MissMoka's Musings

Captain's Fury (Codex Alera, Book 4)

Captain's Fury - Jim Butcher Finally lost patience. Just skipped to the last chapter to see the outcome.

Academ's Fury (Codex Alera, Book 2)

Academ's Fury - Jim Butcher Still loads of incredulous action and reasoning. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks that in case of an Emperor's temporary unavailability, there SHOULD be some established chain of authority? Instead we are given some shady "can't strust nobody" excuses, just for the convenience of the Author, who then happily throws some bunch of green kids in position of the highest ruler. Who happen know more about dealing with a crisis than both intellignece sevice's and royal guard's leaders.
I've got sore throat, because I couldn't stop myself from groaning every few pages.
The most frustrating thing is, I really care about what's going to happen to Tavi and I want to see it through. But I'm not sure if my sense of logic and believability can stretch to such lengths.

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1)

Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher I've just finished the book. Well... my feelings are mixed.
The world itself and the main intrigue, although exploited, hooked me up, because they smell of Good Old Fantasy for a mile, but there were parts where I couldn't but groan at the wasted potential of the story. All that sexually-frustrated-sadist theme was too fake for me and the book could've done better without it. The levels of brutality here were so high they almost tripped to the ridiculous zone.
Some of the actions of the characters seemed to happen not because of the consequence of their character and personality, but because the story demanded it of them and there was too many turns of Fate to believe it. The other frustrating thing was the hints to the characters' true identities, which, whenever appeared, felt more like a smack to the face than a subtle poke.
Also, although the book is quite voluminous, I couldn't shake off the mental image of a traveling bag barely holding all the stuff thrust into it. Just too many threads developing too quickly. I understand that it's the first book of the series and all the plots have to start somewhere, but really, ALL of them at once? Give me some break. Too much stimulation is unhealthy.
And the descriptions of the characters' mental states: "X knew he was scared, but he had to do it", then a shift to another Point Of View and "Y knew that X had to do it, even though he was propably scared". C'mon, enough with the descriptions. SHOW me instead of TELLING. I don't need explanation of every step the character takes, leave me some space for interpretation. Especially when most of their moods summs up to "scared" and "on the brink of tears".
Don't get me wrong, it WAS entertaining an I will be reading the next one (because I've heard it gets better), but I definitely won't compare it to "Lord of the Rings" or "Song of Ice an Fire", the two titles that spring to my mind whenever I hear "high/epic fantasy here!".
On the positive side, I liked Tavi's resourcefulness, which made his plot the most attractive one, and his "limitations", as someone in the book called his inability to call upon furies. I also have nothing against Amara and Bernard, though they're quite flat, but I came to hate Isana. The only moment when I got interested in her character was at the very, very end of the book, because it's the onlty moment you get a glimpse past her strong inclination to martyrise herself for the good of the others, though sadly, it's just one sentence describing an expression in her eyes.

Reality Transurfing 1: The Space of Variations

Reality Transurfing 1: The Space of Variations - Vadim Zeland Some time ago I decided that the religion I was born into (catholicism) is not exactly what I believe in, deep down. I can't say I moved far in my search for philosophy/religion that would suit me, but comparing to most of the stuff I've read, this book is the closest to my beliefs.
I can't accept the concept of an intelligent deity hanging somewhere above us, nor the idea of everything alive being nothing more than a bunch of cells working together.

This one, however, tells us that, basically, everything depends on the energy you put into doing and thinking, and balance between you and the world. Briefly speaking, if you struggle too much to gain something, the world will match your energy with the opposite to regain equilibrium. The book tries to give you a way to gain things without the world backfiring at you. As I myself experienced such things in the past, I can hardly disagree with this idea. There's of coure more to the book's philosophy, which I also found quite believable, but writing about it would be rewriting the book itself, so I'll leave it here.

If you have open mind and enjoy reading about different philosophies or you're looking for something alternative to religion, but can't quite bring yourself to completely abandon spirituality, try this.
Also, it doesn't sound like all this popular crap like "The Secret", as Transerfing actually tries to explain why exactly you are able to recieve good things from the world (or, why you fail at it).

Krzyżacy (Tom II)

Krzyżacy. Tom II - Henryk Sienkiewicz I hated it. I just genuinely hated this book. It was my obligatory reading in high school and I've only managed to finish the first chapter before throwing it away. And I can't really explain what exactly pissed me off. There is another one of his works ("Potop") on the reading list, and the funny thing is almost everyone I know, who read them, either likes "Krzyżacy" or "Potop" (or neither), but never both. I guess it's like "cat pople" and "dog people" or coffe and tea. Liking one of them somehow makes you dislike the other.

So, what I wanted to say is that this review is in no way even trying to be objective.

