May 2017

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(I should have posted this at the start of the month, but got caught up in sorting the holiday. Oops!).

Another busy month in May, and with the weather getting nicer I’m managing to get out for more walks, which in turn means I’m getting to listen to some more audiobooks. It also means I’m not staying in watching as many movies/TV shows or playing as many games…

Books Read
13 books read in May, which is back to around what I expect to read in a month, and it’s bringing me back up to schedule:
2017-3838. Line War by Neal Asher – Asher’s finale to the Cormac series, and frankly terrific. He manages to bring together many plot lines while also nailing the entertainment factor throughout. Great stuff.
2017-3939. For We Are Many by Dennis E Taylor – the sequel to We Are Legion (We Are Bob), and it continues the story of the Bob’s and their role in exploring the galaxy and helping humankind. Just as much fun as the first, and it leaves me wanting much more.
2017-4040. The Island Deception by Dan Koboldt – Koboldt’s sequel to The Rogue Retrieval, one of my favourite books from last year, and it manages to keep the story flowing nicely. With a little more exploration of the magic users of Alissia, and a few other interesting developments, I can see this rating highly on my best-of list come year-end.
2017-4141. Change Agent by Daniel Suarez – a very good novel with some really interesting takes on bio-engineering and human genome modification. There were a few parts here and there that felt a little different to the rest of the story, but they were mainly bridging sections where the setting was very different. There was also a couple of instances were logic was put to one side, mainly due to the fact that the main character has his face plastered across media, yet it’s ignored to forward specific events. On the whole though, very enjoyable.
2017-4242. Predator: Incursion by Tim Lebbon – a re-read of the first Rage War novel, and while enjoyable I did have a few issues with it, mostly to do with the timeframe and setting – it just didn’t quite feel right to me.
2017-4343. Alien: Invasion by Tim Lebbon – the second Rage War novel, and it suffers from the same problems as Predator: Incursion in it doesn’t really do the source matter justice. The Aliens are simply a weapon of the Rage, which ultimately takes away much of what is so interesting about them.
2017-4444. Vanguard by Jack Campbell – Campbell’s new novel in his Lost Fleet setting, this time a prequel set around the time that the Alliance and Syndicate Worlds are forming. Very good, with some truly great sections, though it’s closer to his Lost Stars books than the Lost Fleet ones.
2017-4545. Alien vs Predator: Armageddon by Tim Lebbon – a good conclusion to the series, but overall I’d say the Rage War trilogy was just okay. For me the Predators worked fine, but I wasn’t overly impressed with how the Aliens were used. Ah well.
2017-4646. Fight and Flight by Scott Meyer – I enjoyed this very much, though it isn’t as good as the previous books in the Magic 2.0 series. I’m not sure if this is because I was expecting more, or because the story is not quite as interesting and engaging as the others. This one is basically where the wizards decide that they need to train with some offensive magic seeing as they’ve been in pretty dire situations in the past, which leads them to creating dragons via a specific macro so that they can train against and that then causes more dragons to randomly appear around the country. Cue hilarity as they split up to track down and eliminate the dragons. It’s got some truly funny bits, some where I just couldn’t stop smiling at, but ultimately it’s the characters that make this novel, not the story.
2017-4747. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch – I enjoyed this more than Red Seas Under Red Skies, but not quite as much as The Lies of Locke Lamora. It could have had a touch more depth to the 5 year game, but ultimately it entertained very much. Looking forward to where the series goes from here.
2017-4848. Empire in Crisis by Dietmar Wehr – here’s a good novel with some potential, but it really could do with some polishing and expansion on Earth’s history and how everything came to be the way it is. Enjoyable though, and I had a blast reading it.
2017-4949. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley – I enjoyed this and found it very different to the usual SF I read, though not always in a good way. I do like at least some explanations present in my science fiction, and the way this was told included none at all – just take it as you find it. To be honest, it’s more like fantasy in space than anything else.
2017-5050. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar – A really good novella here that is a perfect example of why I enjoy King’s writing, and the collaboration with Chizmar is not as obvious as you may think. Definitely recommended.

Reviews Posted
I few more reviews getting finished and posted in April, and I’m now completely up-to-date:
Gridlinked by Neal Asher
The Island Deception by Dan Koboldt
Vanguard by Jack Campbell
The Line of Polity by Neal Asher

Movies Watched
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – I think I expected something different from this and it was nowhere near as good as I had heard. Disappointing.
Alien Covenant – I have lots of opinions about this film, but I really need to watch it a second time. Suffice to say that it’s definitely a sequel to Prometheus, and it could have really done without the classic xenomorph – it jumped too quickly to it when it could have taken it’s time and introduced it in the next film.
Lucky Number Slevin – a re-watch here, though it was years ago that I first saw this film. Despite how light-hearted it comes across at times it’s quite shocking to see the change by the end. Great stuff.

TV Shows Watched
Castle (season 8) – finally got around to finishing the final season of Castle. It was good, but that final episode was ruined by the clearly added-on scene at the end. It would have been better to have left it without that.
The Big Bang Theory (season 10) – another year, another season of The Big Bang Theory. I enjoy the show, though it really isn’t the same as it used to be.
Community (season 6) – another show I finally got around to watching the final season of, and while good, it wasn’t quite as good as the previous seasons. A shame that more cast members dropped out of this return.
Elementary (season 4) – this is perhaps my favourite Sherlock-related show on TV, and even one of my favourite shows full-stop. Miller is excellent as Holmes, while Liu is a great Watson. The whole dynamic between these characters makes it a must-watch show for me. I now really need to get to season 5…

Games Played
Endless Space – I’m a big fan of Civ 5, but not so much of Beyond Earth, so when I saw this game for a mere £1 on Steam I knew I had to try it. 100 hours later and must say I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it, but I think I’m at the end of my time with it now. Looking forward to getting the sequel though.
Resident Evil 5 – I decided I fancied playing this again seeing as I never really completed it the first time I played many years ago. Still as good as I remember, but must knuckle down to push through to the end.

Other Stuff
June is honeymoon time! We’re off on a lovely two-week cruise during the first half of the month, and I expect the second half to be busy catching up with everything. Cannot wait for a break!

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