Showing posts with label tedious. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tedious. Show all posts

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui


Rating: WARTY!

I can't give you a full review of this one because I grew tired of it so quickly and simply didn't want to read on when I have so many other books calling to me. I read about a tenth of it and I simply couldn't get interested in it. It moved so slowly and was so self-obsessed that it was tedious to read.

The basic plot is that psychiatrists are using a new device to invade dreams to try to help people with mental issues, but are being overtaken by the dreams and driven insane. Well yeah, since dreams are essentially meaningless drivel, it would be a nightmare for even the dreamer to try to unravel them - assuming that's even possible - let alone some stranger try to figure out what it means, so the premise wasn't exactly a charmed one and in the end, it just didn't appeal to me at all.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Corner of the Universe by Ann M Martin


Rating: WARTY!

When I picked this off the shelf at the library, I didn't realize it was a Newbery Honor book. Had I done so, I would have put it right back on the shelf, but I missed the little sticker in the corner, focusing instead on the back cover blurb. 'Newbery' is synonymous with 'tedious drivel' in my experience, and this one was no different. The books ought to carry large, bright, garishly-colored neon warning stickers.

It was another audiobook experiment I tried, and we didn't get along with very well. The story is about this eleven-year-old Hattie, who discovers she has an uncle, Adam. Adam has been confined to a psychiatric institution for schizophrenia and autism, and is now coming home to roost, because the place is being closed down. No one has ever mentioned him to Hattie. The two of them get along like a house on fire.

My problems with this book were two-fold. Most of the text consists of Hattie talking about her life, which has to be the most mind-numbingly boring life ever lived by anyone, anywhere. It was an awful listening experience having her endlessly rambling about who did what and where, with nothing she said being in any way remotely out of the ordinary. I couldn't stand this pretty much from the off. It was tedious listening.

The other problem, and the bigger one I feel, is the reader of the book. The main character is telling this story in the worst of voices for a novel: first person, yet the book is being read by Judith Ivey, who was in her fifties when she recorded this. Hattie is eleven. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work. It was entirely wrong, and made the book into a joke for me, having this mature woman speak for an eleven-year-old girl. I cannot recommend this one at all.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken


Rating: WARTY!

This was ultimately a waste of my time. The story is old (1962), but not as old as its setting, and it's the start of a series which I have zero intention of following. It was read by the author's daughter, Lizza Aiken, which seems like a charming idea, but while her voice was pleasant enough, it really didn't engage me very much in relating a children's story. I think it would be much better employed in reading adult historical novels.

Why this is called The Wolves of Willoughby Chase I haves absolutely no idea. Clearly the author knows nothing about wolves, and while they do feature very briefly a couple of times in the story, they ultimately have nothing whatsoever to do with it. I had hoped that the villain would meet her come-uppance at the hands...paws (and jaws) of the wolves, but she did not, so I was forced into contemplating that perhaps the wolves of the title were not really the four-legged variety, but the two-legged one.

The story is that Bonnie is expecting a visit from her cousin Sylvia at the same time as her very well to-do parents are planning a trip pursuing Bonnie's mom's good health. Sylvia arrives and the parents depart, and the new governess, Miss Slighcarp, a distant relative, has designs on the manor. When the news comes back that Bonnie's parents have died, Slighcarp suddenly fires all the servants, dispatches Bonnie and Sylvia to an awful workhouse posing as a school for orphans, and promptly begins changing everything around at the manor.

Of course this does not stand, and everything works out well in the end. Her parents aren't even dead, as I suspected from the beginning. The story though, wallowed in abuse of these two children without a thing to leaven it, and it was honestly boring - even the wannabe adventurous parts.

Bonnie's parents appeared to be landed-morons. There's this kid, Simon, who is homeless and when he approaches Sir what's-his-face about living in a cave on the property, he leave shim to it, not even once offering the boy the chance to come live a the house, perhaps in exchange for work. He seems equally clueless later when Bonnie asks him what's to be done about the five-score orphans at the school they've just been rescued from. I'm sorry but no.

