Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Google+ Profile

I know that I have posted my profile link here, in the past, however G+ now allows easier to remember (custom) web links, so if you want to follow me in "real time" here is the link to my G+ page:
(here you will find brief posts relating to movies, books, music, etc)

I will still post lengthier reviews here, however this blog has become more for "requested reviews", whereas I post more "personal interests" on G+...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Companions [Book Review]

Genre - Fantasy
Year Published - 2013
(Published by Wizards of the Coast)
Length - 5,342 [digital] pages *Read on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Kindle App.
Written by R. A. Salvatore

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
'The Companions' moves Salvatore's signature hero, Drizzt, into a new era of the Forgotten Realms.

As Drizzt's fate hangs in the balance, he reflects on the lives of the trusted allies who stood by his side throughout his early life - the friends now known as the Companions of the Hall.

Meanwhile, the first stirrings of the Sundering begin. . .

First, and foremost, I have to say that this book is a must-read for any fan of Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden series.

I have been reading Salvatore's "Drizzt" books for 25 years now (hard to believe!) and they are just as entertaining now, as they were back then - this particular book especially so!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with who/what I am talking about, Drizzt Do'Urden is a Dark (Drow) Elf from Menzoberranzan, in the land of the Forgotten Realms.
[Start with the 'Icewind Dale' trilogy, then continue with the 'Dark Elf' trilogy, then the 'Legacy of the Drow' and 'Paths of Darkness' series, and then move into the 'Hunter's Blade' trilogy... this will catch you up.]

'The Companions' is Book One of the 'Sundering' series - six books written by six different authors, creating a major story event within the Forgotten Realms!

I will admit that I was completely confused at the beginning of this book. (the book is now available, however I read an Advanced Review Copy and am unsure if any of it changed - if not, stick through the prologue - you will understand, soon enough, what is transpiring)

This book reunites the "Companions of the Hall" - Bruenor Battlehammer, past King of Mithral Hall and Champion of Icewind Dale (and my favorite dwarf character!) - Wulfgar the Barbarian - the Halfling, Regis - and fair Catti-brie...

The catch - these characters are in a kind of Purgatory where they are being given a choice - to be "reborn" or to go ahead and enter each of their respective "Homelands".
Why, you ask, are they being offered the choice of being reborn? Well, it seems that their dear friend, Drizzt, is going to find himself in quite a predicament, in 21 years time, and they are being offered the opportunity to be reborn (as someone new) and meet again, 21 years later, to help their friend in his time of need.

I am not going to say who chooses what, but I will say that those who choose rebirth keep their past knowledge - all of their prior memories intact - making this a far better decision than just writing an "origin story", and Salvatore keeps your interest high by writing back-and-forth chapters, alternating between each of the characters.

I am looking forward to the next chapter in the Drizzt Saga!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Shadowlands [Book Review]

Genre - "Psychological" Horror
Year Published - 2013
Length - 263 [digital] pages *Read on my Nook
Written by Alan S. Kessler

Rating: 2 Skulls

Plot Summary:
*Shadowlands is the story of a young boy, innocent and malevolent, who endures abuse by creating a world of shadows where he can escape beatings and the dead.

It is a journey across a unique, internal landscape where there is no border land between sanity and madness; only a compelling blending of the two into a power strong enough to summon love and exact revenge.

The main character is not someone the reader will easily forget. He is a ghost, rising from the story's shattering final pages, who asks that before judging evil we first live with those who made it and taste, as he did, what they put into their witches brew.

*The above plot summary is directly from Barnes & Noble - I wrote it, verbatim, as it explains, better than I, what exactly this book is about. (and with much greater fanfare than I would have bestowed)

If you recall, I reviewed Kessler's debut novel [A Satan Carol] back in February.
That review received 2 Skulls as well...

While I think that this book is an improvement over his debut, there is just something about Kessler's writing style that just doesn't click with me.
I'm not exactly sure just what it is.
I think he is just a bit too allegorical for my taste. I equate it as if Hemingway decided to write a horror novel - take that as you will.
Also, I just feel that there isn't enough true character development.

I almost rated this one 3 Skulls, but it all goes back to if I can put a book down or not, and this is one of those books that I just had to put effort into reading.

Do not let my rating deter you though.
If the above summary peaks your interest, by all means, give it a shot!
Perhaps it is just me, and I am completely missing something.

If any of you out there in "Blogger-land" decide to read this book, please let me know YOUR thoughts on it!