A Review of the Collectors by David Baldacci


The Collectors

Hey guys, so here’s another book review. I know it has been forever since I’ve posted, and that’s been for a couple of reasons. Number one was finals week. Midterms this year were insane for me, so I had to cut down on the writing. Sorry about that. Number two is Christmas break, and I really needed time to chill out, so that’s what I did. And sometimes you even need a break from writing. I know, shocking right?

Anyway, this is a review of a book I read a while back. Sorry if some of the details are a little sketchy, but like I said, I read it a while back. I enjoyed it though, as you’ll see in my review. Any way, I hope to get back to posting, but we’ll see. With the second semester coming around the corner, I really do not feel prepared. I’ve got AP exams looming over me, along with a course load only a whack-job could conjure up (me), so yeah. We’ll see. That aside, enjoy. 🙂

David Baldacci’s book The Collectors follows the story of the Camel Club led by Oliver Stone as they track down a series of ruthless killings. With Baldacci’s classic attention to detail mixed with a well-paced, action-driven story, The Collectors brings intrigue and mystery to the table, along with a blend of well-placed character development. As a big Baldacci fan myself, I probably am not the right person to give this book unbiased critique, but I will offer my personal perspective on the story that is The Collectors.

First, I will mention that The Collectors is the second book in the Camel Club series, and I have not read the first book. However, despite this, I did not feel like I lacked any information. In other words, the book stands alone. I will mention that I got a little lost in the names of the characters, because there was quite the initial cast, but I very quickly figured out who which characters played lead roles, and this lessened the confusion.

In terms of the story, as with all the Baldacci stories I’ve read, it had me hooked from the start. Baldacci has a unique way of starting with something seemingly entirely irrelevant, and then tying it right back into the plot. A master of weaving relatively trite details into a complex, intertwined plot, Baldacci really showed off his eagle eye for detail with this one, and I definitely appreciated it all. Without giving too much of the plot away, he manages to tie a high-profile casino scam, the murder of a senator, a graveyard worker, and a librarian’s death together in a cohesive plot that had me finishing this book in a couple of sittings.

I would classify most of the content as thriller/suspense with hints of mystery and action. As with many adult books, there was some sexual content, but for me it did not obtrude to much. Others might disagree though, so use your discernment. The book felt relatively balanced to me, though some might say otherwise as percentage-wise it does not have a whole lot of emotional content. But looking at the story, I don’t really see anywhere that more emotional content could have appeared.

Overall I enjoyed this story. Having read a number of Baldacci books before, I found myself able to predict some content, but that did not spoil the story too much. It was a good read, but I didn’t feel like it had any particularly stellar qualities. That may just be me though, so if you are on the hunt for a good, action-packed book, try this out. I can almost guarantee you’ll get at least some enjoyment out of it.

Tours yruly

Good Books


Hey guys, this is a post featuring a video I made on the qualities I believe make a story good. It’s inspired mainly by all the book reviews I’ve done and the book, Invisible Ink, that I’ve been reading. Enjoy! (Also, kinda spoilers for Zero Day and The Hunger Games…?)

Hope you enjoyed!

Tours yruly

A Review of the Diamond Throne by David Eddings


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Hey guys. So, as usual, this review was delayed. I actually finished this book a while ago but only just got around to doing my review of it. But here that is! I hope you enjoy. 🙂

David Eddings’ book, The Diamond Throne, follows the story of a devoted knight determined to save the life of his queen. Part one of The Elenium series, this book gripped me right from the very beginning. The characters appealed strongly to me, and the genre, medieval fantasy, is one I enjoy. Overall I felt that The Diamond Throne was not a difficult read, and I fairly raced through it, finishing it in a few days. Sparhawk, the protagonist, has the kind of personality that I love seeing in a character, and Eddings did a good job of supporting that with his cast of other characters.

The story’s style is fairly simplistic, and the vocabulary, while somewhat archaic, is neither high-flown nor unsophisticated. Eddings wrote with an overall bluntness which I personally kind of liked, treating various subjects with a certain frankness that I’ve not seen very often. Lending to the feeling of coarseness and grit in Sparhawk, Eddings’ writing was direct and concise, well-executed and succinct. Something that bothered me in the story were the relationships of Sparhawk and his servant. While I get that it can be humorous, it just disappointed me somewhat.

Plot-wise, The Diamond Throne engaged me. Taking the typical scenario of damsel-in-distress, Eddings put his own twist on it that takes the reader through an adventure full of surprises, quirky and fun characters, and action and danger. Throughout the story, the plot was very direct and understandable, and Eddings managed to tie various supporting threads in and weave it all together into a colorful mosaic of a fantasy world in which the rightful queen to the throne has been encased in crystal to preserve a life, her life, which only one thing can save.

