Didn't make me want to continue reading the series. It's so ... shonen-y. Mikasa is clearly a badass, and I like that, but that's not enough to keep m...moreDidn't make me want to continue reading the series. It's so ... shonen-y. Mikasa is clearly a badass, and I like that, but that's not enough to keep me reading, unfortunately. I am also not superfond of the art style.(less)
I got curious after seeing so many people squeeing about how this and Pacific Rim had a lot in common. And yeah, they kinda do, but only superficially...moreI got curious after seeing so many people squeeing about how this and Pacific Rim had a lot in common. And yeah, they kinda do, but only superficially, and I certainly didn't enjoy this as much as I did Pacific Rim. Maybe the anime is better, and maybe this manga suffers by translation. I certainly thought the panel order was a little weird for English. In the end ... this is basically giant naked dudes walking around attacking people. Maybe I would be more into it if I read all the translated volumes, but there are 6 translated and 5 as yet untranslated so ... enh. I don't really feel like continuing.(less)
I'd read some advance reviews and honestly, I went into this with trepidation as a result. Was it going to be terrible? Answer: no. Not mind-blowingly...moreI'd read some advance reviews and honestly, I went into this with trepidation as a result. Was it going to be terrible? Answer: no. Not mind-blowingly awesome, but not terrible. I'd suggest not reading any reviews or even the jacket copy if you can possibly avoid it, so you can enjoy the surprise. (This review is free of unmarked spoilers, assuming you are familiar with the series.)
Some people dislike the premise, but I like it. I mean, yes, it is soap operatic, but it's also very much one of the worst things that Novik could do to Laurence. (Short of the obvious and relatively unimaginative ones that involve the deliberate infliction of physical and emotional pain.) And I'm a huge fan of doing the worst possible things to your characters, so that they have to get out of those situations and make them better.
However, the style makes it problematic. Laurence (view spoiler)[not remembering anything he's done for the past eight years (hide spoiler)] and the historically and temperamentally appropriate emotional detachment make the who seem mostly emotionally non-immediate. Temeraire mitigates this to some extent, but not enough for me. Even the thing that made (view spoiler)[Laurence recover his memories (hide spoiler)] seemed to lack impact and immediacy. I found myself thinking (view spoiler)[Hey, it's Novik throwing out some material for the slash fan contingent to fill in! (hide spoiler)] and being amused.
Emily Roland and her chaperone Mrs. Pemberton provide what may be the best moment of the book, near the end. Blink and you'll miss it, though.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The supporting characters interest me, especially Lena. The protagonist was all right, but less interesting. Also, this book is kind of sad. Don't thi...moreThe supporting characters interest me, especially Lena. The protagonist was all right, but less interesting. Also, this book is kind of sad. Don't think I can say why without spoilers. Except that it's kind of like reading books set in the 20th C. interwar period. You know World War II is coming, and that is always a little worrisome.
One of the Lena sections has this awesome quote: "The more we narrow the definition of beauty, the more beauty we shut out of our lives." Support for my hypothesis that every book, no matter how insipid, has at least one awesome sentence. (Not that this book is insipid. It's a fine read. It just doesn't quite feel like it all comes together, at least in my head and after one reading.)
I have noted before, I think, that immortality or just living longer are likely to appear in SF settings. It's hard to know if that's because of the (sometimes) forward-looking nature of the genre, or because having to cope with your own mortality is (currently) part of the human condition and authors aren't immune to that, or both. It's interesting to see it in a fantasy book, particularly in the context of "You wanna live longer so you can read more?", which is very appropriate to this setting. (Jo Walton has a relevant post about this here.) Though now that I think about it, in settings with long-lived elves I've seen hints of this too. The setting of Mercedes Lackey's Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (among others) springs to mind as an example of this.(less)
Yes, I went out and bought the novelization of this movie. That's how badly my adoration for this movie has bitten me. Yes, I was embarrassed. The las...moreYes, I went out and bought the novelization of this movie. That's how badly my adoration for this movie has bitten me. Yes, I was embarrassed. The last time I bought movie novelizations I was like 12, and they were used copies from a library booksale. I mean really, who buys novelizations? I guess the answer is "Crazed fans like you, Sid." Admittedly, they may have been more of a novelty in the past, because you could see material that was cut from the script or left on the cutting room floor in a way that you just didn't hear about. (I forget if the Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan or Star Trek III: The Search for Spock was the one that had info about the romance between Saavik and David, but learning about that was cool at the time. Nowadays you can just read about that on Memory Alpha, but in the 80s and 90s we didn't have Memory Alpha or official blogs or industry journalists' blogs; we barely had discussion boards.)
