Posts Tagged ‘Imaginary Wars and Battles’
Description: Nya, a fifteen-year-old war orphan, becomes a pawn in a bigger political game when her uncanny–and dangerous–ability to draw out people’s pain and then give it to someone else turns out to be the only weapon she has to save her sister.
Review: The Shifter is a fast paced, action-packed fantasy with a strong leading female protagonist. Nya is a Taker, a person who has the ability to take away ones pain but instead of transferring it to an enchanted metal, she can “shift” it to someone else. Her secret ability makes her a hot commodity in the Duke’s dark plans to take over nearby lands. When her sister, Tali, is kidnapped Nya must bargin her ability to save her sister, but how far will she go? If you had Nya’s powers, how would you use them? How do you decide which and whose pain to take? And just because you can take them away, it is the right thing to do? Hardy’s characters ask these tough questions along the way, making the reader wonder he/she would do if he/she were in her characters shoes. The Shifter is an intriguing tale about love, family and choices. There are currently three books out in the Healing War series.
Summary: Hiccup is a young Viking, a member of the northern island community of Berk. The village is locked in a constant struggle against pillaging dragons, and for a young Viking killing a dragon is everything. When he encounters a wounded dragon, however, Hiccup discovers that most of what his people know about dragons is wrong.
Review: This is probably the best movie I watched in 2010; I don’t watch many, so that may not be saying much. The story, which is packed with both humor and action, holds equal appeal to adults and kids. While it is entirely appropriate for kids (it’s rated PG), it is worth noting that this is not a Disney movie. At various points, the characters in the movie have to make hard choices, often resulting in very real sacrifices and consequences. While I acknowledge that some parents may be bothered by this (hence making it an individual judgment call), the movie is much, much stronger because of it. The animation is also lovely; it’s easy to see why this was a 3D IMAX movie.
View-a-likes: The wit and cross-generational appeal of How to Train Your Dragon is very reminiscent of the Shrek movies. If you enjoyed the dragons, you might pick up Eragon or Dragon Hunters, though both are better suited to a teen audience. And, of course, the movie is based on a series of books by Cressida Cowell.
Availability: This item is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library in both DVD and Blu-ray. Click here to check on the availability!
Summary: Basilisk Station is the rug under which the Royal Manticoran Navy sweeps it’s incompetents, fools and washouts. The experimental armament of Commander Honor Harrington’s new command, the light cruiser Fearless, is intrinsically flawed; rather than admit that the costly renovation of the aged warship has left it largely defenseless, powerful forces in the navy arrange for Honor and her crew to be shunted aside to Basilisk. Once on station, an old enemy of Honor’s arranges for Fearless to be abandoned as the only ship monitoring the busy post, with the hope of watching her fail. Honor’s determination to meet all of Fearless’ assigned duties, no matter how impossible that seems to be, puts her and her ship squarely in the path of the People’s Republic of Haven, which has its eyes set on seizing control of the star system.
Review: Since it’s release in 1993, the Honor Harrington Series (currently at 12 books) has become one of the most essential military science fiction series available. Putting a future Horatio Hornblower/Admiral Nelson at the center of epic space battles, Weber writes tales of political, strategic and tactical maneuvering on a rarefied level. This first entry is very good; the next entry in the series, The Honor of the Queen, is superlative. The audio for the book is solidly done, as well. There’s nothing about the reader (Allyson Johnson) to write home about, but neither does she get in the way of enjoying the tale.
Read-a-likes: Other military science fiction authors, such as David Drake and Elizabeth Moon, are worthy read-a-likes. Fans of the seafaring stories of C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian may be rewarded here as well. Weber rewrites their classic tales of wooden ships and iron men with panache here.
Review by Eric.
Summary: Humanity pushed out into the stars, and encountered the ruthless Gbaba. One by one, Earth and it’s colonies fell before them. At terrible cost, an expedition slipped away to found a colony on a distant, earth-like world. But will its remote location be enough to protect it? Some among the administrators do not believe so; they seize control of the expedition, wipe the colonists memories, set themselves up as Angels and provide the colonists with a totalitarian religion that forbids any technologies other than those prescribed in the holy books. With no advanced technology, the colony will never be found; but not all agree that survival under these conditions is justifiable. The resultant conflict between factions wipes out both sides, leaving the inhabitants of Safehold to continue on with their false religion, locked forever in the Medieval world. Over 800 years later, hidden in a cave beneath the planet’s surface, an android awakes. Provided with the memories and skills of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban, who gave her life fighting the Gbaba so that the colony expedition could escape, the android is tasked with a mission; with the immediate danger of destruction past, break the chains that bind humanities future and take them back to the stars to reclaim their destiny.
Review: And that’s just the first 20 pages! Tipping the scales at 605 p., the word ‘epic’ is fairly accurate. And this is just the first in what is currently a 4 book series. Best known for his Honor Harrington military sci-fi novels, Weber doesn’t stray too far from home here. Technology, political machinations and warfare are the main draws, all of which Weber does very well, and it makes for a gripping read. This reviewers only complaint is that the premise of the book suggests that some thorny religious issues would need to be dealt with for the plot to progress; Weber deals with them only passingly, perhaps missing an opportunity.
Read-a-likes: Fans of other military science fiction authors, such as Elizabeth Moon and David Drake, will be rewarded here. And, of course, fans of Eric Flint (who similarly has advanced technology dropped into the Middle Ages in his Assiti Shards series) should consider this a must. In addition, fans of Patrick O’Brian, C.S. Forester and Julian Stockwin willing to tolerate the presence of a sci-fi veneer will be rewarded, as most of the action is the sort of swashbuckling high seas adventure that would make those worthies proud.
Availability: This item is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library as a book. Click here to check on the availability of the item.
Review by Eric