ORIGINAL READ: DNF (5 February 2006 - 5 February 2006)
With the TBR pile building again, I just couldn't face the size of this book, so I returned it tORIGINAL READ: DNF (5 February 2006 - 5 February 2006)
With the TBR pile building again, I just couldn't face the size of this book, so I returned it to the library. I fully intend to read it, as I still want to finish the story, but I'll let it rest for a bit.
[Copied across from Library Thing; 17 October 2012]
REREAD #1: 8/10 (30 April 2008 - 30 April 2009)
In the end, it turned out to be a couple of years between reading book 1 and book 2 of this duology. As I've said before on this blog, the very large size of the book scared me off for a long time, but once I got going I soon got into the swing of things and managed to finish the book in about 10 days, which I thought was pretty good considering the size of it.
My biggest issue was that there is little or no back story from book 1 provided for a reader like me who had let a large space of time go between books and doesn't remember details very well anyway. In fact, if I'd read the books back to back there's probably still lots of bits and pieces from the first book I wouldn't have remembered while reading the second. So there were places where references to earlier events confused me or left me with a feeling of vague remembrance without being able to pull up the specifics.
Instead, this book begins right where the last one ended and continues on at once as if the story was one very, very large book. I can see the reasons for this, but it made it a struggle for me. Still, getting past that, I enjoyed the book all the same. Hamilton writes in an engaging and very readable style, and the book progressed easily.
Despite the large number of people killed off in the invasion at the end of Pandora's Star, almost all of the large cast of characters from the first book return. As the story progress they are slowly whittled down until it is only the core group that remain - although of course with relife technology most will get to live on eventually (there's a huge backlog at relife facilities as a result of the invasion).
In this book the Commonwealth is slowly beginning to get over the shock of the Prime invasion and starts to come up with ideas and methods for fighting back. It also becomes more and more clear that the Starflyer is real and an equal (or possibly greater) threat than the Primes, meaning humanity finds itself fighting a war on two fronts. One aspect of this I liked was that, because the reader had been inside MorningLightMountain's mind in Pandora's Star, I basically knew how the Prime strategy worked and what MorningLightMountain's intentions were. So it was interesting to see the theories on this that the humans came up with, all of which were wrong.
I did feel that it was a bit convenient how the two main plots turned out to hinge so much on each other and how time-wise both conclusions happened at once even though they were in totally different parts of the galaxy. I had been expecting one plot-strand to be resolved and then the other, when instead Hamilton chose to have them happening concurrently. All the same, I'm willing to chalk that up to artistic licence and leave it alone.
This is a "plot book" rather than a "science book" or a "character book". It's all about what is happening and how the problem is solved. It means that while the characters are well rounded, they're not particularly deep (especially considering how long some of them have lived). All the same, they people the book well and play their parts as required. It's not a failing in the book, just a fact of how it has been written and what the focus of it is. I was rather worried about whether or not Nigel Sheldon was going to turn out to be a Starflyer agent and what happens to Paula Myo as she is forced to go against her basic genetically-programmed nature was cleverly done. I also didn't particularly like Mellanie, which I consider to have been good characterisation rather than the opposite.
I enjoyed Judas Unchained. I was a easy read for all its large size and it wound up all required plot strands and told a rollicking good story. I find myself tempted by the new Commonwealth trilogy Hamilton is currently writing, but I think I'll take a break for a while before considering taking on another one (or in this case, three) of his doorstoppers.
