I wanted to love The Martian by Andy Weir. I really did. I was given an eARC last year, and after reading a few chapters I put it down. I couldn't getI wanted to love The Martian by Andy Weir. I really did. I was given an eARC last year, and after reading a few chapters I put it down. I couldn't get on with the narration. When I heard that it was being released as a movie, I decided to give it another go, but chose to listen to it on audio with the hope that it would lend itself better to that format. It didn't.
I did manage to finish The Martian but I can’t say I loved it, or even enjoyed it that much. I just didn’t see the point of this book at all. There was no emotion, no character growth, no real story (until the end). However, I listened to it because I loved the premise; a man left behind on Mars, totally alone. Sounds awesome doesn't it? So much scope with plot as well as character development. It could have been so, so good. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The potential just wasn't realised. It was too superficial for my taste, and felt totally unrealistic for the situation the main character found himself in.
For most of the novel, the reader is bombarded with detailed chores, experiments and lists, describing Mark Watney's daily tasks. We get to hear about all of this through Watney's daily log. However, I don't believe he would have written it in such excruciating detail as though he was talking to a lay person, needing to describe every single detail, as it would have been a log for his peers. The excessive scientific and mathematical details were ok, and I appreciated them to a point, but it became monotonous.
The log was filled with too much chemistry and not enough introspection. This guy just joked his way through it all. Even the most toughened astronaut must have moments of fear, depression, loneliness, despair, isolation, (let's be honest, being left behind on Mars would be a total head-fuck). To describe all these emotions and Watney's response to them would have made for a much richer and more satisfying read. As it was, it seemed as though this guy was happy to play gardener in his makeshift greenhouse. I wanted to see and feel how it would be for Watney, realistically, with being the only human being on Mars with next to no hope of ever being rescued. I was hoping for a sci-fi equivalent of I Am Legend (the fabulous book, not the crappy movie) by Richard Matheson, with regards to the isolation aspect, but sadly it wasn't.
While listening to the audiobook I felt as though the dialogue tags, he said, she said etc, were so repetitive and incredibly jarring. The verbs rarely changed. Maybe this was more noticeable in the audiobook, maybe it was down to the narration, I don't know, but mixing it up a bit would have made the dialogue flow better.
There's no depth, no emotion, just constant sarcasm and jokes. That's not to say I didn't appreciate, giggle, and smile at Watney's wisecracking personality, I did. In fact I loved it - in the beginning. Sadly it was over used, it was Watney's only personality trait (other than being pretty tenacious - I will give him that), he became one dimensional. I felt no connection to the character at all and I really didn't care what happened to him on a day to day basis. However, I did want to finish the book just in case something AWESOME was going to happen that would blow me away, (I'm always the optimist), and make the reading of the preceding story worth it. There wasn't.
When I did get to the ending, I felt as though it was overly sentimental, which at this point was totally out of character for Watney, considering he joked his way through 18 months of isolation on Mars. Unfortunately, for this reader, it was a little depth a little too late.
Boss is a loner - she seeks out old ships to dive, not to loot, but for its historical value. She also prefers her own company and doesn't really inteBoss is a loner - she seeks out old ships to dive, not to loot, but for its historical value. She also prefers her own company and doesn't really interact with people or have any friends. When she finds a space ship that is five thousand years old, human made and shouldn't be in this sector of space, she groups together a team to help her explore the ship.
Her interactions with her crew are somewhat cold and matter-of-fact, as is her narration. There's no warmth or show of emotion, to her fellow crew mates or to the reader. But Boss is not hard, just closed off and as we read further the prologue becomes clearer and we get to understand why she is the way she is.
There is no real build up to the story as it jumps in straight away into the action and Boss finding the ship. But we soon realise that this isn't the primary story but the lead up to it. As the story progresses from finding the ship to being hired to find a man who has been lost a place called The Room of Lost Souls, it becomes apparent that this is a personal story, Boss's story and it becomes a personal mission and not just about the exploration of an historical ship or finding The Room.
The story picks up pace about half way through and becomes exciting as Boss learns about The Room of Lost Souls where she last saw her mother alive. She begins to offer glimpses into her past, her pain, her mother's death and her strained relationship with her father and we get to see this more as she is reunited with him after years of ignoring his calls and messages. We begin to learn and understand why she is such a loner and so private. But as we get to know her so do the other characters in the book. She opens up more, shows emotion, especially with the deaths of her friends.
Boss is a complex character and although there is not a huge amount of dialogue in the book we get the feeling of so much history, so much has gone on in her life that she is an immensely interesting character and I enjoyed getting to know her very much. I wish there was a sequel to this book so I could keep up with her life and get to know her more.
The story is great too and if you are new to science fiction a great book to start as the sci-fi jargon is kept to a minimum and all scientific explanations are easy to follow. I enjoyed the descriptions of Boss's world in space. I must admit the ending surprised me a little - to end with a 'if you can't beat them join them' attitude was quite a change in direction and I felt went against Boss's whole character. However, It didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book and I wasn't disappointed.
