Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Books of February

LeviathanEvidence to the contrary, I didn't and don't plan on only blogging about movies. It just happens that during school, I spend so much time reading books for class that I much prefer to relax with a a movie when I have the free time. After battling Gravity's Rainbow and House of Leaves, books become slightly terrifying. Nevertheless, I still have managed to pick up a couple of books for fun over the last month. And here they are.

I'd heard good things about Scott Westerfeld's Steampunk alternate history, and since it's a young adult book, I got through it about two days. It was a fun, if irritatingly short, read. My biggest problem with a lot of YA books is that they are so clearly written to be a part of series that the first book feels like it was cut halfway so it wouldn't scare kids away. I think the success of Harry Potter was based off the fact that J.K. Rowling avoided this. However, Leviathan is filled with some awesome images and has mechs battling mutant whales. Also, both main characters are well-written and compelling (though I find the girl-pretending-to-be-a-guy a little cliche), and I'll be picking up the sequel soon.

One Second After
William R. Forstchen's novel about the aftermath of an EMP that knocks out all the electronics in America. Given my preoccupation with the apocalypse, this sounded intriguing, like a book version of Jericho. Unfortunately, this book wasn't very good. I blame this on something I call the Dan Brown Syndrome. The subject matter is interesting, but the actual writing is, well, bad. If there was a chapter where a character didn't say "How can this happen? This is America," then I must have missed it. I get the point, but you don't have to say every damn page. Ultimately, the book is filled with ideas about what could happen if our society collapsed, but gets too caught up in throwing those ideas around. Deaths that should be tragic were set-up so blatantly that I got frustrated waiting for them. I recommend Stephen King's Under the Dome for exploring some similar concepts in a much darker, nastier and more satisfying way.

The Towers of Midnight
Actually, I've been listening to this in audiobook form, because my iPod is easy to carry and the actual book isn't. It's not something I usually do, but I have to say that the readers for the Wheel of Time series are some of the best I've heard. The book itself isn't bad either. Tying up the series thousands of plotlines means things get moving quickly and keep happening throughout the book. There are some times things get a little repetitive, but overall this is one of the best in the series.

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