I saw this book on Scalzi's blog in his big idea series. What the author had to say sounded quite intriguing.
This is a a modern, somewhat dark fantasI saw this book on Scalzi's blog in his big idea series. What the author had to say sounded quite intriguing.
This is a a modern, somewhat dark fantasy with which was definitely not a waste of time or money. I am however undecided about my recommendation. It's not a bad book: The ideas are good. The writing is good. I liked the protagonists. But the setting remained a bit bland to me, and I just didn't enjoy the ending and thus closed the book feeling as if it didn't deliver.
The story is set in a land split by a range of mountains. On one side, the "clans" live of timber trade. On the other side, their enemies, the "tribes" , are nomads who live on the steppe. The clans and the tribes are two sides of a coin and are opposites in many ways. They believe in the same gods for example but where the clans believe they should not attract their attention, the tribes think quite different. The setting is fantastic, but the fantastic elements are very light even while they play an important part in the story. There is a type of magic in the world that is called Necromancy and is abhorred by the clans and barely tolerated by the tribes. It gives power over souls (thus the name). The reader soon finds out that some time ago there was a major change power balance between clans and tribes.
The story starts with a woman who wakes up floating naked in an ice-cold river. She remembers nothing about herself - not even her name - or how she got there. All she knows that someone is after her. She's taken in by a local clan lord whose family just recently suffered tragedy. It's fun to see how they are highly suspicious of each other. From there the story develops into a mystery/intrigue with a tone that darkens the more the reader finds out about what happened in the past. There is a second story line which gives hints as to what happened in the past to cause the changes in the relations between tribes and clans.
I liked the guessing game around the identity of Umbra - that's how she decides to call herself. I wasn't sure until the very last minute who she was. I also found her ambiguity and worries about who she might be and that she might not be a good person interesting. But the amnesia dominated the beginning very much. In some place I thought it was just a bit too much.
The story line in the past and the way it influenced the present day was very well done.
The book was a solid 4* for two thirds, and then in the last third of the book, suddenly the pacing changes. Everything goes down way too fast - at least for me. There is way too little time to rest in between action scenes and I think I missed more than one detail. The many fight scenes left me quite breathless and not in the best of ways.
Also I am not sure I liked the way the finale went down. (view spoiler)[Umbra kills and un-kills everyone. Then dies. It's too smooth and to convenient. For all that went wrong, and all the wrong both she and the witch did in the past, this was not a satisfying ending for me. I expected something darker and at first it looked like total catastrophe only to completely turn around. That's just too much to take in for me. No middle-ground and none of the fascinating ambiguity I enjoyed in Umbra's character throughout the book (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Noch ein DSA Buch. Besser geschrieben als die Legende von Assarbad, aber auch diese Geschichte kommt nicht um einige Längen herum. Für die Kampagne koNoch ein DSA Buch. Besser geschrieben als die Legende von Assarbad, aber auch diese Geschichte kommt nicht um einige Längen herum. Für die Kampagne konnte ich hier nur einen Querverweis auf Abu Terfas mitnehmen. Na ja und ein bisschen über die Hintergründ von Altaia ... das kommt bei uns erst noch. ...more
Ich habe die Leitung unserer DSA Gruppe übernommen und leite zur Zeit die Borboarad Kampagne, somit gehört dieses Buch zur Spielabendvorbereitung. InhIch habe die Leitung unserer DSA Gruppe übernommen und leite zur Zeit die Borboarad Kampagne, somit gehört dieses Buch zur Spielabendvorbereitung. Inhaltlich war es tatsächlich für die Kampagne ganz interessant. Ansonsten würde ich es nicht unbedingt weiterempfehlen. Zwei verschiedene Handlungsstränge - einmal der von Tharsonius in der Vergangenheit und zum anderen der von Prinz Arkos in der Gegenwart - laufen mehr oder weniger parallel und ohne jegliche Verbindung ab. Der Schreibstil war ziemlich gewöhnungsbedürftig, recht holprig. Und voll mit gestelzten Referenzen auf das Spielsystem. ...more
This one is much longer than parts 1-4. And while goodreads shows there are more parts in the Fever series, the back of this one says it's the final bThis one is much longer than parts 1-4. And while goodreads shows there are more parts in the Fever series, the back of this one says it's the final book, and the ending sure says: "Story over, and everyone lived (un-)happily forever after ..."
