Roy Tang

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Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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2016 February

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond My rating: 3 of 5 stars 2016 Book #10: Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. I actually started this a few years back, thought I'd actually get around to finish it. The book is an analysis of history, of what geographical advantages certain civilizations had that allowed them to triumph over others. He presents a lot of interesting topics covering linguistics, animal/plant domestication and food production that may explain these differences. Given my poor geography knowledge, I would have appreciated more maps in the book. There are

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  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling My rating: 5 of 5 stars 2016 Book #8: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Someone had already spoiled me ahead of time about the death at the end of this book, although I hadn't known when it would happen. But it started to become obvious as the book went on, so I wasn't too surprised by the end. This book fleshes out the back story of the series' villain Voldemort and finally tries to make Draco Malfoy do something of consequence. The book feels a lot like Empire Strikes Back

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  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling My rating: 5 of 5 stars 2016 Book #9: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book starts off with a lot of action before settling into a phase where the three protagonists wander around a lot and sleep in tents and finally into a big showdown at Hogwarts with virtually every character in the series showing up for one big brawl. It's fun to read, but I'd love to see it in the film too (soon!). I'm a bit ambivalent about how Severus Snape was handled, with the author basically

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  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling My rating: 3 of 5 stars This is a long book, roughly three times as long as the first Harry Potter book was. That wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so painful to read. Harry here is like a completely different character compared to the previous books, he's irritable and whiny and keeps worrying about how other people aren't treating him well. It's not really teenage angst (since Ron and Hermione seem fine), but rather the character's response to the end of the last book. I hope he's

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  • Triumph of the Darksword by Margaret Weis My rating: 3 of 5 stars I read the first two books of this trilogy back in high school, and I recently decided to get a used copy from Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to dive into the third book without having to re-read the first two, with a general recollection of the events from the first book still intact. I found it a bit heavy-handed with the prose, as the writers spend a couple of paragraphs in each scene for each character to ponder in self-doubt, fear or

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  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling My rating: 5 of 5 stars The series started off a with rather straightforward stories that made obvious that JK Rowling was new to this business at the time, but Prisoner of Azkaban kicks off the world-building to a larger degree. Many elements of the world are expanded upon and added to and by now we get a better sense of the sort of wonders the world of Harry Potter represents. The plot is starting to get more complex, with more Chekov's gun-type elements firing off as the story spins

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