Well-composed singular plot line increasingly unraveling to chaotic mess, hastily bundled into a frantic conclusion, with the usual leads to...more3.25 STARS
Well-composed singular plot line increasingly unraveling to chaotic mess, hastily bundled into a frantic conclusion, with the usual leads to the next book.
Locke remains too clever for his own good, and much less clever than he believes himself to be (for a band of notorious thieves, they seem to lose money and get in unsolvable trouble more often than not). While I believe this is authorial intent -- certain other characters with good judgment see him thus as well -- these books are not about the unfettered joys of criminal capers but more like one last-minute scramble after another as Locke keeps getting in deeper above his head with people far more ruthless.
The initial setup is in-depth and interesting. The mercenary City of Tal Vellar, its wealthy elite, the nine-floor gambling palace the Sinspire, its pleasures and comforts, its dark sides. Its tripartite rulers -- the Priori (merchants), the Archon (military), and Requin the master of Sinspire, a shadow power dealer. Locke and Jean spends 2 years setting up the caper, throwing all kinds of money around in readiness to take Requin for all his got. Except things do not workout that way. (view spoiler)[They gain Requin's begrudging trust, but comes under the thumb of the Archon, who poisons them and forces them to become pirates, in order to strike fear into Tel Vellar so the city will rally behind he, their military leader. (hide spoiler)] As result, the plot does a giant 180, and suddenly we are in the ocean, learning sea lore from scratch, introduced to completely new people and society, and the gambling heist falls off the cliff. (view spoiler)[The Archon gives the pair false identity, a ship, prisoners for crew, and a real sailor as guide. Except the sailor dies, the crew revolts, they get taken by the pirate Zamira. After much ado, they work themselves into Zamira's crew, convinces her to help them to help herself, i.e. fake attack the City to allow Locke more chance to delay Archon from using other people to mess with the pirates. Except then this other pirate disagreed with the scheme, and comes attacking Zamira for some reason. Another plot foiled. (hide spoiler)] As the pair juggles more and more STUFF, pitting one against another and another, I am losing interest in the entire affair as it was obvious there was virtually no realistic pay-off in sight. And lo, everything is resolve in quick order in the final 20 pages, in the only way they can be -- haphazardly, headlong, etc etc.(view spoiler)[Locke ropes the Priori into a scheme to topple the Archon, like they always wanted. Then goes to Sinspire to steal all the famous painting in Requin's office, which was his goal all along. Except these were fakes, and they make no money. In the end, it seems Requin is the one coming out on top, despite never really doing anything except allowing Locke to blab along and live. (hide spoiler)] Really, this book is more about plans foiled and derailed than anything.
The good stuff are good. Excellent female characters with intellect and agency, in charge of their lives and fortune. Good characterization in general. Banter. Intricate world and believable setting. The deep love between Locke and Jean.
The plot, however, brings to mind such words as "rambling" and "self-indulgent." Not a bad read by any means, and recommended... but could have been so much better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Earth is about to go kaploom via meteor. Organized human society has approx. 6 months before everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Meanwhile, newl...moreEarth is about to go kaploom via meteor. Organized human society has approx. 6 months before everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Meanwhile, newly-promoted detective Hank Palace -- a detail-oriented, ultra by-the-book and diligent young man -- focuses all his attention upon a death by hanging he believes to be a murder.
As society unravels, all around him people are either running away to complete their bucket list or keeping a desperate hold upon routines, struggling with despair in various ways. Although everyone comments on Palace's seeming sanity as he digs hard into the mystery -- the truth was, this dogged pursuit, however irrelevant, is HOW he deals with the impending end. This is the only thing holding him together, because unlike others in the story, his grip on reality is too strong and he cannot indulge in delusional beliefs of calculation errors or government conspiracy or drugged-out delusions.
In the best noir tradition, Palace gets increasingly beat-up as the tale progresses. He intersects with a beautiful woman with secrets, and is the lone "man with a pure heart" in a world going mad. The setting is noir on steroids. The central mystery itself, however, is a tiny affair. The importance Palace places upon it -- re-iterating throughout that there is work to be done, that "A man is dead!", often in face of people freaking out in various ways -- putting his own blinders on with a vengeance -- is excellent illustration of the extent of his own terror and denial.
