Silo Trilogy by Hugh Howey

Book Review of Wool, Shift, & Dust by Hugh Howey

These books were originally published in multiple parts each, what I am reviewing here are the omnibus editions.  All three books are telling essentially the same story with Shift picking up the tale I’d say about the middle of the Wool timeline and then Dust taking the story to it’s conclusion.  Even though the story and timelines cross-over they are told from different perspectives.  Howey’s writing style is easy to read and follow — I’ve not read any of his other books (though I now plan too) but at least in these there are no impossible made-up words or ideas to contend with.  Not suggesting those are always bad things but they do sometimes make a book harder to enjoy.  In my initial review of ‘Wool’ I had said that I thought Mr. Howey had a chip on his shoulder with his Help Desk people since he essentially criminalized the ‘IT’ department.  I’m so glad that I read the other two books so I could get the rest of the story!  Since I don’t want to give everything away I will say that the basic premise throughout the story of a dystopian society created by a corrupt government via the catalyst of an eminent biological attack is completely (and sadly) believable.   Juliette, whom I will call our protagonist (though not the only one) is a real and likable woman – a person you will be rooting for until the bitter end.  I guess the main antagonist is Thurman, but he is really just the linchpin of a much bigger evil.  I kind of wanted a 4th book to continue the story but I guess I will have to be happy with the ending as it is – and it does have a happy ending even though there are losses along the way.  (I will have to  be satisfied imagining for myself what happened next… like who married whom, who got be the next mayor, if they found others… etc.).  I absolutely recommend these books!  It’s an enjoyable way to spend a weekend or two!

The Athena Project by Brad Thor

The Athena Project by Brad Thor

As military thrillers go this was an easy win for me. I enjoyed the all-femme-fatale Delta team greatly and think I will definitely be reading some more of their tall tales. As with alot of military action-thriller type stuff some of it was a little over the top but still highly entertaining.  I didn’t even mind the romantic undertones!  I think this author has the cattiness of women in close quarters pretty well nailed as well.  I don’t claim to know what Delta Force *really* does out there in the world but I’d like to think that it’s this kind of stuff… find the bad guys and kicking their asses!!  Three nights or about 6 hours… quick, easy and fun!  My vote is to give it a read!

The ladies all have well-developed…. ahh personalities (among other things, apparently). Who knew those could be a bonus?! I always thought they were a bitch when crawling on my belly during live fire exercises!!  Maybe I should stayed in the Army and held out for Delta, eh??

I was at the bookstore looking to pick up another of Brad Thor’s books but since I couldn’t decide which one to get I opted to wait, so if anyone has a recommendation I’d love to hear it. Check out his other work on his website: http://www.BradThor.com

The Pyramid of Doom by Andy McDermott

A fun and wild ride… fast-paced, funny and at times over-the-top but a good story that kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning!  I’m not sure how much of the Egyptology was based in reality but whether true or not it didn’t detract from the story or my enjoyment.  Imagine Lara Croft teaming up with James Bond… loved it!  My only regret is that this book was obviously written in the middle of the series and while it certainly stands on its own there were references to prior books that I wish I had read first. Of course, my Egyptphile brain honed in on this one so that is my punishment I guess! I will definitely be reading more of the adventures of Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase.

Check out Andy McDermott’s Webpage here.

The Lost Temple by Tom Harper

Finally finshed reading “The Lost Temple” by Tom Harper. Seems like it took me forever to finish with all the other stuff going on. The story moved along a bit slowly for me so it definitely wasn’t a sit and read in one fell swoop kind of book. As my loyal subscribers already know I like historical fiction, especially things to do with Egypt. This was actually to do with Ancient Greece, really further back than that. Think Achilles and Troy, etc. It had a little injection of Indiana Jones though the protagonist really wasn’t an archeologist. Per my usual complaint, there were a couple ‘love scenes’ that I could have done without though they didn’t really detract from the story at all. The ending was a bit lackluster but good and I think not maybe what I was expecting. Overall a good read. I will likely pick up other books by Tom Harper.

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Finished up the 5th book in the Ice & Fire series only to find out that book 6 is probably 2 years away and book 7, well who knows.  So… picked up “The Red Queen” because the description on the back cover made me think of Cersei (Queen of King’s Landing from Ice & Fire).  And indeed… Margaret R. is definitely in the same vein of crazy.  Or should I say “devout”.  I’m finding that I enjoy historical fiction much more than I expected I would.  It was any easy read… especially coming off my previous tomes — far few characters to keep track of.  Gregory’s writing is smooth and you don’t get lost in the details.  The only negative I would mention is the ending.  It just kind of stops at the end of Margaret’s immediate story.  I suppose, historically, I know that Henry Tudor was King, etc but I just thought the author would give a bit more.  I may pick up some of her other books, not sure yet.  Anyhoo… for a quick, enjoyable read in the historical fiction genre I recommend “The Red Queen” by Philippa Gregory.

So… now the quest begins for the next book.  Suggestions ae welcome!

lost boy lost girl by Peter Straub

May be the best book of his career. ~ Stephen King

I should have passed this one over after seeing that pitch. I’ve never been able to get through anything of King’s and while I did finish this book I didn’t think much of it. Way too much back and forth narration with extremely poor transitions. The base story was somewhat interesting, I guess. Just really did not care for his writing style. Plus I think I would have liked a better ending. Short review, folks… cause it wasn’t a very good read in my opinion. Sorry, Peter, I won’t be picking up any of your other works.

