Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ghosts of Tristan Basin

Ghosts of the Tristan Basin (Powder Mage, #0.7)Ghosts of the Tristan Basin by Brian McClellan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tristan Ghost Irregulars, along with all the other militias fighting for freedom in Fatrasta, have been called to defend Planth. An overwhelming brigade of Kez are headed to Planth, including Privileged and Wardens. The story takes place 8 months prior to the events of Promise of Blood.

Ghosts of the Tristan Basin is a story about Taniel and Ka-poel's time fighting the Kez in Fatrasta's war for independence. Taniel is busy doing what he does best, using a little powder mage magic to eliminate the enemy two bullets at a time. I found Taniel interesting in this novella because he is different than when he's introduced in Promise of Blood. He's seemingly more thoughtful and concerned about people than he is anytime in the main series. That could easily be attributed to the events that took place before the beginning of Promise of Blood and perhaps he's suffering from PTSD of a sort from the Fatrasta war.

Despite expecting this story to be carried by Taniel and Ka-poel, it was Mad Ben Styke that stole a lot of attention. He's a lancer with magically enhanced armor who is known to ride into hopeless situations along with his Mad Lancers and save the day. He was quite memorable and I have to wonder if this was on purpose since the next book in the series is supposed to be happening in Fatrasta.

The story was a good one and it definitely has me excited to see what happens next in the powder mage universe.

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Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You’re I'm not quite evil geeky enough. You’re semi-evil I'm semi-geeky. You’re quasi-evil I'm quasi-geeky. You’re I'm the margarine of evil geeky. You’re I'm the Diet Coke of evil geeky, just one calorie, not evil geeky enough.

I'm not even easily identified as a geek. If I was walking down the street you couldn't point me out as a geek. After talking about superheroes in high school a friend of mine called me a mimic because I could fit in with any group.

I bring this up because it's likely a large reason Ready Player One didn't resonate with me as it did with so many of my full fledged geeky friends. I'm just not quite geeky enough. Another big reason is that I was only a little kid in the '80s so a lot of the references were lost on me.

Ready Player One was a slow starter for me. The standard dystopia future and the large info dumps were annoying. If I had to rate the story at that point I would've given it 2 stars. I wasn't all that into the story until about 100 pages were left and then I couldn't put the book down. At that point most of the info dumps and standard dystopia future references had vanished so it helped me finally get into what was happening. I would've given the last hundred pages 4 or 4.5 stars.

The massive online world of OASIS sounded really interesting and it wasn't hard to see how that could get addictive. If such a game existed even scaled down for today's gaming systems I don't think I could resist picking it up and playing it like crazy.

Ready Player One had some really enjoyable moments. I imagine someone who remembers the '80s well would enjoy far more than me because of its reverence to the '80s.

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