The amazing first part of the Imperial Radch saga, had raised my expectations for the second one. Unfortunately the brilliant settings and potentialsThe amazing first part of the Imperial Radch saga, had raised my expectations for the second one. Unfortunately the brilliant settings and potentials developed in the Ancillary Justice, were underused in the Ancillary Sword. Also all that multi-layered character building in the first book was somewhat untapped (Lord of Radch and Seivardan's parts were minimal).
After the "world is built" and all the brand new concepts and ideas are revealed in the first book, comes the tricky business of maintaining readers' engagement through good storytelling. This is where the author should show off her story telling techniques and her ability to surprise the readers. But I found the Ancillary Sword quite flat with an unimpressive climax.
Now two books through the saga, I'm looking forward to the release of the third, but this time I'm keeping my expectations low...way low! ...more
In the Radchaai language, everyone is referred to by feminine pronouns. Not that there are no gender distinctions in Radch, but because Radchaai are nIn the Radchaai language, everyone is referred to by feminine pronouns. Not that there are no gender distinctions in Radch, but because Radchaai are not that much into gender specifications. They are not obsessed by it. What I found brilliant about this idea was that half way into the book, I also lost interest in searching for clues about characters' genders. By the end of the book I did not care at all.
After Odyssey 2001, I had not read a book featuring spaceships with artificial intelligence (and also consciousness) as main characters. I had certainly never read a story narrated from point of view of the ship. But this is not all: what I found deliciously appealing in Ancillary Justice was the idea of the ship having extensions in human form but operating under AI. All of them parts of a single identity.
Ann Leckie's world building is fascinating. There is a lot of culture clashes and ceremonies and religion tied into the dynamics of the book. The Ancillary Justice world feels very real, and I would very much like to get back to this world again. I'm so happy there are couple of more books in the sequel! ...more
Written in the same style as Ru, Man is filled with breathtaking short stories and flash backs in time an place, from Quebec to Vietnam to Paris. TheWritten in the same style as Ru, Man is filled with breathtaking short stories and flash backs in time an place, from Quebec to Vietnam to Paris. The book is full of powerful images, recipes, flavors, and attempts at expressing out-of-place feelings.
Man is a short and powerful novel, and I strongly recommend it. ...more
Leave it to Kazuo Ishiguro to masterfully narrate a claustrophobic and twisted post-Arthurian mythic story, where everyone is engulfed and enchanted bLeave it to Kazuo Ishiguro to masterfully narrate a claustrophobic and twisted post-Arthurian mythic story, where everyone is engulfed and enchanted by a mist that sweeps them off of their memories. Don't let the settings and Quering the she-dragon fool you; "The Buried Giant" is not a work of fantasy. The fantasy elements in the story have a more symbolic role. You can see Ishiguro's familiar themes here too: conversations void of communication, unreliable narrators, and windy unfamiliar paths where you cannot predict the next turn.
There were parts in the book that I found the suspense too frustrating and wanted the story to jump ahead in time. Like always, Ishiguro is in no hurry to let you in on the whole picture; you have to gather it piece by piece all the way to the end. In many ways, "The Buried Giant" reminded me of "The Unconsoled" and the dreamlike feelings it left me with.
"The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared", starts with a funny and engaging opening: a centenarian who refuses to take"The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared", starts with a funny and engaging opening: a centenarian who refuses to take part in his 100th birthday party. Despite the fact that the mayor and his fellow-old-folk-home roommates are waiting for him in the party room, he chooses to climb the window and go away instead. His story goes back and forth into his eventful past life and his present time little adventure that soon turns into a full-on flee from the police for criminal charges ranging from homicide to theft. His past life does not fail to amaze us either: he visits one country after another, gets involved with various world leaders and tyrants. He also seems to have quite an important role in the development of the A-bomb and the cold war. Throughout the whole time, he is calm and cool and tries his best to keep away from politics and only craves good food and vodka.
The story started well and was engaging, but I wish it stopped somewhere in the middle of the book! I wish it did not continue with the same themes, same type of jokes, and similar situations for another tiring 200 pages. If I was the editor, I would have cut the story in half.
Overall, I do recommend the book. It's a funny and light read, just be aware that it may turn into a drag half way through. ...more
This is my second Murakami book. I have read Norwegian Wood and I found Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki to be very similar in style and plot. There were recuThis is my second Murakami book. I have read Norwegian Wood and I found Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki to be very similar in style and plot. There were recurring themes in this book: young love, depressed young girls with unclear intentions and thoughts, loss, music, isolation, coming of age stories reflected upon after a long time, reopened old wounds, and revisiting close friends of passed loved ones.
The three stars I gave to the book is for how good a storyteller Murakami is; how he kept me reading even though I knew half way through the book that it's not one of my better reads. Also there were couple of vivid and powerful scenes, with great built-in suspense: the story of the man with the death token, or Tazaki's midnight dream/ real sexual episode with his friend. Apart from that, I found the characters fake and flat, especially the girls: they seemed to be so vague and unpredictable that I felt he does not know how to create them. The conversations seemed not to flow realistically and they sounded forced.
The repeated summing up of characters using the same symbols and metaphors was so annoying: Tazaki's being an engineer, his family name being "colorless" and his name meaning "to make", obsessions with stations... the list goes on. Did Murakami wanted to show us how an obsessive engineer/maker mind thinks, or he simply did not put enough effort into his writing to come up with new analysis and points of view. The more I progressed in the book, the more I leaned towards the latter.
I recommend the book, especially to those who would write a review. Maybe it helps me figure out what all the fuss with Murakami is about! ...more
The Bone Clocks starts with a strong and exciting beginning: within the first two chapters you can recognize David Mitchell's mastery of language andThe Bone Clocks starts with a strong and exciting beginning: within the first two chapters you can recognize David Mitchell's mastery of language and form. I especially loved the second chapter filled with insider Cambridge lingo and rich kid versus "scholarship boy" dynamic. It was from the third chapter onwards that the book started dragging and losing its momentum for me. The third chapter, with the war journalist narrator zoning out from a busy Irish wedding back to war fronts, was very engaging but not as powerful as the previous chapters. And it was the forth chapter that, although being well written and suspenseful, let me down; I wasn't a big fan of the epic battle of Anchorites versus Horologists. I think a vague and unclear narration of the two worlds would have suited me better. The last chapter was an improvement and I liked Mitchell's vision of 2040s. Overall, I strongly recommend this book. At least the first two chapters and the last one!...more