Here's yet another story where the girls have to be rescued by the boy and it's just not good enough. I can't recommend this one.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau


Rating: WARTY!

This was another experimental audiobook about a young kid who comes to the US from a Muslim country and enters foster care. If he had been adopted, then I could see some point to this, but he was not. It made no sense that he would be ripped from his home and sent miles from it. Maybe there was something in the middle section of this which made sense of it, but I became so bored with the first section that I skipped to the last section and returned the novel to the library the same day I started listening to it. And I know Simon Vance can do a better job of reading than he did here.

The author seemed to take a great delight in endless rambling descriptions which were far more prosaic than prose. He discoursed tediously about the most mundane things. If these had offered some real insights from the perspective of the Muslim kid, that would have been something, but they offered nothing new at all. It was just boring filler and I couldn't stand to listen to it. It would not at all surprise me if this novel had won an award, so trite was it. What haunted me long after the final page was how much time I'd wasted on this.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fellside by MR Carey


Rating: WARTY!

I can't say a whole heck of a lot about this because I made it only through the first four chapters and had to go the the ER because I almost died of boredom. (Would I make this stuff up?)

The book is some five hundred pages long and I could not bear the thought of reading five hundred pages of something that barely moved an inch in four chapters. On top of that it was a first person voice, which to me is usually worst person. On top of that it was your usual trope, "I woke up in hospital and forgot my memory."

This girl is a drug user, and somehow her apartment set on fire and the young kid upstairs (whose mother ought to be prosecuted for leaving him home alone) died from smoke inhalation. The girl is charged with murder (I kid you not), found guilty and sent to jail at...Fellside!

Now you know everything, including the fact that she's more than likely, if trope holds, innocent and will be found so at some point in the story, so what's to surprise the reader? I don't know! Maybe something, but I lost interest in hanging around to find out. Why didn't the author simply start the story in jail and skip the first four chapters? I might have read a bit further then.

The girl was so whiny and self-pitying that I was actually glad when she got sent down. That's one less boring person for the rest of us to have to contend with. But seriously, no, I could not stand the thought of reading any more about her, not when there are so many other books waiting to thrill me and so little time that I know I will never get to them all. So based on what I did read, I can't recommend it. I couldn't commend it in the first place, so how can I re-commend it if I never commended it to begin with? No one would ask these questions if it were not for me!

I don't know if this will do you guys any good, but I can't stand the thought of saying nothing and risking having one of you become infected with this. Maybe it will warn some of you away from a book that would bore you to death, so I can feel happy that I might be saving lives with this review! Yeay me!


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Young Avengers Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie


Rating: WARTY!

Having been thrilled with Marvel's "Ms Marvel" - the teen version, not the absurdly disjointed, brutal "Civil War" version - and having really enjoyed Marvel's Runaways, I made the mistake of thinking this success could continue. I brought home the first three volumes of the Young Avengers. Was that ever a mistake! The series is boring, ridiculous, bland, and nonsensical. Fortunately, I brought them home from the library and not from the bookstore, so I didn't waste any of my money on these. See my review of volume one in this series for some background.

This series features the bizarre "Hulkling" (Theodore Altman), the childish "Kid Loki" (Loki Laufeyson), the ridiculously named "Marvel Boy" (Noh-Varr), the absurdly named "Miss America" (America Chavez), the completely pointless "Patriot" (Elijah Bradley), the only one with a decent name, "Prodigy" (David Alleyne), the unfortunately named "Speed" (Thomas Shepherd), and the inappropriately named "Wiccan" (William Kaplan) who has nothing to do with the religion of Wicca.

Volume three was pretty much a clone of volumes one and two, which featured pointless and unentertaining traipsing through other dimensions by these supposed heroes, fighting, and eating breakfast. There was no story. This was garbage. Period. The baton was dropped. Nothing else.


