Archive for April 2012

My first knife

April 30, 2012

I think my first knife is an appropriate story for my first real post.

 

For as long as I can remember I had a fascination with knives. What boy didn’t? When I was six or seven years old, I would play with screw drivers and pretend they were knives. Or I would steal my moms butter knives and use those for playing in the dirt and sand.  That quickly became outlawed.  Eventually, when I was probably 8 or 9, my dad decided to buy me my first pocket knife. I was so excited.

 

We went to the sporting goods store–my dad, my 2 older sisters and I–at the local shopping center, which happened to be right next door to a Burger King. The 2 businesses shared a wall, to give you perspective of how close they were, which is semi relevant. We went inside and looked at the case full of knives. My dad let me pick the one I wanted. It was similar to a Swiss army knife. It was pretty small though. Just about as appropriate as you could get for a boys first knife.

 

My dad went over how important it is to be careful with it. how sharp it is, never cut towards yourself, careful you don’t close it on yourself, etc etc. He made sure I knew it was a responsibility not to be taken lightly. He made sure I knew how easily I could hurt myself. I assured him I understood all of these things and that I was ready. We bought the knife, and before we were out the door I cut my thumb pretty bad.

 

I had never hurt myself that bad before, so I was really freaking out. My dad sent my sisters next door to Burger King to get some napkins for my thumb while we remained inside the sporting goods store. That’s how bad it was, and how much I was freaking out, that I couldn’t even go right next door. We just waited.

 

My sisters came back about 15 minutes later with napkins and milkshakes in hand. They explained that the line was really long. of course they could have just taken napkins from one of about 7 different places throughout Burger King and just returned. but no, they figured while they were there they might as well get milkshakes. It should be noted that I did not get a milkshake.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

April 27, 2012

I had my doubts about this book. to be honest I thought it sounded stupid. That seems to be the general consensus of my friends that haven’t read it. And that’s the point, they haven’t read it, and I hadn’t either at the time.

 

This book turned out to be fantastic. It’s told as a biography in a very interesting way. A mix of the author’s telling of Abe’s biography, with parts of Abe’s secret journal throughout the book, documenting his life long pursuit of vampires.

 

*SPOILERS* This book masterfully mixes real events and people from Abe’s life with fiction. Real deaths of loved ones attributed to vampires in very clever ways. Real life acquaintances turned ally in his vampire hunting. Ultimately his fight to abolish slavery is an attempt to drive vampires out of America. */SPOILERS*

 

Ultimately it’s a very cleverly written and satisfying book. I highly recommend it, and I’m not a big fan of vampires.

 

Overall: 8.5/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character progression: 8/10

 

Wool omnibus

April 27, 2012

This is a unique series, since it started as about a 45 page short story that has spawned 6 books and counting. (hopefully many more to come). That’s about 45 pages according to my tablet I read it on, minus the table of contents and things like that. It may not be a completely accurate number, but close enough to give you the idea.

 

My mother thought the 1st book was somewhat slow moving. perhaps because I read it to her around 11pm and she was tired, but I find the book to be very intriguing from the opening sentence. I don’t think it’s fair to call it slow moving. I’d say it’s just the right amount of slow (if you can call masterfully building up to the end, “slow”) for a book that short, before it quickly becomes the most gripping story I’ve ever read, and in only 45 or so pages. The end itself left an impression on me few books of 400+ pages are capable of. I cannot recommend the 1st book enough. I single out the first book because once you read it, you WILL read the rest.

 

I can’t explain how the story changes from the 1st book to the 2nd without giving massive spoilers, so suffice to say, the story, as it progresses from book to book tells an amazing and mysterious story, with fantastic plot and character development.  An interesting and unique world, best summed up by the author’s description on amazon.com:

“This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.”  -Book description from Amazon.com

 

The 4th book was fantastic. So many mixed feelings, so many intense moments. My curiosity constantly tormented, my attachment to characters constantly threatened.

 

I just recently finished the 5th book, and it was fantastic. Perfect in length (though I always want more, and wish they never ended). Perfect in plot progression. It’s not over the top, and it’s not too slow. It’s a perfect spacing out of a wonderful story that keeps you entertained throughout, without resorting to cheap thrills or useless filler. This book is not 1 page too short nor 1 page too long. It’s the perfect amount of story, with a fantastic ending that leaves me hoping for more to Juliette’s story, and the future of the Silo.

