Thu, 2 Sep 2010
August 2010 in books
Some of these reviews can also be found on Amazon.
In August 2010 I read the following books:
- 1. The Burning Land, by Bernard Cornwell
There's not much to distinguish this from the previous four volumes in this series. In fact, apart from the geographic location there's nothing to distinguish it. Bleh.
- 2. Flash Forward, by Robert J. Sawyer
There's some interesting ideas here, and the makings of a great story - actually, of more than one great story - if only the author could settle on one of them. Unfortunately he doesn't, instead writing a lot about not very much happening. And then to make matters worse, as well as ignoring the particularly interesting sub-plots, the ending feels terribly rushed and really rather derivative. Not a very good book at all.
- 3. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
I couldn't finish this book, it's that bad. I gave up about a fifth of the way through. It's at least five times longer than it needs to be, littered with overly wordy internal monologues. The characters are entirely one-dimensional and all are caricatures - even Rand's heroes who are supposed to demonstrate the rightness of her philosophy are laughable one-dimensional cartoon villains. In fact, the book reads rather like I would expect it to if it were written by a friendless nerd who was watched rather too much Star Trek and wishes people were a bit more like Spock. Rand clearly doesn't understand humanity, or if she does, it is utterly hidden by her incompetence as a writer.
- 4. New Model Army, by Adam Roberts
When this book is good, it's very very good, and when it's bad it's awful. Which is unfortunate, because there's a great premise here, even if a little silly. It takes the idea of the "wisdom of crowds" that is so fashionable these days amongst wiki-fiddlers and takes it to the extreme, and actually tells an entertaining and engaging tale. Unfortunately, the tale is interrupted a few times by rather dull philosophising on the nature of love. And then, at the end, it just turns into nonsensical babble instead of, well, instead of ending the damned story. Sure, we're meant to understand from it that Pantegral has somehow taken over and democratised the whole of Europe, but there's that nagging "somehow". It's a shame, because this could have been really good. I really liked this a lot, but was terribly let down by the end, and because of that I can't recommend it.
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Posted at 22:53
by David Cantrell
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