Sunday, 2 October 2011

Conviction (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book Seven)

Title: Conviction
Author: Aaron Allston
Score: 4/10
Chart Movement: 22 → 21 (Down 1)


This series seems to have it's ups and downs, and if I'm honest this is one of the downs. Not a lot happens, and the stuff that does is either completely new, unrelated, or almost contradictory to the previous books. Because the plot is what I'll be commenting on mainly, there are some quite major spoilers in this review, so if you hate that kind of thing, look away now!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

King's Wrath (Valisar Trilogy Book Three)

Title: King's Wrath
Author: Fiona McIntosh
Score: 8/10
Chart Entry Position: 19/45


In my experience of reading McIntosh's previous books, the endings have been fairly weak and anticlimactic. If it wasn't for the fact that the first two and a half books of her trilogies are generally extremely good then she wouldn't be one of my favourite authors. This series however, and particularly this book, was the exception. The majority of the series was, while still well-written, loose and unfocused. But the ending was possibly the most exciting one that McIntosh has written.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Vortex (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book Six)

Title: Vortex
Author: Troy Denning
Superseries Star Wars
Series: Fate of the Jedi
Preceded By: Allies (Christie Golden)
Succeeded By: Conviction (Aaron Allston)


Score: 8/10
Chart Movement: 22 -> 21
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite.


I had no idea where this book was going to start. The last book, Allies, pretty much finished off every storyline except for the Trial of Tahiri Veila. With four more books to go, I began this one a little apprehensively. But that problem is quickly resolved. We found out pretty much straight away that Abeloth has a little trick up her sleeve that means that she could indeed be the main antagonist for the rest of the series, and we also see that the conflict between the Jedi and Admiral Daala is still going strong.

In short, there's plenty to read about in this book. But there was another reason that I was apprehensive. For me, Denning's contributions to the Legacy era books have been going downhill since his spectacular first entry in the legacy of the force series. But fortunately, while not matching the level of writing he had with Tempest, was considerably more engaging than in Abyss. He still used one or two awkward metaphors every now and again, but overall the writing was smooth, enjoyable, and most importantly, easy to read.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

NEWS: Posting begins again next Friday


Some of you will have noticed that the last couple of weeks, ever since my optimistic post about how I would be posting regularly, there has been no posts on the site. This is for personal reasons beyond my control, as well as several reasons partially in my control - the latter being Jury Duty, Moving House and returning to University all in the space of a month.

This message is to let people know what's going on, at least vaguely, and to assure everyone that I will continue to review books, and will resume posting reviews next Friday (17th) . However, because I will be back at university - studying, I will be reducing the post rate to one post a week.

Unless I'm procrastinating.

Sorry for the lack of posts, and hope the future reviews are helpful to you.

Thanks for reading,

Adam Bourke

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tyrant's Blood (Valisar Trilogy Book Two)

Title: Tyrant's Blood
Author: Fiona McIntosh
Series: Valisar Trilogy
Preceded by: Royal Exile
Succeeded by: King's Wrath


Rating: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next book: Very Likely


Regular readers of this blog will realise that some stuff I normally put around this review is missing (such as a picture of the cover). This will be corrected later today. They may also notice that there was no posts last week.The reason for both is that I have been summoned to sit on a jury - while in the house moving process and don't have the time to read as much. But I expect to review regularly from now on, but it'll generally be on the bus - so less info for a week or two. Anyway - the book:

I was worried when I started reading this to be honest. It had been over a year since I read the fieat in the trilogy, and there was a curious message at the beginning almost apologising for the story, and that it was written without prior planning. But McIntosh is one of my favourite authors so I read one.

And if I'm honest, that directionless style is quite clear in the plot - but surpised me by being interesting. At the end of book one, the position was clear. King Leo wanted his throne back from the invader. But by the end of this one I'm losing track of who the bad guys are, and I have no idea what's going to happen in book three. However, there are a couple of downfalls of the aimlessness I think. One character from the previous book doesn't appear until near the end of the book, and happens to chance upon an event, taking something which makes half the planning in the book seem a bit pointless. But for the most part I enjoyed the story.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Transformation (Rai-Kirah Trilogy Book One)

Transformation (Rai-Kirah 1)Title: Transformation
Author: Carol Berg
Series: Rai-Kirah Trilogy
Succeeded By: Revelation


Score: 10/10
Chart Entry Point: 3
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


Transformation is a fairly old book by now, written at the turn of the millenium, but it's been amongst my favourites since I first read it shortly after it came out. This first book is an incredible story by itself, and the subsequent two books serve to add depth and an extra layer of complexity to the world that Berg creates.

