Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Forest Mage, by Robin Hobb

About a week ago, I got Forest Mage from Zooba. It's a great book. I liked the first volume in the soldier Son trilogy, and I thought this one was even better. Nevare seems painfully stupid at times, and he can be kind of an arrogant jerk, but he's still a great character. I'm very tired right now, so this is all of a review I can manage. I give this book five yo-yos.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!!!!

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It's not actually going to be Christmas here for about four more hours, but I wanted to get this out of the way, because I'll probably forget about it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Burning Land, by Victoria Strauss

I finally finished reading The Burning Land. It took me almost a week, mainly because I've been playing a lot of MTGO in my spare time. Despite how long it took me to read it, I think The Burning Land is a good book.

The thing I liked most with this books was the characters. The story is told from the viewpoints of Gyalo and Axane. They're both very well-rounded sorts of characters. I especially like Gyalo and his struggles with his faith.

I also liked the fairly original sort of magic in this book. There are Shapers and Dreamers. Shapers can make or unmake non-living things with magic. Dreamers can dream of far flung events and attempt to change the world with their dreaming (I wasn't all that clear on exactly what they did). It's far more original that the usual waving-your-arms-and-mumbling-in-a-foreign-language type of magic that's most common.

The only thing I really didn't like was the ending. There's no real resolution to the larger issues. Sure, Gyalo and Axane finally get together, but there are a lot of plot threads left hanging. That's no too much of a handicap though, since I assume that many of the plot threads will be tied up in the sequel, The Awakened City. I give The Burning Land four yo-yos.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ask A Ninja DVD

So, I got my copy of the Ask A Ninja DVD: Volume 1 yesterday. After I finished checking the box for booby traps and disarming the bomb inside, I popped the DVD into my DVD player, which promptly tried to kill me. I'm still not sure how The Ninja did it, but it sure was cool.

All kidding aside, it's a great DVD. It features 30 episodes from the Ask A Ninja podcast, two of which haven't actually been on his site yet. It's got ten of the Ask A Ninja Special Deliveries including the Doogtoons episodes and his review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Then there are several other extras, like an interview with a real ninja, and a bit where the Urban Ninja shows you how to kill a bad luck dragon.

There are plenty of Easter Eggs. I won't tell you how to find them, because then The Ninja would have to kill me. Really though, they aren't very hard to find, and I thought one of them was cool. They're all just weird, little short things. I'm not really sure how to describe them any better than that.

This DVD is hilarious. It's well worth the measly twenty bucks. You should buy it now. That way, you'll get a chance to watch it before The Ninja kills you. Ask A Ninja DVD: Volume 1 gets the full five yo-yos, and not just because I'm afraid The Ninja would kill me if I gave it a bad review. This thing is really good.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Can Be the Stainless Steel Rat, by Harry Harrison

I ordered You Can Be the Stainless Steel Rat a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to looking at it. I love the Stainless Steel Rat series (all except Circus, which I haven't read yet, but still probably wouldn't like much judging by the reviews). Unlike the rest of the series, this isn't a regular novel; it's a Choose Your Own Adventure type of thing. You know with stuff like "If you want to pick that guys pocket go to 65."

Unlike other books of this type--at least as far as I recall, since I haven't read any since elementary school--there is no way to lose this one. If you make a wrong choice, the book just tells you to go to the right choice. In fact, all the coices ultimately lead to the same path, which means there is little or no value in rereading it to try some alternate choices.

This book does have some good humor in spots. It also has a dragon two singing porcuswine, and a Robin hood wannabee. Since It's a Stainless Steel Rat book, I'm tempted to give it a good review, so it gets four yo-yos.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wizardborn, by David Farland

I finished Renelords book 3, Wizardborn and I thought it was better than the second book in the series. Obviousle some people don't agree with me. I don't know why I bother reading the Amazon reviews; they're always either mindlessly devoted to a book or saying things I don't agree with.

One reviewer complained that "Gaborn's army is still in about the same location, [...] Borenson is just starting his search to find Dylan Hammer, Celinor and the Horsesister girl are taking their dear old time completing their quest, Averan is still barfing up Reaver brains, and the Days(another cool idea with the endowment system that has been squander)have done nothing." All of these are rather stupid complaints, seeing as how the book takes over a period of two days. Sheesh. The characters aren't The Flash and they don't have planes, so you can't expect them to cover vast distances in that short a period of time. That reviewer also thinks that all the parts of the plot not having to do with endowments are boring and should be cut out, which is odd, because I thought that endowments were the most boring, stupid idea in the series.

Another reviewer complained because a lot of horses died in the book. WTF? Another reviewer complained that he didn't like it as much as George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Well, so what?

I thought it was good, and since this is my review blog, that's all that matters. I liked learning more about the Reavers in this book. They aren't anything like us. In fact their way of life would be monstrous for a human, but they aren't really evil; they're just being controlled by an evil force. In a way, I pity them, and making someone pity what is essentially a monster is a good thing.

Since I'm feeling fairly generous today, I'll give Wizardborn five yo-yos.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kino No Tabi, by Keiichi Sigsawa

The Beautiful World 1: Kino No Tabi is a very strange book. It's about a girl named Kino and her talking motorcycle, Hermes. The two travel around visiting these weird city-states, where aspects of the world are taken to strange extremes.

The first story, "Grownup Country," is set in Kino's homeland, where all 12 year olds are required to undergo an operation to become grownups. Then there's "The Land of Shared Pain" where everyone has become an empath, which causes everyone to become hermits, because people don't want to know each other's emotions. There's "The Land of Majority Rule," where democracy is taken to a frightening extreme that leaves only one survivor. "Three Men on the Rails" is a story about three elderly men and their futile and pointless jobs. "the Land of Peace" is about a very horrible place full of awful, awful people. "Coliseum" is about a country where people are required to fight for citizenship.