I enjoyed the finale, there were some more and some less surprising turns and twists and in the end (view spoiler)[everyone got mostly what they deserved ... and it seems Barrons and Mac are getting a little happiness together, and that is the point where a good romance story ends - (I make exceptions for Outlander but that's it). And it is the reason I have not looked at other parts of this. (hide spoiler)]
When it's over it's over. While I ended up enjoying this more than I thought possible while reading Darkfever, I do not want to read further adventures of the same characters. The ending is reasonably good, brings closure for everyone and I do not want to know about new trouble in Dublin.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
While I do have trouble telling the books apart, I remember that this was the one with the awful cliffhanger in the end and I can only imagine reading this and having to wait for the next book to be published ... while it was clear to me (view spoiler)[whom she had just killed, I really was not sure if this was the kind of book where someone like Barrons could die or if there could be some kind of twist where he did not die (hide spoiler)].
In this I enjoyed the dynamic between Mac and Barrons quite a bit. Though to tell the truth I enjoyed Barrons - yes he's a jerk, but a fictional one, and that's the difference! - in all 5 books I read.
Somewhere in the end of this or book 3 is the most fun thing ever: a scene cut from the book which the author included with the following explanation: (view spoiler)[Mac and Barrons just wanted to have sex, so she had to write this scene to be able to finish the book without the characters deviating from the plot she was trying to finish ....lol. I can vividly imagine that happening. Characters rarely do what the author wants them to. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
See my review of Bloodfever for this. Because I kind of went into a binge-read of the series after making it through Darkfever. There was no time toSee my review of Bloodfever for this. Because I kind of went into a binge-read of the series after making it through Darkfever. There was no time to write the reviews in between the books ... oops. And now I have trouble telling the events of the story apart and remembering in which book what happened ... though I am reasonably sure that it is this one where (view spoiler)[the Lord Master brings down the walls between the worlds and has her raped by the four Unseelie ... which is quite awful but I suspect the main plot device in bringing her and Barrons closer only to tear them apart again ... as is the way of a good romance plot (hide spoiler)]
As for this part: as mentioned previously, I enjoyed parts 2-5 quite a bit.
I promise a re-read with more detailed reviews on each single book ... one day, when no other Barrons is keeping me glued to the page.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's been nearly a week since I finished book 5, and since I read 2-5 within 4 days, I have a hard time telling them apart. So I'll keep these short.It's been nearly a week since I finished book 5, and since I read 2-5 within 4 days, I have a hard time telling them apart. So I'll keep these short. I mostly repeat my recommendation from Darkfever if you like your urban Fae fantasy with a strong dash of dangerous hero syndrome (will they or will they not?), an abundance of convoluted secrets, lies and intrigue and a cool-at-last heroine, you just have to make it through book 1. Everything gets better with book 2.
I hated Pink Mac. But I like Dark Mac quite a bit. In this second book Mac has transformed from the original Barbie stereotype into a much more relatable and far less reluctant (but still) heroine. Barrons is remains the bad-ass he always was ...
As I predicted in my review of Darkfever the romance element becomes stronger after Mac has turned away from the Pink Side. After all the Dark Side has cookies and Barrons ...
PS: It took me all of book 1 to realize the cheap word play on V'Lane....more
I am not much of a fan of anthropomorphized animals and so I was highly skeptical I would enjoy this. But it came with high praise from several sidesI am not much of a fan of anthropomorphized animals and so I was highly skeptical I would enjoy this. But it came with high praise from several sides when I saw it on the shortlist for this year's Nebula I got the free sample and from there continued straight to the book.
This is somewhat of an "idea" book. In this universe a variety of species reminiscent of earth animals has settled a bunch of planets one of which is Barsk. While the other species live together on the other planets for some reason the two Fant species - the Lox and the Eleph - have been exiled together to the water world of Barsk where no more than a few islands provide land to live on.
In this universe there's a matter particle that we apparently haven't discovered yet ;) It is called a nefshon and nefshons comprise the memories people collect of each other. On Barsk they produce a drug called koph that allows so-called Speakers to summon the nefshons of someone who died and allows them to speak to a "construct" of that person as if it were that person just before they died. Jorl is a Lox, a speaker and a historian and the only Lox in recent memory who has ever left the planet. When he finds out that something is wrong with the recently deceased he is reminded of an ancient prophecy. His curiosity quickly draws him into a power struggle between powerful political players, some of which are already dead. And nothing less than the survival of his species is at stake. The second protagonist is Pizlo, the six year old son of Jorl's best friend. His is a weird little albino Lox, shunned by everyone but his parents and Jorl. He makes up for this by exploring the jungle, collecting insects, and hunting moons. His story twines around that of Jorl in a colorful often poetic manner that brings everything to a surprising conclusion.