There are two main characters in this book. Seyonne - the main character, and Aleksander, the initial antagonist. Seyonne is a highly secretive character, and so everything that we learn about him is an exciting moment. And since we learn a lot about him through his actions, we come to feel like we know him - a lot more than some books allow you to know their characters. By contrast, Aleksander seems like a less private person - yet his actions are often surprising. He can change moods almost instantly, and so while we find out more and more about him, it's often very difficult to predict his next move. The relationship between the two characters is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the two characters. It's constantly changing - one of the most dynamic relationships I've seen in a fantasy novel.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Code Lightfall and the Robot King

Code Lightfall and the Robot King. Daniel H. WilsonTitle: Code Lightfall and the Robot King
Author: Daniel H.Wilson


Score: 5/10
Chart Entry Point:


I often say that books aimed primarily at younger readers can also be enjoyed by adults. Having read this one, I'm not so sure. The reason is simply because the story is childish. It's not a particularly simple story, and it does have an interesting twist at the end, but the plot has a lot of things that a child might find exciting, or realistic, that an Adult probably wouldn't. Of course, it's aimed at children - so if you're looking for a book for your kids, then this could be a good one for you.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Death Star (Star Wars)

Death Star (Star Wars)Title: Death Star
Author: Michael Reaves & Steve Perry
Superseries: Star Wars
Preceded By: The Force Unleashed II
Succeeded By: A New Hope


Score: 8/10
Chart Entry Point: 9


This is unusual for a Star Wars book, or any book really, in that all of the characters are on the bad guys side. This is a book about people who work for the empire, and it gives us a unique insight into "the other side of the story".

For a start, nearly all of the main characters are pretty good guys. One or two do a couple of illegal things, but then so did Han Solo. But apart from Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, all of the viewpoint characters are likeable. None of them really want to kill anyone either. Even the one who pulled the trigger on the big gun. It does give a new perspective to the Star Wars films. Many of the people on board the Death Star when the Rebels destroyed it were actually Civilians - running the cantinas and shops on the station. Which was designed in order to end all war...

Friday, 29 July 2011

Nightwatch (Discworld Book Twenty Eight)

Night WatchTitle: Nightwatch
Author: Terry Pratchett
Superseries: Discworld
Series: The Watch Books
Preceded By: Thief of Tme
Succeeded By: Monstrous Regiment


Score: 10/10
Chart Entry Point: 1
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Bought them on Pre-Order


A friend of mine was looking at my blog for the first time this week, and the first thing she said about it was "How come there's nothing by Terry Pratchett?". My first response was along the lines of "Surely everyone knows how good a writer he is..." but then I remembered a conversation a month or two ago with several people who hadn't heard of him. Hence this review. Nightwatch is not necessary my favourite of his books, but it's the one I know best. And it is a fantastic book...

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Renaissance (Assasin's Creed Book One)

Assassin's Creed: Renaissance (Assassin's Creed (Unnumbered))Title: Renaissance
Author: Oliver Bowden
Superseries: Assassin's Creed
Series: Ezio Trilogy (Book One)
Preceded By: The Secret Crusade
Succeeded By: Brotherhood


Score: 1/10
Chart Entry Point: 40/40
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Not at all


In these days of computer gaming, more and more books are being based on the computer games we can buy. I even saw an animated cartoon of Pacman the other day, in full HD on a 3DTV. Some of these books are quite good (See Force Unleashed II), and some of them are poor. Unfortunately, This is one of the latter.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Outbound Flight (Star Wars)

Outbound Flight (Star Wars)Title: Outbound Flight
Author: Timothy Zahn
Superseries: Star Wars


Score: 10/10
Chart Entry Point: 7


Outbound Flight is a mission to explore the galaxies beyond the one Star wars is set in. It's the first book in the Star Wars chronology to include Thrawn - one of the most famous characters in the Extended Universe, and it's for this reason that I chose to read it. And it was a good decision...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Soul Born (Soul Born - Book One)

Soul BornTitle: Soul Born
Author: Kevin James Breaux
Series: Soul Born Saga

Succeeded By: Blood Divided


Score: 3/10
Chart Entry Point: 37
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I won't be.


I was drawn into this book by the cover art. I found it to be quite stunning. In fact, it's one of the few books that have made me go to the artist's online Gallery. Or even glance at the name of the artist on the copyright page. I know there are some people who do this with every book, but I'm not one of them, so it means quite a lot. After half an hour looking at Dan Dos Santos' Gallery, I remembered I had a book to read.

