Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Rampant Reviewer

I have finally set up a blog for all the reviews I do, and have done in the past, that I don't put on this A&M blog.  All those other genres that I read seperate to Historical Fiction.
There will be some historical fiction reviews on the new blog, but there will be reasons why they weren't posted to this one. ie love story (which I don't read anymore but did many years ago) or fantasy historical.
Some other genres represented on the new blog are: Military History - Non Fiction, History - Non Fiction, Cooking, Natural World, plus other hobby related genres such as photography.
It will be a diverse range of reviews and saves me having a blog for each genre I am interested in.

See me here, or see me over there if you ever get curious  :)  ....The Rampant Reviewer

- Medieval Mayhem

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Emir of the Slitted Eyes: LION OF CAIRO by Scott Oden


Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden
Now, this is one of those books where I really wish Goodreads had half stars.

For me The Lion of Cairo wasn't quite a 3 star, and yet I am not comfortable with making it a 4 star. Choosing from the two, in the end I decided it deserved 4 more than the 3, because the story itself was really enjoyable and zipped along without a single boring bit.
So, without adieu...Lion of Cairo, you get 4 stars out of 5.

A lot of people wouldn't have the problems with this book that I did. So, don't base your decision to get this book on my review alone.
And those problems were purely in some of the writing. Some of the writing, to me, was really scratchy, whereas, some was perfectly fine and some was really good. It was inconsistent.

  Sadly for me, there was too much scratchy and that's what caused me the star rating drama. If there was a two rating system, I would give this book 3 stars for writing skill and 5 stars for story. My logic? Giving it 4 stars is the average of the two. :-)

Okay, characters. There are a few interesting characters in this book. Assad, the Emir of the Knife, was of great interest until he hooked up with the King of Thieves and the courtesan, then he became a non event for me.  Oden, the author, really didn't hit too hard with this character, this Assassin, and I can't figure out why. I know he has the ability to write in a great Assassin character because while he missed with Assad, he hit perfectly with The Heretic. I am a fan of a good heartless Assassin, so I loved the Heretic character.
The whole 'hate magic' in the salawar blade thing, (Assad's blade) was a miss too and didn't really gel with the story. And there is a necromancer also. Made me wonder whether this is supposed to be Historical Fiction or a Fantasy Fiction.
There are enough good characters in this book to keep you interested I am sure, and you, as a different reader with different tastes, may entirely disagree with my comments on Assad or other.

I wonder how I would have felt about The Lion of Cairo if I had not already been an admirer of Scott Oden's other books. And therefore I came to the book with certain expectations.
 He became one of my authors to watch after I read Men of Bronze and Memnon.  The skill of his writing was there in these books and so the whole way through The Lion of Cairo I was wondering whether it was Oden even writing the book, or whether something has happened in his life to change the way he writes. The first two books compared to this one are like chalk and cheese. Is it supposed to be Young Adult?  No matter whether it is meant to be YA, I really wish Oden wouldn't use the word 'slits' one hundred million times in reference to eyes. Argh. It was repetitive.
I was also wondering throughout this book if the writing problems are because he rushed too fast in writing it. Did he have a deadline to meet? Did he just not get the chance to be critical of his own writing because it was being rushed to print? Oden can do much better than this as far as writing goes. I swear.

Now, I see that I have said more negative than good here and that was not my intention. The story is terrific and I kept wanting to go back to this book to see what would happen next.
It is supposed to be the first in a trilogy I think and I can say without doubt that I will be buying the next one, despite my issues with the writing. The story is just so addictive and I want to be loyal to a good solid author (give him a chance to redeem himself).
Even though I have said some fairly negative things here, I would still recommend this book to a Young Adult reader who will love the adventure, or an adult reader who doesn't take writing so seriously.

- Medieval Mayhem