The incredible mixture of fantasy, history, Chinese legends, mythology, and even comical situations, concocted withAn Ancient China that Never Was...
The incredible mixture of fantasy, history, Chinese legends, mythology, and even comical situations, concocted with a pleasing style makes this book a 5 star. The story surprises you with unsuspected turns, but you enjoy them the most, so you just sit and relish in which way the story delightfully evolves and entangle more and more, because you do not want it to finish.
You would have loved to be in that China...as everybody else.
I have re-read this one in its spanish version while enduring a more than five hours delay at Munich airport. May be it is not best condition to read,I have re-read this one in its spanish version while enduring a more than five hours delay at Munich airport. May be it is not best condition to read, but there were little more to do at the time.
I liked it, but not as much as when I read it the first time (english version), so a star has dropped from my rating.
Even if there are memorable moments that draw some waiting passengers' attention to my quiet laughing, it feels somehow... standard. I might be losing the taste for Pratchett's satiric prose.
Anyway, it deals with Death taking an apprentice -Mortimer (Mort)- and how this changes Mort live. It sums up a nice story, but did not enthrall me completely. Pratchett standard, which is not bad either....more
Probably, you can find some better fantasy books. But here it is, the one you read when you are young that imprints itself on heavy stone letters in yProbably, you can find some better fantasy books. But here it is, the one you read when you are young that imprints itself on heavy stone letters in your mind and heart. So here it goes a 5 stars for me. It has everything you demand for a really big myth making story, but I will not review it. It is the really one book that opens the big fantasy worlds before you. Many may come after, but definitely the very first one....more
I admit it: this book is one of my favorites. Also, as most of Connie Willis, this is a difficult one to shelve. It is a mixed proportion of Sci-Fi, hI admit it: this book is one of my favorites. Also, as most of Connie Willis, this is a difficult one to shelve. It is a mixed proportion of Sci-Fi, historical novel and fiction. However, the concoction is a superb novel, whether you like science-fiction or not.
If you read the description and are waiting for some knights, sword clashes and standard easy best-selling story in the Middle-Ages you are misled. Look somewhere else. If you are looking for hard Sci-Fi time travel book, look somewhere else. If you are waiting for a mysterious thrilling story that you try hard to foretell its ending before it comes, look somewhere else. Mostly, you will be able to figure how it will end. If you are looking for much action. Look somewhere else.
So, what is this book about? I like the editor's description: it is about "the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.". I know it is something general to say. But it is the same thing as to think that "The Searchers" is just about "Indians and Cowboys". If you think that, just skip both Willis' book and Ford's film and look somewhere else.
Characters in Connie Willis' novels always feel very close and not at all as if they have nothing to do with ourselves. She explores deeply in the motivations, drives, pains and sentiments of the human character. Masterfully. It is true that she feels comfortable in a near sci-fi background, but do not fool yourself into thinking that that background is what leads the story. It is just stage, a suitable setting.
Do not miss it.
June/2014: After a second re-read, there are not any more surprises left for the two main plots, but many little things are found or just discovered anew. You realise that everything is there, even if you where not aware the first (or second) time. And I like more the way it starts, with little introduction: it is like plunging unaware in a cold, freezing pond and as twice as refreshing and captivating.
It was a long time since I read this one. And I think I have enjoyed it even more when I re-read it.
As many of Vance's books it is full of adventure,It was a long time since I read this one. And I think I have enjoyed it even more when I re-read it.
As many of Vance's books it is full of adventure, tragedy, friendship, love, cruelty and, among them, characters that suffer, live and die in a fantastic tale as ever was one. The tale is shrouded in the rich and enjoyable Vance's colorful prose, full of details, views and smells that seems to come out of the pages as you read.
Vance is a master writer that comes fully fantastic (in every sense) with this trilogy.
It might be that some of the original thrill I got when first read it is gone, but the quality is stIt was a long time ago since I read this trilogy.
It might be that some of the original thrill I got when first read it is gone, but the quality is still there. It is Jack Vance whom we talk about.
The title forecast what you find inside, so you will not be disappointed. And in the usual unique Vance style, which makes every conversation a match of wit, every day a challenge to be overcome and at the end a more than remarkable story.
At every page a new community/society is described and presented to cause you enjoyment. And it never fails.
It is characteristic in Vance that the day-to-day trivia is brought up to be the first thing to be solved: what I eat today? how can I secure income to allow me going on? And then, spiced with some of, how can I prevent to be murdered? swindled? eaten?... which put the book quite afar from the standard SciFi ones, in which some other more noble or imposing objectives are the mainstream. Here the objective is simple and straightforward. What makes the thing truly interesting is what lies in the middle....more
It was a long time since I read this. I remember it with warm memories and I liked it. Now I have liked it too, but not so much as then.
The story hasIt was a long time since I read this. I remember it with warm memories and I liked it. Now I have liked it too, but not so much as then.
The story has the historical background at the coldest days of the Cold War, when there was little hope that we may survive an almost sure and complete obliteration. Now that threat has almost died and the new generations are free of the fear of an apocalyptic nuclear war.
Then, although the idea of global peace and friendship is still valid, now its need has changed a little, as we are not in the brim of annihilation. Therefore the special circumstances in which the novel appears are no longer there and it minimizes a little the worth of it. Also, there is somehow a candid point of view on the matter. But those were the happy sixties anyway.
As a resume, this is a nice novel, that brings hope for all Earth, although the circumstances are history....more
This book was a gift. An it became a most surprising one, indeed. Not a fan myself of autobiographies about stars or famous people, it is about my favThis book was a gift. An it became a most surprising one, indeed. Not a fan myself of autobiographies about stars or famous people, it is about my favourite best living actor. OK, I am not objective, but I think that Mr. Caine has always been the best, most charming, sincere, unpretentious actor in the show business for me. Ever. And the best good old-pal you may ever want to find.
And even you do not share my opinion, you will enjoy this book for sure.
Some other people has put it better than myself, so look at other reviews.
In any case, do not miss this brilliant and joyful life account.
*** OK, after a re-read I cannot change neither the rating nor the opinion. I have re-discovered some details that show more of the man. But at the end, it is a memorable autobiography, worth reading. Try it....more