March 3rd, 2016

Dead Dog Cat


A little while ago, I finished reading Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie, the next book in the series of mystery novels set in the Roman Empire during the reign of Hadrian. The protagonist is a former legion medical officer who's forced into investigating the loss of tax revenues from a certain city, and of course there's murder involved. It's a good tale, with pretty well-defined characters. On to the next book of the series!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

book 26:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I enjoyed it mostly.  It's a romance at its heart, but unlike most modern romances, the characters aren't vapid and trivial.  The romance is central to the plot, but it is really a vehicle to explore Jane Eyre's depth of character.  She's impressive because of the depth, well-roundedness, and evolution of herself through her life experiences, which is recognizable in humanity of any age.  On top of that, it seems a bit advanced for the time period in which it was written because Jane, and the author in her foreword, assert an equality between social classes and the sexes which doesn't seem to be a common view in the nineteenth century (and maybe even now).  She also shows strength of character by relying on her own values instead of being swayed into doing something she knows is wrong, even when it requires she sacrifice almost everything, including breaking her own passionate heart.  There were a couple points in the story that felt like they dragged a bit and the religious overtones were pretty heavy, especially at the end, but I can understand why those elements where there.  I also found it a bit jarring when suddenly 2/3rds into the story the narrator started addressing the reader directly.  But, overall, I thought it a pretty good book, and I certainly identified with the main character in many ways.  I think the book is worthwhile, but it
is an introspective book rather than action-packed.  it may be dull in parts for someone who expects a fast pace in their literary choices.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

book 27:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I had mixed feelings about this book.  I think it is well-written, and I appreciated the description of many of the events that shaped Angelou's life.  At the same time, I think I expected more...hearing about the book as much as I have.  As has been previously mentioned, this book is a biopic covering Angelou's childhood up through her teenage years.  What I liked best where some of the descriptions of her life in segregated Arkansas and a couple of spots throughout where she paused to comment on how common experiences evolved into modern black culture, for example, the use of "ebonics"...although she did not use that term herself.  I felt I understood a little better.  On the flipside, I felt alienated from the novel by a sense that she put out that because I am white, I could not possibly understand.  Those feelings made it more difficult to identify with her experiences, which I had done prior to feeling shoved away, in a manner of speaking.  I'm not black, but I have experienced prejudicial thoughts and actions based on external characteristics.  We don't have to live the same lives to identify with one another, or else we might as well give up because humanity is beyond hope for compassion and understanding.  Anyway, fair or not, I also was a bit disappointed with some of her, an obviously bright girl developing another teenaged pregnancy.  I know it was another side-effect of her life experiences, but there is a kind of Angelou mythology that builds her up to superhuman proportions that was let down to see that she made screwed-up choices like everyone else.  I don't blame her, per se.  To her credit, she absolutely took responsibility for everything she did, regardless of the hard things she experienced or the blessings she had (because really, compared to many she had some incredibly supportive people in her life).  I think some of the let down comes from my inate dislike of reading biographies.  I struggle enough in my own life.  If I read about someone else, I want to find inspiration to be someone better than what I am or at the least to be able to understand myself better.  I don't feel like I really got that.  In spite of my gripes, though, I do think it is a good book and a worthwhile read.  I would have just been better off if I hadn't heard so much "hype" about it, I think.  Who knows, though.
plot bunny hunter

February 2016 reading

February 2016 reading:

3. Star Wars: Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka (216 pages)
I expected this to be a graphic novel, but instead it was more of an anthology of short stories. Focusing on Finn, Rey, and Poe as they were before the movie, they shine a light on the personalities of the heroes of The Force Awakens, their personalities fleshed out further than the movies could manage. Enjoyed.

4. Spice & Wolf: Volume 5, by Isuna Hasekura (250 pages)
As they near Holo's destination, Holo and Lawrence's relationship seems destined to end, and neither of them are looking forward to its conclusion. When Lawrence is approached with a potential opportunity that promises to secure his future and fulfill his dreams, Holo is willing to help him. But nothing is ever simple in the life of a merchant. Ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.

