Marco's readings

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2014.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads.com API.

Raising Steam (Discworld, #40, Moist von Lipwig #3 )
by Terry Pratchett (2013)
My review: My word of advice: if you have not read any diskworld novel before, do not start with this one. I made that mistake, and I regretted it. While this can theoretically be read as a stand-alone novel, there are continuous hints of stories from previous books. Even if I could smile at some of the jokes, I was left with the impression that they would be a way more funny if I knew more about the characters. The plot is quite thin, and I have the impression that the most appealing part of the book is to get to read again your beloved characters. Unfortunately, these beloved characters were total strangers for me.
It was not an unpleasant book to read, but I am left with the strong impression that I would have enjoyed it much more if I had read some of the previous books. (★★)
Started: Dec 25 2014 Finished: Dec 31 2014
The Hound
by H.P. Lovecraft
My review: Two late 19th century Englishmen fashion themselves "Decadent". Their adventures grow in scope and outrage, until they eventually turn to grave robbery. One night the two go to a graveyard in Holland where somebody has lain buried for five centuries. Legend says their spiritual comrade stole a potent artifact from a "mighty sepulcher". Under ideal artistic conditions of a pale autumn moon, crumbling slabs, ivied church, phosphorescent insects and strangely large bats, they dig. The nightwind carries the distant baying of a gigantic hound. The sound thrills them, since the ghoul they seek was torn to shreds by a preternaturally powerful beast. They discover a surprising intact skeleton, still holding an amulet of green jade carved in an "Oriental fashion", representing a winged hound or sphinx. Isn't it the symbol of corpse-eating cult from the Central Asian plateau of Leng? They stole it and move back to England... but they soon discovered that the amulet was not the only thing they brought back with them. (★★)
Started: Dec 26 2014 Finished: Dec 26 2014
I, Cthulhu, or, What’s a Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing in a Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9′ S, Longitude 126° 43′ W)?
by Neil Gaiman (2009)
My review: Interesting short story, set in Lovecraft's universe, but full of humor. This is the story of Cthulhu, written from his point of view, with never heard before details regarding his birth and childhood. (★★)
Started: Dec 25 2014 Finished: Dec 25 2014
The Garden of Rama (Rama, #3)
by Arthur C. Clarke (1993)
My review: I cannot say I was disappointed: I was expecting a book as bad as Rama 2, and I got it. I loved Rendezvous with Rama and I was excited to discover that there were sequels. Unfortunately the so called "sequels" were co-written by a second author, Gentry Lee, and there is nothing of the original story on those sequels.
Clarke was a skillful writer and a scientist, and this did shows in the first book of the Rama series: the focus was on the science part of science fiction, and the plot was plausible and scientifically accurate, and incredibly fascinating. The first book read like an entertaining science article, were strange phenomena were explained using physics.
The sequels are nothing like the original Rama book. While the first book read like a explorer journal, able to fill the reader with wonder and awe, the second and third books read like the screenplay of a cheap and trashy reality TV series.
There are many aspects of the plot that make me think that Clarke had absolutely no role in the writing of this book. (★)
Started: Dec 18 2014 Finished: Dec 25 2014
Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land
by Ruthanna Emrys (2014)
My review: I really like this author (and of The Deepest Rift in particular), but this short story really did not work for me. It reminds me a little of Lovecraft's dreamland stories (that I did not enjoy either). (★)
Started: Dec 25 2014 Finished: Dec 25 2014
Pump Six and Other Stories
by Paolo Bacigalupi (2008)
My review: Paolo Bacigalupi's debut collection demonstrates the power and reach of his science fiction short stories: social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of his work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning, and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.
The eleven stories in Pump Six represent the best Paolo's work, including the Hugo nominee Yellow Card Man, the nebula and Hugo nominated story The People of Sand and Slag, and the Sturgeon Award-winning story The Calorie Man. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 03 2014 Finished: Dec 18 2014
Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction
by Jo Walton (2010)
Publisher review: It's 1960, and the Axis powers dominate the world. Life goes on, because, as we see in "Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction," history is driven both by big events and by small temptations… Following the appearance of her first two novels, The King's Peace and The King's Name, Jo Walton won the 2002 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Two years later she won the World Fantasy Award for Tooth and Claw. Her Small Change trilogy, comprising Farthing, Ha'penny, and Half A Crown, is set in a world in which Britain struck an early truce with Hitler in 1941; "Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction" is set in the America of that world.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Dec 15 2014 Finished: Dec 15 2014
Selfies
by Lavie Tidhar (2014)
My review: interesting idea, but underdevelopped. (★★)
Started: Dec 14 2014 Finished: Dec 14 2014
Night's Slow Poison (Imperial Radch #0.5)
by Ann Leckie (2014)
Publisher review: “Night’s Slow Poison” is from the same setting as Ancillary Justice, and tells a rich, claustrophobic story of a galactic voyage that forces one guardsmen to confront his uneasy family history through the lens of a passenger with his lost lover’s eyes.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Nov 17 2014 Finished: Dec 14 2014
A Read of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones
by Leigh Butler (2011)
My review: A cliff-note version of game of thrones, with awesome commentaries. It's the best way to refresh your memory before digging into the following book of the series. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 12 2014 Finished: Dec 14 2014
Strongest Conjuration
by Skyler White (2014)
My review: I did not realize this was intended to be a tie-in short story / sequel until I was in the middle of it. It may be a good story to read if you have read the previous books of the Incrementalists series, but it is very difficult to follow and to appreciate as a stand-alone story. (★)
Started: Dec 09 2014 Finished: Dec 13 2014
A Cup of Salt Tears
by Isabel Yap
My review: This is the story of Makino, raised by her mother to avoid kappas (supernatural monsters of the Japanese folklore) and to follow the proper rites to keep them away. But when she grows up and her husband Tetsuya falls deathly ill, a kappa that claims to know her comes calling. (★★★)
Started: Dec 07 2014 Finished: Dec 09 2014
Tuckitor's Last Swim
by Edith Cohn (2014)
My review: Despite being a companion short story to Spirit’s Key, Edith Cohn’s debut novel,
this book can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
This is the story of Tuckitor Hatterask and his fierce desire to go for a swim, even though a storm was brewing and he knew it wasn’t a good idea to go into the water. But the forces pulling him toward the ocean are much stronger than he ever could had imagined.
An enjoyable short story with eco-friendly themes. (★★★)
Started: Dec 06 2014 Finished: Dec 07 2014
The Golden Apple of Shangri-La
by David Barnett (2014)
My review: I realized too late that this was a prequel to Gideon Smith's steampunk "Rowena Fanshawe" novels. As it is often the case, those books are hard to enjoy as stand-alone stories.
This is the story of Rowena and her attempt to save Shandri-La, the land of eternal youth, and its inhabitant. She will discover that heroes do not necessarily always behave with honor. (★★)
Started: Dec 05 2014 Finished: Dec 05 2014
When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami (Goddess War, #0.5)
by Kendare Blake (2014)
My review: Even if this short story is part of a series (the Goddess Wars series by Kendare Blake), it can be read and enjoyed on its own.
This is the story of immortal teen goddess Athena and of a young boy that mistakes her for a vampire and who refuses to leave her side until she turns him. Enjoyable accessible read. (★★★)
Started: Dec 05 2014 Finished: Dec 05 2014
Midway Relics and Dying Breeds
by Seanan McGuire (2014)
My review: This is a surprisingly entertaining short story set in a post fossil fuel future, following one of the last remaining circuses. The main character build a strong bond with a un-extinct bio-enginered mastodontic mammal, Billie. They both do not fit in easily in the world they live in. (★★★)
Started: Dec 03 2014 Finished: Dec 05 2014
This Chance Planet
by Elizabeth Bear (2014)
My review: This is a story of a dog and a waitress dating an handsome but selfish artist. I know, it sounds horrible and uninteresting, but it is surprisingly a remarkably good story. I do not want to spoil it, so I won't say more, but give it a try, it's good. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 03 2014 Finished: Dec 03 2014
Woman on the Edge of Time
by Marge Piercy
Publisher review: Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today....
