Book Reviews

The Hollow CityThe Hollow City by Dan Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew who the bad guy was going to be almost immediately. What Dan Wells does is go even further than I imagined one could go with this kind of book. This type of story, one centered around schizophrenia, tends to have a big reveal that someone doesn’t actually exist. It’s become a cliche of sorts. This book is no exception, but the tension doesn’t stop there. It ramps up until the very end, making this book a great read.

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Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Halo CryptumThe first book in the Forerunner series, by Greg Bear, relies too heavily on the Halo fandom. Yes it’s interesting to know about the Forerunners and how their society lived, but when there’s a giant first chapter with nothing but exposition it gets boring. I think Mr. Bear worked around the issue by using first person narrator. The problem is that his voice is dry and boring. I felt like Ben Stein was the one narrating. I also bought the audible version when I first purchased this. At first I thought it was the narrator who made the reading slow. Then I read a chapter without the audiobook narrator.

I put the book down before all the good stuff happened. I read books to be entertained, not receive a lecture. I actually went to the Halo wiki site to see if the book got better towards the middle, and if the ending was any good. For me it sounds like it does and the first few chapters of the book foreshadow it nicely as a plot twist that is personal to the narrator. That being said, it just takes too long to get there and you shouldn’t need all those opening chapters to be that expository.

Aspiring writers hear that the shouldn’t start with world building/setting. It seems like conflicting advice when a book like this comes out and a good chunk of the first act is the history and societal aspect of the Forerunner. The books saving grace is that the parts I did read tied quite well into the plot of Halo 4. It made the game more enjoyable, but the book…not so much.

I give it 3 stars, because maybe if I took the time to finish it, then I’d give it 3+ stars. The plot on the Halo wiki site looked cool in concept. Whether or not the execution was good is an entirely different manner. Based on the first ten chapters or so, I have my doubts.

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