And I was disappointed. Especially for the first hundred and fifty pages or so. There are three major problems, which I will discuss separately below, but had I not being reviewing the book, I don't expect I would have finished it. I just couldn't see it going anywhere interesting. Which is where the first problem comes in...

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Last of the Sky Pirates (Edge Chronicles: Rook Trilogy - Book One)

Edge Chronicles: The Last of the Sky Pirates (The Edge Chronicles)Title: The Last of the Sky Pirates
Author: Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
Superseries: Edge Chronicles (Book Seven)
Series: Rook Trilogy (Book One)

Succeeded By: Vox


Score: 10/10
Chart Entry Point: 5
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


I've been a little busy this weekend, so rather than rush through a book and not give it a fair chance I decided to write a review of a book I'd already read. This is one that I particularly like, so I thought I'd share it. It's not the first in the Edge Chronicles, but is the first of the books following Rook Barkwater, and the first one I read.

One of the main reasons that I like it so much is the complexity of the world it's set in - particularly with the breadth of life forms. Many fantasy books have two or three species other than humans, but this series has many more than that. From Waifs, little psychic elves, to Shyrkes and Banderbears. There are tens of different sentient species, and all of them are quite distinct. There are few other fantasy series that boast a culture as varied as this one. Not to mention the unique technology that they use - much of it based on flight. It's imaginitive and exciting...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

NEWS: Star Wars Reviews

Some of you may have noticed that there are quite a few star wars reviews on the site. In fact there is 18 as of a minute ago. There's a very good reason for this. I like them, find them easy to pick up and read, and there are a lot of them (around 160 I think - although I don't own them all. Yet.)

But some people think I post too many Star Wars reviews. Fair enough, some people might not like Star Wars. But I've come up with what I feel to be a fair comprise...

Allies (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book Five)

Allies (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi)Title: Allies
Author: Christie Golden
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Fate of the Jedi
Preceded By: Backlash (by Aaron Allston)
Succeeded By: Vortex (by Troy Denning)


Score: 7/10
Chart Movement: Remains at 17
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Probable


The first thing I can say about this fifth book is that it's a reassuring size. The last one by Golden was a bit thinner than the rest of the series, but this one isn't. As for the story, it's much better than the first three in the series.

As I often do, I'll start by discussing the characters, and in particular with my favourite character - Vestara. Vestara is a Sith apprentice, a bad guy by definition, but I  find that I can't help but like her, can't help but want her plans to succeed. As in the previous book, we don't see an awful lot of scenes from her point of view, but if anything this makes her character more interesting, and the rare chapter that is from her perspective an exciting glimpse into her life.

Backlash (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book Four)

Backlash (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 4)Title: Backlash
Author: Aaron Allston
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Fate of the Jedi
Preceded By: Abyss
Succeeded By: Allies


Score: 8/10
Chart Movement: 19 -> 17
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


Finally! Something happens! The first three books of this series were really quite slow, but in this we finally see it going somewhere. This time, while still plenty of political manoeuvring, we get too see some action.

This book follows quite nicely from the previous one - where the Sith Apprentice Vestara escapes from Luke and Ben Skywalker on Sinkhole Station. It actually starts with a Vestara viewpoint scene of her leaving. It's one of the few of these in the book - I was a little disappointed we didn't get to see more from her point of view, as she was with a more major character for most of the book. But she is a good character nonetheless, and brings some interesting aspects to the story.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Painted Doll

Painted Doll: An Erotist's TaleTitle: Painted Doll
Author: M. Christian


Score: 6/10
Chart Entry Point: 31
How likely I am to read the next in the Series:If there was one, I'd be interested.


I quite liked this story - but it's nothing like what I was expecting.

The basic premise is that Domino is an "Erotist", someone that arouses clients not using their body, but using special "paints" to simulate them sexually and in other ways. You'll see when you read it. It's an interesting idea, I will say - and something I can see why people might want to try. The other main storyline is of why Claire and Flower are apart - which comes to a rather unexpected conclusion for those two - although I'm not really sure what happened to the antagonist (possibility for sequel?).

Thursday, 14 July 2011

NEWS: Well, That's Different...

You may have noticed that the site looks a little different. I decided that the site needed something more, something to make it stand out. A logo, a banner, a colour-scheme. Something. So this is it.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Running Black (Eshu International Book One)

Running BlackTitle: Running Black
Author: Patrick Todoroff
Series: Eshu International


Score: 4/10
Chart Entry Point: 35
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Unlikely


The story started promisingly. I liked chapter one quite a lot. But it turns out that it's not representative of the rest of the story. In fact, It's more of a prologue. Which is unfortunate.

