Profile for Neil J. Pearson > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Neil J. Pearson
Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,227
Helpful Votes: 369

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Neil J. Pearson (London, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
pixel
Half the World (Shattered Sea, Book 2)
Half the World (Shattered Sea, Book 2)
Price: £4.75

5.0 out of 5 stars The Shattered Sea is up there with the First Law series after only 2 books., 28 Mar. 2015
First of all the cover to this book is beautiful - it really stands out and helps set the atmosphere. I really enjoyed the first book and I'm a general fan of Abercrombie so was not surprised to find this was a great read. I was initially wary of Yarvi (the original book's protagonist) no longer being the point-of-view but his positioning may work even better than previously. A few years have passed and it's clear he's putting his experience and deep cunning to work. This time around the story is based around two young warriors; Thorn who is headstrong and brash making her way in a male world, and Brand who maybe isn't as well-suited to this world as he hopes.
Much of the book is a training story with the end of the second act oddly being the pinnacle of the story and it is one of Abercrombie's tensest set-pieces yet. The final act is mainly concerned with the aftermath and it's refreshing to have this much time spent on the end of a quest.
Abercrombie's greatest strength is in his characters which are likeable regardless of whether they are genuinely good or not. His previous book's also ensure you treat characters as genuinely at risk when placed in peril - something other books suffer from. Oddly enough, I'd say his world building is more in depth in this YA book than in his mature but that just shows how blurred the lines are between such tags.
I initially went into this series thinking "I'll indulge Abercrombie while he gets ready for his next "First law" series. Now I'm strongly hoping he can find the time to continue writing both series for some time to come.


1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Unabridged)
1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Unabridged)
Offered by Audible Ltd

2.0 out of 5 stars So it's interesting from a "what was the bronze age like at that time" but isn't wholly satisfying from a ..., 17 Mar. 2015
I listened to the unabridged audiobook. I found the narrator's voice a bit quirky at times particularly when quoting. The book itself is a bit of a mixed bag as it really only spends 20% of it on the actual collapse, the rest is about the state of the bronze age at its prior height. So it's interesting from a "what was the bronze age like at that time" but isn't wholly satisfying from a "what caused the collapse" angle. The reasons they give for the collapse are quite reasonable - especially given how little is actually known about it.
My main issue was that I found large sections of the book quite dry and while part of this may be the narrator, I strongly suspect the underlying problem is with the writing. It does highlight the importance of being able to write history in an engaging way and while the book has its moments there are a lot of areas that are easy to get lost in - especially if you are reading the book for an insight into the collapse. It may be more enjoyable of you want to know about the 200 years prior but I think this is ultimately something I'd have been better off with leafing through the relevant pages at the library.


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
Price: £7.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener as long as you aren't easily depressed., 28 Feb. 2015
I listened to the audiobook and found it really interesting. The book talks about various forms of societal collapse by looking at historical examples. It can make for a chilling and depressing read but I found it curious to look at these things from the point of view of ecosystems and resource management. I wasn't expecting the "current" example of Montana to grip me but what's fascinating about this section is you get to see all the personal attitudes and conflicts that are lost through the historical record.
It does get a bit depressing and there was more than once I wanted to bang my head against the wall at our collective stubbornness. It's not all doom and gloom though and there are signs of potential hope dotted around. It has certainly made me aware of the FSC and MSC and I'll certainly check those stamps are present on all my paper/wood and fish purchases from now on.


Cibola Burn: Book 4 of the Expanse
Cibola Burn: Book 4 of the Expanse
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The series goes in a very different direction., 28 Feb. 2015
I think it's best to put spoiler warnings up in advance as while my comments won't spoil this book it's near impossible to discuss it without spoiling earlier instalments. So there's you warning.
The events at the end of the last book mean the series has been turned on its head. Up until now the series was about humankind surviving in our solar system but with the gates there are now earth-like planets to colonise creating a new age of discovery/gold rush. Things go wrong literally right out the gate with "squatters" colonising a planet already claimed by an interplanetary conglomerate. So what could have been a "first landing" story quickly becomes a conflict between two factions. It's interesting to see how the two sides are portrayed as both act unreasonably and not everyone within a faction is on the same page. The only downside to this is that the aspect I found most interesting - that of studying the alien ecosystem is buried under the conflict. Which is a shame.
The characters bring different viewpoints although I never really warmed to Basia. Havelock started out as appearing 1 dimensional but developed into the most interesting character overall. Typically of Daniel Abraham is the fact the most interesting character is a non- POV one and also the villain.
I think this book will divide fans as it is very different from the rest of the series.
I felt the ending was resolved a bit too easily and the constant disasters on the planet was a bit of overkill for me.
I hope they go back more to the solar-based story rather than exclusively focusing on new worlds from now on though. The change was probably required to keep the series interesting and hints about the new book suggest we'll be seeing the political ramifications of the gate-system.


Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt Book 10)
Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt Book 10)
Price: £4.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying conclusion to a unique series, 4 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's always a concern that the final installment in a long running fantasy series will disappoint but Adrian Masterfully brings the series to a satisfying conclusion resolving many character arcs and story threads that have been building since day 1. The series-long war comes to a head and alliances are made where it becomes very possible that a possible wasp defeat may merely allow another faction to become even more dangerous. This is largely thanks to Adrian making a point to show the Wasps as "human" as their adversaries can be "inhuman". This is exemplified in Tynan, my favourite character of the last few books and his counterpart Milus. Elements from earlier books come to fruition and it really does feel like their was a plan throughout or Adrian covers his tracks well.
If I had to pick a criticism, I think it would be that the Worm sublot wasn't really required and that the main thrust of the battle could have easily filled the book. That said, I was impressed how this new idea was resolved and fed into the main events - it also provided characters with things to do that may have seemed redundant otherwise. Speaking of the characters, they all feel pretty fleshed out at this stage and characters I criticised being introduced in "the air war" were more than welcome here. Some of the series earlier characters felt a little extraneous and I still feel as though Thalric faded into the background midway. This was counterbalanced by an enjoyable return to form for Totho though and it shows a level of maturity in the author when he knows not to force a character into the limelight.
I'd probably give this book a 4 but given it's a concluding chapter it is a solid 5. The concept is still one of the best in fantasy and the mixture of ancient and modern military makes it pretty unique in a crowded marketplace. It has also been a joy to watch Adrian's writing skills match his ideas over the course of the series. I'll be checking out his future books and crossing my fingers he'll eventually return to the world of the kinden.


War Master's Gate: Book Nine in the Shadows of the Apt series
War Master's Gate: Book Nine in the Shadows of the Apt series
Price: £4.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stakes/Pikes are raised in this penultimate chapter., 9 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The penultimate book in the series is definitely one of the strongest and has plenty of developments while giving the whole cast something to do (a weakness in some of the later books). As has often been the case in the series, I find myself gravitating towards the villains and Adrian has to be commended for making sure the wasps never feel like just the bad guys. This is largely because many of the wasp agents are decent people doing their duty. This is exemplified in General Tynan, my favourite wasp since Thalric lost his edge. Another species that I came away liking more were the mantids who have evolved beyond the warrior elf stereotype into an even more tragic race.
My only concern is that a whole new threat is introduced towards the end of this book and I worry that it may be too late to do so. I guess i will find out upon reading the final book but this installment has given me quite a bit of hope.
As an aside, I found the short story at the end to be a bit of a slog but I can't really complain about additional material.


Abaddon's Gate: Book Three of the Expanse series
Abaddon's Gate: Book Three of the Expanse series
Price: £6.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Track, 17 Sept. 2014
I found the second installment merely "solid" but I'm pleased I eventually got around to part 3. It addresses all of the issues I had with the second book by having a plot that was unique and also opened the series up in ways I hadn't foreseen. The POV characters were all really strong and distinct this time too. My favourite aspect of the book (and something all the books in the series have been good at) is how it throws you into the action right away and continues to escalate throughout. By the half-way point I was almost out of breath and was concerned the story might run out of steam. I needn't have worried as this book doesn't let up until the end and when you get there you can't wait for the possibilities of what comes next. I'm glad the series is back on track and with the potential to go in many different directions. The authors have essentially created the "summer blockbuster" of the sci-fi novel without having to be dumb. Keep them coming.


Merrell Mens Rant Whip Lace-up Flats J41207 Dark Olive 8 UK, 42 EU
Merrell Mens Rant Whip Lace-up Flats J41207 Dark Olive 8 UK, 42 EU

5.0 out of 5 stars Great trainer, 26 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was a bit wary of the bright laces but I'm pleased I took the gamble. The trainer is very comfortable and great for moderate temperatures. They are also pretty durable as I wore them while walking around all kinds of terrain in a 5 day trip in San Francisco and the shoe, and my feet, were no worse for wear. I'll strongly consider buying a similar make when these ones are worn out.


Merrell Mens Rant Evo Lace-up Flats J41933 Potting Soil 42 EU/8 UK
Merrell Mens Rant Evo Lace-up Flats J41933 Potting Soil 42 EU/8 UK
Price: £51.89

3.0 out of 5 stars comfortable trainer with a poor finish, 26 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The trainer is comfortable and looks good except for the finish where there appears to be glue around the upper and front foot of the shoe. This gives it a bit of a cheap look, up close. Otherwise I like them.


Flashman (The Flashman Papers, Book 1)
Flashman (The Flashman Papers, Book 1)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyment largely depends on interest in that historical event, 26 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I went into this with really high expectations based of several glowing reviews from friends, which is probably why I wasn't as blown away. I have clearly read the works of several authors who were inspired by this series meaning it's no longer that shocking an anti-hero. It didn't help that I'm just not interested in the particular setting (other books in the series seem more appealing). The nail in the coffin, which isn't the author's fault at all, is that I got the voice of Russel Brand in my head very early in my reading which was very distracting.
All these issues really aren't the fault of the book (moreso the fault of its success) so I do have to commend Flashman as being a character that is pretty repulsive but oddly like-able - probably in large part due to the excellent use of a first person narrative. It's also clear that Fraser has really done his homework on the period in question as it feels pretty real. Anyone familiar with the setting in history will probably enjoy the book far more which is why I may just skip to a book that covers an event that I'm interested in rather than sticking to a chronological order. I think my opinion would improve considerably in that case.
An annoying issue I found with my kindle copy is that I couldn't find a way to easily access the footnotes, littered throughout the book. In a real book, I'd just turn to the back but (for me) this is a lot more faff with an ebook so I missed out on the extra content at the time of reading.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11