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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lay Down My Sword and Shield by James Lee Burke

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. It is part of a series, the next book is Rain Gods, due out in May of this year. However, Lay Down My Sword and Shield is not a book I would have chosen to read. It was not an entertaining read, nor a pleasant read.

The author is talented - the prose is beautiful where it is supposed to be beautiful, and ugly where it is supposed to be ugly. The voice is comfortable and fairly easy to read. But there really isn't that much of a plot here, it mostly just rambles around. Even with the rambling, the pacing wasn't all that bad. Like I said, I can tell this is a talented author. But this book just didn't work for me.

Who do I think would like Lay Down My Sword and Shield? I think if you are interested in the conditions during the Vietnam war, if you are interested in the differences in Class distinctions, or if you enjoy reading about people who follow society's expectations and are miserable for it, then you might enjoy Lay Down My Sword and Shield. I had to skim through some of the Prisoner of War stuff because I didn't want some of that snaking it's way into my nightmares. I can handle fantasy horror, but true life horror doesn't work well for me. If it does for you, then you'd like this book.

Before I read the epilogue I would have given the book a 4 of 10. The epilogue raises it to a 5 of 10. If you start reading the book and realize you don't want to finish it - at least read the epilogue at the end. Actually, perhaps the last 20 or so pages and then the epilogue. I didn't much like Hack through most of the book... but then, I don't think he liked himself very much, either. I think he finds a way to like himself in the end, so I'm glad I stuck it out to find that, if it's not a totally happy ending, it does show that life goes on and things can be better.

Book Rating: Lay Down My Sword and Shield: 5 of 10

Again, I will give the caveat that some people will like this book. The author is a talented author, and it's possible I would enjoy him telling a different story. But I didn't care for this particular story.

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