Judas Unchained Peter F. Hamilton Commonwealth Saga, Book 2 8/10
[Copied across from Blogspot; 17 October 2012]...more
I've finished Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop and I absolutely loved it. A total 10/10 read. I may or mayFIRST READ: 17 May, 2007 to 22 May, 2007
I've finished Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop and I absolutely loved it. A total 10/10 read. I may or may not get to do a more detailed response to it late, but for now I'm just going to rave a bit. It was a brilliant conclusion to the problem. And I nice way of having a solution without a devestating war and without turning the story totally unrealistic as the whole farm boy saves the world while the armies are poised thing so often can be. And Jaenelle and Daemon. What a beautiful, beautiful love story, told in such a nicely understated way that it didn't need the kind of explicit detail generally offered in a romance novel. While I enjoy a good romance novel (and some sex in it too), this touched me so very, very much more. I'm totally in love with both of them and I want them to be happy forever. Not surprisingly, Dreams Made Flesh, with it's further glimpses into the world (and one about Jaenelle and Daemon I understand) is now at the top of my TBR pile. Although I think I want a small break before going on to anything else, so will go back to Venetia in the meantime, until I'm ready for the next one. I jsut want to savour this wonderful series a bit more first. People were raving to me and telling me to read it and I didn't believe them. Everyone, I was wrong. You we right. If you like excellent fantasy and you haven't read Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy, go and do it. Now!
Wow, so like the previous volume of the trilogy, this book just blew me away.
Bishop continues the tale of JFIRST READ: 7 April, 2007 to 17 April, 2007
Wow, so like the previous volume of the trilogy, this book just blew me away.
Bishop continues the tale of Jaenellle with her growth to adulthood. At the end of Daughter of the Blood, Daemon, Saetan and Cassandra have rescued Jaenelle from Briarwood, too late to prevent her rape but soon enough to save her life and for Daemon to save her sanity. Saetan and Cassandra have stolen her away to Kaeler while Daemon was left behind to fight off the villians and barely escaped himself.
Heir to the Shadows opens two years later and while Jaenelle has healed physically, she has remained in a coma. Saetan has, rather forcibly, had himself appointed her guardian and waits, with growing impatience, for her her to wake. She does at the book begins, but she remembers nothing of what happened to her. Daemon, meanwhile, had gone mad in the belief that not only was he responsible for her death, but that he was the one who raped her.
Like its predecessor, this book sounds like it should be grim, dark and horrible, and yet Bishop avoids this. It is the world and the situation that is dark, but not the characters, despite their power and often, their tempers.
The books skips through the years to end as Jaenelle reaches her majority at 20, but Bishop handles the time jumps deftly and I never felt that the book jarred because of this.
This is Jaenelle's tale, and it focusses on her - her growing understand of what it means to be Witch, her growing use of her power and her frustration to master its basics. But mostly, it is about her relationships with the people around her.
With Saetan, the High Lord of Hell, whom she calls Papa and interacts with both as the child/young woman she is and occasionally as the powerful creation she is under her human mask. With Lucivar who finds a sister in her, and learns trust and loyalty again after centuries of captivity. With the friends she used to sneak off to meet as a child, who we meet in person in this book, human and Kindred both. Each one powerful and influential, these are the ones what will form her court and her power base as, in the last book, she surely forges the new beginning for the Realms she was called into existence to create.
One character who is almost conspicuous by absence is Daemon, who appears and disappears as we saw Tersa do in the first volume, fighting for and losing a hold on sanity. It fits the story, is perfectly appropriate in fact, but his presence is missed all the same. Yet he is the final note in this part of the tale, as he climbs back out of the Twisted Kingdom, whole again and reforged to be the consort Jaenelle will need at the conclusion of the book.
I have always tended to put off things I really want to watch or read, and I have never really been able to figure out why. I have come to realise that it is not a need to save something to keep that anticipation and newness for as long as possible, but something closer to fear. Yet, I've always known it wasn't fear of disappointment. It was while reading this book that I finally figured it out. The stuff I know is going to be good, the stuff I have been waiting for so eagerly; for those things I open wide my arms and throw myself off the cliff into the story. I hold nothing back and fall into the lives of the characters, aching for them, living the tale with them. And when I'm done, it takes me a while to surface again and find my way back to the real world. That's exhausting. It can even hurt. It's so very worth it, but it's not light, easy and distant. No wonder I tend to procrastinate.
This is that kind of book. Absolutely worth it and so much an amazing adventure.
