Some random book thoughts for January 2014

I’d been hoping to get to completing a few posts I stared over the last month or so, but other commitments and the pesky holiday season got in the way. It’s amazing that I get a lot of time off from work between Christmas and New Year’s and still manage to not have enough hours to get anything I want done. So with the remnants of a raging snowstorm taking place outside my window here’s a look at my book thoughts for January.

As I mentioned last month the book I had just stated was Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David as I waited for an opening my schedule to grab Clancy’s new tome. For those unfamiliar with Peter David’s work, to call him “odd” would neither be a negative nor an insult. His sarcastic wit and dry sense of humor spring forth in everything he writes, and Sir Apropos of Nothing is full of both. His take on the fantasy genre is exactly what you’d expect from him, and the plot twist at the end is unexpected and extremely humorous, fitting the book perfectly.

Finally, after several failed attempts I was able to pick up what might be the final Tom Clancy written “Jack Ryan” novel, Command Authority. It’s a shame that Clancy passed when he did–not that any time is a good time–because in this book he finally got his fastball back and Command Authority was reminiscent of his earlier Ryan books. It was fast paced without the action being forced, and didn’t rely on gimmicks nor phony plot twists to keep the story going. It was vintage Clancy. I’m hoping Mark Greaney, who co-wrote the book, will be able to continue the “Jack Ryan” series as he seems to have a good feel for the characters. It won’t be the same though.

Up next was The Woad to Wuin, the sequel to Sir Apropos of Nothing, and while it was a good book David missed the mark on a lot of stuff. He was poking fun at sequels, and the opening chapter is an absolutely great take off of The Lord of the Rings that is legitimately laugh-out-loud funny. Unfortunately, the rest of the book misses the mark a little. There are some scenes that will make you chuckle, but about a third of the way through the book takes a wild turn and just stumbles after itself from that point forward. The ending is predictable. The Woad to Wuin suffers from what a lot of other books do; the author sets the bar so high in the first book it’s almost impossible to reach it in the second book. And in The Woad to Wuin, David doesn’t. It’s still good enough to recommend though, just make sure you’ve read Sir Apropos of Nothing first.

The next two books I read were Sanctus and The Key by Simon Toyne. I grabbed them both because I’m a sucker for the “Church is hiding something” genre that has popped up since The Da Vinci Code was a big hit. In Sanctus Toyne follows most of the formula, although in his story the main location is a mountain called “The Citadel” in the fictional City-State of Ruin in South Eastern Turkey, as opposed to puicking real sites and then assigning fictional meanings to their locations. For most of Sanctus Toyne really doesn’t do anything new, he just tells the well know story of “they’re hiding something and we’re going to find out what it is” a little differently than others. The key, no pun intended, is what the “Sacrament” the Sancti of the Citadel are hiding. That truly is what makes Toyne’s story different.

The Key is a direct sequel of Sanctus, picking up just days after the events at the end of the first book take place. The Key follows the standard formula a lot closer than the first book, but that’s mostly because of the paths Toyne has set for his main characters. There’s a third book, called The Tower, which is not in paperback yet but I am anxiously waiting for its release.

Just before the new year kicked off I started The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron, so undoubtedly I’ll have more on that book next time.

Other then the Clancy book I didn’t buy anything else in the month of December as I decided, as I usually do, to generally avoid stores at all costs. On New Year’s Day I did swing by the book store are picked up The King’s Deception by Steve Berry and Empire and Honor by W.E.B. Griffin. Neither of those will be on the to-read shelf very long. As for new stuff coming out, I’m going to take a look at Dragon’s Wild by Robert Asprin. Other than that I didn’t see anything that was a “must buy”, but I do always seem to find something.

Until next time…