Chill (Jacob's Ladder, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Chill (Jacob's Ladder #2)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  368 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Sometimes the greatest sin is survival.

The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has barely survived cataclysms from without and within. Now, riding the shock wave of a nova blast toward an uncertain destiny, the damaged ship—the only world its inhabitants have ever known—remains a war zone. Even as Perceval, the new captain, struggles to come to terms with the traumas of her rec...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Spectra (first published December 29th 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter HøegThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Call of the Wild by Jack LondonWhite Fang by Jack LondonThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
Ice and Snow
76th out of 325 books — 106 voters
Surface Detail by Iain M. BanksThe Passage by Justin CroninFeed by Mira GrantCryoBurn by Lois McMaster BujoldHull Zero Three by Greg Bear
2010 Locus Recommended Reading List
12th out of 17 books — 23 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 715)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
2 Stars

This book is barely a 2 star read after a decent start with book 1 Dust. Very little happens in this book and the characters that made book 1 great are reduced down to paper thin shells. I was bored at times reading this and am truly shocked that I pushed through to the end.

Elizabeth Bear is an amazing author that writes great science fiction, but this book was not up to par. It is going to be tough to finish this series.
WARNING: No spoilers for Chill, but plenty of spoilers for Dust.

Chill picks up almost directly after Dust ended, when the ship is reeling from the nova blast and the crew is reeling from all of the deaths, particularly Rien's sacrifice to bring the new angel -- an A.I. integrating all of the splinter A.I.s that developed when the ship broke down centuries before -- into existence. Perceval is now captain, but she is barely functional as she deals with her grief, and there is an enormous power va...more
Jason Lang
Dust was a fantastic novel that reminded me of Wolfe's Dying Sun series. Couched in mythic/fantasy language, but set far in the future. Chill is Dust's sequel and sadly, not as good as it's prequel.

The world-ship Jacob's Ladder has suffered some cataclysm which has left it adrift. The crew is at war with each other inside the broken hull. After a enforced peace breaks out at the end of Dust, the ship sets out again after 500 years. Now, crippled by damage, low on resources, the crew must deal wi...more
I think the first book in the series, "Dust", was a stronger book. It may have been too long since I read that one until I read this one. I had a hard time remembering all the characters and family history. The first book had more of a sense of wonder with the movement through the ship. The main characters from the first book are mostly not seen, and I had a hard time transferring my interest to the new characters. This book is basically one big long chase scene, interspersed with lots of charac...more
If you haven't yet read Dust, then Chill isn't going to make much sense. It's still doable, but it's better to read Dust first. The second in a trilogy - Jacob's Ladder trilogy- Chill takes off right where Dust ended. The aftermath of a great battle... but you need back ground. Too bad you're not going to get a lot of back ground from me -- you really need to read the book to get the most out that you can. See, I'm not sure I got everything out of the book that I could. But here's a start...

I remain in awe of Ms Bear's talent. Another brilliant book - where else could you get talking carnivorous orchids that watch television? Sometimes, the sheer brilliance of the plotting leaves me falling a bit behind but it all comes together in the end. The characters are getting richer and the world a lot deeper. The back story of Jacob's Ladder is slipped in here and there and things that may have been a bit confusing in the first book now start to make a lot of sense. I already have the last...more
This is definitely a second-book-in-the-series, not that you can tell that from the cover - which must have been annoying for some people. As such, there are spoilers for the first book, Dust.

Chill picks up only hours after the end of Dust - Tristen Conn awakens in an acceleration tank, after the colony ship has had to accelerate at drastic rates to escape a supernova. The first part of the story therefore follows the experiences of Tristen, Caitlin, Benedick and Perceval as they accustom themse...more
I really enjoyed Elizabeth Bear’s “Carnival,” and I thought “All the Windwracked Stars” was pretty good, but I didn’t particularly like “Whiskey and Water,” the last one I read.

