Review: Hamilton the Musical

Rating: 5 out of 5

Absolutely loved it — but to be clear, I haven’t seen it but just listened to it. There is so much to enjoy in the rich world it creates though of course some ahistorical notes also creep in. I feel, however, that any deviations from the truth as we know it are thoroughly warranted by the virtue of making another Founding Father accessible to the modern public.  Continue reading “Review: Hamilton the Musical”

Review: Half a King, Joe Abercrombie

Rating: 3 out of 5

I thought I couldn’t dislike a Joe Abercrombie novel and I haven’t disproven myself of that notion although I have also not picked up the next Shattered Sea immediately. Other people have said that this is unlike Mr Abercrombie’s First Law series and that is very much the truth. The style and feel of the characters is absolutely different even if some are still written to have the caustic snarkiness that was the key to dan Glokta and others.

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Review: Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card

Rating: 5 out of 5

I am not sure what I expected after ‘Ender’s Game’ which was a relatively fast paced novel. This one took a different tack and we ended up with a rather slow-paced mystery which I still thoroughly enjoyed throughout its intellectual considerations. There was a more depth in this book, and the “us and them” discussions were brilliant throughout.  Continue reading “Review: Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card”

Review: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, Brian Kilmeade

Rating: 1/2/3 out of 5

I am quite officially in very two different minds about this book. I read this and the numerous comments other people have thrown at this book wasn’t something I even noticed. This probably comes about from me trying to discover as much about the naval adventure herein as possible — the open American patriotism and hostile comments towards others meant very little to me. But, in what is perhaps the best way for me to describe it, this book isn’t written like a narrative history – it is a newsreel-style series of chapters which are designed to shock and horrorify the (American) reader. There is very little of “good” historiography in this, and if someone was actually looking to read more about the Barbary Wars I would recommend them to look for a better title.  Continue reading “Review: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, Brian Kilmeade”

Review: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

Rating: 5 out of 5

The question of children — and what they see in their worlds — is an important one, and I believe one which merits plenty of discussion. Mr Card has given us his view in this book, and this states that children do understand a lot more than the generic adult gives them credit for. And by “understand” I also include the way that their world view is structured in this novel.  Continue reading “Review: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card”

Review: The Elusive Mr Pond, Barry Gough

Rating: 2 out of 5

Oh Peter, Oh Peter Pond, what a figure you are… Mr Gough’s work makes you sound like a misunderstood choir boy who never meant anyone any harm while the entire rest of the world was out to get you — while another book that covered some of your exploits noted you as the voyageur dangereux, whose companions and associates suffered accidents perhaps a bit too often.  Continue reading “Review: The Elusive Mr Pond, Barry Gough”

Review: Archipelago, Richard Grigg

Rating: 4 out of 5

This was a solid overview of the geological factors which have created the Hawaiian Islands with the complimentary diversions into the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Emperor Seamount Chain. I will start by stating my conclusion — that overall, this book is well worth the time it takes to read it. The reader can also rest easy as the style is very accessible, and the science-y aspects are introduced with a lot of care. Continue reading “Review: Archipelago, Richard Grigg”

Review: Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

Rating: 5 out of 5

This is a thorough look into the ideas and institutions that have built modern humanity with plentiful examples to illustrate the author’s point. In many a case, I felt that Mr Harari made a very good point but the illustrating examples were subpar; as such, this was a better theoretical link between ideas than a source for the discussions that the author recommends as part of understanding ourselves and our future. Continue reading “Review: Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari”

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