Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review: Hyperion

Hyperion (1989), Dan Simmons. Paperback, 482 pages.

Awards: Hugo Award winner (1990), Locus Award winner (1990), British Science Fiction Award nominee (1990), Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee (1992)

Summary: A group of pilgrims journeys to confront a mysterious, remote, but terribly dangerous killing machine that has shaped each of their lives in profound and horrible ways. For a more detailed summary, click here.

First Sentences:
The Hegemony Consul sat on the balcony of his ebony spaceship and played Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp Minor on an ancient but well-maintained Steinway while great, green, saurian things surged and bellowed in the swamps below. A thunderstorm was brewing to the north. Bruise-black clouds silhouetted a forest of giant gymnosperms while stratocumulus towered nine  kilometers high in a violent sky.

Each morning Sol sat by his daughter's bed until she awoke. The first minutes of her confusion were always painful to him, but he made sure that he was the first thing Rachel saw each day. He held her while she asked her questions. 
"Where are we, daddy? 
"In a wonderful place, little one. I'll tell you all about it over breakfast." 
"How did we get here?" 
"By 'casting and flying and walking a bit," he would say. "it's not so far away . . . but far enough to make it an adventure." 
"But my bed's here . . . my stuffed animals . . . why don't I remember coming?" 
And Sol would hold her gently by the shoulders and look into her brown eyes and say, "You had an accident, Rachel. Remember in The Homesick Toad where Terrence hits his head and forgets where he lives for a few days? It was sort of like that." 
"Am I better?" 
"Yes," Sol would say, "you're all better now." And the house would fill with the smell of breakfast and they would go out to the terrace where Sarai waited.


Writing Quality: 7/10

Depth of Concept: 8/10

Rounded Characters: 7/10

Well-Developed World: 8/10

Page Turner: 8/10

Kept Me Thinking: 9/10

Overall Recommendation: 8/10

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Book Review: Divergent (Book one in a trilogy)

Divergent (2011), Veronica Roth. Hardcover, 487 pages.

Brief Summary: A girl struggles to find her place in a brutal dystopian society that separates citizens into personality groups with little allowance for individuality. For a more detailed summary, click here.

First Sentences: 
There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.

My mother and father would not approve of my kicking someone when she's down. 
I don't care. 
She curls into a ball to protect her side, and I kick again, this time hitting her in the stomach. Like a child. I kick again, this time hitting her in the face. Blood springs from her nose and spreads over her face. Look at her. Another kick hits her in the chest. 
I pull my foot back again, but Four's hands clamp around my arms, and he pulls me away from her with irresistable force. I breathe through gritted teeth, staring at Molly's blood-covered face, the color deep and rich and beautiful, in a way. 
She groans, and I hear gurgling in her throat, watch blood trickle from her lips. 
"You won," Four mutters, "Stop." 
I wipe the sweat from my forehead. He stares at me. His eyes are too wide; they look alarmed. 
"I think you should leave," he says. "Take a walk." 
"I'm fine," I say. "I'm fine now," I say again, this time for myself. 
I wish I could say I felt guilty for what I did. 
I don't.

Writing Quality: 4/10 

Depth of Concept: 4/10

Rounded Characters: 4/10

Well-Developed World: 5/10

Page Turner: 6/10

Kept Me Thinking: 5/10

Overall Recommendation: 5/10

Saturday, April 27, 2013


It's been a nice break. But I've been thinking more and more about getting a few reviews out of my system.

This is the back-log of books I have sitting on my desk to review right now, full of dog-ears and sticky notes:
Hyperion, Dan Simmons

Hunter of Worlds, C. J. Cherryh

Able One, Ben Bova

Marsbound, Joe Haldeman

Sabriel, Garth Nix

Sphere, Michael Crichton

Doomsday Book, Connie Willis

Westmark, Lloyd Alexander

Divergent, Veronica Roth
Anyone wanna offer a vote as to which couple o' books I should tackle first?