Posted in Reviews

Mediocrity Roundup: Three Unimpressive Reads

Though my posts have dropped off a bit recently, I’ve continued to read. Unfortunately, many of my choices have been rather lackluster, neither inspiring joy nor hatred. These books didn’t really stand out to me in any way, and merely helped to pass the time rather than enrich me. As such, I figured I’d give them a few sentences in order to potentially help you in selecting (or not selecting) them in the future.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

I got this book a year or so ago from a Humble Bundle. Basically, a teen is thrown into a near-future dystopian world and endeavors to help spread freedom throughout the increasingly paranoid country. There was too much lingo that would date the work (a common theme for Doctorow, per a friend), which I find frustrating, and it was a bit tech heavy for me. It had somewhat of a Ready Player One vibe, in the sense of technology, game-like settings, and teenaged heroes. I got tired of the characters fast, and frequently didn’t care about the main character enough to keep reading. Perhaps it was too much teen angst and confusion. As such, it was a DID NOT FINISH (at around 60%).

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

I got this book as part of the Kindle First program. A newly graduated magician is signed up to become a paper magician, supposedly the most boring of all the magics, and things ensue that prove that view wrong. The book has an astonishing amount of detail, probably because the main character is obsessively detail oriented. This was not something I enjoyed. It was fairly boring, as the reader is just waiting for the character to blossom. Suddenly, it got quite interesting with a single event, but then fell back into the tedium of a journey, unexpected (yet expected) findings, and a very cheesy love affair. It could have been a very cool book, but the story and writing were droll. I don’t really understand how the world viewed paper magic as boring anyway, which is a main concept of the book. You can create temporary organs and breathe life into inanimate paper objects. How exactly is that boring? I’d call this book a READ WITH CAUTION.

Emancipation: A Civil War Vampire Novel: Book One of the Thirsty Ones by Pauline Ray

I picked up this book for free because I saw it in a Facebook ad (the title itself should have warned me away). The Civil War is just over and the south won, thanks to the aid of vampires. Overall, it was a pretty creepy and disturbing novel. The main character is, in my opinion, crazy, and continually makes horrible decisions. All the characters are exceedingly single minded. The main character claims to be super religious and hear the voice of God, yet engages in an act that completely goes against her religious beliefs at the start of the novel and never seems to realize it. It is an interesting twist on history and it doesn’t skimp on the realities of slavery, but it is overwhelmingly brought down by a unlikeable main character. Think of an insane, hyper-religious Scarlett O’Hara and a blond, jaded, blood-drinking Rhett Butler. Some people might find the book interesting or say that the character was written well, but I just couldn’t get past the irritation I felt for them. As such, I call this book a DON’T READ.

Overall, it’s safe to say I won’t be recommending these works to people. I do, however, realize that sometimes you’re just in a reading slump, and even good books might seem bad. I sincerely hope that contributed to my thoughts about these works. Have you read anything spectacularly lackluster lately?


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