Posts in category 'books'

  • Review: The Magicians

    Review of The Magicians (The Magicians #1.0) by Lev Grossman (9780670020553)★★★
    Cover for The Magicians by Lev Grossman

    Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he's secretly fascinated with a series of children's fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

    The book is slow to start and it often feels as though Grossman is going through the motions. But the driving second half more than makes up for it. And with choice quotes like:

    “Look, who’s the talking bear here?” Quentin snapped. “Is it you? Are you the talking fucking bear? All right. So shut the fuck up.”

    The meta-fiction is downright entertaining.

    Some might find the book needlessly angsty, and there’s some merit to that complaint. But its an interesting alternative look at what it would mean to discover a magical world embedded in our own.

  • Review: Leviathan Wakes

    Review of Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1.0) by James S. A. Corey (9780316129084)★★★★
    Cover for Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

    Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

    Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

    Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

    Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

    I wanna give half stars! This book didn’t totally blow my mind (like, say, The Road), but it was a really solid space opera. 4.5.