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ANNA OIKONOMAKI "Anna" (Athens, Hellas, Europe)

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Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent, 28 Sept. 2015
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I simply could not put it down. The sheer scope of the book is amazing. The audacity of imagination combined with the excellent writing skills of Alastair Reynolds make all three books of the trilogy simply impossible to put down. The humour, the beautiful imagery, the hope, the belief that humankind can and will do better ..... I simply loved it, loved all three of them. I would like to see more stories set in the same universe, if it pleases the author! The best sci-fi books I've read in the past 2-3, maybe 5 years


Lightsaber - Electronic Light Up Sword - Extends & Switches to 6 Different Pulsating & Steady LED Modes - Over 3 Feet In Length - Batteries Already Included
Lightsaber - Electronic Light Up Sword - Extends & Switches to 6 Different Pulsating & Steady LED Modes - Over 3 Feet In Length - Batteries Already Included
Offered by Caliber Mall
Price: £12.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Junk. Do not order, unless you don't mind the sad disappointment in your child's eyes, 28 Sept. 2015
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I am not a child myself, but I understand the disappointment of my son completely. The product description is grossly misleading. "Feel like being Luke Skywalker? Or Darth Vader this time? No problem..." Untrue, because the child cannot choose and keep the color of the hero he prefers. The only colour that remains stable is a roseish-purplish color, not the green of Luke nor the red of Vader or the green of ObiWan. The material is the cheapest possible plastic that started peeling off the moment we removed it from the package. I knew that I wasn;t ordering a genuine Star Wars item, but I never expected this mess. This product is the definition of junk. It doesn't even deserve the trouble of returning it.


A Dance With Dragons: Part 1 Dreams and Dust (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance With Dragons: Part 1 Dreams and Dust (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...., 20 Jun. 2012
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Yes, I know I'm not the first to say that the book disappointed me. It was too long and nothing new happened. Tyrion and Dany, my favorite characters ever since the first book, were unrecognisable: flat, uninteresting, frankly boring. No character development at all, either for those two or any of the others. The new POVs introduced added nothing more than pages to the story. The plot itself didn't seem to move an inch. Maybe, if I had not had to wait such a long time between books, I would have been less disappointed. But to have to wait for years only to realise that I must wait for I don't know how many more for the next book, well, that feels like a downright betrayal.

Let's hope that Mr Martin reads our comments and will take some of them to heart in writing the next book. It's OK to rest comfortably on your laurels, knowing that your readers are hooked by the quality of the first books and are dying to find out what happened to their favorite heroes, but it is quite another to make them feel cheated of their money and their time, because sooner or later they'll decide to visit the nearest library rather than their bookstore, and then where will Mr Martin and his publishers be?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2014 8:14 PM GMT


The Mad Ship (The Liveship Traders, Book 2)
The Mad Ship (The Liveship Traders, Book 2)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 15 Nov. 2010
Hobb's Liveship trilogy is truly excellent. I was hooked form the first chapter of the first book. I was caprivated by the minute detail of descriptions and the careful build-up of believable characters. She creates a believable, exciting universe, by expanding our knowledge of the universe she presented to us in the Farseer trilogy and by subtly linking, as the story progresses, the Liveship trilogy with the previous one. Some twists in plot I foresaw before they actually unfolded in the three books (who Amber really is, which was Igrot's ship, the dragon lifecycle etc), but others actually surprised me (such as Kennit's origins). What I have loved in all Hobb's books is not only her success in building believable main characters but in fleshing out her supporting cast as well, including non-humans. Indeed, I quickly came to sympathise with the serpents' plight and their desperate quest more than the human protagonists of the book. I also love her writing style, which kept me reading at the oddest moments and the weirdest hours. If I have to mention a short-coming, it is that sometimes, the detail was too much, and the story telling too slow. But maybe this was my impatience to find out how all will be resolved in the end. And, last but not least, this trilogy did not suffer from the middle-book-of-a-series syndrome. If anything, the second book was the best of all three, at least in my opinion, which is why I chose to write the review for the whole trilogy here. So, why 4 stars instead of 5? Because I try to reserve the 5 stars for masterpieces with a lasting effect on literature as a whole (Lord of the Rings comes to mind, as being, in my opinion, the masterpiece that single-handedly established the fantasy genre). If it weren't for this quirk of mine, the Liveship Trilogy and especially the Mad Ship would get a 5-star rating fro me. Go ahead, read it and enjoy!!!!


Wolves Eat Dogs
Wolves Eat Dogs
by Martin Cruz Smith
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, engrossing, excellent..., 4 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Wolves Eat Dogs (Paperback)
This was actually the book that introduced me to Arkady Renko, and even now, after having read most of his other books, I think this was probably the best. The way MCSmith recreates the despair and the grim determination of the people left behind after Chernobyl and the devastation of the land... And there is a haunting parallel between the grimness & devastation of the exclusion zone and the character & feelings of Arkady Renko. The plot, the descriptions, the writing, all were first class. It made me feel I was right there, in the haunted lands around Chernobyl, plodding on against all odds together with the inhabitants of the place and Renco himself. I cannot recomend this book highly enough. One of the best I have read in a long long time.


