Thursday, April 10, 2014

two (actual, physical) book reviews

hi there

after over a year of a life being a user of one, actually two, of them e-book things, i had - perhaps to my shame - forgotten the joy of reading an actual, printed and quite possibly 'proper' book. the e-book thing has been a fantastic thing, allowing access to all sorts of books and of course cutting down on the library and storage size required, but it does remain magic to hold and read a proper book.

to this end, via the bargain price of them being 50p each, i have recently purchased and read two books that caught my eye at a sale geared towards raising funds for charity. on that note, dear reader - please remember that i do indeed do things for charity, i just do not talk of them a lot. it might be something i one day have to mention in court due to a "misunderstanding" between a gun and a bathroom door.

but are they 'proper' books? well, erm, technically. look, look you see, let us have a look at them. or rather, let us look at them via the magic of the lens of the Commodore 64 mode with the scan lines mode switched very much on.

the job, ladies and gentlemen, of a book critic is to, quite franky, sh!t on every single book ever published and forwarded to them for review. why? don't know. some people say it is because book reviewists are failed writers, full of and fuelled by jealousy and resentment towards those who have been successful in getting published.

oddly, of course, some critics take the opposite approach - they give every single book as much praise as possible. why? because getting a book published is quite a thing and should be celebrated i suppose, and because some critics like having their positive comments being used to beautify paperback covers. bit of an ego thing, then.

me? i tend to be as honest as i can with what i review. but when it comes to books i always have a heartfelt appreciation for the fact that someone has managed to get a book published. i would not say i was somewhere in-between the above two; then - more that i just simply have no resentment, financial incentive or ego issues when i ponder and muse over a novel (or two) what i have, in a real sense.

which is a challenge of sorts when the two books, two presumably published as they are unashamed, bold "i could do that" effort sort of rip-off things of The Da Vinci Code, are really what some, of a certain age, would call utter, utter twaddle.

The Righteous Men and The First Apostle would not have got passed the "send chapter and outline" stage of publication if it were not for the Dan Brown machine. let us not here pretend otherwise. well, you can pretend otherwise if you like, i suppose, but i would encourage you not to.

following soon - as opposed to above i guess - will be some plot details, so please do be so kind as to accept that a *** SPOILER WARNING *** is in place for the remainder of this post. actually, it isn't, but it is. i mean, you can pretty much guess how each novel will go from the first couple of chapters, really, and i won't be giving all that much away. but for the really, really sensitive and "don't want to know" types, i suppose it is, then.

but first, since i had the child's toy out earlier, a sight that i am led to believe we shall not see, dear reader, ever again. it is Windows XP installing the last round of updates that Microsoft will give to their successful operating system; what with them being keen to get everyone to use their rather less successful 8 operating system that most, if not all, hate.

bye XP. you were for me, and millions, the first ever experience of a PC that was had that did not involved DOS, even if we never knew it. actually not bye XP, as there is no way i am changing or updating that child's toy of a netbook. Windows 7 would make it cry; Windows 8 would make me kick its head in.

let us not discuss XP any more here, then. let us go back to the novels.

as mentioned, they owe a substantial amount to the world of Dan Brown, where mysteries - and if they are of a religious nature then so much the better - that have been hidden and wrestled over for hundreds if not thousands of years are magically solved in a day or so by some deft skill and fancy running about. in the case of Dan Brown, of course, they get solved by that fella, Langdon or something, who is dead clever at all them codes and symbols things. he is probably ace at crosswords, him.

these books, like a lot of other disciples that worship at the altar of Brown, show how they are, like, totally different, dude, by having rank inexperienced amateurs solve such things with minor assistance from a friend or similar that just happens to be an expert in the field of whatever they have stumbled on.

yes. contrived plots are the order of the day here. extreme fluke is the means by which things get discovered and solved. co-incidence doesn't seem to cover it. and yes, of course, each book always features some secret society that really, really likes guns and happen to be chasing after the same thing that whoever has stumbled on. otherwise, i suppose, there would be no story.

and yet i enjoyed both books a great deal. there is a sense of "sh!t but good" and "so ridiculous that you just have to see what happens next" to the enjoyment, granted, but they are also not all that badly written, either. well, First Apostle is. but the other one is rather decent.

as i have been moaning and whining about it a bit, i thought you might quite like, via the magic of Commodore 64 mode with scan lines on, to have a bit of a look at this eye infection, or if you like, infected eye.

