Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
A good story, but I’m not sure why some consider it his greatest work; I enjoyed 2001 a good bit better. Maybe the subject matter was more unique and thought-provoking 50 years ago. Rating: 3 out of 5
Iron House, by John Hart
What an incredible thriller! I’d never heard of John Hart when I entered to win an advance reading copy in the First Reads program, but now I will make sure to own this book in hardcover, and his previous ones as well. Iron House reminds me of Grisham’s best novels like The Client and The Firm; not because of the subject matter (any lawyers in this story are bit parts at best), but...
The Shadow of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe
Almost nothing happened in this book, and it seems that the pleasure of this series is its enigmatic nature. Of course, it helps if you make the puzzle something that the reader wants to unravel, which I don’t feel has been done here. Still, I may read the next one just to see if it gets any better. Rating: 2 out of 5 UPDATE: I keep hearing that you have to pay very close attention while...
The Upright Piano Player, by David Abbott
I enjoyed reading this novel very much. It is not normally my preferred style, with a well-stocked library full of suspense, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Maybe it’s that fresh difference that grabbed and held my attention so easily, or maybe I have been introduced to a style of literature that I’d previously considered “not my thing.” I received this book on...
Anti-Ice, by Stephen Baxter
The only thing this book has going for it is that it reads very much like an H.G. Wells novel. Otherwise it is mostly boring, with uninteresting characters and both a ridiculous and largely pointless story. Maybe some will be intrigued by a 19th-century-styled science fiction story where the science is actually correct (one must only read The Island of Dr. Moreau to know how easily bad science can...
20th Century Ghosts, by Joe Hill
As with every short story collection I’ve ever read, the stories themselves can be a bit hit-or-miss; some are exactly the sort you expected — and hoped for — from a particular author, while others are totally uninteresting. In this case, Joe Hill writes some incredibly compelling and creepy stories. Best New Horror, 20th Century Ghost, Abraham’s Boys, The Cape, and...
Horns, by Joe Hill
I expected a super-powered revenge story, but ended up with far more. Horns is also a story of love, loyalty, friendship, family, and how the things that happen when we’re kids influence who we become as adults. Joe Hill doesn’t seem to believe in the old cliche of building suspense and horror through slow reveals through the first three quarters of his novel, and finishing with a big...
A War of Gifts, by Orson Scott Card
Wow, this was WAY better than I was expecting, considering the length and topic. Other reviewers here have said pretty much everything I would; the moral and ethical themes in this book, as well as the insights into his characters’ psyches, are as powerful as anything in the original Ender’s Game. This is a fantastic companion story to the novels and I’m moving right on to First...
Rules of Betrayal, by Christopher Reich
A fun, fast-paced spy novel about the training of a new operative who is tasked with infiltrating a terrorist’s compound and retrieving information about a WMD. Although this is the 3rd book featuring Jonathan and Emma Ransom, it is the first that I’ve read and had no problem understanding the context. In fact, it reads so much like an introductory novel that it seems the series may...
Villains by Necessity, by Eve Forward
A simple but fun fantasy novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and yet has a point to make about good and evil. I found the first half of the book to be lacking any character depth or excitement; it reads like a saturday morning cartoon (but then, so does The Hobbit). But then suddenly it gets far more interesting as we get a better sense of what the characters are like and what...