Jan 262015
Review: Pacific Fire

I really liked this book. It takes place 10 years after the first one, and focuses on a different character, but the overall feel was much the same, and was very inventive. Sam is a character I found super easy to like and root for. He’s a golem, but seems very human. I was surprised at how much like a normal teenager he seemed, except he’s been extremely isolated (not uneducated or naive though) and knows he is considered a very expensive prize. Even knowing this though, he still has a good heart and great intentions, and follows his own […]

Dec 222014
Review: Blindsight

This was a very intellectual feeling sci-fi alien story. I feel like a lot of it went over my head, especially in the first half, but it was interesting, so I kept reading. By the end, I think I really liked it, even if I didn’t fully understand everything. This felt quite different than a standard alien story as there were philosophical wanderings and musings by the narrator. The narrator himself was quite unusually, not feeling fully human as he had half his brain replaced with a machine when he was a kid. It made for a unique perspective in […]

Dec 102014
Review: Fortune's Pawn

I’m always quick to say I love sci-fi books, but less quick to say I have a soft spot for space stories. Space and alien stories usually have way more potential than they actually deliver. Part of that is because female characters seem to be highly stereotypical in this genre. I’m super happy to say that this book killed those stereotypes and brought lots of action delivered through a very impressive female protagonist. Devi is a very focused and career driven woman. She knows what she wants, and she’s willing to do the work to get it. She’s not looking […]

Nov 192014
Review: The Ultra Thin Man

I’m rather on the fence about this book. On one hand, this an intricate conspiracy story set on multiple planets with aliens and duel narration. On the other hand, the narrators are so identical they’re almost interchangeable and the world building is woeful low on details. Breaking it down, looking at characters first. The story is narrated by two old-school private investigators in alternating chapters. One has a first person narrative while the other has a third person narrative. That’s about the only difference between them. Other than that, the characters are super similar. At times, I found the only […]

Nov 112014
Review: The Three-Body Problem

I don’t read many translated stories, but this sounded like an interesting science fiction alien story. Unfortunately, I don’t think it quite got there. I DNF’d a third of the way in, and hadn’t reached any mention of aliens. I found this book read more like a science or history textbook than an actual story. There were historical tidbits, complete with footnotes, and an overall dry and unengaged feel. The first few chapters were all background information, and I found myself skimming it as I couldn’t see the importance of it to the story. Overall, the blurb sounded interesting, but […]

Oct 162014
Review: Eastern Standard Tribe

While I found this first part of the story confusing because I really didn’t understand the tribe set up, the more of the book I read, the more I enjoyed it. The tribe set up is explained about halfway through, and it made a lot of sense. It would have been better if that explanation occurred earlier in the book, but the story wasn’t really about the time zone tribes. It was more about Art and mental health. One thing I really like about Doctorow books is that you can either read and enjoy the story at a shallow level, […]

Oct 062014
Review: A Vision of Fire

When I first saw this book popping up, I was torn about it. The X-Files was an awesome show, and obviously the author is using that connection to find an audience, but just because you can act sci-fi, doesn’t mean you can write sci-fi. The summary has potential, but I felt it could reach towards overly political. Having read the story, I’ll admit I’m still torn. This was a very heavy and serious feeling book. There wasn’t an overly political tone, but the entire plot was a little lacking on believability. I think part of that stems from the main […]

Aug 072014
Martin Reviews: Afterparty

Daryl Gregory’s new book Afterparty (Tor Books 2014) couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I was right in the middle of a punishing slog through Peter Hamilton’s 2012 novel Great North Road, where the plot is so overwhelmingly forced and the characters so underwhelmingly two-dimensional, that I was beginning to wonder if this huge tome (the trade paperback is over one thousand pages, and it must weigh at least a couple pounds) was worth finishing. Gregory’s book provided the perfect relief. Where Hamilton’s story contains a vast set of characters, Gregory’s is a tidy first person narrative. Where Hamilton’s […]

Jul 242014
Review: Prototype

A very exciting and thrilling conclusion to the duology, this book was quite different from the first. While the first book focused mostly on Emma and her amnesia, this book focused more on Emma’s relationship with Noah, and her fight against Declan. Picking up shortly after the first book ended, this one started with a heart-pounding action scene. The story continued with almost nonstop action until the very end. It made for a very quick and adrenaline filled read. While the story was exciting, I did find it less original than the first book. This one followed a more standard […]

May 072014
Review: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

This book felt a little bit like fluff science fiction. Unlike most Doctorow books, this one isn’t filled with heavy themes or messages. It’s light and easy to digest, and yet, there was something about it that I found a little depressing. On the surface, this seems like a light-hearted book. There is no longer death as people are “rebooted” to a clone body with their minds intact. As a consequence, death and murder and other crimes aren’t really a concern. Plus, the story takes place in Disney World, the ultimate happy place. And yet, I found this book lowered […]