December 7, 2008

853 words 5 mins read

Recent Reading

As of late, I’ve been spending a good amount of time reading. Partially, this is because I’ve found some good books to read, partially, because I’ve got my Kindle back. It got broken, and Amazon was kind enough to replace it for free. Anyways, back to the reading. I started on a series of books by John Scalzi and I’ve really enjoyed them, so I thought I’d share.

Book #1 is Old Man’s War. This book sets the stage for what I believe is one of the more interesting and fun scifi universes I’ve read about in a while. It also contains a plethora of witty humor and is overall a hilarious read. The characters just have the greatest interactions. On top of that, it is written from the first person point of view of one character, so you get to follow along with some of his internal monologues which is equally hilarious. It might seem a bit odd talking about how funny a book is when the title contains the word “War”, but war really isn’t the major focus. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started reading this book, but it was a very enjoyable read and made me want to rush out and get the rest of the series.

Book #2 is The Ghost Brigades. This one starts to get a little bit deeper over all. A good portion of the time is spent discussing more philosophical topics. That being said, it isn’t a hard read and is by no means boring. It is still very interesting and thought provoking. A major departure for this book, from the previous, is the fact that it isn’t always in the first person view. The beginning of the book meanders a bit before we’re properly introduced to the character that will be the feature of the book, then it settles into a mostly first person view. It isn’t as packed with comedy, but makes up for it by being far more interesting in the universe.

Book #3 is The Last Colony. This book takes place about 8 years after the end of “The Ghost Brigades”. It dives right back in to the same first person POV as “Old Mans War” (Same character), and brings back the humor in full force. The book was a change in setting from the first two as our protagonist had settled down on a colony and started a family. While that might not seem like the makings of an exciting book, it was very interesting. The author did a great job making things a more mysterious, filled with intrigue and subterfuge (and maybe a conspiracy or two).

Book #4 is Zoe’s Tale. This was an interesting read because it was a retelling of the events from “The Last Colony”, but through the (first person) POV of the 16 year old, Zoe (Ok, well technically it is Zoe with two dots over the e, but I’m lazy and don’t feel like futzing with the unicode crap for strange languages). It may sound boring to hear the same events all over again, but I can assure you it isn’t like that. Zoe’s view of the events is greatly different and this story helps to explain A LOT of what wasn’t explained in the previous book. Now the one key for this book is, if you appreciated the humor earlier in the series — YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. The author takes the humor in it to a whole new level. I didn’t think it could get better, but it did. Additionally, as the author has never been a 16 year old girl, he did a FANTASTIC job writing from the girl’s perspective. This girl certainly reminded me of a few that I went to high school with. Granted, none of the girls I knew in high school kept an entire race of (billions of) aliens as pets, but that isn’t the point.

I didn’t really know anything about this series before I got into it. But once I did, I couldn’t stop. I had to restrain myself from buying the next book in the series the moment I finished with the previous. “The Ghost Brigade” only took me 27 hours to read, and 10 of those I was asleep. I’m not sure if they are an “easy read” but I definitely enjoyed them all. Even with my restraint, it only took me a week or so to read the entire series (holidays helped).

This brings me to the major flaw of the Kindle (and what Amazon is banking on). It is too damn easy to buy the next book. Just pop online and hit buy. No mess, no stores, no waiting for packages. Just instant gratification (and instant credit card debiting). It is very much so a love/hate thing, all for the same reasons. On the bright side, next on my list is “Halo: The Cole Protocol” and that is the most recent book of the series, there is nowhere else for me to go on that one (as I have already read all the other books).