Oh my god this took me 6 months to read. No fault of the book, I just decided that this would be my bedtime book and there were so many nights I didn'Oh my god this took me 6 months to read. No fault of the book, I just decided that this would be my bedtime book and there were so many nights I didn't pick it up due to tiredness.
Anyway it was brilliant. Long, dense with historical detail and excellent characters, and so bloody scary. One of the most genuinely terrifying books I've ever read. There were so many memorable scenes involving the monster: some of them quiet, creepy moments; some, hallucinatory moments of horror; others, adrenaline-raising action sequences. The book was not shy of gore, but it was never over the top. There were quite a few unsettling moments that didn't involve the beast, as well.
I think the book's one flaw is that the sledge-hauling/scurvy chapters in the last third of the book began to become a bit repetitive, but soon enough exciting things were happening again and my interest was once more grabbed. Some moments that dragged (pun) couldn't diminish the greatness of the rest of this book in my eyes. And the ending, that seems to divide opinion? Loved it. I was fully on board with the introduction of mythology, and Crozier's fate.
Final thoughts: This book is aptly titled, it's one of the best (if not the best) horror novel I've read, but also a shining example of great historical fiction. When the TV series gets made it's going to blow people away. There are so many brilliant moments of horror that will translate perfectly into on-screen thrills....more
What I liked: * Great and varied alien races * Interesting and well thought out planet and ecology * Main alien character Aras is pretty much the best thWhat I liked: * Great and varied alien races * Interesting and well thought out planet and ecology * Main alien character Aras is pretty much the best thing * Shan is good too but I mainly liked her for her interactions with Aras * Suppressed Briefing concept was interesting and allowed for an element of mystery * Overall plot leaves me wanting more of this series
What I didn't like: * Demonization of scientists, meat-eaters, etc - basically the author's entire vegan agenda * Christian colonists were a bit too happy-clappy, Wess'har (aliens) were a bit too nature-loving/hippy (think the Na'vi from Avatar) * Back story involving Shan's dealings with ecoterrorists is poorly explained, leaving me confused as to what exactly happened
Luckily the negatives didn't affect my enjoyment too much. I'll definitely be continuing the series....more
Maybe 4.25 stars? Not exactly as good as Startide Rising, but close. There was a lot to love about this book but also a little to be annoyed about.
PloMaybe 4.25 stars? Not exactly as good as Startide Rising, but close. There was a lot to love about this book but also a little to be annoyed about.
Plot was fun, although sloooow at times. Fiben's adventures were the best part, for me. Fiben was an absolutely fantastic character (I think Brin has said that he's his favourite character from all his books). The chims overall were great, although I think I still prefer the fins from Startide Rising. The exploration of neo-chimpanzee culture was fascinating, especially aspects like their sexual and social organisation. They were just a barrel of fun altogether. The gorillas were fun too, but underutilised. Garth itself (the planet this book is set on) was a great "character", well developed, with a sense about it of a living, breathing world.
The aliens were mostly pretty good. More interesting sexual politics in the Gubru; and Kault the Thennanin was another favourite character for me. The aliens I liked the least were the Tymbrimi. They had good personalities and interesting biology, but psychic aliens are just such a shitty trope. The glyphs and all that other psychic stuff was my least favourite aspect of the book, especially as the biology behind it was so tenuous (or indeed, not explained at all). Some things seemed utterly pointless to me, like Athaclena psychically "borrowing" her father's... what, life essence? For no real reason, it seemed.
All the aliens had good ideas behind them but Brin doesn't really focus on the biology of the alien species. He writes much more about their cultures and behaviour. While that's interesting in of itself, I would kill to read an Uplift novel written by Julie E. Czerneda. She does some of the best alien biology, and she'd really harden up the SF of the Uplift universe.
This book makes a great companion to Startide Rising, and the two books (putting aside Sundiver, which is good too but relatively unrelated to the other books) forms a really good duology about, yes, aliens and galactic culture and all that, but mostly about uplifted animal species and their cultures. Fins and chims. Brilliant....more
Pretty good, albeit super short. It's impressive that Sawyer can pack as much in to a 300 page novel as would take other authors 5-600 pages. But despPretty good, albeit super short. It's impressive that Sawyer can pack as much in to a 300 page novel as would take other authors 5-600 pages. But despite the amount of action and questions and answers, it still felt like it was lacking something. Maybe taking a slightly slower pace would have lent the action and revelations a little more weight.
Holy crap though, what action! There are a handful of big space action sequences, and a particular battle scene in the back half of the novel was jawdropping in its inventiveness. It makes battle scenes from recent space-set movies (eg: the JJ Abrams Star Trek movies) look simplistic.
Other things I liked: The alien races were pretty well fleshed out, as were the dolphins (slightly different from the uplifted dolphins of David Brin's books, and not actually uplifted). There was a real sense of discovery in the titular ship's mission and adventures. There was a number of cool astrophysical and alien mysteries. The physics employed by the author was pretty sophisticated, and didn't talk down to the audience. There was a particular conversation (view spoiler)[with a character from the far future, about how life on earth will continue to evolve in the next 10 billion years, (hide spoiler)] that made my head reel from the implications.
Some things that detracted: Some of the dialogue was unrealistic. Some of the descriptive passages were too infodump-y. Some logical leaps made by characters were a bit too convenient. Things happened too fast; several times, precarious situations at the end of chapters were resolved on the very next page.
Final thoughts: It's Star Trek with better physics and more-alien aliens.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more