Eragon the series, by Christopher Paolini

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I enjoyed the Young Adult four-part series written by Christopher Paolini Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance. Paolini was home-schooled and graduated from high school when he was 15. He began writing Eragon immediately following his graduation.

The world Paolini created is filled with great creatures, many loosely based on the Lord of the Rings by Tolkein and possibly borrowed from The Dragonriders of Pern by Ann McCaffrey. While his world is rich, Paolini’s characters reflect his personal immaturity. They are flat and one-dimensional, their emotions immature like their author.

In the final book, Inheritance, the reader, after struggling to get through the three previous tomes, hopes in vain for a satisfying ending. Paolini’s immaturity as a man and a writer is exhibited in his inability to handle the love relationship between Eragon and the elf Arya. I’m not going to spoil it, but if you’re reading your way through and are hoping the two get together and have some kind of meaningful life together, forget it. Paolini can’t deal with strong emotion. He’s good with fighting and he’s invented a terrific world, but his characters don’t love deeply, suffer in a realistic way or have realistic relationships.

Writing is easy for Paolini, creating emotion is apparently not. Maybe when he grows up and experiences something outside the walls of his office, he will be able to add some depth to his characters.
Even populated with shallow, one-dimensional characters, the series is a great read. Just don’t hope for a wonderful ending. The last 200 pages of Inheritance reeked of writer’s fatigue. Paolini wanted it over and didn’t put in the required energy and emotion to end it as well as it began.

Storm Bay by Gabe Thompson

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Storm Bay is both a real place and a symbolic place of refuge. After asteroids decimated the planet, a small pocket of humans were able to survive in a protected bay on the Sechelt Inlet in British Columbia, Canada, at Storm Bay.

After the asteroids hit, black rain fell, then three years of darkness descended on the planet. On the dreary coast of Canada, sun rarely shone before the Apocalypse. The dense forest of trees took a hit during the massive earthquakes following the asteroids. Some succumbed to the floods that followed, but many survived.

Peter Light always knew something horrible was going to happen to the planet. He moved to Storm Bay with his Japanese wife, built a cabin high on the side of a mountain and stockpiled supplies, seeds, liquor, medicine and all the things he knew would be needed if the world as we know it came to an end. When the Apocalypse hit, he was ready.

Riko Light was born three years after the Apocalypse. Several other families sought refuge in Storm Bay. An African American couple moved there and started a big family. Riko’s best friend, Mikey LoPinto, was the only son in a large family of girls.

Riko’s father was a stern man. He taught Riko skills he felt any man or woman would need to survive. By the time she was fifteen, she could shoot, fight with a sword and was an expert in many forms of martial arts.

Strange things began happening after the asteroids hit. Magic came alive and wolves infected with a terrible virus roamed the woods. When Mikey was bitten by a wolf, Peter Light evicted him from the settlement, afraid he was infected with the virus. Riko stood against her father and decided to go with Mikey. Together they would search for a cure in the flooded city of Vancouver. They had twelve days.

In this post-apocalyptic world, when humans are killed and their flesh eaten, their souls search for their devoured bodies. When they can’t find it, they move into any recently dead body they can find. The undead are animating corpses all over the city of Vancouver. The walkers are drawn to cannibals. They want to kill them.

Storm Bay is a young adult novel set in a dystopic world where the rules of nature have changed and magic abounds. Mikey is African American and Riko is half Japanese. Storm Bay explores race, overcoming fear and temptation, building self confidence, friendship and first love.

Jack Reacher One Shot by Lee Child

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One Shot is another terrific Jack Reacher novel written at warp speed by Lee Child. Jack Reacher, a six foot five, two-hundred fifty pound ex MP, wanders the country sticking his nose in where it’s sure to cause the most trouble. In this book Reacher finds himself on the 7 Train beneath New York City with a woman who passes all eleven bullet points of the Israeli Army’s list of what to look for in a suicide bomber. Written with all the detail Child is famous for, Reacher takes on an al Qaida cell operating out of New York and with his usual style and muscle, takes care of business. Child’s fight scenes are beautifully detailed. His detailed knowledge of weapons makes every battle exciting. If you like adventure and lots of revenge-style action this is your book.

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

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I’m a huge fan of the TV show, so I decided to try this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s weird reading the book because it’s in first-person and it reads just like how Dexter talks on the show. So you hear Dexter’s voice when you read. Some of the relationships between the characters are different. However, the characters are still very much like the ones portrayed on the show.