While this book may be strange, it's very compelling. I'm definitely going to try and read the rest of the books in the series, and maybe find the anime. I give this one five yo-yos.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gateways, by F. Paul Wilson

The only sad thing about the fact that I've finished Gateways is that now there aren't any more Repairman Jack books to read (until the next one comes out). Yes, I've finally read them all (except Nightworld, and that doesn't really count).

F. Paul Wilson's books tend to flow very well, if you know what I mean. Once you start reading one, you have a damn hard time putting it down. The pace is steady, the tension is more or less constant, and there's a Hell of a lot of action. Anyone who hasn't read Wilson's books is missing out on a good thing.

This book starts with Jack's father in a coma in Florida. Jack goes to Florida to help and runs into a pack of crazy swamp mutants. They're responsible for what happened to Jack's dad, so naturally it's up to Jack to kick their collective asses.

I love this book, like I love all the Repairman Jack books. I give Gateways a full five yo-yos.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are quite a few reviews up this week. I have the next for days off of work, and sadly, I don't have anything better to do with my time than read. I so need to get a girlfriend.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hal Spacejock, by Simon Haynes

The only bad thing I have to say about Hal Spacejock is that it's going to cost me $18 to pick up the second volume in the series. I'll still do it though, because this was a great book.

It's very funny. I laughed out loud several times while reading (so it's probably a good thing I didn't bring it with me to read at the doctor's office the other day, because who knows what they would have thought). It's also a great adventure story with lots of action and adventure and explosions, and a few fires, and some radioactive gunk, and a lots of other cool stuff. I'm going to go ahead and say that I agree with Tom Holt's blurb on the front cover; This is better that Red Dwarf.

Sure, the main character's kind of a jerk and a total incompetent, but that's okay, because he's a lovable incompetent jerk. Hal Spacejock kind of like Homer Simpson in space, only funnier and way more macho. I give this book the full five yo-yos.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Memento Mori, by The Bastard Fairies

I love free stuff, so when I heard that this band had full copy of their album available for free download, I thought what the hell. First thought, I did check out their MySpace page, from which I learned that their music was pretty good (and their lead singer is a hottie). Naturally, I went on and downloaded the full album.

It's pretty good. I'm too tired to go into a track by track summary, but I really liked "We're All Going to Hell" and "Memento Mori." You should download a copy, and tell all your friends. The Yoyogod gives Memento Mori five yo-yos.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eragon, by Christopher Paolini

With the movie coming out, and people saying how great it is, I figured it's about time I read Eragon. While I do think it was good, I don't really think it was all that great.

I don't like the writing style very much. I thought it seemed to be a bit simplistic. Yes, it was written for a younger audience, but so were the Harry Potter, Redwall, and Chrestomanci books (among others I've read), and those didn't have that same feel to them.

I also had some problems with the logic of the story. Near the end, there's an epic battle in a dwarven tunnel. This battle is between two fairly massive armies, so you've got to figure it's bigger than a football field. The tunnel is also high enough for a dragon to fly around overhead, which to my mind means that it's taller than my house. I can't see how anyone, even a dwarf, could make a tunnel that big without modern technology. I also can't see why anyone would bother making a tunnel that huge, if it isn't going to get much use (this one was supposed to have been practically abandoned).

Anyway, it's still at least a good book, I'll read the rest of the series eventually, and I'll probably see the movie even if--from the pictures I've seen--it looks like they didn't bother giving the elf pointy ears. I give Eragon four yo-yos.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cool email & cool snail mail

I got two interesting things today. I got my package from joining the Hal Spacejock support crew, and found an autographed copy of the first Hal Spacejock book inside. :) Thanks, Simon. It's now next on my reading list after I finish Eragon.

Also, I just preordered a copy of the Ask a Ninja DVD, and recieved the coolest order confirmation ever:

Dear Nathan,

You have chosen to risk life and limb to pre-order the Ask A Ninja Volume 1 DVD. You have earned Film Baby's eternal respect for your obvious bravery.

A messenger just tip-toe'd over to the Ninja's office and whispered to him in his sweetest voice that you'd REALLY like one of his DVDs. He said to tell you that he'll send it to you, and he looks forward to killing you soon. And then he killed the messenger.

Provided the Ninja doesn't kill US first, we'll ship your DVD the moment it arrives at our warehouse. We'll send you another email to WARN you that a NINJA is on its way to your house. You'll be hearing from us again shortly. Until then, perhaps you'd like to browse our catalog of ALL INDEPENDENT films, docs, shorts, instructional videos, and features. Browse here:

Thanks for supporting independent entertainment!

Your new friends at Film Baby

It looks like it'll be a cool DVD, and even without seeing it yet, I recommend buying it. It's only $20 + shipping, so go here and get it, and maybe the Ninja will kill you soon.

Enchanter, by Sara Douglass

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but like I said last time, I've been sick. I'm just about over my cold now, so it's time to review Enchanter, part two of the Wayfarer Redemption.

I liked this book. I didn't like it quite as much as the first one, because I though that Axis, the main character, was kind of a jerk throughout most of this book. Yet everybody still loves him. Also, some of the plot twists were totally predictable; I mean anyone who couldn't figure out that Azhure was the daughter of WolfStar before the characters, must be pretty dense. and, the battle between Axis and his half brother was a bit anti-climactic.

Still, it was a pretty good book. There was lots of action, and the tale itself is pretty darn epic. I'll definitely read the next one in the series, and I'll recommend this one, too. It's not perfect, but it's not that bad, so Enchanter gets four yo-yos.