While I liked the story, and the idea of clones - if not the names of the first three - I found that the narrative was extremely difficult to read. And I'm not really sure why, if I'm honest. There is one thing that contributed I'll discuss in a moment, but other than that... I don't know. Maybe it was too jargon-y or something. I just found myself not actually understanding what was going on quite often.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Sleeping Beauty, Indeed

Sleeping Beauty, Indeed & Other Lesbian FairytalesTitle: Sleeping Beauty, Indeed (& Other Lesbian Fairytales)
Editor: JoSelle Vanderhooft

Note: This is a collection of short stories - the individual authors are listed in the review itself.


Score: 6/10
Chart Entry Point: N/A


This is the first time that a collection of short stories has appeared on my blog, and so It's a new kind of review for me here. What I've decided to do is a quick review of each story, enclosed in an introduction and overall impression. I expect to follow this pattern in the future, although I have no plans to review short stories particularly often. So, the introduction:

"Sleeping Beauty, Indeed" is a book of fairy tales, with the exception that the "Damsels in Distress" are into women rather than men. Some of them are original stories, and others are lesbian versions of traditional fairytales. The idea intrigued me, which is why I decided to read/review it, and I'm glad I did, as two of the stories really left an impression on me. Also, it had the rather pleasant mild scent of apples...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Trapped on Draconica

Trapped on DraconicaTitle: Trapped on Draconica
Author: Dan Wright
Illustrator: Alexis M. Centeno


Score: 7/10
Chart Entry Point: 24
Similar To: Prophecy of Zephyrus


If you're looking for an easy to read story - you've found it. It's light-hearted, not too complex, yet still manages to stir emotion in the reader. There's not a lot I can say about it, because I enjoyed it - there's not a lot to complain about.

The characters reflect the spirit of the story, and while they aren't incredibly complex, they are quite enjoyable to read about. Except that I don't understand why Kalak wasn't just left behind as soon as the other characters met him. He stands for pretty much everything the other main characters are against. But he does become a more likeable character in time.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun Book One)

Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun)Title: Nights of Villjamur
Author: Mark Charan Newton
Series: Legends of the Setting Sun
Succeeded By: City of Ruin


Score: 6/10
Chart Entry Point: 8
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I look forwards to it.


I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I began this book, but it' the first book I've read in a while that's ended in a truly satisfactory way. Considering that it's the first in a series, and plenty of plot-lines are left to explore in the next book, I'd say that's quite impressive. And it's not the only good thing that I can say about this book either. I found it to be a very nice read.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers: A NovelTitle: Finders Keepers
Author: Russ Colchamiro


Score: 2/10


For me, unfortunately, Finders Keepers was not an easy book to read. If I hadn't been given it as a review copy, I probably wouldn't have read past the first couple of chapters. Which would have been a shame, because it got a bit better towards the end - although I felt that the actual conclusion was a bit disappointing.

But I'll discuss the good things first. I really liked a lot of the characters in the book. Some of them not at first, and two of them not at all - Donald and Danielle. But I really liked Jason, one of the main characters, and Lilly, one of the lesser characters. I felt that both of them were really well written and characterized, and I simply enjoyed reading their scenes - especially the ones where they were together. I spent the majority of the book (after they met) hoping they would end up living happily ever after together...

Friday, 24 June 2011

Abyss (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book Three)

Abyss (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 3)
Title: Abyss
Author: Troy Denning
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Fate of the Jedi
Preceeded By: Omen (Christie Golden)
Succeeded By: Backlash (Aaron Allston)


Score: 5/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I will read the series, but only out of stubbornness. Still, things are looking up.


Finally this series has something beginning to resemble a storyline. I thought it would never happen. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the writing as much as I did with the previous two books, or even Denning's own books in the previous series. So I'm not sure whether to be elated that something is finally happening, or disappointed in the writing. It didn't stop me from reading until I'd finished though.

While I enjoyed the previous books, they didn't really have a driving force behind them. But now we're finally starting to see groups have objectives. And some questions with a bit more substance than "What's Going On?". There are two women and a force presence, who seem to be important, but for what? What's going to happen with the lost tribe of the sith? What's going to happen between Daala and the Jedi now that (Sarcastic Spoiler) something has happened.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Rebel Prince (Moorehawke Trilogy - Book 3)

The Rebel Prince (The Moorehawke Trilogy)Title: The Rebel Prince
Author: Celiene Kiernan

Series: Moorehawke Trilogy (Book Three)
Preceeded By: The Crowded Shadows


Score: 7/10


I enjoyed reading this final entry in the Moorehawke trilogy much more than I did the first two. The pace was a lot faster, the objectives of the characters more clear, and we finally get to find out a lot of the answers that the first two books made us ask.