So I passed on a couple of her books that came through my mail drop, but decided to dip my toe back in the water with “Chill” (Ballantine Spectra, $6.99, 310 pages). It quickly became very apparent that “Chill” was not a standalone novel, but there was absolutely no way to know by looking at the cover of the book. As it t...more
Chill moves, from the very beginning, at a faster clip than Dust. It is simultaneously more and less complicated than its predecessor. It is a chase story, but of course that chase turns out to be nearly inconsequential. And, there are a lot of moving parts in this one. New Conns, new Engineers, new inhabitants of old domaines, and a shadowy presence that seems to be taking over the ship. And then there are the familiar faces, some of whom we get to know a little better this time around, as fami...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The premise: ganked from Sometimes the greatest sin is survival. The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has barely survived cataclysms from without and within. Now, riding the shock wave of a nova blast toward an uncertain destiny, the damaged ship -- the only world its inhabitants have ever known -- remains a war zone. Even as Perceval, the new captain, struggles to come to terms with the traumas of her recent past, the remnants of rebellion aboard the ship still threaten the crew’s surviva...more
Elizabeth Bear does it again, blending the fantasy-tinged story of a "royal family" whose angels help them to run the world, with the hard science fiction of a world-ship carrying a civilization from the doomed planet earth to a destination unknown. The world-ship has suffered unimaginable damage from an exploding star, and the new Captain along with her new angel, must repair it to send it on its way, while her family embarks on a dangerous hunt to stop a traitor before she can unleash a deadly...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
There are lots of surprises in Chill but few new characters. There is less of Perceval and much more of Tristen and Benedick as they journey through the ship is search a traitor. This middle book is a mix of the past and the present as the ship looks toward the future. Like Dust this is a beautifully written book full of description and character development. As a result the story is slow moving and finding the traitor takes the entire book.

I said I would not have ever finished reading Dust but...more
It's a peculiar talent of Elizabth Bear's to write such "classic" sci fi, yet approach it in such a non-linear, Jungian way that just as I think I'm following along fine, the tale derails itself into tendrals of half-understood action and plots. It was moderately tolerable (for an absolute linear, non-intuitive like myself) in books 1 and 3. But in book 2 the whole last couple of chapters was near incomprehensible. Realistic - in that reality does not follow clean, comprehensible lines of cause-...more
Jodi Davis
I think I may have liked it more than Dust. Only a bit.

I love everything about the world, the family, the technology, the prose, the plot, the shiny, the damage, the emotional states... Yeah, that. Everything.

I want to live there - which may sound idiotic - but dude!

ETA: The way some authors stay doggedly with a story in sequels, refusing to change, shackled to some imaginary framework of how to manage a *series* oft times bores me. This author is not afraid to change things as the story dictate...more
David I.
Taking off where Dust ended, I also really enjoyed Chill. While it seems like the conflict at first is manufactured artificially to stir things back up after the Dust's tidy ending, the characters are still interesting and the world still fascinating.
Man wish I had half stars. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Love Perceval, Tristan, Nova, et al. Great cast, good plot and pacing. Gender-studies-wise I have never had a character echo some of the things I think or feel re: sexuality the way Perceval does, even in fanfic where um -alternatives? Exist more freely. Interesting examinination of identity and memory and how they intersect with--for lack of another word-- telepathy and the ability to engulf the memories of the dead.

In crits there's a *really*...more
Ordinarily, a passage such as the one below (from page 88 of Chill) would lead me to abandon a book with great prejudice and eye-rolling:

"Sie turned to him, eyes big, and he wondered -- not for the first time -- how he could be both things to hir: Tristen, whose wedding sie had catered; and Prince Tristen, lord of the House of Rule."

But such is Bear's talent for writing that, by God, she makes it work. Her prose is strong and fun to read, and a wry sense of humor keeps the story from becoming to...more
It's no secret that I freakin' love Elizabeth Bear and her books. Chill is the second book in her Jacob's Ladder trilogy, which has supplanted her Promethean Age books as my favorite series she writes - it continues the story started in Dust, full of angels and screwed-up family dynamics, all taking place on a ship that's a world. When I finished it, I was simultaneously sad that it was over and I'll have to wait months to read the next one, and pissed that it was over and now I'll have to read...more
Miquel Codony
És la continuació de Dust. És menys rodó que la primera part, però també és menys hermètic. Li he trobat 2 defectes: un ritme una mica irregular que en un moment concret voreja l'avorriment i una sèrie d'intervencions tipus Deus Ex Machina que ho fan tot plegat una mica inversemblant. L'autora, però, té una imaginació de primera línea i un peculiar estil propi que funciona bastant bé. Com a segona part val la pena llegir-lo i el misteri que s'amaga al funcionament del "món" és molt interesant. D...more
Althea Ann
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, "Dust." I very much liked the juxtaposition of the near-derelict generation ship with the mythology that has grown up around its technologies, and the complex, 'old-fashioned' court hierarchies of the society.
Unfortunately, I didn't feel that "Chill" lived up to the first book's promise. I just wasn't sucked back into the world. The plot kind of meandered, and while there were some interesting ideas and imagery, I didn't feel any tension or driving...more
Jul 13, 2014 T rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: recs-sf
This series hits on and mixes up a lot of elements/tropes that I tend to love: combination of SF and F, an overall mythic/epic feeling, generation ships, far future setting, lost colonists, broken heroes, sacrifice, questing, rebuilding after an apocalyptic event, dysfunctional royal families, heroic women, characters nobly striving despite their personal damage, etc. etc. So, the books really work for me. (Like I've said before, Bear is hit and miss for me, but the hits really hit and the Jacob...more
Deanna Knippling
After liking the first book so much, this one suffered from sequelitis. Too many subplots, too many characters. The characters from book 1 were almost entirely absent (and numb and stiff when present); the main characters were so involved in the hidden past that they were unrelatable. The best characters were the "villains," interesting and empathetic. The book should have been about them.

