Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Star Wars Trilogy

Star Wars: A New Hope by George Lucas. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut (based on a story by George Lucas). Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by James Kahn (based on a story by George Lucas).

Plot: For years Luke Skywalker worked on his uncle's farm on the remote planet Tatooine, longing for the chance to adventure. When he intercepted a cry for help from a beautiful princess, Luke was thrust into a dangerous journey that would alter his fate and the fate of the universe.

Comments: It has been a long time since I've seen the Star Wars movies. I was worried that I wouldn't understand what was happening when I read this stories. However, these novels were written in such a way that I could have understood perfectly even if I had never seen the movies. The stories were very clear. There were plenty of names and characters, but not so many that I lost track.

The pure adventure and desperate reliance on luck in bad situations made these stories incredibly exciting. They take the classic story of the underdog fighting the bully and expand it into a battle between good and evil for the freedom of all. I couldn't put the books down.

Though I liked the Rebel characters Luke, Leia, Solo, and such, I never really cared about them. I cheered for their cause and their victories, but I really had no empathy for the characters. They didn't feel like real people to me. The authors told rather than showed what the characters were feeling, which made the characters unrealistic and two-dimensional.

Rating: I rate this trilogy a nine out of ten. Great stories, exciting action.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Extinction Event by David Black

Plot: When attorney Jack Slidell is suspected in the drug/sex murder of his law partner, he finds himself on the run with a beautiful woman. He quickly becomes caught up in a conspiracy that may mean the end of the planet.

Comments: I slogged my way through less than one hundred pages of this book before giving up. Definitely not a good story. The characters are just absolutely horrible - you feel no empathy for any of them, and so the story means nothing to you either.

According to a few other people who read the whole book, The Extinction Event has a few nice twists to the plot but the actual extinction event - the threat to human existence - appears as an afterthought in the final few pages. Overall, many agree that this was not a good book and that the characters are not well created.

As a side note, Jack's romance with the woman just grossed me out because he's sixty and she's not even thirty. That may be personal preference, but it made me dislike the characters even more.

To summarize, I thought this book was terrible.

Rating: I rate this book a five out of ten.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett

Plot: During the Great Depression, thousands roam the country seeking jobs and money. Among the crowds of hobos is quiet, determined Marcus Connelly. But Connelly is searching for something other than a job: he looks for the scarred man who murdered his daughter. Connelly lives only to take revenge upon this man who leaves behind whispers of a terrible legacy; the man everyone knows as Mr. Shivers.

Comments: Beginning as a solemn, grim story of a man driven to vengeance, Mr. Shivers soon twisted into a dark, disturbing tale. By the last page, I was thoroughly perturbed. This is certainly not a book for young people (I recommend high school and up) or for those who are easily frightened or sickened. The descriptions can get fairly graphic in a matter-of-fact manner that makes it even more disgusting.

I liked Connelly at first because he was such a simple person who didn't say much. He cared about other people. However, as the story progressed and he grew more obsessed with his quest, Connelly changed. He started to be like the very man he despised, Mr. Shivers. This disappointed me, and I no longer cared about Connelly. By the end, every character was just another pawn to play in the sick, twisted game of the story.

While this was a well-crafted story, I was so disturbed by it that I didn't enjoy it very much.

Rating: I rate Mr. Shivers a seven out of ten.