Friday, May 17, 2013
Author: Robin McKinley
Price: $18.99 ($14.03-Amazon)
Rating: 4 out of 5/ A Good Long Wee
After closing this book for the final time I set out to return it inside of the old tree knothole used by our agents in a small town of a small country. As I walked I began to ponder about what separates the great fantasy from the not so great. I once thought that readers were the only daredevils of the literary world. That they were the ones who gained the most from rustling paper...the ones who risked it all for one more page turn. But now I wonder, are we not alone after all? Does the writer risk as much as we do walking the fine line between classic and cliche? No genre may exemplify this silent battle more than fantasy. I have soared higher than imaginable riding on the pages of a great fantastical novel. Unfortunately I have also crashed, burned, and barely survived in the hellish darkness of a terrible one. Pegasus, princesses, forbidden love...I've heard it all before and it's boring. So why did this book keeping pulling me back in against all odds?
In a land more interesting than ours, mankind and pegasus depend on each other for their very survival. Humans defend the land from monsters while the pegasus provide a trade of breathtaking almost magical items of every sort.. and allow humans to rule absolutely. But with two species so different communication is almost nonexistent, requiring the effort of mages on both sides to get even the simplest ideas across. To preserve the delicate alliance it was decided that people would each be bound to a pegasus and they would become "most excellent friends". What resulted was generations of awkwardness filled with misunderstandings. Until the Princess Sylviianel is paired with prince Ebon and the two of them start speaking, to the shock of both kingdoms. As Ebon and Sylviianel talk and begin to realize how wrong their people's ideas of each other are, dark forces come together to silence the two of them forever, especially before they uncover a terrible secret.
The largest problem with this book and many others in the fantasy genre is that there is no component of the story that the reader has not seen before. We already know these fantasy creatures, this land with a castle, and after all these years I personally feel like I have a very good idea of the life of a rebellious princess. Every time I open these novels I dream of encountering something unexpected, something so new in this deja vu world that I stop and stare in shock... but it never happens. The characters react in familiar ways to familiar crisis in hopes of stopping familiar villains. It is a tragedy that so many good ideas are brought down by the dreaded cookie cutter.
Luckily there is such a thing as a book having too much charm to hate. The tenacious reader here will be well rewarded by the end of their journey. The characters are all well developed and do a good job balancing themselves against each other as the story progresses. The pegasus are modified with enough peculiarities to make them a bit different than what the reader probably has in mind. Dialog is well written and reads naturally, giving each character a unique voice. And while the story won't have you on the edge of your seat there is enough to keep you turning pages and satisfied when the that final cover closes. We may love to hate the "happy ending" fantasy novel but that warm fuzzy feeling you get while reading speaks for itself. Just a warning though: If you are a man this book may not hold the same warm fuzzy experience for you.
Pegasus started with a low score but gradually won me over utilizing that cute factor (to my great embarrassment). As I walk down the street I wonder if I gave it a 4 out of 5 simply because at the end of the day I was glad I had read it. I wonder as well if perhaps I have underestimated the dangers writer's face when the sit in their labrotories building thier worlds word by word. Speaking of dangers I see a menacing shadow looming in the branches between blood red maple leaves. Since I can't allow this dark agent of Librarians to get his hands on this book I'll have take my leave of you. For the agent who needs to pick up this book I'll have to hide it in our back up fire hydrant.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I am proud to announce that Office Agents have been able to infiltrate the infamous Facebook! By joining our page you will become an Agent with all the behind scene access and privileges of our secret society. Enjoy your new station of righteousness with all the perks like...
1) Upcoming Review Sneak Peaks
2) Confidential Agent Pics
3) Inside jokes
4) New Drinking Games donated by every agent's thorough college research
5) Nerdy news that may not have any relevance to books but will have a revelance to awesomeness!
6) A chance to meet other Agents and coordinate our efforts to bring down the evil empire who keeps publishing terrible books and all those Librarian henchmen who want to keep us silent.
If your tired of living your mundane life and are brave enough to enter a darker more dangerous world than click on the "like" link on the top left corner or look up Books from the Office on Facebook. Think carefully before you do because once you step into our world there is no stepping back out!