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Nov 25 2014 Finished: Dec 03 2014
A Kiss With Teeth
by Max Gladstone (2014)
Publisher review: Vlad has grown distant from his wife. His son has trouble at school. And he has to keep his sharp teeth hidden. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
My rating: ★★
Started: Dec 03 2014 Finished: Dec 03 2014
Where the Lost Things Are
by Rudy Rucker (2014)
Publisher review: Thanks to "bluegene", life is long. But out Route 42 near Goshen, it's also kind of dull. Just the thing to encourage an expedition into the only actual other universe, the place where…but that would be telling.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Nov 24 2014 Finished: Nov 25 2014
The Walk
by Dennis Etchison (2014)
Publisher review: "The Walk," by Dennis Etchison, is a neat little horror story about the dog eat dog world of Hollywood in which a director and writer have very different ideas of how their collaboration should proceed.
My rating: ★
Started: Nov 24 2014 Finished: Nov 24 2014
The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2.5)
by Patrick Rothfuss (2014)
Publisher review: Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place. Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows... In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world. AUTHOR’S FOREWORD You might not want to buy this book. I know, that’s not the sort of thing an author is supposed to say. The marketing people aren’t going to like this. My editor is going to have a fit. But I’d rather be honest with you right out of the gate. First, if you haven’t read my other books, you don’t want to start here. My first two books are The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. If you’re curious to try my writing, start there. They’re the best introduction to my world. This book deals with Auri, one of the characters from that series. Without the context of those books, you’re probably going to feel pretty lost. Second, even if you have read my other books, I think it’s only fair to warn you that this is a bit of a strange story. I don’t go in for spoilers, but suffice to say that this one is ... different. It doesn’t do a lot of the things a classic story is supposed to do. And if you’re looking for a continuation of Kvothe’s storyline, you’re not going to find it here. On the other hand, if you’d like to learn more about Auri, this story has a lot to offer. If you love words and mysteries and secrets. If you’re curious about the Underthing and alchemy. If you want to know more about the hidden turnings of my world... Well, then this book might be for you.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Nov 20 2014 Finished: Nov 23 2014
Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch, #2)
by Ann Leckie (2014)
My review: The Lord of the Radch has given Breq command of the ship Mercy of Kalr and sent her to the only place she would have agreed to go -- to Athoek Station, where Lieutenant Awn's sister works in Horticulture. Athoek was annexed some six hundred years ago, and by now everyone is fully civilized, or should be. But everything is not as tranquil as it appears.
The second installment of the Imperial Radch series touches and develops many of the themes of the first. Particular focus is given to the ills of imperialism and how its promise of equality is hollow because some citizens are more equals than others.
I wrote more about this and the other Hugo awards nominees for best novel on my blog here: http://goo.gl/Nz5HgV (★★★★)
Started: Nov 02 2014 Finished: Nov 19 2014
The Too-Clever Fox (Grisha Verse, #2.5)
by Leigh Bardugo (2013)
My review: I did not realize this book was a spin-off of a book series, and it can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novelette. This is the story of a too-clever fox, that learns that just because you avoid one trap, it doesn't mean you'll escape the next. (★★★)
Started: Nov 02 2014 Finished: Nov 02 2014
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza
by Carrie Vaughn (2014)
My review: While this story has many interesting elements, it is hard to enjoy as a stand alone novelette. I am not familiar with the "wild card" universe, and, because of it, I was unable to really enjoy it. (★★)
Started: Nov 01 2014 Finished: Nov 02 2014
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman (2013)
My review: Neil Gaiman 's is considered by many one of the most gifted artist of the century. His work is highly recommended by many. I decided to pick up this book when I read its review by one of my favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, that its raving about it. I had really high expectations, I was expecting a masterpiece. I was disappointed. The book is good, do not get me wrong, and there are paragraphs in it that are remarkably written. It just did not live up to the hype (for my point of view). (★★★)
Started: Oct 28 2014 Finished: Nov 01 2014
Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch
by Kelly Barnhill (2014)
Publisher review: When Mr. Sorensen - a drab, cipher of a man - passes away, his lovely widow falls in love with a most unsuitable mate. Enraged and scandalized (and armed with hot-dish and gossip and seven-layer bars), the Parish Council turns to the old priest to fix the situation - to convince Mrs. Sorensen to reject the green world and live as a widow ought. But the pretty widow has plans of her own, in Kelly Barnhill's Mrs. Sorenson and the Sasquatch.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Oct 27 2014 Finished: Oct 28 2014
The Girl in the High Tower
by Gennifer Albin (2014)
My review: I am sure that the readers of the "Crewel World" series are going to enjoy this book, but I would not recommend the book to those that are unfamiliar with Albin's dystopian series. The girl in the high tower reads like a movie trailer to me: it give you a taste of what the Crewel world is, and it does make you want to read it, but when you are done you realize you have just read a long advertisement for a book series that has little value in itself. (★)
Started: Oct 28 2014 Finished: Oct 28 2014
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)
by Ann Leckie (2013)
My review: On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren, a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.
What I found particularly interesting in this book was its interesting treatment of gender. We are told that the Radch language (and society) does not distinguish between genders, as a result the gender of every character is undetermined. This prevent readers from applying gender biases and stereotypes to the characters, leaving them often confused, and making them realize how strongly gender influences the way we judge and perceive other people.
Learn more in my blog post. (★★★★)
Started: Oct 13 2014 Finished: Oct 27 2014
Daughter of Necessity
by Marie Brennan (2014)
My review: An interesting new spin of a thousands years old tale. This is the story of Penelope, crafting during the day, unmaking every night. But all this weaving it is not just an expedient to postpone what seems to be inevitable: surely somewhere, in all the myriad crossings of the threads, there is a future in which all will be well. (★★★★)
Started: Oct 19 2014 Finished: Oct 19 2014
Robots and Empire (Robot #4)
by Isaac Asimov (1996)
Publisher review: Long after his humiliating defeat at the hands of Earthman Elijah Baley, Keldon Amadiro embarked on a plan to destroy planet Earth. But even after his death, Baley's vision continued to guide his robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, who had the wisdom of a great man behind him and an indestructable will to win....
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Oct 05 2014 Finished: Oct 13 2014
House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)
by Diana Wynne Jones (2008)
My review: Charmain Baker has led a respectable, sheltered life. She has spent her days with her nose in a book, never learning how to do even the smallest household chores. The easy task of house-sitting the tiny cottage of her ill Great Uncle William is complicated by the fact that he is also the Royal Wizard Norland and his magical house bends space and time.
