(3 1/2 stars)(catching up on back reviews) I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I liked this sequel as well, but perhaps not as much as(3 1/2 stars)(catching up on back reviews) I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I liked this sequel as well, but perhaps not as much as the first. Seriously, that's the best I can do when I review books three months after I read them. ...more
This book was not as mind-blowing to me as most of my friends found it. I would appear to be the exact,A book I actually DO remember after reading it!
This book was not as mind-blowing to me as most of my friends found it. I would appear to be the exact, target audience for Mr. Penumbra, being as I am a tech person who spent a lot of time in San Francisco in the tech scene, my fiance worked for Google for five years, I wrote a whole book ABOUT the San Francisco tech scene, et cetera. However, perhaps that is why I found this a little disappointing. It's just a bit too precious. And tech in the book is used as a deus ex machina, in that "Oh, I spent months writing this program and it did X" kind of way that I find very frustrating. I'm not as optimistic about new technology as Sloan clearly is. And it will seem insanely dated in a few years. I'd have loved this in 1998. ...more
What a fantastic book. I was a bit wary of this because the only David Levithan I'd read prior was Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I liked John Green'What a fantastic book. I was a bit wary of this because the only David Levithan I'd read prior was Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I liked John Green's half much more. Luckily, this is a wonderful, imaginative, and moving book. A has spent hir life jumping from one body to the next, creating a set of morals and norms that allows hir to experience life without disturbing those whose bodies ze inhibits (sorry for the awkward pronouns, but one of the loveliest things about this book is how well Levithan writes a multi-gender character). But when ze meets Rihannon, the girlfriend of one of A's bodies, this all flies out the window as A desperately tries to figure out how to be with her even when they can't be together. My favorite chapter is when A inhabits a transman, and feels more at home than ze does in most of hir bodies. An insanely progressive book, but one that never feels forced. Instead, the story flows naturally, and the little glimpses of teenage life that you get through A's eyes make for incredibly compelling reading. I loved it. Highly recommended. ...more
I really enjoyed this addition to the series, which is the start of yet another trilogy in the Emberverse. Not only is it kind of awesome seeing all tI really enjoyed this addition to the series, which is the start of yet another trilogy in the Emberverse. Not only is it kind of awesome seeing all the characters grown up, we start seeing a bit more insight into how the Change happened, and it's all crazy mystical and shit. I really enjoyed reading that clothes like jeans and t-shirts were considered "old-fashioned" and how vague the younger generation is about things like electricity and motors. I also really liked traveling through a wide variety of different communities and seeing how different parts of the country had adapted to the change. However, I was totally pissed that this book didn't resolve anything, because as I was reading it I thought it was the final book in the first series and.. anyway. Not the book's fault. At this point I'm quite invested in this series and will keep reading to the bitter end. But I need a little break first.
PS Dear S.M. Stirling, after spending a few days in Northern California (Humboldt County) it became clear that your belief that none of CA would have survived the change is totally ridiculous as the climate there is virtually identical to Oregon AND it grows TONS OF FOOD for the ENTIRE COUNTRY and there are a million hippies and back-to-the-landers. It also irritates me that Stirling killed off the vast majority of POC in the US, using lily-white Oregon as an exemplar of post-Change worlds. Yes, there are a few POC here and there, but the majority of main characters, and all the heroes, are white. ...more
A limp Hunger Games imitation. Like HG, it's highly plot-driven, but the characters are by no means as compelling and the main character comes off asA limp Hunger Games imitation. Like HG, it's highly plot-driven, but the characters are by no means as compelling and the main character comes off as almost shockingly naive. I'm pretty over this genre. ...more
I first met Beth Ditto in 2000 at Ladyfest Olympia. She had blue-black hair, an anchor tattoo, and a thick Southern accent, and described herself as aI first met Beth Ditto in 2000 at Ladyfest Olympia. She had blue-black hair, an anchor tattoo, and a thick Southern accent, and described herself as a hairdresser. Of all the people I met during my drunk sojourn throughout the Seattle music scene in the 2000s, I had no idea she would end up being this gigantic pop star and fashion icon.
Her memoir is ghost-written by Michele Tea, whose work I like a lot, so it seems like a great fit, right? Queer punk feminist love fest? While Ditto's had a fascinating life, going from dirt-poor rural Arkansas to buddying around with Kate Moss in London, the book glosses over some of the most interesting years, and it's not really told chronologically, so things happen and go back and forth and it's hard to tell, exactly, what transpired. There's also a lot of radical feminism 101, which is great for those who've never experienced it, but for those of us who also came up in radical punk feminism it's a bit repetitive.
On the whole, there's a joyousness and generosity to this book that I really liked, although I would have liked more precision and more of Ditto's own voice. It definitely reads as ghost-written. ...more
Just when I think I can't stomach one more YA fantasy novel, something comes long that's so fresh and exciting that it has me scrabbling to add stillJust when I think I can't stomach one more YA fantasy novel, something comes long that's so fresh and exciting that it has me scrabbling to add still more YA fantasy to my to-read list. Like last year's The Scorpio Races and Daughter of Smoke & Bone, this is a fully original and fully realized fantasy adventure that renews my faith in the genre and keeps me up way past my bedtime.
