Monday, April 30, 2007

The Coming of Bill, by P. G. Wodehouse

One of things I really like about LibraryThing is that it enabled me to discover that there was an Overlook Press edition of a P. G. Wodehouse novel I didn't already own: The Coming of Bill. It's not his best book, but it isn't his worst by any means.

It's very different from his usual style. The back cover describes it as "The nearest Wodehouse ever came to writing a serious story," which is essentially true. Two characters die in the story. A couple gets together, gets married, has a baby, nearly gets divorced, and the gets back together again. In many ways, it's a sort of social commentary.

That's not to say that it isn't funny, because it is funny. There were several places where I laughed out loud. There are several of Wodehouse's standard character types: a butler (in this case Keggs who appeared in several other Wodehouse books), a meddling aunt, a boxer, and a business tycoon. This book has much to recommend it.

It's not quite as funny as some of Wodehouse's better known works, but it still is funny. The story is more serious than is typical for Wodehouse, but not detrimentally so. Really, The Coming of Bill deserves four and a halfyo-yos.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Old Man Crow, by Charles de Lint

I've always been a fan of Charles de Lint's books. Unfortunately, a lot of his stuff has (so far) only been released by smaller presses (largely Subterranean Press), which charge way more than the larger publishers. This makes it difficult for poor people like me to get ahold of them. Still, I got a decent sized refund from the IRS and used some of it to get the relatively inexpensive ($18) Old Man Crow.

It's a great story. It's about one of the animal people, who was a crow dreaming that he's a man, but has become a man who dreams that he's a crow. It's a great story. Sadly, it's only 32 pages long.

Normally I'd give a story I liked this much a five, but I think $18 is way too much to pay for a 32 page book even if it is a limited edition by one of my favorite writers. So, I'm only giving it four yo-yos.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Karavans, by Jennifer Roberson

Karavans is certainly an interesting read. I loved the characters. The plot was gripping. The world wasn't just a clich├ęd Tolkien wannabe. It was a great read.

Unfortunately, there was one thing that bugged me; too many things were unexplained. What the the hell is a dioscuri? A Wikipedia search turns up Castor and Pollux, which makes me think it's some sort of synonym for demigod or something, but the book doesn't do that good a job explaining it. Also, what's the deal with the mysterious moving forest Alisanos (which is home to demons and such)? The book also has an annoying cliffhanger ending, which always kind of ticks me off.

There are, of course, sequels in the works, and I will probably read them, and they will hopefully explain some of these things, but it still just annoys me when things aren't properly explained and when novels use cliffhangers. It doesn't tick me off enough to give Karavans a bad rating, but it ain't getting a full five yo-yos. It gets four.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lord of the Isles, by David Drake

A few years ago, I picked up a hardcover copy of Lord of the Isles somewhere. For some reason, I never read it. Instead, I put it away and forgot about it. A few weeks ago, I picked up a $3.99 paperback edition.

I really wish I'd read it in hardcover. Then I wouldn't have wasted $4 on buying a paperback version of a book I owned in hardcover. Also, it's a great book, and it has quite a few sequels which I would have also read if I'd read the original.

The thing I like best about this book is the characters. They are very believable and well, interesting. The book also has a well-though-out system of magic, which is always a good thing in a fantasy novel that uses magic. There is a lot of action (especially at the end of the book). Really, this is a great all around book.

I give Lord of the Isles five yo-yos.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bed Bed Bed by They Might Be Giants

After spending a few months being lazy, I've decided to go back to writing reviews. I'll start off with a book by my favorite musical group, They Might Be Giants. Sadly, while their music is great, their book ain't.

It's not a bad book. It's just okay. It's basically just an illustrated version of four songs (also included on a CD). The illustrations are alright (though I have seen better). The problem is that while these songs work well as songs, they don't make great poetry. Shel Silverstein (for instance) is way better. I didn't like the book part that much.

Of course, there is also a CD. That was pretty good, even if it is only four songs. "Impossible" was the only song I didn't like. I loved "Happy Doesn't Have to Have an Ending." "Idlewild" was good but short. "Bed Bed Bed Bed" is a new, more lullaby-ish version of "Bed Bed Bed" from their No! album. So the CD would rate as a bit above average, but not much.

I give Bed Bed Bed a mediocre three yo-yos.