I wrote a longer review of Howl's series on my personal blog here: http://goo.gl/fCB9FO (★★★★)
Started: Oct 02 2014 Finished: Oct 05 2014
A Rumor of Angels
by Dale Bailey (2013)
My review: "A Rumor of Angels", by Dale Bailey, is a historical fiction novelette with a light touch of fantasy that takes place during the period of the dust bowl in the American Midwest. A teenage boy walks away from his father's wasted farm to follow the other travelers heading west where there is a rumor of angels. The storytelling and the style are remarkable, but I was extremely disappointed by the strange ending. (★★)
Started: Oct 05 2014 Finished: Oct 05 2014
Faster Gun
by Elizabeth Bear (2012)
My review: A sci-fi western time travel novellette, centered around a spacecraft crashed on Earth, just outside Tombstone, with something alive inside. I am not a fan of the Western genre, and probably because of it the story did not work for me. (★★)
Started: Oct 01 2014 Finished: Oct 02 2014
Midworld
by Alan Dean Foster (2012)
My review: I enjoyed the story, that is fast paced and entertaining. I enjoyed the fantasy world that the author created, the original symbiotic relationship of the various species, and the everything but subtle social commentary of the role of humans in the destruction of our planet. This is definitely not a character driven story, because its characters are as dull and flat as they can get. Despite this, it is quite an enjoyable book. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 28 2014 Finished: Oct 01 2014
Doctor Who: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller
by Joanne Harris (2014)
My review: What's not to like? A talented author, one of my favorite ones, writing about one of my (and her) favorite fictional character. The result is a treat: an entertaining novella with a touching plot and full of nostalgic love for the character has loved for so many years. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 27 2014 Finished: Sep 28 2014
Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2)
by Diana Wynne Jones
My review: This is the story of Abdullah, a young and not very prosperous carper dealer in the Sultanates of Rashpuht. One day a stranger walks in and sell him a magical carpet changing his life forever. The book follows Abdullah as he fall for princess Flower-in-the-Night just before she is snatched away by a dijnn, and he travel looking for her. This is not a sequel of Howl's moving Castle in the traditional sense, but many characters from the previous book have a central role in the story, even if they do not really appear until the last third of the book. More about this series in my blog post here: http://goo.gl/fCB9FO
(★★★)
Started: Sep 21 2014 Finished: Sep 26 2014
House of Dreams
by Michael Swanwick (2013)
Publisher review: The fourth in Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Michael Swanwick's "Mongolian Wizard" series of tales set in an alternate fin de siècle Europe shot through with magic, mystery, and intrigue. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Sep 21 2014 Finished: Sep 21 2014
Our Human
by Adam-Troy Castro (2012)
My review: On a savage backwater world, the last ragged survivors of an expedition to hunt down the infamous war criminal known as The Beast Magrison set off into an inhospitable wilderness in search of the alien village that may be sheltering this beast. The hunters are aliens from two different species, the village is inhabited by strange aliens of yet another species, and Magrison himself is no sterling advertisement for humanity. Who’s human in this situation? The answer may surprise and upset you. (★★)
Started: Sep 21 2014 Finished: Sep 21 2014
Day of the Kraken
by Michael Swanwick (2012)
My review: The third in Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Michael Swanwick's "Mongolian Wizard" series of tales set in an alternate fin de siècle Europe shot through with sorcery and intrigue. As the Mongolian Wizard advances through Europe, Ritter is investigating some crimes that seems to be related to the Roman Catholic church. (★★★)
Started: Sep 19 2014 Finished: Sep 20 2014
The Fire Gown
by Michael Swanwick (2012)
Publisher review: A second “Mongolian Wizard” tale from Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Michael Swanwick – continuing an epic of magic and deception in an alternate Europe of railroads and sorcery..
My rating: ★★★
Started: Sep 19 2014 Finished: Sep 19 2014
Son (The Giver, #4)
by Lois Lowry (2012)
Publisher review: They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive?  She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice. Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Sep 14 2014 Finished: Sep 18 2014
Am I Free To Go?
by Kathryn Cramer (2012)
Publisher review: The line between utopia and dystopia ... is, often, who you are. Or who your neighbors think you are.
My rating: ★★
Started: Sep 12 2014 Finished: Sep 14 2014
About Fairies
by Pat Murphy (2012)
My review: What if one day you woke up with a new imaginary friend, following around. What if, that imaginary friends turns out to not be that imaginary after all, but a visitor from far away? (★★★)
Started: Sep 14 2014 Finished: Sep 14 2014
La nuvola di smog - La formica argentina
by Italo Calvino (1996)
Publisher review: A Nuvem de smog é um conto continuamente tentado a tornar-se outra coisa qualquer: ensaio sociológico ou diário íntimo. Imagem e ideograma do mundo que temos de enfrentar é o smog, a névoa fumegante e carregada dos detritos químicos das cidades industriais. Este volume inclui, também, um conto alguns anos anterior e muito diferente. I>A Formiga Argentina, que o autor quis juntar a A Nuvem de Smog por uma afinidade estrutural e moral. Aqui, o "mal de vivre" vem da natureza: as formigas que infestam a Riviera.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Sep 09 2014 Finished: Sep 12 2014
The Finite Canvas
by Brit Mandelo (2012)
Publisher review: We are marked by what we have been. And erasing either of those can have unpredictable consequences...
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Sep 08 2014 Finished: Sep 09 2014
The Ghosts of Christmas
by Paul Cornell (2012)
My review: A remarkable sci-fi novella, loosely inspired by Dicken's christmas carol. The title of the novel gave me pause at first, I was not in the mood for a fairy tale, but this short story turned out to be one of the best tor.com short stories I have read so far. The main character is a scientist that just discovered how to see her own future and past, but soon realize the truth of Heisenberg's principle and how her observation has already affected her past life, and how it will shape her future. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 07 2014 Finished: Sep 07 2014
Messenger (The Giver Quartet, #3)
by Lois Lowry (2012)
Publisher review: Trouble is brewing in Village. Once a utopian community that welcomed strangers, Village will soon be cut off to all outsiders. As one of the few able to traverse the forbidding Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village’s closing and try to convince Seer’s daughter Kira to return with him before it’s too late. But Forest is now hostile to Matty, too, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it. Messenger is the masterful third novel in Lois Lowry’s Giver Quartet, which includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Son—all newly designed!   
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Sep 01 2014 Finished: Sep 07 2014
A Tall Tail
by Charles Stross (2012)
My review: Charles Stross (the author) attends a conference along with many other science fiction writers and cold war engineers: the idea was to put all these minds together in the hope that some interesting conversations may lead to novel ideas. Allegedly this little tale is one of the resulting conversations. The result is an enjoyable short story of international politics and rocket science. (★★★)
Started: Aug 31 2014 Finished: Sep 01 2014
Ultimo viene il corvo
by Italo Calvino
Publisher review: Questa edizione riproduce i trenta racconti del 1949, compresi quelli rifiutati dall'autore nelle raccolte successive. Tra essi, come testimonianza d'epoca, sono i primi racconti che Italo Calvino scrisse nel 1945, nei mesi seguenti alla liberazione.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Aug 28 2014 Finished: Aug 31 2014
The Mongolian Wizard
by Michael Swanwick (2012)
My review: This is the first installment of a new book series that is being serialized on-line by Tor. The Mongolian Wizard is set into an alternative universe where Europe is ruled by aristocratic magic users, griffons fly the skies, and phoenix eggs are considered weapons of mass destruction. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 27 2014 Finished: Aug 28 2014
Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet, #2)
by Lois Lowry (2012)
Publisher review: Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever. As she did in THE GIVER, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Aug 24 2014 Finished: Aug 27 2014
Il visconte dimezzato
by Italo Calvino (2011)
My review: Una fiaba piena di allegorie sulla societa' dell'Italia del secondo dopoguerra. Questa e' la storia del visconte Medardo di Terralba che, colpito al petto da una cannonata turca, torna a casa diviso in due meta' (una cattiva, malvagia, prepotente, ma dotata di inaspettate doti di umorismo e realismo, l'altra gentile, altruista, buona, o meglio "buonista"). Come disse Calvino Tutti ci sentiamo in qualche modo incompleti, tutti realizziamo una parte di noi stessi e non l'altra.
Ho letto questo libro due volte. La prima lo finii il 24 Giugno 1999. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 23 2014 Finished: Aug 24 2014
The Giver (The Giver, #1)
by Lois Lowry (1993)
My review: This book is impossible to put down once you start it. It is also relatively short, so you will probably end up reading it in a single sitting. While entertaining, I do not understand why it is ailed as one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. It is fun, the story is interesting, but it does not really offer anything that was not written before by other authors.
It is the story of twelve-year-old Jonas, a boy living in a seemingly ideal world. In this world everybody is given his life assignment (i.e. a job for life). He is picked to be the next Receiver, the receiver of all the memories so that he alone can carry their burden. Jonas suddenly realizes that his world is far from perfect, and he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 22 2014 Finished: Aug 23 2014
Dormanna (The Palencar Project, #2)
by Gene Wolfe (2012)
My review: Dormanna is the story of a little kid that woke up one night with a new "imaginary friend" that turns out to not be imaginary, but not of this world either. (★★)
Started: Aug 23 2014 Finished: Aug 23 2014
Portrait of Lisane de Patagnia
by Rachel Swirsky (2012)
My review: Renn is the former student of Lisane, a world famous artist genius, that is dying full of regrets for not being able to educate any of her pupil to take over her legacy. After many years, Renn is still heart-broken over the end of her relationship with her mentor, Lisane, that tough her how to capture the essence of her subject into a painting with magic.
