Monday, August 25, 2008

Wholly Good Book -Unholy Domain by Dan Ronco

For the action adventure fan out there, this one's for you. Religious terrorists, power hungry and ruthless technocrats, post-apocolyptic culture and society - its all in there. This is Silence of the Lambs versus Jim Jones and everybody stands to lose if our mild-mannered hero doesn't save the day.

My only problem with this book that at the height of the clash, it ended. No resolution, no idea of the fate of the characters, no justice meted out. Can you say "Sequel"? I have stated before that I generally loathe series work, and this is a classic example of why. This isn't a series of building climaxes and accompanying denouments, its one long story broken up into seperate books. Its a dad-gummed soap opera. I HATE that. Why would you do that to your readers? Its like selling somebody junk bonds and skipping out when the market goes bad. I shall have to write to the author and ask him when to expect the rest of the story.

Otherwise, it is a well-written, captivating story with shoot 'em ups, showdowns, intrigue, full-out combat, and a little romance thrown in to spice things up. The bad guys (and there's a bunch of 'em) hate each other more than they want to rule the world (rather one is in the way of the other) and the interplay there is fascinating. It reads almost like a Robert Ludlum novel, accept the hero is a true innocent but fully cognizant of his past and the players affecting his future. Its good reading - not great - but darned good.

I probably would have given this 4 stars, but that ending just ruined the 4 stars for me. Its still worth reading just for the authors take on future technology, but if you want the whole story, you're probably going to have to buy (borrow, steal) another book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gone Away World Isn't Gone - Its Soon To Be On Your Shelves!

I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book at the author's behest. I warned him that I had a list of titles I was valiantly trying to read through and that it might be awhile before I got to it. He assured me that he was personally familiar with that phenomenon and that he was untroubled by my slow approach to his writings, he just would like for me to read it. That's it, just read it. No opinions, no posts, no obligation whatsoever were necessary. So, of course, I read it immediately.

Every once in a while, one reads a book that encompasses a vast emotional palette in the reader. It elicits stark laughter, desperate sadness, pathos you could spread like peanut butter, satisfaction and triumph that absolutely require that one pump one's fist repeated from the shoulder height in a rapidly downward motion while mouthing an incomprehensible "YES!". This book is one of those. It is a treatise on humanity from the weird ( not "weird " as in geas or testament, just "weird" as in strange, offbeat).

It is a tale as only the British author can tell it, since they alone of the authors in the world seem to have the ability to say upfront to the reader, "OK, so it rubbish and completely unbelievable. Its still right good!". And just to provoke discussion, they write a damn good story. The Lord of the Rings is the most improbable collection of creatures ever assembled, yet its story is enduring and, ultimately, uplifting. The Hitchhikers Guide was asinine, yet enduring and funny and read and enjoyed by millions. Gone Away World is not anything remotely like these, but its still a tale of perilous decisions made by ineffective people, resulting in the small and disparate powers for "good" facing the organized, overwhelming, and clear-sighted powers of "evil". In other words, its "Mom & Pop vs. Erich Von Walmart to determine the fate of the world". (And no, there is no mention of Walmart in the book).

There is no point at which one can take this book for granted. The surprises are boundless and wonderful. The last line at the end of the climatic battle scene will soon be sported on T-shirts. It is perfect and just off-beat enough that one must be "on the inside" to truly appreciate it. It is the next "grok". And getting to the point where the line is uttered by our hero is what makes the line so satisfying to the reader. The build up is as long as the whole book, its delivery brief, it effect - perfect. It is both simple in its scope, and so encompassing of the whole story that it simply feels good to read the words.

I guess I should point out that I loved this book. Its not quite out in America yet, but it will be soon. Don't wait. Pre-order yours now and get all the goodies that come with that pre-order, because you are going to be hearing about this book and it will end up on your shelves one way or another. It is a classic, or at least, it will be. I am dusting off my 5-star rating for this one. Get this book! Read it! Or else remain ever ignorant. Ignorance, in this instance, isn't bliss. It is a loss. Read it, read it, read it, then pass it on so that the Voiceless Dragon lives! (Cryptic enough for ya?)