Although the contrast between setting & mystery is interesting and meaningful, the murder itself IS bland and anticlimactic. I find it a slog to follow. (view spoiler)[The dead man, an accountant, decided to do drugs as escape. He found his hookup in a childhood friend. One day, as he visited the friend to get drugs, he ran into his brother-in-law and discovered that was where the drug originally came from. The BIL was stealing drugs from the hospital where he worked as grief/death counselor and selling it to raise money & prepare shelter for he and his young son to survive after society collapses. The dead man was on the verge of telling his sister this, when BIL lured him, drugged him, and staged his suicide. BIL also manipulated the femme fatale character, a life-long druggie, to divert Palace from his trail, then killed her to complete the ruse, and tried to kill Palace by messing with his car. All for love of his son. In this dark dark world, people die for nothing in endless ways. (hide spoiler)]
Meanwhile, there are hints of drastic change coming: the government may indeed be involved in a giant conspiracy. The police department is federalized/militarized, and the three remaining detectives, Palace included, are let go. What's next? I have not the interest to read the next book to find out.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Detective Constable Peter Grant, apprentice wizard, continues being classically trained in the magical urban jungle of London. Talented musicians are...moreDetective Constable Peter Grant, apprentice wizard, continues being classically trained in the magical urban jungle of London. Talented musicians are inexplicably dying before their time with a vestigia of a jazz song. Elsewhere, various men are bleeding to their death by vagina dentata -- truly an unpleasant way to shuffle off this mortal coil.
(view spoiler)[Peter meets luscious Simone Fitzwilliams at the home of one dead jazz musician and falls into lust and liking. Nightingale slowly recovers from having been shot, and Lesley struggles to heal, both physically and mentally, from having her face destroyed. Meanwhile, Peter tramps all over London, finding common thread that each musician consorted with a lovely woman shortly before their demise, while a Pale Lady -- a creature akin to Molly -- is luring members of an ancient conspiracy to their death: a black magician who assembled chimera and pimped the female ones to various clients, putting the fear in the mob by keeping a decapitated head alive in torment, and other nefarious things. In hot pursuit, Peter eventually confronts the Faceless One, a magician very probably apprentice to the black magician, who is trying to step into the role of underworld crime lord. Simone is found to be one of a trio of women who inadvertently became magical during WWII, who survives as succubi by absorbing musician's life force /magic. Although warned by Peter to run, they choose to commit suicide after learning they may have killed hundreds of people in their ninety years of unnatural life. (hide spoiler)]
I continue to enjoy how truly unique and full of character Peter is, young, confident, truly clever, with a scientific bent of mind that cannot be repressed by either tradition or authority. I like how there isn't nonstop headlong action, but time for sleeping late on Sunday, hanging out at bars with friends, watching tv. The writing continues to be a good balance of humor and action, not as creepy as the first, with decent plot movement and a bevy of well-constructed supporting characters. Highly recommended!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Steady-paced beginning, fascinating premise, leading to frantically-paced, far less interesting action-thriller type ending.
Ukiah is a good-hearted yo...moreSteady-paced beginning, fascinating premise, leading to frantically-paced, far less interesting action-thriller type ending.
Ukiah is a good-hearted young man apparently raised by wolves then taken in by his lesbian-couple moms, who now works with his partner Max as private detectives. He has uncanny abilities, such as photographic recall, rapid healing, and ability to analyze things by touch down to DNA level. I started off thinking this may be another werewolf story, but quickly found things are much stranger. (view spoiler)[In fact, Ukiah is genetically engineered product of human and an alien, Hex, intent to taking over Earth. Hex comes from a species that propagate itself by injecting DNA into living beings, which then transforms into Hex clone, with Hex's thoughts and memories, which are then capable of creating more Hex clones. Ukiah and the Pack that eventually finds him are all descended from one such clone who was somehow able to maintain its own thoughts, hated Hex, and opposed it in every way possible, whose legacy is its memories and cell-level hatred of Hex, which were passed down to the Pack and to Ukiah.