Assassin's Quest (The Farseer Trilogy - Book 3): 3/3
Assassin's Quest (The Farseer Trilogy - Book 3): 3/3
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing work..., 12 May 2010
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This review is actually for the whole Farseer trilogy, since I read all three books one after the other. Robin Hobb was suggested to me by a friend of a friend, who found out about my love for fantasy fiction. It was she who also suggested that I read all three books together, and thankfully I listened. It is indeed a great trilogy. The detail which Hobb uses in portraying her world is amazing. I was drawn into life in the Six Duchies and into the adventures of Fitz Farseer immediately. And most of all I loved the wolf. I have to admit that at certain points the excruciating detail in the descriptions and the slow pace Hobb uses in order to carefully build the characters of her protagonists was tiring, but still I was so engrossed in the adventures of Fitz that I could not put the book down. It is also obvious that other books were coming, however not because Hobb leaves any loose ends but because she allows us tantalising glimpses of the future of Fitz and his family. So my advice is read the trilogy, enjoy it, it is well worth your time and your money.


Excession
Excession
by Iain M. Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very sophisticated reading for very demanding readers, 21 Sept. 2007
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This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
I hadn't read a Culture novel in a long time. Searching through my Amazon recommendations, I saw the title and immediately remembered the impression books like "Consider Phlebas", "The player of Games" and "Use of Weapons" (but also his non-sci-fi "Wasp Factory") had made on me years ago. So I bought it... and now I am hooked again. Banks is a great writer. His books are entirely believable, the language and general writing style is masterful and the plots are deliciously convoluted. You can't read Excession absent-mindedly, you need to devote your attention to it, but the resulting reading pleasure more than compensates you for the effort.

What I particularly liked about this book was that the moral/ethical dilemmas of war vs peace, action vs inaction, secresy vs publicity, the good of one vs the good of millions faced by the protagonists of the book were extremely interesting, very well incorporated in the plot without being thrown at our faces but also, thankfully, their "judgement" was left to us readers, as Banks kept his opinions to himself, although of course we are free to guess them. I also immensely enjoyed his non-human and yet so human protagonists, the Minds and Ships... If this is what the future holds in store for us, then I can only use Shakespeare's words "oh brave new world that has such creatures in it"!

I didn't give Excession 5 stars, which I reserve only for masters such as Herbert and, in another genre, Tolkien, but I do wish Amazon allowed a 4.5 rating. Overall, this is a great book, and, for me, a reason to re-read my old copies of other Culture books and, in general, re-start reading Banks. If you like books not only for the plot, the imagination, the characterisations and the amusement, but also for the sheer pleasure of reading, I suggest you do the same.


Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It actually rates 6 stars!!!, 24 July 2007
Perhaps THE finest science fiction book I have ever read, and believe me I have read a lot of them. I am an avid sci-fi reader, having read anything from Star Trek & Star Wars to classics like Asimov, Clark & Herbert, to Philip K. Dick, Iain Banks, Ursula Le Guin, Orson Scott Card, William Gibson etc etc etc... In all of these books I have found something to thrill my imagination. However, all of these authors usually emphasise one aspect of sci-fi, be it science, technology, philosophy, ethics, or simply genuine space opera with grand battles & laser guns. Nowhere have I found all of the above elements equally balanced. Robinson manages to create an account of a future Martian exploration that is simply breath-taking, both in conception and in execution.

Red Mars explores all posible aspects of a full-blown attempt to colonise Mars. Based on a solid, detailed & completely realistic account of the science and technology necessary for humans to colonise & terraform a new hostile world, Robinson goes on to explore the ethical, business, political, economical, religious and of course personal aspects of such an effort. What is amazing is that he manages to mesh everything into a coherent, albeit complicated, total, so much like real life itself that one cannot help but believe that once we decide to travel to Mars, that's how we are going to do it.

And he manages to do that without losing the human aspect! There are people among the First Hundred that we feel could live next door. Yes, they are brilliant scientists & cosmonauts, especially gifted and carefully selected, but they are also human like you & me, they have weaknesses, feelings, allegiances, preferences, agendas both obvious & hidden.... My personal favorites were Arkady, Nadia and Hiroko, but I loved the portrayal of each and every one of the characters, both good & evil.

I could go on writing pages, but I actually need only one word. The book is simply A MASTERPIECE. Read it, and then read it again (as I did). Because every time you read it, you will find something new to make you think, to make you laugh, to make you dream. Just read it.


Hunters of Dune
Hunters of Dune
by Brian Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not brilliant, 2 May 2007
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This review is from: Hunters of Dune (Paperback)
In general, I am very suspicious of sequels of famous books written by sons, daughters or other authors. In most cases they tend to capitalise on the fame of the originals, with their sole aim to gain sales and money. For this reason, as well as for the mostly negative reviews of other readers, I have avoided all prequels to the original Dune series written by Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson. However, when I read that Hunters of Dune was a sequel to the original Dune series based on notes of Frank Herbert himself, I decided to take the risk and buy it.