This is a story about love, obsession, passion, talent, favoritism, and emotions, beautifully and effectively written. It does not come as a surprise that this novel was shortlisted for the Nebula award. (★★★★★)
Started: Aug 23 2014 Finished: Aug 23 2014
The Traitor (Divergent, #0.4)
by Veronica Roth (2014)
My review: This book describes the events taking place shortly after the famous knife throwing scene as seen from Tobias point of view. In this short story Four uncovers the details of an Erudite plan that could threaten the faction system, while getting to know and falling in love with Tris. I would recommend this only to divergent fans that are eager to re-live moment of the story they loved, even if this book does not add much to the saga. My in depth reviews of the divergent saga books here: http://goo.gl/kaszXT . (★★★)
Started: Aug 21 2014 Finished: Aug 21 2014
Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9)
by Charles Stross (2013)
My review: Another charming novel set in the geeky insane "laundry" world. It's the longest non-novel-length Laundry story so far. And it explains (among other things) precisely what H. P. Lovecraft saw behind the wood-shed when he was 14 that traumatized him for life, the reproductive life-cycle of unicorns, and what really happened on Cold Comfort Farm. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 17 2014 Finished: Aug 20 2014
The Lady Astronaut of Mars
by Mary Robinette Kowal (2014)
My review: I read this novelette shortly after it was announced that it won the 2014 Hugo award. I had really high expectations, and, because of it, I was expecting to be disappointed. This turned out to be one of the best novelette I have ever read in my life. In just 32 pages it creates such well rounded, real characters, that you can't avoid to relate with. The main character, Elma, is a senior astronaut dreaming to fly again between the stars. One day an opportunity opens up, and she can fulfill her dream. The only problem is, she'll be gone for three years, and her husband has less than a year to live.
This is an adroitly crafted, powerfully moving short story, that manages to touch complex themes like aging, disabilities, and the difficult balance between the pursuit of our own dreams and family, with extreme honesty, respect, and sensibility.
I strongly recommend it to everybody, not only to sci-fi fans. (★★★★★)
Started: Aug 17 2014 Finished: Aug 17 2014
Il Sentiero dei Nidi di Ragno
by Italo Calvino (2013)
My review: In questo caso, l'autore stesso ha scritto una review perfetta per questo straordinario libro: Questo romanzo è il primo che ho scritto; quasi posso dire la prima cosa che ho scritto, se si eccettuano pochi racconti.
Che impressione mi fa, a riprenderlo in mano adesso? Più che come un'opera mia lo leggo come un libro nato anonimamente dal clima generale d'un'epoca, da una tensione morale, da un gusto letterario che era quello in cui la nostra generazione si riconosceva, dopo la fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale.
Al tempo in cui l'ho scritto, creare una "letteratura della Resistenza" era ancora un problema aperto, scrivere "il romanzo della Resistenza" si poneva come un imperativo; ... ogni volta che si è stati testimoni o attori d'un'epoca storica ci si sente presi da una responsabilità speciale ... A me, questa responsabilità finiva per farmi sentire il tema come troppo impegnativo e solenne per le mie forze. E allora, proprio per non lasciarmi mettere in soggezione dal tema, decisi che l'avrei affrontato non di petto ma di scorcio. Tutto doveva essere visto dagli occhi d'un bambino, in un ambiente di monelli e vagabondi. Inventai una storia che restasse in margine alla guerra partigiana, ai suoi eroismi e sacrifici, ma nello stesso tempo ne rendesse il colore, l'aspro sapore, il ritmo...
(★★★★★)
Started: Aug 15 2014 Finished: Aug 17 2014
Eye of the Needle
by Ken Follett
My review: Another good historical-fiction / thriller from Ken Follett, set during world war II. One enemy spy, a brilliant aristocrat and ruthless assassin, learn the secret to the Allies' greatest deception. This information is the key to ultimate Nazi victory. Only one person stands in his way: a lonely Englishwoman on an isolated island, who is beginning to love the killer who has mysteriously entered her life. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 08 2014 Finished: Aug 15 2014
A Clean Sweep With All the Trimmings
by James Alan Gardner (2011)
My review: This is a Damon Runyon-esque tale of courteous guys, bulletproof dolls, and the fedora-clad spacemen that bring them together. The story was written by the author as a tribute to Damon Runyon, for the seventy-fifth anniversary of its death. It tries to use Runyon's delightful, distinctive prose style and the post-Prohibition New York atmosphere in a sci-fi setting. (★★★)
Started: Aug 07 2014 Finished: Aug 08 2014
Shtetl Days
by Harry Turtledove (2011)
My review: An intriguing "alternative history" short novel, set in a world where Hitler won the second world war. It is a moving story of survival of "Jews" in a world where every single one of them has been killed.
It is the story of two professional actors, Veit Harlan and his wife Kristi, two happy citizens of the prosperous, triumphant Reich. It's been over a century since the War of Retribution cleaned up Europe, long enough that now curious tourists flock to the painstakingly recreated "village" of Wawolnice, whee, along with dozens of colleagues, Veit and Kristi re-enact the daily life of the long-exterminated but still frightening "Jews". Veit and Kristi are true professionals, proud of their craft. They've learned all there is to know about this vanished way of life. They know the dead languages, the turns of phrase, the prayers, the manners, the food. But now they're beginning to learn what happens when you immerse yourself long enough in something real... (★★★★★)
Started: Aug 08 2014 Finished: Aug 08 2014
Hello, Moto
by Nnedi Okorafor (2011)
My review: An interesting fictional portrait of Nigeria, where science, magic, and African history and culture are mixed together effectively. I just wish the ending was less open. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 08 2014 Finished: Aug 08 2014
A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel
by Yoon Ha Lee (2011)
My review: Interesting short novel, a collection of very brief portraits of different alien civilizations. The author describes what drives them, what are their dream, in a very poetic and allegoric way. (★★★★)
Started: Aug 08 2014 Finished: Aug 08 2014
Beauty Belongs to the Flowers
by Matthew Sanborn Smith
My review: This short novel is set in Japan in the future, in a world where nanotechnology is extensively used for everything, from food processing, to plastic surgery. The main character, Miho, is faced with the sudden illness of her father, the prospect of poverty, and her boyfriend leaving her for robot. While the story has many interesting elements and poetic moments, the ending (do not worry, no spoilers here) really left me puzzled and a little disturbed. It is not just unexpected, but it really does not seem to have any functional value in the story. (★★★)
Started: Aug 08 2014 Finished: Aug 08 2014
in pictures Hawaii Volcanoes: The Continuing Story
by Richard A. Rasp (1992)
Publisher review: The very best in brilliant full-color photography in a large format book, with accurate, readable, interpretive text on the natural scene and the human history of national parks and monuments throughout the country. Each
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Aug 07 2014 Finished: Aug 07 2014
Six Months, Three Days
by Charlie Jane Anders (2011)
Publisher review: Doug and Judy have both had a secret power all their life. Judy can see every possible future, branching out from each moment like infinite trees. Doug can also see the future, but for him, it's a single, locked-in, inexorable sequence of foreordained events. They can't both be right, but over and over again, they are. Obviously these are the last two people in the world who should date. So, naturally, they do.
My rating: ★★
Started: Aug 06 2014 Finished: Aug 07 2014
The Dala Horse
by Michael Swanwick (2011)
My review: While some of the plot elements were interesting, the story was not so great. The story is set long after wars that almost destroyed the planet. The wars are over, but many things are left behind from it...things more than human. And they have scores to settle with one another. (★★)
Started: Aug 07 2014 Finished: Aug 07 2014
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline (2011)
My review: The book is set in a future where the masses are poor, living on stacked trailers, escaping reality inside OASIS, a virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. The main character, Wade, dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world: somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune, and remarkable power, to whoever can unlock them.