Young Avengers Alternative Culture by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie


Rating: WARTY!

Having been thrilled with Marvel's "Ms Marvel" - the teen version, not the absurdly disjointed, brutal "Civil War" version - and having really enjoyed Marvel's Runaways, I made the mistake of thinking this success could continue. I brought home the first three volumes of the Young Avengers. Was that ever a mistake! The series is boring, ridiculous, bland, and nonsensical. Fortunately, I brought them home from the library and not from the bookstore, so I didn't waste any of my money on these. See my review of volume one in this series for some background.

This series features the bizarre "Hulkling" (Theodore Altman), the childish "Kid Loki" (Loki Laufeyson), the ridiculously named "Marvel Boy" (Noh-Varr), the absurdly named "Miss America" (America Chavez), the completely pointless "Patriot" (Elijah Bradley), the only one with a decent name, "Prodigy" (David Alleyne), the unfortunately named "Speed" (Thomas Shepherd), and the inappropriately named "Wiccan" (William Kaplan) who has nothing to do with the religion of Wicca.

Volume two was pretty much a clone of volume one, which featured pointless and unentertaining traipsing through other dimensions by these supposed heroes, fighting, and eating breakfast. There was no story. This was garbage. Period. No culture in evidence!


Young Avengers Style (something) Substance by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie


Rating: WARTY!

Having been thrilled with Marvel's "Ms Marvel" - the teen version, not the absurdly disjointed, brutal "Civil War" version - and having really enjoyed Marvel's Runaways, I made the mistake of thinking this success could continue. I brought home the first three volumes of the Young Avengers. Was that ever a mistake! The series is boring, ridiculous, bland, and nonsensical. Fortunately, I brought them home from the library and not from the bookstore, so I didn't waste any of my money on these.

Why graphic novel series creators are so dead-set on confusing their readers, especially ones who come late to a series, and are so insistent upon dedicatedly keeping potential readers and fans in the dark about which volume is which is an enduring mystery. Is it really so hard for the publisher or the cover artist to take the perfectly logical, helpful, and simple step of putting a number one on the front cover of volume one? Or would they much rather waste people's time and money? Is it so hard to put a short text reading "Collects Issues 1 through 5"? I guess it is, because the designers here found it far less demanding to put "Style > Substance" on this cover. What does that even mean? Style is greater than substance? It doesn't mean Style over Substance, because that's not the symbol they used! Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The title doesn't even apply to the story within, which is more like Silage > Frustration.

The goodreads page for this makes it crystal clear how confused the publishers are. The title there is listed as Young Avengers, Vol. 1: Style > Substance (Young Avengers Vol. II #1). Seriously? Someone is very confused and I think it's the graphic novel creators/publishers! Say what you mean, mean what you say. It's that simple.

So, for the uninitiated, Young Avengers was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung to appeal to a younger audience than comic books evidently do, and features teen characters who are essentially unimaginative rip-offs of more mature and established Marvel characters from The Avengers. Some of these teens are offspring of unholy unions between mature "super heroes" although since none of the "super heroes" ever have sex (or swear! LOL!), it's quite a mystery as to how these offspring were actually conceived. It's not even possible genetically.

Our closest relative on Earth is the chimpanzee with which we share nearly all our genes, yet it's not possible to conceive offspring between humans and chimpanzees even if you could find some low-life chimp who would be willing to volunteer to have sex with an ugly and disgustingly bald human! It's sure as hell not possible to conceive with someone from a different planet. Not after millions of years of divergent and unrelated evolution. Maybe super-heroes have super-eggs or super-sperm?

Evidently the original launch of the Young Avengers was so unsuccessful that it had to be relaunched in January of 2013 by Kieron Gillen who wrote the tedious text, and Jamie McKelvie who did the average art. There's nothing of interest here. Nothing thought-provoking. Nothing engaging. The stories are disjointed and bland, even where they make any kind of sense. There is often little connection between one panel and the next let alone between one part of the story and the next. None of it made any sense or provided any entertainment.