i thnk the spectacular detail you can see in this image - which makes me look like i suffer with nothing more than some misplaced or misguided shadow, or maybe even a black eye - shows the stunning success doing medical things in Commodore 64 mode with scan lines on could be. why, for instance, would one need an x-ray if they had an image like this?

a doctor, surgeon or even a nurse could simply look at an image like this and say "well, it all looks good because it is in Commodore 64 mode with the scan lines on, but some parts do not look as good as others do. let us cut them out"  and that would be it. no expensive diagnosis or tests, just make it look cool in commodore 64 mode. granted, this would mean that with my current condition i would lose an eye (unless it is deemed to look good), but a small price to pay for cutting down waiting times for doctors and that, i think. although actually having an eye cut out is a bit extreme - maybe just one of them eye patch things, like what Derek Bowie wore for a bit, and indeed Roger Daltrey when someone absolutely twatted him one in his eye at a gig rehearsal.

but you possibly, arguably, want to rather hear more of these two novels than you do my revolutionary approach to medicine. well, since that is what loaded first, The Righteous Men by Sam Bourne. except it is not by Sam Bourne, that is a pseudonym or however you spell that fancy word for made up name. the real name of the writer is in the inside of the book - first page - which makes having the made up name on the front silly.

the actual book and story? well, let's get one thing straight. if for a moment they thought they could have gotten away with it, right, the publishers would have changed the title to The Jewish Code. some may have taken that the wrong way, of course, and been offended. as a nice touch, mind, all hebrew words in the book are always in italics, so you notice them i guess and know that they are right, not some sort of weird spelling mistake overlooked by the proofreader.

this one was easily the better of the two books what i have read. full of faulty logic (in particular with the conclusion), wild co-incidence and ending with a bizarre revelation as it does. and yet it was a splendid read, all rather fast paced. preposterous, sure, but not that you would notice as the enjoyment was way too much to let that get in the way.

for fans of the Dan Brown, if you enjoyed Angles & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, but found The Lost Symbol to be spaz and Inferno to be ultra-spaz, this one is well worth it as it is closer to the former. if you see a copy on your travels, then, pick it up and give it a try.

what i think i, and a lot of people, will miss the most about Windows XP will be the awesome, fantastic and superior way in which it said it was doing an update and that you should not switch off the computer whilst it did it all. the use of a semi-colon is in particular splendid.

Windows have not really got this right before or since, have they? actually not Windows, them that do the Windows - Microsoft or someone. on all other versions of Windows, the message is either far too soft and sensitive or it is just just stark and harsh. XP for the win, then.

yes, yes, i know, back to the other book.

sorry, but The First Apostle is just rubbish. rubbish that i read all the way through, of course, because i was baffled to see how it would all end. badly is the answer. quite a bit of elasticity of imagination is required with this one.

at the reduced elasticity level, you have a copper called Bronson as a main character. the rather more stretched elasticity sees you accepting his ex just happens to be expert in something that has bewilderingly remained secret for at least 600 years, and that Bronson will be naturally ace and adept at both learning all of this thing fast, as well as doing some fancy shooting and driving to evade, of all people, the Mafia. the proper Italian one, too.

things hidden behind walls for 600 years, the Vatican doing deals with the Mafia to get people who do home rennovations killed (not in itself all that bad, maybe, depending on your experiences), a cockney copper who is basically Morgan Freeman out of Se7en cross-bred with him out of that Die Hard film (not the German one), a somewhat forgiving ex and the idea that crossing borders when you are wanted for doing murders and things is as easy as buying a new bath tub. these are the foundations on which a poorly written novel has been constructed.

on the Dan Brown spaz chart, this is all rather too close to The Lost Symbol, but it is not as bad as Inferno. i would say nothing much could be as bad as Inferno, but let us wait a moment and see what Mr Brown comes up with next. best of luck to those who try this The First Apostle one, then.

those were not very good reviews, were they? also, not much in the way of plot or spoilers. sorry. but now you know what to not expect, and indeed what you might have to accept, in either. possibly.

another look at my infected eye via the magic of Commodore 64 as an apology for the poor quality of book review? sure, it is the least i can do for you.

right, onwards then, hopefully the next posting will be of an enhanced and improved quality. unless you think this one was the best ever and then that's nice.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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