Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Long time, no entry...Part I

Well, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), real life has once again caught up with me, and I haven't had time to properly review any books.  Never fear! I have been steadily reading away as usual, keeping track of everything over at Goodreads!  Since it is obvious that I stand no chance of ever catching up with my back log of books to review, I thought I'd go ahead and post a more succinct summary of my recent reads in a multi-part series.  So...without any further ado:

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)
Co-winner of the 2010 Hugo Award (tied with The City & The City, previously reviewed by yours truly here).  The novel takes place in a near-future where energy sources have become severely depleted, forcing massive changes on society.  Food production is completely controlled by mega-corporations who engineer plants to suit their clients' needs.  An extremely good book with a lot of thought-provoking ideas about where humanity is heading if we continue on with our unsustainable rate of consumption. [5 hamsters]

The Brothers K by David James Duncan (1992)
This book follows the ups and downs of a midwestern family whose four sons come of age in the '50s and '60s.  Narrated by the youngest son, it focuses on the father's minor league baseball career and how his brothers deal very differently with the reality of war.  Laced throughout is some of the best writing about families that I've ever read--it really captures the love and dynamics of family in an unforgettable way. [4.5 hamsters]

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
Is there anyone who doesn't know what The Hunger Games is about?  In a post-apocalyptic world, a central government holds the Hunger Games, where teenagers from different districts are pitted against one another in a televised battle from which there is only one survivor.  Fantastic premise, though the main plot is strongly reminiscent of Stephen King's The Long Walk (see my review here).  This is a heck of a good book--one of those that I simply couldn't read fast enough.  Highly, highly recommended.  [5 hamsters]

House of Chains by Stephen Erikson (2002)
This is the fourth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (reviews of previous volumes here).  These novels continue to be somewhat convoluted and a challenge to piece together, but they also continue to capture my fascination.  House of Chains, a direct sequel to Deadhouse Gates, was a little slower moving than its predecessors, but carried the story forward nicely once everything got going.  [3.5 hamsters]

The Broken Wheel by David Wingrove (1990)
The second volume to the Chung Kuo series (first volume reviewed here).  No surprises in this one--nothing deep but a fast paced story in a well-realized future world.  Wingrove is in the process of reissuing an expanded 20-volume (if you can believe it) set of Chung Kuo books which I'm pretty excited about checking out in the future since it fills in some of the gaps in the original series.  [3.5 hamsters]

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (2007)
There was a lot of buzz around this novel on the nets, so I thought I'd check out Rothfuss's debut novel.  It is a really interesting book despite employing more than a few fantasy cliches.  The best description I can give it sells it short but here goes anyway: a mature version of Harry Potter.  Not quite fair, but the comparison is inevitable.  A well written book, it has one of the most logical, developed systems of magic of any novel I've come across.  There aren't people going around pointing wands at each other and saying cute phrases to wield magic; instead, a caster acts as more of a conduit for energies from the natural world.  Great stuff! [4.5 hamsters]

Stay tuned! More updates to come soon!

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