Posts Tagged With: book review

Philip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep?

7082This is, on mere technicality, a re-read. I was very little when I first put my hands on “Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner 1; ISBN 0345404475; 244p.; Goodreads), and recall it best in relation to other non-related sci-fi books on bounty hunters, profession I highly wanted to participate in back then. Yet the reading now was delicious. Funny how sci-fi has such a special spot in my heart, and yet I read so little of it.

Rick Decard is a bounty hunter with a license to kill, if you please. His job is to test suspicious individuals and, if they can’t pass the test, kill them, any means necessary, excluding human endangerment. Otherwise his mission would sort of lose the purpose. For he kills androids who pose as humans, androids who escaped Mars, usually, after killing humans there, and who are getting just too good to track down. There is only one test they always fail. Androids, unlike real humans, are too logical to have proper empathy. They can be trained to respond, but there’s only that much you can wiggle your way out of. Yet Rick’s job is no easier due to this. No empathy, for starters means they’ll kill people if they have to, even if “have to” is a mere distraction.

So the hunt begins. Decard follows in the tracks of androids his colleague has fallen to. Falsely gaining confidence after the first kill, he soon finds himself in far more trouble, than he ever thought possible. Worse, slowly but surely he is uncovering a far deeper rooted plan to survive that androids have cast in a web across his city, if not planet. They infiltrated places they had no rights to be in, right under their noses, every day at their ears. And newer models make even him question the morality of his work, hell, even his own humanity becomes questionable… Because, what if memories are false too?

I really like the characters in this book. Decard is not the only protagonist, but I excluded the other one purposefully. I also really love how androids have this delusion of what a head hunter for androids is: this unstoppable machine they’ll fall to if they as much as lock eyes with. If you like cyberpunk – you must read this. It’s a very easy to read and follow book, and I’ll gladly give it a 5 out of 5. And if anyone’s wondering about those sequels – someone else wrote it, I don’t feel like reading them right now.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give

32613366Holy damn. No, but really. Why didn’t I get this book sooner? “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas (ISBN 1406372153; 438p; Goodreads) puts a crown on my this year’s reads. It’s definitely the best contemporary book I have ever read. I wish there was more, but what could top this?

Starr already had a pretty complicated life. Attending a school where she and a couple more students were the only black people around, she felt pressure acting more like the people around her did, to avoid the whole “black girl from the hood” stereotype getting attached. At home she hurried to shake that all off, to not seem lame, because, really! Add regular teenage problems to that, and there you have it. But all that falls to dust in one night. Her life, and the life of her whole community fall apart as her childhood friend get brutally murdered with several shots to the back by a police officer. He stopped them for no real reason, got irritated over the smallest things, dragged Khaleel out of the car, and as he bent to ask terrified Starr if she’s okay – he shot him in the back. Over, and over, and over.

“Thug”, “dealer”, “gangbanger” are all epithets Khaleel’s name get changed with. Even the seemingly most sympathetic people are more affected by the officer’s father slobbering over the television of what a hard time his son is having over this “human mistake”, as if Khaleel was less. After all, Khaleel was indeed a dealer, so he would’ve died anyway, one gangbanger less, right? But Starr knows the truth behind the name, she knows the boy behind the titles, and slowly, being pushed by anger and injustices, even if discouraged by threats officers make on her, she speaks up. After all, she has the support of her family, and her wonderfully united community. And so the story of protests turned to riots turned to war zone begin.

I can’t begin telling you how good, and how important this book is. At time I’d forget I’m reading fiction, for it seems it’d be enough to change a title, change a name, and you’d recognize the people. I hope to someone this book will be an eye-opener. I can only give it 5 out of 5, and recommend.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Friday: Diversity | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Laini Taylor – Strange the Dreamer [1]

28449207I asked for a recommendation and have received “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer 1; ISBN 0316341681; 536p.; Goodreads). Must say, has been a hot minute since I’ve read such a colossal book. I think the last one was the gruesome Fifth Season, which I also recommend. But this one was lighter to bear, with almost constant sense of sunshine, likely due to lighter people, personalities within.

