1 February 2016

Review: La clave está en Rebeca

La clave está en Rebeca La clave está en Rebeca by Ken Follett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Muy pocas veces se encuentra uno con libros cuyos personajes, aun estado en bandos enteramente opuestos, resultan ser igual de atractivos e interesantes de una forma tal que el lector termina deseando un desenlace al menos feliz para ambos, en lugar de decidirse enteramente por uno u otro lado.

En este caso, me pase la mayor parte del libro deseando tanto la victoria de Vandam y la de Alex. En realidad, el personaje de Alex fue para mi mucho mas atractivo y complejo que el de Vandam, y me decepciono bastante que ya cerca del final del libro el autor pareciera repentinamente decidido a destruirlo (o tratar de pintarlo bajo una luz enteramente negativa sin los matices grises que había usado al principio). Creo que esto fue una jugada baja que le resto mucho impacto el libro. (view spoiler)

Otra cosa que me incomodo bastante fue el repentino uso del 'monologo interior' por parte de Wolf, Billy, y Elene. Sin duda ese par de paginas fueron las mas difíciles de leer de toda la novela por ser tan completamente diferente del resto.

Argumento: 3/5
Prosa: 3/5
Ritmo: 4/5
Caracterización: 4/5
Marco: 4/5

Total: 3.6/5

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26 January 2016

Review: La reina estrangulada

La reina estrangulada La reina estrangulada by Maurice Druon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

En verdad me es un poco difícil darle una puntuación justa a este libro. Por una parte es definitivamente entretenido, con una prosa que da gusto leerla. Por otro lado, ningún personaje realmente llega a ser interesante, ninguna parte de la trama particularmente memorable. El libro termina, en cierta forma, tal y como empieza, empujando tu atención y nada mas. Al final no termina siendo muy diferente a una muy particular clase de historia.

Es tal vez, por esto, que no encuentro nada en particular que decir en los apartados de argumento, ritmo, y marco (world-building).

Argumento: 3/5

Prosa: 4/5
Si la caracterización (O falta de) es donde mayor cae la novela, la prosa es sin duda la parte que mas la levanta. El autor realmente poseía una gran facilidad para atrapar con su prosa, para hacer reir, para disminuir a un mínimo los momentos tediosos. Por esto, mas que por nada mas, la recomendaría a cualquiera que tuviera intereses en el periodo que abarca o en la ficción histórica en general. Es entretenida. Lastimosamente, no llega a mucho mas.

Ritmo: 3/5

Caracterización: 2/5
El fallo mas grande del libro, creo, es en cuanto a la caracterización. Todos los personajes se sienten mas como si fueran distintas mascaras de una misma persona. A excepción, tal vez, del Artois, ninguno es memorable, ninguno, en realidad, se siente como si fuera un personaje de verdad. Mas que muchas otras novelas, esta me hizo sentir que los personajes no eran mas que algunas palabras que se repetían cada cierto tiempo en el texto.

Marco: 3/5

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24 January 2016

Review: Broken Banners

Broken Banners Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, before I get into this review, I have a confession to make: Despite this being the second entry in a series, I haven't actually read A Reaper of Stone yet. In some ways, this makes for an unfair review, but as the story is also rather self-contained, with but a few hints of what comes next to wet one's curiosity, it does not matter too terribly much, I think.

Prose: 3/5
As far as prose goes, I think it was solid, if not particularly inspiring. For the most part it was good enough to tell the story it wanted to tell without drawing too much attention to itself, but there were a few places where it felt a little drab and lacking. Somewhat cut and dry. The best that it could be said is that it certainly matched the snowy, mountainus setting.

Pacing: 3/5
This, too, felt solid. However, I find there really wasn't enough difference between some of the viewpoint character to warrant going from the head of one to the head of another when they were both in the same place. I honestly think the novel could have done completely without Con, as Aldis and the female lead were clearly the more interesting characters, and more time in their head-space (specially Aldis') could only have been a good thing

Plot: 3/5
While the plot in itself was interesting enough (specially with that first Aldis chapter and the subsequent drive to know what happened to him), I think the previously-described drabness of the prose sabotaged just how much more impact it could have had if things had been better described and we had been allowed to dwell just a little longer in the world, seeing things just as the characters saw them, instead of getting what felt like a skimmed-through version. Also, the resolution felt a little cheap and anti-climatic. Perhaps my opinion is skewed because of not having read the first instalment like I said (and perhaps after I read it I will feel better about this) but the mountain-power thing feel ridiculously deux ex machina-ish.

Characterisation: 3/5
Aldis and the female lead were nice enough, but the rest of the cast was just barely there. However, the one reason I give this a three instead of a four is merely because of how much of a disappointment the main villain was.

World-building: 2/3
Something else that is probably also being affected from me not reading the first instalment. However, I believe there could have been explanations, at the very least, for what Razors are. I mean, sure, you might have explained that in the first book, but even an oblique, passing half-reference to the nature of their powers or something to that effect could have helped.

Overall: 3/5
I feel like I said a lot of negative things with very few nice ones, however I think this series has promise, if the authors can polish their style a little more. The book was definitely an entertaining read, specially since it was so short, but part of me can't help but feel I would have enjoyed it even more if it had been longer and more thoroughly explored in all the right ways.

