Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

May your favorite incomplete series be completed!
May your starts be action packed!
May your endings be the most surprising!
May your protagonists stay with your for years to come!
May your books be remembered forever!

I wish you all the best for the year 2010 and an excellent start.

Monday, December 28, 2009

E-Books and E-Readers This Holiday Season



Did you get an e-Reader or an e-Book as Christmas present this year? It looks like they were popular among shoppers.

Amazon announced that Kindle became the most gifted item ever in their history. The fact that Barnes & Noble's Nook has had shipment problems improved Amazon's sales figures naturally (I heard that Barnes & Nobles offered $100 to anyone who doesn't receive his/her Nook on time, which is a good compensation, I think).

There was another important news in the same Amazon announcement. For the first time in their history, on Christmas day, Amazon sold more e-Books than paper books. Without a doubt, this is a milestone. E-Readers and e-Books are gaining acceptance rapidly. Even though Amazon doesn't release the sales figures for Kindle, it is estimated that 60% of the e-Book readers are Kindles, in the USA. Sony e-Readers come second with 35%. We'll see, in 2010, what kind of market share will Nook be able to steal from Kindle and Sony.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Rating System

I realized that I've never written about the scoring system that I've used in my book reviews. In a way, it's obvious that the scores that I attribute are between 1 and 10, 10 being the most satisfied. However it's probably a good idea to translate the numbers into what I think they correspond to:

1 - Run away, save yourself!
2 -
3 -
4 - Meh! It was just OK!
5 -
6 - I liked it
7 -
8 - I liked it very much
9 -
10 - I loved it

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dan Brown's Lost Symbol tops the Christmas week sales

When I saw the official UK Top 10 I wasn't surprised to see Dan Brown's Lost Symbol at the top of the list. However, what surprised me was to see Stephenie Meyer's Twilight second, her New Moon forth and her Eclipse fifth in the same list. Regardless of the top book, it's clear to me that Stephenie Meyer is the winner of the Christmas week's sales... I hadn't realized that she was that popular. Wow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review: Tyrant’s Blood by Fiona McIntosh

Title: Tyrant’s Blood
Author: Fiona McIntosh
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Publishing Date: Sep 2009
Hardcover: 512 pages
Series: Book 2 of the Valisar Trilogy

Summary

Ten years later, Leothar, the barbarian emperor is a changed man. The wounds caused by his savage army have healed, the commerce has flourished and the peoples of Set and the Steppes have been integrating into a new style of life promoted carefully by their leader. However the Valisar heir lives and he’s no longer a boy. Would Leothar’s new image and his way of leading be enough to appease the rebellion that’s been brewing slowly?

Don’t Judge A Book By It But...

Even though I’m not a huge fan of cover arts displaying a lone caped figure, I must admit that I like the covers created for the Valisar Trilogy. I also think that Tyrant's Blood's cover looks nicer than the first book’s. The colour scheme and the movement of the character make this cover more attractive. I wonder what’s the third book’s cover is going to look like.

Review

I reviewed Royal Exile, the first book of the Valisar Trilogy, 2 months ago. When I finished and put down the book, I felt (or maybe I hoped) that there were more to be discovered in this story in terms of depth. If I had had the second book in my library at that time then I would have started it straightaway.

Well... I’m glad to see that my instincts weren't wrong. Tyrant’s Blood definitely raises the bar. Fiona McIntosh’s usual smooth style coupled with a better-developed storyline creates an easy-to-read page-turner.

Because the story is more mature, requiring fewer introductions, the multiple story lines are more captivating than the first book. I find the sections, switching between various story threads, well balanced, pushing the reader constantly forward. Additionally, the characters are further developed, some becoming more irritating and some more surprising. But the two things that I enjoyed the most were the unexpected twists and the magic system.

Yes! Even though, in the beginning, it looks like McIntosh is preparing us some fantasy clich├ęs, she twists the story to create more than one surprising moments, including the end of the book. I really enjoyed these turns of events. Additionally, we learn more about the magic system in Tyrant’s Blood. It is not that unusual to read about a system where magic is costly to its wielder however McIntosh creates an interesting derivative that’s not so clear-cut. Furthermore she tells us more about the Valisar magic.

Tyrant’s Blood was a page-turner for me. I really enjoyed it and needless to say I’m looking forward to the last installment. One thing that I’d like to recommend is for you to consider the first two books as one and read them together. And if the next book is better than Tyrant’s Blood then it’s going to be a hell of an ending.

Rating: 8.5/10

Quote

"As it turned out, revenge is always a cold satisfaction; it never quite lives up to the anticipation" - Loethar