Ends on a cliffhanger, and not as interesting as the previous few. Duarte is a shit bad guy.
First book in 'shitty bookclub'. So bad. Reads like a D&D campaign, which I suppose shouldn't be a surprise. I remember them being so much more "adult" when I was younger.
Way different feel than the previous trilogy. I really like that Darrow became a bad guy and really demonstrated he has flaws.
There's still quite a lot of exposition and handholding, but on the whole it's so much darker and gritter than the last books. I'm keen to see where the series goes.
'Shitty bookclub' book for February. Well and truly one of the whitest books I've ever read. I'm pretty sure that a characters cries on average once every other page.
'Shitty bookclub' book for February. See above.
Starts off good. Interesting story, and the writing is great. Quickly becomes tedious. Lots of journeying from here-to-there and uninteresting characters. I won't be reading the remaining books.
Lots of small interesting bits tied together with tedium. Worth finishing, but the core message was repeated way too often.
Fun, easy reading with a clever mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Traditional story where everything goes just as necessary for the " good guys ". Read it pretty quick, so it can't have been that bad.
Much better than the first book. Couldn't put it down. Dark and confusing towards the second half.
Still a fun, easy, read. The ending was really disappointing.
Riveting in the style of Hunger Games, but without as much ridiculous teenage angst. One of the best sci-fi books I've read in the last several years.
Both the world building, and the science are expanded on just enough to give the world some mystery. The characters, by and large, make rational decisions and have really human problems. Can't wait to finish the rest of the series.
Way too many rollercoasters throughout the book and not enough, proper, character development. In the second book of the series, Brown expands the scope of the battle to the solar system but the relationships between characters continues to defy reasoning.
While Darrow's powers of invincibility in Red Rising bordered on parody, the double-double-double-double crossings going on throughout the story of Golden Son became tiresome.
Solid ending to the series. Drawn out at the beginning, but eventually goes back to the style of the first book; action and plotting.
The ending was "bittersweet" enough that the whole story didn't feel tied together with a bow. Definitely the best sci-fi I've read in awhile. Here's hoping for a television adaptation.
Terrible book. All the worst things about the social sciences and pop science rolled into a repetitive package.
Good, but not particularly fantastic. Much more interesting than the book, but the plot moves along almost too fast. The main characters are paper thin, and largely unlikeable.
The sci-fi component is interesting, though. Good world building.
Really well written and cleverly laid out. Good short read, and with some unexpectadly fun stories.
Much better than the first book. Way less cheesy, much more interesting story telling. I'm back into the series.
Series continues to get better.
Action is starting to get a bit contrived, but I'm too deep on the series now to stop. At least ghost-Miller is no more.
Series continues to get better.
Straying perilously close to boring-middle-book territory, but the ending and political intrigue are enough to carry it. I shouldn't have started a series that's not concluded. The wait for the remaining books is going to be painful.
The start is a bit rocky. Really annoyed to find out that the books are split into two parts each (book one is actually two physical books!?).
The characters have really started to grow on me. The world is interesting, and the magic/mysticism is present but not the focus of the storytelling.
Can't stand the interludes. Can't stand the flashbacks.
So much boring filler, but the action and overall story are enough to keep it moving forward. I can't believe the third book is going to be even longer.
Lovely writing, though a bit slow to grab my attention. Great characters, with complex motivations, and just enough mystery.
Intro to numpy/pandas. Learned a few things, but not as useful as I'd hoped.
Finally got around the reading this, despite its popularity. Extremely well written, unsurprisingly. Still very sad, and doesn't offer much hope. I suspect it was written for a white audience that's already aware of its message.
Much more gripping and action-packed than the first book. Far too much filler for me. Lots of moving from one location to another location and not much happenning in between.
So. Much. Filler. Great ending to the series, though. Happily eschews either a melancholy or save-the-princess ending.
So much filler.
Very similar to the "Rum, Rebels and Ratbags" podcast series. Because of that, I didn't really learn much new. Funny enough, in a Bill-Bryson-y sort of way. Looking forward to the next one.
Harry Potter meets Hot Fuzz. Fun read, though a bit scattered.