A great war has taken place in the city ruled by ruthless gods. People rebelled, climbed their tower, and slain everyone they found bearing the blue skin of godspawn. But gods are not easy to slay. They fought back as best they could, and took vengeance in death too. First they took their sky, shielding it with the massive wings of their home. Then they left humans dreading, haunted by nightmares for as long as they sleep under the winged dome. They’re too worried to move, for it would mean that even in death the gods have taken victory on their lives. And finally, they took the very name of the place, leaving it known across the world only as Weep, a name that leaves ones lips bitter with ash and salt.

Lazlo Strange is an orphan, taken by monks off the streets, almost grey with sickness. They nursed him back, and soon, as the boy grew, got to calling him Strange The Dreamer, due to the nature of work he took. For, you see, Lazlo is mostly interested in stories. Especially those of Weep, a place he believes to be more than a fairy tale. He goes as far as dig up old recipes of purchases, just to prove this or that mediocre thing to be real. No one takes him seriously, of course, and people are far more interested in his knowledge on alchemy, than some fairy tale land. Up until the day delegates from Weep march into his city, kindly asking for volunteers who could bring new knowledge into their devastated lands. Lazlo can’t even dare dreaming they might need a tale teller…

This book feels huge. And it’s not as dark as some high fantasy books get. If you like the genre, I can’t recommend this one enough. In the mean time, I give it 5 out of 5, and await the next one eagerly.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

George Orwell – 1984

5470It was due time I picked up “1984” by George Orwell (ISBN 0451524934; 328p; Goodreads), what with all the things happening in real life. It is also one of those rare classic books that got good reviews from some people I follow, who I didn’t expect to rate it well. So I’ve read it, and I’m pretty blown away.

Individual makes mistakes. Only together, led by strong Party, people, their nation, can survive among the enemies, win wars, thrive, prosper. Individual thinking, thus, is a weakness punishable by jail, or even death. For if you seek to think on your own, declining the Big Brother doctrine, you, obviously, wish for the Party, and therefore – your own nation, to fail. By disagreeing with the truth given by Party, by not destroying the false memories, you are doing ill for your nation, you’re a traitor, and thus, you must be punished.

 

Winston tried to live with the memories of yesterday’s enemy, who, today, is a friend that was never an enemy. He tried to live one step behind the Big Brother, the all seeing eyes, the all hearing ears. He tried to live with false, individual thinking induced freedom, believing that at least in his own head – he must be safe.

From the reviews I’m seeing, I dare assume the book is on the harder works of literature. But that aside, I also saw some reviews claiming this is too thick a fantasy book to feel realistic. So let me tell this: ideas never die. If you believe that things like communism have died, let me show you the images of Confederate flag, defended as part of South history. Let me show you the photographs of Neo Nazis, marching with their stupid tiki torches. Let me show you the thriving “I’m better than thou” individuals, who are gathering into clusters. As one smart boy in a video game once said: It’s dangerous when too many men in same uniform believe themselves right. No idea that can make an insecure little man believe himself better than someone else will ever die. So I give this book a 5 out of 5, and I pray that we never forget.

Just because you didn’t suffer it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening (e.g. if as a woman you were never discriminated against, doesn’t mean you don’t need feminism; if as a person you never been racially, ethnically, religiously, or otherwise persecuted, doesn’t mean it’s not happening out there)

Categories: 5-5, Books: Dystopian, Books: Other Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.C. Bextor – Empires and Kings [1]

x3Sometimes I pick a book up just because, because it sat there, taunting me or whatever. Sometimes due to such an action I even find good reads. Sadly, “Empires and Kings” by A.C. Bextor (Mafia 1; ASIN B01MZA0MS5; 322p.; Goodreads) is not one of those. It’s just a book about a Russian Mafia Family head, portrayed as the most vile and ruthless monster, who, beside the few base things he did that’ll make you roll your eyes, rather than fear him, hardly did anything.