This series features the bizarre "Hulkling" (Theodore Altman), the childish "Kid Loki" (Loki Laufeyson), the ridiculously named "Marvel Boy" (Noh-Varr), the absurdly named "Miss America" (America Chavez), the completely pointless "Patriot" (Elijah Bradley), the only one with a decent name, "Prodigy" (David Alleyne), the unfortunately named "Speed" (Thomas Shepherd), and the inappropriately named "Wiccan" (William Kaplan) who has nothing to do with the religion of Wicca.

The first volume puts the team together despite the team supposedly having been put together earlier during the Heinberg and Cheung era. We get to know nothing about the characters except what we're begrudgingly told, which is very little, so not one of them seemed like a real person to me. They have no personality. In the end, these "heroes' were only their powers, and their power seemed entirely restricted to fighting and mischief - oh, and and eating breakfast. Boring.

The only other thing which featured was that there were a couple of gay or bisexual guys, and those felt like they'd been put in there for no other reason than to ride the LGBTQIA bandwagon. They had nothing else to offer. None of these characters did. Loki was pathetic. Miss America had one trait and one trait only: violence. Not one of them had a life outside of their little clique. it was like a pathetic high-school melodrama.

So what was the story? There was no story. The entire volume was the same as the next two volumes in the series, which consist of pointless traipsing through other dimensions, fighting, and eating breakfast. There was no story. This was garbage.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sandman Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones


Rating: WARTY!

After negatively rating Sandman Overture, I was urged by a Goodreads acquaintance to read this one, which precedes it and which was supposedly better. It wasn't! Not from my perspective; for me, it was confused and unappealing. If I'd asked my youngest son to write a story, and make it as weird and gross as he could, I'd have got something just like this.

Even the titles are confused. How anything can precede an 'overture' I have no idea, unless it's taking your ticket at the door hand having an usher show you to your seat, which wasn't what happened here. This was more like having someone shred your ticket at the door and having Roderick Usher show you to his sister's tomb where she's grossly rotting. 'Prelude' and 'overture' really mean the same thing - a light introduction to something more weighty, but neither of these graphic novels had any weight as insofar as it impacted upon me.

There was only one part of this which made sense, the interlude (as long as we're employing a musical motif!) wherein the Sandman, who honestly looks like a cross between Neil Gaiman and Alice Cooper as depicted here, interacted with John Constantine. That story made sense after a fashion, but it was boring, and it's like the writer and artists knew this and tried to punch it up, but instead of achieving that by making it interesting or exciting, they simply piled on the gross, and declared themselves happy with it. I wasn't.

You'd think someone with the Sandman's powers would be able to find his own sand pouch, but no! After that we went downhill again and I gave up on this when the epilogue appeared about two-thirds the way through, I don't read epilogues any more than I read prologues.

So this was a fail as far as I'm concerned and I'd just like to take this opportunity to send out a general message, not aimed at anyone in particular. You may well adore Neil Gaiman, but I am done with him for now at least. I have literally scores of other authors I want to read instead. I know you mean well and it's admirable that you want to share your enthusiasm for an author. That's why we amateurs do these reviews, after all. We sure get no other reward for it!

But no more Neil Gaiman recommendations and while we're on the topic of advice, no more strident attempts at belittling my views by telling me that I can't review a novel if I haven't finished it, or by suggesting that I just haven't read the right work from author X, and if only I'll just read book Y I'll be in seventh heaven!

If I don't like an author, then reading more of what that author wrote isn't going to make me suddenly like them! No, it's just going to irritate me and worse, waste my time. To paraphrase Gotye, Neil Gaiman is just some author that I used to know, and now I'm moving on to other, potentially more rewarding stories.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare


Rating: WARTY!

