Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (book review)

Alright, I purchased this book for the Kindle app on my phone shortly before Christmas. On Christmas day I find a Nook under the tree and suddenly my Kindle app isn't getting much attention. over the coming months i only read The Lost Symbol when my Nook isn't immediately available. The result is that it's taken me about 7 months to finish this book while Nook books were finished nearly weekly. 

That being said; I enjoyed the book immensely. I don't think it was quite as gripping as Angles and Demons or The Da Vinci Code, but it had it's strong points. Perhaps it was the settings of the former two books that I found so fascinating. That and the info about various artist and philosophers whose marks have been left on the culture of France and Italy. And I can't discount the appeal of reading stories set in these locations that I've never visited but have longed to all my life. While the Washington D.C. setting was intriguing in it's own right, I found myself pining for a more foreign background.

The story itself was very compelling and Dan Brown once again proves to be very informative as he weaves another suspenseful tale into various factual topics such as the Stone Masons and the historical sites of D.C. What I've found most impressive, even inspiring, about Dan Brown's work is his willingness to present different ideas about faith, religion, and the bible. There are some that see these ideas as blasphemy, but I see them as interesting theories and ideas that can be taken into account along with a nearly endless amount of possibilities about the existence of man, God, and the universe itself. Pondering the possibilities, after all, is far more fun than committing to a faith entirely.

Then there was the story. While there were a couple of instances where plot points were a little too convenient, the villain was surely warped and creepy enough to keep things moving along at a pretty good pace. As with any of Brown's books, this one is laced with truths, one just has to be willing and able to separate them from the fiction. This is a nice addition to this series and a great read for those open-minded enough to entertain a different interpretation of religion in general.

4 of 5 stars

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The 9 Ghosts of Samen's Bane

  I probably did more research on this book than any other work I've finished to date. Being set in Indianapolis, I wanted to visit a lot of haunted landmarks around town and make the spirits there part of the story. Any one that lives in Indiana knows about the haunted bridge in Avon and Hanna House, their both in there, as well as a few other places. I still remember staying up and working on this all night during a week I had off around Christmas in order to get it done and ready to submit to a writing contest that shall remain nameless in this humble blog. Of the two published authors that were judging the entries, one of them found the first few chapters enthralling and intense while the other had a big problem with the fact that the main character referred to his 4 year old son as a little turd, claiming that this was a form of emotional abuse. This pissed me off to a level I didn't think was possible. Growing up, my dad would always call me and my sister little turds as a term of endearment (as odd as that sounds) and my wife and I do the same with our boys. For this uppity c**t to make a remark like this was an attack at me and my family. Of course her kids are probably strung out on Ritalin and with the nanny all of the time, but that's okay.

I digress.

After being booted out of the contest and trying unsuccessfully to gain an agent, I published the book myself and have received nothing but praise for the story. The 9 Ghosts of Samen's Bane is available now in paperback and ebook form from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The 9 Ghosts of Samen's Bane follows one father's ordeal with the 9 ghosts that have taken up residence in his mind. What do they want? To use him as a conduit for their amazing abilities with the ultimate goal being the destruction of the powerful god and lord of evil spirits, Samen. 
Full of ancient myth, legends from Indiana's haunted past, and terrifying beings from the twisted mind of Derek A. Schneider, this ghost story is sure to result in many goose bumps and sleepless nights.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh (book review)

Toward the end of this book I was thinking 3 stars, but it had a good ending and i bumped it up one.

To start off; I like the plot of this story. After a second depression hits the world slowly but surely falls into decay. Numerous man-made viruses are infecting millions, the unemployment rate at the beginning of the book is at forty percent and declining, crime is sky rocketing and the police have reached the point where they're not milling to risk their lives for anyone. I can see this as a more likely end to the world as we know it than any events depicted by The Bible or the Mayan calender, but that's just my opinion. Some of the stuff in this book is a little off the wall (like bombs that set off massive bamboo growth over vast areas) but if I can suspend my imagination for flying airships and vampires I can do the same here.

The writing was handled very well, with great detail taken in the development of the supporting cast, but the biggest problem I had with the book was its main character. Jasper is in the midst of the end of American civilization yet he thinks and acts like a neurotic school girl, looking for his true love. I'm sure anyone in the situation these people are in would crave companionship, but the way the author set it up seemed a little too labored. If we've learned anything from the Star Wars prequels it's that romance in stories of chaos should be handled much more subtly.

In the end, as unlikeable as Jasper was, the book ended with some good suspense and surprises making it a decent read.

4 of 5 stars.