LISTENER

Ian Warrender

  • 29
  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 40
  • ratings

Eddings greatest hits but not their great book

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-09-18

I'm a big fan of Eddings but this book sits in a unique position that makes it very hard to recommend, if somebody hypothetically told me that they only wanted to read one David Eddings book and after that they never intended to read any of his other books then I would suggest they read this.

The first important point is that this book isn't bad it's actually like the greatest hits of many of their other books, you can see situations, characterisations of other people and storylines from many of the other books combined into one long story, however there's very little new her. Most Eddings stories are made up of a series of books that build up on each other, this takes many of those ideas but combine them into one single book removing a lot of the additional character and world building details that make Eddings books so unique.

The real issue is if somebody likes this book and then wanted to read other Eddings books the format, settings and characters of this book could actually spoil those other books, on the other side if somebody enjoys Eddings books already and has read several of their stories already, they have already read this book in many ways.

As with most of Eddings stories this does contain a twist towards the end the game that's not unique because twist is part of Eddings formar and although the twist is a different from what came before, asking people to read 95% of a book to see something new is a difficult sell, so if you sit in the hypothetical mentioned earlier than please read this, if you havw ran out of all of the Eddings stories and I just want one more journey to the format then read this, other than that there's many other Eddings books that I recommend such as 'The Diamond Throne' or 'Pawn of Prophecy'.

Niven not at his best

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-06-18

One of the reasons I like Niven is for his thought experiments, whether it's a ring world, organ replacements as a resource, multi generation space ships or everlasting life it's fun to join his exploration of the idea.

Niven's best work is when he includes an outsider to learn about the subject with us, to be our point of view. This outsider stories are usually 60% of the actual narrative and 40% of the thought experiment.

Unfortunately Integral Tree's is not this, it has no outsider perspective and the thought experiment is very complex with no answers suggested. To make it worse the first 25% explore the experiment without explaining the premise, talk of sky beneath them and falling into the sky, trees miles long and tides changing along it's length. The first quarter only makes sense later upon reflection with everything else you learn / assume through the book. To add to this the story doesn't really start in this section most of the characters we meet have little bearing on the rest of the book.

The thought experiment is fascinating if you can picture a carbon rich gas giant torn apart by a Neutron star but held together in a ring formation by a larger stellar body, developing mile long trees with complex gravity, yes at times it might feel like you need to draw a few diagrams!

It's not all thought experiment but the balance is more 35% narrative 65% experiment with the real Niven narrative hiding in the last 20%. The rest of the time it's spread very thin and this is why it's very hard to recommend this book.

If you are tempted to dig into this book don't worry about this being a 'book 2' this is based in the universe of 'The world out of time' but all characters and settings are new.

Vanilla Pratchett

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-05-18

This won't go down as my favourate Disc World book, that isn't to say it bad but it is the Vanilla ice-cream of Disc World . I love ice-cream and given the choice between no ice-cream and vanilla I'm going to take the vanilla. I'm going to enjoy the vanilla and then forget I had it, all the time wanting something move interesting with chocolate chucks and maybe caramel.
So I did enjoy this but it was missing some magic (which is surprising considering the subject), if I was going to criticise the master it would be to say that Coin for a central character was oddly silent I would have loved to hear his inner monologue.
What does it have going for it, 'The Inspiration Practical' perfect classic Pratchett at his best in a book which is not. And remember Pratchett's not best is most other authors one off master peice.

Sad to be at the end of this great adventure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-04-18

I won't reiterate the same praise that's in my other reviews but I need to mention that Kevin Pariseau really excelled with some of the characters adding an extra dimension to an already excellent story.
Sometimes Eddings generates excellent characters in generic good / bad world, however by the end of this adventure the world is much more realised and not just the world but the universe as we touch on Science Fiction in parts.
A must read but only after reading the previous 5 books!

A sci-fi roller coaster

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-03-18

Niven doles out a fast paced story containing lots of incredible sci-fi ideas. Niven completes his amazing trick of making the fantistic believable with many ideas that wouldn't be out of place in his Known space universe.
However this is not a perfect Niven tale the story focus changes rapidly and although the mysteries are interesting all apart from one is solved too fast. The fast pace allows Niven to quickly develop a new universe but all apart from the main character feel underdeveloped.
For anyone new to Niven I would suggest starting with 'Ring World' and other Known space books, but if want something beyond his main work and you can hold onto to the roller coaster strap in and enjoy, just watch out for the sudden stop!

1 person found this helpful

Death a modern fable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-02-18

In my opinion there are 3 flavours of Disc World books, Adventure (think Rincewind), Character (usually with witches) and the best flavour the Moralistic. Mort is the first of these life lesson stories and it's perfect I won't spoil the lessons or stories but it's a must read for everyone.

Almost perfect

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-02-18

'Domes of Fire' redefined what a perfect book was to me and this follow up is close to it's perfection with one small hiccup; a small part of this book retcon's the first trilogy to tie it better with this trilogy,. The first brief element of this retcon was brilliant fixing my main complaint with 'The Sapphire Rose', however subsequent elements seem to be too perfectly moulded, not crafted but almost forced. It's such a small element in a book where the characters, setting, pacing and direction makes this a most read AFTER 'Domes of Fire'.

1 person found this helpful

There's a 5 star story in the 2nd half of the book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-17

The 2nd half of the book is excellent even with the small hiccup near the end. It's the 2nd half where the characters become three dimensional with relatable motives and complex dilemmas, the story becomes fantastical and the route to the end is unpredictable.
All this would usually make it a must read book, but the start is so jarring and the characters start off as generic cut out of the wizard, warrior and princess that's it's hard to recommend this. There is a point to the first half but that feels more to get the characters to a set place to set up the excellent 2nd half. It must be said the first half isn't bad, it's good but not excellent it's very by the numbers.

A shining pearl in the Emberverse series.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-11-17

This is one of those books where the journey of reading it without any preconceptions is important as the emotions are linked to the many twists and turns. However the greatest accomplishment is how in book 14 of a series, Stirling keeps the story fresh with a whole new(ish) element.
Many of these books have a 'B' and occasionally a 'C' story to go alongside the main 'A' storyline, I was surprised however on which storyline was 'A' by the end of the book.
Definitely not a starting point for the series (although it could work as an awkward stand alone if you forget the start and end) I would recommend people going 3 books back to the Golden Princess as a picking up point. Is this my favourite in the series... I don't know but it's up there with Meeting at Corvallis or Sword of the Lady.

2 people found this helpful

Celia shines

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-10-17

Celia shines as she brings Pratchett's world to life in this fun adventure where the threat is almost invisible. The deep theoretical questions of reality that books likes 'Small Gods' focus on are here in small doses but still makes you think.