March 30, 2012

Enigma by Michael Kube-McDowell

Title:  Enigma
Author:  Michael Kube-McDowell
Format:  PB
Pages:  355
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Ace, 1987
ISBN-13:  978-0441206773  
Series:  Trigon Disunity, Book 2

Favorite Quote:  Then, disemboweled and beheaded, the aging Pathfinder finally died.

Synopsis (Back Flap):  Search the stars for planets.  Search the planets for life.

That was Earth's mission, as it made its painful way back from the dark days of chaos at the end of the 20th century.  So simple in concept, so incredible in execution.  One civilization had been found, there must be others.  Whole lifetimes were spent combing the universe for another spark of intelligent response.

Merritt Thackery knew from boyhood that his only dream was to be part of the Unified Space Survey.  He prepared himself with five years of training on an exquisitely boring space tug, and with a specialty in alien linguistics.  When his chance finally came, he was more than ready.  On board the Descartes he could not help but believe that he would see colonies on far worlds and speak to alien beings in their own tongues

His was to be a life of exploration and wonder, in the most exciting years of Earth's history.  But even Thackery's boyhood dreams could not have prepared him for his final mission, beyond the boarders of known space:  to seek out an unknown enemy and win Earth's freedom at last!

Review:  Once again, Mr. Kube-McDowell has created a true Science Fiction classic.  There are so many fine characters and great descriptions in this book, they defy counting.  However, again, I will give too much away of the story if I say much about it.  I can certainly say that I wish the story was true.  I'd love to go and visit the stars.  While I think I enjoyed the first one a tad more, I also think it was only because it was the first, the first really great SciFi I've read in a good, long while.  This book still is a must-read.  

Rating:  10 / 10

March 22, 2012

Emprise by Michael Kube-McDowell

Title:  Emprise
Author:  Michael Kube-McDowell
Format:  PB
Pages:  304
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Ace, 1985
ISBN-13:     978-0441180745  
Series:  Trigon Disunity, Book 1

Favorite Quote:  "Our long journey has been with one purpose, to end at long last all fences between us.  We have grown old with waiting and beg an end to waiting.  We ask for a meeting between us so that homage may be paid to the Founders and all that has been held in trust may be reclaimed."

"Forgive me.  I have been waiting thirty-three years to say that." 

Synopsis (PBS):  The devastating Food and Fuel Wars have turned once-powerful nations into isolated farming communities. Barter has replaced currency, and scientists-considered responsible for the world's misery-are burned at the stake. Hidden in the Idaho hills, astronomer Allen Chandliss secretly monitors his radiotelescope, listening for signs of intelligent life, hoping that aliens will come and improve things on Earth. For seventeen years he has waited patiently. His patience is about to pay off. . . . 

Review:  Set in the very near future (nearly present), this story is one of triumph over incredible odds.  It's also a study in human nature, especially the worst parts.  I loved all the characters, even the horrible ones.  I loved the story.  I loved the ending, which I did NOT see coming until the bitter end.  I have found another great new author to adore.  I really can't say what I want to say without giving the story away so I will simply highly recommend it.

Rating:  10 / 10 

March 14, 2012

The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

Title:  The Opal Deception
Author:  Eoin Colfer
Format:  HC
Pages:  339
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Miramax, 2005
ISBN-13:    978-0786852895 
Series:  Artemis Fowl, Book 4

Favorite Quote:  Butler smiled apologetically.  "Don't worry, little fairies.  I have this effect on most humans too."

Synopsis (PBS):  Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl is back... and so is his brilliant and dangerous enemy, Opal Koboi. At the start of The Opal Deception, Artemis has no memory of the fairy people and has returned to his unlawful ways. In Berlin, he is preparing to steal a famous Impressionist painting from a German bank. He doesn't know that his old rival, Opal, has escaped from prison by cloning herself. She's left her double behind in jail and, now free, is exacting her revenge on all those who put her there, including Artemis. Meanwhile in the lower elements, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrechon fairy police is framed for a heinous crime, yet she manages to elude her captors and escape to the surface to rescue Artemis. But before Holly and Artemis can get away, Opal arrives and abducts them both, forcing Artemis to go head to head with an enemy who plans on destroying the fairy world forever.

Review:  I still love this series.  The characters are so memorable and the story line is really original.  There are plenty of great morals and values to be learned here for children, even though it is about a teenage thief who is a genius.  All of these books so far have been clean enough to be read by just about any age.

