Friday, November 30, 2012

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

Today's post is on 'The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack' by Mark Hodder. This is the first book in a series Burton & Swinburne. It is published by Pyr and is 371 pages including a brief historical information about the characters in the book. It has a very lovely cover by Jon Sullivan showing Jack with blue flames and in the rest is in grey scale. The intended readers are adults who like steampunk, alt history, or well written books. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The year is 1861 and King Albert is on the English throne. Sir Richard Francis Burton has just gotten the worst news of his life. His friend and competitor John Hanning Speke has shot himself in the head on the day they were to debate about the source of the Nile. On his way back to his house, after getting drunk at his club, Burton is attacked by a strange man, on silts and glowing with blue fire,  who blackens his eyes and yells at him to leave him( the blue fiery man) alone. Burton has no idea either who he is or what. The next day Burton is contacted by the Prime Minister and asked to investigate the very odd things that happen in the Empire. Like Jack and dogs who walk like men and many other odd things. After having people die around him, Burton decides that he is going to go it alone. That is until Swinburne begs him to take him on as his assistant. Algernon Swinburne is a poet who needs to feel live or else his end will come in a bottle. So with a new assistant Burton goes to uncover the mystery of Spring Heeled Jack. In this world there really is more than your philosophy has ever dreamed of.

There are parts of the story that are not interesting but 85% is just enchanting. The world building in this book is some of the best that I have ever read. It is so subtle. Hodder gives you pieces of the world so that it does not overwhelm you. It is like uncovering a world that you thought you knew but just did not realize it. I liked Burton who you spend the most time with but I hope that Swinburne has a bigger role in the next book. You just do not get much time with him but time you are with him, Swinburne is really funny. Hodder did great amounts of research into the real Victorian age to give us offset one. As someone who read a lot of books from this time(yay English major) I really appreciated all the little details, like calling a match a lucifer.

I give it Four and Half stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my little money.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today's post is on 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer; it is book one of four of the Lunar Chronicles. It is published by Feiwel And Friends which is an imprint of MacMillan. The book is 387 pages long excluding author's note at the end. The cover has a foot with a metal bone showing and a lovely red shoe. The book is told in Four parts and thirty-eight chapters. The intended reader is YA. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

Opening line- The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.

Cinder Linh is the best mechanic in New Beijing. She is also a cyborg, seen as a mistake by most of earth's peoples, and by her stepmother. As a cyborg Cinder has no rights, she is not seen as human anymore, so her stepmother makes her work and then takes all her money. The start of the book as Cinder is changing her too small foot. The Prince Kaito seeks her out because he needs her to repair one of his personal androids. Cinder agrees to help with Prince of course. But bad things come in threes in this book. First there is an outbreak of the deadly virus that has killed almost two-thirds of the human population, her sister Peony gets it and dies and the deadly queen from the moon comes. The queen of Luna wants to marry Kaito and get power on Earth but Kaito and his father having been fighting to stop this for years. When Cinder's younger sister gets the disease, her stepmother 'volunteer's' her for a research subject. Cinder discovers that she is immune to the disease but nothing saves her sister. Cinder discovers more about herself and why she was made a cyborg. The knowledge will make her decide what she is going to do. Because both the earth and the moon's people are in her hands.

I enjoyed this book but it is for young adults. That does not mean that it is bad or badly written but for an adult reading it, it was not something special. I would give this to young girls to read because they will enjoy it or if you really love the Cinderella story. It is an interesting retelling and I will read the other books in the series which there are going to be four. The next one comes out early next year. The writing is good but I really loved the font. The font is very pretty and pleasing to look at, I would stop reading to just look at the font but I'm weird. So it is a fun beach read.