The book is a perfect mix: a great plot, a compelling fast paced story-telling, a lot of (geeky) references to the 70s/80s that bring out memories from my childhood (similarly to Jo Walton's Among Others). It is impossible to put down, it never slows down, entrapping the reader in its spell. You find yourself reading late at night, missing the bus stop on your way to work, counting down the pages till the end saddened that the book is going to finish too soon. (★★★★★)
Started: Jul 27 2014 Finished: Aug 06 2014
Rama II (Rama, #2)
by Arthur C. Clarke (1996)
My review: What a disappointment! I loved Rendezvous with Rama and I was excited to discover that there was a sequel. I should have noticed that the so called "sequel" was co-written by a second author, Gentry Lee, and I should have lowered my expectations accordingly.
Clarke was a skillful writer and a scientist, and this did shows in the first book of the Rama series: the focus was on the science part of science fiction, and the plot was plausible and scientifically accurate, and incredibly fascinating. The first book read like an entertaining science article, were strange phenomena were explained using physics.
This second book is nothing like the first one. While the first book read like a explorer journal, able to fill the reader with wonder and awe, the second book reads like the screenplay of a cheap and trashy reality TV series. The focus is not on science, but on the petty murderous schemes of some of the characters to achieve fame and to get rich.
There are many aspects of the plot that make me think that Clarke had absolutely no role in the writing of this book. The departure from scientific realism and the unsuccessful switch towards a character driven story, the presence of some mild misogynist, racist, and homophobic passages, the focus on Catholic inspired spirituality are very typical of Gentry Lee writings, but find no place in Clarke books (he was quite vocal in his distaste for organized religion, he prided himself for the focus on science in his writings, he was gay, and his "only perfect friend of a lifetime" was SriLankan). I am quite surprised that he agreed to put his name in such a distasteful, poorly written book that stains his legacy.
My recommendation: avoid this book at all costs. (★)
Started: Jul 20 2014 Finished: Jul 27 2014
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome
by John Scalzi
Publisher review: In the near future--and sooner than you think--a new virus will sweep the globe. At first it will look like the flu, but then we will discover there is something else about it...something we weren't expecting. It will change society forever. No, this isn't another zombie virus. And no, this isn't the apocalypse. It's Haden's syndrome. We'll survive it. But the world will be remade in its image. ''Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome'' is a novella that will take you through the heart of this terrifying disease, from its unusual and ironic origin to the frantic response of doctors, scientists and governments. You will see the ''moon shot'' response to free the people locked in thrall to the disease. And you experience the emerging society that those with the disease build for themselves--and for the rest of us. A companion piece to John Scalzi's novel ''Lock In,'' ''Unlocked'' is an unexpected take on a frighteningly possible future.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Jul 27 2014 Finished: Jul 27 2014
The President's Brain is Missing
by John Scalzi (2011)
My review: I am a fan of John Scalzi. His books are witty, entertaining, and fun to read. This said this is not one of his best stories. Do not get me wrong, the book is fun and it has an interesting conclusion, but it is not emotionally steering or epic as many of his other stories.
The novella is the story of a Presidential brain that vanishes on thin air, without any visible change in the commander in chief.
Despite the title seems to suggest a political commentary intent, the author is quite careful to avoid any political nuance. It's a pity, it would have frankly being interesting. (★★)
Started: Jul 19 2014 Finished: Jul 20 2014
The Son (Divergent, #0.3)
by Veronica Roth (2014)
My review: Another prequel to the divergent series, that should be read after divergent to avoid spoilers. "The son" is set shortly after the end of "the initiate" and follows Tobias as he struggles to find a place in the hierarchy of the Dauntless.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★★)
Started: Jul 20 2014 Finished: Jul 20 2014
The Windup Girl
by Paolo Bacigalupi (2010)
Publisher review: Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko... Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Jun 28 2014 Finished: Jul 19 2014
Four: The Initiate (Divergent, #0.2)
by Veronica Roth (2014)
My review: Tobias / Four is by far the most interesting and faceted characters of the divergent series. Even the author realized it: in Allegiant she switched the narrative to Four POV, and she started writing short novelettes focusing on the character. This one is set during Four's initiation, how he managed to complete it without losing a single match.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★★)
Started: Jul 19 2014 Finished: Jul 19 2014
Lassen Volcano: The Story Behind the Scenery
by Ellis Richard (1998)
Publisher review: The very best in brilliant full-color photography in a large format book, with accurate, readable, interpretive text on the natural scene and the human history of national parks and monuments throughout the country. Each
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Jul 04 2014 Finished: Jul 05 2014
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Publisher review: A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award. It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Jun 12 2014 Finished: Jun 28 2014
Wakulla Springs
by Andy Duncan (2013)
My review: Despite being a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula 2013 awards, I would classify this novella as historical fiction, and not as science fiction or fantasy.
The story starts in the 1930s, in the deep South, at a time when segregation was the law of the land. Each chapter focuses on one pivotal moment in the life of a different member of the same family, each one belonging to a different generation. We are told the history of Wakulla Spring, a "white-only" retreat in the more pristine and wild corner of Florida, through their eyes.
The first two chapters are remarkable, because of the incredibly successful portrait of the past, as seen by the people living back then, and because of the well rounded character development. I just wish that the rest of the book was as good!
The last three chapters are quite short, almost as if they were written in a rush, and they feature characters that feel flat, quite uninteresting. The author introduces a couple of very small supernatural events, that do not fit well with the rest of the story, and that do not really add anything to it.
For more information about this and other 2013 nebula finalist, please refer to my blog post here: http://books.zennaro.net/category/hug... (★★★)
Started: Jun 17 2014 Finished: Jun 19 2014
The Weight of the Sunrise
by Vylar Kaftan (2013)
My review: This alternative history Nebula award winner novella is set in a world where Pizarro did not completely wipe out the Mayan empire and their culture to the point of obliteration. In this world the empire is still standing, under the rule of a Emperor worshiped by his subjects as a living God. The empire is fighting against Scarlet Fever, a disease originated in Europe that disproportionately affects American. It wipes out entire villages, the few survivors are believed to be blessed by the Gods. The hope of a cure comes with an envoy from 13 British colonies in North America that are trying to free themselves from the rule of the monarchy.
What makes the story remarkable is not the portrait of a long lost culture, the entertaining plot, or the quite believable reconstruction of alternative historical events. What set this novella apart is the honest portrait of our own real history. I won't say more to avoid spoilers.
For more information about this and other 2013 nebula finalist, please refer to my blog post here: http://books.zennaro.net/category/hug... (★★★★)
Started: Jun 15 2014 Finished: Jun 16 2014
Burning Girls
by Veronica Schanoes (2013)
My review: This is a rare example of sublime literature, an adroitly crafted, magnificently written novella spanning between the historical fiction and dark fantasy genres. The mix of the two genres works incredibly well: fantastic demons are metaphors of the real historical horrors, and supernatural elements reflects a system of beliefs and the superstitions of a community.
This is the story of Deborah, a Jewish girl growing in Poland at a time when anti-Semitic discrimination was the law, and the whole community lived in fear of pogroms. Her family is also faced with the prospect of poverty, since their main trade and source of income (sewing) suddenly has to compete with the products coming out from textile factories. Deborah inherited the holy powers from her grandmother, the zegorin of the village, that starts to train her to become one. Unfortunately her family is soon to be faced by a new wave of pogroms and supernatural events.
For more information about this and other 2013 nebula finalist, please refer to my blog post here: http://books.zennaro.net/category/hug... (★★★★★)
Started: Jun 14 2014 Finished: Jun 15 2014
Trial of the Century
by Lawrence M. Schoen (2013)
My review: I probably did not enjoy the short novella as much as a person that read the previous installments of it would. I liked the focus of psychology, but I really could not get into the dog sized buffalo with an internal fusion reactor pet idea.