I found Diving into the Wreck to be an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable read. For me my favourite part was pealing away the layers of Boss's personality. If you enjoy a strong, complex heroine and an exciting plot, then this is definitely the book for you. I will certainly be checking out Rusch's back catalogue. ...more
"Nylon Angel" is the first book in the 'Parrish Plessis' sci-fi series by Marianne de Pierres. I don't read an awful lot of sci-fi but when I3.5 Stars
"Nylon Angel" is the first book in the 'Parrish Plessis' sci-fi series by Marianne de Pierres. I don't read an awful lot of sci-fi but when I do it's usually been a male author, with male characters and rather hard core sci-fi at it's root. Because of this, although I enjoy it, I have to be in the mood for it and the mood doesn't come along that frequently.
When deciding which book to read for my "women of science fiction" event, I decided on "Nylon Angel" and it was this quote that clinched the deal: 'A kick-ass girl surviving in an ultra-violent world run by the media... This is a character driven series that should gather a strong following in much the same way as Anita Blake' THE BOOKSELLER - this book was exactly what I was looking for for my event...and it didn't disappoint.
It had everything I love about urban fantasy but in a sci-fi setting: character driven story, check - kick-arse girlie, check - similar to Anita Blake, double check. The quote is totally on the money. Parrish is real, strong, independent and kick-arse, and has some seriously cool moves, but she's also flawed and vulnerable and has an interesting background which gives her the depth of character I love in my urban fantasy heroines, and now I have it in sci-fi! I honestly didn't know it existed!
There are two cities the story revolves around: Vacinity and Tert. The former is for the rich and the latter for everyone else, where gangs dominate and food is hard to come by. It begins with Parrish trying to escape the clutches of Jamon Hondo, a horrid character that rapes and abuses her. She's given a way out by stealing something from Vacinity only to become a scapegoat and accused of murder.
I loved Parrish from the first page - this is a girl after my heart. She's a determined soul and doesn't stop until she finds out the truth. She has a seriously troubled past which keeps her guarded towards others and makes her the independent woman she is. I loved her feisty, fighting nature.
There is a lot of action in "Nylon Angel", a bit of mystery and a smidgen of romance. All these threads kept me turning the pages; each story is exciting and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.
The romantic aspect is very secondary to Parrish and her plight, but it's still good. Parrish meets a mysterious guy called Dark (but eventually finds out his real name is Daac). The chemistry is instant for me, although it wasn't to them. This is a romance that I feel will be a slow burner. I'm also very interested in how the relationship evolves as things don't end well between them and the ending is certainly intriguing.
The supporting cast of characters are also well written and each one has their own story. But I never knew who to trust - they all have their own game plan.
This is a very good start to a series and sets the scene nicely for further books. The characters are brilliantly written and I just can't wait to read how Parrish evolves. I really enjoyed this book and if you love character driven stories that are gritty, dark and exciting, then look no further. I've already bought book two - 'Code Noir' :)...more
After reading the synopsis I was really looking forward to immersing myself in this book. Sadly it didn't quite deliver. It did keep my attention andAfter reading the synopsis I was really looking forward to immersing myself in this book. Sadly it didn't quite deliver. It did keep my attention and some of the passages were exciting, but the characterisation was underdeveloped for my taste and there were several points that as a woman, hit a nerve.
There are many personalities that we are introduced to and for me there were too many. The main two are Sorcha, a focused, driven and if somewhat brainwashed soldier whose sole purpose is to serve and then die a 'glorious death' (meaning to die in battle). Professor Helms, a genius whose actions contradict, until we are given answers halfway through the book, and who I also become to like, even though the ending for this character is a little cliched. There are many other characters who play a large part in the story and there's a lot of dialogue between them, but there is not enough inner reflection. With the exception of Dr Hugo Daal, who is exceedingly irritating in my opinion, I didn't really get to know any of the characters and to completely immerse myself in a novel I have to know the characters and their thoughts.
There's a lot of double-dealing, lies, secrets and they are all revealed by the end of the book, which was rather satisfying. I'm not one for ambiguity in a stand alone novel. There are deaths of certain main characters, which I'm sure should have caused a gasp or two when they were killed, but because I didn't really get to know the characters, the shock was never felt. To be honest I didn't really care.
The most disappointing aspect to this novel is that the typical stereotypes are all still here. Even though, as a species, we are now able to travel to distant planets and completely take over with apparent ease. Even though we are now able to live for hundreds of years. Even though we have moved on so much in so many ways, women are still sexual objects treated like inferior beings.
Women soldiers are fondled, groped, sexually abused and raped (as most of the sexual encounters that were hinted at were against the woman's wishes). This is not what I enjoy reading about. Even Sorcha, an intelligent, high ranking soldier, had to succumb and fall for a guy, (professor Helms), and act like a love sick school girl. She hated him, then loved him, then hated him again. And although he was described as a not very attractive man or particularly appealing physically, somehow he was just so amazing in bed then she managed to organism five times in a row! Hmmm... Really?
