Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ed'd Mini Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

This one crept up on me as I didn't know a new Robert Langdon book was due out. I have to admit, I am a sucker for Dan Brown books. Yes, I know all of the knocks about his books, but damn if they are not entertaining. Like Tom Cruise movies, sure there is a lot of baggage there on good ol' Tommo, but I do like his movies. Not to say that Dan Brown has baggage like TC does, but you know what I mean. The knocks on his style and such are there.

Which finally brings us to "Origin". Let's be honest, his last outing, "Inferno", was fairly forgettable. I did like it but it seemed like it was well worn material and quite formulaic. "Origin" fits pretty much into the same formula going back now to "Davinci Code" but in some respects, that's what you come in for. You've got your chase, your conspiracy, your puzzle solving and  your female partner. Check, check, check and check. This books fits into the "Dan Brown style" and if you like that sort of thing, then you won't be disappointed.

This time around, we are again dealing with the Church, however this time in Spain. A world famous tech billionaire and avowed atheist, who just happens to have been a former student of Robert Langdon, is about to give a presentation, broadcast to the world amid much fanfare, on a discovery that will shake the foundations of religion. Dr. Langdon has been invited to the live presentation and of course, things go awry and the race is afoot again.

A little different but basically more of the same. Spanish art and architecture take center stage in this one so those topics are interesting especially if you are not all that up to speed on those topics, or forgotten them from your freshman art history class like I did. The mystery wasn't all that difficult to unravel and I had it pegged pretty early on, though the mystery around Langdon's old pupil's "discovery" was fairly new to me. Fairly solid entry in the series.

My Grade: B

LL

Friday, December 1, 2017

Ed'd Mini Book Review: Deamon by Daniel Suarez

While I was searching around for some books similar to "Ready Player One", Daniel Suarez's "Daemon" popped up in a couple of places so I decide take a gander. Seeing that it was more of a techno-thriller than a pop culture homage type, intrigued me and in having a taste for something a little different, I decided to give it a shot.

Cutting to the chase, I dug it. The story follows a couple of different characters but at its core, it focuses on the death of global tech magnate who, seemingly, is still pulling the strings on a complicated world wide scheme from beyond the grave. Now this scheme, or better yet we should call it a conspiracy, involves assassinations, booby trapped housed, embezzlement, fraud and all sorts of illegal maneuvering. The question is, to what cause. Additionally, these schemes are carried out by the Daemon, a computer program that was created by the tech giant before his death. Is the Daemon real or did he fake his death? Who is pulling the strings? Why are the characters chosen to carry out the Daemon's plans? All questions that drive the plot and make you want to read on.

Involved are some interesting characters with secrets of their own. Are they already working for the Daemon or are they just tying to hide something from their past? See, more questions. Beyond the questions, there are some pretty sweet action pieces, one involving a booby trapped house, which was like the movie Saw on steroids, and another huge section near the end of the book which involved an all out assault on a secure facility and a massive car chase.

Action, intrigue, conspiracy and questions about in "Daemon". A fun read, that at first I had some issues getting in to and can slow at times but picks up and delivers.

My Grade: B+

LL


Monday, November 6, 2017

Ethics in the Information Age: An Ongoing Topic

My ComputerImage by aLii_ via Flickr
Hello again and I know it's been a long time since my last post but I was on break here at the library but now I am back and ready to go.

While I was off, I caught wind of something that got me thinking about Ethics and Information. We now live in a world where information is at our fingertips, ready and accessible in a flash. Works well for someone like me in the Information Science business (yes, my degree even says 'Information Science' on it) as we can find the answers, or at least where to find the answers, to all sorts of questions that our patrons are looking for.

The problem that routinely arises is that the quick and ease of the spread of information can also lead the rapid spread of disinformation. What got me thinking of this was Glenn Beck 1990 and if you don't know what that is, Google it.

What are the ethical boundaries in this new information age? Who sets those boundaries? Who teaches our young about ethics and what is and isn't ethical in the rapid world of informational transmission that we now find ourselves?

TV, radio, the interwebs, we have it all at our disposal. Do we use it the right way or do we let it lead us down a dark road (and who determines 'the right way' anyway). I don't have the answer just yet but I'm working on it. But hey, what did you expect, I am just a rookie librarian.
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ed'd Mini Book Review: The Hellsblood Bride (Mookie Pearl Book #2)

More Mookie, yes please. That's how I left off my book review of the first Mookie Pearl book, "The Blue Blazes". We do get more Mookie, but we get a lot of Nora Pearl as well, which isn't such a bad thing. Ok, maybe it's a little bit of a bad thing since we want MORE MOOKIE!

But I digress.

"The Helssblood Bride" is not really a Mookie book, it is a Mookie and Nora book. That's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. I started to see that Mookie is more of a one trick pony, one that I had hopes to grow into something a bit more than what was on the surface. Nora, on the other hand, is the much more interesting character, the one with the proverbial character arc.

In this installment, we find that Nora is trapped in the Underworld and Mookie is desperate to try and find a way to free her. So desperate, he falls into being who he is and neglects to visit her in person while he is tracking down every avenue to free her. With this neglect, comes the inevitable feeling from Nora that he has slipped into old habits and she hatches a scheme to get herself out.

Along the ride are some familiar faces, on both Mookie's and Nora's adventure. While the book jumps back and forth between them both, it works to balance out the story. Now, I wasn't all that pleased with how the book ended though it was a bold move. From what I have gleaned from some online comments, I am not sure Wendig will write the follow-up which is a shame as the story begs for another chapter. Solid but not as good as "The Blue Blazes".

My Grade: B/B-

LL


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Updates

Some updates on the upcoming posts. I've finished the second Mookie Pearl book and will be working on that review shortly. I saw that the new Dan Brown book is out so I am starting on that one. Maybe I'll squeeze in a review of "Daemon" in between.

That's all I got.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ed's Mini Book Review - Armada by Ernest Cline

I really should do a review of "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline as it was one of my favorite reads of the past few years. I read it last year so I am not so sure how the review would end up since I don't have the best memory to remember some of the little details. Oh, right, this is a review for "Armada", Cline's follow-up to "Ready Player One", so I should talk about that a bit, huh?

I am a little torn on this one. It is basically a modern version of "The Last Starfighter" (an 80's classic film if I do say so myself) and the book does acknowledge this. So, it's a bit of a re-hash/rip off on one end but the update, using MMO's instead of an arcade game, and of course, all of the 80's references are sweet. Speaking of the 80's stuff, it seemed a bit forced and a little of a stretch to have them be an integral part of the story but if you're a sucker for all things 80's like I am, you get past that weak point.

Bottom line, is if you liked "Ready Player One", you'll like "Armada" though it is a step down. If you've not read "Ready Player One", go do that. If you're not inclined to but love the idea of an 80's nostalgia, MMO inspired, sci-fi coming of age story, then you might want to give "Armada" a shot.

My Grade: B-

LL