Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ed's Mini Book Review - Death Troopers by Joe Schrieber

Death Troopers?Image by bbska via FlickrZombies in space? Oh yeah.

Zombies in the Star Wars universe? OMFG!!!!

That's right ladies and gents, a nerdly mash-up of epic proportions is what Death Troopers promises and, for the most part, it does deliver.
All aboard on a prison barge. What? You didn't say anything about prison. Yessiree Bob, and we get a prison ship, oh, and a surprise appearance of two *very* well known characters from the Star Wars universe but I won't spoil it.
The basic plot goes a little something like this. We have two brothers, wrongly accused they say, on a huge prison ship with all sorts of really dangerous criminals and the Imperial medic on board who is having second thoughts about working for the Imperial Army as your main characters. The engines on the ship go out but (un)luckily for them, they happen to come across a Star Destroyer which seems abandoned (i.e. no life forms the scanners can pick up). And I am sure you have guessed why, the zombie virus has spread through the Star Destroyer so when they dock up, zombie mayhem, Star Wars style, ensues.
This was a pretty fun book for the most part, hitting most of the notes you would expect from a zombie book. It was so generic that it was fairly bland considering it should have been so much more being set in the Star Wars universe. Paint by numbers comes to mind with this book and while that's not bad, it isn't quite great either. I enjoyed it, fairly quick pace once it got going, but I couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing or that there should have been more to it.
If you're curious about the mash-up here by all means check it out. I don't think you'll regret it, I just think that you won't be wowed by it either.
My Grade: B-

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ed's Mini Book Review - Goldfinger by Ian Fleming

Stunt man Bob Simmons played Bond in the first...Image via WikipediaMaking my way through the James Bond novels, which I am sure I don't have to tell you but they don't follow the same order as the films, Goldfinger is the seventh book in the series. One of the challenging things to do with reading a book that you've seen the movie version is to separate the two, especially if the movie in question is a classic which is the case with Goldfinger, widely held to be among, if not the, best James Bond film. I always picture Goldfinger as Gert Froebe instead of how he is depicted in the book but I would imagine many people fall to this no matter what book they are reading after seeing the film first.

Getting right down to it, this was one of the better Bond books but not the best that I have read. A part of me thinks that this particular Bond book ended up on the top 100 Thrillers list probably because the film version is held in high regard. Some of the things I really liked were the connections to other books which is something most of the Bond films don't do, refer to past films. Fleming keeps his Bond history in tact and the book series, unlike the film series until the most recent two, build the Bond character and we see him grow and progress in the role or in the life of a secret agent.

As for the 'thriller' part of the book and maybe my expectation from the NPR list, Goldfinger falls a little flat. I found it a little lacking in by the seat of your pants suspense and falls into the trap of just keeping us going to see how Bond is going to get out of this next seemingly inescapable dilemma. Still, some good old action sequences and some typical Bond drinks and meals and this all feels like a good Bond book, which it is but not to the level I was expecting.

My Grade: B

Enhanced by Zemanta