Book Review: Inheritance

Book Title: Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle #4)
Author: Christopher Paolini
Book Format: Kindle
Published: November 8th 2011
Pages: 849

This is the 4th and last of The Inheritance Cycle series  by Christopher Paolini. Paolini continues the quest of the Varden to defeat the evil King Galbatorix and rid all of Alagesia of his terror.

The book is long, at 849 pages, it took me a while to finish. That is always my biggest issue with epic stories. Too often, I feel we get too much fluff. Countless times I found myself thinking “Get on with it already.” Most times, however, Paolini found a way to make those details become important to me and I regretted my previous complaints. That’s not to say I enjoyed every little detail, I still think 100 or 200 less pages could have told the same story without losing any quality.

That being said, I felt this was one of the darker of the four books. I began feeling a slight contempt for Roran especially as they went from city to city destroying the Empire’s armies. It felt at times the killing was almost unwarranted. Yes, Galbatorix has enslaved his armies through magic, but I found myself thinking, “Doesn’t that make killing these people all the worse?” It may be a necessary end, but it got difficult, which in my opinion, was the genius of the beginning and middle of the book. To get me, someone who enjoys a good slasher movie/book, to start feeling compassion for the enemy is quite the feat and I tip my hat to Paolini for this.

Inheritance is jam packed with violence, politics, magic, and love, though light on the love which is fine by me, lest the book double in length to go through all of that.

I’m happy to say I’ve finished the series and I would be interested to see what Eragon will do in the future, so I’m hoping Paolini may choose to revisit the world of Alagesia at some point, though I do need a break from it, so maybe in a couple years. I may find myself reading the series again and putting it in my list of books I should simply buy rather than check out from the library.

I give this a 4 of 5 star rating, it losing a star solely for the length of the book and the ending droned on a bit long as well, though I appreciate that it wasn’t left open with the obvious intention of a sequel. Which is why I want one all the more.

My Rating


Book Review: The Singular Six

Book Title: The Singular Six (The Chronicles of Eridia)
Author: J.S. Volpe
Book Format: Paperback
Pages: 318

I won this book via the First Reads giveaways and was cautiously excited to begin reading The Singular Six. I wasn’t planning on making this one my next read, but having had to return my copy of Inheritance to the library before finishing, I needed something while I waited, and this was the first book I grabbed.

Get Ready For Crazy

J.S. Volpe has begun The Chronicles of Eridia series in a very intriguing way. We are introduced to three of the six main characters right away as they battle a band of criminals in a post cataclysmic world. We quickly discover that one of the main characters is Frankensteins monster in the flesh (or someones flesh I guess). One of the young ladies with him is taken by the gang. This begins the quest to rescue not only the young lady who was with Frankenstein but to also save all of the kidnapped women from the town of Sweetwater.

This is where the weird really gets started. The group of three becomes four, one of which is a super hero. Then, they meet two more to make it six. Without getting into too many details, there is a giant talking jaguar, rabid childrens toys, a three headed serpent, and a crazy teenage queen among other strange characters.

I was captivated from the beginning. I think it was primarily because of the insanely odd characters, but more so the story and world that Volpe was drawing before me. The characters are slowly realizing along with the reader how all of these strange characters have come about and what this cataclysmic event may have been. I’m excited to read the next chapter of this series. I hope it continues being ridiculously absurd and enjoyable.

In terms of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy story, I felt it was great, because it was so different, but also because it was a very fluid story. It was a quick read, and it always felt natural. The only critique I have, was more of an observation. I noticed that as the book matured towards the end, the profane language increased. Granted, there was more action, and that may be the reason. I didn’t find it distracting or detracting, but I simply noticed the amount wasn’t consistent throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to all Sci-Fi/Fantasy lovers. This book will not disappoint, and is looking to continue entertaining throughout the series. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Brisingr

Book Title: Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle)
Author: Christopher Paolini
Book Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 748

My initial response after finishing this book was that it was Epic. I’m not saying it was the best book I’ve ever read, but there was so much that occurred in this book that one could only categorize it as epic.

I quickly realized as I read this story that I would need to take some notes if I was to be able to review this story adequately. My memory is pretty good, but there were certain pieces to the story I wanted to ensure I remembered and I knew I wouldn’t remember if I relied upon myself.

The beginning of the story jumped right into an immense battle of extreme importance. Watch for the death of a key character by an unexpected set of villains during The Battle of the Burning Plains. This battle begins much of the remainder of the story. Many other authors might have simply saved this battle for near the end of their story and focused much of their attention on building towards it. I liked the confidence Paolini had in his story to throw such a great battle near the beginning.

Shortly after the Battle of the Burning Plains we jump right into Roran and his attempt to rescue his true love Katrina from the Ra’zac. This, along with The Battle of the Burning Plains was so enthralling and came so quickly in the book. It was refreshing to have so much action so quickly.

