kveto from prague

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kveto from prague

kveto from prague’s book reviews

An absolutely brilliant sci-fi adventure book. the story is fast-paced and exciting. the action is great and it raises moral questions.

It could never be written today as some non-white characters are villainous (you can only have white badguys these days) but it is actually balanced.

the only problem is a very dumb twist at the end that feels tacked on and defeats the moral questions raised, but it can and should be ignored.
01/05/2017
lion of north a Pretty one-sided view of the 30 years war, which Henty tries to reduce to Catholics bad, Protestants good. A complex war like the 30 years war needs a better judge than Henty, who just decides that whichever side the Brits are on is right. It at least focuses on Scots rather than English.

Worth reading if just to see the mental gymnastics Henty tries to pull to make the Protestants innocent, like when they cast the Catholic ministers out the window (defenstration) they were only just getting them some fresh air, not trying to murder them.

Most repetition of battle facts and numbers.
01/04/2017
Good old predictable Henty. After his decent treatment of Robert the Bruce and the Scots, I half expected him to be decently balanced in his tale of the border wars with Hotspur, Percy etc. Nope. In this the Scots are rotten scondrels and the English only raid Scotland to get their stuff back.

At one point, an English character says without a hint of irony. "Well, we just have to conquer Scotland to keep them in line."

Yeah, sure. Conquering a nation will get them to like you.

Pointless Henty tripe. Should be skipped.
01/03/2017
excellent Czech play. Most artificial future sci-fi derives from this play so it is a must read. Phillip K Dick basically ripped it off for "Do androids dream/Blade runner"
01/01/2017
I kind of had to read this one but it was a tough slog.

Its about a poor Christian girl who falls in love with a rich jew and the attempts by both of their societies to keep them apart.

that makes it sound more interesting than it is. The book starts with them already in love and you get no sense of their courtship or why they are interested in each other. While it was intended to be progressive, it just feels slow. And I enjoy slow books.
09/17/2016
This will be a tough one to review fairly.

An important book as it inspired the famous motion picture "Birth of a Nation"by DW Griffith (which I haven't seen, so I can't comment on how similar they are).

The books feels spilt into two sections, the first being about Andrew Johnson's impeachment and the angry northern politicians planning revenge on the South for the Civil war. The second part details the former slaves taking advantage of the defeated south and being defeated by the Ku Klux Klan.

The word propaganda is going to be bandied about with this type of book. If you divorce it from its intentions and the racial implications, its still not a good book. it presents a view of the South that I don't know enough about to comment on. But it certainly does a good job of demonising Northern politicians who are trying to enforce equality (hypocritically, according to the author).

It often references Haiti to show the problems of black rulers and it fades out just before one of the characters is violated by a group of ex-slaves. Im sure it instigated anger in its target audience.

All in all, its probably a good book to read to get a feel for how a certain segment of people viewed certain events. just be prepared for some very uncomfortable descriptions of black people. Don't read it if that type of thing makes you uncomfortable.
01/26/2016
The main hero's actions are repulsive. He does anything to "get" the girl. This novel makes you feel dirty.
03/22/2015
A good book but not as good as his latter Saracen novels. Tries to catch much of the flavour of Shogun although it is set in 13th century Japan.

The Mongol invasion looms large and its clear from the beginning that that will be the climax. The love story was the poorest aspect but the novel is similar to his later ones in that regard.

The hero is riduculously superhuman in his exploits pushing the novel into the realm of fantasy rather than historical fiction.

The book is very long, over 100 pages but well worth your time.
03/22/2015