The book is told from two perspectives. One, the first, belongs to our scary mister Vlad Zaleski, the head of this Mafia Family, one of the most powerful men in the underworld. Back in the day he was required to exterminate a family of a traitor. Wrong time, wrong place, the traitor’s daughter, a mere child, runs into the room, scared by all the noises. Vlad makes her watch the killing of her family, and, due to reasons unclear, takes her with him, and puts her into his own family. Maybe he took pity on the child. Maybe he wanted her there, as a reminder to anyone else who’d like to try and betray him, what’s left of the last man who did: a single girl devoted, loyal to him.

She’s better known as the Traitor’s Daughter. She grew up fearing and revering Vlad as some sort of a god. His son became her best friend, her brother. His sister became her sister, and best friend. Growing up among the mafia men has changed her perspective on life, has given her a different rhythm to things, a certain sense of power, even in captivity, where no one could touch her, for she was jailed and protected by their boss. The only truly bad outcome in this is that she fell in love with her god, she fell in love with Vlad.

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome, right? The book has a good idea, even for a romance novel it’s a pretty fair one, for I am sure there’s many who’d enjoy a creature like Vlad, the mafia boss, the gangster, the mister danger in the modern world of darkness. Yet the story, the way it was told, the fleshing out of the small ideas, making them seem artificially bigger felt a bit weak. So for the time being I can only offer this book a 3 out of 5, and we’ll see on whether I can pick up the second one.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” [1]

29283884I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!

Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…

The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!

The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eddie Izzard – Believe Me

24611840Ah, Eddie. It’s hard to not love this wonderful person, with his simple, honest humor. Once I laughed to tears when he cracked a joke about printers, I’ll add the video below if I can find it. So when I saw his memoir “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, And Jazz Chickens” (ISBN 1611764696; 368p.; Goodreads), I grabbed it right away. Because, come on, it’s the one, and only: Eddie Izzard.

This is the type of memoir I like – about everything, in details, from the beginning, with fill-in’s, and explanations. Eddie Izzard seems to be a mighty flexible person, able to adjust to almost anything. Starting with his career as street performer, then stand-up comedian, writer, TV star, and so on, and to this day. He followed his heart, and so today we know him both as cold hearted killer in, say, Hannibal series, and as that wonderful transgender comedian, a man in a dress on stage, killing it!

When Eddie was still a child – his mother died. He loved her, and still does, very much. Father, unable to care for children, and work at the same time, sent them to boarding school. Eddie, with his poor health, and away from home, and loving parents, felt quite abandoned. Add his gender identity to it, and you get a fairly poor cocktail. Yet his spirit was ever so wonderful, and his wonderful childish discoveries were everything, I tell you. For example, one time someone told their class there’s a spot in, I don’t remember now, either a better class, or even a higher class, and so they asked whether anyone would like to pass there. Before little Eddie could even roll this thought in his head, some kid just raised his hand, and bam, that was that. Eddie thus came to conclusions: if you just learn to raise your hand real fast, one day you might even become the president of some country!

The memoir is full of everything, as I already mentioned, including the backstage of comedian life, what it’s like, how are the people. The only problem people might get with it: Eddie has a mighty complex way to telling his story, full of long sentences, side clauses within, explanations, and even footnotes. It’s not an easy book, is what I’m saying. But oh how worthy it is, 5 out of 5, there’s no way I can give less.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Shadows Return [4]

2065091The tradition continues with Nightrunner series. Every second book is far better than the previous one. So while I didn’t much like the fae realms, I did love all that happened in “Shadows Return” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 4; ISBN 0553590081; 522p.; Goodreads). It had a good pace, and a great, alchemy filled story.