Unfortunately, Hunters of Dune only proved that my misgivings were justified. First disappointment came from the foreword: the book brings no closure to the Dune Universe, because it is the first of a two-volumes series, since, according to the authors, Frank Herbert's notes gave material for over 1600 pages.

From then on, one disappointment followed the other. First of all, the writing style is indifferent, having nothing to do with FH's compact and distinctive style.

Furthermore, the story is meandering and repetitive, rehashing the same points again & again, repeating events of the previous books or even of the previous chapters, something that FH never did. The authors should understand that once inside the Dune Universe you need not hear again and again how, for example, the Bene Gesserit were afraid of a new Kwisatch Haderash or how Duncan Idaho has been killed in his previous ghola incarnations or even how Honored Matres viciously destroyed one planet after the other.

In addition, nothing significant is added to the overall storyline. No new characters are introduced, no new ethical or political issues are discussed, no moral or metaphysical questions are posed. Nothing to enrich or enliven this post - FH storyline. In fact, to revive interest the authors found it necessary to revive Muad'Dib and Leto II, instead of bringing in something or someone new.

Finally, the efforts to link this book with the prequels written by Brian Herbert & Anderson are pathetic and infuriating. To mention only one point, how can Serena Butler, of the Butlerian Jihad, be in the Other Memory of Sheeana, since her only child was murdered? The explanation given in this book is inadequate at best.

In just a few words, I do not recommend this book. If you absolutely need to know what happens next, borrow it or buy it used, but don't expect much.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2010 12:49 PM GMT


Star Wars: Outbound Flight
Star Wars: Outbound Flight
by Timothy Zahn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing... not worth buying, 2 May 2007
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I am very sorry to have to write this review, because I am a huge Zahn fan and I think his additions to the Star Wars universe are unique. He has an understanding of the original characters and their development that, in my humble opinion, rivals that of Lukas himself, and all the new characters he has introduced match perfectly in the existing universe. However, in this book he has failed miserably.

First of all, his grasp of the characters of Anakin, Obi-Wan and the other prequel personalities is not as deep or as insightful as that of Luke, Han and all the others. You don't get the feeling that he is as understanding, or even as interested, in them as he was in the Original Trilogy cast.

The whole Outbound Flight story was weak. Why did the Jedi Council allow it? Why did the other Jedi Masters onboard meekly accept C'baoth's bid for absolute power, which was clearly visible even to the lowest tech in the ship, as well as to us readers? What did Palpatine have to win by utterly destroying it, did he need all this elaborate plot just to detroy a handful of Jedi & Jedi Masters? Or was he so afraid of C'baoth himself? But if C'baoth was so succeptible to the Dark Side, couldn't he simply subvert him to his cause (which was noble, we learn from this book, defeating the Far Outsiders, wasn't it) and get done with it?

The most annoying flaw of the book, though, was Zahn's effort to tie the prequels with the story arc of the Yuuzhan Vong, an effort which was obviously dictated by the publishers, and has as obviously failed miserably. So Palpatine knew about the Far Outsiders and that is what drove him to becoming Emperor? So he was not pure evil? But Sith Lords are supposed to be evil, not driven by good intentions. And I have not noticed even a breath of a suspicion of a possibility that Palpatine was indeed striving for something other than his own supremacy, either in the original movie trilogy or in the prequel one.

And Thrawn was also aware of the danger, when he tried to recreate the Empire? So why didn't he mention anything about it to anyone, not even Admiral Pellaeon, who, besides being a trusted & loyal officer of the Imperial Fleet, was the closest to a friend Thrawn had? Why couldn't a brilliant strategist like himself foresee that only in uniting with a strong Republic could he possibly hope to beat the Far Outsiders, that a civil war only increased the possibility of defeat? Pellaeon did, even the Chiss did, many books later, in the Vong story ark, but Thrawn didn't? Ridiculous.

Car'das role in all the story is also unsatisfactory. It doesn't tie with his role in later books. There is no continuity, despite Zahn's efforts to give him a key role as a link between the prequel universe, the Thrawn trilogy and the New Jedi Order story arc.

Face it, both publishers and writers of the Star Wars storyline: You cannot force links between the stories that are not there, simply for the sake of making sales. You would have to re-write the previous books, maybe even the movies, so that such links make sense, and this is of course impossible.

The only reason I am giving this book two stars instead of one, is, of course, Zahn's portayal of Thrawn. A younger, more unsure, more sensitive, more idealistic version of Thrawn as a young military officer well aware of his brilliance, but not so certain about the consequences of his actions. The characterisation of the young Thrawn does not clash with the personality of the Grand Admiral in Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, but instead blends beautifully, and all you have to do to enjoy it is to ignore the above mentioned efforts to link Thrawn, the Chiss and their actions to the Vong story arc.

By the way, the best part of the book was actually the short story "Mist Encounter", where Thrawn & Parck meet, Thrawn tentatively joins the Empire and we see how the Rebellion missed the opportunity of having Thrawn in their own ranks.

In a few words? Do not buy this book. Borrow it from a friend or a library. If you absolutely must have it, because you are Star Wars die-hards & Zahn fans like myself, buy it used.


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