February pages: 466

Pages to date: 1,157

Progress: 4/52

February 2016 comics/manga reading:

15. GTO: Volume 13, by Tohru Fujisawa (192 pages)
16. GTO: Volume 14, by Tohru Fujisawa (192 pages)
17. GTO: Volume 15, by Tohru Fujisawa (200 pages)
18. GTO: Volume 16, by Tohru Fujisawa (192 pages)
19. GTO: Volume 17, by Tohru Fujisawa (192 pages)
20. The Wallflower: Volume 34, by Tomoko Hayakawa (176 pages)
21. Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc: Volume 2, by Akiyo Satorigi (192 pages)
22. Saga: volume 3, by Brian K. Vaughan (144 pages)
23. Saga: Volume 4, by Brian K. Vaughan (152 pages)
24. 100 Bullets: Volume 10, by Brian Azzarello (192 pages)
25. Black Butler: Volume 21, by Yana Toboso (176 pages)
26. Natsume's Book of Friends: Volume 19, by Yuki Midorikawa (192 pages)
27. Saga: Volume 5, by Brian K. Vaughan (152 pages)
28. Naruto: Volume 27, by Masashi Kishimoto (200 pages)
29. Naruto: Volume 28, by Masashi Kishimoto (200 pages)
30. Naruto: Volume 29, by Masashi Kishimoto (192 pages)
31. Naruto: Volume 30, by Masashi Kishimoto (190 pages)
32. Naruto: Volume 31, by Masashi Kishomoto (190 pages)
33. Kamisama Kiss: Volume 19, by Julietta Suzuki (200 pages)
34. Legendary Star-Lord: Volume 1, by Sam Humphries (112 pages)
35. Kimi ni Todoke: Volume 22, by Karuho Shiina (184 pages)
36. Kimi ni Todoke: Volume 23, by Karuho Shiina (176 pages)
37. Gotham City Sirens: Volume 2, by Paul Dini (168 pages)
38. Catwoman: Volume 1, by Judd Winick (144 pages)
39. Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc: Volume 3, by Akiyo Satorigi (208 pages)

February pages: 4,508

Pages to date: 7,172

Progress: 39/200
book collector

Book 22

AdmiralAdmiral by Sean Danker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In full disclosure I won this in a Goodreads giveaway which in no way influenced my review. I was hesitant to even put in for this. Lately almost all the SF I see is either military or dystopian and I don't really care for either. This touches on military but just lightly. It reminded me more of Alien in all the best ways. If I had more time to read right now I'd have finished it in a day.

It's first person pov through the eyes of the titular character. In fact, we never have a name for him, just admiral. He's woken up wrong out of his sleeper stasis chamber with three fresh from the Imperial academy trainees who were meant to go to a prestigious first berth on the Julian. Instead they are on a downed ship on an unknown planet. The admiral doesn't even have a name on record making the trainees suspicious. There is Deilani, the doctor, Salmagard who comes from the aristocratic sect with top tiered genes and Nils, the electronics tech. As for the Admiral, he's addicted to something and going into withdrawal.

Deilani thinks he's a spy and is highly aggressive about it and yet, Salmagard seems to know who he is and obeys him. Nils is in between the two. But soon it doesn't matter. With each chapter a new and deadly problem crops up until you're left with a creeping dread, wondering if they'll survive.

For not only is the ship downed, the crew is dead and the planet is highly unstable. They have no way off the planet via the ship and their only hope might be to get to the newly established colony there. But what if the planet has turned against the colonists too?

Through the Admiral we do get to know the characters well (or as well as you can in a first person novel). They are well drawn and the slow burn horror is done just right. The ending might be a tad rushed but other than that I really enjoyed this. I wouldn't call the narrator unreliable but he doesn't share anything with us about himself until the very end (I came close to figuring it out but I was more with Salmagard on that one. This author was new to me and I'd like to read more.

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