Objectively, as a book, this is not very good. The actual novelization parts, anyway. There are some little extras that are probably worth reading for the hardcore fan, and there are some indications that Alex Irvine or somebody did their homework without venturing too much into shown their work territory. (Except for the Japanese. The Japanese in the book is pretty terrible. That may not be Alex Irvine's fault if he was just working from a script, but it's still unnatural-sounding in places.) I squeed over the one where one of the scientists who developed the neural bridge technology had an office at a university in my town that's very involved in robotics research, and the one where the commercial airliner pilot is describing Oblivion Bay, the Jaeger graveyard. You know - "If you look out your windows, folks, you can see [landmark]." That kind of thing. I've put a full list of these under the spoiler tag, if anyone is curious.
(view spoiler)[11 Combat Asset Dossier - Gipsy Danger 22 Op-Ed - Is the Jaeger Program Worth It? 32 For Immediate Release - United Nations to Sunset Jaeger Program (17 April 2020) 43 Pan Pacific Defense Corps Personal Dossier - Raleigh Becket 58 Internal Memo about morale in the HK Shatterdome (by Tendo Choi) 67 List of the Shatterdomes, their assets, and their decommissioning dates 78 Personnel Dossier - Hermann Gottlieb 88 Kaiju Science Report - Nature and possible vulnerability of Breach 98 Personnel Dossier - Newton Geiszler 106 Report on refit and upgrade of Gipsy Danger 114 Stacker's Training Memo 132 Pilot describing Oblivion Bay (the Jaeger Graveyard) 142 The unofficial history of the Jaeger Project (interview of Dr. Caitlin Lightcap at CMU) 151 Report on Onibaba 163 Personnel Dossier - Mako Mori 171 Personnel Dossier - Hercules Hansen 181 Personnel Dossier - Hannibal Chau (Pentecost, Eyes Only) 190 Combat Asset Dossier - Coyote Tango 200 Inside the Cult of the Kaiju 207 Combat Asset Dossier - Crimson Typhoon 208 Combat Asset Dossier - Cherno Alpha 214 Kaiju Science Report - Drift achieved with Kaiju 226 Kaiju Science Report - DNA repetition among specimens 237 Combat Asset Dossier - Striker Eureka 246 Transcript of ZNN Asia feed from Hong Kong during kaiju attacks 256 Report on Impact-Testing and Pilot-Safety Systems, Mark III Jaeger Internal Cranial Framing; 22 March 2017; Arvid Inzelbrucken, Lead engineer, Leverkusen Jaegerwerke 264 Kaiju and the Marketplace (prepared by [redacted]) 273 Kaiju Prayer 280 Personnel Dossier - Stacker Pentecost 288 Boneslum millionaires; or kingpins of the kaiju black market 299 Ranger Memorial Project (from PPDC Media Archive) 307 PPDC K-Science - potential paths of Jaeger size increase [I think that was meant to be Kaiju size increase because that's what it's actually about] 317 Kaiju magazine 2025 poetry contest winners (from PPDC Media Archive) 329 Combat Asset Dossier - Gipsy Danger (upgraded) 335 Mission summary and report - Operation Pitfall (Marshal Hansen) (hide spoiler)]
There are various punctuation problems — commas where there should be periods, stuff like that — and the book ends with a scene that they decided to leave on the cutting room floor. (view spoiler)[Fortunately — I completely agree with Guillermo del Toro that they didn't earn the kiss-at-the-end scene that was apparently filmed. (hide spoiler)] It also bugs me that when Mako and Raleigh first Drift that all the people they remember wanting to be when they grow up are male. I mean, I guess theoretically you could have a female Sasuke champion, it's just never happened at this point. :/ Also, Winston Churchill? Seriously?
I haven't had a chance to read them yet myself, but I'd put Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero (the prequel graphic novel) and Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters (art book!) as things to explore before this, unless you are really into this film and know you want to own all three. Also, just in case this doesn't go without saying — watch the movie first.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book contains the stories listed below. I skipped the ones marked with *, because I had read them before. The ones marked with a +, I really like...moreThis book contains the stories listed below. I skipped the ones marked with *, because I had read them before. The ones marked with a +, I really liked, and the ones marked with a -, I couldn't finish, or it didn't really interest me. All in all this is a nice collection. It includes some reasonably well-known pieces as well as some obscure ones. It was interesting to finally read "Goblin Market" and see its influence on Lud-in-the-Mist.