I give this a three and half out of five stars.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Today's post is on 'Mistborn' by Brandon Sanderson. It is published by TOR. It is 657 pages including an excerpt of 'Hero of Ages' and a brief explanation of the very unique magic system. The cover has the main character Vin on it in an action pose with mist around her and the enemies are shadowy but there. The intended read is anyone who loves fantasy and anyone who can read. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

I trying to think of a way to summarize this plot of Mistborn. It is a daunting task. This plot is very sublime. I was expecting to enjoy this book and I did but this book is so much more than just an enjoyable fantasy story. After reading this book I know understand why Robert Jordan chose him to finish The Wheel of Time series. I will try and please understand that my summary is a very poor and pale representation of this story.

Vin is a street urchin. She survives by being a good 'luck' for her thieving crew. Her brother beat into her that everyone will betray her in the end. Her crew leader gets too greedy. Vin knows that something bad is about to happen but that is not unusual in The Final Empire. The Lord Ruler is immortal and he controls everything. From the skaa slaves to the nobleborn. Skaa and noble are not to have children together. The Lord Ruler claims that is because he wants to maintain purity but is really about controlling who could have the power to be Mistborn. But Vin knows nothing of this at the start of the novel. She just knows that she has luck and she has to use her luck to survive. Into her chaotic live comes Kelsier. He knows that Vin is a Mistborn and he saves her life. Then he starts to train her in her powers. The over arching plot is about overthrowing The Final Empire but there is so much more. The characters, the subplot, and the imaginary are wonderful. But I will get into that in the next paragraph.

I cannot begin to express how wonderful this book is. I feel stupid for not reading it before. This book is clever, the writing is so easy to fall into, the characters are so believable. There is a main character death and Sanderson does not waste it. It  is one of the most vivid imagines I have from the story. The character's final words are just sublime-

"I killed you, once," the Lord Ruler said, turning back to Kelsier.
"You tried," Kelsier replied, his voice loud and firm, carrying across the square. "But you can't kill me, Lord Tyrant. I represent that thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope."
The Lord Ruler snorted in disdain. he raised a casual arm, then backhanded Kelsier with a bow so powerful that Vin could hear the crack resound through the square.

That is one of the most powerful imagines of the whole book. He does in about six lines what some writers cannot do in six hundred. He makes it real. The magic system is very mysterious but again Sanderson does not waste what he has. The takes about two scenes for the reader to really get an idea about how the system works. The first one with Kelsier doing a raid on a noble house and the second is when he starts teaching Vin how to control her powers as a Mistborn. Again this is a very poor and pale representation of this wonderful wonderful book. But  do not take my word for it, read it yourself.

My personal rating for this one is Five out of Five with gold stars all around.
I am getting nothing for my reviews. I either bought the book with my own money or I borrowed it from the library. I bought this one and I own it with pride.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today's post is on "Fluke Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings" by Christopher Moore. It is 321 pages long and is published by William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. The cover has a whale tail with the words 'Bite Me' on it. It is divided into four parts with thirty-eight chapters. The intended reader is adult and maybe older teen. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The opening line is- Amy called the whale punkin.

Nathan Quinn is obsessed with finding out why the whales sing. That is his whole life. His partner Clay, his grad student Amy and his business, everything is about why. So when his office is broken-in and all his life's work is stolen or destroyed his knows that he is on to something. Something is just the beginning. With the mystery of what is going getting deeper with every chapter Nate learns more than he ever dreamed possible. There are whales, humans and things in between. There is a love story, teachers that cannot stand bad grammar and Jersey boys who think that they are Jamaican.

To start with I did not like this book; at all. I did not find it funny. The humor in it is for people who think that penis' are just the funniest thing on the planet and I am not one of them. After I discovered the answer to the mystery which is there is an ancient sea-creature at the bottom of the ocean that is going to kill humankind because we are scary; I was done with the book. In fact I could not make myself read the last 20-odd pages. I was so bored during this book that I had to make myself read it so that I would be done with it. I rarely have to do that. As I am sure you have noticed that I am easy to please in books and movies. But this was just a big waste of my time. Do not read this book it is not funny, it is horrible. I, personally, will never read anything by Moore again.

I am giving this book One star out of Five. And it is Lucky to be getting that. I get nothing for this review and lucky for me I borrowed this from my local library.