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C. Strauch "Lleuad"

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Shadow's End
Shadow's End
Price: 2.48

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Tepper's usual standards, 31 Mar 2013
This review is from: Shadow's End (Kindle Edition)
'Shadow's End' does not waste too much time with exposition; the manner in which characters and story elements are introduced is reminiscent of Pratchett, where short (seemingly unconnected) episodes serve to introduce the characters and story, making it implicitly clear that they are meant to converge at some point. The reader does not have to wait too long for them to untangle either, the story is fast paced and quick to read, offering just the right amount of titbits to keep tension high until the half-way point, when there appear to have been too many revelations to allow the reader to guess at the ending. Here, the story takes a turn, this time with all protagonists and all previously introduced facets of the alien threat in one place and hinting at something larger and even more dangerous, but the final confrontation with this ultimate threat is handled very poorly. The characters are two-dimensional, presenting little more than stereotypes drawn from across the world of feminist sci-fi literature, with the author not quite bothering to make them her own. The male characters are belligerent and parochial in their thinking, while the female characters are emotional and clueless and their constant soul-searching over the injustices done to women and nature in a universe ruled by men (or Man) is tiring. The antagonist, too, is a problem, an alien threat, which is about to wipe out human colonies in a sector of space and which takes different forms in the different episodes. The author herself does not seem to have figured out what motivates this creature, nor is she at all sure how to bring her characters' arcs to a fulfilling end (in the case of the child of Lutha, she appears to have given up any attempt at a sensible conclusion). The final confrontation is over so quickly that there is still much time left for more soul-searching and crying and the resolution is far too neat for what is supposed to be a contentious social and environmental issue.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, with an educational side-effect, 26 Mar 2013
The premise of this book should be widely known by now, due to its recent appearance at the cinema; Abraham Lincoln is made aware of the existence of vampires as a child and spends his spare time hunting and killing them. His personal vendetta is mirrored in the events leading up to the American Civil War, with the Confederacy being partisan to and protecting the interests of vampires, slavery being the central issue. The book is engaging enough although the story tends to meander, and since it is tied to the main points of Lincoln's biography, it is also quite linear and foreseeable. There is an attempt at a plot twist towards the end, but it, too, is a little too obvious to make up for the lack of suspense, while the historic struggle between Lincoln and the vampires is too contrived to be engaging. A side effect, however, is that it offers an enjoyable insight in (the historic) Lincoln's biography for anyone not keen enough on the subject to read a "serious" biographical book.

The Clone Republic
The Clone Republic
by Steven L. Kent
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded and overlong for too little story, 2 Aug 2012
It starts off with a very interesting concept for a future in which Earth and its many off-world colonies are governed by a ruling body which is, in essence, the US government but with a more elitist structure and only a smidgeon of democratic function. It is backed by a military staffed almost entirely by clones, who grow up in military "orphanages" and led by a human (and mostly Earth-born) officer class. The story is told from the point of view of Wayson Harris, a recent graduate from one of these orphanages and the only orphan who was not a clone. On his first assignment he gets involved in a political plot which will dominate the remainder of the book and will see him earn some fast promotions, reveal unlikely allies but also the inevitable enemies. The big problem is that the story builds up to a big reveal, which happens barely half way through the book and it seems as if the story has spent itself at that point. What follows are long descriptions with only a minimal point to the story itself, a few more momentous events thrown in for good measure and an ending whose only purpose is setting up the sequel. Unfortunately by that time I was so disinterested I only skimmed through the final few chapters.

Skyline [DVD]
Skyline [DVD]
Dvd ~ Eric Balfour
Price: 2.75

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The film that took 90 mins to become a bad Matrix xerox, 22 Feb 2012
This review is from: Skyline [DVD] (DVD)
Saw the trailer in the cinema, was suitably impressed; unfortunately (or so I thought) I missed it when it came out and recently shelled out for a DVD copy and I am still annoyed that I spent the money on this. A previous reviewer suggested this was better than Independence Day, and I can only congratulate him that he must have been lucky enough to get a different film in his Skyline case. This has the usual elements of a sci-fi action film, the alien threat, the group of survivors engaging in an impossible fight, the love story and the required action set pieces, which all fail to engage the viewers interest, so much so, that I started fast-forwarding through the scenes in the hope that it would get better - it didn't. The final effort was heroic, and what seemed to be the final scene was at least stylish, except that it wasn't the ending, it carried on for a gore fest that suggests the writers should have tried therapy first and then go and apologize to the Wachowski brothers for ripping off the Matrix set and use it for this pointless nonsense. One can only hope that the sequel, which is so blatantly plugged in the final scene, is never made.