I just am not enjoying them as much as I was when I started, although I liked this book better than the last one.  It's not that there is anything wrong with these stories.  They are great, but they are written for young readers and I need something more adult at least temporarily.  I'm ready to read something else for a little while.  I'll come back to this series soon enough, but for now I'm done.

Rating:  9 / 10

March 7, 2012

The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer

Title:  The Eternity Code
Author:  Eoin Colfer
Format:  HC
Pages:  309
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Miramax, 2003
ISBN-13:   978-0786819140
Series:  Artemis Fowl, Book 3

Favorite Quotes:  "...About my name, Artemis.  You were right in London, it is generally a female name.  After the Greek goddess of archery.  But every now and then a male comes along with such a talent for hunting that he earns the right to use the name.  I am that male.  Artemis the hunter.  I hunted you."

"Careful, Mr. Spiro, guns are dangerous.  Especially the end with the hole."

Synopsis (PBS):  Artemis Fowl is going straight as soon as he pulls off the most brilliant criminal feat of his career... — After being held prisoner for five years, Artemis Fowl's father has finally come home. He's a new man?an honest man, much to Artemis's horror. He makes his son promise to give up his life of crime, and Artemis has to go along with it. But not until he has completed one last scheme.

Artemis has constructed a super-computer from stolen fairy technology. Called the "C Cube," it will render all existing human technology obsolete. He arranges a meeting with a powerful Chicago businessman, Jon Spiro, to broker a deal for the C Cube. But Spiro springs a trap?he steals the C Cube and mortally injures Butler. Artemis knows his only hope of saving his loyal bodyguard is to employ fairy magic; so once again he must contact his old rival, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon fairy police.

Review:  I'm thoroughly enjoying this series, but have discovered that I can't read too many of them in a row.  I'm reading one more from this series and then taking a break, which is completely not what I'd usually do.  It's just necessary.  I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first or second, even though it's still a really good book.  I think I'm just ready for something else for a little while.  I'll come back to them after the next one.  I can't stop now, since Artemis has lost his memory of the Fairy world and I have to know how (or whether) he's gotten it back.

I still love all the characters.  It's full of action and excitement.  Artemis is a great character.  

Rating:  9 / 10

March 2, 2012

The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Title:  The Arctic Incident
Author:  Eoin Colfer
Format:  PB
Pages:  276
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Miramax, 2003
ISBN-13:  978-0786817085
Series:  Artemis Fowl, Book 2

Favorite Quotes:  But soon Mulch Diggums began to crave the old notoriety, and his pilferings grew larger.  Gold bars, goose-egg diamonds, or pit bull terriers, if he was really famished.

Holly cupped a hand around one pointed ear.  "Hey, Mulch, if you listen really hard you can just about make out the sound of nobody giving a hoot.  From what I saw, you were living pretty well on LEP gold."

Of course, you should never say something like that, especially when you're an arch villain.  It's just asking for trouble.

Synopsis (PBS):  Artemis is at boarding school in Ireland when he suddenly receives an urgent video e-mail from Russia. In it is a plea from his father, who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by Captain Holly Short of the Leprecon fairy police. But this time, instead of battling the fairies, he is going to have to join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people in the world he loves.

Review:  I love this series.  I really do.  There are many of the same characters as before and I've found one I like almost as much as Mulch.  Foaly, the centaur with the genius IQ, is hilarious.  While I did like book one better than two, book 2 is still very good.  I've already started book three and can't wait to see if it's as good as these were.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

March 1, 2012

February 2012

I read a few more pages this month than last, which is really good.  Six books, for a total of 1863 pages.  Nothing like I was this time last year, but it's an improvement and I'll take it.

Damiano by R.A. MacAvoy (4.5/10)
Escape by Carolyn Jessop  (7/10)
Feather Stroke by Sydney Van Scyoc  (10/10)
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer  (8/10)
The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan  (4.5/10)
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer  (10/10)

I read 4 Fantasy, 1 Thriller, and 1 Biography.  I'm glad I'm reading so much SFF again.

It is hard to choose between Feather Stroke and Artemis Fowl as my favorite, but I expected to adore Feather Stroke.  Artemis Fowl caught me completely off-guard.  So, I think I'll choose it.

Favorite book of the month:  Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
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