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21 January 2016

Review: Here be Dragons

Here be Dragons Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After not writing a review for so long, I am afraid I must again learn to organize my thoughts and to set them down in an enjoyable or at least informative manner. I am not quite there yet, and s o this might feel more than a little stilted and awkward (not helped by the fact that English is not my native tongue.) In any case, I apologize. To help myself a bit, I went back to organizing my ideas regarding five different aspects:

Prose: 5/5 stars
If there is one thing that initially caught and charmed when I first started reading this book, it was its prose. The way scenes, inner thoughts, and historical snippets were written was truly marvellous and a pleasure. if there were times when I tired of the book and put it away, it was never because of any technical fault or flaw in the writing.

Pacing: 2/5 stars
If the book has an enemy, I think it is its own pacing. The constants jumps from scene to scene, from year to year were tiresome and jarring and usually forced me to put down the book for a while. I suppose this might have been to keep in hand with known dates and events, perhaps. In keeping with the historical part of this history But if so, I think I would have preferred more vagueness, more drawing upon her own imagination and less keeping in fact with reality, because in my opinion it is the one thing that makes the book rather tedious to read.

Plot: 3/5 stars
From reading the synopsis, one might expect the story to centre immediately upon Joahnna and Llewelyn's joint troubles. For better and for worse, this only happens after we get a sizeable number of pages introducing us to the lives of the three big players: John, Joahnna, and Llewelyn. This is not terrible, by any means. It works specially well in the case of John and his daughter, but it can nonetheless feel plodding at times.

Characterization: 4/5 stars
I can honestly say I've seldom had more fun with a novel's characters. From the first they always feel very much alive and vibrant. My only qualm, as I mentioned during the reading, is the way we are often treated to more than one character's inner thought in any one scene. The switching about is awkward and jarring, even if it never gets outright confusing. I can understand why the author did this- specially when one more than one character were thinking the same while expecting the worse from each other, as it fuelled these scenes with poignancy and irony and the like, but I think I would have liked it better if she had kept to one's character head per scene, or per chapter or very much anything else but this awkward juggling.

World-Building: 5/5 stars
Not much to say here, except that the world feels as lively and genuine and well-crafted as the characters. It certainly feels consistent with itself, and with what I know of the period (which is admittedly not much, as while I love history, I am far from an expert on it). It was certainly an interesting and realistic window into a much romanticised period.

Overall: 4/5
All things considered, the book is a joy to read. It has its small number of flaws, certainly, but the positives far outweigh the negatives, and if you forgive the slow beginning, I can assure you that you are going to get completely caught up in the story it tells. You will sheer, and you will cringe, and you will stare in abject horror, because in the end it is just that good of a book.

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1 December 2012

Mistborn: The Final Empire

What a long time has it been! I actually finished this book before starting Legion, but for some reason I just could not bring myself to post a review about it. But now thats over! Thankfully, so is the book.

Let me explain. 

If you are like me, it is inevitable you've heard a lot regarding Brandon Sanderson. More specifically, you've heard a lot of people singing his praises. You've read a lot of rave reviews of his books. You've ached to read him, and enjoy the panacea-in-book-form so wonderfully advertised among fantasy fans. And then you do read him. And all falls flat. 

18 October 2012


First of all, I apologize for my absence. I never intended to leave this blog unattended for such a long span so shortly after having created it.But simultaneously attending college and having a job tend to do that to one´s plans, and to me they have proved to be an exhausting combination.

I wonder, however, if part of the reason I had not updated  was also that I had this review waiting for me here. How do you review something this short? I mean... Anyone even remotely interested can pick the book and just read it all and be done with it. No great loss, whether you end up liking it or not...

But enough of that. 

For what its worth, I really liked Legion. In terms of characterization, dialogue and prose it was flawless, even if not outstanding. It had me reading page after page. It definitely was entertaining. But for all that, I can´t help feeling the short story form killed what would have otherwise  been a greater novel. I say this mostly because the execution of the plot really falls short in basically every possible way, thought in pacing above all. Everything just feels... hurried. More like a prologue or even a summary of the story than the actual story.

And come to think of it, if I recall correctly, there is a tv series in the making based on the aftermath of the book, so...

2 October 2012

Legacy of Kings (The Magister Trilogy, #3)

The plot basically centers on Gwynofar, Salvator, Kamala and Colivar as preparations are made and plans hatched not only to confront and finally vanquish the Souleaters that have trespassed the Wrath, but to come to peace with their past, their beliefs, and their future. It is mostly this group whom we follow through the novel, thought now and then we fortunately get glimpses from Siderea, who now stands in direct opposition to them. 

As the last book in the trilogy, LoK is supposed to be the climax in terms of plot and character development. However, for the most part what we find are overused words (Dark, for example. I get that magisters are dark and what-not, but there is really no need to describe every third damned thing any joe does with the word. ), overlong phrases, needless viewpoint characters, and awkward pacing and resolutions. In short, the book is a veritable letdown when compared to the first installment or even the second. And that in itself says a lot, because neither Wings of Wrath nor Feast of Souls were perfect.