The Player of Games Review

 

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Book Title The Player of Games

Series Culture (book 2)

Genre Sci-fi

Author Iain M. Banks

 

Language?

If you’ve read Consider Phlebas, you may fear that this is occasionally clunky and occasionally hard to read. But it isn’t. This book is written beautifully.

 

Plot/characters?

There are a few harsh critics on this book, but I would suggest they are from people who have a preference for flat-out action novels or prefer intricately woven novels from different POV’s (such as the third book in the series). I found the main character believable, minor characters interesting, and the plot both fascinating and rewarding.

 

Worst bits?

There is a lack of comic relief.

 

Best bits?

The entire novel builds the character and the proclivities of the entities involved. This leads to a very satisfying crescendo where you realise as much as you were surprised by everything that happened, it could not have happened any other way.

 

Memorable quotes

‘By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules.’

 

‘What, anyway, was he to say? That intelligence could surpass and excel the blind force of evolution, with its emphasis on mutation, struggle and death? That conscious cooperation was more efficient than feral competition?’

 ‘Escape is a commodity like anything else.’ 

Parting thoughts

I’ve read the first few books in the Culture series, and this was undoubtedly one of the best. It questions one of the things I’ve always thought true to myself – I prefer novels with heavy use of laser-guns and spaceships (ha, you was thinking that was going to be all philosophical!). This novel had a distinct lack of massive violence, thrown in just occasionally, and yet I still rate it as a favourite book.

 

Additional information/where to get it

Amazon Uk The Player Of Games: A Culture Novel (The Culture)

Amazon.com The Player of Games (Culture)

 

 

The Black Prism Review

 

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Book Title(s)The Black Prism

SeriesThe Lightbringer Series

GenreFantasy

AuthorBrent Weeks

 

 

Language?

Author occasionally breaks POVs, which threw my immersion occasionally. Besides this, the book is full of rich analogies that paint instant images, and is thoroughly well written.

 

Plot/Characters?

Solid and interesting characters, following a twisty plot. It’s fantastic! As soon as I think I’ve nailed it with my guess on who the bad guys are, I find myself changing my mind.

 

Worst bits?

As above. I’m being narrated to and then suddenly ‘I thought this or that’. It stands out because the rest of the book is so well written.

 

Best bits?

To stop myself from gushing words for a while, I’m going to be strict and just say a couple. The magic system is excellent and the way it effects society and rolls into the plot is just perfect – it has been thoroughly thought out and considered.

The story is told continuously. This may not sound like a big thing, but, there were no wasted paragraphs anywhere; everything was worth reading because it added something, nothing was skipped.

 

Memorable quotes

‘Gavin looked toward the sun, poised above the horizon. Two hours. All I need is two hours. Protecting these people is one great purpose I have that you must approve of. So if you’re up there, would you please get off your holy ass and help me?’

 

‘When the sands were running out of the glass, delayed justice was as bad as injustice.’

 

Parting thoughts

This is a great book, and it comes with that warming comfort of knowing there are more in the series. It doesn’t end when you turn that last page.

 

Additional information/where to get it

Amazon Uk The Black Prism: Book 1 of Lightbringer

Amazon.com The Black Prism (Lightbringer)

 

Catch you next time!

 

 

Flowers for Algernon Review

 

 

Book Title Flowers for Algernon

Genre Psychological Sci-Fi

Author Daniel Keyes

 

Language?

The language takes strict POV to a new level, you’ll need to read it to see what I mean for this to remain non-spoiler. It’s immersive and excellently written.

 

Plot/characters?

This is the sort of story where the more perceptive reader will pick up fine nuance and details, accelerating this novel from a good story to a firm favourite that sets the bar for those around it.

 

Worst bits?

There is a distinct lack of laser-guns and spaceships.

 

Best bits?

The distinct lack of laser-guns and spaceships allows the novel to focus on the progress and mental state of the main character and those around him – and an incredible read it is.

 

Memorable quotes

“I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.”

“Strange about learning; the farther I go the more I see that I never knew even existed. A short while ago I foolishly thought I could learn everything – all the knowledge in the world. Now I hope only to be able to know of its existence, and to understand one grain of it. Is there time?”

“There are a lot of people who will give money or materials, but very few who will give time and affection.”

 

Parting thoughts

This is a thought-provoking book that is impossible to put down. I read it myself in two nights, and I quite definitely blubbed like a baby at the end.

 

Additional information/where to get it

Amazon Uk – Flowers For Algernon (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

Amazon.com – Flowers for Algernon