As good as the first. The bigger mystery is interesting, and the fact that the main character isn't some super prodigy is encouraging.
See above. Series continues to be good.
See above. Series continues to be good.
Bit of a filler book. No real advancement of the bigger storyline, but still good overall. Hopeful that the latest novel is better.
Finally a reveal! Can't wait for the next book.
Excellent ending to the series.
Much better than the second book. Less filler, just enough world building, and a few good twists.
While the convergent storylines were clever, and didn't feel forced or unnatural as often happens, they also were ultimately banal and predictable. The post-apocolypse society wasn't fleshed out or particularly believable either.
The rest of the novel was a bore. Rich people doing rich people things. Oh no.
Fascinating look at homicide in under-represented communities of South L.A. Frustratingly long winded at times, though the main story thread was gripping. One of the most thought provoking theses is that over-policing blacks (and other poor/minorities) for minor crimes, while simultaneously under-policing for serious crimes such as murder is partially what led to fear and hatred of the LAPD amongst these communities.
The epilogue seemed divorced from the narrative of the rest of the book. That is to say, murder rates are dropping precipitously in South L.A. even without drastic change in policy. This is ascribed to better social security and health care, but that seems too simple to me.
At times, eye-rolling-ly contrived. The characters portrayed in the book are far too larger than life to be accurately represented. Much of the book felt like padding to get to page-count. The best bits were about the history of pirates, but they were few and far between.
As detailed and well written as most Krakauer, but lacking in focus. Lots of meandering around the pschye of the nation post-9/11 and of the Bush administrations criminality.
The way the army handled Tillman's death was, of course, literally criminal. However, I struggled to find meaning in searching out his real cause of death. After all, he was killed — like so many others — in an unjust war, in a foreign land, following orders he didn't believe in. No matter what the reason, he remains dead.
Clever, and funny. Fantastic writing. The phonentic spelling got tedius, and led to a lot of confusion. The lack of chapters and constant switching of settings was hard to follow in an e-book where the separation wasn't clear enough.
Good enough to keep me reading the Discoworld series for at least a few more books in the night's watch thread.
Phonetic spelling got much better in this book, and the political overtones (herein: racism/discrimination) come to the forefront. The characters continue to flesh themselves out, both Vimes and Carrot being the most interesting.
Better than the first, definitely carrying on with the Watch thread. How had I not read Pratchett before? I really see how it's classic.
The Watch thread definitely coming into it's own. Just as good as the last (better?) and will keep me going.
Too much binging on Pratchett at this point, I think. Not really a fan of this one. Didn't feel as magical or interesting as the first books in the watch thread.
Lots of "nerdy" pop culture references that don't really click with me. Quick and easy read, though. Interesting concept, but the hero's journey and the bad guy really felt forced.
It took over a year to finish, but finally happened. One of the saddest and most uncomfortable things I've ever read. Glory, honour, pride are irrelevant. The war of the anyman is pointless trauma and meaningless sacrifice. Where Catch-22 treated it with humour, Remarque treats it with brutal realism.
For the life of my I cannot figure out why this book got such rave reviews. I could not imagine a more boring book about pirates.
Beautiful writing, and a very interesting parallel set of stories. The beginning of the fair thread, in particular, was incredibly interesting.
Even the murder "mystery" was excellent, though it certainly made me grateful for modern policing.
The underlying message of; "hard work and perserverence are the biggest predictors of success" is something that ultimately is difficult to argue with.
The book fails to address the difference between extreme performers, do some of them really just outwork the others? The interlude about smarter, intentional practice, was particularly infuriating since the unstated premise is that knowing how to do so isn't a problem in its own right.
Eventually, the number of anecdata and interviews with successful individuals becomes tiresome. The core take away was the goal setting approach that Duckworth advocates for — Maintain high-level goals and validate them with mid-level goals.
Gibsonian sci-fi. Lots of jargon and slang. I loved the weapons concepts, and the "twist" at the end was unexpected. I'm not sure I'm inspired to read the remaining books in the trilogy, but I should follow up with more from the author.
