Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Book Review: First Rider's Call

Book Title: First Rider's Call
Author: Kristen Britain
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 596

Quality Rating: 7
Content Rating: PG

The First Rider's Call doesn't have the race for your life feel that its predecessor, Green Rider, has, but it is equally good. Where as Green Rider was a story of a girl on the run for her life, its sequel is a book that deepens and broadens both the main character and the setting. The book starts and ends with action. In the middle is time travel, ancient manuscripts, and an evil villain who started out as adventurous young man. I'm a sucker for pasts that are revealed to be not quite what people remember them to be. I also still like Karigan, the young woman who continues to be vital to her world without the need for a man by her side. A woman who is not afraid to say 'no' to the man she loves, when he crosses a line.

This book is PG for its epic, battle violence as well as mild descriptions of past atrocities. The book hints at romance, but rarely sexuality, making it perfect for younger readers, or older readers who are tired of overt blatant sexuality in their books.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Book Review: Green Rider

Book Title: Green rider
Author: Kristen Britain
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 471

Quality Rating: 7
Content Rating: PG

Finally a coming of age story about a female that is not simply about a girl getting her man. Instead it follows a girl who is thrown into unexpected circumstances who must rise to the occasion or be killed. The plot is straight forward, without the intrigue and complexities that I generally enjoy, but by the end of the story the I felt strongly towards the main character, Karigan. Her supporting characters are equally enjoyable, whether its the careworn King Zachary or the stern Captain Mapstone. I highly recommend this book to female readers who are exasperated with heroines that seem only focused on finding love. Karigan is a worthy herione that any reader should enjoy.

This book gets a PG rating. There is some violence but it is not over intense. The book has some sexual insinuations but nothing strong. At one point the main character fears she might get raped, but the word or the act is never directly mentioned or described (and, slight spoiler, the attempt fails). All in all, this book is excellent for younger readers who are exhasperated with the books currently offered to them. Anyone from a middle school student, to a college student like myself, to a "real" adult would enjoy this book.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Book Review: Judas Unchained

Book Title: Judas Unchained
Author: Peter F. Hamilton
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 1008

Quality Rating: 8
Content Rating: R

The conclusion to Pandora's Star was every bit as epic as the first book. Because it is a second book, the dozens of characters are easier to handle. When a reader starts Judas Unchained they already know all the characters. It also helps that the character's story lines begin to merge and combine as they all begin to work for a common cause: saving humanity. As the title insinuates, traitors are hidden within this epic, revealed in the most horrifying of ways. For more well read readers, these traitors or "agents" are easier to spot, but that does not mean their unveiling does not hold surprises. Because the novel is a conclusion to a two part series, the entire second half of the book is climactic, building and building and building. If the end seemed a little anti-climatic it's because after 300 pages of climax, nothing can compare. However, I found the ending to be very satisfactory. I felt most, if not all, of the story lines were wrapped up well, leaving few loose threads. This book was definitely worth the read, despite its length.

I rate this book an 'R' on probably every level. Excessive use of the 'f' word, intense and sometimes descriptive sci-fi action/violence. Sometimes the sexual content was PG-13, but there were a few cases where there was too much description, pushing the rating up to an R.

Judas Unchained was a more than worthy conclusion to Pandora's Star. I would recommend these two books to any of my friends who enjoy science fiction, especially classic science fiction. The story was truly epic.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Unexpected Occurances

Today was the first day of classes here at Georgia Tech, and let me tell you it has been a day of quite unexpected occurrences. I have a class this semester that is notorious for being extremely difficult and being taught by the scariest professors. The professor I had signed up for had not taught this class for as long as anyone could remember. My friends and I have no idea how having this professor is going to be, but we were all just grateful we did not have one of the scary professors.

It was my first class today. My friends and I found seats, near the front but not too near. We were all talking and busy catching up when a professor walked down the aisle. The talking died down and whispers immediately ensued. Standing at the front of the room was not the eighty-year-old male professor we had been expecting but a female professor. There are only two female professors in my major at Tech, and this one is the one known for being perhaps the scariest woman to ever walk the earth.

"Is that Dr. Scary?" I whispered. (Name replaced to protect me from Dr. Scary's wrath of course). "What is she doing here? I thought we dodged the bullet on this!"

"Maybe they changed it at the last moment?" my friend responded worriedly.

"It's Dr. Scary!" one of my friends who sat in front of me leaned back and whispered. "What the heck?"

"Good morning," Dr. Scary said, and silence immediately fell over the class. The fear was thick in the air. Luckily for us, Dr. Scary explained that she was only substituting, that our normal lecturer would be back, eventually. Unfortunately, she is guest lecturing for the next three weeks.

That is far from the only occurrence that happened that I did not quite expect. This semester is definitely not starting as I thought it would. First off, my roommate's dog bit me, and we had to give her back to the people my roommate had gotten her from. That was really sad, but we could not have a dog that would bite. So we got a new dog, and he's very cute. He's a lab/italian greyhound mix. He's very small and very quite. I have yet to hear him bark once, which is awesome.

Another unexpected occurrence that sort of has me down references two past posts. The boy I have had a ridiculous crush on for like the past year, who I've called Josh in this post, is apparently dating someone else. It's not on facebook and I did not hear it from him, but my source was very reliable. This crush of mine who is two years older than me is apparently dating someone two years younger than me.

I'm ok. I'm used to such disappointments when it comes to boys, but it is a disappointment. The girl he is now dating is a girl I suspected he liked last year, but after talking to her and him (I'm friends with both), and the way they behaved, I did not think they did like each other. So it's sort of like I was expecting it, convinved myself not to expect it, and now its real.

But that's life. You have to accept things and move on. All of the unexpected occurances are a part of life. Whether its a scary professor or a disappointing crush, it's a part of life. You learn from it and continue with life.

I hope everyone else out there who is starting school is having a good time and taking their unexpected occurances in stride. I hope you're doing it better than I am.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Upcoming Semester

So this is my first post in the month of August, even though we're eight days in, and I only posted 10 times in July. I'm not doing well as a consistent blogger. There are many reasons for it. My life is crazy. Between work, my other blog, and research for school, I have little time. That and I like to read. Reading takes up a lot of time. This week I've been at home, transitioning between work and school. Next week won't be any better because I move in to my apartment on Monday, don't get internet until Tuesday, and then go to Utah on Wednesday. I don't come back from that until Saturday. So there is little hope of me posting next week either. I know, I know. I'm a lousy blogger.

However, as soon as the craziness subsides, I promise I will start blogging regularly. It will help that more exciting things will happen to me when the school year starts. I'll have more things to talk about. I'm already excited about football season, Dragon*Con, and a semester of infinite possibilities. Be prepared for me to start blogging about querying agents (gasp! Exciting I know) and blogging about my horrid classes (I don't forsee aeroelasticity being any fun).

I will also start rereading the Wheel of Time this semester. My new hardback copy of The Eye of the World arrived earlier this month. You will get my reactions to events in the story as I reread and of course I'll write book reviews for each book.

So for the next week you may not see too many entries from me. I mean, I know they have internet in Utah - it's not like I'm going to Antarctica, but it's the Small Satellite Conference. I don't predict I'll have a lot of free time. And this time, I promise not to break my foot while in another state.

So if you're anxious for some posts from me, don't be. And if you just can't wait, read my other blog instead. I promise you its worth your while.

I hope everyone out there is having a great August, and that any transitions they may have are going much more smoothly.