2005.04


Zoe’s Tale: “The Last Colony” from Zoe’s perspective

Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Zoe’s Tale (2008), the fourth book in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series, is the same story we were told in book three, The Last Colony, except it’s from Zoe’s perspective. Zoe is the 17-year-old daughter of the traitorous scientist Charles Boutin. Jane Sagan and John Perry adopted Zoe when she was a small child and they’ve been farming on one of Earth’s colonies for years. Now, though, the family is off to lead the settlers of a new colony called Roanoke (uh-oh). When they get there they realize they’ve been duped and life on Roanoke has a lot more going on than just terraforming a new planet.

While I was reading The Last Colony there were several times I wondered “what’s Zoe doing?” or “what does Zoe think about this?” or even “is Zoe the sweet innocent teenager her parents think she is?” I guess John Scalzi knew I was wondering those... Read More

The Battle for Skandia: The enemy of my enemy…

The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan

As usual, since The Battle for Skandia is book four in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, you should expect spoilers for the previous books: The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge, and The Icebound Land.

At the end of The Icebound Land, we left Will and Princess Cassandra hiding out in a cabin in the woods during winter in Skandia after they escaped from slavery. Cassandra has been nursing Will back to health for weeks. Now things are starting to thaw and they must leave before hunters arrive. Right away, though, Cassandra is captured by some Temujai warriors. (We haven’t heard of these folks before which, in my mind, may indicate that Flanaga... Read More

Working God’s Mischief: Nearly gave up

Working God’s Mischief by Glen Cook

Working God’s Mischief is Glen Cook’s fourth installment in his THE INSTRUMENTALITIES OF THE NIGHTseries. I had a mostly positive response to the opening novel, though it had its issues, but my pleasure waned somewhat through books two and three, leaving me to say at the end of my review of Surrender to the Will of Night that “the ratio between frustration and reward” was nearing the danger zone. Unfortunately, Working God’s Mischief did little to reverse that trend and in fact, for the first time in the series, I seriously considered giving it up. I persevered, but I’m not all that sure I’m happy I did so.

My irritation with the novel began off the bat. Perhaps it’s my readerly dotage, but I’m growing less and less patient with long-running series whose new installment don’t come with at least a little bit of a recap. For god’s sake, weekly ... Read More

The Battle of the Labyrinth: Filled with monsters, traps, secrets and danger

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Just as every Harry Potter book began with the requisite tormenting of the Dursley family, every Percy Jackson book begins with the destruction of a school, a trend that continues in the fourth book starring the young demi-god son of Poseidon. Unless you're familiar with the three previous books, you'll probably find yourself lost with what's going on here. About to celebrate his fifteenth birthday party, Percy is still up to his neck in problems, ranging from his mother's new boyfriend to the Greek monsters that keep trying to kill him. Luckily he has his friends to help him out: the satyr Grover, who is on a quest for the missing god Pan, his half-brother Tyson, a Cyclops, and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena — except lately Annabeth has been acting a little strangely...... Read More

Kitty and the Silver Bullet: Seen it all before

Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn’s KITTY NORVILLE series is yet another example of what's happened to the typical urban fantasy series. For the most part, you could take stories we've seen before, cut and paste pieces of them together, and getKitty and the Silver Bullet.

Kitty, an infected werewolf, is still an outcast from her pack. She is still doing her radio show about the paranormal community and she gets involved in a direct challenge for dominance of a city between two powerful vampires. The local werewolf pack gets caught up in it, which forces Kitty to revisit the drama and conflict she has with the leaders of the pack.

The positives: At least Kitty and the Silver Bullet has enough different characters to get to know that you don’t get bored. The plot moves along pretty well and Vaughn doesn’t make the mistake of telling the reader what everyone is thinking. You also get ... Read More