More Pratchett. Forgettable. The Australian humour was fun at first, but quickly gets old.
The best adventure book I've read in ages, with the exception of an ending that fizzles out (one can hardly blame the author for the history, but the ending still felt rather abrupt).
The accounts of interaction with Native Americans/First Nations is deepling interesting, as was imagining the wearwithall that must have been required to survive either the overland trek or the sea voyage.
Finally! Some original fantasy that doesn't involve thousands of pages of world-building snoozefests. More than anything the series reminds me of the Avatar series; part magic, part coming of age, and part political intrigue and mystery. Weaving all three plots together was a satisfying, and mostly unexpected, twist.
Haven't read this for a decade. Strong beginning and middle, and a very weak ending. Excellent audio book production.
Much slower than the first book, but the story progresses and the world building never feels overbearing. Ultimately the story was only enough to whet my appetite for the third book, and I was left unsatisfied.
Same as The Golden Compass.
Better than the first book, though the gap between reading them made the jargon often confusing. The play on " Arabian Nights " was fun, but ultimately the most unsatisfying part of the book.
The series really strikes me as, unfortunately, needing a second read to fully appreciate all that's going on.
So much exposition! This book has so many pointless storylines that could have been completely omitted without affecting the outcome.
The ending of the series was excellent, and didn't fall into the happy-ever-after trope that one might think.
The romance is just as cringe-worthy as real, actual, adolescent romance.
After many years, reading a London story feels like returning home. The vibrancy and vivid detail that he uses to describe the settings is gripping.
Still a book that inspires me.
Best book of the series, and I remain impressed that all the loose ends managed to get tied up. I love the different descriptions between the Zoku and the Sobernost.
Perfect ending. Can't wait for more from Rajaniemi.
Less focus on the anthropology and psychology than I would have expected. Way too much time discussing communal treatment of PTSD, and PTSD in general. Generally disappointing.
Terrible, nonsensicle, plot. Stupid characters. None of the humour of David's previous books makes it through. Just a terrible book from start to finish.
A re-read after many years. Absolutely fascinating how much Neal got right, but also the things that he missed. Hopefully not a prescient view of the future of governance.
A re-read after many years. Remains as I remember: a brilliant first half, and a totally uninspired ending.
A disappointed end to a great trilogy. The mystery of Area X continued without any real answers that were forthcoming. At the same time, the character development stalled completely.
By the end, not much had really happened. There were many more story threads than in the other two books, but only Saul's (the lighthouse keeper) resonated in any way, and then only a bit.
Very dense. Scott mentioned that he thought it was crazy-super-dense even for Gibson, but I thought Neuromancer was harder to get a grasp on. I really like the idea of the past being a communicable place that rich plutocrats from the future pillage. I thought the tech was mostly unimaginative, but maybe that's my cynicism.
The “romance” between Flynn and Netherton was boring. Most of the characters were underdeveloped. The ending happened too abruptly (And then… everything worked out happily ever after!), and the mystery and motivations of the bad guys was completely undeveloped.
Brilliant new and riveting Holmes story. Nothing not to like other than it ended. I'm hopeful that Horwitz's other Holmes books are as good.
The twist of how things connected at the end was unexpected, including the wife-cum-killer and the husband pedophile. Watson's internal narrative set the stage brilliantly. The only thing that could have been added was more of an insight into Holmes himself. But maybe that's the charm of the Sherlock stories?
Interesting take on the classic survival story. Mark Watney is a bit of a campy character. Too much “lol'ing”. The survival bits are fascinating, and the maths is cool. However, it dragged on a bit longer than was necessary - and at every turn something going wrong was tiresome. None of the other characters were ever really explored (perhaps that was the point).
Overall, it was a page turner. I finished it fast, unable to put it down.
Excellent twist, kept mostly hidden until the end (though at the point the reader is surely starting to guess).
Moriarty himself describes Holmes as bumbling and childish never really a rival at all shattering quite a lot of the illusion. Especially since... if he was really all that brilliant - How did Devoreaux start to take over across the pond to begin with?
