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2011 Book Review

March 10, 2011

A12. Alcatraz verses the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

I would like to start this review by making one thing very clear: this book is, without a doubt, a young adult novel. The narrator is 13, the writing style is 13, the jokes are 13, and though the audio book reader is 35, he does a damn fine job of sounding 13. It is not a bad book, not in the least. It is actually quite a good book and I got several good laughs out of it. It is unabashedly silly, often absurd, and the narrator frequently breaks the fourth wall with statements that seem utterly ridiculous at the start of the book and then make perfect sense by the end. Sanderson even throws in a few jabs at other popular young adult novels, most notably Old Yeller and Harry Potter. I will probably not pick up the rest of the series, but I would highly recommend them to anyone with young teens and tweens.

Also, since I didn’t make it out to ConDFW, I had a friend tell Brandon Sanderson that his portrayal of women in the Wheel of Time series was a vast improvement over Robert Jordan’s, and that I approved. According to the friend, the response was a very confused, very unsure “Um… thanks?”

A13. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone is particularly brutal, compared to the rest of the Sookie Stackhouse books. On the one hand, Harris pulls no punches when it comes to who lives, who dies, and who gets brutally tortured. On the other hand, you may find yourself yelling at Sookie for being a particularly huge twit regarding the whole “there is a big bad who wants to kill me, la te da, I shall garden in my bikini!” This books also includes the resolution to the huge emotional upheaval in From Dead to Worse, though it feels somewhat crammed in and is a complete waste of what I feel is a perfectly ossim character.

A14. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Dead in the Family contains my absolute most favorite character out of the whole series, Hunter. I know, it’s silly to have a small child be my favorite character, but I love how Harris deals with how a child, who is naturally unfiltered, would express their psychic talent. Everything else… I dunno. There are quite a few plots in this book that rush by each other, with their only central relationship being Sookie. I was especially annoyed by the introduction of Eric’s younger sibling, and everything that entailed. I suppose that fact that she handles “Bubba” so coyly and well makes her use of Alexei feel like a sledgehammer.

A15. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Do not doubt, Darkly Dreaming Dexter is definitely not the delightfully disturbed Dexter of the delicious Showtime drama. This Dexter is darker, deeper, and deadlier. Also, Lindsay tickles my own sense of humor with his knack for alliteration. The first season of Dexter follows the plot of the book fairly closely, and then takes a left hand veer into a whole other world towards the end. So don’t think that if you have seen Dexter that you will know how this story goes. I can understand why the show changed the ending. I can also understand why the novel Dexter was changed to a slightly more friendly serial killer for the TV show. This Dexter would be much harder for a general audience to relate to, and probably wouldn’t have become such a successful TV show. This Dexter also includes an element of mysticism which I discounted somewhat as being part of his connection to the main antagonist, but probably should have taken as a warning sign.

A16. Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Unlike the Sookie Stackhouse books, which True Blood tends to follow at least somewhat closely, TV’s Dexter veers off towards the end of Darkly Dreaming Dexter and doesn’t bother to come back. Probably because acts of the antagonist in Dearly Devoted Dexter would be hard to do special effects for, and would be better suited to a new Saw movie than a TV show. I have also noticed that Lindsay has a terrible habit of Dean Koontzing his books. It is all action all the time, right up to the end when suddenly it’s two pages of wrap up then an epilogue. Not an unsatisfying ending, just rather rapid (that’s what she said).

A17. Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Remember that mysticism that I ignored in the first book? It was somewhat present in the second book as well, but is a full blown wacky mythos in the third. And I don’t mean “antagonist thinks he’s a magical critter from outer space.” I mean that antagonist IS a magical critter from outer space. Or some place not of this world, at least. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to ding a book for having supernatural elements. I’m just used to them being in books about, you know, the supernatural.

I spent the first half of this book wondering where the hell my delightfully deadly Dexter had gotten off to. And when he finally came roaring back to his former self, I thought “Ah, there he is.” And then he got emo again. Then he stumbled around a bit more, got poked by the antagonist, had woowoo used on him, and then was saved by someone else. Oddly enough, that last bit is how the other two ended. I think I’m starting to see a pattern. Much like the Sookie Stackhouse series, I think my favorite characters in this series are the kids.

I’m already well on my way towards beating last year’s count of audio books. In part because the books I’ve been listening to are much shorter than last year’s, and in part because I’ve been listening to them while doing just about anything that doesn’t require my full attention. Making dinner, cleaning the house, playing Minecraft, and even some limited listening while at work, mostly while doing copypasta stuff like editing photos.

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