A little over a year ago, I wrote a review of a book called Girl 99 by Andrew P. Jones. I got an email from the author a few days ago to say his latest book, Untogether Lives, was released on Kindle, so I downloaded it straight away. Here’s what it’s all about.
Untogether Lives is a collection of fourteen stories that peek through the curtains of an eclectic cast, struggling to keep mind, body and the world around them together. From an amputee shoe thief, to an unlikely arsonist, to a sexually frustrated quadriplegic.
Predominantly dark and occasionally disturbing, these stories are not for the faint-hearted, but neither are they without humour. Not everyone in Untogether Lives gets a happy ending, and not everyone survives – but, hey, that’s life for you.
I loved it! It seems strange saying that when the subject matter is so dark, but it’s true. The writing style works really well for me. The content is very different to what I normally read, but it was good being taken out of my comfort zone. What really amazes me is the amount of connection I felt to some of the characters, even in the shorter stories. Despite the darkness, there is humour in there too. This book is definitely not for the sensitive souls out there, but I think it is a great collection of stories. I’m looking forward to the next book from the author!
The Rise of Endymion is the fourth book in the Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons.
The Hyperion Cantos is essentially two stories. The first one split over the first two books and the second split over books three and four. The two stories are separated by about 300 years, but there are some links and even common characters. Throughout the books the characters and scenarios were consistently interesting, but the books themselves were not always so consistently good to read. The Rise of Endymion is a good example of that. There are some totally excellent sections of the book and some that could just do with being cut completely. There was a section describing the mountain ranges of a planet and I just found myself thinking, “WTF is the author expecting readers to think here? It’s a string of made up names for mountains that don’t exist. What a waste of words…”
Despite the issues, I was extremely interested to see how things turned out. Who lived, who died, did the Pax/Church get exposed and overthrown… In that sense, the book delivered very well.
On reflection, the series reminds me a lot of the Dune series. A combination of exceptional high points and some rather lacklustre sections that test your loyalty. 🙂 Both series are well worth the effort though…
Endymion is the third book in the Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons.
After finding the last book a little patchy at times, this one returned to the same sort of pacing and thrust that made me love the first book. This story picks up nearly 300 years after the last one ends. The daughter of one of the characters from the previous book entered one of the time tombs and appeared in Hyperion 274 years later. Since then things have changed throughout the former web worlds and the church has a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. The last thing they need is a little girl, with the power to topple their stronghold on the galaxy, messing things up for them.
The timeline does jump around a little and there are always a couple of stories happening at the same time, but it is a lot more direct and easier to follow than the last book. I think this was helped by the fact I was able to read is in relatively few sittings. OK, they were spread over the best part of a month, but at least each time I picked it up I got through quite a few pages.
I’m really looking forward to the last book in the series. Fingers crossed it ends strongly…
The Fall of Hyperion is the second book in the Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons.
I’m not really sure what to say about The Fall of Hyperion. On the one hand, I was very interested to see what happened to the characters from the previous book. On the other hand, this book was much less focussed and quite disjointed at times. It didn’t help that it took me a long time to get through it, reading it in small snippets, rather than a few long sittings.
Despite my minor misgivings, I’ve already started the next book in the series and I’m keen to see how this plays out.
PS. I’ve just checked the dates between this post and the one from the proceeding book. It took about 2 months to get through it. I’m sure that has a big factor on my perception of it.
Hyperion is the first in the Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons.
What a great Sci-Fi book! A group of seven travellers are on a pilgrimage to Hyperion. Six of the seven tell the stories of how they came to be there, with the sixth story kind-of linking things together. There is no real conclusion to the story as the next book carries on the story from the point the first one ends. It was definitely written as a series!
The timeline jumps around quite a bit through the book, but in a good way. It’s not done in a confusing way.
Definitely worth a look for any Sci-Fi readers out there.
PS. I put the authors name in the title, for fear of confusing people into thinking this was about work. 🙂
Chapterhouse Dune is the last in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.
It’s really hard for me to make a judgement about Chapterhouse: Dune. On the one hand there are some excellent characters and the general story line is great. On the other, there are parts I found really boring. I got a bit sick of the teasers without any explanation. At first is was intriguing, but as they continued I just got a bit fed up with them and decided to stop second guessing the outcome and just let it happen. I think there are two ways an author can play this game:
1) Make the outcome fairly obvious from the start, but make the journey to get there exciting. Kind of like The Dresden Files.
2) Make the outcome a mystery, but subtly lead you in the right direction.
I think this book is trying to do the latter, but is quite clumsy about it. Having said all that, I’m glad I read it. The overall outcome is more than satisfactory.
I’m not going to read the books by Frank Herbert’s son. I’ve been told they are not good, and the brief snippets I’ve read seem to reinforce that.
I guess the end of a series of books like this needs a bit of a summary. I think the first book is a total classic. The rest you can take or leave. There are definitely interesting elements to all of them, but they are not nearly as accomplished as the first.
A couple of weeks ago I started a competition to win 2 copies of Oracle E-Business Suite R12 Integration and OA Framework Development and Extension Cookbook by Andy Penver. Thanks to Packt for donating the prizes. The competition closed yesterday and the lucky winners are:
I’ve sent your email addresses to my contact at Packt, who will contact you to deliver your e-book.
I recently did the technical review of some of the chapters in a new Packt book called Managing Multimedia and Unstructured Data in the Oracle Database by Marcelle Kratochvil. I’ve known Marcelle for years and although we don’t always see eye-to-eye on DBA matters, she is definitely the first person I speak to about matters concerning multimedia and Oracle databases. A number of people “talk the talk”, but Marcelle is one of the few people that can actually “walk the walk” on this subject!
If you are interested in getting a free e-copy of this book, Packt Publishing are organizing a give away. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me why you think you deserve a copy and what you hope to achieve after reading it. In 2 weeks (approximately 26-April-2013) I’ll read and judge the responses and make sure an e-copy of the book gets to the 4 lucky winners. I’ll be contacting the winners by email, so you will have to use your real email address when you comment! 🙂
I’m not going to reveal my judging criteria, and I’ll probably ask Marcelle to help me decide, so try and be a little creative in your answers. 🙂 Just asking for a copy is not going to make you a winner. 🙂
Let the games begin…
Note. Comments on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ will not be judged. Your entry must be a comment on this blog post.
Heretics of Dune is the fifth book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.
This book picks up the story 1,500 years after the last one ended. The descendants of Siona had scattered throughout the universe, hidden from prescient minds by their unique genetics traits. Now some of them return from the scattering, but for what purpose?
The first book in the series is what drew me in. The next couple of books were not great. The fourth was a lot better. This one continues the upward trend. The intensity builds pretty much from the start all the way through, but the ending is a little weak. The next book starts where this one left off, so I guess that’s the reason for the week ending in this case.
As with the previous books, there are some fantastic sound bites. When you are reading the books on a Kindle you can see the pages littered with other people’s highlights. I could list hundreds, but here are just a few.
“Quite naturally, holders of power wish to suppress “wild” research. Unrestricted questing after knowledge has a long history of producing unwanted competition.”
“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?”
“… we only hate what’s really dangerous to us.”
God Emperor of Dune is the fourth book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert.
After the randomness of the previous book, this fourth one was a lot more on-the-money. There are a number of scenes in the book I really hooked into, including one I blogged about a few days ago. It’s far from perfect, but it kept me interested. Probably the worst part of the book was then ending, which was rather lackluster.
I’m looking forward to see if this direction continues into the next book.