Apart from the very obvious sexism, this book did have some good qualities. Palmer's world-building is pretty detailed, although at times complex. The description of the planet and it's inhabitants are excellent. I enjoyed reading about the intelligence of other life-forms, but then saddened to think that we as human being could just wipe out an entire planet for our own uses. Then again, a species will always fight to survive, so I suppose if we had nowhere else to go and our own species depended on that particular planet to live, maybe I could see us performing such a terrible act.
Red Claw is an interesting read and at times exciting. It did keep my attention, but overall there were just too many points that were of the negative kind and kept me from really enjoying it. And lastly, I didn't like the cover either.
I actually gave this 5/10 on my blog but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars....more
Review coming soon!It is hard to read 'The Flock' without drawing some similarities to 'Jurassic Park', although I'm talking the movie as I h2.5 Stars
Review coming soon!It is hard to read 'The Flock' without drawing some similarities to 'Jurassic Park', although I'm talking the movie as I haven't read the book yet. The premise promises "the most exciting dinosaur thriller since Jurassic Park, an ecothriller with blood on its beak that shows what happens when man violates nature, and nature fights back." Sounds good doesn't it - unfortunately it wasn't.
It wasn't particularly exciting, in fact it had the same monotonous pace throughout. The characters were rather lack lustre and the only aspect I found enjoyable in the entire novel was when we got a glimpse into the mind of the dinosaur. The dinosaurs think and strategise like man, they are intelligent beings and I liked them more than the human characters. I wish the book was narrated entirely by the dinosaurs, it would have been far more entertaining.
This story should have been fun, energetic and thrilling, instead it was laboured, the dialogue clunky and unrealistic, especially when romance was involved, and the action scenes...well, there were none.
The characters were pretty shallow too, they had no depth to them at all, and the main character, Ron, who was supposedly meant to be the one to stand between the threats to the flocks existence, was in fact a rather dull, pathetic, weedy specimen who had his ex-girlfriend to protect him - and of course she single handedly brought down two huge killers with her bare hands, and only with a couple of punches no less. Hmmm.
A big disappointment to be honest as I was really looking forward to reading 'The Flock' - unfortunately it just didn't deliver on any count and it read like a very badly acted movie......more
Monster Republic is the first book in a new series by Ben Horton. It's told in the third person narrative and although there are several interesting cMonster Republic is the first book in a new series by Ben Horton. It's told in the third person narrative and although there are several interesting characters, it focuses mainly on the character of Cameron.
Cameron is popular, sporty and good looking. He has everything going for him, including the prettiest girl at school as his girlfriend. But there is one thorn in his side and that's Carl, the school bully. While visiting a nuclear power plant there is a huge explosion after which Cameron wakes up to find his life has changed forever and he's not sure who to trust. Then he realises he's not the only one who's changed when he comes face to face with his girlfriend, who sure sounds a lot like Carl!
A young girl brakes him out of hospital and takes him back to a group who call themselves Monster Republic. They have formed the group so all unsuccessful experiments, like Cameron, have a safe haven. But Cameron doesn't want to just hide away and so sets out to bring down the man who made him into a monster.
This is a really fast-paced, gripping novel. It may be aimed at the young adult reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and in fact couldn't put it down. Although there were times, as an adult reader, I felt a little more detail was needed, this didn't deter me from this very well written action packed story. The writer is successful in making the characters believable and well rounded and gives them enough emotional depth to enable you to either love them or loath them, depending on if they are the good guy or the bad guy.
"The eye that gazed out from the metal plating looked more like a camera. It's cold, glassy lens stared back at him from alongside a living, human eye, daring Cameron to keep looking. Sending him the clear and brutal truth: This is you."
"'No,' he whispered to the monster in the glass. And he watched it shaking its hideous head. 'That's not me. You're not me.'"
I wish the story continued for longer than its 275 pages, as it ended way too soon for me, which only makes me that much more impatient for the next installment in this brilliant new series. I have a feeling that this book is going to be hugely popular in 2010! I highly recommend it, so when it's released, go guy it, you won't be disappointed!
To celebrate the release of the Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Titan books have published a companion to the movie: 'Avatar Collector’s Vault 3To celebrate the release of the Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Titan books have published a companion to the movie: 'Avatar Collector’s Vault 3D'.
When I received a request to review 'Avatar: Collector’s Vault 3D' I didn't really know what to expect, but when it arrived all I could say was WOW. This book is gorgeous! It's beautifully packaged in a hard glossy landscape slipcase. The book itself is hardback and contains the same glossy feel and image as the slipcase. It's full of 3D illustrations, which you view through the 3D glasses supplied - these are not the typically flimsy cardboard variety but a very good quality black plastic.
When viewing the images through the glasses the illustrations are really good and they bounce off the page in glorious 3D - the 3D aspect works surprisingly well. There are also many lovely little details which add to the quality of the book, such as profile cards with pictures of the characters, alien species and weapons as well as removable pieces.
This is a gorgeous illustrated book and I would highly recommend it to all Avatar fans. And with Christmas just around the corner, what a fantastic gift! ...more