Monday, May 13, 2013
Title: Slither (The Last Apprentice #11)
Author: Joseph Delaney
Price: $17.99 ($13.46-Amazon)
Rating: 2 out of 5/ Constipation
...................what the #%*& is this book.... Where is this story coming from and why the hell is it here in the first place! For the first time since starting this blog I have no idea what to say about this novel. Joseph Delaney has decided (right at the very end of an already dragged out series) to add an entire new cast of characters with their own personal story arc and location. Reading it is similar to watching Jungle Book II while eating ghost chillies and being tattooed by a 5 year old. Its confusing, painful, and horrifying all at the same time. The only reason I'm taking the time to review it is because no one else should suffer this terrible fate. Plus some one needs to stand up and smack Joseph Delaney because he seems to be under the delusion that he's George R.R. Martin and that idea is just a train wreck waiting to happen.
In a land very very very far from the County a father lies dying. As he takes his last breaths he makes a bargain with a demon called Slither to escort his three daughters safely to his sister's farm. In return he gives Slither permission to enslave his oldest daughter and sell her in a hellish demon slave market. As Slither (very loosely) fulfills his promise the girls are captured (multiple times) by other agents of darkness. Slither must decide where he stands in the darkness and choose between having his honor or being very rich.
If you read the previous paragraph then I'm sure you've already picked out some flaws. First off the book doesn't have anything to do with the Last Apprentice story! Without help from the cover I would have had no idea I was reading a L.A. book. Second the story that you do have is extremely dumb and full of huge plot holes. A father sells his oldest daughter (the only girl whose not an complete idiot in this story) into a literal hellish slavery just to get the other two girls a few towns over. The oldest daughter is almost an adult and is certainly old enough to keep the farm they already have running. Meanwhile Slither seems to have no real reason to keep his word and spends most of his time meandering aimlessly around with the girls to all his favorite demon hang outs. Then he proceeds to almost die saving them before they all move to the next location where the cycle starts again. The whole thing just doesn't make any sense to me. There are a few pitiful cameos to try to tie this book into the series but honestly I was to angry to really care.
To my shock even Patrick Arrasmith couldn't save Delaney this time. The artwork, made by hand carving and stamping techniques, is amazing...but not amazing enough to buy this book. The writing and dialog is ok I guess from a technical standpoint. The fact that the book is easily readable and well written is the only thing saving this story from receiving the infamous diarrhea rating. I actually thought Slither did have the makings of a great main character, just not in this series. If you gave him a better story line and some more intelligence he would actually be a great antihero (something we don't see that often). The gore and monsters found within the pages are well done and plentiful but without the reader being emotionally invested in the characters they simply stand out as awkward moments.
Constipation is a perfect word to describe the latest installment of The Last Apprentice. Leave this book and Joseph Delaney to the 11 year old die hard fanboys and spend your money and time elsewhere. I heard recently that they are making these books into a movie series....God help us all.
Picture Reference: http://www.thewellreadbookstore.com/book/9780062192349
Friday, May 10, 2013
Title: Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice #10)
Author: Joseph Delaney
Price: $17.99 ($12.23-Amazon)
Rating: 3 out of 5/ A Ghost Poo
What happens when a good writer doesn't know when to stop? When a great tale becomes so muddled that it's reverted to giveaways at school book fairs? Who is the real victim in this unfortunate equation? Is it the reader that suffers, or perhaps the story, or even the author himself? I'm not sure but I can tell you with certainty that I personally suffered greatly. This once great story filled with gore, demons, and so much killing that moms would faint if they read it... has been reduced to a cheap Saturday morning cartoon. I use this analogy because it feels like a new book in this series comes out every week and unfortunately each book is less than its predecessor. If you would like to hear my rant as it extends into the next four paragraphs or your just a glutton for punishment read on. If you have something better to do with your time than mess around with Joseph Delaney's bazillionth book I don't blame you...
Tom the apprentice and his master the Spook have been preparing for the end of the world. While this hysterically seems to include constant physical assaults to Satan's face (something I still find unrealistic on even the best of days) it also means fixing up their house. So the two of them with faithful witch Alice in tow, leave to visit a distant library in hopes of restoring the Spook's burnt out collection. Unfortunately a stinging betrayal by one of their own leaves the gang scattered and clinging to life. Tom must gather his wits and courage to save one he loves but it might already be too late.
