Friday, March 30, 2012

The Second Siege by Henry H. Neff

 The Second Siege
by Henry H. Neff

This is the second book in the fantasy young adult series. I already reviewed the first one. I have to say that the issues I had with the first seem to be magnified in this one. In brief, the plot follows directly on from the first book. The forces of darkness are chasing our hero and his friends. The school setting is nearly completely absent and we jump into a second world fantasy for a short while.

It is strange to say this, but this book seemed rushed even though it is over 600 pages. Even allowing for the large type and fewer words per page of an young adult book, this is still a lot of room to work with. The problem here to me seems to be that the main character doesn’t have much time to react to the plot points.

For instance, for the first book and most of this one, a big deal is made that his mother is missing, not dead. There is, of course, a reveal. What seems like a key plot point that should drive the rest of the book and, perhaps, the series is dealt with quickly and we are on to something else. The characters have no time to react to the situations. I am not expecting that he would develop a drinking problem or PTSD, but some reaction would be nice.  I have the third book here and will read it, but instead of being excited, I am a little apprehensive.

Mildly recommended.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater by Brayton Harris

 Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater
by Brayton Harris

This is a short biography of the United States naval commander in the Pacific. The back copy of the book notes that this is the first full memoir to be written about him in decades and it is quickly apparent why. He did not grant interviews, write his memoirs, keep a diary or leave us a treasure trove of letters to be mined for his personal opinions. Instead we are left with descriptions of others and occasional official documents.

I give the author credit for not falling into the usual trap with subjects such as this and filling in the rest of the book with general information. Only enough general information is included to explain the narrative.
World War II takes primacy in the account as it should.  Students of the Pacific campaign will be disappointed in that there isn’t much new here, mainly a discussion of the conflicts with Macarthur.

I actually found the material on the development of naval tactics in the 30s and the pushback against the attempts to unify the armed services in the late 40s and early 50s to be the most enlightening. I can’t recommend this for the casual reader, but if you want something different, give it a look.

Recommended for someone who has a strong interest in the topic. Note:This book was provided through LibraryThing's early reviewer Program.