Profile for sysgen > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by sysgen
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,046,396
Helpful Votes: 0

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
sysgen

Page: 1
pixel
The Wild Shore: Three Californias
The Wild Shore: Three Californias
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from CDN$ 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What would you have done?, March 15 2001
This story takes place in post apocalyptic California. What I liked about the book was the characters and the woven world. Both were very real to me. The book is told from the perspective of the protagonist Henry and told in the first person. I have always prefered books in the first person as I am able to better connect with the character from whose perspective the story is being told. I don't think this book could of been written any other way. KSR paints an incredible picture of post apocalyptic California as you, the reader, and Henry, the protagonist, experience life in a world in what one hopes will never come to be. But, if it did, would it be like this? Perhaps. The story is strong and believeable, the characters as I have said are real and you easily get wrapped up in their lives. No super hero or villian types. Normal people struggling to survive. You get a real glimpse KSR's post apocalyptic California (and World to a small degree). I have never been to California, but through this book I was able to walk the shoreline, climb the cliffs, fish its waters and breathe its air. True, I wouldn't want to be there given the circumstances, but it was all very real. A very compelling read. Recommended for middle teens to adults.

Ship of Destiny: The Liveship Traders Book Three
Ship of Destiny: The Liveship Traders Book Three
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Hardcover
30 used & new from CDN$ 1.19

2.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment., March 10 2001
1st off the first book was great. However, it has been downhill from there. Another step down from Book 2. Book 2 was a step down from Book 1.
Rape has no place in this book (Shame !!). One reviewer wrote here that this was a fun book. Rape is a significant theme in this book. The fact that it happens and how the character struggles with its consequences does not make Ship of Destiny a fun book. The series is pretty much light fantasy and rape is just too strong a subject for this series. Further, and parents be warned, this book left me disturbed. This theme was not at all necessary and should not of been included. It is controversial and unwarranted in a light fantasy novel and will more than likely to keep the whole series from being considered classic fantasy.
I felt that Bingtown politics had not much drama. I thought the author tried hard to make it work, but it never happened for me. There was no political intrigue and there was just too much of it.
Unfortunately, not at the end of any one chapter did SOD leave me on the seat of my pants. Some suspense would of did much for the book, but there wasn't any.
Eventually SOD does get going. Robin Hobb has a definite talent for making the live ships seem very life like. Her dragon Tintaglia is captivating and entrances the reader so, that I felt I was under a spell whenever she spoke. Unfortunately though, there just isn't enough. I wanted more Tintaglia and I didn't get it.
I wanted more of the serpents. I wanted more of Maulkin and Shreever, but that didn't happen. The author just stops writing about them. I was wrapped up in their quest. For the sparse times when they were part of the story, I read fanatically and I always wanted more. Eventually the author does them a great injustice by wrapping up their plight in a page and a half. I felt a whole book could of been written about these wonderfully unique characters. Maulkin is a very deep character. A serpent you say? Yes a serpent, a prophet, a being that has a vision and a leader. You reading this might think I'm crazy, but Moses and his people's flight to the promised land came to mind. It is a captivating plot line but theres hardly any of it when you consider the size of three books.
When authors choose to write multi-books, they need to keep the reader reading and interested. Robin Hobb lost me several times here. I found myself skimming or skipping many pages at a time because I just didn't care or I felt what she was writing about had no impact on the story. I felt that she was writing just to write and that she just wanted to fill some pages at the expense of the reader and that was a shame. The first book Ship of Magic was literally magic. It was special because of the depth and development of the characters, but too much depth can be a death senetence for a book and I felt that was what happened here.
The ending I felt had too many inconsistencies and many a story line is just left out on the clothesline.
A waste. What could of been. What could of been.

Ship of Magic: The Liveship Traders
Ship of Magic: The Liveship Traders
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.92
69 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars What a nice surprise., Sept. 9 2000
Having never have read a work by this author or for that matter a fantasy written by a woman, I was simply blown away by how SOM drew me in. This book turned out to be a page-turner for me. Even during the scenes with Malta which were for the most part I considered teenage girl problems I found myself flipping pages faster than fast food establishments turn out hamburgers. SOM's most attractive feature is that it is a dramatic sea going adventure full of pirates, traders and their ships, and yes sea serpents who also have a quest of their own (though not as richly detailed as of yet). The richness of the characters developed is simply spectacular and I don't believe that to be an understatement. The concept of the liveships is handled quite nicely as this could of turned out to be silly. The liveships interact with the characters both physically and emotionally so that you really care about them. While reading I drew an analogy to the voidhawks of Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn Trilogy and the liveships in SOM. Of course this is fantasy, but if you are not a fan or have not read a book of this genre, I think that Ship of Magic would still be a very good read.
SOM has some very grisly scenes that animal rights activists would not be too happy about and that their is also human suffering described in uncomfortable detail. Of course the word fantasy tends to imply happy, but some of the material in SOM is disturbing.
Never the less, I did enjoy the book and am looking forward to reading Mad Ship.

