Welcome to A Cynic's Reading. Your quickstop guide to fast reviews. Of course, with all reviews these are a matter of opinion, and if yours differs, and even if it doesn't, drop me a comment. I'd love to get a group discussion going on in here. Or just fire my any questions you may have.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's new

I finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and updated that review. I'm still working on Generation Me and I'm starting The Child Thief by Brom. So expect to see that one up soon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reading: Generation Me

Generation Me, by, Jean M. Twenge Ph.D

Classification: non-fiction and essays

First Impression: An insightful look on "why today's young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled--and more miserable than ever before" by a young American Ph.D. that knows a lot more on the subject than I do. And yes, I know I stole that right from the cover, but after reading a bit into the book, it seems to sum it up pretty well.

Final Verdict:

Extended version:

Finished: The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind, by, Patrick Rothfuss

Classification: fantasy

First Impression: It has a map in the first pages. Maps are always nice. The book has a very interesting, and I must say, unique set-up. It is obvious that Rothfuss really thought a lot about his story. On the fifty-third page in I actually got goosebumps, and then the story began for real. That is about the highest praise I can ever give something, it only occurs when I am stimulated by something utterly mind blowing. I think I am going to enjoy this book, but we shall see.

Final Verdict: As I suspected. I very thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I had to stop reading everything else, because The Name of the Wind was just that absorbing. As mentioned above, Rothfuss provides one of the most unique and engaging hooks I've ever read in a fantasy book. Beyond that his story is very well thought out and very excellently written. The characters from the significant to the trivial all come alive in the descriptions, no matter how few sentences are given to them.

Extended version: Not a lot more to be said here that I haven't already at least that I can think of right now. I'll probably have to read this book again later down the road, before I can hope to be objective.


I seem to be unable to get the search feature I just added to the blog to work properly. Hopefully I'll be able to get it set up so that you can search for reviews by the book and/or the author's name.

Also I've already started reading the Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, so I'll put those two up later. I also wanted to do the two books I read prior to Narcissus in Chains and Perfect Match, but I won't promise anything except a "we'll see".

Finished: Perfect Match

Perfect Match, by, Jodi Picoult

Classification: modern court drama fiction

First Impression: A realistic and saddening tale that everyone should probably read.

Final Verdict: The writing was good and Picoult really supplemented her story by putting in a lot of research for her factual details. However, one too many plot twists early in the book and a main character that to me was totally unlikeable really had me asking myself "why do I care?"

Extended version: And in the end, I simply didn't care. I read the last half of the book just rooting for the main character to get what she deserved. Picoult clearly intended to spark some mild controversy with this book, and whether or not she succeeded I can clearly see how views may widely differ. I didn't like the book at all, but I'm glad I read it, and even halfway through when my opinions started becoming very clear to me, I never considered not finishing it. I still think everyone should probably give it a read, even if I wouldn't actively seek to recommend it.

As always if anyone wants to ask me something specifically about this book, or share thoughts of your own, by all means, please fire away. It's why I am doing this.

In the meanwhile, I have a question for the rest of you. Do you think the pictures should be bigger, smaller, or are okay as is?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finished: Narcissus In Chains

Narcissus In Chains, by, Laurell K. Hamilton

Classification: Supernatural urban fiction.

First Impression: A steaming pile of garbage writing trying to hide behind a lot of homo-eroticism.

Final Verdict: Decent action and an interesting story balance out bad writing moments and unlikable characters. I'm considering delving more into the series, so it wasn't god-awful, but I can't say it was great either.

Extended version: I dunno. Maybe never having read any other book in Hamilton's Anita Blake series (or any book by Hamilton for that matter) I shouldn't have started with the tenth in a series of, I believe, fourteen and counting novels. Then again, I really enjoy reading series' out of order. However, I couldn't help but feel that Hamilton was just not that good. I can see how her books would appeal to the same crowd that devours the trashy romance novels, but I never suspected that was the same crowd that loved vampires, werewolves, and violence.

Why am I being so harsh? Well the majority of her characters were really annoying. Especially the heroine Anita Blake, for some reason, Hamilton really wanted to beat the idea into the reader that Blake had a problem with nudity. Never mind the fact that she was often finding some kinky excuse to take off her clothes and get down and dirty, she still had to drive the point home that she was very uncomfortable with it. Over, and over, and over again.

I got the idea the first time she told me. Rereading it every few pages just got old fast. I suppose I should give her credit for her consistently trying to show her character's quirk, but I can't help but feel there was a much better way she could have conveyed it without such monotony.

To be honest, after six hundred plus pages I really felt like the only things Blake ever thought to herself were "I don't like getting naked" and "I'm afraid I'm a sociopath." I guess we could say I just didn't like Anita Blake, but I really feel like the reason for that was simply the author's unoriginal attempts at trying to show her struggle with her humanity, or lack thereof as the case may be. Especially because the rest of the novel showed Anita's internal struggle and her intricacies fairly well without the commentary akin to being beaten over the head with a mallet. Maybe her typical readers are used to having the same thing reiterated over and over. Maybe it's just me. I don't know...

The other thing I really could not stand about Hamilton's writing is how despite having numerous graphic sex scenes she manages to shy away from ever giving name to either the male or female genitalia. Instead of naming the parts she was so eloquently describing she would use such lovely nouns as "it" or "him". She actually managed to go the entire book without a single direct reference to either the male or female reproductive organs although she could describe how they looked. I would have even preferred something as bland as "his penis was inserted..." to a complete avoidance of the fact that these things have names. I can only read "The sight of him..." so many times, when it was clearly referring to a penis, before I just wanted to gag. That or give Hamilton a serious lecture on the importance of refraining from monotony in her writing. Either way, it felt almost juvenile in delivery. It reminded me of prepubescent school children snickering behind the teacher's back in health class when they discussed the human anatomy. I don't know how else to say it; it bothered me.

All complaining aside, however; the action and the story though not anything spectacular was entertaining enough to keep my interest despite the story's flaws. I even will go as far to say I may give more books in her series a chance later on.

That's it for me right now. I also just finished Jodi Picoult's Perfect Match I'll have that review up later.

What to expect.

Well, I tend to read a lot of fiction and fantasy, so don't be surprised if that's what the majority of the books listed fall under. I do however, read more than just that.

So here's what you can expect from the format. I'll list the book and author and give a picture of the cover when I can. At least until someone yells at me and says stop using their pictures.

I'll also try to classify as to what relative genre category I think the book falls under. Think something along the lines as an "appeals to" section without me trying to assume too much. Then I'll give you my first impression after reading just the first few chapters.

When I finish the book. I'll come back to the posts and add my final thoughts, and if I'm in the mood to rant, I may even give an extension.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Cynic's Reading

Hello, and welcome to A Cynic's Reading. Here I'll be giving brief blurbs and sharing my thoughts on the books that I currently have my face stuck into for anyone that might be interested.