Reviews :: Book Rating :: Books that are Mediocre

Review

Station 11

Station 11

If you’re looking for a book that focuses on character development, then STATION 11 is the book for you.

Or maybe plot isn’t so important and you like meandering through a setting that is both familiar and foreign.

It may also be that you like books with elements that don’t seem important to the plot as a greater whole OR maybe you find satisfaction with plodding through 280 pages before you start seeing the connections between the characters and plot points.

If this is the case, you might just enjoy STATION 11. Alas, those aren’t the kinds of things I look for in a book. I definitely wasn’t the target audience.
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Review

The Goblin Emperor

Posted: June 22, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Katherine Addison, Fantasy
The Goblin Emperor

A while ago we published a new page on the site that listed out a few handfuls of books that we thought were the best examples of fantasy fiction to be had (EBR Page). One of the comments we received on that page suggested that our list was missing this exact book. I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly enthralled by the cover or the title though, and so I passed it by as I did so many others that just didn’t tickle my fancy.

Recently, however, the audiobook was released, and so I figured that I might as well give it a go. After all, I’m always up for another suggestion of a great read.

Turns out, I probably should have just passed it by.
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Review

The Girl and the Mountain

Posted: June 18, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Mark Lawrence, Fantasy
The Girl and the Mountain

The other day I was admiring the long stretch of Mark Lawrence books on my bookshelves, and I realized just how many great stories this guy has pumped out for us in the last decade. He’s currently working on closing out his fifth trilogy–that’s pretty impressive, given the timeline–and so much of what he’s brought to the table has just been awesome. If you haven’t checked his books out yet (EBR Archive), you should.

However, I have to admit that I felt somewhat trepidatious (an adjective that Wordpress’s spellchecker apparently doesn’t recognize) in approaching this next book. The first book in the series, while entertaining, had a few aspects to it that made me worry about the evolution of the story to come. Where it might go. How it might tackle the perspectives it was trying to bring together.

And I’m afraid that my concerns ended up being quite justified.
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Review

Stormblood

Stormblood

I came across this book in an interesting way. Responded to a tweet that Pierce Brown had made, and afterward realized that he’d just been responding to another guy. The initial tweet had been something along the lines of “I don’t need to read anything from [list of golden age SF authors here] and anyone saying that I should is absolutely insane”. Afterward, it only took a little investigation to find out that this other guy just happened to have recently released his first, traditionally published novel through Gollancz. So, of course he was taking the opportunity to get on his soapbox to try and cast a little shade where he could.

Sigh.

Still, I thought that the introduction made for a relatively interesting case study. I mean, if the guy was able to sit down and write a killer story, then maybe he was right, and he *didn’t* need to read that older SF. Maybe he’d be perfectly fine as a science fiction author by just reading the current stuff.

So, I bought his novel. And thus, the game was afoot.
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Review

The Trouble with Peace

Posted: October 20, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Joe Abercrombie, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
The Trouble with Peace

I’ve been in a real funk lately. I know. Join the club, right? It seems like no matter which direction I turn, there’s always some new disappointment waiting to greet me. Hello, 2020. If I had any choice in the matter, and I could pick a single thing that this year might have left alone, it would have been my books. Yes, I know this is ludicrous. There’s no need to remind me of the fact that books published this year have long been completed, and that 2020 did nothing to affect them in the slightest. And yet. After reading this book, I’m seriously beginning to think that some part of me has been broken. It just doesn’t seem possible that my impressions of the story contained therein might be valid. Like in the slightest. But in the end, they are at least consistent in their nature, and for that I’m still holding onto the hope (barely) that something more will come of my current epic disappointment with The Age of Madness.
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Review

The Lessons Never Learned

The Lessons Never Learned

Okay, so yes. I admit it. I’ve been putting off writing this review. In case you might have somehow missed my response to the first book in this series, ALONG THE RAZORS EDGE (EBR Review), it absolutely left me gasping for more. That story is easily one of the best dark fantasy stories I’ve read in the last year, and I haven’t only been noodling around in the self-published arena during that time. I’ve read some authors that I consider to be some heavy hitters. So to say that I was super excited to get into this book would be a pretty powerful understatement. I absolutely couldn’t wait. Like fingers twitching and stuff, grasping for more of The War Eternal. It stands to reason that there will be some spoilers here. So, if you haven’t read that first one yet… seriously, go buy it and read it and then you can come back for my thoughts on this one.
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Review

Of Honey and Wildfires

Posted: May 19, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Sarah Chorn, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Of Honey and Wildfires

So this is another of those self-published reads that I picked up during my recent bout of “Ooh. Shiny” that came while reading Rob J. Hayes’s ALONG THE RAZOR’S EDGE (EBR Review). The connection is that the author of this book, Sarah Chorn, edited Rob’s book. In fact, she edited his entire series and then, post editing, proceeded to gush about it on social media, and I just couldn’t say no to it after all the good things she had to say. In addition, I’d come across her previous (first) book, Seraphina’s Lament, multiple times before, but never read it. I’ve since picked that one up as well and stuck it into my TBR pile. This one was hot on the radar though because of the nearness of its publication date, and so I picked up a review copy from her and dove in.
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Review

Ivory Apples

Posted: February 28, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Lisa Goldstein, Fantasy, Young Adult
Ivory Apples

At this point in my “reading career” it is often somewhat easy to look at a book cover, read the first couple pages, and then determine whether a particular book is going to be “my type”. This time I didn’t even have to read any pages. Just the cover alone gave me a pretty good idea that this book wasn’t exactly going to land in my wheelhouse. And that’s exactly why I decided to read it. This is me trying to branch out. Although, truth be told, I’m branching out within the context of the books that get sent to us by publishers/editors/etc. Still, you never know what you’re going to find when it comes to reading a new author. May just end up reading a book that was nothing short of fantabulous.

Spoiler alert: this one wasn’t.
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Review

Buzz Kill

Posted: February 21, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books that are Mediocre Meta: David Sosnowski, Science Fiction
Buzz Kill

BUZZ KILL (Amazon) is a narrative journey without a destination. The journey itself is interesting as author David Sosnowski explores the ramifications of social media; hacking; AI; a networked world, and the unregulated power of corporations to pursue projects for profit. Pandora and George, the two POV characters, are sympathetic. But a weak final third of the novel leaves readers with too many loose character threads and an abrupt conclusion that significantly weakens the narrative.
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Review

Kalanon’s Rising

Posted: February 19, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Darian Smith, Fantasy
Kalanon’s Rising

So it’s been a minute since we were involved with the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off run by Mark Lawrence, and I constantly find myself torn over the fact that we aren’t involved anymore. This annual contest is doing sooooo much good in finding some really good authors that have taken the self-publication route. Whether they plan on sticking to their guns for the long term or are hoping to gain the attention of a traditional publication house, you can’t deny the fact that the efforts Mark Lawrence (and all of the online review houses involved) is making for these authors is nothing but pure gold. Recently, we were approached by the author of a finalist in the current incarnation of the contest for a review, and I couldn’t help but accept.
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