 

The books range in size from about 45 pages to 250 pages of pure story, not counting the forward, table of contents, things like that. Very unique I think, for a series, and yet, it’s perfect. Very easy, light reading, streamlined perfectly across all 5 books.

 

I feel like what I’m about to say seems as ridiculous as saying that a Bazooka Joe comic was more poetic than Hamlet, or that a 1 liner on a Popsicle stick was more insightful than Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but I have to say that the Wool series is the best I’ve ever read, period. Better than The Hunger Games (a trilogy I loved) by a country mile. better Than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. As ridiculous as it seems to say, better than The Wheel of Time series which I idolize. Such an unfair, unjust thing to say, that these few short books are better than some of the greatest works of fantasy ever created, but in my opinion, it’s true for the simple fact that no other series has truly piqued my interest this much, from the very beginning, and to this moment and counting.

 

It’s not fair to compare it to The Wheel of Time, Hunger Games, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, or any other book, because they’re so very different, but the bottom line remains: If I could only read one, it would be Wool.

 

Do yourself a favor and head on over to Amazon and pick up the Kindle version of the omnibus for a ridiculously low $5.99. And while you’re at it, head over to author Hugh C. Howey’s  website and check out his other works.

 

I have never been more excited to read a book in my life, and I cannot do this series justice. Read the first book for yourself, and you won’t put it down. It’s so short, it requires minimal time and effort on your part to read one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

 

Rather than break it down from book to book, or various aspects from plot to character development, I will keep this simple.

Overall rating of all 5 books: 10/10

The Hunger Games

April 26, 2012

I very much enjoyed this trilogy. I thought the writing was good, the story was great, and the characters were very interesting.

 

I was worried early on that the love interest was going to ruin the books for me. I had Twilight like concerns, but those would turn out to be unfounded. I found myself not only enjoying that aspect of the books, but actually unsure of how I wanted it to end.

 

The first book was really entertaining. Just enough drama, plot and story to build up excitement and attachment to the characters, before the action starts. Very well told, and a very good blend of action/drama/plot throughout.

 

The 2nd book was weaker, but it was really laying the groundwork for the 3rd. The 2nd was by no means disappointing.

 

The 3rd was fascinating, if a little rushed. But I very much enjoyed it, and I was happy with the ending. Overall it was as exciting and interesting as the 1st, even though they’re completely different, if that makes sense.

 

Overall I would give the trilogy a very respectable 7/10

Writing 7/10

Character development 8/10

I would definitely recommend this series.

 

World War Z

April 26, 2012

I LOVE zombies, and I really had my heart set on this “amazing” book I’ve heard so much about. It sounded like a one of a kind exciting, gritty story. It was none of the above.

 

It tells the story of the world wide zombie epidemic, that apparently takes place over the course of 20 years or so (though throughout this book written as a documentation of the events, it’s surprisingly vague)

 

It jumps back and forth from one year to another. First you start at the beginning, then you’re 5 years in, then 10 then back to 2 or 3 years in, then back to the beginning, then back to the end, etc etc. There is no continuity, and no real sense of what’s going on anywhere at the time, except for the one little story you happen to be reading at that moment, which focuses on one person or one town, and basically gives you a brief synopsis of events. You have absolutely no attachment to any character in the book, because you only hear one little story about them, so vague, so short. And that’s what this book is. a collection of vague short stories mixed together.

 

I think of the stories in this book like little teasers for a story that never comes. Imagine seeing a trailer for a movie and thinking “That looks awesome, I wanna see that!”.  That’s exactly how I felt reading this book. “That story sounds awesome, i wanna read all that”. Nope, it’s 10 pages long, on to the next story.

 

Now again imagine seeing a couple trailers for a movie, then going to see it, and discovering that the movie itself is a collection of 30 trailers for a movie that doesn’t really exist. That sums up how I felt reading this book. It’s like a whole bunch of stories that would be great if there was any detail to them, or any attachment to the characters.

 

Lastly, one thing I found very irritating: The book is written as interviews with people after the events. Every single person talks exactly the same. The Chinese guys, the Russian woman, the Australian. Coincidentally, they all talk like a white guy :/

 

My opinion of this book:

Overall 2/10

Writing style 3/10

Character development/attachment 1/10