Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book Reviews

I read a lot going into and during my winter vacation.  Here are the titles of two books with my thoughts.

Fatal Revenant - The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson

I've read this entire Thomas Covenant series which is up to 8 books now.  This is the second book of the four book Last Chronicles.  I never really got into the fantasy genre, but I really enjoyed these fantasy adventures as a teenager.  Maybe I'm older now or maybe Donaldson needed a few more paychecks, but I didn't enjoy this one all the way through.  He spends too much time on fillers and repeating the character's motivations and thoughts.  I was looking for more action.  Thankfully, the end of the book provided it.  The end also provided a pretty serious hook to get me started on the next book (impending end of both worlds will do that).  Looking back, it was worth the time.  I'm hoping that there is more planned for the 3rd and 4th books.  I already know I will have to read them.  What is a revenant anyway?

1421 - The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies

I'm a history guy.  I like reading good stories and learning why things are the way they are.  I loved the biographies of Ben Franklin and Alexander the Great.  I like knowing something about the places I visit.  Through the years, I thought I had picked up a pretty good basic knowledge of world history with a deep pocket here and there.  1421 changed a ton of that.  It had me saying "Holy Shit!" and stopping the wife to tell her the discoveries several times during the reading.  Miesies' explanations of why the European adventurers of the 15th and 16th centuries did what they did.  They were not ignorant people.  For instance, Columbus did know how big the world was and where America was. Magellan knew where to find the straight that is now named for him, and Cook didn't discover Australia. he had a map of it!  This book is tight story telling (for the first half anyway) and a very enjoyable read.  After you read this one, you will never trust another historian.

I'm currently reading Menzies' follow-up book, 1434.  I'll post my comments when I'm finished.

BTW, a revenant is a person or ghost who returns, in case you were wondering.

1 comment:

KenP said...

I too enjoyed the earlier works more than the later. But, I guess I could say that about most of the trilogy-gazology stuff that makes up a lot of the genre.

The other sounds quite interesting, if a bit like Roswell or Nazca line stuff.