Reviews by Shawn

Review

The Collapsing Empire

Posted: May 30, 2017 by Shawn in Books We Like Meta: John Scalzi, Science Fiction
The Collapsing Empire

There’s something comforting about reading a series, isn’t there?  You get to come back to situations and characters you’ve already met and fell in love with (at least I’m assuming you fell in love with them, otherwise, why continue reading the series?).  It’s like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket.  On the other hand is the excitement of something new.  One of my favorite things of the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre is coming into a book and that opening, those first couple pages/chapters where everything is starting to take place in your head.  You start building a framework of this new world, these new people, this new story.  It’s fantastic (no pun intended).  For the last 15 years or so we’ve been getting Old Man’s War books from John Scalzi and then occasionally another standalone novel thrown in.  But the standalone novels have always been stand alone (I know that he had/has plans for more books in the Lock-in world and the Android’s Dream world, but we haven’t gotten those yet have we?).

Now for the first time in awhile we have a brand new universe for Scalzi to play in.  A whole new setting that will span at least a few books.  And while his other books have stood alone each telling their own stories and wrapping it all up, this one, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, is certainly just the beginning of a series.  There are a few minor things that get wrapped up, but the major stories, the major events are still very much open and ongoing.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Too Like the Lightning

Posted: December 6, 2016 by Shawn in Books We Like Meta: Ada Palmer, Science Fiction
Too Like the Lightning

You know, I’ve read quite a bit of Science Fiction in my time. I’ve read near-future thrillers, and I’ve read far-future alien stories. I’ve read first contact stories, and stuff that feels more like it’s at home in Fantasy than Sci-fi. I’ve read big, fat hard science fiction stories and I’ve read quick, lite page turner actioners. I’ve gone back and read almost all of the Hugo award-winning novels and I’ve read all of the Hugo nominees of the past 10 years, as well. So when I say I’ve read a lot of Science Fiction, I really mean it.  And yet in all of that, I’ve never read a novel quite like TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING by Ada Palmer.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Time Siege

Posted: August 23, 2016 by Shawn in Books We Love Meta: Wesley Chu, Science Fiction
Time Siege

You know what?  I hate writing reviews for sequels.  I enjoy reading sequels very much.  I love talking about book series with my friends and speculating on what might happen in the next volume.  I actually really enjoy the time between books in a series to let it sit and soak in.  I like to reread previous volumes before a new one comes out. But I hate writing reviews about sequels!!!! Have you read the first book?  I don’t know.  If you did, did you enjoy it?  Again, I got nothing.  Should I spoil the first book for you here to tell you about the second volume? I don’t think I should. But then how do I tell you about this book if I can’t even talk about the events of the last book? You see the bind I’m in.

So, let’s set some ground rules right from the start. I’m going to assume you’ve read the first book (TIME SALVAGER, very fun, quick paced, action packed). I’m going to assume you enjoyed it like I did and want to talk about the next book. If that doesn’t apply to you then I’m going to give you a short quick review of the series right now: It’s good. You should read it.

Are we good? Have we gotten rid of anyone who doesn’t want spoilers? Ok then. Onward we go.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Time Salvager

Posted: July 12, 2016 by Shawn in Books We Like Meta: Wesley Chu, Science Fiction
Time Salvager

I’m sure you couldn’t tell from the title of the book, but TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu, is a time travel book. Crazy right? I’ve read some time travel books in my time. Connie Willis has gotten about a million Hugos for her takes on time travel — TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, DOOMSDAY BOOK, BLACKOUT (EBR review), ALLCLEAR (EBR review]).  Michael Critchton took us back into the dark ages in TIMELINE. There are books that go back to dinosaurs (BONES OF THE EARTH by Michael Swanwick) and just about anywhere you can think of. In most of those books the story revolves around going back to some time period and either a) getting stuck back in time and needing to get back, or b) accomplishing some goal in the past to fix the present.

