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Scott Marlowe - Fantasist

All about what I'm reading and writing.

Currently reading

Degrees of Delusion
Lindsay Buroker
Age of Wonder How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
Richard Holmes
Washington's Crossing
David Hackett Fischer
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson Very imaginative and readable. Great voice for the individual characters and a unique take on historical fantasy. Great read! I'm looking forward to the remainder of the books which are already on my TBR list.
The Hammer - K.J. Parker Good storytelling but ultimately I found most of the characters flat and uninteresting. The only exception is Teucer, whom I felt was under-utilized.
Maelstrom - Taylor Anderson Tremendous finish but took way too long to get there. Throughout the last maybe 50 pages the author had a knack for using the word 'terrible' on nearly every page. Got to the point where I was grinding my teeth at every occurrence.
A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Seelye Pretty shallow writing and a meandering story, but at least I can now check this classic off the list.

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering - Frederick P. Brooks Jr., Frederick Brooks Sound principles though the technology examples are in some ways dated.

George Washington

George Washington - William Roscoe Thayer Concise and informative.
The Toad King: A Soldier's Story - Ward Best John Elliott is kidnapped from Earth by aliens in order to help train them to fight in an imminent war. That premise right there was enough to make me start reading. The author pretty much jumps right into it as we find John running from unknown assailants. Next thing we know, he's off on an alien world, being made to help train its citizens in the art of war. Pacing was not an issue at all in this novel. The author weaves a nice blend of humor and forward progress as the peaceful alien's enemy nears. If I had any complaint, it's that I would have liked to have seen more world-building. We're not given a lot of deep knowledge of the aliens or their society. I think this would have enhanced the story and drawn the reader in a bit more. But Mr. Best presents what I think is a wonderful idea in an otherwise compelling fashion. This is my first experience with this author. I think I will definitely be checking out his other work.
Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual: An Alphabetical Compendium of all the Monsters Found in AD&D, Including Attacks, Damage, Special Abilities, and Descriptions - Gary Gygax I still have this book and many of the original Dungeons & Dragons books in a box upstairs. It's been years and years since I've played, but looking through some of the Gygax titles sure brings back some memories.
Murder in the Boughs: Hank Mossberg, Private Ogre Book 1 - I received Murder in the Boughs from the author via a GoodReads giveaway. Murder in the Boughs is a standalone novel and, unfortunately from what I could tell, the only "Hank Mossberg, Private Ogre" novel Mr. Sedgwick has written. Mr. Sedgwick has a number of other novels to choose from, however, many of which have caught my eye and found their way onto my Amazon Wish List.

Murder in the Boughs is a detective novel of the hard-boiled variety. Hank Mossberg is Sedgwick's Mike Hammer or Phillip Marlowe (my personal favorite), except for the fact that he's an ogre who walks a line between the "real" world and the hidden one, where fae exist. The fae of Sedgwick's world are more human-like than you might expect, though. They are thugs, hitmen, crime bosses, nurses, policemen, drug pushers (and abusers), and, of course, detectives.

Hank Mossberg is unique in more ways than one. Not only is he the last of his kind, but he's also the Steward, a position appointed to him by the fae Elders. In the fae world, his job is to investigate crimes and enforce fae law. In the human world, he's more detective and less lawkeeper. Though magic is prevalent in the fae world, Mossberg is immune to all of it. Bullets, however, present their usual problem for him, especially when uzi wielding elves come looking for him.

Murder in the Boughs presents two crimes for Hank to solve: one involving the elicit fae drug known as "pixie dust" and the other the kidnapping of a human child. While the cases are separate from one another, we find Hank juggling each throughout the novel. Ultimately, they never really cross one another, something I found a little disappointing. I thought there could have been some connection between the crimes, and thus possibly a more climatic ending.

Sedgwick, however, does a nice job with the conclusion of the pixie dust case; the reveal of the responsible perpetrator was unexpected. With the case of the missing child, I was left a bit unfulfilled, only because the wrap-up comes suddenly and almost wholly dealt with towards the lattermost part of the novel.

Murder in the Boughs is an enjoyable, fun read. I'd like to see more of Hank Mossberg. I think the character has more cases to solve and enough character depth to become the next Hammer or Marlowe if the author chooses to spend more time with him.
Flash Gold - Lindsay Buroker Good pacing, action, and characters make this is an enjoyable read. As this is a prequel novella, I'm looking forward to reading book 1.
Demonsouled - Jonathan Moeller I couldn't finish this one. It seemed to just go off on too many little tangents. Too bad, cause it had a good beginning.
Crusade (Destroyermen) - Taylor Anderson A fun read with plenty of action and suspense. The character development remains a bit shallow, but there's enough going on that I often overlooked this. Can't wait for book 3 and I assume the final confrontation with the Japanese battlecruiser, Amagi.
The Last Days of Krypton - Kevin J. Anderson Most of the negative reviewers on this one have got it right. Undeveloped characters, a meandering story that never really grabs the reader (didn't grab me, anyway), and overly simplistic writing. It's too bad, because the premise had a lot of potential. I got to about page 150 and couldn't take anymore.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick, Robert Zelazny Thought provoking. The final androids fall in succession, pretty quickly, but an interesting statement on where society is and where it's going.
Into the Storm - Taylor Anderson Good read. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis Powerfully sad ending. This book really shines with the medieval scenes. Kivrin is a likeable character and Willis does a nice job building a medieval cast around her. It's hard to write too much without giving away the ending (it's the Black Freakin' Death, so draw your own conclusions), but I have to say I did not expect the totality of the outcome. Willis has written what I can only imagine is an accurate portrayal of the Plague and its effects. Most especially the hopelessness it must have instilled in people. It's perhaps worse for Kivrin because she knows what it really is and can't do anything to stop it. The book did slow down a bit with those chapters set in the modern era; I found myself mostly interested in the medieval scenes and those characters more so than the ones from modern times.