Category: Book Reviews

After being so frustrated with this book as I covered in my “Vocabulary” post, this book actually turned out to be a good read. In my review, I will simply write about the main character as either “the main character” or “the protagonist” due to the story being about discovering the identity of the character.

My main issues with this book are the ungodly long beginning, and the over-zealous use of ridiculous vocabulary.

I understand that it takes time to set up the background of a book well enough to start the plot rolling, but it should not take 120 pages to do so. I do not jest, or exaggerate. There is 120 pages of plotless background. Except for the fact that there isn’t much background, because the main character is a mutilated mute who has amnesia in a foreign environment. The main character has no backstory to tell, simply because their identity is unknown. There are no bonds with other people to explore, because the protagonist does not know anybody in the castle. Also lacking are the forming of bonds with other characters, because of the protagonist’s scarred face and inability to communicate. There are minor skirmishes, where the protagonist falls out of favor with one of the tower’s lords and gets a whipping for it, but nothing that overall affects the plot. The character does some minor exploring of the unfamiliar surroundings, but not anything that is worth mention or noting. Again, this part of the story has almost no effect on the plot. By my check, the first point where things begin to move is page 114, but nothing actually happens until page 125. If you can suffer through this insanely long, drawn-out beginning, the book is well worth the read. The plot flows quickly and smoothly, always entertaining.

My other point of contention is the vocabulary. Usually I find more advanced vocabulary refreshing and adding to the story, but in this book it was too complex, and over-used. Rather than recognizing the medieval word for a very specific type of pot used in a kitchen for making porridge, and losing myself in the scenery, I had to look up the word, discover it was a pot, and go back to reading, wondering why it wasn’t simply labelled as a pot or saucepan. There were also some very specific plants (commonly used in the middle ages; not commonly known nowadays) that left me wondering. She used about a dozen different words for ‘food’ that I was unfamiliar with, and could have sufficed with one or two rather than using a different word every time. There were the technical names for medieval/renaissance-age garments, from the proper name for the inner and outer petticoats, to what the pont on their hoods (taltries) are called. There were even words I could not find the definition for online. I tried google, wikipedia,, and many other search engines and could not find anything about the word at all but a suggestion that maybe I had spelled another word wrong. All in all, I love the use of more advanced vocabulary when it lends to a book, but there is a point where it hinders the writing rather than helps it. This book jumped well over that point, with both feet, and kept sprinting.

I loved finding out more about the protagonist as the story wore on. It’s a very unique idea, having to discover the identity of the character, rather than knowing the character from the beginning. I very much enjoyed this book, and will recommend it to you to read, given that you are patient and stubborn (and maybe have another short book to read before you reach page 120), and don’t mind checking the dictionary every 15 pages.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I expected way more romance, mindless female-worshipping, sickly obsessions, (not so) dreamy male antagonists, and a brainless flirt of of a woman for a protagonist. Oh, and not to mention I’m aware that most ‘romance’ novels are like porn in book form for women. Instead, this is an awesome story about a woman named Natiya who is incubating a dragon egg to try to get revenge on the evil emperor, Dag Racho, since he killed her entire family. With that being said, it still sounds like a really mediocre book. But the back cover really intrigued me. It reads:

One Protector

When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon thoughts burn in your mind, you can accomplish anything. Natiya knows, for she carries one of the last egs in the land disguised as a jewel in her navel. Day by day the Unhatched grows, and when at last it births they will be joined in a sacred and eternal bond. Gone will be the barmaid forced to dance for pennies; born will be Dag Natiya, revered Queen. Taker her body or her soul; nothing will stop them.

One Slayer

When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon emotions trample your soul, you become a monster. So knows Kiril, for one destroyed his cousin. No matter how kind or joyful, all beings must succumb to the power of the wyrm. That is why Kiril vowed to destroy dragonkind – and he has almost succeeded. Only one egg remains. But there is an obstacle he did not foresee: love.


So, as this states, Natiya and Kiril fall in love. The only obstacle is she is incubating a dragon egg, and he is the emperor’s prized dragon killer. Rather than the both of them being lovesick fools who fall into each other’s arms the entire time and do nothing but shag and the plot magically unfolds itself, there is a race with time before the egg hatches, and before they are caught by Dag Racho and killed.

