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Chill (Jacob's Ladder #2)

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  502 Ratings  ·  62 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
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Published February 23rd 2010 by Spectra (first published December 29th 2009)
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I'm afraid that I won't be able to review this book as seriously as I originally intended. I wanted to read it as an adventure and a novel of chase, because that's how it felt, but I got sidetracked by alienish and outright aliens being bred in the bowels of the generation ship. I wanted to get waylaid by Tristan, the toolbox, the necromancer, and the fragment of our big bad angel from Dust, but I'm afraid I was distracted.

It could be because the novel was a departure from the excellent setup fr
Aug 13, 2012 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
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
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
Mar 07, 2010 Jacqie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
The planetship is underway, but fragile: as its new angel and captain integrate, their integrity is threatened by a potential outside force. I miss the duo protagonists of Dust. Characterization in Chill is strong, but the narrative voice, with its distinctive quirks (especially in depicting microexpressions), remains static as it cycles through the half-dozen points of view; the effect is fluid almost to the point of sloppy, and, with a plot so similar to the first book, bizarrely redundant. Bu ...more
Apr 28, 2015 MA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had absolutely no idea what was going on, in the first book. Too many names, too many new ideas, too much description that made it difficult to tell what was metaphor and what was actually happening. I picked up the second book mostly just hoping to figure out what happened in the first one.

Ooh, I get it now! I will probably go re-read Dust, now that I have a better idea. Because, for all my complaining, Bear's prose is SO GORGEOUS that I can't not read her books, even when I am completely lost
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
Jenny GB
The second novel in this trilogy once again sends the characters on a journey through the ship to find an escaped prisoner. Along their journey they encounter many strange things in the ship and must confront an alien presence in the ship. The outcome will determine if the world survives to find a purpose or is destroyed.

This novel was a little easier to get into than the first because I already knew a little about this world. However, this novel moves slowly. It's more about the internal confli
Aug 23, 2014 Macha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and a half stars. middle of the Jacob's Ladder trilogy, and i like this series a lot. this time round, more quest than action, which doesn't necessarily make for a very exciting narrative (a lot more happened in the first book, a lot more is learned in this one), but there are such fertile ideas playing out, and Bear's getting better at keeping track of her various themes and bringing them all together so dropped stitches don't let the knitting unravel. but hey, big ideas, always a plus, and i ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funky mix of medieval knights questing through an incredible artificial space-faring habitat.
I had no idea what to expect - this is one of many 'second book in the series' that I've received as gifts. They normally sit on the shelf until I've found the first one. However, our book stacks are getting ridiculous and my current system is just reading the next book on the heap.

I didn't feel I was missing much though, the characters are suffering from their extended histories and the disasters of
M Tat
Nov 26, 2015 M Tat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For such a relatively short work, Bear packs plenty of characterization into the pages without being verbose. The reader is quickly plunged into the world (pun intended) and has to make as much sense of what is going on as the characters. Bear does this without losing the reader or overwhelming the reader in the process. It is clear that we, as audience, aren't expected to know the exact ins & outs of the lead-ups to this world, but that we're filled in as the characters progress in their in ...more
Chandler's Law on a generation ship. I decided to finish the series but that is probably a character flaw. (view spoiler)
Feb 20, 2014 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
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
Nov 26, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting this book was a wrench after the end of the first book - I needed to know what happened and couldn't bear to at the same time.
I find it fascinating how Bear can basically take the same premise (we're wandering around a space ship in search of specific people) and tell such fascinatingly different stories each time. And I loved a chance to get to know the earlier generations of the Conn family. She's moved from religio-medieval space opera into teh realm of space opera fantasy quest and
Aug 01, 2014 Mardel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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...

Jun 01, 2011 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Clay Kallam
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
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
Jan 08, 2012 Alytha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2012 Shara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 06, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 13, 2011 Jodi Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David I.
Apr 10, 2014 David I. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 24, 2011 Rattyfleef rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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*
Jun 04, 2010 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
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

Solid continuation of the series. The setting is still compelling, and the story was enjoyable. I still have a little trouble connecting to the characters, but I think Bear did a better job this time around (or I'm getting used to her writing, one of the two). Looking forward to the conclusion!
Jan 14, 2015 Cat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
without one the main characters from "dust", this novel felt ... flat. it was hard to relate to the characters and the storyline only became slightly less vague.
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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 about Elizabeth Bear...

Other Books in the Series

Jacob's Ladder (3 books)
  • Dust (Jacob's Ladder, #1)
  • Grail (Jacob's Ladder, #3)

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“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
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