Dimiter by William Peter Blatty

Dimiter 

William Peter Blatty is probably best known for The Exorcist – admitedly I haven’t read the book but I still contend that the movie is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen!  So, when I saw his name emblazoned on the cover of this book while browsing the ilses my interest was peaked.  This was not at all what I was expecting… it was not a horror story.  It wasn’t even about demonic possession though the reference to the “agent from hell”  on the back cover might lead you to expect something like that.  It was really more a character story about a man who finds and then becomes(?) Christ. That said, this is not an overtly religious fiction.  It is, for lack of a better term, a spy thriller.  I think it progresses nicely and to my great pleasure I had not figured out what was going on half-way through the book!!  Even with the foreign names and language throughout (which are sometimes bothersome to me) this was a pretty easy read.  I will probably check out some of Blatty’s other work — though I don’t think I’m brave enough to read the Excorcist!


The Moses Quest by Will Adams

The Moses Quest (aka The Exodus Quest)


Well I loved the egyptology and archeology… wonder how much truthiness there is to some of it as I’d find much it very believable coming from a non-fiction source (see a few of the source books the author used at the end of this post). Guess that believable aspect is what made the book shine for me. I do dind it particularly interesting that there’s (as yet) no archeological evidence to support a mass exodus from Egypt. Interesting, isn’t it? Just one more thing to support my belief that the Bible and most religious tomes are stories to provide moral direction and have very little in the way of fact or history.
The main character, Daniel Knox, seems to have nine lives… but in the same way as other heroes, like Indy. So, maybe some of it was a little over the top in the action but for the most part I enjoyed it. it was a very easy read and I’m definitely going to grab the first book in the serires that I had missed, The Alexander Cipher. There were a few references to it in this book but nothing that detracted from or was necessary to the plot.
Overal I liked it and plan to pick up some more of Adams books.


April 2011 Book Reviews

Some of the books I read in April (acutally read Instinct last week, but who’s counting?)…
Weirdly enough 3 of the books I read this month turned out to be about genetic mutations\de-evolution\super-evolution etc.  In fact, 2 of them both featured female veterinarians as the heroines.  Just thought that odd… Made me wonder if we’ve run out of things to be afraid of and had to start making up shit.  Anyhoo…. I’ll start with the biggest loser…

Breathless by Dean KoontzContemporary Literature)

Horrible.  Too may story threads that never really come together.  A lot of character building that wasn’t very well sequenced.  The worst though, in my view, was the complete non-ending.  It just ends… no closure, no explanation, nothing.  I guess I was expecting something better from a writer of Koontz reputation.  This is one of those that had a female vet and weird genetics (or possibly aliens, couldn’t really figure that out).  Not recommending this one folks. 

Altar of Eden by James RollinsLiterature & Fiction Books)

Girl-vet (actually cryo-zoologist) v. weaponized genetic mutations. Better than Breathless by a long shot but still just mediocre.  I did enjoy the scenery though… one interesting setting was an alligator farm in New Orleans.  Wasted a few pages with yet another romantic angle… I really don’t understand the purpose of that in suspense-thrillers… but oh well.

Storm Cycle by Iris Johansen & Roy JohansenContemporary Literature)

Things that I liked: the heroine is a computer whiz and is chasing down secrets from a long dead Egyptian Lady Doctor.  Love it!  And thanks to the authors who included a note at the end telling about the real Egyptology involved (which I also loved!).  This book had another common theme I see in thrillers of late… looking for a cure for something ‘incurable’.  Of course, I didn’t need the romantic twist (there were actually two) but in this case I don’t think it detracted from the story too much.  Ending could have been better but overall I enjoyed it.

Instinct by Jeremy RobinsonAction & Adventure Genre Fiction)
Here’s a twist… genetic freaks v Delta Force.  If you’re into military fiction then I think you’ll enjoy Robinson’s Chess Team.  (Warning… there weren’t any magical Ramboesque M-60s but some of the Delta members do seem to be more than human.)  I will likely pick up another of the Chess Team missions because of this book.  The story was okay… alot was borrowed from other stories… several came to my mind.  It was entertaining enough to keep me reading through to finish it in one night.


Next up is:


The Moses Quest by Will Adams

The Siege of Troy by Greg Tobin

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

First of all I want to say that this book was well worth the wait!  The first book was wonderful and had me chomping at the bit waiting for the second and Rothfuss delivers!  The second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles is even better than the first (if that’s even possible)!

As always, Pat’s writing style is smooth and a delight to the senses.  Almost as if Kvothe were singing the story with lute in strum.  Like the Adem he wastes no words here.  Every line of the book is purposeful and telling.  I have read many books with more filler than plot and that is not something that you are going to find here!

The other point I want to try to get across to my readers is how this book made me feel.  I am certainly not a writer of the caliber of Rothfuss (or Kvothe) but please let me try to endear you to this incredible and enchanting book.  As I was listening to Kvothe tell Chronicler the story of himself and all the tales within tales I couldn’t help but feel that I knew these stories.  I had the strangest feeling that I had heard them before, like they had been written on my heart from a young age.  Probably a bad analogy, but I seemed to recall them in memory like childhood bible stories.  It was as if those stories of the Fae and Amyr and of old magics had been with me always.  Of course, logically I know this is the first time I’d read them but it didn’t feel that way.  The same of the characters.  Even though it had been near two years since reading the first book I felt that these were old friends, long lost aquaintances come to call.  I think this is perhaps the highest compliment that I can offer the author – that his story resonates with me somewhere deep, it’s not something I will forget.  This series is destined to become ‘ficstorical’… meaning you will someday talk about the people, places and stories within as if they were historical fact and be amused at anyone who doesn’t know the references. (Something like the way most of us today talk about Frodo or Anakin.) On a lighter note, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that Pat would be a far better author to base a religion on than Hubbard.  But I digress.

This the kind of story that you simply can’t put down until you turn the last page.  And then you’ll find yourself breathless in anticipation of the rest of the tale.  I pray to Merciful Tehlu the final book is sooner to pint than the last!

The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)