I found the plot to be highly captivating, and the characters to be well fleshed out and interactions between them were well thought out and in sync with their emotions, back stories, and personalities. The only part I am mildly annoyed with is the overt lust and the (few) sex scenes in the book. I enjoyed that the focus was not on the romance, but I’m still not sure I like any romance in my books at all. I mean, sure the plot twist of them falling in love is great and all, but does Kiril really have to be fondling her every chance he gets? Natiya is portrayed as an intelligent but hard up woman, who has a stash of books underneath her bed, and spurns every man who tries to flirt with her. Now here comes Kiril and she’s squirming up against him. In my honest opinion, this was a great book until the lust and sex came into it. I skimmed through those parts. I think it would have been better as a love story, not a smut story in other words.

Still, the book was good. One of my favorite parts was the interaction between the dragon and the person incubating it, and the time and effort that went into creating and describing the bond that they share. The bond the dragonborn share is my absolute favorite part of the book.

I am both slightly appalled that I enjoyed a romance, and proud of myself for giving it a chance. I’m not sure it’s a whole new genre I want to jump into, but hey, it was a good read (and it only took me 2 days to finish!)

I actually bought this book accidentally when looking for The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. After realizing my mistake, I was keen on returning it for the book I wanted. However, having a new book in my hands, I had to read it. And you know what? I’m glad I did.

Being on the opposite side of the spectrum of the book I was looking for, The God Theory by Bernard Haisch is a legitimate scientific theory on the existence of a ‘God’, or as he terms it, ‘an infinite conscious intelligence’. However, this book is not a bible-thumping, age-old argument spouting, narrow-minded piece of work spouted by an evangelist. This book was written by an astrophysicist, who does not believe in mass religion, and one who took the time to write a theory on how  ‘God’ could exist without breaking any scientific evidence.

With that being said, I want to remind you that this is a legitimate scientific theory. This is not a book for light reading, or a novel to take you away on the wings of creativity. This is a scientific essay. The arguments provided are well-founded, and based in research. A lot of these went well over my head, even after doing hours of research to gain the back knowledge needed to read this book. All in all, I spent more time researching previous work, theories, research, events, and scientific laws that are referenced in the book than I did reading the book. If you are not scientifically-minded, interested in non-fiction, or willing to research scientific achievements and references for hours on end, this book is not for you.  On the flip side, if you are convinced there is not a god, and would like to read (probably the first) a logical argument as to why god may exist, or are unsure, or even if you believe in god but not mass religion; if you enjoy learning new things, and enjoy finding out random tidbits of scientific theories and works that us lay-men have never heard of, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

With that being said, let’s move on. This book contains both a preface and an introduction, which, if you’re in the habit of skipping (I know I skip them when it’s simply another writer praising the book or reading sub-conscious “meanings” in a novel) I suggest you think again. They outline the entirety of the book, and set the premises for the arguments. As should be, considering this is a scientific essay. Oh, and in case you didn’t catch that, this book is a scientific essay. There are a couple extremely basic arguments covered in preface and introduction that are not repeated later on, most likely because they are basic and do not require repeating or going more in-depth. Even in the preface, I had to look up and research such things as ‘quantum fluctuations’, ‘quantum laws’, ‘string theory’ (which I think everyone knows a little about, but nothing like what you can read about it when you actually look into it), ‘inflation fields’ and find the definitions for things such as ‘neuro-physiological epiphenomenon’, or ‘philosophical centrists’. This is not even ten pages into the book.

The chapters are titled, and then further broken up into segments. The first chapter is titled “Personal Journey”, and details his professional life. This lends credence to his arguments, giving him both a background in religion and science. The sub-chapters (I’m not sure what else to call them) are titled “From Archabbey to Astrophysics”, “Launching a Career’, “Age of discovery”, and “Return of the Astronomer-Priest”. Please be aware (unlike my dolt of a friend I tried to convince to read this – unsuccessfully) that Bernard Haisch is an Astrophysicist. Meaning he studies the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe (and yes, I looked that up. 😛 ). He is not one of those new-age hippies who calls himself an astronomer and makes predictions based on the angle of Venus to Jupiter. That is just for clarity (I get annoyed with idiots very fast). Anyways, this first chapter details his religious background, his change into the scientific world, his professional achievements, research, and theories, and finally, the merging of his concept of ‘God’ and science.

