Friday, July 18, 2014

On The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison - REVIEW

Synopsis (per Goodreads) found here.

I was a big fan of Law & Order. This is the original version, mind you.  Not that Special Victims Unit stuff that still airs, which is something along the lines of 90% Olivia backstory, 9% other new detective backstory, 0.5% district attorney backstory and 0.5% actual detectives doing case solving / district attorneys doing prosecuting.  But gripes against SVU aside, I was fond of Law & Order.  All that law... and order. Something bad happened. The detectives figured that shtuff out and the district attorneys get those jerks jailed.  I loved the intricacies of case management, the complexity of the law. 

The Goblin Emperor is a murder mystery wrapped in politics with a dash of bildungsroman in the background.  Imagine, if you will, the small council in the Game of Thrones universe.  Now, imagine the entirety of the Game of Thrones story being told from within Point of View within that small council.  The Goblin Emperor is mostly the Order of the Law & Order.  The detective work is more ancillary to the workings of the court and the fallout of the murder and coronation of a goblin emperor (the empire he is emperoring is mostly elves). 

What really drew me to The Goblin Emperor were the blurbs - specifically:
"Challenging, intriguing, and unique. If court intrigue is your wine of choice, The Goblin Emperor is the headiest vintage I've come across in years." - Scott Lynch
"This is a beautifully told story, and has cost me much needed sleep these past few nights. (And I'm not just saying that because, as we all know, goblins are awesome!) The Goblin Emperor made me remember why I fell in love with the fantasy genre." - Jim C. Hines

And it wasn't so much what they said, as much as it was who said it. 

I've lost touch with my allegory.  Have a bit of a cold.  Thinking is hard.

I think Scott Lynch said it well. If court intrigue is your thing, then this would definitely be for you. The diction is beautiful, the characters relatable, and the story intriguing. Personally... I like Order...  I just like a little more Law with it.  I give it... Lincoln (without the vampire hunting).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

On Cibola Burn (Expanse #4) by James SA Corey - REVIEW

Synopisis (per Goodreads) found here.  

This is #4 of the Expanse novels by James SA Corey (my review for #3 here - blog didn't exist for me to review #'s 1 and 2).  You can read Cibola Burn without having read the predecessors, but I wouldn't recommend it (the series is good stuff - read it). 

Everyone has their own "the mall." Generally it's a localized event and when one person says to another "I'm going to the mall," the other person knows they mean Menlo Park, not Freehold or Woodbridge. We hung out there as kids, shop there as adults, use it as a distraction as parents.  It's comfortable.  Sure maybe the Disney store relocates, but all we need is a sign that says "moved to the upper level near Nordstroms" and we know what it means - no map necessary.  And maybe we stop for an Auntie Ann pretzel on the way.

Now, I am generally not a science fiction guy (for the most part - my Goodreads library shows generally 4:1 in favor of Fantasy). Sure, I'll read the odd Star Wars novel (more based on the author than anything else), and I'll watch the Star Wars and (new) Star Trek movies (was never a Trekkie - nor have I watched Firefly - I probably shouldn't admit to that). But, the Expanse novels have become "the mall" for me; my go-to sci-fi read.  Science Fiction I'm comfortable with. And though each of Corey's novels have some changes - some new characters and a new cross-genre - Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are comfortable now (must be how Trekkies started to get attached to Piccard or who have you - I'm not starting that better Captain debate).

I mentioned "new cross-genre" in terms of a relocation of store (or perhaps what would be more apropos would be connection to a new store. Something within a familiar landscape, but in itself is new and exciting). You see, within each of the Expanse novels, Corey sets the story against some non-traditional sci-fi genre archetypes. Leviathan Wakes touched on horror. Caliban's War was heavy into politics. Abaddon's Gate was more traditional science fiction. Cibola Burn - well, here's our science fiction Western.

Like the other Expanse novels, Cibola Burn is at a break-neck pace, and I maintain that this series is the most movie-ready series out there (though it has been picked up by SyFy to be a television series - perhaps we'll get a blockbuster movie or so out of it anyway).

I'm realizing there is very little "review" in this review. If you're a fan of big-budget action/adventure movies - read these books (even if sci-fi isn't necessarily your thing).

I give it...  Han shot first.