Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Reviews - Aristotle, Andriods, and a Dead Vampire Hunter

Amazingly, I finished up THREE books since last Tuesday. Considering I have other things to do during the day as well, this amazes me just a little bit. And while I may not do this with any of the other books I read this year, I thought it might be fun to write up short reviews of each book.

Up first is Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno. Obviously, I'm not a screenwriter, even if I do want to try ScriptFrency in April. However, it seems that the essentials of storytelling are the same, regardless of the medium. This book is a concise, easy read that covers the essentials. I found it helpful enough that it's going on my reference shelf. I would have really liked it if he had gone into a bit more detail with some of his examples, but I'd still recommend the book to other beginning writers.Oh, and apparently Doug Clegg recommended the actual Poetics. My goof. Having him comment on my blog absolutely made my morning. :-) Now I have to decide if I'm up to reading the Poetics anytime soon. It's been awhile since my brain had to tackle any writing quite that complex.

The second book I finished was Andre Norton's Andriod At Arms, originally published in 1971. That the book is dated is obvious in the reading, placing itself easily after the beginning of the space age and before the era of the space shuttle - rockets "fin down" when they land - but the essence of the story still holds up over time. The setting is pure Sci Fi/Fantasy, with the main setting possessing a mix of "space age" techonology as well that of a more archaic/medieval time. Norton is such a deft storyteller that it works. I found myself caring about the main characters and believing in the world.

To briefly fill you in on the book, a group of captives on a very hostile planet are freed by a violent lightening strike. Coming from disparate worlds, they all work to return to their original homes. The story eventually focuses on our main character, a prince and future emporer, and his new companion/blood brother, as he tries to regain his throne. Our creative and capable prince finds himself in an alternate dimension where his world is being torn asunder by ultimate war between good and evil. Toss in the fact that the prince isn't sure if he's the real Prince Andas or an andriod and you want to keep reading to the end.

This was the first book in my list for the A-Z Writing Challenge, making me think I'm off to a good start.

The third book I finished up last night. It's the debut novel of Kelly Meding called Three Days to Dead. My husband requested this book via OhioLink and read it in a couple evenings, which means that it's an easy read. It's also a lot of fun. I liked that it was an urban fantasy with a happy-ish ending.

Evy Stone is a Hunter who, along with her Triad companions, deals with the Dregs of the Fey world - half-vampires, goblins, gremlins, etc.. - who don't play nicely with us humans. At least, she's a Hunter until her two companions are killed in an ambush and she's framed for the deed. Oh, and she dies horribly at the hands of a Goblin queen and comes back resurrected in another, recently dead body. But she's only got three days to figure out what's going on and setting it to rights. As I said, it's great fun and we're now off to track down the second in the series, As Lie the Dead.

Next up is a Mercedes Lackey short story recommended by Kate that retells the Persephone myth, followed by another book from Norton. I just haven't decided yet if I want to read them in alphabetically order or by series, which means I'll either tackle Black Tryllyam or Wraiths of Time.

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