For more information about this and other 2013 nebula finalist, please refer to my blog post here: http://books.zennaro.net/category/hug... (★★★)
Started: Jun 15 2014 Finished: Jun 15 2014
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere
by John Chu (2013)
My review: The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere is a clever and touching coming out story of Matt, a talented Chinese American biotech engineer, with an interesting fantastic twist: one day, everywhere on Earth, it starts raining every time somebody lies. The intensity of the rain is correlated with the intensity of the lie. This causes some troubles to Matt. First a torrential rain reveals his love for Guss, the guy that he is dating, when he is trying to deny it. Things gets even more complicated when he decide to take Guss to his family dinner. (★★★★)
Started: Jun 14 2014 Finished: Jun 14 2014
The Silver Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars, #3)
by Mercedes Lackey (1997)
Publisher review: A dozen years of peace have passed in the city of White Gryphon - providing well deserved and much needed security for the people who had lost their homes in the magical Cataclysm which killed the Mage Urtho, creator of the gryphons. But the inhabitants of White Gryphon have not forgotten their long struggles, and have trained an elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, to protect their city, and if necessary, to join with the army of the Black Kings for mutual defense.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Jun 02 2014 Finished: Jun 11 2014
Among Others
by Jo Walton (2011)
Publisher review: Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment. Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead. Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off… Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: May 27 2014 Finished: Jun 01 2014
The Last Theorem
by Arthur C. Clarke (2009)
Publisher review: When Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for numbers, writes a three-page proof of the coveted “Last Theorem,” which French mathematician Pierre de Fermat claimed to have discovered (but never recorded) in 1637, Ranjit’s achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem–or Peace Through Transparency–whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit–along with his family–finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: May 24 2014 Finished: May 27 2014
A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)
by George R.R. Martin (2011)
Publisher review: Alternate covers can be found here. With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making. After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Apr 10 2014 Finished: May 24 2014
The White Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars, #2)
by Mercedes Lackey (1996)
Publisher review: It has been ten years since the magical Cataclysm, which destroyed the twin strongholds of the two world's most powerful Mages, killing Urtho, creator of the gryphons, and sending his forces into exile. Now Urthro's peoples--human and non-human alike live in a terraced city carved into the face of a gleaming white cliff on the edge of the Western Ocean. Secure at least, ...until the fleet of the mysterious Black Kings appears in their harbor, bringing envoys who inform the residents of White Gryphon that their newfound home lies on the northern perimeter of lands claimed by this powerful kingdom. Desperate not to lose their hard won home, Skandranon, along with his longtime friend Amberdrake--agree to accompany the envoys back to the Court of the Black Kings, hoping to negotiate an alliance. ...When a high ranking noble who opposes this alliance is found murdered--Skandranon and Amberdrake realize that they are up against unknown enemies who will stop at nothing, even the use of diabolical Blood Magic, to destroy White Gryphon.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Apr 07 2014 Finished: Apr 10 2014
After the Coup (Old Man's War, #4.5)
by John Scalzi (2008)
Publisher review:

In a universe of harsh interstellar conflict, the practice of interspecies diplomacy—when possible—is important. So being a Colonial Union officer attached to an interplanetary diplomatic mission sometimes means taking a fall. Literally.


My rating: ★★★★
Started: Apr 03 2014 Finished: Apr 04 2014
Hafte Sorvalh Eats a Churro and Speaks to the Youth of Today (The Human Division, #14)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review:
My rating: ★★★★
Finished: Apr 04 2014
Earth Below, Sky Above (The Human Division, #13)
by John Scalzi (2013)
My review: Really? That is the conclusion to the book series?
I loved the human division series, and this last instalment is no exception: it is thrilling, fun, and impossible to put down. This said, while Earth Below, Sky Above does explain where the missing ships went and what the apparent endgame was, we still don't know who's behind the nefarious plot. We are left with a lot of open questions, that hopefully will be answered in the upcoming sequel series. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 03 2014 Finished: Apr 03 2014
The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads (The Human Division, #12)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: United States Diplomat Danielle Lowen was there when one of her fellow diplomats committed an unthinkable act, which had consequences for the entire planet. Now shes trying to figure out how it happened before it can happen again. Putting the puzzle pieces together could solve the mystery or it could threaten her own life.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Apr 03 2014 Finished: Apr 03 2014
A Problem of Proportion (The Human Division, #11)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: A secret backdoor meeting between Ambassador Ode Abumwe and the Conclaves Hafte Sorvalh turns out to be less than secret as both of their ships are attacked. Its a surprise to both teams but its the identity of the attacker that is the real surprise, and suggests a threat to both humanity and The Conclave.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Apr 03 2014 Finished: Apr 03 2014
This Must Be the Place (The Human Division, #10)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: Colonial Union diplomat Hart Schmidt is back home for Harvest Day celebrations to a family whose members wonder whether its youngest son isn't wasting his life clinging to the lowest rung of the CUs diplomatic ladder. When his father, a legendarily powerful politician, presents him with a compelling offer, Schmidt has to take stock of his life and career.
My rating: ★★★★
Finished: Apr 02 2014
The Observers (The Human Division, #9)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: In an effort to improve relations with the Earth, the Colonial Union has invited a contingent of diplomats from that planet to observe Ambassador Abumwe negotiate a trade deal with an alien species. Then something very bad happens to one of the Earthings, and with that, the relationship between humanitys two factions is on the cusp of disruption once more. Its a race to find out what really happened, and who is to blame.
My rating: ★★★★
Finished: Apr 01 2014
The Sound of Rebellion (The Human Division, #8)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: The Colonial Defense Forces usually protect humanity from alien attack, but now the stability of the Colonial Union has been threatened, and Lieutenant Heather Lee and her squad are called to squash a rebellion on a colony world. It seems simple enoughbut theres a second act to the rebellion that finds Lee captive, alone, and armed with only her brains to survive.
My rating: ★★★★
Finished: Mar 31 2014
The Lost World
by Michael Crichton (1995)
My review: The liked the sequel of Jurassic park more than the original book. As always, the author spend time to collect information to give some scientific credible foundation to his work, and this make the book much more enjoyable. I found the focus on social behaviour and evolution particularly interesting. What I did not like is the strong hostility of the author towards science. Scientist are described as people that gets a lot of power for free, without doing anything to earn it, inheriting it from our ancestors, and unable to not abuse it. I believe that everything, from Science to Art to Religion, can be abused and misused. I also recognize the incredible contribution of Science to humanity, how it helped feeding the masses, cure diseases, and improving life condition. Science should be encouraged and celebrated, and not disparaged because of the moral shortcomings of those that abuse its gifts. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 22 2014 Finished: Mar 30 2014
The Dog King (The Human Division, #7)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson has one simple task: Watch an ambassador’s dog while the diplomat is conducting sensitive negotiations with an alien race. But you know dogs - always getting into something. And when this dog gets into something that could launch an alien civil war, Wilson has to find a way to solve the conflict, fast, or be the one in the Colonial Union’s doghouse.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Mar 30 2014 Finished: Mar 30 2014
Tales From the Clarke (The Human Division, #5)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: Captain Sophia Coloma of the Clarke has a simple task: Ferry around representatives from Earth in an aging spaceship that the Colonial Union hopes to sell to them. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Coloma discovers the ship she's showing off holds suprises of its own...and it's not the only one with secrets.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Mar 25 2014 Finished: Mar 25 2014
The Back Channel (The Human Division, #6)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: The Conclave is a confederation of four hundred alien racesmany of whom would like to see the Colonial Union, and the humans inside of it, blasted to extinction. To avoid a conflict that neither side can afford, Conclave leader General Tarsem Gau appoints Hafte Sorvalh to resolve an emerging diplomatic crisis with the humans, before the only acceptable solution is war.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Mar 25 2014 Finished: Mar 25 2014
A Voice in the Wilderness (The Human Division, #4)
by John Scalzi (2013)
Publisher review: Albert Birnbaum was once one of the biggest political talk show hosts around, but these days hes watching his career enter a death spiral. A stranger offers a solution to his woes, promising to put him back on top. Its everything Birnbaum wants, but is there a catch? And does Birnbaum actually care if there is?
