I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.
-Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
-Phillip K. Dick

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Halo: The Flood

Genre: Aliens/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Military/Survival/War

If you haven't yet, check out my review of the first Halo novel, The Fall of Reach.

If you've read Halo: The Fall of Reach you might find yourself wanting to read the rest of the series, this would be book #2 in that series. This book is based off of the first Halo game, but don't let that stop you from giving this book a read even if you're not a Halo fan. This book gives far more details of the war that Master Chief must battle. Yes, it has similarities to the game, but we also get to see perspectives from some of the Covenant, as well as some of the military faction. It does however do a pretty close following with the game for those of you who loved playing it. This book just gives extra added bonus material that the game doesn't have.

Back Cover:
"Having barley escaped the battle for Reach, the crew of the Pillar of Autumn is forced to make a jump into slipspace in hopes of evading the vast alien alliance hell-bent on wiping out humanity. But their destination brings them to an ancient mystery and an even greater struggle. In this far-flung corner of the universe floats a magnificently massive, artificial ringworld . . . a construct from a longlost race. The humans' only hope of survival is to crashland on this surface and take the battle against the Covenant to the ground. But they soon discover that this enigmatic ring-world is much more than it seems. Built one hundred thousand years ago by a civilization known as the Forerunners, this 'Halo' is worshipped by the Covenant--a sacred artifact they hope will complete their religious quest for supposed transcendence. They will stop at nothing to control it. Engaged in a fierce ground battle, Master Chief and Cortana go deep into the Halo construct and uncover a dark secret; this enigmatic ring-world is also the universe's most dangerous weapon. Its purpose: the destruction of all sentient life. For the Forerunners built the Halo to battle the universe's most vicious enemy--a virtually unstoppable and suddenly reawakened force known as The Flood."

I just finished reading this book about maybe 30 minutes ago after having started it months ago and not having had time to finish reading it. That's not to say it's a book that I didn't find myself wanting to finish, I just lacked the time to do so. It was written well, though I'd have to say I preferred Halo: The Fall of Reach. It could be the fact that this was written by a different author. I'm not saying William C. Dietz isn't an awesome author, he is of course, but he's no Eric Nylund. I liked the fact that it tells us more of the story that the games leave out. Plus it changes a few things up creativity-wise. We get to learn more about Covenant forces, and we even get to see perspectives from some of the military faction. It does a lot of jumping around, but I never once found myself getting lost as I usually would when reading a book that jumps around frequently. Overall this book is worth at least a read, especially but not limited to, fans of the Halo games.
Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

Halo: The Fall of Reach

Genre: Sci-Fi

Halo: The Fall of Reach is just that, a book about the Fall of Reach. What is Reach you ask? Read the book to find out. ;) In this book we learn that Master Chief isn't the only Spartan, and we learn how he becomes a Spartan and a hero. We get to see him as he trains and grows up in the harsh reality that is war. It allows us to view perspectives from the views of Master Chief himself, and even from some of the covenant.

Back Cover:
"Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call 'home.' The United Nations Space Command Now Struggles to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep seething insurrections from exploding into interplanetary civil war, the UNSC has one last hope. At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top secret program that could bring an end to all this conflict . . . and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six-year-old boy named John. Halsey never guessed that this little boy would become humanity's final hope against a vast alien force hell-bent on wiping us out. This is the story of John, Spartan 117 . . . the Master Chief, and of the battles that brought humanity face-to-face with its possible extinction."

I read this book a while back before I started this blog, but I just thought I should mention it as it's still pretty fresh in my memory. The story was written well, though I have to say it reminds me a little bit of Ender's Game, (some might even say it's a rip off of Ender's Game.) I can see the similarities, and at the same time, the differences. We get to learn so much more about so many new characters that we didn't get to learn about in the first couple of Halo games. I felt myself becoming quite connected with some of them. We get to learn about who Master Chief really is, and how he became to be what he is. We even get to see the perspective of the Covenant, and learn more of the story than we could through a game. I really enjoyed reading this book and I thought it was fantastic. If you've read and enjoyed Ender's Game, I suggest reading this book, even if you're NOT a fan of the Halo games. This book was a fantastic read, and I don't know if there's anything that could have made this a better read.
Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel that takes place in the era of King Henry and switches between the perspectives of Jane Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine. It's a novel of characters plotting, and trying to save their own hides from the Kings changeable opinions of them. Henry, the king is a stink of an old man who changes his mind so frequently nobody knows if they will live or if they will die at his command. Everyone seems to be after the same thing, fortune and status.

