This one has a big hook for me as I love stories about exploring the ruins of mysterious "forerunners". I liked Khat, and generally enjoyed the plot,This one has a big hook for me as I love stories about exploring the ruins of mysterious "forerunners". I liked Khat, and generally enjoyed the plot, though I was 'constantly' bemused over the (view spoiler)[complete distrust of Constance, who seemed to me by far the most sensible person in the story - further complicated by the audiobook narrator giving Constance by far the best voice. I was also glad it didn't end with a Khat/Elan romance since, frankly, Khat/Constance had way more sparks going.
I was also a trifle disturbed by Khat's complete lack of reaction to being forced into sex with the princess. This seemed to have no repercussions on him emotionally at all, despite him really disliking the princess.
Although there are plenty of women in the story, we have one main female character who takes the neophyte role (though in a plot-interesting way in the end), and on a secondary basis an evil woman, a mysterious/suspect woman and a woman who is primarily part of the story as someone's wife. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A compulsively readable volume, building on the world-building and character set-up of the first volume and adding a fascinating tale of two cities (oA compulsively readable volume, building on the world-building and character set-up of the first volume and adding a fascinating tale of two cities (or towns). To go into the enemy town, in the viewpoints of prisoner and captor, sets up a really tense and interesting story. One town, prejudiced against the Changed but trying to be good people. The other welcoming and accepting of the Changed, but hopelessly distorted around the Macchiavellian centre that is Voske.
One of those books where I really wanted to know what happened next, and was satisfied when I found out....more
The alien invasion of "Lagoon" starts from the perspective of a swordfish, neatly positioning the humans as another alien, a member of the invasive laThe alien invasion of "Lagoon" starts from the perspective of a swordfish, neatly positioning the humans as another alien, a member of the invasive land species the swordfish hates. And also positions the reader as another alien, more used to reading stories such in this from a Western-centric perspective.
There are a lot of aspects to this novel - alien invasion, magic realism, post-colonialism, but ultimately the city of Lagos itself is the centre of the story - beautiful, corrupt, chaotic, poisoned, durable, wounded.
The first/primary representative of the aliens, naming herself Ayodele, calls herself 'change' and that is the largest point I took away from this story. Change as 'conversion' and an alien invasion that has extremely strong echoes of a religious messiah, of cleansing and sacrifice - and also of rebirth as the alien arrival brings to life aspects of Nigeria that existed before Western invasions. The aliens, in many ways, are a new religion.
I found parts of this story fascinating (particularly the rebirth of Lagos' past), though at the same time there were some things that jarred me. The POV changes are many, often from one paragraph to the next in the early chapters. There are what I think of as "Stephen King Christians" (fanatics who out of fear and ingrained doctrine make horrible situations so much worse). And I struggled a little with the relationship between the main human character, Adaora, and her husband Chris.
(view spoiler)[Adaora's story opens dramatically with her "perfect husband of ten years" out of the blue hitting her. But as we go on, we learn that the marriage has been on the rocks for several years, spiralling down particularly after Chris had a traumatic experience and fell into the clutches of a hypocrite preacher. This transformed him from Mr Wonderful to a semi-delusional Christian fanatic who thinks his wife is having affairs and is also a marine witch. So the shock of that opening suddenly becomes qualified and qualified again - especially adding a couple of thoughts/actions of Adaora that show that her response to this (perhaps understandably) is to do things to get back at Chris.
Their marriage increasingly breaks down, is complicated by a new acquaintance kissing Adaora during the stress of events, and then that aspect of the story sort of peters out as Chris comes marginally to his senses, and takes their children to safety. (hide spoiler)]
Not easy to predict whether any particular reader will like this, but definitely a story to check out for someone looking for something other than the same old same old alien invasion.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
An invasion of Earth via means of 'slugs' which attach themselves to people and control their actions. The story is told from the viewpoint of an elitAn invasion of Earth via means of 'slugs' which attach themselves to people and control their actions. The story is told from the viewpoint of an elite government agent looking back on the situation as it was discovered.
Lacking the sensawunda of his juveniles, or any particularly interesting speculative idea, this is a fairly rote alien invasion. There is some frustration at the idiocy on display at times - they recover alive a person with a slug attached, detach the slug, then have a big moral debate about putting the slug back on him so they can interrogate the slug. This stupidity is then followed by scenes of difficulty convincing people in charge that the slugs are real. Sigh.
The story follows a fairly common route for alien invasion stories - the population is near overwhelmed, then find a way to fight back. It had its entertaining aspects, but isn't really that memorable.
Like most of Heinlein's books, it's difficult to be female and focus on the story. It's full of statements like: "Listen son, most women are damn fools and children" and "Forgive me darling. I'm weak and womanish". Even compared to other books written in the 40s, it's bad.
The story does open with a team featuring a competent male and female agent, but at the close of the story the female has been reduced to saying little but "Yes, dear" in blissful wifely servitude....more
And All the Stars began as a discussion on Goodreads about another of my novels, Stray. Two readers, Flannery and Wendy Darling, were particularly takAnd All the Stars began as a discussion on Goodreads about another of my novels, Stray. Two readers, Flannery and Wendy Darling, were particularly taken with the first section of Cassandra's story, and encouraged me to write a survivalist or post-apocalyptic novel. I shrugged and said I don't write survivalist or post-apocalyptic novels...and promptly began thinking about what kind of survivalist or post-apocalyptic novel I would write, if I were ever to write such a thing....more
I have a love/hate relationship with post-apocalyptic stories. I'm always fascinated by the beginning, the how it happened, and those first few days,I have a love/hate relationship with post-apocalyptic stories. I'm always fascinated by the beginning, the how it happened, and those first few days, and the adjustments to not just surviving but rebuilding a world. A lot of stories, however, seem to immediately shift to some tin-pot megalomaniac and overthrowing that person instead of the question of survival. I guess there always needs to be a Boss to defeat.
The Apocalypse Blog, however, (or at least book one of it) has focused refreshingly on the parts of post-apocalyptica which I enjoy. I liked the voice of the narrator, and was caught up in wanting to know what happened next - and having reached the end of the volume, _still_ want to know what happens next. Always a good thing.
The read was not without some niggles: (view spoiler)[If the bomb had an EMP which fried the car engines, how did all those ambulances and fire trucks run? What kind of acid melts flesh and bone but leaves shirts? And didn't the shift from survivors to named gangs happen very quickly? (hide spoiler)], but these were easily pushed aside. Definitely picking up the next volume.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more