Saturday, April 10, 2010

He Chose Our Inheritance For Us. (Psalm 47:4)

Well, hello there! No need to be timid, come on in, I won't bite ya...

Yeah, come in, have a seat. Can I get you a refreshing drink or something to snack? No? Well, that's common sense, I suppose... probably not wise to take food and/or drink from someone you don't know yet...

OK, well, what shall we cover tonight, eh? Feeling mellow? Yes? OK, cool, here, watch this... if your connection can handle it, click the "full screen" button, then select 720p and crank up your speakers. This is a slideshow of some Fantasy/Sci-Fi art from various artists, and it really is pretty amazing (and immersive, when in full screen).

Very cool. What say you? You likey? There's a couple more similar clips in that series, if you want more.

Too mellow? OK, well, how about a funny animal video or two?

Here is Standing Cat, the current viral rage...

Sorry about the music.

Here's a cat that's a bit more high-strung (and entertaining, methinks)...

Attack that roll! Destroy it! Good cat!

OK, well what now? How about a book review? I stayed up way too late last night finishing Hawkwood's Voyage, by Paul Kearney. It's Book 1 in the Monarchies of God series - which I found out today is 5 books long! Once the story got rolling, it really hooked me. I'm glad I stuck it out - I'll likely continue the series. In fact, he's releasing a two-volume omnibus edition I may grab, though that's kind of risky... it contains all 5 books... what if I don't like book 2, eh? Then I'm stuck! But the covers are cool, check them out...

Anyway, here's my review of the first book...

Hawkwood's Voyage: The Monarchies of God Book One by Paul Kearney: A Review
I picked this book up in Christmas of 2008, along with several other series starter's, in hopes of finding a great author or two to tide me over until GRRM came out with his latest overdue installment of the Ice and Fire series. I started Hawkwood's Voyage last Spring, and didn't get too far into it before shrugging my shoulders and sticking it back up on the shelf, with other books that didn't do much for me. I really had no intention of ever picking it up again - it wasn't bad, it just didn't do anything for me. But I ran out of decent things to read last month, and couldn't afford to do any new book shopping, so I snatched it off of the shelf to give it another go. I'm glad I did.

This is a traditional epic fantasy starter, with some fairly standard archetypal characters. The weary soldier who somehow survives the siege of the unconquerable city by the innumerable evil hoard. The rogue mariner who gets caught up in an adventure against his will. The young monarch butting heads with the religious establishment. The evil emperor and his magic henchmen, bent on world domination. The mysterious, militaristic people that decide now is the time to come out of hiding and attempt to sway the course of history.

There are numerous other minor characters, all moved by their own personal brand of ambition, eager to move themselves up in life, and come out of the world-wide chaos not only surviving, but thriving. There are magicians and shape-shifters, corrupt religious leaders, soldiers and sailors, and plenty of death and blood for everyone. What makes this book different than most I've read is the heavy emphasis on sea travel. The author obviously knows a lot about sailing the open ocean, and conveys it well, especially in scenes where a lot of action is taking place on one of the boats. It would have been easy to lose the reader beneath an avalanche of sailing and boating terms and expressions, but Kearney does a great job of sounding casual while also making it pretty clear to laymen (like me) what he's talking about.

The other thing that makes it different is the near-absence of unnecessary profanity. I'm sure that's odd, coming from me - such a fan of both GRRM and Joe Abercrombie, whose books drip with foul language. But I've always been of the opinion that the language just isn't necessary in almost every instance.

Once the storylines are firmly set and rolling, as I said, the book is great fun to read. I did notice a few places where I skipped/skimmed over needless description (a pet peeve of mine), but there weren't that many.

The highlights for me included (of course) the battles, both on land and sea. I could do without the political intrigue and religious posturing, but I guess you can't have the battles without the politics.

Summary: 4/5 Took a while to build some steam, but I am now sufficiently hooked enough to warrant continuing the series.


There, how's that? Hmm? Not personal enough? Well, ok... what would you like to know about me?

Well, in the past day or two, I've added more entertainment to my collection here in my office. I bought two more games to age on my shelf, bringing my current total of "Games I've Bought and Not Played Yet" to five. I added Call of Duty: World At War and Dead Space to my shelf, beside Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Assassin's Creed and Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway. No, I don't know why I do it. They were each really cheap, and were all games I've wanted a long time. For some reason, I get them home, look at the box, shrug my shoulders, smile, stick them on the shelf, and instead play one of the few games I always play. Lately, it's been Oblivion.

I bought another book - it's actually a collection of new fantasy fiction short stories called Warriors, which GRRM edited. That's in addition to the books I mentioned a post or two ago, so I'm set, as far as new books, for a while anyway.

And I bought a DVD copy of The Chronicles of Riddick, which I was surprised that I didn't already own. Great movie, even though I'm not much for Sci-Fi. It will always have a special place in my heart because of the scene where Vin Diesel uttered the elusive "triple pun" of "Like I said, Tooms... skiddish". Ah, you gotta love a triple pun...

OK, well, if there's nothing specific you want to know about me, I'll just end it here. Thanks again for dropping by.

Dave the Gump


Krista said...

The art video was amazingly cool.

Krista said...

The Chronicles of Riddick awesome.

Joseph said...

Helpful review. I'm going to check it out next time I need something to read.

Also, I tried to take a picture of a bumper sticker for you the other day. It was an old lady driving the car and it said 'What if the whole world farted at once?'

logankstewart said...

Yay for Dead Space! That's one of my all-time favorite games. It's rather freaky/gory, but I loved the gameplay and the story line. (I did read on a few sites that the PC controls are not as smooth as they could be, but I couldn't say for sure). Enjoy the game whenever/if-ever you get to it.

Drydoryssus said...

That must have been a rather provocative toilet paper roll. Kittens invented quick motion comedy long before Hollywood.

( today's captcha : "Cogymor". Sounds like a good villain's name for a fantasy book to me ... )

havah said...

Standing Cat: The evidence evolutionists have no doubt been looking for. And how I wish that second cat was in my house, killing mice. My queendom for a cat, I say!