Archive for : October, 2015

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Andrew’s Brain by EL Doctorow – A Review

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This work is short and intriguing as you are more or less inside Andrew’s brain, experiencing his thoughts and speech and everything in between. The work is brilliantly written, according to EL Doctorow fans, and fits well with the high caliber that readers have come to expect from Doctorow’s works. Despite his advanced age during the writing of this work (Doctorow is 82), the work is crisp and follows the same writing techniques he has employed before to bring confusion to the reader yet draw you in quickly and keep you hooked until the last page turns.

The end seems a bit rushed to even diehard Doctorow fans. It does not completely provide satisfaction to the reader. The work itself is a bit heavy-handed in discussing aspects of the brain, since Andrew is a neuroscientist. It does have an intriguing path that it follows to share information with the reader and get you to the climax of the story.

This is something that can not be shared without completely giving away the storyline and ruining the work for the potential reader. Therefore, let it be said that readers enjoy the story – some of whom say it takes a while to get an idea of what is going on – and are entertained if somewhat disappointed with the finale of the story.

Readers do note Andrew is a more sinister character than those in other Doctorow works. Since the work is a bit complex and the character less endearing, readers advise this not be the first Doctorow work for a new reader to get into to get a true idea of Doctorow’s writing. Instead, pick up a better-known and better-received work. Still, this is a worthwhile read for most of those who have undertaken the task.

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Half Bad by Sally Green – A Review

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Half Bad is a trilogy written by Sally Green. The first book introduces Nathan, a 16-year-old who is the illegitimate son of a witch. Despite being set in modern-day England, the story seems to harken back to the days when witches were evil and burned at the stake. Nathan is actually kept shackled in a cage and beaten. He is trained to kill. His only chance at survival is to escape and manage to come into his own magical powers, which requires tracking down Marcus, his father the all-powerful witch.

The main character is far from someone who you admire and want to see succeed. His interactions with others are distant and cold, so you don’t develop empathy or find a reason to engage mentally since the characters leave a lot to be desired in the depth aspect of the story. Still, there are some who persevere and find a way to hope for the best for Nathan. For these readers, the work is worth the time.

The fact the story is grim and focuses on torture means it is not the top of the list for light-hearted and entertaining reads. Still, it has been given great reviews and does have some potential, according to the more open-minded readers. Obviously, the first book will leave cliffhangers to set up the following two parts of the trilogy. Readers must keep reading to determine if the author can work the threads together in a believable manner and tie up the random aspects of the work that are not otherwise addressed.

The book has elements that compare to other sci-fi greats like Harry Potter and the Matrix, so that can be a factor that either draws you in with curiosity or drives you away in frustration, depending upon your expectations.