that almost everyone loved it! I mean how could you not love this book? This was either my fourth or fifth time to read it and I enjoyed it yet again! Getting to see everyone’s reaction to it was so much fun. Dune will always be special to me and I’m happy to report that it gets better with each reread!
I hope to see y’all join in on Vintage SciFi Month next January!
The only way to complete a never ending book series is to never stop reading it! Y’all know I love The Horus Heresy, and since I’m now twenty-six books deep into this forty plus book series it seemed a good time to pause and reflect on it!
I first started reading this series when it was first published but after reading the first six books I was distracted and I had set it down. Well, discouraged would be more the phrase. I had not expected the overall story to be put on hold while we saw everything else going on in the universe! And that’s kind of what happens. But I still thought it was a great story and had potential so four years ago I started the series over and this time I LOVED it! I knew more of what to expect. So when I heard it was over twenty books I wasn’t surprised. So grand a heresy, so great a tragedy deserved several books to lay out the whole story. Then it passed thirty books. Then it passed forty books….. but then I realized something: How do you finish reading a never ending series? By never stopping reading it!
I have just completed reading the twenty-sixth book in the series. Nick Kyme struck gold with Vulkan Lives. This book has almost perfect pacing! And within its pages you reach one of the primary questions/frustrations so many have had with this series. The question of WHY. Why do we have this heresy? Why didn’t the principle parties sit down and sort out their issues since they are described as gods? Well in Vulkan Lives we are reminded that as much as the Emperor elevated all the good, noble, true, and incredible traits in the Primarchs, he also elevated all the bad, evil, selfish, and dark traits in the Primarchs.
But I don’t mean to get lost in the weeds for this post. I mean to reflect. From the first book Horus Rising through the twenty-sixth book Vulkan Lives the authors have crafted an immense and awesome STORY. It’s a rabbit hole to be sure but one that’s worth jumping down and exploring. You don’t have to be a Warhammer40K fan to appreciate this story. You’ll truly learn enough by starting with the first book and reading on. I do think you’d have a difficult time if you aren’t a fan of SciFi as it is GrimDark Military SciFi, but at its heart this is a tragic tale of children rising against their parent and their siblings and the stakes in this family struggle are nothing less than the galaxy itself.
Years ago when I first joined Twitter I encountered an author who was witty and wise, and also had a history of serving his country. After reading Myke Cole’s tweets for ages I knew I had to give his books a try! I just wasn’t sure where exactly to start so I asked him. He suggested I start with Gemini Cell which is a prequel to his Shadow Ops Series. When the author gives you a suggestion on where to enter their work, it’s normally a good idea to follow their advice!
The story is about Jim Schweitzer who is a Navy Seal. Jim has dedicated his life to taking down the many threats to his nation and loved ones. Unfortunately that means he sees things he shouldn’t and as a result he’s gunned down in front of his wife and child.
But death isn’t the end for Jim! He’s brought back by a combination of science and magic, infused with superhuman powers, and an inner demon he must battle with for control of his new life. Surrounded by enemies and deceitful allies he strives to discover the fate of his family, and to see if he can remain human.
Gemini Cell is a hell of a tale that starts off with action, continues with action, and ends with action! Fast paced, brutal, thoughtful, engaging, and well thought out. This is an incredible story that worth reading! Now that I’ve finished it I plan on continuing on in the series, and I hope you give it a chance too!
When you review books you often encounter very pushy people who only talk to you because they want their book reviewed. It happens! I can even understand it from their perspective. It helps to get your name out there. But there are right ways and rude ways to go about getting reviews. Let me tell you about how much of a class act Edward Lazellari is and say if you want to gain someone’s interest: Edward is an author to model your approach after!
Here’s an author who is published by Tor (and if you don’t know who Tor is then suffice to say it is one of my most favorite and trusted publishing companies) who talked with me as a person with shared interests and just politely asked if I’d be interested in reading his book. I normally don’t accept submissions as I’m trying to work through my unread books on my shelves, and I cautioned him that I was very backed up in my reading stack, but he was very polite and sent me an autographed copy of his book AWAKENINGS. A class act from start to finish!