I truly believe that Joseph Delaney has written the end of this series already. In fact he probably wrote it some time ago and is simply refusing to publish it. The last two books in this series have been filled with words, conversations, and lots of walking.. none of which has progressed this story an inch. And yes there is one plot development thrown in at the end of this book but it seems almost an afterthought put in to shut readers up. But by far the worst casualties of this dragged on series are the characters. These people that I truly cared about when I first began this journey almost a decade ago have been degraded to a laughable peanut gallery. After chapter and chapter of similar dialog and emotions spanning the entire cast I've become unfeeling towards all of them and simply wait for the next opportunity to laugh at Satan's abuse. This book, while not being "bad" per say, includes nothing noteworthy or new. It is simply more of the same page after page until each book blurs together as a giant literary blob.
As always the best part about a Joseph Delaney book is the artwork. Patrick Arrasmith has once again saved a mediocre novel with his stunning hand carved black and white line prints. Is artwork alone worth reading a bad book..probably not but it makes the fact you purchased it easier. Another reliable highlight includes blood, gore, and monsters. All of which are found in plenty within the pages and proves that Delaney hasn't lost his imaginative touch. Anytime you find this much killing and blood within a children's book you know it can't be that bad. The monsters tend to overshadow the main characters and you can tell the passion and care that has been put into developing and fleshing each horror out. The writing is fine from a technical point and creates an easy flow of reading interrupted with well placed artwork. As to Delaney's writing I would like to include one more important point. The man needs to have his exclamation point button ripped off. I have never seen so many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in all of my reading and it leaves the sense that the character's must be screaming every time they open their mouth.
So The Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead limps by with a 3 out of 5/ a ghost poo. Easy to walk away from and just as easy to forget it's one that should be kept in the bathroom for bored agents of the office. And if your a writer reading this please remember to use exclamation points responsibly.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
|Agent Sterling would like to apologize...|
You may have noticed that there have not been any new reviews or updates for awhile. Our newest agent Sterling has been working undercover trying to infiltrate the Librarian's secret society. He was highly successful playing the cute stray and we were so close to discovering the entrance to the literary black market until disaster struck. His cover was blown by a particularly mean library janitor who was guarding what we believed at the time to be a secret gateway. In a panic Sterling rushed home and chewed through all the computer cables in an effort to keep "The Office" from being compromised. Personally I felt that was a bit extreme and the two of us had a long argument about the philosophy behind "Better safe than sorry". Regardless we decided it was best to move headquarters and we finally established ourselves in a new location with new gear to get us up and running again. New reviews including "Last Apprentice", "Pegasus", "Divergent", and the fabled "Metro 2033" are coming soon. We would also like to warn all our dedicated agents that it might be a good idea to lay low around libraries for awhile...
|Since Sterling was the one who got us caught, he was in charge of most of the moving...|
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Well it's that time again and I can't think of a book related drinking game more appropriate than Game of Thrones, which also premiers its new season on the same day! So for all you die hard fans out there with your Ommegang bottle and chalice, risking the wrath of your family to get home in time, I propose a toast and this drinking game... but please always remember to conquest responsibly!
1) Drink every time you see boobies!!! (We'll start with the most obvious)
2) Drink every time there is a short jab or joke.
3) Take a drink every time the spider or anyone makes a reference to his lack of balls.
4) Every time you see a dragon take a drink. You see three dragons at the same time you better be drinking for each one.
5) There's not many Dire Wolfs left but every time there is you better respect them by drinking!
6) For each time Arya does something badass (don't worry it will be easy to tell) take a drink.
7) Anytime Joffrey acts like a bitch take a drink. (This is the rule to take out if your getting too drunk since Joffrey sure as hell won't stop)
8) Every time a main character dies a horrible death take a drink.
9) If a Lannister pays a debt take a drink.
10) And last but not least... EVERY TIME YOU SEE A ZOMBIE/GROUP OF ZOMBIES TAKE A DRINK!!! (A zombie horse counts as bonus shot)
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
To celebrate our 100th follower I would like to make an important announcement!
Our Newest Employee "Sterling" has started working for The Office, bringing with him a much needed skill set.
He has an advanced degree in misdirection and distraction with a minor in disguise and escape. When I asked about his passion for literature he responded by literally eating a Stephen King novel. I was so impressed by this direct approach that I hired him on the spot. After his agent training is complete he will be assisting with many of the investigations currently ongoing in the office. His first task will be distracting the librarian guards while we research the black book market. Please help me welcome Agent Sterling to the team and you can follow his exciting adventures only on THE OFFICE!!!