Chu does none of those things.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Uprooted

Posted: June 24, 2016 by Shawn in Books We Love Meta: Naomi Novik, Fantasy
Uprooted

Have you ever read a book that is just magical? I don’t mean a book with magic in it. There’s a million of those out there (and I like quite a few of them), but a book that is magical. There’s a difference to it, isn’t there? Books that are magical have a different feel to them. It’s beyond a compelling story (although again, I love that).  It’s just a feeling you get when you read it. I think it’s kind of like wrapping up in a warm blanket, or sitting by a fire and letting the warmth diffuse through you. That is what UPROOTED by Naomi Novik was like for me. I would sit and read and a warmth would just spread through me. This book is magical.

I’ve read some of Naomi Novik’s work before and I’ve enjoyed her Temaraire books. I saw UPROOTED when it came out and it looked kind of fun, but I had a lot on my plate and I never got around to it. Then it was nominated for a Hugo award. Then it won the Nebula award.  By this point I’m thinking, “Ok, let’s give it a shot.” I’m so glad I did.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Steles of the Sky

Posted: May 27, 2014 by Shawn in Books We Love Tags: Elizabeth Bear, Fantasy
Steles of the Sky

It took me a while to catch on to this series by Elizabeth Bear.  I’d seen reviews when the first book, RANGE OF GHOSTS, came out, including here at EBR (EBR Review).  I even saw the second book in the series, SHATTERED PILLARS, come out and also reviewed here (EBR Review).  The books started to sit in my mind a bit.  It took a while, but they sounded like something I needed to be a part of.  So late last year I finally got RANGE OF GHOSTS (loved it), and for Christmas I received SHATTERED PILLARS (fantastic) so that I could be ready to go when the last volume STELES OF THE SKY (Amazon) came out.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Posted: January 24, 2014 by Shawn in Books We Love Tags: Catherynne M. Valente, Fantasy, Young Adult
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Have you ever had a secret?  I mean a delicious, wonderful secret?  The kind you want to tell the whole world about and at the same time keep only for yourself?  Something sweet and wonderful, something that would change other people lives if they only knew, yet at the same time you wanted to keep it all to yourself?  Have you ever had one of those?
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Steelheart

Posted: September 6, 2013 by Shawn in Books We Love Tags: Brandon Sanderson, Young Adult
Steelheart

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book in three days.  (You have to understand that I work two jobs and have four kids, one of which is a two month old, so reading a book in three days is kind of like reading it in one sitting for me.)  From the prologue, STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson (Amazon) hooked me in and never let me go.  This is the type of book that begged me to slip away from family and read for just a few minutes more; to let the dishes sit in the sink for just a bit longer so I could read another chapter; to stay up late, no matter that I had work early the next day. I just had to know what was coming next.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Human Division

Posted: June 18, 2013 by Shawn in Books We Like Tags: John Scalzi, Science Fiction
The Human Division

In some ways I really wish we could do two reviews of THE HUMAN DIVISION by John Scalzi (Amazon). I recently got the book in the mail and read through it in a few days. It was fun and fast-paced, and like most of Scalzi’s writing it was filling with that humor, action and suspense that makes him so darn readable to many people out there. The thing is, the book was released in two separate ways and written as a kind of experiment in publishing.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Promise of Blood

Posted: April 24, 2013 by Shawn in Books We Love Tags: Brian McClellan, Epic Fantasy
Promise of Blood

I feel bad. I received an ARC of PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan (Amazon) several months ago and quickly devoured it. I had every intention of having a review ready to go when the book came out…and then it didn’t happen. The problem was I wanted to write something witty and fun about the book but all I kept coming up with was…. I liked it. I liked it a lot. And that’s really understating it because I really, really did like it. After finishing McClellan’s debut I looked him up to check out news for the next book. I looked on Amazon to see what was going on. I even checked on Orbit’s blog to see if there was any news about the series. It was a dang good book. I just felt that I should do something more with the review than just, “Yeah, I really liked it.”
Read the rest of this review »