Awakenings joined my currently reading stack and I also purchased a copy for my Kindle to be able to read while on trips. This book is an Urban Fantasy and it’s the first book of The Guardians Of Aandor trilogy. It’s also incredible!
Awakenings is a take no prisoners kick ass fast paced all out battle of a book! Right from the start you’re deep in the action and striving to learn what is happening around the characters just as they are! You see it spans across multiple worlds and the primary characters have unfortunately lost their true identies along with their memories and they’ve lost their purpose. That past quickly charges up at them and threatens to destroy them before they have the chance to learn who they are….
As I said this is a kick ass story! I took it around town to read and was quickly drawn into the world the author created. The characters are strong, the action first rate, the world building interesting, the plot compelling, the drama engaging, and the story is great!
This is a book I not only recommend, it is one I have purchased the sequel to and look forward to reading more!
If 2016 doesn’t kill me then I’m going to get to celebrate a new year an another #VintageSciFiMonth in January! I’m so excited. Vintage SciFi Month has become an important part of my reading schedule. What is it? Basically: In January we read SciFi or Fantasy books published prior to our birth year! Check out the founder LittleRedReviewer’s post on VintageSciFiMonth for more details!
Now as to my reading plans for January:
DORSAI! By Gordon R Dickson is the first book of his incredible Childe Cycle and I’ve been working through this series each January! This will be a reread for me BECAUSE I’m reading it with some friends who are starting their own Vintage SciFi Month journeys! If you aren’t sure what to read for this month please consider reading this book with us! You can purchase it here. If you want to see my review on DORSAI! you can find it here. I really enjoy this book which is why the next book on my list is….
Tactics Of Mistake also by GRD and also in the Childe Cycle! It is the fourth book in the series yet second chronologically. I’m excited to read this for the first time and discover more about this great universe.
What would a Vintage SciFi Month be here at RedStarReviews if there wasn’t a little Frank Herbert? The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a collection of his Short Stories that I’ve been slowly working on and will continue with during this month!
Michael Moorcock’s book The Silver Warriors is Fantasy, but Fantasy is totally ok by the rules of Vintage SciFi Month! I loved reading the Elric Saga and I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for me!
Titan by John Varley was published in 1979 which is AFTER my birth year but it’s ok some rules can be bent AND the founder of the Month oks and books 1979 and prior so if your birth year is making it tough to find a SciFi book that interests you then open it up to 1979 and before! This whole month is supposed to be fun so feel free to have some fun!
Speaking of fun: I’ll be announcing a little Vintage SciFi Month giveaway here on my site on New Year’s Day! Stay tuned for details! Hope y’all have some excellent books picked out for the sixth annual Vintage SciFi Month!
January is VintageSciFiMonth and it is fast approaching! It’s time to select some books, comic books, movies, tv shows, or radio shows that came out prior to the year you were born and enjoy them this January!
VintageSciFiMonth is really that easy to join! The “rules” are easy: you just read and enjoy older SciFi and/or Fantasy! Instead of getting into a huge debate about what qualifies as VintageSciFi the founder of the month LittleRedReviewer just asks that the book be from before the year you were born. Even this rule isn’t set in stone so if you’re wondering where to find SciFi from before you were born feel free to enjoy some from a few decades back regardless of the year of birth rule! We just want folks to join in and have fun!
If you have no idea where to start may I suggest DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson from 1959. I’ve read this book twice now and loved it both times! To help a few of my friends ease into the world of VintageSciFi I’ll be reading it again starting 01/01/17 and you are welcome to join in! It is an awesome SciFi that will give you a good feel for SciFi around the 60’s and help you to get your feet wet!
After DORSAI! I’ll be jumping four books ahead into The Childe Cycle by GRD and reading The Tactics Of Mistake because each January I read a little more of this excellent series of books. After that I’m still collecting my reading list but I expect it to include some Frank Herbert as well!
TITAN by John Varley might sneak into the list since I bought it last year then realized it was published shortly after my birth…. we’ll see! 🙂
Please join us in January for this awesome month of reading! It is amazing to see the future through the eyes of the past, and it is so much fun every year. If you’re on Twitter you can follow @VintageSciFi_ for news, updates, and features! Let me know if you need book suggestions. Looking forward to the sixth year of VintageSciFiMonth!