The second chapter is “Asking Fundamental Questions”, which includes “The God Theory and Creation”, “The God Theory, Karma, and the Golden Rule”, “The God Theory and Reductionism”. Chapter three is titled “Explaining Creation”. The sub-chapters are “Creation by Subtraction”, which actually holds the strongest piece of imagery/argument (for me) in the entire book. The others in the chapter are “Polarity” and “The God Theory and Consciousness.” Chapter four is “Reductionism and a Spiritual Worldview”, detailing “Superstrings and the Supernatural”, “A Spiritual Worldview”, and “No Need for Intelligent Design”. Now that you have an idea of the types of chapters and sub-chapters in the book, I’d like to share that there are a total of eleven chapters, not including the Preface, Introduction, or Bibliography.

A lot of those probably sounded extremely detailed and way too complex to grasp. This is why I said that there will be a lot of research that goes into reading the book. At the same time, however, many of the arguments and sections that are brought up are well-explained, and require little to no background study to understand them. Such as the following excerpt from the Preface:

“Science today is based on the premises of materialism, reductionism, and randomness. Materialism is the belief that reality consists solely of matter and energy, the things that can be measured in a laboratory or observed by a telescope. Everything else is illusion of imagination. Reductionism is the belief that complex things can be explained by examining the constituent pieces, such as the illusion of consciousness arising from elementary chemical processes in the brain. Randomness is the conviction that natural processes follow the laws of chance within their allowed range of behavior.”

This information is provided in a clear, straight-forward manner, which is not difficult at all to comprehend. I suppose with the correct background in scientific study, the entire book would be clear and concise, but I’m afraid to those of us who read textbooks in our spare time (Wait, you mean you don’t? :O ) rather than having a formal eduction, a lot of this is very complex. Even looking into theories mentioned in passing, you have to read about the theory, then read more information on the theories that the initial theory was based on, and so on and so forth until you finally reach information you can comprehend, and then work backwards. It’s a lovely challenge; I loved spending time trying to reason things out and teach myself cutting-edge scientific theories.

My favorite section, and the one that stuck with me the best, is the “Creation by Subtraction”. The section is too long for me to type out, but I will sum it up the best I can. Think about a computer screen, or a projector. When it is on, there will be a plain, white light. By laying filters over this light, you can create images; since white light contains all of the colors, in order to create images, you simply have to filter out the undesired colors in the proper places. To create a photo of a family on vacation is not done by chance, it is done by intelligent subtraction. Further, to create a motion picture, a two-dimensional replica of our world, you simply have to show frames of movement at the right speed, using the filters to create each frame. Thus the white light does not change, the filters do, and the sum becomes more than the individual pieces. In this way, ‘God’ is the infinite, and to create our world, a filter was placed over, to give the desired result. So rather than an infinite number or realities with an infinite number of possibilities over the infinite number of realities, there is one reality, with an infinite number of possibilities depending on the filter used. Please note that this is all paraphrasing, and I am in no way taking credit for this, and in fact, I may have misinterpreted what the author was trying to say (although how I have interpreted it makes perfect sense to me 😛 ).

In conclusion (I feel I’ve been rambling for a while), this book is definitely worth the read. I have always been strictly a non-believer, but if there were to be a ‘God’, and they could prove its existence, then this is how I believe that ‘God’ would exist. However, I still don’t believe in mass religions, or go to church, anything of the sort. I would still consider myself atheist, and I will until the scientific community walks up to me and slaps me in the face with some proof. However, this book was a real eye-opener, refreshing to read due to its professionalism, and fascinating in every aspect. I highly recommend this.

I was going to do a spotlight on The Legend of Drizzt, but there are so many of those books, and he’s written so many other good books, it would be difficult to do. Instead I decided to do a look at all his books, but that proved to be too long. This focuses on The Legend of Drizzt series, but also includes The Cleric Quintet since it is directly related to the series.I will finish off with the rest of his books soon, hopefully.