I got about half-way through Brennan's last series, the Demon Lexicon, before I got bored and abandoned it. This is an entirely different type of book. It's very funny and snarky and smart, and the heroine is very strong, independent, and interesting, with a great deal of ambition and spunk and verge and vigor. This book is also very British, with lots of that dry British humor us Americans think is so winning. And finally, it never veers into melodrama despite a quite melodramatic premise. Instead, the book retains its sense of humor up and through the end.
The secondary characters are equally funny and entertaining, and while the fantasy veers off a bit into unbelievability, it's such a good read that I'm willing to forgive it. A great book. ...more
I really enjoyed this after the somewhat disappointing second book, because I loved the characters of Rudi, Matti, and Tiphane who feature prominentlyI really enjoyed this after the somewhat disappointing second book, because I loved the characters of Rudi, Matti, and Tiphane who feature prominently. Again, there's way too much military strategy and not enough characterization, but the descriptions of the different post-Change communities are fascinating and satisfied my inner sociology geek. We also start hearing a bit about what happened to the rest of the world, although it bugs me that basically Western Europe and the whitest parts of the US came through OK and everyone else died. Like, really? Japan wouldn't survive a crisis? Rural Africa wouldn't be able to pick up farming? Please. The book wends to a rip-roaring climax and has a nice epilogue as well that foreshadows the fourth (which I'm currently finishing up). ...more
(See my review of Dies the Fire for my thoughts on this series as a whole). This is the weakest in the series, mostly because it jumps between a bunch(See my review of Dies the Fire for my thoughts on this series as a whole). This is the weakest in the series, mostly because it jumps between a bunch of new characters in England (with an even more convoluted political system than the US) and our old favorites from the first novel. And the war doesn't even happen in this book, it happens in the third, so poor titling, Stirling. On the other hand, Stirling continues to world-build to good effect, and I like that he jumped 8 years forward so we didn't have to suffer through more starvation and misery from the characters. Worth slogging through to get to the third and fourth books. ...more
I've spent the last three weeks reading all of the books in this series. Each one is extremely long, and clearly I like them or I would not continue rI've spent the last three weeks reading all of the books in this series. Each one is extremely long, and clearly I like them or I would not continue reading them, but I can't say I think they're good books, exactly. I love the premise, that there's some sort of electromagnetic pulse/Alien Space Bat that instantly causes all technology to stop working (up to and including steam engines). Stirling has a nice view of the future; yes, it's immensely sympathetic to Ren Faire, SCA, history professors, back to the landers, etc. (as they're the only people who have skills that are useful in this world), but at least it's not roving bands of people on motorcycles enslaving each other. Stirling also spends a GREAT deal of time talking about warfare, which is not very interesting to me (e.g. military strategy, lengthy descriptions of weaponry, etc.). His characters are very one-dimensional, but I don't really care about that because this is an adventure story. If you're a total post-apocalyptic completist like I am, then this might be of interest to you, but given how lengthy these books are I can't recommend them in good conscience except to other speed-readers like me when there are so many better books in the world. ...more
I don't read much hard SF, but this book certainly fulfilled my desire for world-building, because it is virtually all world-building (a LOT of worldsI don't read much hard SF, but this book certainly fulfilled my desire for world-building, because it is virtually all world-building (a LOT of worlds) and not much interesting plot. In 2312, the entire solar system has been colonized by humans, terraforming everything from asteroids to the rings of Saturn. Each of these little worlds-- and many of the crafts that flit between them-- has a specific and particular environment and social system, and Robinson takes a great deal of time explaining them. I also liked the protagonist, a prickly artist, and I liked all of the author's pontificating about a post-gender, post-sexual identification world (e.g. everyone changes genders frequently and has multiple sets of genitals, which creates some very interesting dynamics). But on the other hand this was a long slog through hundreds of pages of information about terraforming, which I do not particularly care about. My friend Lock who recommended the book said I should have started with the Red Mars trilogy, but I'm not sure I need to read any more of Stanley Robinson's work. ...more
(3 1/2 stars)(Catching up on back reviews...) Definitely not my thing as much as Oscar Wao. Yunior, the main character, is totally clueless about his(3 1/2 stars)(Catching up on back reviews...) Definitely not my thing as much as Oscar Wao. Yunior, the main character, is totally clueless about his cluelessness, and fucks up relationship after relationship due to his blundering non-efforts. I love Diaz, I love his short stories, I love the way he writes, and I do appreciate his attempts to make the hapless Yunior sympathetic.. but ultimately, he's not. Or at least, he wasn't sympathetic to me, which made me enjoy the book less. Always enjoy Diaz's eye for detail, and his depiction of Boston (a city I don't particularly like) rang very true to me. ...more