De Heksenmeesters van Saramyr 1: De Wevers van Saramyr

De Heksenmeesters van Saramyr (Heksenmeesters van Saramyr, #1) - Chris Wooding, Sandra van de Ven I actually added this particular edition to my read list because maybe then someone, please, tell me why, WHY does it have Garth Nix's "Lirael" front cover?!

THE BLACK JEWELS TRILOGY: Book (1) One: Daughter of the Blood; Book (2) Two: Heir to the Shadows; Book (3) Three: Queen of the Darkness

Daughter of the Blood - Anne Bishop I'm not impressed with this book. I've struggled with rating stars and almost gave it two, but couldn't bring myself to do it. If there wre halves, I'd propably gave it 1,5. Just for the Jewels and unintended laughs.

There is the plot. Which isn't original. But it's allright. It contains some variation of Opressed Realm, Bad Ruler, Prophesied Hero, and The Oppostion. So it's allright.
There is the world. One of the kind which tries to cover imagination deficiency issues with Fancy Names. But still, somehow passable.
And there are characters. I am ready to forgive simple plot. I can grit my teeth and bear an universe that was made up just because there had to be some place it all happens. But when a fifty-thousand-year-old undead witch acts like a ignorant teen, and equally old High Lord of Hell (named Saetan Deamon SaDiablo, imagine that!) turns out to be quite a nice family man troubled by his young ward's misbehaviour, there's something a bit off with this whole business. Particularly the parts taking place in Realm of Hell. It felt as if on some level it was meant to be a sort of comedy for children, but then the author changed her mind and just throw in some maturity content and angst by creating the other Realms.
Like Terreile.
One of the main characters living here is a sex-slave (as all the other men). He's also a short-tempered sadist in constant cold rage, but still is capable of exchanging notes with his long-lost-just-rediscovered father (yes! the High Lord of Hell) on parenting.
There's a prostitute who's an assassin with grudge, and tens of sexually unfulfilled females, including the Main Villain, whose name should be Dominatrix instead of Dorothea. Also, some causes of pedophilia and chid abuse. Not to mention brutality, sadism and occasional slaughter.
And just to be clear on the subject, I have nothing against such elements in literature, as long as it is convincingly justified. And here, it is not. It was presented in such a way that I can't imagine any other reason for its presence in the story but author's whim. And a cheap bait, because, hey, maybe the whole thing is a real garbage, but who doesn't want to read a few spicy scenes featuring Cold Sadistic Bastard?

Another feeling I couldn't shake off while reading, is that the whole thing was a crappy fan fiction story. One of the kind where characters are almost comepletely deprived of their original mentality so their course of action could be shaped accordlingly to the plot the author wants to carry out while including her erotic dreams about them.
I've never experienced such a strong impression of Out of Character Behaviour, as reading this book. The peculiar part is it being an original work of ficion.

One thing I regret is that, despite everything, the book really had a potential. It coud've been genuinely dark, engaging story of a young Witch raising to power, of people struggling to gain control over their lives, of cruelty inspired by priviledge and its consequences, all set in a richly pictured, harsh world dominated by women. But for me, it wasn't.

If I really had to recommend it to someone, my best bet would be the darker and more mature part of Twilight fandom, with ability to stomach some sexual controversies. But, seriously, why bother buying such thing when there's pelnty of it on the Web, with more familiar names like, say, Edward?

Ponies

Ponies - Kij Johnson It makes it's point very clear, that's sure.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 1)

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris I can't even recall much of the plot, so I guess it was rather uninteresting. More complicated than Twilight, though that's not an achievement. And the main character irritated me, as well as her boyfriend.
Even though, I kept reading, and why? Because I'm this sort of a weak, weak girl who falls for funny, over-confident hot guys with broad shoulders and blond hair. And that's my embarrasing reason for second star. Oh, well, shame on me. I managed to get past fifth or sixth book, but fortunately failed to go any further. It's just too much, even for my unhealthily expanded boundaries of tolerance, and in the end no thousand-year-old dead Viking hottie can persuade me.

The Vampire Lestat (Vampire Chronicles)

The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice I was somewhere between middle and high school, and craved for something dark. I've never read "The Interview", but seen the movie, so when I found a shelf in bookstore with Rice on it, I immediately reached for Lestat as the second in the series.
And it comepletely blowed my mind back then. I remember marvelling on how real and alive the characters felt to me. I couldn't believe that all that was a product of imagination of one person. I loved the richness of Lestat's character, with all its flaws, loved Marcus's background story, and how everything else was so logical, so believable. When I finally put down the book, I was nearly convinced such creatures really existed out there somewhere. Ii was amazing.

As I said, it was years ago, but that's how I remember this book and I couldn't give it less than five stars. Maybe, if I've read it now, I'd have different opinion on it. But one thing I know is true even now. Lestat was the first vampire I've read about and formed my idea about them. With today's vampire-themed-book overflow, that's something I deeply appreciate.