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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Earthworld by Jaquelyn Rayner

Earthworld by Jaquelyn Rayner is exactly the kind of Doctor Who I like. A crazy plot with a lot of action, wit, and twists. She effectively kept me on my toes the whole time (well…I did figure out one of the twists, but I’m convinced the Doctor already saw it coming and that the President of New Jupiter didn’t because he was just a naive moron).

New Jupiter has tried to create Earthworld, a theme park based on every era of Earth’s history. However, the only piece of history they seem to have kind of right is Elvis as King during the 20th century. And the President’s three daughters (really one human split into three bodies – you’ll found out how/why once you read the book) are bent on killing and torturing everyone and everything for their own amusement. The Doctor, and his companions, Ftiz and Anji, must sort it all out.

*Spoilers*(voice and wink by River fully intended) The Knights of the Round Table scenario was completely genius and rather funny. The citizens of New Jupiter have a very different version of the Knights of the Round Table, specifically the part where Morgan Le Fay is actually three people: Morgan, Leigh, and Fay. The Doctor and his companions use this false yarn to their advantage, as the androids they are fighting are Knights of the Round Table and the three evil triplets. (You’ll have to read the book to truly understand. There are so many intricacies that nothing makes sense when one is just talking about it.)

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The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

The House on Tradd Street is a beautifully written book, but I had two problems with it. 1) The main character, Melanie Middleton was 39 years old and acted like a 29-year-old, so that was hard for me to come to terms with, even though it was mentioned in nearly every chapter (this last bit was a minor issue), and 2) The main character acted like a very immature 29-year-old 90% of the time. However, Karen White does do a fantastic job of incorporating the supernatural in a way that is not at all cheesy and very believable, and she is able to make the threads of the supernatural twine beautifully with the mystery surrounding Melanie’s newly inherited old house and her multiple (un)love interests.

Karen White is one of my favorite authors, and I cannot wait to read the next installment in the Melanie Middleton series, The Girl on Legare, which I believe will focus on Melanie’s relationship with her mother (The House on Tradd focused on her broken relationship with her father), and her dead grandmother, who lived in the house on Legare.

Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronvitch

I did not like this book.

I do not like the Daleks. It’s not because they freak me out, it’s because I believe the detract from the witty sarcasm of Doctor Who that I find attractive. The only episode of Doctor Who that I ever liked with Daleks was Clara’s debut as Oswin Oswald in “Asylum of the Daleks,” mainly because Clara was so cheeky, and the plot had a twist that blew my mind. This book, by Ben Aaronvitch did not have a stunning plot twist, and I found myself confused for more than half of it between who the leader of the renegade Daleks and the leader of the Imperial Daleks were.

That is all.

Players by Terrance Dicks

As you probably know by now, I’m a nerd…and a big part of being a nerd (for me) is Doctor Who. As such, I set myself the task to read all of the 50th Anniversary books by the Christmas regeneration special. Good news: I’m right on track.

I found this book, Players, to be really fascinating. It took real history – Winston Churchill, Hitler, the Boer War, WWI/WWII – and fictionalised it. Frankly, it enlightened me as I’d never heard of the Boer War, and it kind of rekindled my passion for history. In general, I’m not a big fan of 20th century history. I don’t like flamethrowers. That last remark isn’t so irrelevant if you think about it. But Players, by Terrance Dicks, kind of made me see the romance and mystery of that time period.

Before I started the 6th Doctor’s representative story, I was starting to become bored with the 50th Anniversary lineup. Now, however, I’m hopeful this kind of writing will continue with the 7th Doctor in Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronovitch.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I’d always meant to read Brandon Sanderson. Well, not always, but for the last three years. Mistborn was introduced to me by a college friend. So I bought it. Then, it stood on my bookshelf for three years. It’s still standing there.

I picked up Elantris a few months ago when I was wandering around Barnes and Noble. Sanderson’s name was in my mind because I had recently heard about a new book set to come out, SteelheartElantris seemed like it was right up my alley. I desperately wanted to read a fantasy, but didn’t want to commit myself to a 30-book series (some exaggeration intended). I began reading a little over a month ago, and even though Orson Scott Card had a lot of great things to say about the book, I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I wanted for 300 pages, wavering on the brink of setting the book down for good, to finally be hooked.

That being said, I greatly enjoyed the final 300 pages. There were so many twists and turns, and *spoiler alert* at the very end when I was actually sure all was lost, and was attempting to give up hope, just as Galladon was, Raoden saved the day. I actually felt a little lost when the book ended. I haven’t experienced that since January when I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. *Mental note* I need to start that series again.

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack

When I first began reading The Pentrals by Crystal Mack, I was very much caught up in the idea of shadows having not only thoughts, but personalities as well.  At a young age, I often believed that my shadow was a real person. I would hold conversations with my shadow, albeit, one-sided. So after the first few pages of The Pentrals, I was hooked.

Some readers might argue that a book with a shadow as the main character would be boring. However, just as I began to feel the whole experience was becoming mundane, Mack switched up the plot in a way that I never saw coming.

The Pentrals is more than just a cute tale about a shadow and its Person. It deals with much deeper queries: Have we lived before, and if so, do we occasionally remember those past lives?  And do those past lives influence our present life and possibly future lives?

The beauty of The Pentrals does not show itself in the plot; in fact, it does not show itself in the characters, either. Its beauty appears in the quiet and yet disturbing way Mack describes the life of a Pentral – forced to fix itself to a body or object for eternity and mimic every movement. It’s hard enough to create a realistic character, or even create a character of the opposite gender of the author, but Mack takes a shadow, an inanimate object, and turns it into a living, breathing being, with thoughts and emotions, hopes and dreams, goals and aspirations. She gives this murky gray character a past and substance. This shadow, this Pentral, becomes the star of the book: Antares.

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