This is yet another argument against series. This was a humongously long novel, and the reason for that is that the author evidently graduated Summa Cum Loudly from the Stephen King Endless Education in Verbose Yearning (SKEEVY) school, where it painfully obvious that the golden rule is" "Why use one word where fifty will do?" No one gets out of bed in this world unless it takes a paragraph of minutely detailed description to convey the 'action'.

This is truly sad, because I liked the idea of the novel and was waiting for the novel the blurb described, and it never arrived. The reading voice was that of no less than Morena Baccarin, one of my favorite actors, but ever her dulcet tones couldn't rescue this. She also, on occasion, read too fast. Not that I blame her given the size of this tome, but it made some of the text rather difficult to understand.

Emma Carstairs is, we're told, a Shadowhunter who lives for battle against demons, yet in the one half of this novel I could stand to listen to, there was precisely one brief battle and that was it! The rest of the time, she's leading such a tediously un-entertaining and mind-numbing life that makes my own relatively sedate one look like a summer action blockbuster movie. I honestly could not believe that I was listening to such a herd of paragraphs that were better not heard, but still they came, one after another of soul-deadening detail and palaverously prolix prattle! See, anyone can do it!

I was so sick of hearing about the minutiae of Emma's life that I simply gave up and ditched the book back at the library. I cannot recommend even half of this first volume, let alone a whole series of this. Life's far too short to waste it on the mundane even on a Monday!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens


Rating: WARTY!

This audio book was about Vanessa 'Michael' Munroe, a young and tomboyish investigator, who is called an informationist because it sounds much more cool even though it's nonsensical. Some reviewers have drawn a parallel between this characters and Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander, but Munroe is no Salander, despite the penchant for both to ride a motorbike. Salander would never bring harm on the downtrodden.

To me, Munroe is more like James Bond than ever she is like Salander. She has guys fawning over her as women fawn over Bond. She travels the world as Bond does, and has very convenient contacts wherever she goes. She's always potentially in danger but can fist-fight with the best of them. In contrast to Bond, however, Munroe's story moves at the pace of an arthritic snail (if that wasn't a contradiction in terms), and she isn't an agent of any government. What she does is dig up information on developing countries allowing capitalists to exploit them. While she doesn't do this exploitation herself, it can be argued that she facilitates it, and is therefore not a very nice person since she evidently has no qualms at all about what will happen to the people of those countries once western big money starts pouring in.

But then Munroe is very much a capitalist herself. Recruited by a rich Houston oil baron to find his missing adopted daughter, Munroe is offered two point five million, but demands that it be doubled before she will dirty her hands looking for the lost 18 year old. So she gets five million and a year to search and she keeps the money even if she uncovers nothing which has not already been uncovered by other investigators, official and otherwise. This is not even her field of endeavor, but she doesn't mind raking it in, exploiting a grieving father.

My feeling in beginning was that this story of Emily's disappearance would end up tied to the fact that she's adopted, or it would have to do with so-called white slavery, or perhaps to do with some secret related to her adoptive father's oil business interests in Africa. Taylor Stevens is evidently an escapee from a religious cult, for which I heartily congratulate her (for the escape, not the membership!). She anchors Munroe in Texas because that's where the author lives, so maybe there's some wish fulfilment going on here. Apparently Stevens began writing because her children bored her? I don't know how anyone can find children boring, but that's what I read. Maybe the interviewer misunderstood her? Anyway, Munroe zooms off to Africa to begin her investigation with your usual hottie ex-special forces guy by her side - someone assigned to her against her will be her employer. She has no respect for him and crudely rufies him one day after they arrive in Africa so she can go off on her own and do her job without him tagging along that day. Like I said, she's not a nice person and I neither liked nor admired her.

