Oh! Oh! This book almost broke me. Collins continues to be a most affecting, almost brutual writer. Really, if you are a kid and you get through theseOh! Oh! This book almost broke me. Collins continues to be a most affecting, almost brutual writer. Really, if you are a kid and you get through these books you'll go on to G.R.R. Martin as an adult and just chuckle. Like Martin, Collins makes sure there are STAKES in each book and consequences. In this book a young character - probably the age of many its readers - who is bereft in a way that just struck me to my core.
What I think these books do, including this one, which is a quest to find the cure for a plague that is killing all the warm blooded creatures of the Underland (humans, rats, bats and others) is an interesting paradox. It's an exciting adventure book which grounds itself in the fact that unlike in most books you read, being in an adventure story can be a terrible, stressful, life damaging thing.
(Just as in those other books you might have read living in a post-apocalyptic distopia where you are a cog in the machine is a soul-destroy, life warping nightmare.)
Most of us are extremely lucky that the novels of our lives are extremely boring and slow paced and without significant event for the blood-thirst reader. You think about the few exciting times of your life. I mean like almost dying or having to flee for your life or being beaten and be happy that that is just a tiny little fragment of your overall existence. These are books that make me feel guilt about being an reader of exciting adventures, all the while happily gobbling up more unfortunate events and maheme.
The Gregor books take into account the existential wear that happens in being the character of a adventure fantasy series. I'm sure Gregor would have prefered to be the character in a stand-alone novel and then retired back to his family's little apartment.
I don't know if this level of psychological realism is fair. Writers are dramatizers and sadists, they want everything to be as exciting and as interesting as possible, and they want their characters to go through lots of trials and be bashed down as low as possible, to make the victories sing in contrast. So I applaud Collins for her psychological realism of showing how this is beating poor Gregor down, but I can see why this hasn't been a concern for adventure writers before. There is a convention of dramatic compression and of heightening all the circumstances which I think readers have taken into account before books like this.
Of course, it doesn't mean that Collins is damn good at wringing drama out of each and every stituation both on a character and plot level at the same time.
Okay, the plot. No spoilers, but the final conclusion was one I think I spotted back at the very beginning of the book. Collins does a very good job of getting away from it and taking the characters on the quest, but once it comes back up again it felt like a sort of duh, moment. It does continue to work on that central theme though, the price of violence, the price of being safe. The self-brutalization that happens when you make yourself strong.
But Collins is like Alfred Hitchcock in that she has the pacing down to such a rapid speed that it isn't until after the ride that you start to go - heeeeeeyy! And start noticing the flaws. At least for a slow witted reader like myself. I'm sure there are some smarter readers that might have been drumming their fingers for a long part of the book. For myself I was impressed that while I had strong ideas about the origin of the plague that was quickly diverted by her management of events.
Really enjoyed the first four issues, but found going dream like in death for the final chapter in this book was a step to far, it unmoored an alreadyReally enjoyed the first four issues, but found going dream like in death for the final chapter in this book was a step to far, it unmoored an already weird book (was loving the oddness up to that point). For it to have a full effect felt it should have stayed in the real plane....more
Though I'm not interested in serial killers, a compulsive pathetic lot, which Morgan is no different from even if he has a time machine, I did enjoy tThough I'm not interested in serial killers, a compulsive pathetic lot, which Morgan is no different from even if he has a time machine, I did enjoy the other characters of this book and the distinctive voices Beukes is able to find for each of them. Each section is written from different points of view, in a convincing fashion. The different time periods are evoked well, without an overload of research. I could tell the author had done her homework but it never got tiresome of someone showing you their research. In the end I cared about the main characters of Kirby and Dan (though I don't know a male author could get away with a young woman, older male relationship). But as the book says Dan was Robin, not Batman which made up for a lot.
Time travel plots can be a bit - ummm - mechanical? It felt like it the end that the plot ended with the ticking of the plot boxes, but I don't know if it was emotionally satifying. This is probably because instead of ending on Dan and Kirby it ends on another character which is sort of there simply to close the loop. I wanted emotion at the end, not closing of the loop.
But overall, a good book. I hope Beukes does something away from serial killers next time, but she is a talented writer....more
Again, a fun conclusion to what amounts to one story told over three books, cunningly divided up by Carriger. Light adventure books, though honestly IAgain, a fun conclusion to what amounts to one story told over three books, cunningly divided up by Carriger. Light adventure books, though honestly I could really do without the love triangle, no matter how much subversion is slipped in...
If the villians had been more of a threat, or Maia (the Goblin Emperor) had been a more flawed character (wasn't so contemporary in his views and wasnIf the villians had been more of a threat, or Maia (the Goblin Emperor) had been a more flawed character (wasn't so contemporary in his views and wasn't so gosh darn nice?) the novel could have been tightened up into a great book. As it was, I still enjoyed it, liked its compassion, but I just felt it was lacking a certain something....more
In the end this book and its companion 'Bimbos of the Death Sun' is a counter voice to the ascendancy of fandom. These are books that are deeply ambivIn the end this book and its companion 'Bimbos of the Death Sun' is a counter voice to the ascendancy of fandom. These are books that are deeply ambivalent about an engaged audience. Fan is fanatical. Personally I find the narrator's voice too caustic, like that friend that rips everyone else down when you are talking with them - but the second you leave you know they'll be doing the same to you. Not person you really want to hang out with, but interesting to have encountered.
I enjoyed this book less than Bimbos because I was more interested in the convention setting of the last book - while this book seemed more bleak with the narrator looking down on aged authors and fans - shaking its head and judging harshly all it saw....more
It was oh-kay, for me. I've heard the series gets better so I might come back to it at some point. I'm always down for some urban-fantasy detective stIt was oh-kay, for me. I've heard the series gets better so I might come back to it at some point. I'm always down for some urban-fantasy detective stuff. I've read more Harry Dresden that I can shake a stick at and Kate Daniels doesn't oggle the gents like Harry does the ladies. This might be a entertainingly light series to continue......more