After this, I noted that the book started to droll on a bit. One can’t expect to be on the edge of their seat forever I guess. It took until about page 300 to get back into some real action which by this time was much appreciated. The other thing that bugged me was the the seemingly new style of narrative from the Saphira. Paolini had her speaking in very choppy hyphenated speak which was truly odd. I don’t remember it being in the first two books this style of speech that the dragon takes on. To me, it was distracting and there wasn’t any real explanation as to why she had begun speaking like this.

I enjoyed the moment Eragon is tasked with replacing Zar’roc for reasons you will find out in The Battle of the Burning Plains section of the book. He is forced to choose a dwarf made sword which of course doesn’t suit him very well. Eragon must alter the way he fights because of the lower quality weapon.

The portion of the story I was most impressed with, however, was when Eragon receives his own sword, made for him. This, in my opinion, was fantasy writing at its absolute best. Paolini wove a beautiful story that recounts the actual forging of the sword along with the most unique method for performing the feat which in my opinion will go down as the most creative piece of fantasy story telling I’ve experienced thus far. It is truly difficult in this saturated Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre to come up with something truly unique and I feel Paolini did so magnificently with this portion of the story.

I’m still debating if I would consider this the best of the 3 of the Eragon books I’ve read thus far. It is definitely very close to the best. Even the lull in action was more than forgivable and some of which was explained later in the story to give reason to the need for the details. I would highly recommend reading this book (read the first 2 before of course).

Book Review: At the Mouth of the River of Bees | Names for Water

16060188[1]Book Title: At the Mouth of the River of Bees | Names for Water
Author: Kij Johnson
Book Format: Adobe ePub
Pages: 274

This is the 3rd short story in the series of short stories in this book. Click Here to see the first review and a link list of the other stories I’ve reviewed in this book.

Names for Water

When I finished this story, I literally had chills that went up and down my spine. Not because it was a creepy story, but it truly moved me. It was a very mysterious and captivating story.

This is the a story of a moment in a young woman’s life. A seemingly meaningless phone call that eventually turns out to be a foreshadowing of the future of her life and the world as well. Hala, the girl, is late for class but takes a phone call on her cell from an unknown caller. For such a short story, there was just so much there. I couldn’t wait to find out who called, what it meant, and how was Hala going to respond.

If you get this book and only read one of the short stories inside, read this one. I’m surprised just how much I liked it.

Book Review: At the Mouth of the River of Bees | Fox Magic

16060188[1]Book Title: At the Mouth of the River of Bees | Fox Magic
Author: Kij Johnson
Book Format: Adobe ePub
Pages: 274

This is the next short story in the series of short stories in this book. Click Here to see the first review and a link list of the other stories I’ve reviewed in this book.

Fox Magic

I’m going to come right out and say that this story was weird. No, it was beyond weird for me, it was bizarre. I fear I missed the symbolism or creativity Kij Johnson was looking for. It was simply too strange for my liking.

The story follows a female fox who has fallen in love with a man. We follow this fox as she and her family create fox magic to make her appear as a woman to this man. She eventually marries this man and has a child with him all to have the man eventually be taken away from her.

This was a very difficult story to read. I wasn’t able to get past the fact that Johnson is essentially writing about animals tricking humans into falling in love and mating. Considering how good the first story was in this collection of short stories, I’m hoping this was just a fluke. Not a good story in my opinion at all.

Book Review: At the Mouth of the River of Bees | 26 Monkeys

Book Title: At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories
Author: Kij Johnson
Book Format: Adobe ePub
Pages: 274

This is a collection of short stories by author Kij Johson. I had heard nothing about this author nor any of her stories. Honestly, I’m not even sure what peaked my interest enough to throw this book into my queue at the library. My review will actually include a separate review for each short story noted below beginning with “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” in this post. I wanted to ensure I reviewed each short story on it’s own so as I have spare time I will read each so it may take me a while to get through them all.

  • 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss
  • Fox Magic
  • Names for Water
  • The Bitey Cat
  • The Horse Raiders
  • Dia Chjerman’s Tale
  • My Wife Reincarnated as a Solitaire
  • Schrodinger’s Cathouse
  • Chenting, in the Land of the Dead
  • The Empress Jingu Fishes
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees
  • Story Kit
  • Wolf Trapping
  • Ponies
  • The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles
  • Spar
  • The Man Who Bridged the Mist
  • The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of

26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss

The story begins with the main character Aimee attending the strangest show. 26 monkeys go up a ladder and into a bath tub suspended in the air and then, the tub releases on one side to reveal there are no monkeys in the tub.

After the show Aimee approaches the man who owns the show and the 26 monkeys and she winds up buying the show for a dollar.

This is where the story truly began for me as Aimee tries to grasp the purpose of this show, where the monkeys go, and more importantly why the monkeys come back. Every time they come back, the monkeys show up with trinkets and other oddities they picked up from the mysterious places they go. We are informed quickly that the trick of the disappearing monkeys is not an illusion or special effect and that Aimee has no control over what happens.

I too was intrigued by the story, though I did start out a little perplexed of where the story was going and what the point was. This turned quickly into a clear story that I couldn’t wait to finish.

