Bookstooge's Reviews On the Road

Without a Good SFF Book, Life's Road is Hell.

An Empire Asunder (Scourwind Legacy #2)

An Empire Asunder - Evan Currie

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: An Empire Asunder
Series: Scourwind Legacy #2
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:


The Scourwind Twins have saved the Empire from being taken over but it is civil war. Lydia is doing her best to rule and Brennan is growing into his new role as cadreman and warrior.

 

Corian, exhibiting signs of madness, begins Operation Godstrike, all the while vaguely hinting about some unknown threat that apparently nobody but him is aware of or prepared to do something about.

 

It is strike and counter-strike as the Imperial forces clash against the Alliance forces. Throw in Mira Delsol, former cadrewoman turned Pirate and you have some serious action.




My Thoughts:


For whatever reason, Currie is hitting all the right buttons with this series for me. I enjoyed my time reading this above and beyond the normal. That is not to say I think this is going to be a SF classic or that it will wow you. In fact, I suspect most people looking on would give it 3-3.5 stars.

 

For me though, it has this: a coming of age story without angst and whines. No crap about “romance” and “feelings” taking precedence over your duty and responsibility. You are a Scourwind and you run the Empire, you don't whine like a baby. A young lady becoming an Empress. Sure, she might write in her journal, but we the readers aren't subjected to that or every bloody thought in her head. The story gets told. A young man becoming an elite warrior in the shadow of his dead older brother. He's not some tortured, broken individual who just needs the love of the “right woman” to “fix” him. Neither of these Scourwinds are BROKEN and Currie doesn't fall into the trap of making the story about “fixing” them. Grrrrrr, you don't “fix” people. That pisses me off and I hate that in a story. And there is NONE of that, not even a hint, in these books and I really like that.

 

The other thing I really liked was the continuing glimpse of the world. With the new ship, Delsol is able to go atmospheric and realizes that humanity is in a box. It is obvious that Corian knows a lot more about the whole situation but in his arrogance thinks he's the only one capable of facing the situation, whatever it may be. We the readers aren't privy to it.

 

Currie's writing is improving with each book and while his earlier books were pretty rough around the edges, I am glad I started reading him. I was really enjoying his Odyssey One series and I have the next book of that on tap, but I really hope he sticks with this series for a bit and finishes things up before becoming too distracted with other series, old or new.

 

Finally, I like the covers. They are a huge step up from the first couple of books that had very obvious amateur covers desperately trying NOT to look like amateur covers. These books have the kind of covers that I want in hardcover on my shelves just because I like how they look. Sadly, that is not an option and I'm not going to change my “no paperback” rule for Currie. He hasn't reached that status, yet. Chris McGrath is the artist and here's a small list of some other covers he's done:

  • Aeronauts Windlass

  • Star Wars: Kenobi

  • Alloy of Law

  • Daughter of the Sword (I broke my “no paperback” rule for Steve Bein. Love his books that much)

  • Dresden: Changes

 

I didn't do a Cover Love in my February Roundup, but for March's Roundup, this one is definitely going to be a contender.

 

 

 



 

 

 

  1. Review of Book 1

 




Then Came the Showdown! (Eyeshield 21 #23) (Manga Monday)

Eyeshield 21, Vol. 23: Then Came the Showdown! - Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and links at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Then Came the Showdown!
Series: Eyeshield 21 #23
Author: Riichiro Inagaki

Artist: Yusuke Murata

Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 210
Format: Digital Scan





Synopsis:


The Devil Bats win against the Naga, at great physical cost to each player. Then we follow the other 3 games of the day and watch new teams and new techniques come to light.

 

The volume concludes with the Devil Bats taking a day off to rest,but they all end up at the clubhouse anyway, so obviously Hiruma uses that time to get some stuff in. The next battle is agains the White Knights and as things stand, the Devil Bats do not stand a chance against them.




My Thoughts:


After having drawn out the game against the Naga for 3 volumes, the last 4 seconds of the game, and the win, felt rather anti-climactic. It did come down to a battle between Hiruma and Agon and Hiruma's year of practice and 1/10th of a second paid dividends. Agon ate dirt and I was pretty happy. He was a scumbag and I wished he'd been broken instead of just beaten in the game. I wanted his soul crushed, his spirit destroyed, his very will to live extinguished. As you can tell, I didn't like him.

 

The short little episodes showing the highlights of the games by other teams just didn't work for me either. After a 3 book game, it felt very rushed and like it was a scheme for getting info to the readers without telling a good story. I know that Sena/Eyeshield 21 and the Devil Bats are the main characters, but for goodness sake, a little balance wouldn't hurt things.

 

There was nothing wrong with this volume at all beyond the imbalance, but it was noticable enough for me to ding a star off.