Emotionally, this story had an undercurrent which for me was difficult to miss. The loyalty of a knight to his queen and his desperation were well-done. Eddings portrayed Sparhawk’s intentions well, and the bonds of camaraderie and friendship really helped push his story to the next level. There was no small degree of humor in this package as well, and several times I smiled as I read, a phenomenon which does not happen often.

However, there is one thing I will gripe about: the ending. At this point, many of you might be confused, since anyone who knows me would know that I believe a good ending is absolutely crucial to a good book, and that I would never praise something so highly if it has a bad ending. The above has not changed. But I mean in now way to imply that the ending to The Diamond Throne was bad or that it left a sour taste in my mouth. On the contrary, it made me wish to get my hands on the sequel. What disappointed me was that the story did not finish. As a book, I will say that while The Diamond Throne concluded, it did not finish and is not complete without the rest in the series.

Overall, I enjoyed The Diamond Throne, and really would like to read the sequel(s), though I don’t know if I’ll be able to get my hands on them. The story engaged me and was the first good book that I’ve read in a while. I like the style and the characters, just wish it was in and of itself a more complete story and that Sparhawk was a little less callous about his relationships. Ah well. Four out of five stars.

Tours yruly

A Review of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


Oops! Forgot to add this XP

Oops! Forgot to add this XP

Why do I even bother reviewing popular books? XP Anyway, this is the long-overdue (since I finished reading The Hobbit a while ago), but I figured I may as well write it for you guys. I know it seems like I bash on the book a little near the middling and end portion of my review, but hey, this story earned five stars from me, so let that say what it will. 

Also, just a quick update, but looking at my about page now, you’ll see that the giant paragraph of recommended books that used to be there has now disappeared. This is because that was getting annoying, and since the creation of my Goodreads account, I figured that would be a much better format to do that in. So yeah. Enough of this rubbish. Enjoy. 🙂

The Hobbit is a fantasy/adventure novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Starring Bilbo Baggins, an unsuspecting hobbit who gets carried away into a journey he did not expect, The Hobbit will charm the hearts of anybody who enjoys a good, homely story. Full of adventure and exploration and discovery, The Hobbit is a classic in the genre of fantasy. Despite using simple language to craft a story that a ten-year-old could understand, Tolkien’s masterpiece appeals also to mature readers. And the unforgettable characters in this novel will entertain readers for generations to come.

The Hobbit is written in third-person past tense. This already sets the mood for an unsurprising method of storytelling. Adding even more to that classic feel, Tolkien has a very conversational style with the reader, occasionally breaking the fourth wall, though he does this in a very well-executed manner which does not distract from the rest of the story. Despite being set in Middle Earth, an unfamiliar world to someone new to The Lord of the Rings universe, Tolkien never once leaves the reader confused. New terms are explained through the story, and I never once felt like I was being lectured.

In terms of length, each chapter feels like a solid chunk which provides a firm foundation for the reader to progress onwards. The book itself feels whole, with nothing left out. All loose ends are tied by the end of the story, and it leaves the reader with a sense of completeness. Delving deeper, the sentence structure in The Hobbit is well-varied, with no sensation of repetition of structure. Overall, from a reader who enjoys long novels with a lot of material to chew on, I really enjoyed the length of The Hobbit.

The characters in The Hobbit are well-done, though the focus is most definitely placed on Bilbo. Despite not being super-developed, I feel that Tolkien did with his characters what the story required. A clear character arc can be seen with Bilbo, though it is not very pronounced. Tolkien played well with the dwarven lust for gold when he had Thorin keep everyone out. However, the battle with Smaug felt underplayed to me. The story had seemed to focus on reaching the mountain and defeating Smaug, but upon their arrival, Smaug seemed to get pushed aside to die after the first two encounters and that was it.

As for the story, I personally felt it was a little slow at times. This might be because I watched the movie before reading the book, but I was not really drawn in. It took more willpower than desire to read the next chapters in the story, though this is probably more of a problem with me than the book. However, near the end the pace picked up, and I finished the last part in a sitting.

What took the cake with The Hobbit though (and what earned it five stars from me), was the end of the story. The Hobbit has a beautiful ending which serves as an excellent finish for an adventure story: the beginning. Tolkien takes it right back to where it all started, and there he sets once again a familiar homely scene, and injects into it what had previously been unwanted guests. This tying back of the end to the beginning is what makes this story truly shine. Because of that this book earned five stars from me, and you’ll find it on my list of books on Goodreads, just in case you feel like checking it out yourself.

