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Reviews Written by
John D. Angus "The Critic" (Ottawa, Ontario Canada)
(REAL NAME)   

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Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars amazon.ca continues to be amazon.com's poor, backward cousin, Dec 10 2013
Thought I would order this as a present. It says it's in stock. Yet when I got down to placing the order I'm told it will ship in 1 to 2 months. There's no such delay on amazon.com, but it won't ship to Canada. So I guess I'll be having a look at other readers due to amazon.ca's lousy supply problem, which has existed since the day it was put in place.

Styx & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra Of Cleveland - One With Everything
Styx & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra Of Cleveland - One With Everything
DVD ~ Styx
Price: CDN$ 18.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 8.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Concert Video, Feb. 2 2011
As Tommy Shaw says in one of the outtakes, often when you put a rock band together with an orchestra there is a distinct lack of enthusiasm among the latter. It isn't their kind of music and they're just doing a job. This concert is far different. The kids in the orchestra are obviously in love with rock, and far more enthusiastic than you'd ever see from a "normal" orchestra. Where else do you see members of the orchestra this alive and excited and even singing out the words to each other as they play and Tommy or James belt them out. Considering none of these kids were even alive when these songs were hits its an amazing testimant to the staying power of Styx music. As for Styx, they haven't lost a beat, playing like a bunch of twenty year olds. Tommy's voice is great, James is a better guitar player than I remembered, and Todd Zucherman is amazing on drums. My only dissapointment was that due to legal issues with their former front man some Styx favorites - which Gowan usually sings - didn't make it onto the DVD. Gowan does a great Suite Madam Blue, but you'll have to see it elsewhere. I highly recommend this DVD.

A Mighty Fortress
A Mighty Fortress
by David Weber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.19
48 used & new from CDN$ 2.30

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Information Overload, May 9 2010
This review is from: A Mighty Fortress (Hardcover)
Coming in just under 700 pages, there's a lot of room for action and progress in this, the fourth book in Weber's series. Unfortunately, A Mighty Fortress has fallen prey to the same problems as other Weber books of late - far too much detail about far too many things and far too many people we don't need to or want to know about. As a consequence, the book plods in many places. The action scenes are few and far between, and the pace of the movement of the story slows to a crawl.

At the end of the book we're no closer to the resolution of the story than we were at the beginning. That's not a terrible thing if the book is a fun read, as most of Weber's Harrington, Hradani and Gentry series were (though not the last few books). But I can't honestly say there's much fun or entertainment to be had in this book.

EXCALIBUR ALTERNATIVE
EXCALIBUR ALTERNATIVE
by DAVID WEBER
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.59
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice light read, May 13 2004
It may not be great literature, but I read books to be entertained. And this book entertained me. Okay, yes, it was a bit choppy at times, and this theme, Human warriors carried off into the stars to act as surrogate soldiers isn't exactly new. But he does make the aliens nicely "human" in a nasty sort of way. I found it thoroughly entertaining. And you gotta admit it had one hell of an ending. In fact, I've re-read that ending several times. I wish Weber would write a sequel.

IN DEATH GROUND
IN DEATH GROUND
by David Weber
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.58
57 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding space action, May 13 2004
Anyone who has an interest in good old fashioned rip-roaring space battles, who ever loved a story of a war between good and evil, who ever stared with fascination at movies of space aliens battling brave human spaceships will *love* this book. It's almost non-stop action, but intelligently told, with incredible space battles on an epic scale for enormous stakes. The aliens are mysterious and unfathomable, and relentless, and you know from the start (as one of the characters says) it will be a battle to the death between them and humanity and its allies.

WIND RIDER'S OATH
WIND RIDER'S OATH
by DAVID WEBER
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.90
41 used & new from CDN$ 1.38

3.0 out of 5 stars It could have been much better, May 13 2004
This review is from: WIND RIDER'S OATH (Hardcover)
Weber has faltered with this series, and, oddly, he has faltered in much the same way he did with his last Honor Harrington book. Both the Bazhzell and HH series have lived on their great action scenes. Well, the last HH book (war of honor) had virtually no action until the final few chapters, and neither does this Bahzell book. How little? This book has 46 chapters. Bahzell does not draw his sword in anger for the first time until chapter 41, Kerry, not until chapter 44. Most of the rest of the book is dialogue. And not particularly interesting or amusing dialogue either. Those of you who follow the HH series might be thinking about the dejavu of that. Weber also spent virtually his entire last book on dialogue, and not very interesting dialogue there, either.
Others have noted the plot line involving Leeana, the teen war maid. I found it intensely dull, and by mid book was not even bothering to skim any more - I was skipping all the scenes of her entirely. Unfortunately, if other reviewers are right, Weber is setting her and the boring war maids up as the centrepiece of at least the next novel. Sad, very sad.
This book could have been awesome. I had expected to see scenes of the high and mighty Sothoi trying to wrap their minds around Bahzell and company. We got little of that, and not cleverly done either. Maybe Weber is losing his touch. I'd hoped to see something of what the Hradani were building with the war done, as well, but we got nothing there.
Don't get me wrong; this book is worth reading. There are some decent scenes and - leaving aside the girl Leeana - the rest is fairly readable. But you might want to wait for the paperback version. And watch out if there's another book and it features the boring young Leeana.