Star Trek: Voyager - The Full Journey [DVD]
Star Trek: Voyager - The Full Journey [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kate Mulgrew
Price: 51.37

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and space-saving, 1 Dec 2011
The only criticism I can bring against this box set is that it didn't come out sooner. All seven seasons of Voyager packed in the equivalent of seven normal-sized DVD boxes makes this so much more compact than the old slim-line box sets. Each season is in its own cardboard fold-out which slot into this very sturdy and rather stylish outer box. If you don't already own the individual boxes this is well worth considering, though I wouldn't pay more than, say, 70 for it, considering how cheap the slimline sets have become.

Star Trek: Enterprise - The Full Journey [DVD]
Star Trek: Enterprise - The Full Journey [DVD]
Dvd ~ Scott Bakula
Offered by UKPaperbackshop
Price: 65.75

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great edition of a fun series, 1 Dec 2011
Whether or not you like this particular Star Trek spin-off is something you will have decided for yourself by now, especially if you are considering buying this box-set. I still think it is an underrated series; it was always dodgy moving back to a pre- Original Series era, especially (as has often been pointed out) everything was going to look so much better and modern than the OS gear. Having said that, Enterprise can hold its own, especially in those episodes that take up issues from later series (e.g. Prime Directive) and show what happened in the beginning and how these directives were arrived at. These episodes are not nearly as cumbersome and dire as I feared they would be, there is some intelligent storytelling here and the characters rarely make those silly decisions that serve only to fill out the script and have the audience shaking their heads in disbelief.

As for the box set, this is a sturdy little box, taking up less space than the slimline editions with each of the four seasons packaged in a cardboard fold-out the size of a regular DVD case. All in all this is sturdy, stylish and space-saving packaging, which will look good in any DVD collection, but at 75 it is a little overpriced (considering the slimline sets sell for as little as 10 at the moment).
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2013 11:47 PM BST

Little House on the Prairie: Season 5 [DVD]
Little House on the Prairie: Season 5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Landon
Price: 8.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of value(s), 29 Nov 2011
Not having watched this in decades, I was surprised at how much I actually still enjoy it. It has dated well, although the racial, social and disability issues it deals with are very much reflective of the time the series was made. There are lessons here, but they are not too preachy or cheesy and are brought across much more elegantly than in later productions, e.g. the Dr. Quinn series. Season 5 has the Ingalls temporarily locating to Winoka, Dakota, and, later bringing the Winoka Blind School and Mary Ingalls back to Walnut Grove, introducing a few new characters and providing new environments to expand storytelling. I have always found the earlier stories a little boring and Laura Ingalls quite annoying - this improves in the later series and, because of these new elements, season 5 is a good point at which to step into the series if you don't want to start at the beginning.

CSI: Miami - Complete Season 8 [DVD]
CSI: Miami - Complete Season 8 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Caruso
Price: 11.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most stylish of the CSI children, 29 Nov 2011
If you've made it to season 8 you'll know whether or not you like CSI Miami as there seems to be little middle-ground; personally I am a fan of the series, I like Horatio's straight-faced assurances of confidence and calm and it's always fun looking out for the sunglasses. I will admit that I prefer more of the whodunnit elements and less of the personal drama our main cast had to suffer under over the past few seasons; I was never the biggest fan of the Delko-Duquesne storylines and found that less of Delko in Season 8 wasn't such a bad thing. Instead we have new guy Eddie Cibrian bringing some fresh air as well as brains and eye-candy to the episodes, and the writing for the episodes is on top form. Refreshing was what came to mind as I watched the episodes, trying to guess whodunnit is fun again!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2011 1:30 PM GMT

Pathfinder [Blu-ray]
Pathfinder [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Karl Urban
Price: 8.76

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Conjures an intriguing atmosphere, 29 Nov 2011
This review is from: Pathfinder [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This film is a gory and quite brutal example of an utterly pointless story, but then no one who purchases this should have any expectations of a quality plot. The premise that the Vikings made it to America before Columbus is nothing more than the backdrop for a rite-of-passage story, which could have taken place in any setting (and did, this is a remake of a 1987 Finnish film based on a Sami legend), and some spectacular action sequences. The film does score some points through the atmosphere it creates, which was compelling enough that I wanted to watch it again. This is escapist heaven, action, eye-candy and short enough not to get boring.

Shadows Tall
Shadows Tall
Price: 12.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Not outstanding but very enjoyable, 29 Nov 2011
This review is from: Shadows Tall (Audio CD)
I should begin by confessing that I bought this for "The King's Shilling" after hearing it on radio - this is by far the best version of this song I have come across and kept me spellbound long enough to find out who it was by and if it was available on cd. The rest of the album is very good but not outstanding; considering the artists' age this is no criticism, and I will definitely check out future releases.

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