It's weird to hear Michael Kramer (who I'm most familiar with from his narration of The Wheel of Time) read this. If I had my way I'...more/audio review only
It's weird to hear Michael Kramer (who I'm most familiar with from his narration of The Wheel of Time) read this. If I had my way I'd prefer to hear a Liverpudlian, like Castor or Carey* himself, to get that authentic feel. However, if we simply must have an American then I'' admit that Kramer is a fair choice. He's a bit ropy with the female voices but otherwise has deep resonant voice** and picks up the appropriate nuance in the text.
There's a hilarious cultural ephemera fail when Kramer spells out the supermarket chain A-S-D-A rather than sounding it out asda, as it is more commonly know.
*and Carey's readings of his books are truly wonderful, try to catch him if you can, live if possible but there are some recordings on youtube.
**that's also great for people like me who use audiobooks as sleep aids.(less)
Uck, what a relief to be finished. More than anything else I found this boring. I originally bought it with the intention of reading it and then givin...moreUck, what a relief to be finished. More than anything else I found this boring. I originally bought it with the intention of reading it and then giving it to my little sister but now I think I'll save her the bother and just sell it to the used bookshop. On the one hand based on the surface fact Bordertown seems like such a crapsack world that it's not clear exactly why anyone would want to run away there, or at least why they'd stay. On the other, the grittier aspects of Bordertown life never come to life in any real way. So what we end up with is a sort of rank wish fulfillment fantasy that fails, because the wishes are never fulfilled in such a way that a sane reader would want to trade places with the protagonists, but doesn't function as a subversion either because Bordertown is just so flat and empty.
Not all the stories were terrible* but with the exception of Doctorow's 'Shannon's Law', none of the stories that I enjoyed have stuck with me.
*all the poems were terrible though, yes even Gaiman's.(less)
review update 21.09.11 *Deep breath* This was a wonderful collection of paranormal murder mysteries. While Sebastien contains many the tropes of a traditional rules-vampire Bear breathes life in to his angst ridden un-death with small touches. For example, Sebastien knits. It's hard not to find this completely adorable. (Geek ladies are all about knitting apparently, at the last con I was at the front row of almost every panel was occupied by young and young-ish ladies knitting).
I'm often put off by short stories simply because I want more time with the characters, but Bear really gives not just her main cast, but a host of secondaries a chance to shine. I missed Jack desperately from the handful of stories he was absent from, but when he returned there was a real sense that he had been out in the world of New Amsterdam and affecting and being effected by what's going on around him during his time off page, rather than just in a stasis room for sirs not appearing in this story.
Abigail Irene herself was a great character. An older woman, principled and career driven with a string of romantic failures behind her, we don't see characters like her often enough, or at least we don't see them taken seriously as protagonists. The DCI holds everyone at arms length, including the reader. I don't think I really got a full sense of her relationship with Sebastien, but maybe that was the point.
The through-line of the lead up to a much delayed Revolutionary War was fascinating, though I think my patch historical knowledge let me down at times. As with previous works of Bear's I've been inspired to go out and find out more about the real world history that's informing the alternate. And that is always a good thing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I first tried to read this either a year or two year ago. I'm not sure that I would have persevered had I not read some of Bear's other stories before...moreI first tried to read this either a year or two year ago. I'm not sure that I would have persevered had I not read some of Bear's other stories before. It can be hard to trust an author with your time. But I'm glad I was willing to trust her eventually. I'm half tempted to call Bear the greatest tragedarian of the 21st century and hesitate only because I am pretty drunk right now.(less)
This is noir-ish urban fantasy just the way I like it. Miriam Aster is a tough private investigator who is consulting with the police on a gruesome ra...moreThis is noir-ish urban fantasy just the way I like it. Miriam Aster is a tough private investigator who is consulting with the police on a gruesome rape and murder because of her connections with the fae.
It's a bit Law and Order: Faerie Beat at times but hell, sometimes that's what you're in the mood for. It's a quick read and a fun one.(less)
I have complicated feelings about this book. It's incredibly well put together and utterly griping throughout. But the overlapping of the conflict bet...moreI have complicated feelings about this book. It's incredibly well put together and utterly griping throughout. But the overlapping of the conflict between republicans and loyalist and fey and fallen makes me very uncomfortable. I mean, partly that's my fault, I read this with my eyes narrowed, waiting to be offended. It didn't happen, which is good, well done to Leicht, it's not a historical period I'd dare wade into. And yet, I'm still conflicted. Maybe if there's been an explanation of what was going on between the fey and the fallen... but I guess I'll just have to read the next book(less)
I'm pretty sure Paul Cornell has stolen the mythology I had been toying with for an urban fantasy book that I was totally going to write someday right...moreI'm pretty sure Paul Cornell has stolen the mythology I had been toying with for an urban fantasy book that I was totally going to write someday right out of my head! It's lucky for him that he is the nicest man in sci fi or I would never forgive him.
London Falling is your basic police procedural meets urban fantasy, with a heavy emphasis on the procedural aspect. Our heroes and three London police and one intelligence analyst who, due to some circumstances, are given 'The Sight' and get wrapped up in solving some paranormal crimes.
This was mostly an enjoyable book, the focus on good old fashioned police work in the face of occult London was a great choice that sets the novel apart from urban fantasies that focus on private detectives or cops working off the books.
But I have some serious misgivings about London Falling. The mythology was great, but the actual mechanics of the sight, and what the characters are experiencing when they see something woo felt quite vague to me. This led to me losing interest whenever something other worldly went on too long. The characters themselves were interesting, but there were fascinating tensions set up between them early on that I don't feel Cornell got enough mileage out of.
I will probably pick up the next book in the series, I'm curious to see where this goes, and I'd like to think that the problems I had with the book can be ironed out as the series develops.