Jane is willing to take the kings side against anyone's trials, if it'll save her from the kings hatred, she's simply only looking out for herself. If you've read or watched the movie The Other Boleyn Girl you would know that she's given away her own love to death.

Anne of Cleves was once nearly queen, but problems arise and she fears she may be beheaded by the king who decides she fairs better as a sister than as a queen.

Katherine is a young harlot who uses her own sexuality to get into the kings chambers, simply for fortune of dresses and fancy jewels.

Inside the back cover:
"The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life--the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold. In The Boleyn Inheritance Gregory is at her intelligent and page-turning best."

To be quite honest, it was hard to get through it. I'm glad I finished it though. It's not poorly written by any means, but the characters just seem so...flat. I don't know how better to explain that. However, I don't feel by any means that Philippa Gregory is a poor writer. I just felt that the characters needed something to set them off. I think the only character you see any real development from is Jane Boleyn. I loathed most of the characters in this book, apart from Jane. It's a book full of evil and deceit. If you're into books about plotting and deceit this may very well be the book for you. However, for me, I can't ever see myself picking this book up for a second read. Worth at least the first read anyways. Could have been worse, could have been better.
Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel

Genre: Historical Fiction

I'd been waiting for quite some time to read this book, and I've been working on it off and on for a couple of weeks whilst doing other things. I've been enjoying the read. I honestly wish I had more time to read. It would have been a blast to just sit down and read this book without many breaks in between.

The Clan of the Cave Bear is only the first of a series of 6 called Earth's Children, which is still in the making. Book 6 just came out in March of 2011. This book is about a girl named Ayla who loses her family in a huge earthquake. She travels off alone and nearly dies from starvation. She becomes wounded and is then discovered by a Clan of bow-legged Cave people who adopt her. She's unaccepted by many of the Clan, and deviates from the clan ways until she grows older. She soon becomes accepted through good fortune. In many ways it's obvious that she's different than the people of her new clan, not only to her but to them as well. A boy named Broud becomes the new leader, and through the entire book he loathes her, maybe because he feels threatened by her. So he gets his revenge by banishing her.

There's a whole lot more to this book than I've discussed above, but if you really want to know more about it you can just read the book. ;)

Back Cover:
"This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel's Magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly--She is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza's way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lived in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge."

This book was pretty awesome. It has a great character development, and you can really see the strength Ayla develops through all of her hardships she's faced with. I grew to love some of the characters as well. Ayla, of course our lead, is a very strong woman and I am always fond of strong female leads. Iza, the medicine woman whose very ill, but so loving toward her children. Creb, an old cripple who teaches Ayla to speak their language and becomes quite fond of her. Finally, Brun, whose the leader of the Clan for most of the book, who bends the rules a little when he sees how strong Ayla is. This book is definitely worth a read. If you don't read this book, then you're seriously missing out on an amazing story! Even if this book were a standalone novel, it would still be freaking awesome. But I can't wait to read book #2.
Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci-Fi

Where's a better place to start blogging about books, than Ender's Game? There isn't one, that I know of.

Ender's game is a Sci-fi novel about a boy taken by the government and trained in battle. It's the first of a saga of books by Orson Scott Card. It's a futuristic war-space novel. I don't know if any of you have read the Halo series of novels, but you'll notice how similar Halo is to this novel. The first time I read this book I thought the beginning felt slow, but the second time around I felt I understood why it was written as it was. It starts with his home life before they come to take him away. Through all of his training you learn how intelligent Ender is and you may find yourself becoming attached to his character and who he is and can become, at least I did. You get to learn a whole lot about his character, seeing the events he goes through, who he thinks he is versus who he truly is. I really like the character development. He does what needs to get done. He even has some really good supporting characters, like his sister. In the end I feel he truly knows what it is he must do, and maybe understands a little bit more about himself than he did throughout the entire novel.

This book was incredibly intriguing and I have read it more than once. In fact I suggested it for a book group of mine, and we read it together, well...those of us who opted to give it a chance instead of opting out. It's not usually a book that females might find themselves wanting to read and even if it doesn't sound like your thing you should definitely give it a shot. I think anyone whose interested in sci-fi novels should pick this one up if they have yet to read it.

Back cover:
"Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses--and then training them in the arts of war....The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games.'...Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games...He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?"

I think this book is freaking amazing. The plot is great, the story carries well, the characters are intense, and the outcome is stupendous. If you don't read this book, you are seriously missing out. It's a must read in my books.

Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.