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Grail (Jacob's Ladder, #3)
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Grail (Jacob's Ladder #3)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  391 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Rife with intrigue and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice, Grail brings Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant space opera to a triumphant conclusion.

At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of
Paperback, 330 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jun 19, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it
It's all light.

I liked this one much better than the previous two novels, full of better contrast, deeper ethical considerations, and more interesting intrigue. Mind you, this is all subject to my own subjectivity, but It was much easier to fall into a society of dull board members and sit back confidently as they get pounded ideologically by a godlike feudalist ecology, and back again as they said, "Uh, no thanks, I think we'd best stay on Prozac."

It's funny and delightful, with some real promi
Jan 16, 2013 Phoenixfalls rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and Roger Zelazny.
Dust was an ambitious novel, drawing on a medley of influences ranging from medieval romantic ballads of chivalry to gothic horror novels to classic SF generation ships, all overlaid with a smattering of Judeo-Christian myths. Its sequel, Chill, was best read as a character study. Grail, the final novel in this trilogy, just might be my favorite. It is that rarest of all beasts: an anthropological and philosophical science fiction novel like few people have written in my lifetime.

I have to admit
Apr 30, 2011 Hallie rated it liked it
I really liked the first two books in this series, so I was disappointed with the uneven quality of this one. Characterizations and speech registers were pretty wildly inconsistent, which is always the most annoying aspect of writers who are mediocre at world-building. She did such a good job with the first two books, but introducing another world into this one let it get out of hand. The ending was a little deux ex machina (one of those "wait, you didn't tell me they could do that!" moments), a ...more
Jul 05, 2011 Alexandra rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011

The last thing I expect from the final book in a trilogy is for it to throw up major questions about the characters we have come to, if not love, like and admire over the course of two books. But that's exactly what Bear does in Grail. It's a remarkable move that I admit makes a fitting end to a remarkable series. As with Chill, there is no way of telling from the front cover that this is part of a series, although the blurb mentions that it brings Bear's space opera "to a triumphant conclusion.
Feb 22, 2012 Niall519 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
While each of the three books in the trilogy has the odd small problem, they're all very, very good. Inventive, poetic, and with the whacky jusxtapositions that I've come to love and expect from Elizabeth Bear. Taken as a whole though, the story that spans the three is brilliant! The three together would get 5 stars if Good Reads had a facillity for that.

The meditation on 'natural' versus 'forced' or tinkered-with evolution; the relationships between individuals, species, and the biospheres they
The juxtaposition of two cultures that would be considered quite highly moral but with very different beliefs. Part of the reason this series is so cool..... following quote:

Perceval managed her own neurochemistry through her symbiont, but manual manipulation of any system so complex, nuanced and responsive was inevitably cruder and more granular than what the healthy brain managed on its own with the proper stimulus. p 49

"Its an established principal,"she said. "The survivors of a crisis and th
May 01, 2015 Juushika rated it it was amazing
As the ship nears the planet where they hope to end their thousand-year journey, they discover the worst: the planet is already inhabited--by humans. The divergent human societies can feel insufficiently alien--or, rather, they don't extrapolate well: the clash of worldviews stretches thin when meant to encompass two complete cultures. But when it works (and, here, Bear's headhopping shines), the view of each society from without is creative, refreshing, thoughtful, and sometimes even hilarious. ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Besha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I love this series for its imagery, its language, and its sweeping examination of evolution, ethics, and the definition of humanity. I don't love the way it consistently buries the dénouement, even though tortuousness is one of the things I love about Elizabeth Bear's writing.

(view spoiler)

Come ON, man.

But beyond that
Apr 01, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remain somewhat in awe and more than a little jealous of Elizabeth Bear's ability to take on ANY genre of spec-fic and write it magnificently. To be sure, she is something of an acquired taste (you mean not everyone likes their sci-fi sprinkled with Arthurian legends and quotations by Victorian poets?). Still, I really enjoyed this series and the strangeness of the world Bear created, one with few easy answers for the good guys and some seriously impressive baddies (Insert Shatnerian "CONNNN!! ...more
Jaime Moyer
May 09, 2011 Jaime Moyer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
What does it mean to be human? What is it like to finally--ultimately--grow up?

Such a good book and a completely satisfying end to this series. Loved it.
Krista McCracken
Aug 03, 2016 Krista McCracken rated it really liked it
This was probably my favourite book of the three in the Jacobs Ladder series. This one seemed to flow better and was less held up by technical explanations or world building. The characters fit like an old hat but still have new complexities developing throughout the book. I really enjoyed the premise of the book - a generation ship making contact with a human colony in space. And despite both being descendants from humans on earth the groups are vastly different in physical construct, mindset, ...more
Jenny GB
Feb 19, 2016 Jenny GB rated it it was ok
The ship finally arrives at Grail/Fortune and the ship's people make contact with their relatives that took a different evolutionary path. They all must discover how they can live together or even if they will coexist after all. Meanwhile, both sides must deal with assassination attempts and sabotage at this critical moment.