To begin, his most well-known and most extensive series would be The Legend of Drizzt.  The first series (it was written as a series of smaller series of books) by publication date is The Icewind Dale Trilogy, and although chronologically should belong second in the series, I recommend reading this first, especially if you are new to the Forgotten Realms books. The Icewind Dale Trilogy contains The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling’s Gem. I recommend reading The Dark Elf Trilogy next, although it is the prequel. This trilogy includes Homeland Exile, and Sojourn. It makes more sense once you have a firm grasp on the world and the characters. After The Dark Elf Trilogy was published, came Legacy of The Drow. It follows The Icewind Dale Trilogy chronologically, so don’t get your storyline mixed up! This series includes the books The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, and Passage to Dawn. Next in the storyline is the series Paths of Darkness, including The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, and Sea of Swords. Originally, Servant of The Shard was part of this series as well, but it has been moved into the next series for reasons I’m not sure of. I remember reading it, but I can’t remember enough of the plot to know whether it makes more sense in the original order, or the new order, so I’m writing these in the new order, since I vaguely remember the book we had as having it marked as an excerpt of something to come later. The next to come is The Sellswords, which is Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King, and Road of the Patriarch, which is followed by The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy comprising The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, and The Two Swords. To be completely honest, this is as far as I have made it into the series and it was all wonderful (with the exception of a beautifully written plot twist that mangled my favorite character and left me angry, but it was still well written). I was too busy reading other books to finish Transitions, which includes The Orc King, The Pirate King, and The Ghost King, but from what I have heard they are every bit as good as the other books. The series finishes off with (for now, I’m not sure if it will be continued) Neverwinter which has three books, the last is planned to be released August 7th, 2012. Their titles are Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, and Charon’s Claw. For a total of 26 books in the main storyline, purchasing all the books is expensive, which is exactly what you will end up doing once you start the series.

I read these originally when I was in 5th grade (I had a rather high reading level for my age; I read the Little House on the Prairie books in 2nd grade 😛 ) so my memories of the plot are not amazing. Dwayne is reading it for the first time, and we talk about the plot every night. He’s constantly telling me he gets weird looks reading on the trains because he bursts out laughing while he’s reading. This is something I definitely remember, the characters have great humour and the books are highly enjoyable. Even so, these are not intended as comedy. The battle scenes are well written, intense and serious without being horrifically gory, and the adventures and fantasy aspects are well done also. Even the plot twists I don’t like are beautifully worked out. The characters are constantly evolving, yet they are timeless. The play between characters is well thought out, and even the characters who come into play once, and then come back several books after are consistent and well done. These will keep you guessing, laughing, and interested for a very long time. They are not as long as some of the books I’ve read recently, and Dwayne has been reading them in 3-4 days apiece, though I’ll admit he has had his nose stuck in them constantly!

Not following the main storyline, but including characters that come into play in The Legend of Drizzt books, is The Cleric Quintet. This series includes Canticle, In Sylvan Shadows, Night Masks, The Fallen Fortress, and The Chaos Curse. As per his previous writings, this is expertly written and an amazing source of entertainment. The plot will draw you in and surprise you, whilst characters are sticking their thumbs in their ears and waggling their fingers at you (literally). This is the back story of characters included in The Legend of Drizzt Series. Like all his other books, this is well worth the read. It was published after The Dark Elf Trilogy, so if you read it alongside the other books, I would recommend after The Dark Elf Trilogy but before Legacy of the Drow. 

Happy reading!


First published in 1934, this book was subsequently banned from being imported into the US. BY 1938, it had also been added to the list of banned books in Canada as well. In the UK, the only copies available were smuggled into the country. I have always been a fan of banned books, because usually the controversy is over political or religious views. But in the case of this book, it is due to the blatant vulgarity, obscenity, and profanity. This is not a masterpiece with revolutionary ideas hidden inside that world leaders refused to have available to the public. In fact, the only claims to fame this book has is being banned due to obscenity, and the fact that it is one of the most horridly written books on the face of the planet.  This is the review I wrote of this a few months ago:

Started this before I moved, and lost the book. It was found and sent to me, and it’s time to finish reading it. So far, I’ve thought it was very messily written, jumping from one idea to another to another, until you’ve lost the original thought and then crashing back into the original idea, in a shattering, lose-your-train-of-thought way. It doesn’t hold your attention, in that it seems to be trying to make you lose where you were, but the parts that make sense and flow smoothly are enough to make you lose yourself in it for a few minutes until the jarring writing snaps you back into wondering what’s happening. One of the strangest books I’ve ever read, I’m not sure whether this is interesting and engaging, or a worthless waste of time and money. I suppose it takes some level of genius to write a book people aren’t sure whether they should put it down and never pick it up again, but keep reading to the finish. Very strange indeed.