However there are a couple of things I didn't really like. For example there are a considerable amount of storylines that are concluded "Off-Page". They results of these storylines are all pretty much mentioned in the epilogue, but not with the prominence that they needed concluding. One of them was quite major to this book, and the other is one that has been increasingly important throughout the trilogy, until in this book it becomes Christopher's 0nly real story...

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Metalmark Contract (Metalmark Book One)

The Metalmark ContractTitle: The Metalmark Contract
Author: David Batchelor
Series: Metalmark

Succeeded By: ???


Score: 7/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I'd like to.


Now although it might not seem it to anyone who reads this blog, but I generally don't read books set in our world. I don't tend to enjoy them as much as those set in different ones. But occasionally there is one such book that I really enjoy. This is one of them. But before you read any further, I have a warning. This seems to be the first in a duology/trilogy/series/something. I didn't realise this, and it doesn't seem to say anywhere online or on the book except for the words "End of Book One" after the end of the narrative. Because I didn't realise this, I was a little disappointed when the story didn't reach it's full conclusion.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Omen (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book Two)

Omen (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Bk 2)Title: Omen
Author: Christie Golden
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Fate of the Jedi
Preceeded By: Outcast (Aaron Allston)
Succeeded By: Allies (Troy Denning)


Score: 6/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I will read it.


The first thing that I thought when I picked up 'Omen' was "Wow, This is thin." It's visibly shorter than the other two of the first three books, and of those in Legacy of the Force. But Quality is more important than Quantity and so I started reading (after all, there is another seven books after this one...).

And I have to say. I'm disappointed that there still isn't a plot. Not really. I could summarise it in maybe two or three sentences. There is nothing that really happens. Except for one small plotline, the Lost Tribe of the Sith are involved at this book, and the ending for that hints at a larger plot arc, which hopefully becomes a stronger one throughout the next few books.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Outcast (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book One)

Outcast (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 1)Title: Outcast
Author: Aaron Allston
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Fate of the Jedi
Succeeded By: Omen (Christie Golden)


Score: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I already have, actually. Expect a review of that in a week or two.


For this review, the 50th on the blog, I decided to review something that I had bought myself, rather than one that someone had requested me to review. And then I got a little carried away and read the second in the series. But to those waiting for reviews, don't worry - after this I shall be back to reviewing those that have been requested of me. But for now, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Book One, Outcast:

I approached this book with some trepidation, as I was disappointed with the last book of Legacy of the Force, and was unsure whether I should really be setting out on another nine book journey with the same characters, by two out of the same authors, especially when the one author that was replaced was my favourite of the three. But my desire to read all the Star Wars books overcame my anxiety of being disappointed and I began to read.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Blood For Love

Blood For Love (Volume 1)Title: Blood For Love
Author: Chris M. Finklestein


Score: 9/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I would love to read a sequel, and I hope Finklestein writes one.


I have to say this book was not at all what I was expecting. It's about a planet where love is forbidden - and so I expected it to be a romance. It's not about that. It's about a resistance movement trying to survive in what seems to be a destructive government. It's called the Nation of Vengeance. Now I don't like the name, I can't imagine a government calling themselves that, but it is pretty apt.

So there's an enemy, which all good novels tend to have, and there's good guys: Jan, Martha, Rebecca... etc. These are good characters, altohugh I wouldn't say they are outstanding, they changed too fast after they went to a certain school, and there was one character, Rachael, who I felt was underdeveloped. But the character that reallys stood out to me was Grisvolt...

Friday, 3 June 2011


Mine: (Second Edition)Title: Mine
Author: Lin Sten


Score: 8/10


It's been a long time since I stayed up till 4am reading. At least, unless you count last night. You can probably tell from that that I enjoyed it, and I'm sure the author enjoyed writing it. It's a happy book, an uplifting one. One that it's easy to enjoy reading. But it's not easy to read. It's Technical, Hard Sci-Fi, and there will be more about that later in the review. But first I want to talk about the characters. They're great.

Essentially that's the summary of the characters. I can't think of a single character that I didn't like. Maybe the chat-show host, Charles Dance. But of the main characters, there are none that are boring or lifeless. Even the bad guy seems somewhat lovable as the story progresses. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Generally it's helpful to have someone to hate. Normally the bad guy, but not always. This doesn't have that, but while unusual, it reflects the theme of the book quite well (that of coexisting with other species).