Archive for the ‘Books We Don’t Like’ Category

vanished2There is a tale written by a chap you might have heard of before (Hans Christian Andersen) about an Emperor that is duped by a couple of swindlers into paying for clothes made out of cloth that is not there. It’s called “The Emperor’s New Clothes” (just in case 😉 ), and it’s a wonderful tale that at its face can be viewed as being about not allowing yourself to be lied to and taken advantage of because you want something so badly, but has deeper meaning about not believing what everyone else does just because everyone else believes it. Once I’d written this review, I realized that a triggered remembrance of this old tale is exactly what I’d need in order to finish up. So let’s get to it.


ransomcity copyI like surprises. At least, I like some kinds of surprises. Those like finding twenty bucks in an old pair of pants, or running into a long-lost high school friend while on vacation. There are some surprises though that I don’t particularly care for. Say, the sharp end of a tack poking up through my chair *after* hearing my pants rip open. Or that I’ve run out of gas ten minutes after passing the last gas station for fifty miles. So, I suppose it’s surprises I like that…er…I like. 🙂 Go figure. And after having read the first book in this series, I was considerably less than happy at what I found in this second and final book of the series. An unpleasant surprise to be sure.

drdinoMike Resnick has had a pretty good deal going here with these Weird West tales. Short books released once a year and bought like clockwork by Pyr. From what I understand, he’s moved on from this series to another Science Fiction-based one now, but still has the team from Pyr standing at the front of the queue for the next story he pumps out. In a way, I’m glad to see Resnick move on from this series; it hasn’t been my favorite, to say the least. And yet there’s a part of me that wishes that since this was possibly the last tale torn from the might-have-been lifebook of the man Doc Holliday, that it had gone out with more of a bang.


conquestSyl was the first of the alien Illyri to be born on Earth sixteen years ago after their (mostly) peaceful conquest of the planet. Her father is a diplomat living in Edinburgh, where earthlings persist in fighting off their conquerors, despite bringing peace and advanced medicine to Earth. On her sixteenth birthday Syl sneaks out of the castle to explore the streets, an activity fraught with danger as she soon learns when a café explodes before her eyes.

Paul may only be a teenager, but he’s been a part of the Resistance for years, gathering intel, learning to fight, and helping others on missions. He’s old enough now to start leading his own missions, as well as mentoring his younger brother, Steven. After the café explosion, he sees a young woman on the street and takes her to safety, never learning she’s Illyri. He may be part of the Resistance, but the bombing killed civilians, so he knows it wasn’t his people. Unfortunately, his proximity to the bombing causes suspicion.

The chain of events continues from there as a result of that chance meeting. Their lives will never be the same. (more…)

Slow Apocalypse

Posted: March 28, 2014 by Alan in Books We Don't Like
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Sometimes it’s way too easy to make a call on a book. There are some indicators that, when they come up, scream, “Run away!” One of the classics is when you get to the end of the first chapter and the last sentence is something with a flavor similar to: It all started less than 24 hours ago… Oh, yeah. Those? They’re doooozies. (more…)

So two award-winning journalists decide to try their hand at the current craze of YA dystopian/post-apocalypse novels. But WASTELAND, by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, is what happens when non-fiction writers think that writing a coherent, engaging, and imaginative YA novel is not so hard. Throw in a controversial situation, maybe some race-themed antagonism, a couple of clever adjectives for spice, and voila. Easy peasy, right? (more…)

Tunnel Out of Death

Posted: November 22, 2013 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like
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Do you hate movie trailers that essentially tell the whole story of the movie? You get three minutes of whiz-bang cool that makes you want to shell out the cash to go watch it, only to end up finding out that what you saw in the trailer was, in fact, the entire movie condensed down to three minutes? Grumble. This book was exactly like that. Read the back cover of this one, read the book, and then tell me I’m wrong. No wait, I’ve already done all that. Check it out. (more…)