My favorite things in this series include: universal problems, the expression on character's faces in key moments, fantastical alien creatures, and thMy favorite things in this series include: universal problems, the expression on character's faces in key moments, fantastical alien creatures, and the banter....more
This book came as a pleasant surprise. In a moment of brain-fart, I purchased this book, thinking it was The Forever War or at least in the same serieThis book came as a pleasant surprise. In a moment of brain-fart, I purchased this book, thinking it was The Forever War or at least in the same series. A third of the way into the book, I realized my error, but by then, I was invested in the story. This was a lucky turn of events because reading science fiction about the elderly in space isn't something I'm usually excited about.
Old Man's War is a nicely paced, action-packed ride through space battles and scientific breakthroughs. I liked that some of the sciencey things weren't too far fetched, but far-fetched enough that you can't really disprove it. I also liked that the book was a fine balance between outer space battles as well as infantry action.
This is the first book by Scalzi I've read but if it's any indication of the others, I'm definitely up for reading more....more
The most interesting part of this book is its structure. I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this difficult read, but I'm glad for myThe most interesting part of this book is its structure. I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this difficult read, but I'm glad for my cluelessness. The book comes in two interweaving story arcs. One goes forward in time starting with Diziet Sma and her drone trying to get Zakalwe, a military mastermind to help out in a campaign. The second story arc goes backward in time, telling of previous campaigns and episodes in Zakalwe's life. The chapters alternate, one numbered with the words "one, two, three, etc." and the other going backwards in roman numerals.
I had no idea this was going on, but picked up on it once I got a few chapters in. It's easy to understand which time frame you're in thanks to the tone and the subject matter of the chapter.
The story was decent, but I found myself slogging through the last quarter of the book. Some of the chapters seemed unnecessary in terms of both plot and character development. It's one of those books that builds up to the last two pages and then a *twist*. But then by the time I got to the twist, I didn't care that much. Okay, it was a little, "whoa!" but the more I thought about it, the less it made sense. Spoiler of the twist: (view spoiler)[It does bring up a good philosophical question of what exactly is self. Why does the main character think he's Zakalwe? Did Culture implant the wrong personality into him when they brought him back from the dead? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The perfect book when you're in the mood for a rollicking fun adventure full of possessed daemonic blades, beheadings, battles in the sky, and a motleThe perfect book when you're in the mood for a rollicking fun adventure full of possessed daemonic blades, beheadings, battles in the sky, and a motley crew of unlikely friends. Basically, this is where you'll get your Firefly fix since the show is never coming back. The captain in Retribution Falls is not as honorable as Mal ever was, but the the rest of the crew, especially Jez, makes up for it....more
Someone said that this book was a lot better than Shards of Honor. I thought it was much worse. The first half of the book was pure political drama seSomeone said that this book was a lot better than Shards of Honor. I thought it was much worse. The first half of the book was pure political drama setting up for the action-packed last quarter of the book. Unfortunately, because of the way the author chose to name all of the lords and lordlings, things get very confusing.
My main beef with Barrayar was personality changes that both Vorkosigan and Cordelia went through. Cordelia in the first book was a strong-willed, clever woman who wasn't hung up on gender roles. Cordelia in this book was a whiney, stubborn woman who's only goal was to first have a son, and then later, to save this unborn son, even at the cost of her close friends, lots of death, and extended political turmoil.
Vorkosigan in this book turned into some no-direction, one-dimensional character that seemed to be hiding in the late emperor's shadow. Maybe that's what the author was trying to convey, but I rather liked him in Shards of Honor, and was just annoyed with him in this book.
To make up for my dislike of the two main characters, I found myself gravitating to the supporting cast this time. Koudelka and Drou's attempt at flirting was entertaining and I was relieved when they finally found a way to resolve their relationship.
I'm still torn about the Bothari character. The author takes great pains to point that he's mentally unstable. Funny how he always manages to find his stability to save the day in any situation that requires brawn. In fact, it's annoying how Cordelia *always* succeeds. There's just no tension at all because she always gets what she wants.
Perhaps I'm cold and I have no mothering instinct at all, but I was annoyed at Cordelia's reaction to the whole baby situation. She was willing to cause more political strife to try and save one unborn life. It seemed incredibly selfish to me, and I was hoping Cordelia was beyond that. Because of my annoyance of the central plot, I was disengaged from the entire book. Not sure if I want to read the rest now. I guess I should at least give the actual Miles books a try....more
After reading through lots of recommendations, I chose Shards of Honour to introduce me to the Space Opera genre. Now that I'm done with the book, I fAfter reading through lots of recommendations, I chose Shards of Honour to introduce me to the Space Opera genre. Now that I'm done with the book, I feel confident to say that I'm a fan of the genre.
Shards of Honour has a lot of political drama, which I would normally find boring, but because the characters are so entwined and affected by the politics, I can deal with it.
Although the whole Vorkosigan saga takes place on distant planets and involves space ships and wormholes, it doesn't feel like hard science fiction. I think part of it is because the author doesn't get caught up with the technical details of space travel unless it's integral to the plot.
The best thing about this novel, and this is what makes me want to read the rest of the series, is that the two main characters care about each other, but they're not hormone-driven teenagers who make decisions through their genitals. Neither of them sacrifices their duty in the name of being together, which makes them both honorable in my eyes. The book has a fitting title.
Unfortunately, I have to knock this book down a star because of how it deals with rape. Sure, rape is inevitable in an all-out war when there are prisoners on both sides, but the author takes such a flippant attitude to it that I can't help thinking the book is condoning it just because it's something hard to prevent in a war. While it's great to read a book with a strong female lead who doesn't let her emotions towards some man get in the way of her job, the book took a huge step back in how little consequences there are regarding rape.
Overall, an enjoyable, quick read and I can tell there's a lot of depth in the world-building and a lot of the politics side of the story is just set up for what's to come. Writing was a bit clumsy in some parts, but I hear she gets better....more
What a literal cliffhanger. And yes, I do mean literal in the sense that some characters are now dangling over a cliff.
I've heard lots of great thingsWhat a literal cliffhanger. And yes, I do mean literal in the sense that some characters are now dangling over a cliff.
I've heard lots of great things about this and the other book in the Commonwealth Saga, so I came into it with high expectations. It started off pretty slowly, with tons of disjointed characters, but eventually, some of them came together to contribute to the general plot. While the story itself was engaging, it took way too long to get started and there was just too much filler. It got to the point where the big reveals had less impact because I was annoyed at how long it took me to get to them.
My favorite parts were the Silfen paths even though Ozzie is one of my least favorite characters. I was also pretty annoyed by the Silfen. I'm not a fan of the mysterious, omnipotent aliens which seem like just a cheap plot device.
Not sure if I'll read the next book, even though I'm eager to know what happens. I don't think I can sit through another 1000+ pages of filler. I do want to find out if Tochee ever finds his way home though. He's my favorite....more