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Q&A | February 27, 2014

Rene Denfeld: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Rene Denfeld

Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Enchanted

    Rene Denfeld 9780062285508


Customer Comments

emmejo has commented on (322) products.

Merlin Codex #02: The Iron Grail by Robert Holdstock
Merlin Codex #02: The Iron Grail

emmejo, February 28, 2014

Merlin returns with Urtha to his kingdom, where it seems everything has gone wrong. Ghost of the dead and shadows of the unborn have taken over his home, driving out the living. Merlin goes to work trying to discover why these ghosts, who were peaceful, unseen neighbors, have suddenly turned on their ancestors and descendants. It will take him, and those who have been caught up in his travels: Jason, Urtha and Niiv and others, into some of the strangest, most dangerous places across many worlds.

Like many center books in a trilogy, the plot here is weak, trying to bridge the conclusion of the first and the set-up for the dramatic series conclusion. Luckily, Holdstock's strong, engaging writing and increasingly complex character relationships keep the reader going when the plot flounders.

We see a lot more magic and supernatural events here, sometimes a little too much. At some points my attention began to disengage when we were treated to endless, minimally-helpful magic tricks and explanations of them.
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Celtika: The Merlin Codex, Book One by Robert Holdstock
Celtika: The Merlin Codex, Book One

emmejo, February 11, 2014

Merlin wanders the Earth on an eternal journey, straying from this path rarely. One of his strayings was to help Jason seek the mythical Golden Fleece. He became close friends with Jason and was drawn into his life, staying by his side and trying to help him even when his wife murdered his sons in front of him. 700 years later, Merlin raises his friend and his famous ship from a watery grave and brings Jason shocking news: his sons are alive. His wife used her magic to send them into the future, and now they walk the earth 700 years after their birth. The two old friends gather a hasty crew and set out on another quest, but this is an entirely different world than the one Jason knew and the men and women they have crewing their ship all have their own reasons for wanting to travel south.

I admit, I've been burned by a lot of "Celtic" fantasy and was a bit wary of this one. So many end up either being this hippy, peace and love and earth-magic sort or the wildly opposite, a white male supremacist gorefest. Rarely do we see the effect of the greeks and Romans or the fact that many people travelled and lived in places other than their homelands, but because this is basically a travel-tale, it means we get an excellent selection of different peoples, cultures, magic systems and beliefs.

The male characters are well-constructed and complex, with conflicting motivations and emotions. Sadly, the couple women are terribly written in very broad tropes. Ullanna was better, but still very much the stereotype of an exotic warrior woman. Niive was just painfully bad, to the point where I was skimming sections that featured her heavily.

The writing is slightly more formal than we see in most modern fantasy, but it is fast-paced and clear, sticking with simple structure that makes for a quick, easy read while reminding us that it is set in a time when written records were a big deal.
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7 Billion Needles, Volume 1 by Nobuaki Tadano
7 Billion Needles, Volume 1

emmejo, December 12, 2013

Well, I was rather disappointed with this book. It wasn't engaging me, emotionally or logically. I found Hikaru rather annoying and one-dimensional and the plot was an old chestnut I've seen done better many times. I kept mentally comparing it to Parasyte, a manga with a similar plot and art style, but one I liked much more. This book didn't really give me any reason to like Hikaru or care what happened to her, she is entirely personality-less for most of the book, and the alien is given a similarly vague treatment. I also would have liked to see Hikaru learn to cope with sharing her brain, instead of the rote-feeling freak-out and refusal to believe suddenly swapped for doing what this voice in her head tells her to.

I think this book is riding too hard on the plot, figuring it will carry the reader past the bland characters, jerky pacing and wandering writing. That might work if the plot was tight and could hold up to being the only focus, but it can't.
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Star Trek Deep Space Nine #01: Avatar by S D Perry
Star Trek Deep Space Nine #01: Avatar

emmejo, November 15, 2013

This two-book series deals with the aftermath of the end of the Dominion War, and the attempts of many races to get back to "normal", a mission which is threatened by a Dominion attack which violates the peace treaty and risks throwing three quadrants of the universe back into a deadly war. Even worse, Bajor is undergoing religious upheaval, creating a dangerously volatile environment at the mouth of the wormhole and drawing DS9 into this chaos while preventing the crew from being able to focus their full potential to prevent another war.

A quick comment on the format of this mini-series: I can't understand why it was split into two books. They don't center on different aspects or characters and the split just seems odd. If added together, it would be barely 500 pages, hardly a massive tome. I'm not sure what the rational was for publishing two slim books instead of one sturdy title. They both have a May 2001 copyright, so it wasn't an issue of a delay in writing. It just seems like an odd decision. Hence, I've reviewed it as if it was one book.

I've never read other Trek books by Perry, (although I have read sci-fi by her father, Steve Perry) but after reading this I think I'll have to keep an eye out for more. DS9 did a great job being political sci-fi with an adventure veneer, and this book is keeping that tone. Perry also explores religious conflict, sexism, and culture clashes by tactfully and skillfully weaving them into the plot without being preachy or providing instant solutions.

This book is very plot heavy, and those who like character-driven stories may find themselves frustrated.
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Cousins' War #01: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Cousins' War #01: The White Queen

emmejo, October 24, 2013

I tried to read this book, but gave up before page 40. I just wasn't in the mood to put up with Gregory's melodramatic prose, but the bigger issue is the attempted rape early in the book. I understand why the situation occurred and don't feel that it was a historically inaccurate scenario, but I have a major problem with the positive portrayal. Elizabeth fights back verbally and physically, finally grabbing her rapist's knife from his belt and threatening him off, yet this supposed to be romantic? It fuels her fire? She wants him more? She owed him sex because she said no before? I was disgusted. This situation could have been a lead-up for some interesting personal conflict, but that would ruin the textbook romance, so instead she falls even harder for her attacker.

I can't read and enjoy a book that promotes rape culture. This will probably also put me off trying other books by this author, particularly since I haven't been impressed by her others.
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