Saturday, May 28, 2011

Frankenstein: The Dead Town - Koontz, Dean

Frankenstein: The Dead Town is apparently the last in the Frankenstein series by Koontz.  I only say apparently because I thought it was over once and, like the original monster, the series keeps coming back from the dead.  This is a great retelling of Frankenstein.  Koontz can elicit a spine chill like nobody else, and there are plenty of them in this book.

The chaos in Rainbow Falls, that started in Lost Souls, continues with more replicantes and more builders that can't be stopped.  But something is starting to unravel and there's hope.  The question is, will Deucalion be able to find Victor in time?  Very highly recommended.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

To Say Nothing of the Dog - Willis, Connie

To Say Nothing of the Dog is a time travel novel with a twist. Most of the story takes place in Victorian England as a pair of historians try to manipulate romance to avoid what could be a serious temporal incongruity.

The historians originate from 2057 and are focused on one particular item that was in the cathedral in Coventry when it was destroyed by the Nazis in 1940. If you enjoy mystery, romance, and lots of humor this is a great book. I do wish it read less like a Victorian romance novel and more like the science fiction I thought I was getting, but I enjoyed the book. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Swarm - Larson, B. V.

Swarm is book one in the Star Force Series. This is an alien invasion story with a twist.  Humans are being recruited by one alien force to fight another.  If you pass the recruiting tests you can be in charge of your own space ship.  Fail and...well you don't want to fail.

The hero of this book is Kyle Riggs, a professor of computer science. He passes the tests and helps lead earth in a battle against a robot horde who wants to strip our world of all resources. But what price will humans in the Star Force pay to save our planet? Highly recommended.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sixkill - Parker, Robert B.

Sixkill is the last novel Parker produced before his death.  Unless some other author picks up the thread, it may be the last Spencer story ever.  That made reading it kind of poignant.  Parker novels are full of punchy dialog, great characters, and thoughtful introspection.  He will be greatly missed.

Sixkill is named after a new Parker character. Zebulon Sixkill is a Cree Indian bodyguard who Spencer befriends after thoroughly beating him. This takes place while Spencer is investigating the cause of death of a young women.  Her body is found in a movie star's hotel room and Z works for the movie star. Spencer and Z manage to unravel the mystery, but with a few more dead bodies left in their wake. Classic Spencer. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fuzzy Nation - Scalzi, John

Fuzzy Nation is a remake/rewrite of an old 1963 science fiction novel Little Fuzzy. I read the original and the sequels decades ago.  The story remains the same.  This is a very enjoyable book.  I started it yesterday and was up past 2:30 in the morning finishing it.  I don't often feel compelled to read a novel in one sitting.

Jack Holloway is a prospector on contract to the mighty ZaraCorp.  He's living and working on Zara XXIII, where ZaraCorp has the exclusive rights to strip all marketable resources from the planet.  There is only one catch and that is that there can't be any sentient life on a planet.  Along come the Fuzzies.  Jack and his friends have to find a way to get the Fuzzies recognized as sentient, in spite of the violent objections of the ZaraCorp and their thugs.  Very highly recommended. 

The Fallen - Thomson, Celia

The Fallen is the first book in the series The Nine Lives of Chloe King.  This series is young adult fiction.  First let me get what I don't like about the book out of the way.  The protagonist, Chloe King, is a 16 year old girl.  She lies to her mother, lies to her teachers, lies to her friends, cuts classes, drinks, and in general has no respect for rules.  This is not a role model that I'd want for my daughters or granddaughters.  The only reason the publisher couches this in terms of young adult fiction is because they're interested in money.  They're certainly not interested in promoting standards for acceptable behavior in teenagers.

That said, I enjoyed the book when I wasn't thinking of grounding the heroine. The story is about Chloe discovering that she's not a normal human.  The first clue is when she dies and later wakes up.  Then there are the claws and super human speed and strength to deal with.  But it's not all positive.  Someone is trying to kill Chloe, and trying hard.  Keeping in mind my reservations about the appropriateness for young adults, highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Sword and the Dragon - Mathias, M. R.

The Sword and the Dragon is the first book in the Wardstone Trilogy. Two brothers with a magic ring and a special hawk are key players.  A king's squire is another.  They eventually unite to battle dragons, demons, and evil wizards.  There are lots of interesting characters, plenty of battles, and a few beautiful maidens in this story.

Be aware this is the first part of a trilogy, but this tale comes to a satisfying, if bloody, conclusion.  I wouldn't recommend this for younger readers because the level of violence is amazing.  On the other hand, given the video games kids play these days this is probably kindergarten stuff.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blood Challenge - Wilks, Eileen

Blood Challenge is book seven in the World of the Lupi series.  Try to read the books and short stories in order.  It will be worth it.

In this story, she who can't be named is back and still trying to destroy the Lupi.  This time she's working through interesting intermediaries, some human and some not.  Lily and Rule are both in harms way, but so are all of the good guys.  There's a new heroine who plays a pivotal role in this story, and she could be around for quite a while.  This series just keeps getting better.  Very highly recommended.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A World I Never Made - Lepore, James

A World I Never Made is about a father and daughter who never connected in life. When Pat Nolan finds out his daughter has committed suicide in Paris he realizes he's lost his chance to make amends for the life he missed with her. Then he discovers that it's not Megan's body in the morgue and begins an adventure that will change his life.

Pursued by terrorists, Megan is on the run and enlists the help of her father with clues left in her wake.  Pat is helped by an unlikely French police detective and together they lead the terrorists and security forces on a chase across Europe.

This is a first novel and has some rough edges.  Clearly Lepore is not a gun person.  I'm always amazed that authors will research the most minute details in some areas and then assume everything they've seen in movies or read in comic books is true about guns.  In spite of the rough edges I really enjoyed this book.  Highly recommended.