Seregil and Alec return to Rhimenee, hoping to create a new runner persona, since their previous alter ego had to die. Even the most clueless nobles of the city might have otherwise noticed the pattern: Cat returns when Lord Seregil returns! Odd! Yet their fate had other plans for them. Remember that prophecy by oracle? Time to put it back in motion. Seregil and Alec end up in slavers hands, and are taken to enemy lands, where fae blood, especially the kind Alec has in his veins, is highly valued. Thus, they are separated, and sold…

Seregil, away from Alec, ends up at the mercy of his former lover, the man who betrayed him, the man who had him exiled. The only joy Seregil now has is the bittersweet knowledge: he is a slave too, if gilded.

The story was really pretty great, reminded me of Anne Rice’s “Claiming Beauty” trilogy, and C.S. Pacat “Captive Prince” too. I’ll give it a firm 4 out of 5, and hope it continues with these great topics!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victoria Schwab – Our Dark Duet [2]

32075662I waited for this, it seems, for forever, even thou it wasn’t so long, really. And with “Our Dark Duet” by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity 2; ISBN 0062380885; 510p.; Goodreads) the duology ends. Yet my waiting continues, since now my favorite author is writing a sequel to Vicious…

Kate Harker, in a sense, felt safe. Monsters were all known. You looked at the body, and by what was missing, you knew what you’ll be hunting. None of them were a match for her either. Until that fatal night when something fleeting passed her vision. People turned their weapons one against the other, and killed without remorse. The blur in her vision turned more physical, and soon she was gazing into its eyes, mirroring her own, calling for violence, cold, alien…

August Flynn just wanted to be human. That is, until humans showed him how much more use they have from a monster who is strong, and in control of themselves. So he hunted, killed, and fed. And he gave orders, as due to a high ranking officer. What a strange, and unexpected turn his life took. And how much more strange it’ll get when Kate Harker will return to Verity. Kate Harker, with one eye no longer blue. Kate Harker, with one eye filling up with the mirror shard there. Kate Harker, with one eye that made the cameras blur out of focus when she looked at them. Kate Harker, the infamous monster hunter, with one eye of a monster.

This was one damn amazing piece, and I am beyond happy with it. Events turned and twisted, pace was perfect, as always, and people were their own beings. I loved it, it concluded everything perfectly. 5 out of 5, this was wonderful.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diana Wynne Jones – Howl’s Moving Castle [1]

17890590-e307-0133-a222-0eb4fb0e56f1Howl’s Moving Castle is probably my most favorite movie of them all. And thus it is a bit strange that I’ve only read the book of same title by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle 1; ISBN 006441034X; 329p.; Goodreads) now. Okay no, it’s not that weird. I was made worried by all those reviews claiming the movie, and the book to be two very different things. Now I know. They’re different, yes. But not that much, and by far not in a bad way either.

Sophie has made peace with her fate to take over the boring family business of hat making. She passes her days by chatting with the said hats, telling them to bring luck to their owners, riches, good husbands. And as flood of customers grows, Sophie is surprised to know that most of the owners indeed had a happy turn of events. All seemed to go well, up until Witch of the Waste entered through her door, bitter for reasons unknown. She put a curse on Sophie, turning her into an old woman, and unable to speak of it either…

But Sophie is not one to cry over spilled milk. She grabbed her essentials, and went out to meet her destiny, if you please. Sophie, thus, went to find the castle she saw in the horizon, Howl’s castle. After all, who else could lift this damned curse? And now that she’s all old, he surely won’t want her heart.

 

Sophie finds the castle, of course, and Calcifer, if a little reluctantly, lets her in. Much like in the movie, they make a bargain to break each others’ contracts, and Calcifer keeps throwing little hints at Sophie via whole book, until she finally figures it out. Howl himself? One walking adventure, with more to him than meets the eye. I loved this book, and will give it 5 out of 5. So worth reading!

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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