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Gemsigns ((R)Evolution Book 1)
Gemsigns ((R)Evolution Book 1)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, emotional and very good., 6 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm not going to go into the story or specifics of the books, as the other reviewers have done a really good, comprehensive job below. What I will do is tell you how much I enjoyed it. I was recommended this book by a friend and it didn't let me down. There is a very clever narrative style, which accurately reflects how public opinion is monitored and how most of us now get our 'breaking news'. For me, it had the double effect of making me examine some of my own knee jerk reactions.
The pace is very good, although not busting to the seams with action, it has the 'just one more page' factor. The plot revolves around genetically modified humans (Gems), some of which can breathe under water, some can see UV, some have, well, extraordinary powers, but there are many genuinely touching moments and some which evoke strong emotions. The good guys were a little too good in some places, but I didn't mind. I thought Eli Walker very well rounded and very interesting.
A political sci-fi story with race and humanity at its heart, this is a very, very good story, one I am looking forward to continuing.


The Lives of Tao (Tao 1)
The Lives of Tao (Tao 1)
by Wesley Chu
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, touching, exciting, 9 July 2013
Ever day dreamed of quitting your dead end job? Of becoming a secret agent? James Bond even? I know I have.
That daydream/nightmare becomes a reality for Roen Tan, an overweight computer geek who has only jogged once in his life, and that wasn't by choice.
We join both Roen and Tao as their fates merge when they are forced, by unhappy circumstance, to co-exist. In the same head.
What follows is an at times hilarious, sad and philosophical thriller that has such an excellent pace to it that I read it in less than a day. Tao is a Quasing, part of an alien race that crash landed on our planet millions and millions of years ago, only to find that our atmosphere is toxic to them, forcing them to become, effectively, parasites living in other creature's consciousness. Their goal is to try and help civilization and technology advance, in order to try and get home. It's just there are differing views on how this is best achieved...
The secret history we get glimpses of is fascinating and really well thought out. Historical leaders and influential figures (Steve Jobs is one of them!) are exposed as being hosts for Quasing, with their methods and actions explained in such a way as to make complete sense.
The relationship between Roen and Tao is brilliant. I laughed out loud several times at their verbal sparring and felt a genuine bond grow between them. Roen's training, in terms of both his physical and mental readiness, was really well handled and we see trust grow and be broken, renewed and cemented. We endure hardships with them and see them learning more and more about each other. This was really the highlight of the book for me. I can't wait to read more about them.
The action sequences are kick-ass. Chu has a martial arts background and uses this to really good effect. To his credit, it didn't read like an instruction manual for martial arts, but it felt authentic and, at times, painful! Roen gets beaten up. A lot.
The only thing that was slightly off for me is that Roen became a little too good, too quick. He went from someone who struggled for so long, was rightly extremely nervous on his first armed mission to him suddenly leading a squad of soldiers a little too easily. Chu redeemed this by making him lead them badly, but still. And that's a very small complaint.
A Sci-Fi thriller this may be, but it has a lot of emotional depth to it. Death is a constant theme throughout and it was handled in a sensitive and realistic way. Roen struggles at times with his new reality and rather than make this a momentary weakness or something easily overcome, Chu takes the proper amount of time and thought over the problem. I loved to see that vulnerability and the strength it took to overcome.
So please, do go and read this book. I'm certain you'll tear through it and love it as much as I have. I, for one, can't wait to see what is to come.

[...]


A Discourse in Steel (Egil & Nix 2)
A Discourse in Steel (Egil & Nix 2)
by Paul S. Kemp
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and entertaining, 9 July 2013
First off, I've not read the first book in this series. Happily, it turns out that this works just as well as a standalone as it does part of a series. There are no lingering plot lines that you need to know about to enjoy it and the story is all wrapped up by the end! Having said that, I enjoyed this so much that I've bought the first one anyway!

We join the titular heroes Egil and Nix as they plunge head first and fists swinging into one life threatening situation after another. A young woman, Rose, becomes embroiled in Thieves Guild business after their leader is murdered. The Guild wants to silence her, but she and her sister are under Egil and Nix's protection. When an attempt on her life is made at their home endangering everyone, well, that's an insult that can't be tolerated.

Right from the start the chemistry between Egil and Nix is brilliant. The dialogue is so witty and clever that you genuinely feel like the pair are true friends who have suffered and laughed together for years. They're damn funny too! Do you have a friend or sibling where your main method of communication is mutual insults? They're like that; trading quips and putdowns until one grudgingly but honourably concedes the point.

Don't get me wrong, this is a dark book. The themes that are explored and the situations that the characters find themselves in are bleak and morose. What's refreshing about this book though is that, in a genre full of `grimdark' (whatever your understanding of that subgenre maybe) where characters are put through the mill time and time again with unrelenting pain and suffering, Paul S. Kemp is still able to make you laugh out loud. It brings a nice relief from the tension and helps to broaden the characters nicely.

It isn't a complex plot, though there is the promise of things becoming very complicated soon, but my only issue with the book is that once or twice I found a coincidence or course of events that just seemed a little easy. But really that's it.

The action sequences are great, swords and sorcery are utilised to the best effect and both seem natural to the characters. I tore through this book in less than a day and I'm positive that you would love it to. I'm really happy to have found a pair of ne'er-do-wells that are engaging, funny and enigmatic, and that I can look forward to joining them on their adventures again.

[...]


On Writing
On Writing
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but basic., 18 Mar. 2013
This review is from: On Writing (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed the autobiography part of this book, and he offers some good advice in the 'how to' section. Just don't buy this thinking it to be a manual on how to complete your book.


The Written (Emaneska series Book 1)
The Written (Emaneska series Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to a series, 25 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've just finished The Written and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The main character is flawed in such a way that I find it distasteful (this isn't a negative thing at all, it adds variety and depth to him), however Ben manages to still make you care deeply about Farden and everything he is put through.

His world is well realised with an interesting magic system which has its pitfalls and structure. I would like some more information on the magic, something to make us understand how it is possible, but I think this is probably coming in the rest of the series.

The plot is obviously thought out well with interesting teasers about the next book, an excellent twist and some vivid monsters!

I have the kindle edition, which has several spelling and formatting errors which could do with tending to, but please do give this book a read.


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