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The King's Peace by Jo Walton [26 Jun 2005|09:46pm]

I just finished reading The King's Peace by Jo Walton.
A very good book.
The story takes place in a medieval world, on an island probably not very unlike the UK

The main character, is Sulien ap Gwien, a woman who becomes one of the best fighters of the land. She also acts as narrator, telling the story of her life. The book starts off with her saying she's ninety-three.

The story goes through how she joins up with the king's forces, fighting the war needed to eventually bring the king's Peace to the island. It's a long war, taking many years. The relations and interactions between the various characters seem very well thought out. Motivations are quite believable.

This isn't a book that took me so strongly that I simply couldn't put it down. I've read longer books in a day. This one took me 2 weeks. Why so? I think I needed to take my time to appreciate it. It didn't dwell on some details I expected it to, but that was actually rather nice.

The blurb on the back of the book is actually somewhat inacurate, claiming "She will never forgive them." on some raiders who attacked her, when in actuallity she eventually does.

My recommendation: Read this book!

Now to get started on The King's Name, the sequel to this book.

Edit: her website: http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk/
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Darwin's Radio, by Greg Bear [19 Aug 2004|04:53pm]

The last time I read a Greg Bear book I was very pleased. I expected the same from this book, but was surprised at how different it was from the "space books" of his that I had read.

It tells of a newly awakened "virus" which begins to strike the human race, and the scientists, politicians, and companies involved with dealing with this new outbreak. I can't say much more without spoiling things, but it delves into archeology, biochemistry, and Bear tries hard to get his science straight (which can be a bit boring at times) for when he wrote this book.

Very interesting, and toward the end I had trouble putting it down each night. The ending was a bit funny, but a very amusing view of how things might be sometime. Another great Greg Bear story, very innovative.
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Call to Arms (The Damned, book 1), by Alan Dean Foster [19 Aug 2004|04:03pm]

I wasn't sure what to expect when a friend of mine loaned me this coverless hard back. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.

It's about races of aliens who are battling for the future of the universe, and in this effort they travel the universe seeking out new planets and systems containing intelligent life. And inevitably they come upon earth, full of strangely ruthless creatures who are constantly at war, and deemed only moderately civilized. But they sure make magnificent fighters.

The story primarily follows a man who first encounters these aliens, and his realizations (along with my own) about what a violent species humans are. And I was quite interested in the aliens, they were quite "approachable" in my mind, which goes against what so many alien movies tell us. I liked that.

Good book, I'll need to find the rest in the trilogy.
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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown [02 Aug 2004|09:40am]

I started reading this right after Angels & Demons. And on the whole I'd say I really enjoyed it!

As with the previous book, the facts in the book makes you want to look up the reality of everything the author talks about. I was also quite drawn in by the whole "goddess theme" of the book, which tended to center around how modern religions have removed strong female figures. This is something that I never put much thought into before.

Murder, mystery, a secret society with links to the Holy Grail. Very intriguing topics for just about everyone.

As for the story of the book, while it didn't read as quickly as the previous book, I very much enjoyed it. I'd definately recommend this to everyone %D
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Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown [21 Jul 2004|08:15am]

A friend of mine loaned me this book and predicted that I'd be finished with it in less than 3 days. He was absolutely correct! I couldn't put this book down, it swallowed up most of my weekend.

It tells of a symbologist who is woken early in the morning about a murder. This begins his adventure that brings him face to face with the Illuminati, anti-matter, and the head officials of the Vatican. Murder, mystery, secrecy, of course this book was wonderfully suspenseful.

Brown chose to take a lot of real information (on the Illuminati, Vatican, old texts...) and use it in the book, so even after you finish this book you're ready to jump into more definitive research into these enthralling subjects.

Good book. It's the prequel to The DaVinci Code, and it's probably best if you read this one first (the outcome of this book is made fairly clear when you start reading DaVinci Code).
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Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert J. Heinlein [14 Jul 2004|10:15am]

This is the third of Heinlein's books I've read, and I definately think this is my favorite so far. It tells the story of a man who was born and orphaned on Mars, and then raised by Martians. Martians are an advanced civilization compared to ours, and when the young man, Michael, is finally "rescued" by fellow earthlings, he is brought back to Earth, where he can barely speak the language. But as a genius, he quickly adapts and begins to "grok" what humanity is all about.

I think I loved this book so much because it touched upon religion a lot, and I've been doing a lot of exploring myself, and found myself agreeing in many portions of this book. I also found the characters very easy to fall in love with, the book flowed very nicely, and no parts dragged at all, which I think is rare for a 500+ book that is actually GOOD (rather than some sort of pop suspense novel).

Definately a book that every scifi fan should take time and read.
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Pandora's Star, by Peter F. Hamilton [30 Jun 2004|09:40am]

I've never written an actual book review before, (not counting failed book reports back in high school) so bear with me here!

The story is about a future where people travel by wormholes between planets and star systems, making spaceships obsolete.
Most people are effectively immortal, as they have the option to rejuvenate and become younger, and even a body death isn't too bad, as memories can be stored and new bodies can be made.

There's a group of 'cultists' that claim that a creature, dubbed the Starflyer, has infiltrated humanity and wishes its destruction.

There are actually many well-defined characters, and a few interesting sub-stories to bring characters into the main plot and explain their backgrounds a bit.

Overall, I'd say its one of the best books I've ever read.

I can't wait for Judas Unchained, the second book in the series, to come out.
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The Secret Of Life, by Paul McAuley [28 Jun 2004|09:19am]

A friend of mine loaned me this book. I was pleased to discover that it was written by a biologist turned science fiction writer. So you get piles of science talk, and biology basics that you can depend on to be true. Having true, in depth, facts definately added to my enjoyment of this book.