The Dark Beyond the Stars: A Novel
The Dark Beyond the Stars: A Novel
by Frank M. Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.69
19 used & new from CDN$ 10.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, July 13 2000
I enjoyed this book immensely. The Dark Beyond The Stars made me think about what it means to have LIFE. This is a beautiful book whose ending brought tears to my eyes. It is a book not just about life, but also about death. I enjoyed the first person narration as well as the author's pacing and resolution. I love books that make you think and this was one whose primary question I will think about perhaps for the rest of my life. The Dark Beyond The Stars made an impact on me and I think that any authors greatest achievement. Simply a powerful novel. It is ashame that works like this share the same genre with campy sciece fiction "thrillers". Robinson's Sparrow was as good for me as Zelazny's Corwin (Amber) or Wolfe's Severian (Shadow). The story stays with Sparrow and never drifts so you can latch onto Sparrow and enjoy the read.

The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance
The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.12
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.34

4.0 out of 5 stars No need to be a music lover or a physicist., July 5 2000
I do not include music or physics among my interests, yet I enjoyed MOW. The book really makes you think about the way things are (or appear to be). Since this book is about a musician, and you do read it as opposed to listening to it, the author wonderfully conveys the essence and the power of music. For this alone this book is a must read. After reading of one of the concerts in the book, I was left absolutley floored as the narrative was that powerful. This was the first KSR book I have read. I was very impressed with the connection the author made with me. KSR uniquely addresses the reader at various points throughout the book and that added to my reading experience. Some of the physics theory really slowed me down as I struggled to understand as much as I could. All in all a very engaging and thought provoking work.

The Order War
The Order War
by L. E. Modesitt
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.99
53 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately Delivers, But ...., Jan. 19 2000
In my opinion, a step down in the quality of the series thus far. Though fantasy, Modesitt asks his Order War readers to accept a lot. At times he justifies his main characters actions which says to me that either the story has some holes which he needs to fill quickly or the plot and his character (in this case Justen) are not developed enough to make the story unfold. I found my self thinking while I read that this doesn't quite make sense. I understand it is fantasy, but I have come to expect a certain quality from Modesitt's Recluce, as the author to this point in the series has set. I cannot elaborate further without giving away the book. With that much said, I did finish the last half of the book in a day, and as usual Modesitt delivers in the end. I found the ending to Order War excellent and up to par with the rest of the series.
Order War is about Justen, the first gray wizard. Recluce veterans will remember Justen from the first written Recluce book, "The Magic of Recluce". Order War takes place chronologically before MOR and here we get to see how Justen becomes a gray wizard. All in all a decent read for series veterans.

The Magic Engineer: Recluce #3
The Magic Engineer: Recluce #3
by L. E. Modesitt
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars War Is Hell, Great Book, Jan. 6 2000
This being the 5th book of my Recluse voyage, I must say that I consider myself a veteran of the series. I have read Fall of Angels and The Chaos Balance, The Magic of Recluse and The Towers of the Sunset. Readers new to the series may wonder where to start. A good site that has the order the books were written in is has the chronological list if you choose to read them that way, suggest reading the books in the order that they were written. In my opinion the Magic Engineer is the best of the 5 that I have read to date and its main character Dorrin, is my favorite.
The Magic Engineer centers around a young healer named Dorrin. Dorrin is more than a healer. He is an inventor, a blacksmith, an engineer, a military engineer, a lover and a wizard of order. The themes of order versus chaos are prevalent as it is in all the Recluce books. Modesitt's Reluse series is after all based on his clever order - chaos (good and evil) paradigm and the effects of the world when the order - chaos balance is disturbed. The primary theme throughout the story is young Dorrin's desire to create machines, which by their nature use chaos. Dorrin, being an order wizard, is promptly exiled until he puts more thought into how his machines will play upon his worlds delicate balance between order and chaos. I cannot do this theme justice in trying to describe it, but Modesitt is brilliant in weaving order and chaos and their underlying principles throughout the story.
The story is more than a seminar on order and chaos though. There is a major and extremely bloody war which Dorrin plays a prominent part in. Dorrin as a healer touched me a lot. There is a love story which has major issues. Through all of my Recluse readings, Modesitt wraps his characters in real world issues experienced by many of us. Yes, the book is fantasy, but Modesitt makes us think about why his characters do what they do. How they feel when they do something. How others perceive their actions and the consequences or benefits derived.
Modesitt is not an author that makes things up as he writes. There is a tremendous amount of thought and creativity put into the Recluse books. Because it is a series and because the books are not written chronologically, Modesitt ensures that everything comes together and his world remains consistent and true. There are no holes. In The Magic of Recluse, we read of young Lerris in the city of Nylan and reading The Basis of Order. In the Magic Engineer, you get to see how Nylan was founded and how The Basis of Order was authored. It is great when an author cares about his readers and that is plainly evident.
The Magic Engineer, like Fall Of Angels, has a blacksmith. Modesitt has substantial knowledge of this and other trades which is demonstrated by his writings. It is fresh to read not just that a character created something, but how it was created. The materials that were needed, the design. The recognition that a mistake may have been made in its creation, that there might be a better way to do it or that someone else may be better off doing it next time.
What really makes this book great is that Dorrin is a good person, he loves animals, he helps people, he is patriotic to his homeland and he works hard. He is also referred to as a monster, selfish and the devil himself. How can this be? Read and find out. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Page: 1