Posts Tagged ‘Reviews by Dan Smyth’

Shadowed Souls

Posted: March 23, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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When I saw that this anthology had a new Dresden story in it, I snatched it up quick and then found myself regretting the decision. Because, you see, I’m kind of still catching up on that freaking amazing series, and it only took reading the blurb on the back of the book to determine that this story takes place at a point in time significantly later than my current location in the series. Had the story been by anyone other than Jim Butcher, I likely would have canned the project and either handed the book off to another reviewer or not read the story before reviewing it the anthology myself. But the thing is, The Dresden books have been absolutely genius to read, and even though I like the twists and turns and revelations in that series a ton, so much of the story comes by living it through the experience of reading. And so, already somewhat spoiled, I committed to reading the Dresden story with the understanding that getting from where I am in the series to where this story takes place was still going to be awesome-sauce fantastic. Oh, and there were some other stories in this book too. Even some really good ones. 🙂
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tgb_ebrThere are times that I grow tired of all the profanity and sexual content in books these days. I might have added violence here as well, but there is a part of me that realizes I’ve become fairly inured to it over the years, and as Dave Matthews has said, “I’m still a boy,” and boys do love to see a fight. 🙂 Still, it makes me happy to find a great book that avoids all the potentially offensive content. Now, up front, you should probably understand that this is definitely NOT one of those books. Yeesh no. Not by a long shot. But it was a story that made me think about the concept, because there was just so dang much of it. Now, I know many of you will likely be crying foul right now amidst references to all my “Books We Loved” reviews by authors like Joe Abercrombie and Sam Sykes. What I need to emphasize though is that in those cases it is the author’s ability to tell great story with great characters that I love, and rest of everything only plays second fiddle in comparison. But sometimes, one or two of those second fiddles can become kinda loud.
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Revenger

Posted: February 23, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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r_ebrSo I’ve been sitting on my hands for the last five months, fairly disgruntled, that I didn’t have this story in my hands yet, because it was published in the UK last September and as part of that cycle, released in ebook/Kindle format. I’m pretty much a hard-copy only kind of guy. I don’t buy eBooks. I’ll read them. I just don’t buy them, because I so love seeing all of those bound blocks of paper sitting on my bookshelves at home. As Tracy Hickman refers to them (per my sometimes sketchy memory), the “physical reminders of the experience we found within them”. I guess I always have the option of importing hard copies, but that can get expensive fast, and for the most part I end up just shaking my head and dealing with it. Regardless, it’s always nice to get a new Alastair Reynolds book.
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trifectaOkay, so you guys totally had to know that another one of these was coming your direction. It’s been way too long since we’ve been able to pontificate on yet another reason why there is so much crap out there in the self-published world. Or, at least, stories that feel like crap when you read them. Because, let’s be honest, the overwhelmingly large majority of story ideas out there could turn into absolutely amazing novels–heck, entire series for that matter–if they were only dropped into the head of a great author instead of an ignorant noob. That’s why it’s uber important, in our vaulted opinions, that everyone understand a few key concepts when starting out: because everyone starts out as a noob. Yes, even we at EBR were once citizens of noobdom. And yet, no one ever picks up their three-thousand dollar Facebook machine (MacBook) for the first time, says to themselves, “Self? You’re about to sit down and write an amazing novel,” and is then able to sit down and actually deliver. A lot of them make particular mistakes, and it doesn’t take long for readers like us to become painfully aware of what’s holding those stories back from making a reader’s day. So grab your notebooks, sit your own butt in a chair, and get ready for yet another round of goodness from your Friendly Neighborhood Elitists.
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Over Your Dead Body

Posted: February 9, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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oydb_ebrI have a confession to make. Is there a booth around here somewhere? No? Dang. Okay, so here it is: I sometimes end up relying on EBR to let me know about upcoming books by authors that I love. I know. It’s horrible. Please don’t throw tomatoes though. I’m allergic. I’m having a difficult time even approaching the possibility that I might have missed the release of a John Cleaver book. But, WHAM!, up comes our Best-Of post, and I find John Cleaver book six sitting on the list of our own “2017’s Most Anticipated”. What happened to five? I wasn’t exactly okay with that situation. So, I bought it, read it, and now I get to review it. Because apparently the review fairy is being kind this year and left me a blank space on her dance card. And also, somehow, no one else got to it before me. Praise.
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tl_ebrEndings are always tough when it comes to book series. For readers, for authors, and quite usually for the characters as well. They’re the showdown, the climax of everything written thus far, the point where we as readers have to say goodbye. For many, the ending is the part of the book, or series, that will determine whether you like or hate it, despite everything that has led you as a reader to the point. I’m more in the camp of “joy in the journey” than “how-does-it-end”. So, a great read that has a decent ending gets higher marks than a ho-hum read with a brilliant ending. It’s really nice though when I don’t have to make that distinction; when I get to read something that was a great series, had a great last book, and a great ending.
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Babylon’s Ashes

Posted: January 12, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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ba-ebrIf you haven’t at least heard about this series by now, it’s likely that you’re not a fan of science fiction. If you’re looking to be a fan, this is a great series to start with as it is, in my not-so-humble opinion, one of the best Science Fiction series being written today. The writing duo of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck have been doing a bang up job of it, and this book has FINALLY arrived. I include the emphasis here only because it feels like I’ve been waiting for this book for so long, and nothing to do with the book being delayed. The authors have been doing a great job of keeping these books coming on a regular schedule, and I can do nothing but applaud the work they’ve done so far. That being said, it did feel like a long time since book five, and I know that has to be because of the zinger of a hit the story took, when the Free Navy finally brought their war from out of the shadows.
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