Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins

So now I’ve caught up with the rest of the world by finishing Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, and my first thought after reading “Mockingjay” ($18.99, Scholastic) was that this is exactly what the final book of a trilogy should be.

I thought “The Hunger Games” was quite good and “Catching Fire” was OK, though it did echo the first book a bit. But even if the first two books had been lousy, “Mockingjay” would have made it worth the effort to read them.

Katniss finds herself in the heart of the rebellion in District 13, recovering after being rescued from the arena in Panem’s capitol. She soon discovers that some things never change, though. She finds living conditions are not a whole lot better and that she’s still being manipulated. President Coin of the rebellion has plans to use her as the face of the movement, something that neither of them are completely comfortable with. Once the Capitol begins attempting to use Peeta against her, though, she throws herself into the role, rushing into combat against orders and giving the rebellion everything it needs, but Coin more than she wants.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: "Hunted" by Kevin Hearne

In “Hunted” ($7.99, Del Rey), the sixth book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, Kevin Hearne puts the pedal down hard before giving fans a little bit of a late breather before the next volume.

The book picks up right where last year’s “Trapped” ended. Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, his former apprentice Granuaile –  who was recently made a full druid – and his faithful Irish wolfhound Oberon are on the run across Europe – quite literally. They’re being pursued by the hunters of the Greco-Roman pantheon, Artemis and Diana, because of a misunderstanding – sort of. A few books back, Atticus put a stop to some shenanigans by Bacchus, and the only way to escape the mad god’s vengeance was to imprison him in Tir na nOg. Then there was a little thing with some dryads, who were returned unharmed, but the Greeks and Romans still didn’t take things very well.

Their only  hope is to reach Herne’s Forest in England, several countries away, and they’ll have to do so primarily on foot. The grove passages to Tir na nOg, which would let them move magically through, have been cut off by Pan and Faunus. The Old Ways that would allow the same access have either been destroyed or guarded. And there’s a bit of a hidden competition going on amongst the pantheons of gods to either help or hinder them indirectly.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: "Blood Song" by Anthony Ryan

Every now and then a book just sneaks up on you. You start the tale thinking it's not bad, and at the end, you're left sitting, staring at the last page, thinking "wow." That's what happened to me with Anthony Ryan's "Blood Song" ($27.95, Ace).

Vaelin al Sorna, known to his enemies as the Hope Killer for reasons you'll discover in the story, is on his way to a battle to the death arranged by two lands that seek vengeance against either Vaelin or his family. His only companion on the journey is a scribe that detests him. Still he listens as Vaelin lays out his tale.

Born to a life of promise, Vaelin al Sorna was the son of the Battle Lord of King Janus. For reasons that the boy doesn't quite understand, his father gives him over to the Sixth Order, one of the divisions of his realm's religion, the Faith. The Sixth Order dedicates itself to defending the Faith through force, and with grueling and harsh training, Vaelin finds himself transformed into a warrior, one of the finest the order has ever seen, and bonded with a new family, his brothers in arms.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Why The Royal Library?

This is a question that I get in my e-mail or Twitter feed from time to time, usually from readers who don't agree with my opinion. Typically, it comes with a derisive inference that I consider my opinion supreme when it comes to books.

Anyone who knows or has read my material regularly should know that's not the case. I've said repeatedly over the years that I don't consider myself an expert, just a guy that likes to talk about books and music. The websites that I write for give me the opportunity to talk about it to people who might actually care instead of just blabbing away at my family members who really just wish I'd just shut up about it. The opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and mine alone and should never be taken as more. There are great books and music that I don't like and not-so-great books and music that I love.

So where does the name come from? Well, it's a bit of an inside joke.