Overall, a good book but disappointing following on the heals of the first. Here's hoping Horowitz makes a return to the Holmesian style in the next edition.
Fantastic story. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. The era when sports meant heart and not dollars is sadly past. The back drop of the depression along with the coming tide of WWII cast against west coast blue collar workers was fantastic.
It's hard not to be inspired by the story of Joe Rantz and the other boys. It's hard not to be jealous of the kind of comradery shown by the crew.
Grippingly written. Not a book to be put down.
A psychological thriller throughout. The first half or so was extremely good, the explanation of the living planet and the confusion oozes through the pages.
As the book procedes, though, it shifts its gaze increasingly towards its navel. Pontificating on all kinds of probably-philosophical-but-ultimately-boring existentialism. Should have powered through the final half, but found it extremely difficult. Not as clear a sci-fi statement on the real world as most classics.
Strong beginning, but wavers heavily towards the end. The message that “normal” people have the opportunity to be great, all they have to do is pay attention was paper thin. The romance coming together at the end was cheesy.
However, being set in Sydney there was lots of interesting Australian-isms. Zusak, just like in The Book Thief, wrote engagingly. I didn't really put the book down once I started, but felt unsatisfied at the end.
Charming story, and a very interesting concept. Throughout the book the only character that I didn't think was a total jerk was Bee (the girl writing). Bernadette was a prima donna, too focused on herself and judgemental of others. The dad, out of nowhere, went from foundation solid to off the rails crazy.
All of the other women were catty and gossipy, complete stereotypes. Only once in the book did Bee finally recognise the privilege that she was born into.
I loved the way the characters were explored, and the ending was about as good as it possibly could have been.
Filled with irrational people and their problems. The way the story unfolded was well executed, but the “twist” felt forced.
The characterisation of alcoholism was, I think, the best part of the book, and Rachel's character kept me the most engaged. Definitely an improbable amount of fucked-up people in such a small vicinity of one another, though. The epilogue felt as if the book had to have a happy ending.
Pretty awesome. A self-aware novelisation (/s) of “The Last Starfighter” with a twist of Star Trek. The writing, as with Ready Player One, was informal and funny.
The 80's trivia/pop-culture was a bit much, this time around though. In Ready Player One it felt like it was taking a bit of the piss, but here it feels forced.
What's to say here that hasn't already been written. ASOIAF is a fantasy epic, mostly readable series, and after spending a bunch more time understanding the lore and history of Westeros is even more interesting. The books start to slow as they get deeper into world building, but the eschewing of fantasy tropes keeps them engaging enough to continue.
(see - A Game of Thrones)
(see - A Game of Thrones)
The first time I've read a “work” book and not just learned something, but enjoyed the ride. Obviously a parable, but well written enough that I didn't care. Has inspired me to read “The Toyota Way” and perhaps pursue more thinking about manufacturing approaches.
Julian is such an inspired thinker. Both the interview and his polemic against Eric Schmidt as commentary of the aftermath is particularly insightful. The footnotes were often such a distraction that I had a hard time following the thought train.
Assange's insights into Namecoin and Bitcoin were especially interesting. I wish I would have read this interview years ago. Where was this when I was a kid?
(see - A Game of Thrones)
(see - A Game of Thrones)
Interesting story, that takes until about halfway through to really come together. I love the play with languages and the broader themes feel very much like the The Foundation series.
The inner monologue of Justice of Toren made him the most sympathetic character in the book. So many of the other characters left me wondering about their motivations. Like a William Gibson novel, the depth of the vernacular left me confused for large portions "-" especially when talking about gender.
Typical Bill Bryson wit can't rescue a topic that is relatively devoid of factual information. The book can basically be summarized as "- We don't know much".
I appreciate that the book did a good job of addressing some of the more pernicious of Shakespearean myths (he was multiple persons, he was Lord Byron, etc). Some of the history of London itself was interesting, and especially with respect to what I know about Elizabethan society, some time was spend not just on the court and the nobles, but on daily life.
Overall, not a disappointment, but not the best of Bill's work.
