**spoiler alert** It's difficult to think of what to say about Cryoburn. On the one hand, there's plenty of the usual Milesian plot and conspiracy, ac**spoiler alert** It's difficult to think of what to say about Cryoburn. On the one hand, there's plenty of the usual Milesian plot and conspiracy, accidentally uncovered. The kid who is the protagonist for large parts of the story is something of a cypher, I mean, I can't even remember his name. The problem is the book's ending.
For me, the single most affecting bit of the book is the last page, and that has nothing to do with the story, really, except in so far as the whole story is in a somewhat warped sense a kind of dress rehearsal for the ending. The drabbles at the end also really moved me, but they did rather obliterate the rest of the story for me. To a reader unaware of the significance of what was happening, I'm sure the rest of the story was a very serviceable thriller about the perils of cryo-preservation, over-powerful corporations and the abuse of power and corruption of democracy by an unchecked monopolistic free market....more
**spoiler alert** Not sure about this one. For one thing, I have no idea why 'Peacekeeper' was the title. Ari did not keep the peace and there were no**spoiler alert** Not sure about this one. For one thing, I have no idea why 'Peacekeeper' was the title. Ari did not keep the peace and there were no law enforcement officers as major characters. The flashbacks were random and unnecessary. I don't much like flashbacks at the best of times, and it tends to indicate a scene that the author couldn't bear to cut.
The blurb bore less than usual resemblance to the content of the book. Kedros is a war criminal; she has no remorse (she acted under orders, or variously, didn't know that was what the orders were going to do -- the emphasis changes depending on who is in the room) for her part in the death of an inhabited solar system. Perhaps this is because the much harped on 'we'll know in four months' will reveal no one really died from the solar system in the sequel.
The interesting stuff was the throwaways -- the Minoan civilisation has been visiting Earth off and on for millenia; The basic cultural drivers come from a world where Alexander didn't die in his 30s (or so I gather) and went on to found an empire that lasted a lot longer than the Seleucids and Ptolemies. Murderous hackers forcing governments to ban cyborg implants.
The story about the contracts and the alien artefacts was overdone and overcomplicated. The sudden change of heart by the Prince made no sense -- the beating shouldn't have happened at all, or it should have been clearer that Nathan was deliberately being shouldered out. And I was expecting Ari's old comrades to be the bad guys from the gratuitous scene with Ari started flashing back about how weird Cypher was around her that time with Brandon.
Enjoyable but patchy. I will look out for the second and see what she does with the aliens, and hopefully Ari will become an active participant rather than the rather hapless repeat kidnap victim she was in this. (I counted three (including the shanghai-ing off to the space station), which seems excessive for a military reservist...)...more
Contrary to my expectations I *loved* Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. I didn't care for the Kushiel books -- the world building was patchy and poorlContrary to my expectations I *loved* Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. I didn't care for the Kushiel books -- the world building was patchy and poorly meshed together (each chunk made sense, but the connections didn't), and I found the protagonist mostly annoying.
Santa Olivia though is post-apocalyptic sci fi with a reasonably plausible real world-left turn sort of premise. When I started I half wondered if it had begun life as an X Men fanfic, and I'm not *wholly* convinced it didn't even yet. I found it refreshingly lacking in assumptions :) The cynicism is lovely, and oh, yes, the main couple are lesbians. I feel I should possibly warn that it is not for everyone, and *not* because of the sex. I borrowed it from a friend, and I'm going to be getting a copy of my own. ...more
This, contrary to the highly unpromising cover (Jackie Collins soft porn style) was really enjoyable. It's the fourth book in a series, and I'm waitinThis, contrary to the highly unpromising cover (Jackie Collins soft porn style) was really enjoyable. It's the fourth book in a series, and I'm waiting for the others to turn up from Amazon -- I picked this one up in Forbidden Planet on Sunday, on spec. I admit to being a trifle worried,considering the covers and the storylines hinted at in the current book as to the content of the previous three.
Gloria VanDeen, despite the name and the cover, is not a brainless sex-obsessed bimbo. Neither is she white -- a niggle to book covers that grates ever stronger every time I notice that marketing has dictated that pretty anglo blondes sell and cocoa coloured girls don't, even when they are explicitly described as such in the first chapter. Frankly if someone picked up the book based on the promises of the cover I think they'd be pretty disappointed.
As it happens, VanDeen winds up in charge of a planet that is fundamentally and utterly alien. Some of the best things are that the translators simply don't function well enough; the exosociologist has an inkling about the truth but no idea of the magnitude; and the aliens are not merely alien in concept and cultures, but the world building is fascinating.
It's a pity in several ways that the metaphor Kanarbin uses for the aliens does in fact give away much of the author's thinking about constructing them,and the 'aliens are *alien*'message is heavy handed and not a little irritating -- it's a galactic empire. You'd think they'd've noticed by now.
That said, it falls nicely into my alien worlds fixation, and I really did like the story. It bounced along nicely, the characters were surprisingly rounded, made decisions that worked -- and some that really,really didn't, mistakes had consequences (to a certain extent, though never for Gloria or Petra themselves), and in the end, while I was deeply unimpressed by the nod to modern terrorism, the conclusion was as satisfying as politics can ever be. Enjoyable enough that I will look out for this author again -- and despite my misgivings, get the first three....more
The first of the Kelley Armstrong books I read, and probably still my favourite.
Eve is a great character, difficult, dangerous and dead -- but that'sThe first of the Kelley Armstrong books I read, and probably still my favourite.
Eve is a great character, difficult, dangerous and dead -- but that's really not holding her back any. She's entertaining and intelligent. The pacing is brisk,the world building interesting, and the characters nicely ambiguous -- something I can't really say about any of the other Kelley Armstrong books I've read....more
This is an odd sort of book. Scalzi has a really neat central premise -- but the story gets lost up against it. The story is told in an oddly clinicalThis is an odd sort of book. Scalzi has a really neat central premise -- but the story gets lost up against it. The story is told in an oddly clinical fashion that leaves a sort of feeling that you're being given a report on story instead of the story itself. The story moves along briskly enough, but I'm left oddly unmoved by the protagonist's experience.
It doesn't help that while the premise requires that the protagonist excel at warfare etc., he surpasses all expectations -- stuns his drillmaster, saves the day in a battle as a private, is the only survivor of an inescapable attack, forces his way onto an elite squad and impresses them too ...
The protagonist himself is so unmoved by these achievements that it is only on looking back that I start to wonder if the guy has purple eyes and red hair (he doesn't *g*). The whole thing is done with a sort of detached air of nonchalance that doesn't really engage.
Briskly paced, entertaining, cool world building (if a little lacking on detail) and oddly clinical. I'm not entirely sure I *liked* it. But it was a good read....more