Even now, I think this is a pretty accurate description. The thing I hate most about the book is the fact that the ideas jump from one place to another, back and forth, or will go off on a tangent, then jump back to an idea 5 or 6 pages beforehand. It’s like wading through the mind of a man who has gone insane, and then been shaken so hard everything in his mind crashes together into a huge jumble. I will agree with other reviewers in that this book is a brutally honest look into one man’s life, but at the same time, this is more a drunken rambling of sexual exploits and god knows what else I missed.

So bottom line: Don’t read this book. If you want to read it for the vulgarity or obscenity, pick up a woman’s romance instead (I swear those books are most women’s equivalent to porn). If you’re in it because it’s a banned book, there are much more intelligent books that have caused widespread controversy waiting for you to read them.

So I mentioned this book in my list of books that I loved and hated and wanted to read. Just to let you know, every book on that list that I labelled as being a recommendation or to avoid, I have read. I will not bash a book or gloat about it until I have read it and decided for myself. So, onwards to the review!

I wanted to mention Robert Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky. It’s one of his short novels, but that makes it all the better. Personally, I’ve found his full-length novels drag on with a lot of filling, but not much plot. His shorter books are an afternoon read, but they keep you well entertained. The plot of this book is fantastic, and it gets 5 stars from me! If you have any used book stores in the area (especially such as Half Price Books in the US) try and pick up an older copy of the book. I paid 35 cents for mine. A great use for pocket change! Oh, and just another note, I use short books like this to clear my mind when I’m in the middle of a huge series that seems to be dragging on forever. A quick afternoon read to escape somewhere else, and you won’t have to worry about juggling books or plots. Plus it gets your mind out of the rut and makes the series easier to get through. Because face it, no matter how much you love reading, 14 1,000-page books is a bit of a challenge. So, onto the book. You can safely read the minor spoiler section… I’m just covering the premesis of the book. But make sure you don’t read the major spoiler section below! That’s my review and has info in it you won’t want to know beforehand!

**Minor Spoiler**

The back of the book (at least my edition) reads: The Universe was five miles long, and 2000 feet across. Men scoffed at the legends of such things as stars, or the demented idea that the Ship was moving… for the Ship was the Universe, and there could be nothing outside. Then one man found his way into a forgotten room, and saw the stars – and they moved….

The premesis of the book is that the crew of a spaceship, traveling to Alpha Centauri, mutinied and killed all of the officers and crewmen. Several generations down the line (it was supposed to take 2-3 generations, but when the crew was killed, the spaceship was shut down and simply drifted through space), the people aboard had forgotten that it was a spaceship, and believed that the ship was the entire galaxy.

I find the idea absolutely fascinating. I have never read anything even remotely similar to this, and it caught my attention from the get-go. If you’re interested in the book, don’t read on. It has spoilers. So go buy it! If you already have, read on to the bottom to see if you agree with my review.

**Major Spoilers**

Don’t read this until after you’ve read the book, or don’t plan on reading it. But seriously, go read the book.

Throughout the book, Hugh is talking to mutants and discovering more and more about the stars and the ship he’s on. It was really well written, and the characters were fantastically created. I loved the pace of the book; very little downtime or boring, dry chapters. My only complaint is the ending of the book seemed rushed (probably because at the length of the book, the end is only about 15-20 pages) and also a tad ridiculous. How is it that after magically escaping in a pod on the ship, they just magically happen to land on the one moon that can sustain life? How? I mean, come on. I would have been happier if they had all died! But aside from this mediocre ending, the book was amazing. Well written, and well worth the short read.