You don't forget for a second that you read about species derived from earth animals in this book. The book drives it home through names, look and behavior of all the characters and cultures. I thought I wouldn't like that but it worked surprisingly well for me. The story is complex but not convoluted although there was one point where I was struggling with who was who and what there motivations were at that point but that cleared itself up quickly enough. The whole concept of the book and the plot does revolve around those nefshons and the idea is set up in a fascinating way, so if you enjoy these kinds of "what if" stories, I can highly recommend this. ...more
A good anthology on the future of men. I tend to buy anthologies and then read one or two stories and ... put them down. I ended up reading more storiA good anthology on the future of men. I tend to buy anthologies and then read one or two stories and ... put them down. I ended up reading more stories in this anthology than I have ever read in any other. So it must be good, right? And the answer is: yes. So here are a few mini reviews of some of the stories, so you can get an impression of what is in there:
The Shoulders of Giants. By Robert J Sawyer. Story about humanity once again sending frozen people to the stars. Sounds like same-old at first but then gets a fun twist. (4*)
Gift of a Useless Man. By Alan Dean Foster. A man hurtles through space and crashes on a small, empty-seeming planet. He's about to die and I was about to give up on this story when the actual story begins. A fun re-telling of a classic this time with telepathic space-bugs. (4*)
Light and Shadow. By Catherine Asaro. Story about a grieving, suicidal pilot and an AI who get to test a new plane with a fascinating concept for an FTL drive. I did not stay to study the mathematical explanations of Riemann surfaces that came with the story but rest assured they are there. (5*)
Lungfish. By David Brin. This is actually my first ever encounter with Brin. Though I've heard a lot about his Uplift universe. This story is about humanity finally meeting von Neumann probes, about the reasons we so far haven't and of course the Fermi Paradox. It is beautiful and still has me thinking. Because the story ends just before the meeting and leaves much to the imagination about how it will go and what the Purpose of the waiting AI is (5*)
Water. By Ramez Naam. This one is reminiscent in style and world of his Nexus novels. But here he explores what happens when the ad-supported fremium business models enter our heads by way of implants. It's all about a bottle of water and it's digital label. I found this an incredibly fascinating look at what advertising is and does to us, and how invasive it can be come in an ever more digital world. (5*)
More than the sum of his parts. By Joe Haldeman. In this a man suffers a terrible accident and is "rebuilt" by the doctors with more than a few cybernetic parts. The story describes his progress of at first slow acceptance and then exhilaration as he is seduced by his new capabilities. (5*)...more
Romance is like chocolate, once I get started I can't seem to stop. And then my appetite for something more substantial is spoiled. Another reason mayRomance is like chocolate, once I get started I can't seem to stop. And then my appetite for something more substantial is spoiled. Another reason may be that the first book did not provide enough closure to the love story between America and her prince and her ex. I've already forgotten their names.
There are two more parts of this so far, but I managed to stop gobbling them up after this one. But the Selection is still not over. By the end the group of girls is much reduced but America is still not the Princess Bride I fully expect her to be. In this part the rebels make a few appearances, America uncovers parts of the history of the kingdom, and both she and the prince can't seem to decide what they want. They are a perfect match of shared indecision ("Please, give me some time." "I need some time" "Now I need some time." "I'll let you know ..."). The tension rises somewhat when the rules of the contest are broken and consequences become visible ... but the endless indecision and back-and-forth is getting on my nerves. Does she love him? Does she love them both? Not sure if I'll ever read another part or if I just go back and re-read Dark Lover - ok so that is not young adult. This definitely is, very chaste and all that. Only a bit of kissing. And some off-stage action for ... (view spoiler)[the bff whose name is also gone from my memory. (hide spoiler)]
So here's my prediction for how the story will continue: My guess is that after the wedding for some reason the prince sends her away with the ex so they can have an affair. Probably because of some conflict with the king. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am having a hard time reviewing Sanderson's books. I am clearly prejudiced: I love his books, and have a hard time finding fault with his writing. DI am having a hard time reviewing Sanderson's books. I am clearly prejudiced: I love his books, and have a hard time finding fault with his writing. Don't trust my opinion: just go read the book yourself :)
Just a few short notes on this one: I do not find the humor heavy-handed (read this in a comment somewhere). I love Wayne. He's my favorite character. His perspective is very unique and shows incredible attention to the details of his character. Wonderful. And Steris and her lists. "This one didn't even make the appendix." ... "it's on page seventeen of the list I gave you." She really comes into her own in this and just like Wax gets to know her better, so does the reader. (view spoiler)[I love the spontaneous wedding at the end just as much as the spoiled-by-Wayne waterlogged one at the beginning. (hide spoiler)]
I really wasn't sure that (view spoiler)[Wax would survive. I didn't know there would be a fourth book. And there is precedent for Sanderson killing off major characters. But I am very glad he did. I did suspect his sister from the beginning but by the time she did finally start her back-stabbing I had completely forgotten about it. (hide spoiler)]
So I predict, that if you enjoyed any of the Mistborn books, you'll enjoy this one as well. It's another worthy entry in the series, and I am looking for part #4 of this (I thought this was going to be the last, I was wrong) trilogy.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Not your typical romance Fae story. If you like urban fantasy with Fae, a "dangerous" male protagonist (is he ... a protagonist I mean?) and a pink-adNot your typical romance Fae story. If you like urban fantasy with Fae, a "dangerous" male protagonist (is he ... a protagonist I mean?) and a pink-addict Barbie as the heroine, this is for you.