The alien species is very original in that their very cells mimic life, and have memories encoded down to DNA-level. When aliens /clones bleed or suffer dismemberment, the blood and body parts still strive to survive, and immediately mutate into different sized animals according to the amount of cells they contain -- i.e. field mice, mongoose -- a creepy-cute detail I've never seen elsewhere. These smaller life forms can be absorbed by other clones to share the original's memories, to change to the original's appearance, or be tortured then fed to grow into a full clone of the original. All of which happens to Ukiah's poor mice, as Hex attempt to thwart Ukiah. (hide spoiler)]
I really liked the details and well-established relationships this book began with: Ukiah himself, quiet and pure, Max, his lesbian mothers, his little sister, his strange abilities and how they are used in his daily work. At mid-point, however, a switch is thrown and and the sense of depth and solid-world quality took a sudden backseat to plot. New characters are hastily introduced, mostly very thinly sketched. Events pull back sharply from the careful close-up of Ukiah's life, the mystery of his origin, to a global conspiracy spanning hundreds of years, involving a huge crowd of people, expanding outwardly all the way to Mars. The transition is jarring, and I think to the novel's detriment.
Still, an interesting read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Fluffy, interesting but not as gripping as first novel in the series.
Wolf Who Rules loses some fascination due to parts of story being told from his P...moreFluffy, interesting but not as gripping as first novel in the series.
Wolf Who Rules loses some fascination due to parts of story being told from his POV, and the elf man is just not that interesting, nor are the politics particularly intricate when you consider these people all have multiple thousands of years to plot and scheme with one another.
Tinker continues to be impulsive genius, able to recover quickly from all manners of disasters, even return from space with all the improbability of GRAVITY, then hijacking a battle airship to slay a dragon. Enjoyable, but this is moving very far from realism inherent to the background setting of Pittsburgh, even a Pittsburgh that can switch between dimensions.
Finally, I am so tired of these wish-fulfilling fantasies that have elements of harem in them. Why...
Enjoyable, but I don't feel like reading the third book in the series.(less)
Tinker is an 18-year-old sexy genius of physics & engineering, living in an intersection between fantasy & scien...more3.75 STARS
Frivolous good read.
Tinker is an 18-year-old sexy genius of physics & engineering, living in an intersection between fantasy & science fiction, in an alien dimension populated by astoundingly beautiful elves(view spoiler)[, who were once human a long time ago, but bioengineered their race to gorgeous immortality via magic millennia ago. Head elf of the area falls in love with her, turns her into an elf. Meanwhile, a similarly immortal race from another dimension, the oni, over-ran and in famine because they do not practice population control, has infiltrated and plots to takeover the elves' planet. She gets kidnapped and forced to make a dimensional gate to oni's dimension so they can formally takeover. She tricks them instead, destroying the gate to the human dimension, in effect, leaving her slice of human world stranded in the elven dimension (hide spoiler)].
Tinker is plucky heroine, very much a vehicle for the reader to vicariously enjoy what it's like to have astounding intellect and luck and adventure, not to mention, saving the day multiple times despite incredible naievete, inexperience, and youth. The elves, etc, were well-conceived in that they'd continuously encountered humanity down the centuries via naturally-formed dimensional gates in caves, thus accounting for the many stories and mythologies all over the world, not to mention the occasional offspring.
Read this on my journey to consume well-known classics of SF. 30 years after its publication, the tropes are old and can't say I'm a fan of Gi...more3 STARS.
Read this on my journey to consume well-known classics of SF. 30 years after its publication, the tropes are old and can't say I'm a fan of Gibson's heads-on non-stop style of narration, nor the sad depiction of female characters -- all whores of various sort, high class or low, used by men with true power. A dark world of unrelenting action and no redeeming light at the end of any tunnel.
Marvelous for paving the imagination toward what the WWW looks like now, or even how it may look like in the future. Definite a classic and extremely innovative in its day, but perhaps, on its way to being aged out.(less)