My rating: ★★★★
Started: Mar 22 2014 Finished: Mar 22 2014
Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1)
by Michael Crichton (2006)
My review: There is no doubt that Michael Crichton is an adroit writer, able to produce impossible to put down, thrilling and entertaining books. Jurassic Park is clearly no exception. I also like the fact that the author spend time to collect information to give some scientific credible foundation to his work. I found the anti-GMO intro quite fascinating, especially because it was written long before the general public was even aware of the existence of GMO products.
What I did not like is the strong hostility of the author towards science. Scientist are described as people that gets a lot of power for free, without doing anything to earn it, inheriting it from our ancestors, and unable to not abuse it (just one quote from the book: You know what's wrong with scientific power? It's a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are.). I believe that everything, from Science to Art to Religion, can be abused and misused. I also recognize the incredible contribution of Science to humanity, how it helped feeding the masses, cure diseases, and improving life condition. Science should be encouraged and celebrated, and not disparaged because of the moral shortcomings of those that abuse its gifts. (★★)
Started: Mar 13 2014 Finished: Mar 22 2014
We Only Need the Heads (The Human Division, #3)
by John Scalzi (2013)
My review: This is the third installment of the new John Scalzi's book set in the Old Man's war universe. The separate plots of the previous two installments comes together on this one, focused on intergalactic diplomacy and colony massacre investigation. We only need the heads is adroitly written, entertaining to read, and I can't wait to read the next chapters of this story. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 12 2014 Finished: Mar 13 2014
The Snow Queen
by Hans Christian Andersen (2002)
My review: After reading this fairy tale, I understand why Disney had such an hard time to adapt it into a movie (the project was started under Walt Disney and it was placed on hold for decades before finally turning into Frozen in 2013). They pretty much had to throw away 99% of the story and keep only few salvageable bits. I really can't believe this is considered one of Andersen's most famous tales. The plot is all over the places, it contains some objectionable racist content, and quite inappropriate for young children. Save your time, and read something else instead. (★)
Started: Mar 11 2014 Finished: Mar 12 2014
Rosso Istanbul
by Ferzan Özpetek (2013)
Publisher review: Tutto comincia una sera, quando un regista turco che vive a Roma decide di prendere un aereo per Istanbul, dov'è nato e cresciuto. L'improvviso ritorno a casa accende a uno a uno i ricordi: della madre, donna bellissima e malinconica; del padre, misteriosamente scomparso e altrettanto misteriosamente ricomparso dieci anni dopo; della nonna, raffinata «principessa ottomana »; delle «zie», amiche della madre, assetate di vita e di passioni; della fedele domestica Diamante. Del primo aquilone, del primo film, dei primi baci rubati. Del profumo di tigli e delle estati languide, che non finiscono mai, sul Mar di Marmara. E, ovviamente, del primo amore, proibito, struggente e perduto. Ma Istanbul sa cogliere ancora una volta il protagonista di sorpresa. E lo trattiene, anche se lui vorrebbe ripartire. Perché se il passato, talvolta, ritorna, il presente ha spesso il dono di afferrarci: basta un incontro, una telefonata, un graffito su un muro. I passi del regista si incrociano con quelli di una donna. Sono partiti insieme da Roma, sullo stesso aereo, seduti vicini. Non si conoscono. Non ancora. Lei è in viaggio di lavoro e di piacere, in compagnia del marito e di una coppia di giovani colleghi. Ma a Istanbul accadrà qualcosa che cambierà per sempre la sua vita. Tra caffè e hamam, amori irrisolti e tradimenti svelati, nostalgia e voluttà, i destini del regista e della donna inesorabilmente si sfiorano e, alla fine, convergono. Questo libro è una dichiarazione d'amore a una città, Istanbul. Rossa come i melograni, come i vecchi tram, come i carrettini dei venditori di simit, come certi tramonti sul Bosforo che mischiano lo scarlatto al blu, come lo smalto sulle unghie di una madre molto amata. Ed è, insieme, un libro sull'amore, nelle sue mille sfumature. L'amore che non conosce età, paese, tempo, ragione, differenze di sesso. Che sceglie e basta. Una storia romantica, imprevista e nostalgica che racconta di un regista, di una città e di un ritorno. E poi, come una scatola magica, di una storia nella storia. Proprio come in un film di Ferzan Ozpetek, se decidesse di raccontare la sua.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Mar 09 2014 Finished: Mar 10 2014
Walk the Plank (The Human Division, #2)
by John Scalzi (2013)
My review: This is the second installment of the new John Scalzi's book set in the Old Man's war universe. It reads as a stand alone story, it does not share any character with the previous chapter, but it will be soon tied in with the main plot in the next installment. Walk the plank is the story of a pirate attack survivor landing on a Wildcat colony. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 10 2014 Finished: Mar 10 2014
The B-Team (The Human Division, #1)
by John Scalzi (2013)
My review: Under the pressure of readers' request, John Scalzi adds a new book set in the Old Man's War universe. The story take place after the events described in the previous two books, but it features a completely new set of characters. The format is also different: the author is serializing the story in 13 novellas. This first book is quite intriguing, and it is a very promising beginning. Let's see how the plot develops in the next installments. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 08 2014 Finished: Mar 09 2014
Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)
by John Scalzi (2010)
My review: At the end of The last colony, the author said that that book was going to be the last one of the Old Man's War series. Under the pressure of readers he changed his mind and he later added this new book to it. Zoe's Tale does not read as a sequel, but more like a tribute to the series. It feels like seeing the places of your childhood through the eyes of a grown up... or the exact opposite: the story is the one of the previous book, but it is now told by young Zoe from her point of view. At first I was afraid that writing a second book with the same plot was going to be boring, but few chapters in it became clear it was not going to be the case. The book explores many previously untold events, that adroitly fit in and give more depth to the main story. Moreover, even the already told events reads and feel so differently when lived, seen, and told by Zoe. The Old Man's War universe assume some of the emotional tones of young reader / teen novels, while retaining all its wit and its cleverness. My favorite part of the book is chapter 4, where Zoe summarize her life story in an emotional, extremely moving way. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 02 2014 Finished: Mar 07 2014
Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Knife-Throwing Scene (Divergent, #1.5)
by Veronica Roth (2012)
My review: Tobias / Four is by far the most interesting and faceted characters of the divergent series. Even the author realized it: in Allegiant she switched the narrative to Four POV, and she started writing short novelettes focusing on the character. This one tell the famous knife throwing story from the point of view of Four, adding more depth to it. Reading it really made me think that the author should have alternated between Four and Tris POV from the very beginning: it would really have improved the storytelling and the quality of the book. While enjoyable, the book is extremely short. Did you really just charged me almost one dollar for a 10 pages long short story? I wish I was told that this 50 pages long eBook was 40% excerpts and only 10% unpublished work.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★)
Started: Mar 07 2014 Finished: Mar 07 2014
The Transfer (Divergent, #0.1)
by Veronica Roth (2013)
My review: Tobias / Four is by far the most interesting and faceted characters of the divergent series. Even the author realized it: in Allegiant she switched the narrative to Four POV, and she started writing short novelettes focusing on the character. This one is set to Four early years, to his life with an abusive parent, and his choice of leaving his faction behind. This turned out to be an interesting, enjoyable story, that I recommend you to read along with the main books of the series.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★★★)
Started: Mar 02 2014 Finished: Mar 02 2014
The Sagan Diary (Old Man's War, #2.5)
by John Scalzi (2011)
My review: The Old Man's War book series is one of my favorite book series. It does not come as a surprise that some of the book of the series were nominated for the prestigious Hugo Best Novel of the year award.
