Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

Native Tongue
Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

11. Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

Genre: Science Fiction, Distopia
Pages: 324
Acquired: 12/30/2010
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I have/read it: Group Read, TIOLI
Series: Native Tongue (1)

The majority (and important part) of this book takes place about 200 years from now. The world has changed dramatically. Aliens are our trading partners and women have been relegated to the role of perpetual child. All their rights have been removed and they are allowed to do nothing without permission from their male relatives. The Linguists, a group of families that devote their time to the aquisition of new alien languages, are the prime focus of the book, and we learn many fascinating things about the theories behind linguistics throughout.

The group read had so much to say that I find it hard to rate this book. While the characters were for the most part flat and unchanging, I feel that they were written that way for some purpose. There is not a single male character that pulls the sympathy of the reader even a little, and even the females tend to lack the spark to draw the reader to them too closely. There are two notable exeptions to this in Nazareth and Michaela. These two women jumped off the pages for me and held everyone else's place in the story together.

The women of the Linguist families are revolting in quite an odd way. They are creating their own language, a language only for women. Much of the story revolves around the older women of the family collecting the words of the new language together and trying to hide its existence from the men. The big question I came away with was whether or not a language really could change the way of life for the women, or if it was just some way of passing on hope from one generation to the next.

I have added the next book in the series to my wish list, but it may be a little while before I can sit down to read it.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: Stormblade by Nancy Varian Berberick

Stormblade (Dragonlance: Heroes)Stormblade (Dragonlance: Heroes) by Nancy Varian Berberick

10. Stormblade by Nancy Varian Berberick
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 347
Acquired: 1999-ish
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Part of DragonLance world (re-reading all)
Series: DragonLance, Heroes (2)

A king sword, named Stormblade, has been forged in the mountain kingdom of Thorbardin, home of the dwarves. The sword seems to come at a much needed time. War is quickly approaching the dwarves will not be able to hide behind their stone walls much longer. But in the midst of the excitement, betrayal brews, and Stormblade is stolen and removed from the dwarven kingdom.

Years later rumor emerge of a sword that fits the description of Stormblade trickle into the mountains. Two rival clans quickly send search teams to retrieve the blade for whoever hold Stormblade will rule in Thorbardin.

In the truest sense of an adventure, we find an unlikely group of "companions" that struggle to protect the blade and return it its rightful owner and keep it out of the hands of evil. We find a young dwarf blacksmith, a human warrior, an elven ranger, and of course, the barmaid turned warrior woman (of a sort).

While much of this sounds typical of a fantasy novel, the story is put together in an amazing way that makes what could have been very stereotypical characters to life. We have love, hate, friends turned rivals, and rivals turned friends. There is of course magic and dragons and battle galore. My only real complaint was the ending. It opens the story up for so much more, but no more is ever written (at least not that I have been able to find).


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader

Last Snow
Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader
Genre: Crime/Political Suspense
Pages: 414
Acquired: 2/27/2010
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Contest Winning
Series: Jack McClure (2)

Special advisor to the President, Jack McClure, finds himself in Moscow with the president and his family working on an important treaty when word comes that a senator has died in Capri. Strange thing is, this senator was supposed to be in the Ukraine. Sensing something is wrong, the president sends Jack McClure off to investigate. Before he can leave, a strange run in with a Russian woman named Annika stirs the pot and gives him a partner. Throw in the first daughter, Alli, deciding to tag along as well, and you have quite a mixed up group.

Jack just didn't seem to do much for me. Perhaps it was the magical way his dyslexia gave him special thinking powers (not sure if that's possible or not, but it seemed an easy way out). Or perhaps how he always just seemed to get lucky. He really didn't seem to be making any headway on his own. It was all the work of Annika and Alli until the final mystery which he pulls a solution out of thin air.

Annika is hard to describe. I didnt seem to get to know her very well at all. And what I did get to know about her always seemed to be changing.

Alli was by far my favorite character. SHe was stronger than she thought she was. After being through a traumtic kidnapping (the first book) she has a lot of emotional baggage that she is working through throughout the entire story. I couldn't help but admire her tenacity as she tried to find herself again.

The story itself was decent, but there was so much going on behind the scenes that without many strokes of luck our characters would have been dead several times over. I'm still trying to figure out how the ending really was the best solution to anything. I'm all for the surprise twist to keep the reader guessing, but there were a few too many this time.