I really loved the slow pace of the romance, and the development of both characters. I think what would have made this story a five star read for me w...moreI really loved the slow pace of the romance, and the development of both characters. I think what would have made this story a five star read for me would have been more on-the-page development for Davy. I really adored his character. Kurt's journey was pretty great, though, and the small moments of humour and self-depreciation saved this book from becoming too maudlin. (less)
Grace Hargrove and her companions crash-land on a moon, light-years away from their destination. With limited resources and only thirty-eight survivor...moreGrace Hargrove and her companions crash-land on a moon, light-years away from their destination. With limited resources and only thirty-eight survivors, Grace immediately sets out to search for other landing sites, using the smoke on the horizon as a beacon. They find two other groups, but neither is interested in joining forces to make the best of a bad situation. The Terra Project ended with the explosion that jettisoned the emergency ships. The moon they have landed on is temperate and hospitable, however. Grace believes that together, they can secure their future. They are colonists, after all.
The other two groups are led by very determined men. Kinn and his men and women have been in place for two months. Their emergency ship took a more direct course. Their settlement is organised and well-prepared for the eventual winter. Kinn’s militaristic manner and the way he leers at Grace is off-putting, though, and he adamantly refuses to combine groups. The third group is under the control of convicted saboteur, Brian Kutrosky. Though not as well placed and supplied, Kutrosky shares Kinn’s feelings on the subject of combining their efforts. Failing to understand the attitude of either man, Grace turns her efforts toward ensuring her own people are settled, housed and preparing for life on the moon.
After a couple of months, Kinn approaches Grace with a request. His men are restless and there are not enough women to go around. The ratio of women to men in Kutrosky’s is two to one. He wants to ‘liberate’ the extra women to take back to his settlement. Grace suggests a non-violent solution: she will attempt to bargain with Kutrosky. Her attempt fails and his refusal sparks the smouldering conflict that has existed between all three camps since the beginning.
Interspersed with the present are chapters from the past which provide a little background on the lead characters, the Terra Project and the possible cause of the explosion of the Ark Ship that left them all stranded on the moon. The novel ends with Grace making a choice that will obviously direct the events of the next chapter of the saga.
I’m not a fan of cliff-hanger endings. Tacked on to the end of a complete story by way of epilogue, they can serve as suitable enticement to pick up the next book. A compelling plotline shouldn’t need such tricks, however, not in my opinion. Saving Grace does have a good plot going for it. There is the question of sabotage – who and why – and the question of survival on the moon. Personality conflicts abound and more than one man makes a bid for Grace’s affections. Not all of them are polite about it. The colonisation effort is shadowed by the disaster, the disparate factions and urgency born of humanity’s innate will to survive.
For a single novel, however, too much information is withheld or perhaps not presented convincingly. Over and over, I wondered why Grace was in charge. Why everyone treated her with such respect, why no one really fought to take the reins from her naïve hands. She foundered, over and over, and she refused to see things that were right before her eyes. She had to be goaded into action and, when presented with a choice, chose poorly. As a heroine, she failed to inspire confidence in me, which is a shame, as I really liked the concept of the book and the surrounding mystery definitely caught my interest.
For those of you who like a plot that develops more slowly, Saving Grace might be the book for you. Perhaps Grace will grow a backbone and prove herself. The mystery surrounding the crash, the setting, hints of genetic manipulation and the question of survival are all great elements that should make for a compelling story moving forward.
A disturbing read, to be sure, but also very thought provoking. I think the aspect of the story that captured me the most was the...moreParadise perverted.
A disturbing read, to be sure, but also very thought provoking. I think the aspect of the story that captured me the most was the role reversals for Rory and Tate. Without the chip’s interference, their relationship might have had a very different tone, and later in the book, it’s definitely driven forward by the man who more naturally holds the power.
A the point where I asked myself: how will they figure this out, how will they end up together, I knew I was immersed in a pretty good story. Still, I'd have liked more emphasis on the sweeter scenes both Rory and Tate remember as being where they connected. The movie nights. Affection that passed between them. For me, that would have made the love story more satisfying.