The Sagan Diary is a short story written for a charity fundraising event. It does not stand on its own, it does not have its plot: it narrates some events of the book series from the point of view of Jane Sagan. As such it should be read only after the first two books, and only by the most ardent fans of John Scalzi's work. (★★★)
Started: Feb 28 2014 Finished: Mar 02 2014
Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
by Veronica Roth (2013)
My review: While reading the book, I felt it did not belong to the same series of the previous two. While the story is the natural development of the plot of Divergent and Insurgent, the narrator suddenly changes in the third book: Allegiant is written from the perspective of both Beatrice/Tris and Tobias/Four. The change deeply modified the storytelling, the style, and the feel of the book: the whole divergent world is not quite the same when seen through a different set of eyes. The whole trilogy would have worked better if the same multi-prospective narrative style was adopted from the very beginning.
Another big change are in the themes, but in this case the change does not feel abrupt, but as a natural evolution and growth of the characters. Divergent explores the adolescent anxiety caused by the painful realization that coming into one's own sometimes means leaving family behind, both ideologically and physically. Divergent shows the pressure of having to choose between following in your parents' footsteps or doing something new. Allegiant shows that those different paths and new different ways can led to the same destination our parents were aiming to.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★★★)
Started: Feb 21 2014 Finished: Feb 28 2014
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)
by Cassandra Clare
My review: The mortal instrument is a popular fantasy book series by American author Judith Rumelt (better known by her pen name Cassandra Clare). In this third instalment Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters, to save her mother's life. Unfortunately entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. This book series is the conclusion of the first story arc, and by far the best of the trilogy. For an in-depth guide to this book series please refer to: http://goo.gl/036Wwg (★★★★)
Started: Feb 15 2014 Finished: Feb 20 2014
Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
by Veronica Roth (2012)
My review: Veronica Roth is clearly an adroit writer: she knows how to write addictive, impossible to put down, very enjoyable books. This said, there are a some aspects in the book that make me a little uneasy. In a world divided in "factions", the one devoted to Science and Rationality is often described as the Evil one, ready to take away people's freedom and lives in the name of comfort and wealth. Science and rationality seems to have been the cause of the end of morality and of an apocalyptic disaster. This troubles me deeply, because it reflects a growing anti-scientific attitude that I am observing in society. I hope I am mistaken and that the third book will bring some clarity on the topic.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★★★)
Started: Feb 08 2014 Finished: Feb 15 2014
Twelve Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup (2013)
My review: Slavery is a horrible stain in our history, but there is something worst: forgetting about it. This book made me realize that even if we are still facing the consequences of that immoral practice, even if "race" is one of the most discussed topics on TV, blogs, and newspapers, despite all that I still know so little about it. Solomon Northup was a quite talented free man in New York that happened to not be "white". He was kidnapped and sold as a slave in the South. Solomon was not the only one to have this fate. He was separated from his wife and from his sons, beaten and exploited, broken down physically and emotionally. He was deprived of the title and the dignity of being a man. After 12 years, thanks to extreme luck and exceptional circumstances, he was freed and returned to his family. While there are many reports of kidnapped free men believed to be sold as slaves in the South, Mr. Northup is the only one that made it back alive. Once back, any attempt to legally prosecute the kidnappers failed, as the historical legal records demonstrate, thanks to the fact that, as a "non-white", he could not be accepted as a witness against a "white" man. He actually barely escaped prison for having dared to accuse his kidnapper. He spent the rest of his life to end the horror of slavery and to help slaves escape to Canada. He also wrote down his story, published here along the legal court documents concerning his case. The result is one of the most incredible books I have ever read. Mr. Northup was a remarkable man, and was an incredibly good writer. Despite being written almost a century and an half ago, despite some of the horrors being described, it is a pleasure to read. On top of it, the book is of such historical significance that should be read by everybody.
I will never be able to understand and relate to the enormity of the horrors he had to endure, but I strongly believe I must try. The only way to atone for the horrors of the past, is to never forget them. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 03 2014 Finished: Feb 08 2014
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)
by Cassandra Clare (2008)
My review: The mortal instrument is a popular fantasy book series by American author Judith Rumelt (better known by her pen name Cassandra Clare). In this second book Clary wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? The story is entertaining, and it mixes some of the themes of Harry Potter with the teen supernatural romance that made books like Twilight, and the "True Blood" Sookie Stackhouse series popular. For an in-depth guide to this book series please refer to: http://goo.gl/036Wwg (★★★★)
Started: Jan 27 2014 Finished: Feb 03 2014
Divergent (Divergent, #1)
by Veronica Roth (2012)
My review: Despite the very strange and hard to believe premises, the book is quite entertaining and very hard to put down. Dystopian novel, from Fahrenheit 451 to 1984, often make us reflect about some aspects of modern society. Divergent does not convey such a strong warning yet, but there are hints and suggestions that are probably going to be developed in the following books of this trilogy. There is only one aspect of the book I did not like: in a world divided in "factions", the one devoted to Science and Rationality is described as the Evil one. This troubles me, because it reflects a growing anti-scientific attitude that I am observing in society. I hope I am mistaken.
For my extended review and book series suggested reading order see: http://goo.gl/78SX85 (★★★★)
Started: Jan 25 2014 Finished: Jan 27 2014
1984
by George Orwell (2013)
Publisher review: Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Jan 19 2014 Finished: Jan 25 2014
The Shining
by Stephen King (1980)
My review: The most remarkable aspect of this book, in my opinion, revolves around Jack Torrance's alcoholism. Its horror, its impact on Jack and his family life, is described in such a human and credible way, that you can relate and empathize with the character, even as he falls into madness and ruin. It did not come as a surprise to discover that the book was written when the author was fighting against alcoholism himself. As a result Jack retains his humanity even when the "bad stuff" slowly turns him into a monster.
The plot is interesting and intriguing at first, but I was a little disappointed when the mysteries are revealed, and it turns out this is just another haunted house story.
This book confirms Stephen King as an incredible and versatile writer and storyteller. This said, the abundant use of racist and homophobic remarks ruined the book for me. While I understand how curses and profanities are quite effective in conveying raw emotions and fears, they seem to be used when there is no need for them in this book, and a way too liberally. (★★)
Started: Jan 06 2014 Finished: Jan 18 2014
The Last Colony (Old Man's War, #3)
by John Scalzi (2008)
My review: In this third installment of the Old Man's War series, John Perry, his wife Jane, and their adopted daughter Zoe, are at last living quietly in one of humanity's many colonies. John and Jane are asked to lead a new colony world, and they decide to give it a try... But they soon find out that nothing is what it seems, for his new colony are merely pawns in an interstellar game of war and diplomacy between humanity's Colonial Union and a new, seemingly unstoppable alien alliance that is dedicated to ending all human colonization. As for the previous books of the series, the book is witty, extremely clever, enjoyable, a real pleasure to read. I strongly recommend it. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 03 2014 Finished: Jan 06 2014
On Wings of Eagles
by Ken Follett (1984)
My review: Apparently even the greatest authors have a price. On Wings of Eagles is based on real events: 2 American businessmen are put in jail with non formalized bribery accusations in the middle of the Iran Khomeini's Iran revolution, and they managed to escape back home. The story is told as told to the author by the main characters, one of which, Perot, pretty much commissioned the book. As a result the book reads like a puff job, where Perot and his executives are hailed as heroes for actions that are quite troubling. Faced with the incarceration of two of his executives, Perot decides to bypass the US government, and instead forms his own militia rescue party (using retired US army soldiers) and send them in Iran, to risk their life, ready to kill innocent civilians, endangering the US-Iranian relations (and the lives of the thousands of American in Iran at the time) in the middle of an extremely delicate situation (i.e. a full blown revolution), to save his two executives. The executives, at the end, are saved by the action of "Rashid", a smart Iranian employee, and by a lot of luck. I love Ken Follett work because it helps me to better understand history. This book does not shed any light on the Iranian revolution (but for a quick paragraph or two in the whole book). It focuses entirely on the event as seen from Perot, and it is clear that the only thing that matter to him was to save his two executives, at any coast, completely disregarding the well-being of the Iranian civilians and the other American in Iran. The story is adroitly written, but I found it very disturbing. I strongly recommend the following review, that I believe really touch all the important strengths and weaknesses of the book: http://www.danielpipes.org/7958/on-wi... . (★)
Started: Dec 20 2013 Finished: Jan 03 2014