Discharged from the Barrarayan academy after flunking the physical, a discouraged Miles VorkoREREAD: 1 June, 2007 - 17 August, 2007 (9/10) (Audiobook)
Discharged from the Barrarayan academy after flunking the physical, a discouraged Miles Vorkosigan takes possession of a jumpship and accidently becomes the leader of a mercenary force that expands to a fleet of treasonous proportions.
I'm a big Bujold fan, after a friend introduced me to the series - the same friend that recently had me avidly reading Kage Baker so while she's hard on my bank account I guess I'd better stay friends with her. This is the first of Bujold's Vorkosigan books and introduces Miles and his unstoppable "forward momentum". I've read it several times before this, and when I saw that Audible.com was releasing the series as unabridged audios I immediately renewed my membership and started budgeting.
It was interesting to listen instead of read, especially since listening to a book does take me a long time, so it gives me a whole different kind of pacing. Thanks to my CFS-ravaged memory, while I remembered the basics of the book, most of the details had slipped away from me, so I went into this unable to remember how Miles got the Dendarii fleet out of trouble (although I could basically remember how he got himself out of trouble on Barrayar at the very end). It made me increasingly nervous as the forward momentum just kept on rolling and rolling and I had no idea how Miles was going to stop it. (A different friend did offer to remind me, but I chose to keep going blind and be surprised all over again.) With a book, if I get too nervous I'm a bad girl and I skip forward to the end to check everything will be okay (I can't take the stress), but I wasn't able to do that with an audiobook, so I just had to trust the author and wait, a difficult proposition for an end-peeker like me. (I try not to end-peek, really I do. I don't like being spoiled, but for the reasons given above, sometimes I just have to check - all for the sake of my blood-pressure of course.)
This book contains a couple of my favourite lines of all time, and it was a delight to hear them spoken aloud instead of just reading them on a page. One at least, is surely worth repeating, as it shows Bujold's great ability to toss in comic lines without ever making the pacing of the book or the story itself comic.
Yet here he sat, a man with an imaginary battle fleet negotiating for its services with a man with an imaginary budget. Well, the price was certainly right.
Miles is a wonderful character. Poisoned by an assasination attempt on his father while still in the womb, his growth has been stunted and his bones are brittle and shatter easily. Despite that, he has a brilliant mind, a stubborn ability to give up and a strong need to prove himself equal to anyone else. When all that is put together, you have an underpinning character who weaves all manner of stories around himself.
But Bujold doesn't limit herself to Miles; all her characters are a delight. Tortured and tormented Sargent Bothari, Elena who finds herself able to find herself only by leaving home, that-idiot-Ivan, who while acting supremely idiotish in this volume, I still believe will prove himself one day.
This is a great start to a great series, and I'm going to enjoy slowly (okay, probably very slowly) listening my way through the Vorkosigan stories again. If you haven't discovered Miles yet, either read the book or listen to the audio, but don't deny yourself the pleasure.
ORIGINAL READ: 10/10 (20 February 2007 - 23 February 2007)
I started reading Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop today. This is the first in her BlackORIGINAL READ: 10/10 (20 February 2007 - 23 February 2007)
I started reading Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop today. This is the first in her Black Jewels Trilogy. I've had a number of people recommend it, but it always seemed like it might be a bit disturbing and dark, so I left it alone.
Late last year, [FantasyFavorites] read it and while I didn't, it was clear nearly everyone really enjoyed it. To the point the two sequels have been voted into the group's reading list - Heir to the Shadows for this month and Queen of the Darkness for May. Over Christmas the friend who fed my fantasy reading habit when I was a broke teenager also recommended them, so I decided to reserve the first one from the library.
I started it today and I'm already totally hooked, even if I've only been able to read around Marcus' demands for attention. (Aren't they supposed to need less time as they get older, rather than more?)
The dark themes are there, but so far it hasn't been graphic and nasty, which is what I don't like to read. I'm fine with that kind of thing if it is't show to me in gory detail. The best stories are the often the ones where the fight is against something that deserves to be fought against - if that makes sense.