Once again, John Tristan has created a unique and compelling world. The deeper into ‘The Sheltered City’ I got, the more I wanted to know. Why where t...moreOnce again, John Tristan has created a unique and compelling world. The deeper into ‘The Sheltered City’ I got, the more I wanted to know. Why where they living inside what seemed to be a large dome sheltered by an enormous living tree? Where the dragons outside real or allegorical? What is the halfdeath and what about those elves?
Amon was born with the halfdeath, an affliction that gives him the gift of strength and supernormal healing at the cost of half his life. His skin is ash grey and traced with prominent black veins. He is a large man, a giant, and often possessed by rages. He is well suited to his job as bouncer in a whorehouse, until he assaults an elf, believing the elf had been hurting one of the boys downstairs.
Elves are the ruling class. They live in the Tree. Their word is law and to harm one carries a sentence that can only be determined by the elves. Probably death. Caedian is not a typical elf, however. He is young and naïve. In fact, humans seem to be as mysterious to him as the elves are to humans. Amon, with his grey skin and great strength, even more so. Caedian quickly forgives Amon the broken nose and then hires him to help in the search for his brother.
The search takes Amon to the Rim, the outer edge of the Last City. There, he encounters snippets of a legend he was born to, the dragonhunters. These men and women looked like him, grey, large, possessed of strength and fits of rage. Amon knew he was born of a dragonhunter and was raised by another. What he does not know is why he is the last and why he had never been called to serve, despite being trained. The Order has disappeared.
The event of finding Caedian’s brother is a catalyst of a sort. The truth of the Last City is revealed, in part, and the truth of Amon’s heritage. Facing death, both men chose exile and leave the shelter of the city. The world outside the city lives up to the harsh legends. The air is toxic and the dragons are real. Ill-suited to the environment, Caedian quickly falls ill and Amon devises a way to save him. From there, they stumble across an enclave of dragonhunters who finish telling the story of truth, about their poisoned blood, the elves and the city.
But where Amon was not suited for life within the Last City, Caedian is not suited for life outside the dome, even changed as he becomes. Ultimately, the two men face a series of choices, between themselves, what makes them feel happy and complete, and what they feel is right.
I really enjoyed ‘The Sheltered City’. John Tristan has a wonderful imagination. His worlds always come to life easily and I’m always sad to step away at the conclusion of the book. Despite the scope of adventure, the romantic elements in ‘The Sheltered City’ are more immediate than in his previous book, ‘The Adorned’. The love story feels more central. But what both novels have in common is well-conceived fantasy world that could support more than one tale. Gender and sexuality hold less importance than skin colour and race, a dynamic that I find refreshing. It’s the history of the worlds that has me wanting to read more, however. By the end of ‘The Sheltered City’, it becomes obvious that events are part of a larger cycle. That’s the story I want next. I want to know where the dragons came from and I wouldn’t mind reading about Amon and Caedian eradicating the threat once and for all.
It's been a while since I last read about the adventures of Precious Ramotswe. Or, I should say, listened to. I listened to the very first book back i...moreIt's been a while since I last read about the adventures of Precious Ramotswe. Or, I should say, listened to. I listened to the very first book back in 2009 and immediately became enchanted by the story, the characters and the wonderful narrative skills of Lisette Lecat. I enjoyed her voice and interpretation of the different accents and nuances of speech so much, that I have listened to all of the series rather than read the books.
By the time you get to book 12 in any series, you want to have a passing familiarity with the recurring characters. Even after a five year hiatus, I remembered each voice and delighted in greeting each character like an old friend. The story, here, moved a little more slowly than I remembered, but featured all the long and short snippets of philosophy I remembered, and the heart warming moments.
I absolutely loved the idea the tiny white van might have spawned a ghost and Charlie's story had me sniffling. As always, Mma Makutsi had me shaking my head. She's one of those characters that is frustrating in an entirely endearing way. Her finally attaining her happy ever after was rewarding. J.L.B. Matakoni was as implacable as ever, and Precious, herself, just as astute.