Tours yruly

A Review of Auntie by Anna Belmonte


Extracted from the first chapter. =P

Extracted from the first chapter. =P

Sooooo, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I promised I’d review every single novel I read (and that sadly has not been many 😦). Auntie can be found over here on Anna’s blog, and I’d recommend checking it out if you like stories of its genre. I’ll also have to do a review of The Hobbit one of these days, but two reviews in a row is bad form right? XP Anyway, enjoy. 🙂

Auntie is a dark psychological thriller written by Anna Belmonte. In it we follow the rather abstract and complex story of Felicia, an odd young girl living in an odd old house with some interesting familial relations and memories. Any fan of an abstract plot with just enough threads to hang on to will enjoy this work of fiction. Rather than ending in a convenient answer that ties everything up, the conclusion of Auntie brings with it a puzzle to ponder over, and whether or not one comes up with the “correct” interpretation of the story, the vibe emanating from it is enough.

Belmonte’s writing works well to keep the reader on edge with just enough “weirdness.” At every point in the story she presents information with just enough in holes in it that the reader wonders what could possibly come next to explain it. And here is where the true beauty of Auntie’s masterful story comes in. There’s never a true explanation. All the story presents the reader with are clues. These clues the reader must then use to piece together some kind of a picture that lurks within the beginning and ending words of Auntie.

The story keeps a consistent focus on Felicia and the mysterious events surrounding her. A cross between flashbacks, memories in a journal, and odd, seemingly out-of-place scenes intermingle with the story to create a mixed up timeline. Through this the story slowly unfolds, winding down into deeper and darker routes. Someone looking for a psychological thriller/horror story without all the typical clichés will find that with Auntie.

Personally, this story had me going back through it at least two and a half times to try and piece together the story. I came up with theory over a thousand five hundred words long by the second last chapter that readers who arrive at that point will find in the comments. Whether or not the reader chooses to go the shallow route and take the story at face-value or to dig deep and discover the essence behind the mysterious and haunting events of Auntie, it’s a read that brilliantly illustrates abstract storytelling.

As a personal fan of abstract writing, I really enjoyed this book. I can see how people who might not be willing to devote the time I did to search out the story might not enjoy it as fully as I did, but personally this book earns a five out of five star rating from me. As per usual with the books I enjoyed, it’s joined the others in my extensive books I recommend list (I’m going to have to reorganize that one of these days XD). Even in the aftermath of the story, when I had the entire plot explained to me by Belmonte herself, I was no less fascinated by the wonderful, dark, and intriguing story of–

Auntie.

This is here because it would look bad to have two consecutive lines of italics in a row.

Tours yruly

A Review of Zero Day by David Baldacci


Definitely a cool book

Definitely a cool book

And here we go, another book review. I actually finished this a while ago but I’m only just getting to review it. =P Overall I like Zero Day, as I’m sure you’ll see in my review of it. Definitely going to be hunting down more of Baldacci’s works. 

Zero Day, written by David Baldacci, follows the story of CID agent John Puller. Puller is sent, under unusual conditions (meaning solo), to a fairly remote mining town to investigate a homicidal case, involving a family of four. This multiplies and grows bigger and bigger in scale, involving more and more things and people. Through it all we see just what kind of a character Puller is through his interaction with the other characters, and some memories. Although this is technically a story of a detective investigating a murder “mystery”, I wouldn’t classify this as merely a mystery story.

Baldacci does a masterful job with his storytelling. The style is superb, and while some of the acronyms can occasionally get confusing, the story overall is told very well. The book is in third person past tense, which is a form I am more familiar with, and excellent use is made of this style. The descriptions are crisp, the picture is vivid, and the characters feel alive. This is one of the few books where I have really gotten involved with the character. The development over the course of the story is very nicely handled, and I can find no fault with it.

The book itself has a nice length, and a great overall flow, starting with a gripping introduction, a tension-creating buildup, and a powerful climax. The conclusion of this story is most certainly bittersweet. Absolutely no doubt about it. It’s one of those endings that you appreciate while a small part of you wishes that it didn’t happen. My only gripe is that there was no real warning. The book’s overall feel, while certainly more gritty, did not seem to lend itself for something like that. I will say that it was well pulled off, and took me completely by surprise.

This novel, however, is most certainly meant for a more mature audience. Interspersed throughout, not gratuitously but actually adding to the story, there are several adult themes. The use of language, while not completely extreme, is also present. Whether or not these things detract from the story is a matter of personal preference. I personally am always of the belief that language, in any context, can be avoided, while I don’t feel the adult themes damaged the story. This can change from person to person, so if you do read this, do so with a spirit of discernment.

Looking at my recommended list, you will see that this book has made it on there, and, as with the other stories I’ve reviewed, this one has also pulled a rating of four out of five stars. In this case though, most of what takes that fifth star from this book is subjective rather than objective, so it can range from person to person. This book certainly was an enjoyable read, and has given me its share of inspiration. The hardy John Puller will join the other characters I have pulled out of unforgettable novels and be there to stay.

Tours yruly