I honestly don't know how to articulate how much I loved this book. The first in the series was already excellent, and in this installment, they tookI honestly don't know how to articulate how much I loved this book. The first in the series was already excellent, and in this installment, they took whatever minor things I could have nitpicked from bk 1 and improved upon them.
Book one have too many white guy POVs for you? How about three people of color - two of whom are women - with POVs.
Didn't really like how little buildup the romance storyline with Holden and Naomi got? Here's some important, emotional milestones for them to deepen your appreciation of that relationship.
Annoyed at Holden's self-righteousness going largely unpunished? Let's have everyone tell him what a dummy he is.
This series continues to be amazing and I am anxious to read the rest of it. ...more
I picked up this book after watching and loving the first season of the SyFy channel's adaptation, so I had a pretty good idea I would love it.
And hoI picked up this book after watching and loving the first season of the SyFy channel's adaptation, so I had a pretty good idea I would love it.
And honestly, as much as I love the show, I love the book that much more. The two main protagonists - Holden and Miller - are so much more dynamic and engaging on the page than they are in the show. It's true that the show is able to delve into the other miscellaneous points-of-view, but that almost feels like a crutch since they don't relate the inner monologues of these two diametrically opposed and nuanced characters.
Between the world building, including a broader view of the hostility-fraught political ecosystem, and the intrigue of the scientific mystery, that would be enough for most science fiction. It feels disingenuous to say that the wit, the compassion, the literary allusions (both subtle and not), and the very real emotional gravitas of both Holden and Miller's journeys are just sprinkles in the sundae. But I honestly wasn't expecting any of that and it's these touches that set this book above the rest.
I can't wait to read the rest of this series - especially since the next book introduces Chrisjen Avasarala. ...more
My route to this book was circuitous: it started with a makeup subreddit, which led to a YouTube video on consumerism and gender, which led to a podcaMy route to this book was circuitous: it started with a makeup subreddit, which led to a YouTube video on consumerism and gender, which led to a podcast, which led to an NPR interview. In this, the author spoke about the popular Dove body-positivity campaign and how it and its ilk manipulate women into thinking they have self-esteem issues by sending out the message that thinking you're average is pathetic, and you should consider yourself beautiful.
That sound bite encapsulated the little niggling annoyance I had with increasingly popular ad campaigns like this, but one I could never quite articulate. I bought the book immediately, expecting it to be rife with gems like this.
What I got instead was a mixed-bag of anecdotes, quotes from books I've already read, too few gems, and the belief that all of this would've been better off as a series of articles in one of the magazines for which the author once worked.
For me, this concept doesn't make sense as a book because there is no clear point-of-view, no opinion, no thesis statement to it. This in particular was an issue in chapter 3, wherein the author made an attempt to discuss the motivation behind beauty rituals, how it relates to feminism and evolution, and the contradictions behind our society's rules regarding the privacy of the act of beauty but requiring the public demonstration of it. It's a weighty topic and one not fitting the light Carrie Bradshaw-esque voice of the author or her clear anxiety about offending any certain group by maintaining a firm stance either way.
None of this is helped by the feeling of cognitive dissonance I got while reading some of the anecdotes from the author's life or from the lives of her interview subjects. She claims in the beginning to interview women "demographically different" than herself, but it still felt like too small of a pool, and I had little-to-no frame of reference for many of the experiences she was describing, and I really don't feel that many of my female friends, coworkers, or relatives would either. It reminded me of one of those rom-coms you watch that begins with the kooky, clutzy heroine saying something like, "It's every little girl's dream to get married!" and you're just left thinking, "Well, it's not mine. Oh, god, am I really so different from every other woman???"
Some passages of this book are truly excellent, which I have outlined below, and I think Ms. Whitefield-Madrano has some solid ideas. Unfortunately, the botched passages made large chunks of this book nearly impossible to get through. I would love to see someone take smaller bites out of this material and write it with a clear voice, one that has something to say instead of offering a vague shrug.
Read in its entirely: Chapters 1, 2, 8 Skim carefully: Chapters 4, 5, 7 - but read the passage on selfies in its entirety Skim barely: Chapter 6 Skip: Chapter 3...more