As the middle part of a trilogy, Deadline is incomplete as a book: it's dependent not so much on Feed as on the upcoming Blackout to have it make sens...moreAs the middle part of a trilogy, Deadline is incomplete as a book: it's dependent not so much on Feed as on the upcoming Blackout to have it make sense. Feed seemed much more finished on its own. This is only annoying because I am always worried about incomplete series, that somehow they will not finish. I also feel some of the ending was -- well, it was certainly hinted at all the way through, I was just far too blind to notice it -- but somehow a bit convenient. Which, when you have zombies taking over much of the world (the cold areas and, oddly, India) is hard to catch.
Deadline is a fun book, rushing you through the story (once you're past the oddly slow-moving first quarter) at a breakneck pace. There is occasional interesting ethical questions which are then put aside for a zombie attack; there's an unreliable narrator with a significant death wish and even more selfishness; there are puppies.
I am hoping that the large overarching conspiracy starts to make sense in the third book, because it so far seems like a very extreme version of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
Overall -- and as a person who is really not a fan of zombie stories -- this is a fun book, following a fun first book. It's well written, engaging, and doesn't have huge, enormous plot holes.
A few quibbles:
1. After the second time it was said, I was sick of hearing some version of "it's too late to turn back now, we might as well go on and hope we don't die". This is mentioned by every character multiple times, one or two taking a turn every time they do something dangerous. 2. Not every character in the book (as well as in Mira Grant's alter ego's books) needs to say "Hush". 3. Where are the zombie elephants?
I was pleased that (view spoiler)[it was confirmed that Shaun and Georgia were having somewhat icky, vaguely incestuous sex. It was very strongly hinted at in the first book, and it was nice to see it made more overt. It was less creepy than Flowers in the Attic, anyhow. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Kit Whitfield's second book is in many ways better than her first, but lacks the heart that the first book has.
Years before the start of the book, a...moreKit Whitfield's second book is in many ways better than her first, but lacks the heart that the first book has.
Years before the start of the book, a half-mermaid (the word is actually not used in the book) walked out of the sea and took over Venice. Over the years, her descendants have taken over all the (non-landlocked) countries in Europe. Anne is the second daughter of the English King, and more mermaid-coloured than human. Henry is also half-human, the son of a sailor and a mermaid, too weak to live in the sea and left on the beach.
The story follows Anne and Henry as they grow up, Anne knowing she will one day marry a king, Henry thinking he will one day be one. They are abrasive characters, and not perhaps ones you want to know in reality, but compelling, and you wish for happy endings for them. The writing is lovely, and though the alternate universe is well-thought out and the characters fully developed (interestingly, unlike with most books -- including Kit Whitfield's first novel -- I did not wonder what happened to them once the book was over), it follows a reasonably predictable path in a reasonably predictable way. The book is good, not groundbreaking.
Note that the book is full of the assumption that being physically fit and normal (well, normal for half-merpeople) is a right and appropriate necessity to rule a country, and it's a weird sort of prejudice that is accepted not just within the book, but also appears to be considered an obvious truth by the author. This bothered me a great deal.(less)
The premise is unusual -- a disease has infected much of the world, making most people sterile by the time they are out of their teens. Teenage pregna...moreThe premise is unusual -- a disease has infected much of the world, making most people sterile by the time they are out of their teens. Teenage pregnancy is now a status symbol, because it means . . . something, I suppose, though it's not particularly clear what. All teens are still fertile, and it's not possible to tell just by looking whether the pregnancy was paid for in advance or just a matter of teens having sex. Planned pregnancies happen with actual sex and not sperm donation, and STDs have mysteriously disappeared along with any actual negative health effects from pregnancy or childbirth.
Into this scenario come Melody and Harmony, identical twins adopted separately. One of them has been hired for lots of money to have a baby and is waiting for a sperm donor to be chosen; the other lives in some Christian area where few people have the disease and escapes to try to convert her sister. Imagine the most predictable possible plot, and you found it. Sadly, the book doesn't live up to the premise.
Fuzzy Nation is a very light, fun book. It is based on Little Fuzzy, and though the start and end points are much the same, the characters and route b...moreFuzzy Nation is a very light, fun book. It is based on Little Fuzzy, and though the start and end points are much the same, the characters and route between the two are very different -- you can read both without feeling like you are reading the same book twice.
The book is a great deal taken up with legal wrangling and various characters trying to trick each other. I enjoyed this; I am a fan of stories about con-artists, and this hit a few of the same switches. But it's procedural in a weird way, where you can make up the law to make the story work out right (some aspects turn out a little too pat). Jack Holloway shares Scalzi's voice, like all the main characters in his books. If you like his voice, this will not bother you.
It's a casual book, easy to read in one sitting, not demanding, but not mindless, and the fuzzies are really awfully adorable.(less)
I read this book not realising it was a retelling and was delighted when Azalea, the oldest princess, men...moreA fun retelling of the 12 dancing princesses.
I read this book not realising it was a retelling and was delighted when Azalea, the oldest princess, mentioned that there were 12 princesses and I recognised one of my favourite fairy tales.
It is a kind retelling of the story, though other than Azalea (the oldest princess) the sisters are mostly a large group of similar characters with little distinctness to their personalities -- a sad difference from the suitors, who are all well-drawn, even those suitors who are sent away immediately.
The oldest daughter's husband will be king (all positions of any sort of power are held by men in this book, and no one suggests this is even slightly problematic), and so will be chosen by parliament, or maybe her father the king. It's not entirely clear how succession or power works, how taxation and money work -- the king is poor, the king has power, parliament has power, the king leads the army -- at some point I stopped wondering and just went on, but it would have been nice to feel that it was well-determined, even if it weren't explained in the book.
The book ends as fairy tales do: (view spoiler)[with true love and the princesses being saved, with some -- but not much -- saving done by the princesses themselves. (hide spoiler)]
I would have preferred a more modern take on the fairy tale, but still enjoyed this retelling.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)