The end of the story brought a smile, and left me wanting more, which is one way I use to determine if a story was well thought out. The only qualm I had was the boyfriend. Not enough is known about him, though I doubt he is important to the story other than giving more information as to Aimee’s lack of direction in life. I could have done without him, but he was very brief in the story, just seemed out of place.

I am looking forward to reading the remaining short stories in this book as this one definitely provided a great deal of entertainment and mystery.

GoodReads is Awesome! I WON!!!

So I started using about 3 months ago. I’ve been using it to keep track of all the books I remember reading in the last few years and the ones I hope to read in the future. Recently I found a link in their Explore menu for Giveaways. I was skeptical, because I never win anything, but I decided I’d go ahead and sign up for every book I thought might be even the slightest bit interesting.

After only about 2 weeks of signing up, I WON!!! I actually won, and it was a book I thought might be interesting to read. So here’s the book I won.

The book is titled Knuckleduster by Andrew Post. It is a pre-release book which does mean that there could be errors in the book. There was no charge to me and there really are no expectations of me. They do ask that I write a review after reading the book, but it isn’t required. If I want to increase my chances of winning though, I do need to review the book, which I plan on doing once I’ve finished the books I’m already reading. I’m looking forward to starting this book as it seemed quite interesting.

Needless to say, I am now an even bigger fan of now. I highly recommend anyone who plans on reading more than one book in their lifetime consider using to keep track of the books they’ve read.

Book Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay - The Hunger GamesBook Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Book Format: Google Play eBook
Pages: 288

In this, the final stanza of Suzanne Collins’ tale of Katniss Everdeen, we return to Panem and the beginning of the rebellion and the war against the Capital. The story picks up shortly after Katniss is rescued by the rebellion from the arena of the Quarter Quell and brought back to District 13.

Throughout the first half of this story I continually found myself annoyed with Katniss. She seemed so weak, and unwilling to take control of her own life; waiting for others to determine her place, her destiny. The internal battle she fought to find her own path was wonderfully told, but I did find I had to keep reminding myself that Katniss is just a teenager, not an adult, though I’m sure many adults would struggle with these choices as well.

Collins weaves a tale of brutality and anguish that is quite surprising, namely for a story meant for young adults and teens. I truly appreciated the detail and violence both in District 13 and in the battle for the capital. This reality is shoved at the reader who all too often expects a happy ending and is forced to acknowledge that life is filled with disappointment, hurt, and even evil. I found myself wondering how I would act in a world like Panem. The sheer darkness of this book is refreshing in a world that too often forces us to try to put a happy spin on everything.

As we are introduced to District 13 and the future leaders of Panem, it is obvious that the plan for a new government run by the districts has the potential to be just as cruel as the Capital. This fact is slowly realized by Katniss, who now has to choose who’s side she’s truly on. This was a fascinating journey and Katniss’ final action, where she shows all where she stands was surprising, yet believable. The reaction from the new leadership to Katniss’ choice showed a glimmer of hope for mankind in Panem.

This final chapter of “The Hunger Games” trilogy was by far the best with a surprisingly acceptable ending. All too often some books aren’t able to end a good story or the story ends with a strategy to leave it open for another book. This story required not a happy ending nor an apocalyptic one either, but more so, a realistic, believable ending which is what was provided. I will definitely read this story again sometime, which is saying quite a bit for me. I strongly recommend this book, but I also recommend parents be mindful of their younger children reading it as this book is much more violent and graphic than the first two.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger GamesBook Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Book Format: Google Play eBook
Pages: 1,000

I was hoping to read this book before I saw the movie, but unfortunately I was patron 84 when I reserved my eBook copy from the local library. I don’t typically buy books I’m not sure I’ll read again, so I put off reading this until I saw the movie. My wife and I saw the movie in the theatre and we both were quite impressed, so I bit the bullet a couple months ago and bought the trilogy from the Google Play store. I was reading a couple other books at the time so had to wait until now to start reading it. Here is my review of the first installment of the trilogy.

From the moment I started this book, I was captivated. Perhaps some of it was due to having watched the movie, though I doubt it. The book is considerably different in story telling style from the movie as it is written in the first person by Katniss. The point of view the book is written leaves out a lot of the other details the movie fills in, which I’m sure was necessary. The story is very easy to read and kept my attention the entire time. I even found myself getting anxious near the end, even though I already knew the outcome. I thoroughly enjoyed the dystopian world Collins creates and through a societal uprising and subsequent control and Hunger Games forced upon civilization by the “Capital.” My preference is typically dark and this story does not disappoint. There is an obvious similarity to “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell and I’m sure other books that venture into the world of humans hunting humans. This story certainly captures the personal anguish and internal battle between living and killing another human.

In terms of entertainment value, “The Hunger Games” gets a 10 out of 10. For those that prefer lots of detail, this might not be as fulfilling an adventure for you. This is a young adult/Teen book, so that must be taken into consideration. Overall, I was impressed and am certainly looking forward to starting the second installment of the trilogy “Catching Fire.”

For those who enjoy a quick, and entertaining story, “The Hunger Games” is a definite must read. I am glad that I chose to buy the trilogy as I will certainly read this book and I’m sure the next two books several times, which is not very common for me.