Lots of errors in this one that a copy editor or just a proofreader or someone paying closer attention should have caught. Screwed up punctuation and...moreLots of errors in this one that a copy editor or just a proofreader or someone paying closer attention should have caught. Screwed up punctuation and than/then confusion. This was a fun read. The author hinted at a few more mysteries in the worldbuilding with this one. It could be interesting to see where this goes. If you are at all genre savvy, though, you will probably pick out the villain and maybe even identify the villain's strategy pretty quickly.(less)
I have ... misgivings about this. I mean, a character named Rose Justice? That seems a little heavy-handed, even (maybe especially) if the name is an...moreI have ... misgivings about this. I mean, a character named Rose Justice? That seems a little heavy-handed, even (maybe especially) if the name is an allusion to the White Rose resistance group. And on top of that, she is American. Yes, there were American GIs who ended up in camps, and even a few American civilians. (Mildred Fish-Harnack and Eddy Hamel, possibly others I didn't find reference to after a quick search.)
I'm reminded of Mari Ness's remark about Madeleine L'Engle's work: "in three books dealing with Holocaust survivors and victims, all of the survivors and victims just happened to be heroic French Resistance fighters — instead of the actual Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, Poles, Communists, Russians and other marginalized groups who were the chief Nazi victims."
I mean, sometimes the story you want to tell is the story you want to tell, or it's hard to do research about someone of a more plausible nationality because of a language barrier or a lack of published material. Or you do things to attempt to broaden commercial appeal. But, ng.
But then I read that Anna Engel — an interesting, complicated character from Code Name Verity — reappears in this book, and that Wein said that that was her favorite character. Soooo ... I guess I'll read this to see what happens with Anna, and if there are any more comments about her in the author's note.(less)
I had such hopes of this when I started. "If the reader be not pleased with the following sketch of early American customs, he should blame a certain...moreI had such hopes of this when I started. "If the reader be not pleased with the following sketch of early American customs, he should blame a certain ancient sofa, and not the author! For it was the said sofa that caused these lines to be written, and it came about in this way: Among some old furniture handed down in our family is an unusually long mahogany sofa, upon which, says tradition, General Lafayette frequently sat when he came to take tea. Tradition further alleged that in the memoirs of some Frenchman (name not given( this fact was set forth at length. Curiosity to read what this unknown had to say upon the subject led through such pleasant literary country that soon the original purpose of the quest gave way to a constantly growing interest in these memoirs and records of the last quarter of the eighteenth century, from the battle of Lexington till the transfer of the Federal Government to the city of Washington."
He wrote a survey of memoirs because of a sofa! I felt as if I'd found a kindred spirit. (Maybe it was actually a recamier, who knows.)
Unfortunately, the book is not a reproduction of full memoirs, to even substantial extracts, but rather just snippets, interspersed with the author's rather jingoistic commentary. (This was first published in 1915.) Serious students of history are best using this as a guide to some of the available material, or as a fallback source if they are unable to access the originals.
The first chapter becomes rather wearing; it is an introduction and can probably be safely skipped. The most valuable information, a list of the diarists, can be found as a concise list at the back of the book.
List of chapters: (view spoiler)[Our French Visitors; Dancing, visits, music, cards, conversation, etiquette; Dress and French fashions. Courtship and marriage; What our ancestors ate and drank; American physical traits and temperament, and the effect of our climate; City life, and especially in Philadelphia, Charleston, and Boston; City Life (continued). Newport, Providence, Hartford, New Haven, Albany, Baltimore, New York, New Orleans, and Washington; Country life; Travels - ites conveniences and inconveniences; Education, colleges newspapers, interest in public affairs; Religious observances; The learned progressions: Law, medicine, architecture, etc.; Labor, Manufacture, Merchant Marine, and foreign trade; The allied armies; Bibliography. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Even though I wasn't thrilled with the very end, this was a fun light read. Yes, even though I guessed the background (though missed a particular twis...moreEven though I wasn't thrilled with the very end, this was a fun light read. Yes, even though I guessed the background (though missed a particular twist) early on. Well, okay, it's a fun light read unless you let yourself think about the consequences of this background. I like Dandy's point of view, but this one has a lot of things that will be off-putting for some. (view spoiler)[Incest, suicide, murder of children (albeit children on the verge of adulthood) ... yeah. (hide spoiler)](less)