This is a must read for any Dexter fan. The book takes you deeper into the mind of Dexter than the show ever could. Like the show, the book features Dexter’s dark passenger. In the book the dark passenger is creepier. “Dearly Devoted Dexter” really adds insight in how a sociopath acts and how they think. I found this to be one of the hardest books to put down in a long time.

Ghost Watch by David Rollins

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I first picked up a David Rollins book by accident. I pulled one of his Vin Cooper novels off the shelf of the library thinking I was getting a James Rollins book. In the end, I was happier with my David Rollins book. It was so much better than James Rollins. David Rollins writes military espionage action books with flare and unbelievable expertise.

David Rollins’ main character in all his books is Special Agent Vin Cooper. In Ghost Watch, Cooper volunteers for personal security for a political leader in Afghanistan. When his principal (technical term for the guy he’s supposed to guard) is blown up by a suicide bomber, Cooper is reassigned. He gets sent to Rwanda on what is supposed to be easy duty babysitting two rich and spoiled hip-hop superstars. The stars are supposed to be performing for the troupes. They get conned into accepting a second gig in-country in the Congo which is involved in a bloody civil war. Cooper knows it’s going to be bad and he’s right. Their UN chopper is forced down into the Congo jungle right between two warring factions. Surrounded by enemy fire, Cooper has to think quickly as one of his principals is captured and he’s stuck with two rich bitches in the middle of the most hostile territory imaginable. They have no weapons, no way to call for help without food or clean water. The real question quickly becomes why are they there? David Rollins’ Ghost Watch takes you on a roller coaster ride through jungles teaming with terrifying dangers as Cooper balances saving his principals with figuring out who put them in harm’s way. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you like non-stop action and nail-biting suspense run to the book store or Amazon and buy Ghost Watch by David Rollins.

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

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Another Stephanie Plum novel, Notorious Nineteen is a satisfying read filled with Evanovich’s famous humor and crazy characters. In this novel, Plum tries to figure out why old men are disappearing. She discovers something fishy is going on when she is assigned a skip that has disappeared out of the hospital right after having surgery. Plum gets help from her usual assortment of zany characters along with her sometimes boyfriends Ranger and Morelli. I highly recommend all the Stephanie Plum novels as well as this fresh offering.

Dances With Dragons…no dancing, no dragons.

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If any of you out there suffered through George R.R. Martin’s first four books of the Game of Thrones series and think you might buy the final book because maybe, just maybe he will wrap it up satisfactorily in Dance with Dragons, don’t bother. I just finished the 900- or so page tome and I skipped a lot of it because of his tendency to introduce hoards of new characters with crazy names that add nothing to the plot. I actually struggled to find a plot buried in all the useless scenes of zero action and mundane, boring dialogue leading nowhere. I won’t tell you the ending. I will tell you if you know the characters, the dragon chick, Danerys, is barely in the book and the dragons non-existent until the last chapter. Martin kills off the only great character in the last chapter for no reason. Killing him made no sense. And there are hundreds of loose ends that never get tied up. I don’t think disappointed covers the way you feel after you finish the book. Grossed out is a much better description.

I’m a writer and a reader. I provide my readers with a satisfying ending and I want to read one. I want every plot line to be intricately woven into the conclusion. Martin’s way of dividing the book into chapters about each character would have worked if he only hadn’t added so many useless threads and characters that lead to nothing. The man created a cool world, built some solid characters and then lost them in voluminous amounts of rhetoric and blather.

I used to describe Martin as a sadist who liked torturing his characters but discovered he’s was really incapable of handling the massive story he created. It got away from him and he lost it. I hope the makers of the TV show rewrite everything and use his world to create something really cool because if they stick to Martin’s pathetic story line, it’s going to fall flat.

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

I bought this book because I loved Crichton’s work and was really looking forward to this last book ever by him. I was so disappointed. If you are a Crichton fan, don’t read this book. You will be horrified. There are so many plot inconsistencies I was appalled. The story is about a machine that reduces everything to a teeny size kind of like Honey I Shrunk the Kids for adults. The main inconsistency concerns the size of the humans that get shrunk. One minute they can float on the breeze because they are microscopic and the next minute they are the size of ants. The characters are so flat and one-dimensional, you don’t care when they die. In fact, you wish they would all die. I would never recommend this book to anyone. If you see it on the shelf somewhere, run away.books