A thought provoking foray into the pleasures and sorrows of the military. Fick, as an ivy-league liberal, is convinced by the ROTC recruiter to try a 10-week summer intro to the Marines (pre-September 11th). In this he gets the itch of comraderie and challenge.
One quote from the recruiter, in response to a comment from a student about how having ROTC on campus went against the morals of the school (paraphrased) "- It's good that the ROTC is on campus because the university needs to liberalize the military"
The middle of the book is largely a recounting of the 2002 invasion of Iraq from the perspective of a ground soldier, and from a bloodthirsty American public. Ultimately I found this part of the book too procedural, and found my interest waning.
As the book progresses towards the end, Fick becomes more and more conservative. By the end (once he's finished his 4-year stint) he's alienated his friends and family. They're unable to understand his perspective, and he theirs.
Film noír cyber punk, what's not to like? Slightly longer than I thought necessary, and more than a little formulaic, nevertheless "-" a guilty pleasure.
The premise of digitised humans, where the limiting factor is cost, paints a world where only the rich can be both immortal and all powerful.
The sex scenes were written for 14 year olds, and the hand to hand combat references to karate and other Japanesisms were eye-roll inducing. The who-done-it and raw grit of the story, while predictable, did the genre justice in the future-tech world.
Surprising and twisting thriller. The book starts off as your standard who-done-it thriller with a hard-boiled detective. Eventually it departs from that and turns into more of a sci-fi-cum-political story in the vein of Doctorow.
Some sections drag on, and the " Bad Guys " seem unflinchingly successful or foiled only by a new technological (literal) Deus Ex Machina.
A much more politically-centric continuation of the first book. Largely I felt that Suarez didn't tackle the hard questions, leaving the reader to suspend a substantial amount of disbelief to arrive at the distributed utopia created by a machine AI gone wild.
Ultimately I felt that the augmented reality & gamification ideas were fun, but derivative.
The series as a whole was fun, and engaging enough, but ultimately lacked substance.
Amazing! I've never been so engaged with a book about the history of mathematics. Dolnick spreads the context of the age of discovery over every one of the unique personalities involved. From Kepler & Brahe to Newton & Leibniz, the transition from the classical world to the modern one is told in fascinating detail.
Not only does Dolnick describe the how and why, but delves deeply into their relationships and interactions. Has there ever been a group so vain and so righteous in that vanity than the early Royal Society?
Beautiful novel. I loved all of the characters and the writing was superb. The comedy style reminded me of the style in Catch-22, though certainly less dark towards the end. The book drags on a bit towards the end, but ultimately wraps itself up nicely. Will be looking at more books by Jonasson.
Interesting view from some Wall Street insiders about how technology has changed trading in the modern era.
I was unimpressed with much of the description of technologists and their ethics, capabilities and responsibilities. Describing shipping proprietary code owned by your employer offsite against both criminal law and contractual obligations as something many Wall Street techies did can be viewed either as a gross misunderstanding or a depressing view into vocational ethics.
The total lack of input from the side of HFT throughout the book is a bit deafening, especially since the deeper an understanding Brad Katsuyama and IEX get of HFT firms, the more they realise that the bigger banks are the ones enabling many of the more complicated trading strategies that favour HFT. Despite this, HFT remains the villain throughout.
Some really interesting history about the pig, especially the role it played in westward expansion and exploration. By the end, though, the book was dragging on and had gotten quite repetitive.
A humanising look at one of the right-wing monsters of the post-9/11 era. Breivik's life is explored from beginning to end, engagingly written and darkly fascinating.
One of the most interesting books of the year, to be sure. One of the most interesting things to take away from this is how little the extreme right's message has changed over the years - Women are objects, brown people are fine as long as they don't mix with whites or " white culture ", men should be men and other toxic masculinity tropes.
I can't help but be left wondering how much impact the slaughter of so many soon-to-be politicos has had on Norway's future. Has Breivik's attack had a similar effect as Yitzhak Rabin's assassination did in Israel?
Definitely one to recommend.
Less satire and more memoir than expected. The navel gazing was a bit much at times.
The beginning set a brilliant tone, but the ending left something to be desired. Nevertheless, the best book on race that I've read in a long while.