Hard science fiction is not a genre I usual select, but this came with a strong recommendation. Dueling spaceships is not the focus. Rather, LJ CohenHard science fiction is not a genre I usual select, but this came with a strong recommendation. Dueling spaceships is not the focus. Rather, LJ Cohen has written a human conflict of will and emotion amplified by the circumstances of the derelict freighter, Halcyone, suddenly re-energizing and carrying four young people on a wild ride through space. Various unexpected events kept me reading.
Programming and artificial intelligence are big parts of this story. The information of what is being done is well described, and I (programming novice) had no trouble following the ins and outs of the many problems Ro has in her attempt to fix Halcyone. I appreciated the speculative elements of what future programming and AI communication might well become. I’ve read several articles that hint at what Cohen has build into her story.
Most compelling was the excellent construction of the different characters. Cohen has developed each with a strong personality and well-explained skill sets. Each felt hard done by their circumstances, but reacted in different ways: Barre, an exceptional musician, turns to drugs; Ro becomes an engineering workaholic; Micah lets revenge be motivation, while Jem, the youngest, is super eager to do what he most loves—programming. All of their unique abilities are vital to extricating them from dangerous plans of smugglers and pursuit by their own government.
This is the first book of a series, and I already have the second book on my e-reader. Looking forward to it. ...more
This book intrigued me because of the western community about which I hadn't read much. I was also interested in a Western, by J.R. Lindermuth. I've rThis book intrigued me because of the western community about which I hadn't read much. I was also interested in a Western, by J.R. Lindermuth. I've read several Lindermuth books—historical fiction, historical mysteries, contemporary mysteries—and they have been set east of the Alleghenies. My western self wondered if he would give a good sense of place about the West. I should have known it wouldn't be a problem. Lindermuth is too good a writer, and this book settled me strongly in the West, among well-crafted characters.
The story had a distinctive classic Western edge, with ex-sheriff Luther Donnelly on the trail of the nasty criminals who killed his brother. But at the get-go, Donnelly finds young Tom Baskin, who has been strung up by his heels from a lone tree in a desolate location and left to die. Once Donnelly rescues him, Tom has revenge on his mind, too.
Donnelly isn't too keen on his newly-acquired sidekick, and hopes to lose him at the ranch of a friend. But Donnelly and Baskin are both roped into helping Mormon ranchers who have to get their cattle—their tithing herd—the the central holding pens. Donnelly has a feeling this herd will be a draw for the criminals he's seeking.
The outlaws are vicious, and they have plans of their own. How the story plays out is intricate and violent.
Lindermuth also adds touches of romance, a few that might have been a bit over the top. But I don't appreciate romance elements, and they are a standard element in a classic Western.
In all, I appreciated the story, found the writing top-notch, and wonder if the multi-talented Lindermuth will add more books to this genre....more
This fast-paced book by Daniel Swensen gained my attention with the opening pages. He presented a strong character named Story, and proceeded to involThis fast-paced book by Daniel Swensen gained my attention with the opening pages. He presented a strong character named Story, and proceeded to involve me in her story. When the point of view switched to another character, I was, at first, disappointed, but soon became engrossed with former-mage, Wrynn, and then with warborn Ashen One-Howl--all with definitive personalities that enhanced the overall story.
I've started, and left unfinished, fantasy novels that are overly caught up in the sword and sorcery. Those elements are endemic to the genre, but often the proclivity to have one gory fight after another, with bodies piling up, seems to be the main objective. Swensen didn't do this. In Orisonthe characters are what move the story; many of the altercations and confrontations are mental, with human characters interacting with the magical entities and semblances that oversee and manipulate the politics and the populations. Personal concerns are presented for each character--real problems that make the characters more believable.
The various physical battles are vivid and the action well-described. The magic is very nicely written, with phrasing that enlivens the scene and emotions involved.
The language and the very good writing of Orison had me enjoying this novel on the "academic" level as well as for the entertainment. This is Swensen's first novel, and I will add it to my shelf of well-written and memorable books. I'll watch for more from this author. ...more