I liked the discussions about the evolution of the two groups and getting to know the people that live on Fortune. However, I thought that the ending was not enough. I was lo
Warren Rochelle
Dec 03, 2012 Warren Rochelle rated it liked it

Grail is the conclusion to Bear’s Jacob’s Ladder trilogy, begun in Dust and continued in Chill. Jacob’s Ladder, an ancient generational ship, finally comes to the end of its thousand-year journey when it reaches the habitable world the crew, led by the Conns, has named Grail. They have come to the end of their quest. Unfortunately other humans beat them to it—they call the planet Fortune. Conflict is inevitable. The people of Fortune are “right-minded,” genetically altered to achieve emotional b
Beth Dawkins
Aug 19, 2011 Beth Dawkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This is the third and last book of the series. The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has found a planet. The ship might not be able to last trying to find another planet. They take to calling the planet Grail, but its name is actually Fortune. In the midst of discovery, and deciding if the planet is occupied someone close to Captain Perceval is killed.

It introduces new characters to the story from Grail. They, like the people on Jacob’s Ladder, are originally from earth. Their leader, Premier D
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Grail is the third book in the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy. I checked out Dust and Chill from my local library. When I went to check out Grail it had been ordered but I had to wait for it to arrive and be processed before I could finish listening to the series. I said before but let me say again. I do not think I would have read the series but I enjoyed listening. Elizabeth Bear has a way with words and descriptions. There is a wonderful flow to her prose that made listening a pleasure.

I loved how Gr
Jan 08, 2012 Alytha rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2011 Ove rated it it was amazing
Jacob’s Ladder leads to Heaven and God according to Genesis.

I have just finished Grail the concluding volume of Elizabeth Bear’s generation ship epos Jacob’s Ladder. I have a hard time distilling the story down to review size but here goes.

Jacob’s Ladder is getting close to journey’s end and the planet Grail. Perceval became the captain after her beloved Rien scarified herself and merged with the ship’s ai and vanquished the dragon Dust, the ship library that ruled ship for centuries turning it
Apr 02, 2012 Shara added it
The premise: ganked from Rife with intrigue and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice, Grail brings Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant space opera to a triumphant conclusion.

At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of sharing Fortune—especially with people who have genetically engineered themselves to such an
Deborah Replogle
Mar 04, 2014 Deborah Replogle rated it it was amazing
This trilogy, of which this is the last volume (too bad) was a FASCINATING read. Basically, the plot revolves around two civilizations of human beings, who came from the same Earth origins, but have evolved in completely different directions over about a 500 year or so period. The first group is contained in a type of Space Ark and the second group has settled a planet that the first group was heading for. The third volume is where they come in to contact and have to determine their outcome.

May 22, 2014 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
A trite comment but this book was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The ending could have gone a number of ways but the author kept a tight rein on the plotting whereas many other authors would have wrung a number of books out of this world and theme. I did get a little confused with the characters and who had morphed into whom but, again, delicate hints by the author usually solved the problem. Definitely recommended to the normal crew.
Apr 21, 2013 Cynthisa rated it liked it
It's a peculiar talent of Elizabth Bear's to write such "classic" sci fi (hyperliterate, applying strong, hard sciences in a deft and nuanced way) 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. Realisti ...more
Aug 05, 2016 Brooke rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2016
I actually liked this conclusion more than the first two books in the trilogy. While book #2 felt like more of the same, Grail added in the citizens of the planet Fortune and the conflict in ideologies between the societies on Fortune and Jacob's Ladder. There was yet another plot point involving a member of the Conn family wreaking havoc, but the scenes involving Fortune's citizens entirely made up for it.
Asia Bey
Feb 22, 2015 Asia Bey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This the type of book you have to read many times to attempt to understand or read once and accept that you can wonder without understanding.
Jan 14, 2015 Cat rated it liked it
had to finish the series to get answers; this was an ending. it wasn't particularly a great one. lots of undisguised meditation on the nature of humanity.
Jared Butler
It has been nearly two years since I read this, but the Jacob's Ladder series was very inventive and well written.
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This cultural clash between a highly evolved society and one on the verge of self-destruction is spellbinding.
Jim Beckmann
Aug 31, 2013 Jim Beckmann rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this trilogy. So many amazing ideas in these books. My only complaint, that each book seemed to accelerate rapidly to a conclusion in the last few pages. Not so much a problem in the first two as there is more to come, but the final book left me feeling like I missed something. World changing events just seem to happen in a few sentences. Some things are best left to the imagination, but I felt that important questions about several main characters were left unanswered. I will p ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing
This was the best of the 3 books in the Jacob’s Ladder series. I read this series on the recommendation of a friend and I would also recommend the series. The second book was my least favorite and the 3rd was the best. You have to read all 3 books. This book had a unique ending which worked very well. It tied up the loose ends for the story. Some may say it was a bit sappy. Just call me a sap.
This was a strong Sci-fi novel with space ships, planet people and conflict between them and their value
Feb 24, 2016 ScoLgo rated it really liked it
In my experience, it is rare for a closing volume in a series to fulfill the promises made by the preceding installments. Happily, that is not the case with Grail.

In fact, this entire trilogy is a remarkable achievement and deserves exposure to as wide of an audience as possible.
Sep 04, 2011 Rattyfleef rated it it was amazing
Ahhhh this was fantastic. And frustrating. Erm, certain aspects of the ending irritated the life out of me. But omg I love (most)* of these characters. Great, well-paced read.

A few aspects were a bit awkward wrt info that suspense required be witheld from the reader, but overall a splendid book I feel strongly enthused about.

*Except one or three of them who can DIAF. But it's been a while since I loathed a villain this much!
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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)
  • Chill (Jacob's Ladder, #2)

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