Friday, September 28, 2012

Dreamland: Black Wolf, by Dale Brown

Dreamland: Black Wolf (Dreamland, #12)Dreamland: Black Wolf by Dale Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

No offense to Dale, but the 'ale' was covered up with a price tag when I found the book at an airport news-stand and I thought, to myself, "Wow, a Dan Brown novel that I missed!" Though it wasn't a Dan Brown book it was still pretty good. The pace over the last half was very good--kept me turning pages, but overall it was a little predictable. You knew who the Black Wolf would be, you knew what he would do, you knew who would win---but it was still fun. I might go back and read some more of the Dreamland series. It was a fun read, suitable for most ages.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

THE RACE by Clive Cussler

The RaceThe Race by Clive Cussler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isaac Bell is a pretty good character, modest, self-effacing, and with near super-hero type abilities. He can fly a plane (bought a plane and taught himself in about 5 minutes), he can shoot, ride, fight and of course romance. He's not the only good guy though, all the Van Dorn detectives are interesting, Isaac's fiancee, Marian is smart, sexy. The newspaper magnate, the cotton baron, the German/Italian aeroplane inventor---all fun characters. The story is good, better than Cussler's NUMA stories (the NUMA characters are good, too, but the stories are predictable).

The 'race' is about a race among the earliest airplanes and "drivers" across the continent and the Van Dorn guys trying to protect the not-so-innocent young female pilot, and .... sorry, that's all I can tell you.

I recommend this to all readers---good, wholesome action/adventure.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Garrett Files

The Garrett Files (Garrett Files, #1-3)The Garrett Files by Glen Cook
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I thought, "These are pretty good stories. The weird characters don't add much--what's the point?." I couldn't really picture 'Dead Man' or the trolls, grolls, elfen breeds, but as I got deeper into the realm it all started to come together. By the time I finished Book 3 I had formed mental images of all the non-humans & the world in which they live, TunFaire, and I don't think the next book I read will be quite the same.

I highly recommend this to most any reader. The characters, Garrett, his off & on love interest from Book 2, Tinnie, the 'Dead Man, Garrett's friends are all good, the setting, once you get into it, is fascinating. These stories were published over 20 years ago, well before similar stories became the rage. Garrett is not a kid and the stories have a 'grown-up' feel, but if you like any of the current YA stuff or you like anything with human-ish monsters, super-natural stuff, wizards, fighting, I think you'll like Garrett.

Oh,did I mention there are vampires, too?

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The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another YA Fantasy thrust upon me by my 13 year-old--and, another pretty good book. For some reason I know nothing about the ancient gods--my school didn't teach it, I didn't find it interesting enough to seek it out on my own. It feels accurate--as accurate as a fantasy can be--in terms of the roles and relationships of the gods and underlings. That probably made it more difficult to write; in so many other fantasies everything comes from the author's imagination--the names, super-powers, villians and there are no limits. This one uses existing names, powers, relationships and ties it all together nicely.

Whenever I read something like this I expect to be entertained, but I can't help but consider how this will impact my young son. Is there a clear distinction between right and wrong? Do the characters interact respectfully? Does the story reenforce good values, honesty, respect? Some may think I expect too much, that being entertained should be enough---I just simply disagree; and, since I'm paying for it I believe I have a right to expect more.

Percy is a decent kid, he loves his mother, he protects his friends--he's not perfect, but a decent kid. I doubt my teen will even realize there's a subliminal message here, but who knows?

I recommend the Olympians series to most any reader.

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