Musings on writing, lessons learned by an aspiring professional, book reviews, movie reviews, an occasional t.v. show review, and unashamed opinion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mini Reviews #2

So I've listened to some more books. Time for a short review of each. Here we go...

1356 is Bernard Cornwell's return to the Hundred Years War. He has already written a trilogy set during this time period, following an archer named Thomas of Hookton. This book picks up Thomas's story several years later and tells of the English victory over the French at the Battle of Poitiers.

Bernard Cornwell is the master of historical adventure fiction. No one does it better. 1356, however, wasn't as good as his previous archer stories. I felt that the central conflict--the Battle of Poitiers--was just thrown in at the end for something for the characters to do. There was no sense of a building conflict that would lead to the fateful battle. I really felt Cornwell phoned this one in. That said, I still enjoyed returning to 14th century France, and archers just plain kick butt. They are way cooler than knights.

1356 gets 3 out of 5 stars. Don't start here if you're new to Cornwell. Try The Archer's Tale or Agincourt first.

It's finally here. A Memory of Light is the concluding volume to one of fantasy's most seminal epics. Twenty three years in the making, folks. Deep breath in... now let it out. Aaahhh... Okay. Now we can get on with it. So did it fulfill all of my hopes and dreams that have been building up since I picked up the first book back in 2002?


But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I did. However, I thought that there were some serious flaws with this book, and because of it the entire series. I won't discuss it here. I plan to do a post about the entire Wheel of Time series in the future. You'll get an ear full from me then. For now, know this: Brandon Sanderson did an excellent job. Nobody could have done better. But it was never Sanderson's book. Even though Robert Jordan passed away in 2007, he left detailed notes about how things should wrap up. All the flaws and shortcomings are his, not Sanderson's.

You have to read this book if you've been a long-time fan of the series as I have. You have to read it to finish the story. If you've never read the series before, though, I'd suggest stopping after book six. After that, the word count just isn't worth it. I give A Memory of Light 3 out of 5 stars.

Another historical to review. Ironfire, subtitled, A novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades, is a monster soap opera. I didn't like it hardly at all. The only reason I stuck with it, other than the fact that I'd paid to listen to it, was because I was waiting for the siege of Malta to happen. It took way too damn long to get to the battle... which is so idiotic seeing as how the subtitle of the freaking book declares itself to be about the bloody siege! No joke--the final five hours out of thirty-one is all the time the last battle of the crusade got. I'm guessing the only reason this book has its subtitle is because no one would have bought the dumb thing if they knew what it was really about.

What is it about? It's about soap opera romances, modern medieval story cliches, and a bunch of crap completely unrelated to the siege of Malta. David Ball, if I'd wanted a medieval soap opera I would have listened to The Pillars of the Earth. At least that book doesn't use a subtitle to falsely lead readers. Oh, and you suck at info dumping. How boring is it to be taken away from the story to be force-fed historical facts for twenty minute chunks?

And that's all I have to say about that. :D  Ironfire isn't even worth a more detailed review. Don't waste your time on it. If you want a novel about the siege of Malta, read The Religion. It's a bit on the soap opera side, too, but at least the majority of the story focuses on the battle. Ironfire gets 2 out of 5 stars.

Wish there'd been some higher-rated ones to tell you about this time. And it seems there was a theme here: YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO STICK THE ENDING. Otherwise, it just hurts the rest of the book or series. Oh well. I've already got more good audiobooks waiting in the wings to tell you about in a few weeks. Until then, That's all!

P.S. I do have to add that all these books have excellent covers. Well done, marketing people!

1 comment:

  1. I've really got to check out more historical fiction. Just working on Jim Butcher's fantasy series now.

    And BTW... please tell me you put in for the book editor spot on ASFP. You'd be awesome at that!