 

 

 




 




Night of Knives (Malazan Empire #1)

Night of Knives  - Ian C. Esslemont

 

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Night of Knives
Series: Malazan Empire #1
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 308
Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis: Spoilers


On the night of a Shadow Moon, when the division between our world and the world of the Warrens thins, Kriska and Temper have an adventure.

 

Kriska is a young thief who wants to join the Claws and get off of Malaz Isle. But nobody takes her seriously and even her aunt wants her to stay inside this night. Getting caught up in the battle between Kelenved & Dancer and Surly. Also involved in the mix is Tayschren, master mage, Surly's cadre of Claws and a group of cultists dedicated to Kelenved as a god. Kriska has to survive the night and all the terrors it holds.

 

Then we have Temper, a former soldier of the Malazan Army who has deserted. The desertion saved his life, as he was one of the Shields of the Swords, a might warrior protecting Dassem Ultor, the First Sword of the Malazan Empire, the mightiest warrior alive. The problem was, Surly doesn't want heros in her army and she has begun to purge them. Temper runs to Malaz Isle to become a lowly guardsman to survive. But others know his secret and on this night of Shadow Moon, Temper will be used once again, just as he was before.




My Thoughts:


Man, I had forgotten, or never realized, just how much foundational information Esslemont packs into this book. There is a lot about Dassem that I didn't realize was important but will definitely impact my read of future Malazan Book of the Fallen books. Chronologically this comes before Gardens of the Moon but I wouldn't recommend reading it before unless you're doing a re-read of everything Malaz.

 

There are some great battles here. Hounds of Shadows everywhere, monsters springing out of various Warrens, magical assassins fighting magical cultists, a hidden group of people trying to protect the whole Isle from some underwater threat, it all weaves together into one night of blood the likes of which the Isle has not seen in ages.

 

This was a short book, clocking in just over 300 pages. For a Malaz book, that is practically a short story. But as I was reading, it was dense. It had so much packed in that I felt like I had read a 500 page book by the end. I didn't mind that feeling at all, but others might and it is something to keep in mind if you decide to delve into this universe.

 

One downside, which is typical of the Malaz books, is that there are no real answers to any of your questions. Inferences, asides, round about explanations of Subject X which reveals bits about Subject Y. Nothing direct, nothing concrete. It is building a bridge in your mind. Esslemont gives us the materials and a rough architectural plan but it is up to us, the readers, to actually build the bridge and succeed or fail on our own. Some will see that as a weakness and others as a strength of the writing. I'm ok with it but have to admit, I'd prefer a bit more concrete facts baldly stated. Oh well, I'm not going to get it and neither will anyone who reads these books.

 

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  1. Previous Review from 2010

 




SPOILER ALERT!

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1)

Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet

 

 

 

 

On a side note, I haven't seen any hiccups here at Booklikes in the last month. No more disappearing reviews or database resets that I can tell.  That being the case, I'll start posting my full reviews here again starting with the next review.




Don Quixote: Chapters 40-52

Don Quixote de la Mancha (Oxford World's Classics) - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Charles Jarvis, E.C. Riley

Don Quixote: Chapters 40-52




February '17 Roundup & Rambling

February '17 Roundup & Rambling




The Wrath of the Great Guilds (Pillars of Reality #6)

The Wrath of the Great Guilds - Jack Campbell

The Wrath of the Great Guilds




Time-Out 0 (Eyeshield 21 #22) (Manga Monday)

Eyeshield 21, Vol. 22: Time-Out 0 - Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata

Time-Out 0




SPOILER ALERT!

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child (The Tale of Shikanoko #2)

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child - Lian Hearn

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child




SPOILER ALERT!

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1)

Dealing with Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with Dragons




Children of Time

Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time




♪Some of My FAVORITE Things♪ (Part 2)

♪Some of My FAVORITE Things♪ (Part 2)




Book Haul & Kudos

Book Haul & Kudos




SPOILER ALERT!

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)

Dune  - Frank Herbert

Dune




SPOILER ALERT!

They Were 11! (Eyeshield 21 #21) (Manga Monday)

Eyeshield 21, Vol. 21: They Were 11!! - Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata

They Were 11!




SPOILER ALERT!

The Tower at Stony Wood

The Tower at Stony Wood - Patricia A. McKillip

The Tower at Stony Wood




Currently reading

The Raven in the Foregate
Ellis Peters
Eyeshield 21, Vol. 24: The Indomitable Fortress
Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata
Don Quixote de la Mancha (Oxford World's Classics)
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Charles Jarvis, E.C. Riley
Progress: 515/1000 pages
The Great Controversy
Ellen Gould White, Dennis Berlin