Books: “Fantasy & Sci-Fi”-Edition

It has become quiet here due to various real life interference (job hunting, visiting friends & family), then there was WORLD CUP & “The International 2014“.

Apart from watching TV shows, playing (and watching) video games, working out and trying a bunch of low-carb/alternative food recipes, I’ve been reading quite a bit the last few months. I haven’t been reading any fantasy/sci-fi novels for ages, so I thought I’d try some again.

1) Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks [Fantasy]
It was promising at first but after the first book the female character named “Elene” was starting to be too annoying. I stopped reading around the middle of the second book. Overall it had a very “shounen“-esque feeling to it: no depth, lots of stereotypes, weak characters.

2) The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence [Fantasy]
The first book is as gruesome as Game of Thrones, but has less sex. However, I’ve only read the first book so far. It seemed okay-ish, although the main character appears to basically be invincible. It sometimes reads like a macho power fantasy.

3) Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb [Fantasy]
It’s not bad, but rather… bland. Not much is happening throughout the book and I’m unsure why so many people recommend it. I hate childhood love stories, so that was a huge NOPE for me, too. What’s up with that setting to begin with? So freaking annoying. Sigh.

4) The First Law by Joe Abercrombie [Fantasy]
I liked it. It’s not the best book ever, but very solid. I liked the moral ambiguity, as there are no good guys or bad guys (as far as I can tell). But in the end it still lacked something to make it an outstanding work.

5) Old Man’s War by John Scalzi [Sci-Fi]
The books present some very cool concepts about the humanity’s future. The first few chapters were very good, but in the end it tried too hard to be smart with politics. I feel that fantasy/sci-fi authors don’t take their research seriously when it comes to politics (obviously that’s because I’m a polsci major – it sadly makes reading fantasy/sci-fi nigh impossible). They usually emulate the dumbest version of it. I will continue reading it and see if it gets better, because it has potential.

6) Takeshi Kovacs by Richard K. Morgan [Sci-Fi]
This series is probably my favorite one. The last volume of the “trilogy” (more are planned) was the weakest, but all the books portrayed interesting concepts and the universe seemed fun. The sex scenes sometimes feel out of place, although they are rather descriptive.

7) Agent Cormac by Neal Asher [Sci-Fi]
I like the framework, but it would actually benefit from some more human interaction. Sometimes the books introduce too many unnecessary perspectives (something that annoys me about ASOIAF as well). Some cool female characters and probably my second favorite series.

8) The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan [Fantasy]
This series is pretty simple. Its nonetheless a very enjoyable read, as it does not try to be something else. Definitely recommended for some light summer reading.

9) Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding [Fantasy]
Again, I’ve only read the first book and thought it was an overall interesting setting. The story was fine and I’ll read the next books to find more about the planet and the different factions.

10) Fencer Trilogy by K. J. Parker [Fantasy]
His books are rather different. They have a more “down-to-earth” feeling to them. It’s very structured and has interesting elements that try to reconcile “magic” with “science”. I enjoyed the first and second book.

11) Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch [Fantasy]
Pretty cool stuff. Never finished the third book because I found out that the series wasn’t complete yet. It shows potential although the author’s personal life might have had too much influence on his work (sounds weird, but he suffers/ed(?) from depression and went through a divorce).

12) The Expanse Series by James S. A. Corey [Sci-Fi]
Read the first book. Good stuff. Not complete so I stopped for now.

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