Nevertheless, good enough and interesting enough that I'm going to read book 3.

I wonder why the cover design...more
Elizabeth Bear's Jacob's Ladder trilogy (Dust, Chill, Grail) is a sprawling sci-fi tale revolving around a huge multi-generational slow ship. Bear is an innovative and thoughtful author who does not disappoint the reader who expects unique views of oft-treated matters like alien contact, human/machine interface, and the evolving nature of individual identity.
Like most of Bear's books, this didn't end quite the way I was expecting, and it definitely has that middle book feeling. I don't think it would stand well on its own, and I'm glad I reread the first book before starting this one. That said, it was a good continuation of the story, some interesting stuff happened, and I'm looking forward to reading the third one.
Publisher needed to CLEARLY mark this a book two of a series. With some authors you can pick up a book two and figure out what's going on if you didn't realize it was a book two -- not so with this book. Without reading book one (Dust) this book is impossible to understand. If I find time I may look into reading Dust...Ok, probably not.
Karen Ireland-Phillips
Sequel to Dust. I'm holding onto this until the last book in the trilogy (or the next book in the more than trilogy) comes out. Bear's work is excellent, but sometimes her experimentation(s) mean a bit more work for the reader. Worth it, but I'd like to have the entire story before I do a re-read of Dust and finish the story.
I found this to be the best of the two prior books. I wish there could have been more time spent on the intersection of the two cultures that Bear interweaves in this book. I was anticipating that, but she found a way to avoid doing that in terms of plot, but the implications were still developed and pretty intriguing.
I only made it to page 108 of this book. Probably because it's the sequel of a book I haven't read. I couldn't get into it. The characters and their issues just didn't draw me in. Maybe one of these days I will read the first book and see if that changes things.
Miki Habryn
Jan 20, 2014 Miki Habryn marked it as to-read
Shelves: default
Opaque, confusing, dull. The only characters I cared about in the previous book vanish into unsympathetic amalgams in this one. Strange corners of the world are revealed with neither rhyme nor reason, plots hinge on dei ex machinae and unpredictable revelations. Blah.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 23 24 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Tempering of Men (Iskryne World, #2)
  • Recursion (AI Trilogy #1)
  • Bitter Angels
  • Weight of Stone (Vineart War #2)
  • Yarn
  • Tangled Up In Blue (The Snow Queen Cycle, #4)
  • Gardens of the Sun
  • The Bird of the River
  • Commitment Hour
  • Palimpseste
  • Cyberabad Days
  • Living With Ghosts
  • The Bone Palace (The Necromancer Chronicles, #2)
  • The Dazzle of Day
  • Seeds of Change
  • Omnitopia: Dawn (Omnitopia, #1)
  • Up Jim River (January Dancer, #2)
  • Burndive (Warchild #2)
Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with a childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, led her inevitably to penury, intransigence, the mispronunciation of common English words, and the writing of speculative fiction.

She lives in Massachusetts with a Giant Ridiculous Dog. Her partner, acclaimed fantasy author Scott Lynch...more
More about Elizabeth Bear...
Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky, #1) Hammered (Jenny Casey, #1) Dust (Jacob's Ladder, #1) New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam, #1) Blood and Iron (Promethean Age, #1)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Her neural pattern must remain intact for the time being, as it was still necessary that she stay herself. Changes to her identity would eventually become inevitable, but those would have to wait until she no longer needed the cloak of who she was.” 3 likes
More quotes…