This book is about MacKayla Lane from Georgia who flies to Dublin to investigate the murder of her sister Alina when the police gives up. She loves her long blond hair, her pink finger-nails, her strappy sandals and her golden, toned legs, continuously admiring herself and her own pretty shallowness. Which goes deep. She's a mistress of hind-sight and I sure hope this isn't a stick of the author because that's one star off my rating right there: if only I had known the book was full of it, I might never have gotten started ... and while I love the color pink, I like my heroines a little more punk. And Mac is anything but punk. She's a whiny, self-centered, incompetent anti-Mary-Sue who does not convince me at all that she doesn't fall for men like the sexual-sexual hot-hot Jericho Barrons, rich, mysterious, book collector.
But even though I felt compelled to think about a drinking game for mentions of strappy-sandals, her legs, her nails, the color pink, her stubborn pride, and her southern wholesomeness not to forget how she is so totally not attracted to Barrons, for some reason I had fun reading this and have already started the next book. Because as heavy-handed as the delivery is, the basic premise (fight the evil Unseelie who are taking over Dublin - for now => hindsight!) and the plot are working for me. And the book has one - unexpected! - redeeming feature: (view spoiler)[she does not actually fall for Barrons! I didn't believe her at first, but there's no romance subplot in this one. Which does not mean I am removing the tag, because ... I am still sure Barrons will eventually get some hot and steamy scenes - with all the build-up I would be disappointed if he didn't. Mac may be an incompetent Barbie, and I really disliked her for most of the book, but she does not attach herself - romantically - to the first hot guy who walks past her. I did enjoy the scenes with whatshisname the Fae prince though. Also by the end of the book Mac is finally starting to evolve beyond her pink phase ... (hide spoiler)]
I loved I am not a serial killer and so I was really hoping I'd fall in love with this series as well. But it didn't happen. I think what I loved aboI loved I am not a serial killer and so I was really hoping I'd fall in love with this series as well. But it didn't happen. I think what I loved about John Cleaver was his fight against his inner demons. But Kira, the 16 year old medic in this dystopian world didn't get to me like that. She's quite the opposite of John in almost every aspect. (view spoiler)[Very late in the story this fact makes an important point. Because it turns out she's a Partial herself. And painting her as caring, humane and trying to save lives, is sure making the case for Partials not all being evil. (hide spoiler)].
So this story is set in a near future dystopia in which humanity managed to get almost wiped out. The backstory goes about like this: Humanity is at war. Humans build killer "robots" - that look like humans, and are called Partials - to win war. Robots win war. Robots rise up against human oppressors. Killer virus released by robots wipes out humans. Last enclave of humans resistant to virus huddles up on Long Island. But instead of setting out to recover from there, the virus remains killing off all newborns. Oops. (By the way there's a movie with nearly exactly the same "no more babies" premise. Forgot the title though.).
Much of the book is about the political consequences of this setup. It uses the unique situation in the book to deliver quite a bit of criticism towards current issues, and not in a subtle way. As the situation escalates, it puts the ruling senate under pressure, and they pass a variety of laws and directives that erode much of the democratic process, and many individual rights. Especially gruesome: the Hope Act which forces women to become pregnant as often as possible. The whole delivery of this connection to current politics is done rather heavy-handed. You can't miss it.
Maybe that is due to this being a YA book. I have read quite a few YA books, but this one struck me more aimed at younger people than many of the others. This concerns not only the content but also the style of the writing and often the explanations, and the amount of repetitions to make a certain point or remind the reader of one. But while on the one hand the book strikes me as so very thoroughly YA on the other hand it's much heavier reading than the average YA. And sometimes the book seems barely out of middle grade although the issues presented certainly aren't.
It took me half the book to get into the story, because I just couldn't connect to the characters. Also the actual plot takes a while to get started. We don't get to see much in the way of world-building although humanity was technologically more advanced before the "Break". Most of the world is "Long Island in ruins". Since I am not an American maybe some fun references in that escape me.
I'll probably read the rest of the series because as the plot picks up pace towards the 50% mark there are a few interesting reveals, and new conflicts arise that put Kira into much more interesting predicaments. (view spoiler)[Also I like Samm. (hide spoiler)] And I want to find out why the Partials are called Partials. Or did I miss that somewhere? (My guess is the name is derived from them being partial human or so ...)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more