Posts Tagged ‘Reviews by Dan Smyth’

Strange Dogs

Posted: November 9, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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When originally planning out my review for this one, I thought about beginning with a strongly-worded letter to the publisher about ebooks in general, but decided against it. Instead, I’m going to opt for writing a strongly-worded letter to all publishers of ebooks with the purpose of letting them know about my little beef with the way they’re doing things. So, here we go. “To Whom It May Concern: I am a huge fan of reading awesome books, and I read many of them on the e-reader of my choice. At the bottom of every page of every story I receive for my e-reader is a little percentage scale, which I quite frequently reference while reading, that let’s me know just how far I am into the story and how much goodness I have left to go. This tool has become a staple for me when reading books for the purpose of reviewing them. While reading this book, however, I came to a point that my e-reader’s scale said was about 65% of the way through the book when I found these unexpected words on the next page: THE END. I was incredibly perturbed by finding that the story I was reading was inexplicably over, and that the remaining 35% of the file was filled with sample chapters I had no interest in reading whatsoever. Hrm. How to say this nicely? Please do not do this to me again. There. If you want to give me sample chapters, which I am usually quite amenable to receiving, please instead include a link to said sample chapters on your website or other online location so that I do not feel cheated when suddenly finishing the awesome stories I expected to get in the first place. Thank you. Sincerely Yours, Your Somewhat-Disgruntled Yet Still Mostly-Friendly Neighborhood Team of Elitists”
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Luna: Wolf Moon

Posted: October 12, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Hate
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You may have already noticed, but there’s this little fever burning through the public at large right now concerning a certain speculative fiction series. Its novels are door-stoppers, its HBO episodes are reportedly hitting $15M a piece to produce, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (heh-heh) to realize that hitching your ride to such a wagon might not be the worst idea in the world if you’re looking to make a few bucks. It’s also available for attaching parallels that can instantly make a connection to the minds of many readers. So, seeing this book’s predecessor described as “A Game of Moons”, is sure to pull in more than a few readers, yeah? You’d think. But the difficult part in all of that would be the actual story, and whether it can stand up to such a comparison to a story that is loved by, literally, millions. Maybe you all can see where I’m going with this, and if you happen to remember my review of that last book, it’ll probably even be an easier line to pick up.
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Horror is a genre that I really don’t feel like I’ve been able to fully sink my teeth into yet. I’m really a fantasy guy at heart, with a science-fed brain at the helm, and a soul that can’t help but love a good story. So while I don’t typically go out searching for new horror, I love coming across a new piece of horrific something that just hits my emotional buttons the right way. Of the several anthologies that we received via Ellen Datlow recently, this was the one I was initially most excited to read, even though I recognized the fewest number of names among the authorial inclusions. Someday I’m going to get my name (or pseudonym) in one of these things. Can’t wait for the day. Until then, I’m sure there’ll be a steady stream of them coming from the likes of Datlow and others. Each of them trying to lead its readers down a path that they might otherwise not necessarily want to visit, but are overwhelmingly compelled to, nonetheless. Some will succeed in fabulous fashion. Others, not so much. Depends on which buttons you like to have pushed and how hard. This anthology had a handful of those for me. Not as many as I might have liked, true. But enough that I really enjoyed what I found.
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In general, I tend to steer clear of Urban Fantasy. Always have. Every once in a while I’ll make a foray into the realm, but by and large I’ve been disappointed with what I’ve found. The obvious exceptions, for me, being Butcher, Correia, and Hanover. The really difficult part is that there is quite literally a metric ton of Urban Fantasy books out there, and there are more and more showing up on the shelves all the time. With all those possible choices available, how does one go about finding the next great Urban Fantasy series/author to start reading? Well, short stories can sometimes help give you an idea as to whether you’re going to like an author or not. Trouble is, even some of the really popular novel authors don’t know how to write a good short story. So how can you tell? I’ll always fall back on recommendations. Anyone got one for me? I’ll trade you a few. Check it out.
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City of Miracles

Posted: August 31, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love, Review
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It’s been a long time since I’ve read a series of books as I did here: one immediately after the other. It almost feels like I’m cheating the author in a way. I mean, this guy took five years to write these three books, and I go and burn through them all in just a few weeks. I mean, granted, they were awesome. So, why would I want to put off reading them? Exactly. I wouldn’t. In fact, I don’t think you should either. Get em now. Read em now. Such good stuff.
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City of Blades

Posted: August 30, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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I told you this one would be coming really soon didn’t I? Oh yeah. The third book in this series was published in May of this year, and when I realized that a handful of weeks ago, I bought them all and got busy, because I immediately knew how I wanted to do this. So, I’m guessing that you’ll figure out fairly quickly what’s going to be coming your way…um…tomorrow? Ha, ha! Goodness for the readers! And if you’re interested in goodness, I checked out the author’s website last night and he has this killer sketch-rewrite of the Star Wars prequel movies that would have been so genius to see. Well, in all honesty, it wouldn’t take much to come up with a story that’s better than what we got, but trust me Bennett’s ideas are dang cool. I’ll wait to put a link for his blog post at the end of this review though. Cause you’re gonna want to check this out first.
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City of Stairs

Posted: August 29, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love, Review
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This is another one of those authors that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time now. Long time. Yeesh. Ever since I read Steve’s review of The Company Man. I’ve even bought two of this guy’s books at a second-hand store without even looking at the blurb since reading that review, but I just hadn’t worked any of them into my reading queue yet. Ugh, and I’m so regretting the fact that it took me this long. Because, you see, there are authors that write decent books, and there are authors that write good books, and then there are authors that make you never want to miss anything else that they ever write. Period. Like Abercrombie. Like Reynolds. Like Abraham. Like Erikson. And even though I wouldn’t say that Bennett writes like any one of these authors in particular, in reading this book I did find that he does have the chops to land himself in the same category of books as those storied authors: those of Books We Love.
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