It is about a woman who is able to go on a Mars trip to do research on possible life there, and the repercussions of said life coming to earth. It was all a very plausible scenario, tiny microbiological life living deep in the ice of the northern pole of Mars. The book gets into her character a lot, her motives (some of which she is even unsure of), and her attempts to make sure science prevails in a world where corporate sponsors have great influence on directions and discoveries by NASA.

Good book, I'll definately be reading more by this author.
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The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein [16 Jun 2004|04:57pm]

This is the second Heinlein book I've ever read, and I must say I was not let down.

The moon was made inhabitable and is being used as a penal colony. But once the convicts have finished their sentence they cannot leave, because of physical changes that come from living on the low-gravity moon. The story centers around Mike, a computer that has become intelligent and aids a small group of rebels in their fight for complete freedom on Mars.

This book really makes you think back to a lot of earth-side revolutions, and it's amusing to see the moon colonists use the United States so often as a blueprint for revolution. The intelligent computer was really cool as well. I greatly enjoyed reading this book.
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Snow Crash, By Neal Stephenson [16 Jun 2004|03:55pm]

I first heard about this book a couple years ago, and it interested me, but I never really had the time to read it until recently. Often compared to William Gibson's Neuromancer, this book takes a look at what the futuristic Internet might look like. The Metaverse, world of 3d, reproduced in front of your eyes, a world you can become lost in, and as the book tells, a world you can become hurt in. It's the tale of Hiro Protagonist, and his efforts to deify himself and save the Metaverse from "Snow Crash" a virus that infects a 'hacker' and causes real physical harm. This exciting book takes place in fragments, between several characters and in the real world and the Metaverse, and explores a cult, some ancient Sumerian history, and paints a picture of a society ruled not by laws and countries, but by corporations. Even if you are not into "cyber-type" novels, there is really something for everyone in this book. I loved it.
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The Elenium Trilogy, by David Eddings [16 Jun 2004|03:53pm]

This trilogy, called "The Elenium", is in a genre of knights, kings, and magic fantasy that does not often appeal to me, and I have to admit it took me a while to get into the first book. Once I did however I uncovered an amazing world created by Eddings that truly captivated me. It's the story of a beautiful queen, who is caught in the middle of a grand political parade that threatens the existance of all in the world. A grand tale of knights, a radiantly beautiful queen, wicked trolls, scheming churchmen, magical crystals, and powerful magicians... if you are a fantasy fan you *must* check these books out, and if you are a generic scifi fan like myself, I can say that even I was skeptical at first. Thanks to my friend Josh for introducing me, and pursuading me to give a chance, these wonderful books!
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Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick [16 Jun 2004|03:52pm]

This is the book that inspired the movie "Bladerunner." Unfortunately the last time I saw that movie was a number of years ago, and I don't remember it much. From what I do remember this is quite different, but the message is the same. The earth has undergone a massive world war, most animals are extinct, and the survivng humans are encouraged to leave earth and live on space colonies. On these colonies there are androids who do work for the humans, and androids are not allowed on earth... but sometimes they escape. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter in charge of "retiring" a group of the latest model androids (almost indistiguishable from humans) that escaped from Mars. Along the way he meets a few interesting characters, one of which is Rachael Rosen, who he realizes he feels a physical attraction to. The journey this book follows is that of Rick Deckard, trying to separate what is real with what is not, what is human with what is manufactured, and struggling with the real moral differences. I really enjoyed this book, I only wish it had been longer.
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Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov [16 Jun 2004|03:50pm]

It's surprising that I hadn't read these three books (Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation earlier, since I've turned into a big science fiction fan.

It follows a space civilization through it's downfall and years in near chaos. Only one man knows how it will come out, he predicted several steps in the civilization using "psychohistory" a field of study that believes that large groups of humans, their government and revolutions, can be accurately predicted.

I loved this trilogy. It's definately a "must read" for anyone who enjoys good Science Fiction. Quite a masterpiece!
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Friday, by Robert Heinlein [16 Jun 2004|12:04pm]

This books tells of a future where a genetically engineered woman, Friday, is trying to find her place. In the beginnin we meet her working as a "courier" for mysterious firm. As the story progresses we see a world where people who are genetically engineered are referred to as "artificial people" and greatly limited in their rights and acceptance. Friday must come to terms with her place in society, and deal with the consequences of not being fully truthful about her origins. Sometimes this book ended with scenes that were quite heartbreaking.

I did enjoy it, and it gave an interesting glimpse into what the world could turn into with genetic alterations a real possibility. Maybe people won't want them, maybe the altered won't be considered human anymore...

The plot wasn't exactly well-defined and it slowed down in parts, but as a whole I'd say I enjoyed this book.
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Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card [16 Jun 2004|10:19am]

I first read Ender's Game while in high school. It wasn't until this past year that I went further into the Ender Saga, I like Orson Scott Card as an author so I was happy with the series.

I wasn't sure what I'd think about a book like this one, a "parallel novel" to Ender's Game. I guess I worried that he wouldn't be able to pull off the same story, or that I'd end up disliking how Bean (the main character in this book) portrayed Ender and all the older children.

I was pleasantly surprised. This book turned out to be quite good! I was very happy with it. It was wonderful how Card managed to rewrite so much of the same story in such a different way from this character's point of view. It also very nice to learn more about Bean, as he's such a small character in Ender's Game. I'll definately be reading more books in this... "Bean saga"
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