The wonderful thing about audio books is that you can listen to them while driving and get through a lot of books if you have any sort of commute worth the name. The downside of them is that you have to put up with whatever reader is doing the job. Hillary Hoben was the reader here, and her voice was so mind-numbingly monotonous that I was ready to buy Amway products form her. In short, I really disliked it after an hour or so. There is no inflection in her reading and while she makes passable attempts to modulate her voice to the characters, it's still flat as a pancake. Worse than this, the story stubbornly refused to move. It was less of an action adventure than a no-action misadventure. It went along at a leisurely pace when I was wanting it to get going already. It was at this point that I realized Vanessa and I were destined to part ways. I can't recommend this novel based on the portion (about 30% ) to which I listened, which discounted for skimming, was quite substantial.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Kings of Infinite Space by James Hynes


Rating: WARTY!

Read in a mediocre fashion by Adam Grupper, this audio book failed to launch and I DNF'd it in short order. The blurb advises us that "Paul Trilby is having a bad day," but it's nowhere near as bad a day as it is for those who have to read of his tediously pedantic non-adventures. Paul is in a downward spiral. Dismissed from academia for reasons which were unclear from the portion to which I could stand to listen, he eventually winds up in a temp job as a typist. His perky and ambitious news anchor wife has left him, as have three girlfriends, and how he's stuck in the general services division of the Texas Department of General Services, where he's informed that there are things living in the false ceiling. I never did find out what these were, because I lost interest in the endless rambling prologue which is the first half of the novel. I suspect that what lives in the ceiling is the people who have been 'let go' from their jobs during a humongous lay-off at some point prior to Paul's arrival, but I really don't care.

The writing is awful. Every little thing he does isn't magic, but it is detailed monotonously, and there's no humor to leaven it. I certainly have no intention of allowing an author to keep on hitting me over the head with it every other paragraph. If this is supposed to exemplify his life, I got it in the first few sentences which are very reminiscent of the opening scene from Mike Judge's movie Office Space. I'd recommend seeing that instead. I cannot recommend this. It's infinitely boring.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Spiral Bound by Aaron Rainier


Rating: WARTY!

Spiral Bound is one of the most tedious graphic novels I've ever tried to read. I made it about half way through and was bored out of my mind. The characters are all animals who behave exactly like humans, in every imaginable way. There is no difference. Why the animals then? Who knows?

The story went nowhere. It wasn't even a story worth that name. It was simply a drear diary description of an average day full of ordinary events in the lives of these thoroughly uninteresting humanimals. Nothing happened that was worth repeating. It was neither engrossing nor funny. The drawings were all heavy-handed black and white line drawings and they were so busy that it hurt my eyes to look at them, let alone read the text. I cannot recommend this at all.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler





Title: The Jane Austen Book Club
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
Publisher: Listen and Live
Rating: WARTY!

This was read by Kimberly Schraf and not very well, either, although to be fair, she had a much better delivery than that of a Brick through an electric sheep.

This novel was so bad that I couldn't even get through the first CD. I'm sure there are people who enjoy this kind of thing, but I am not, nor will I ever be one of them. These characters were uninteresting, snotty, bratty, clueless, pointless people, who boast abuse of women and genderism amongst their "virtues", and who had nothing to offer me. Their lives were normal to the point of being tedious, and if I want to listen to people like that, or hear of their lives, I only have to stop work and sit and pay attention to everyone around me, and I can get all I want. I really don't want more of that in a novel which I read for escapism!

There was not a single character I cared about, or was interested in, and I sure-as-hell didn't need to listen to their tiresome, ordinary histories. I could not find anything redeeming at all on that first disk; there was nothing in which to develop even a mild or passing interest, and since I was headed for the library, to turn in other books I'd actually read and enjoyed, I simply ejected this one with them.

I think the cover says it all, and that little yellow star? That indicates it's a pariah even in its own country. I don't know what the hell these people use as a definition for "major motion picture", but it seems to me that the fact that the movie completely, disastrously, and dismally bombed is more than sufficient indication of the level this novel is at, no matter what kind of a "best seller" it was supposed to have been. Time to say the te deum (pronounced t-e-d-i-u-m) and move on.

Note that, out of respect for Jane Austen, and to make up for this sorry volume, I will review Austen's Lady Susan on audio book forthwith, if not third with.