Dead Famous
Dead Famous
by Carol Oconnell
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying, Oct. 10 2003
This review is from: Dead Famous (Hardcover)
Kathleen Mallory is a splendid, complex character any writer would love to develop stories around. I would _love_ to read more about her. Think of the possibilities! Kathy with a girl friend her own age, with a boyfriend, confounded by things she doesn't understand, progressing in her journey to humanity. This book has the possibilities, the hint of such a story: Kathleen the sociopath vs another sociopath. Unfortunately, we get only glimpses of what might have been. In fact, we get little more than glimpses of Kathleen.
This is the kind of story an editor loves, the kind of writing literature professors use as examples of fine prose. O'Connell's writing is top notch, as always, written with beautiful form. Unfortunately, it's like she's playing to those who admire the way you tell a story, rather than the story. So she neglects the substance for the style.
The story is complex, as is usual for the Mallory series, but spends far more time on secondary characters, and FAR too much time on their various neuroses and phsychological defects. This entire book is about psychological problems. It seems, at times, that we go from exploring one person's traumas to another's insanity, and spend a lot of time with one character or other talking about or thinking about this.
The actual mystery, the supposed major plot line, is secondary. And not all that important, anyway. This book is about psychological trauma and insanity, not murder. It starts out with Ryker traumatized and broken, and Mallory unhappy, and pretty much ends up that way. Along the journey a mystery clears itself up with little help from Mallory or Ryker and not very much suspense of tension - and certainly very little action. The ending is telegraphed, drawn out, anti-climactic, and wholly unsatisfying.
I read O'Connell's previous Mallory novels cover to cover, loving the emotional elements of a fine and beautiful character. This one I put down for days at a time, bored. If you're a literature student and want to admire fine writing, get this book. If you want entertainment, however, look elsewhere. O'Connell's intent here appears to be on something other than satisfying her readers.

Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of 'The Wheel of Time'
Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of 'The Wheel of Time'
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.76
103 used & new from CDN$ 2.89

1.0 out of 5 stars Jordan cures insomnia, Feb. 15 2003
I absolutely loved the early books in this series, and have read them again and again. Through seven books Jordan delivered a sweeping story filled with action, excitement and suspense. I don't know what happened after that, but the series has deteriorated ever since. This book is so slow moving that by its end no one in the book except those involved even know about the climactic events of the previous book. More minor plots are begun, with none of the previous ones closed. None of the major plots moves forward. None of the major characters does, says or experiences anything particularly interesting. There is no action, and no suspense. After following this series for ten books and some 6,000 - 7,000 pages, I'm dropping out. Somewhere out there are writers who care enough about their readers to tell a good story. I'm going to stop wasting time on Jordan and go find them.

Red Rabbit
Red Rabbit
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.19
101 used & new from CDN$ 2.72

1.0 out of 5 stars Plodding and Predictable, Jan. 1 2003
This review is from: Red Rabbit (Hardcover)
It's difficult to create tension when you backdate your story and focus on an assassination everyone already knows failed. But it is possible. Clancy did not do so here. Everything surrounding the plot is predictable, and there is virtually no tension in the storyline. This could have been made a much better book. Clancy focussed on the efforts to get a defector and his family out, which leaves ample room for tension, but then he made the operation utterly without danger, and we were told this frequently while the operation was going on. There was no suspicious KGB type hot on their heels, so to speak, no shootouts at midnight, no running through darekened streets, no action, in fact, of any kind. And then, at the end, what is our reward? The Pope gets shot anyway, of course, so where is the victory? If you were disappointed, as I was, with Rainbow Six, well, this one is much worse than that, and would probably never have been published if Clancy's name hadn't been attached.

WAR OF HONOR
WAR OF HONOR
by DAVID WEBER
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.24
58 used & new from CDN$ 3.35

3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, Oct. 8 2002
This review is from: WAR OF HONOR (Hardcover)
...His bad guys are cliches this time around, utterly brainless liberals in a coalition govt with vicious, idiotic conservatives, both of them so corrupt, so incompetent in every possible way, you have to wonder how their government has possibly survived this long. We see and hear far too much of these people, and too little of Honor. Honor is unfortunately still involved in that uncomfortable, pointless almost-romance with White Haven so what we do see of her is less than enjoyable for the first part of the book. Things do pick up when she moves out to Silesia, however, and the book moves much faster after that.
Still, there is not enough action in this book, and what there is of it leaves one feeling less than fulfilled, with misled good guys of noble intent killing badly led good guys of noble intent and vice versa. Weber needs to find another evil regime to replace the wonderful People's Republic, or at least a group of murderous aliens. The Sollies are clearly going to be the next bad guys, but Weber is taking a wretchedly long time setting them up for it.

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