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Sooz (Manchester, England)

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The Human Division #6: The Back Channel
The Human Division #6: The Back Channel
Price: 0.61

4.0 out of 5 stars The story builds..., 23 Feb 2013
Very readable though again to my mind not quite as much so as the first four eps. I enjoyed the story, and the most ingenious twist, and another part of the whole picture has been painted. Well worth reading.


The Human Division #5: Tales From the Clarke
The Human Division #5: Tales From the Clarke
Price: 0.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite so satisfying..., 13 Feb 2013
This, the 5th episode of Scalzi's 'The Human Division' is not quite so good as the previous four. This is for two reasons: first, the start is marred a bit by some info-dumping so it lacks the crispness of the earlier episodes. Second, the story itself, though very readable, is less gripping than before. Starting with a court-martial, the story is mainly about Capt Coloma's interim mission after she - for excellent reasons - put her previous ship in the way of a bomb. The core story is interesting, and we can see the whole story advance a bit further - but this story feels rather thin. Perhaps this is the weakness of the episodic style, with each part having to tell a complete story? Perhaps - but I still enjoyed the story sufficiently to give it four stars, and to look forward impatiently again to next Tuesday and the next ep...


Fuzzy Nation
Fuzzy Nation
by John Scalzi
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Good reworking of an s-f classic, 8 Feb 2013
This is a very good reworking of the original 'Little Fuzzy' story. It's eminently readable in itself, as well as respectful towards H Beam Piper's original book. Initially, I was slow to read this as I like the original, but reading a sample on my Kindle convinced me to give it a go - and I am glad I did. It is intelligent and well thought through. Key events remain, although a couple are changed but in ways that work well, and which fit with the rework. The character of Jack Holloway is different - logically so, to fit the reworking - and is consistent with the reworked story. While I can't really say I am *glad* 'Little Fuzzy' has been reworked, this has been done very well, and earns the stars I am giving it.


The Human Division #4: A Voice in the Wilderness
The Human Division #4: A Voice in the Wilderness
Price: 0.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Still pacey, in a different place, 7 Feb 2013
This fourth episode of The Human Division is as grippingly readable as the first three - but it takes place on Earth, not in space. It features a seemingly Faustian bargain made by talk show host Birnbaum which provides more background to the Earth-Colonial Defence Union situation. I found the focus on a single person (Birnbaum) to be good, and the story certainly provides both entertainment in itself, and good background. Where next, I wonder? And I do hope Scalzi maintains the same level of absorbing readability - the world just goes away while I read each new ep!


The Human Division #3: We Only Need the Heads
The Human Division #3: We Only Need the Heads
Price: 0.62

5.0 out of 5 stars The pace quickens..., 29 Jan 2013
... and it's still only the third episode! This one is really gripping as the events in 'Walk the Plank' begin to appear against a wider background, and the B team do their work again. Saying any more risks spoilers, so I won't, but I am looking forward to ep 4!


The Human Division #2: Walk the Plank
The Human Division #2: Walk the Plank
Price: 0.37

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pace continues..., 28 Jan 2013
This, the second ep in the Human Division story, continues at, if possible, an even faster pace than the first ep (The B Team). Interestingly, it is told entirely in dialogue, which is quite a challenging way to write, but I didn't find any narrative notes were necessary - I was able to build up the story from the dialogue alone, which is quite a good authorial skill. It's in a very different setting from the B Team ep, but there is a least one hint of the same backstory - the next ep is out on Tuesday and boy, am I looking forward to it! (And kudos to Scalzi for trying out this new form of publication, too.)


The Human Division #1: The B-Team
The Human Division #1: The B-Team
Price: 0.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Scalzi on top form, 28 Jan 2013
This is a rattling good yarn told by John Scalzi and set in the Old Man's War universe. It gets off to a bracingly fast start, and keeps the pace going all the way in this (double-length) opening episode of the book. There is a front story of what the B team is, and a backstory that more slowly develops over the sp. Really looking forward to ep 2!


Spell Bound: Number 12 in series (Otherworld)
Spell Bound: Number 12 in series (Otherworld)
by Kelley Armstrong
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better..., 19 Jan 2012
What's good about Spellbound is that it is quite a gripping story and written at a more cracking pace than Waking the Witch. The overarching plot is developed more, we get interesting insights into the demon world, and the book doesn't end on an actual cliffhanger (though there is clearly more to come). Savannah shows real signs of growing up and her relationship with Adam develops nicely and logically. We also get to see much more of the other characters.

What's not good (and warning: Here Be Spoilers) is a strong sense I have that the book is plot- rather than character-driven, so quite different in tone from KA's earlier Otherworld books. This is shown, in my view, by the changes to one character - Hope. She gets pregnant - unexpected, given the attitude to children both she and Karl had in Personal Demon - she starts having visions independently of being at the site of a violent incident - and we are told that, as an Expisco, she has a short life expectancy and in fact has already lived longer than any other Expisco. All these come out of the blue, and don't seem to fit with previous information. And the visions are used to advance the plot - which is a bit artificial.

So, mixed feelings here. It's gripping enough that I read it in one sitting and am looking forward to Thirteen. And yet ... niggle, niggle...


Foundation Collegium 1 (Collegium Chronicles)
Foundation Collegium 1 (Collegium Chronicles)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly disappointing, 21 Feb 2009
I love Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, but I have been disappointed by this new book. It has been written, it seems to me, almost at a child's level; very simplistically. It is nothing like as complex as the 'Magic' trilogy, not even as much as 'Arrow's Fall' (which, to my mind, started off rather at a child's level, but it did improve). The characters are presented as very black-and-white as well. This over-simplicity is becoming increasingly characteristic of ML's books, eg particularly 'Fortune's Fool'. What does redeem it is that a) it is another Valdemar book and b) the insight into the changes both causing, and caused by, the institution of the Herald's Collegium.


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