REREAD #1: 10/10 (Finished 23 December 2009)
This was a reread and I loved it all over again. In fact, I think I liked it more as things that had been confusing on a first read now made sense on a reread.
It was also to see where Bishop initially explained some of the basic concepts; it both clarified things and felt it didn't need to be there because I knew it already. It did make me realise that Bishop doesn't rehash and rehash the basics of the world building with each new book. As a reader of the series, I really like that, but I wonder if it could be frustrating for a read coming into the series at a later point and not here at the beginning.
If you are that reader, come back here to the start and read the original trilogy. As much as I have enjoyed the newer Black Jewels Books, I don't think any of them have ever quite lived up to the power of the original three.
I was going to read another book in between before going on to a reread of Heir to the Shadows, but I don't want to spend my time on anything else. I'll be picking up Heir as soon as my iPhone recharges enough for me to open the book!...more
I really enjoyed this book. It's got such a solidity to it, that doesn't degenerate into grittiness of grit's sake. I like a solid book, but I don't nI really enjoyed this book. It's got such a solidity to it, that doesn't degenerate into grittiness of grit's sake. I like a solid book, but I don't need colossal doses of angst, filth and despair to go with that. There will be more to say once I've gathered my thoughts, and I'll add it once I've written it....more
I usually love McKillip, but a lot of these stories failed to completely satisfy. I think a lot of the problem is that the endings tended to feel weakI usually love McKillip, but a lot of these stories failed to completely satisfy. I think a lot of the problem is that the endings tended to feel weak to me; the stories built beautifully, the writing was lovely and then they just kind of ended. My favourites were "The Stranger" and "The Lion and the Lark" and I think part of that is because the endings were stronger. But I'm left with the feeling that McKillip writes better at the longer length than the shorter one....more
**spoiler alert** I found this to be very much a book of two halves.
The first part drove me insane - not because it was bad, but because the character**spoiler alert** I found this to be very much a book of two halves.
The first part drove me insane - not because it was bad, but because the characterisation was so well done that everyone's behaviour frustrated me terribly. People acted according to the character and background the author had created for them, even when I wished they wouldn't.
Then we got to halfway and the story changed from politics to action. That should have been good, but I felt the realism suffered. Mykkael went from strong protagonist to Energizer Bunny who just keep going and going and going, no matter what injury, insurmountable challenge or problem of honor faced him. And he always came out on top. It began to really annoy me.
Then everything came magically together in the end. On one level I rather liked the ending. It was nice seeing everything turn out okay. But at the same time it all felt a bit too pat after the gritty and uncompromising first half of the book. Anja makes the perfect choice and while we're told she agonising about it, I didn't really feel it. Then all Mykkael's issues are resolved. He even gets the girl who was supposed to be irrevocably lost.
It felt like this was three books all in the same binding. And I'm not convinced those three books worked well together.
I know lots of people love this book, but it just wasn't the right book for me....more
I really enjoyed this. It was a lot of funa and one of those books you keep reading when you really should have gone to bed already.
I did have quite aI really enjoyed this. It was a lot of funa and one of those books you keep reading when you really should have gone to bed already.
I did have quite a bit of trouble keeping my head around all the time travel twists in the plot and the growing plethora of paradoxes and incongruities. However, I did especially love the potential twist thrown in at the end for good measure. I think as I digest the book a bit more it will all fall into place a bit better.
But mostly a great, fun read that I recommend....more
I do enjoy these books. I admit my brain can't always follow the explanations, but they are all interesting. I'm sorry that I've finished all three anI do enjoy these books. I admit my brain can't always follow the explanations, but they are all interesting. I'm sorry that I've finished all three and will now have to wait for another one to be published. Maybe I need to check out the New Scientist website....more
I found that I liked this book more than the previous two, but I have no idea why. Maybe I just liked the mystery a bit more than the others. JusticeI found that I liked this book more than the previous two, but I have no idea why. Maybe I just liked the mystery a bit more than the others. Justice was served, which helped, as the "got away with it" ending of Silent in the Sanctuary really annoyed me. I read mysteries with a certain expectation that the villian will get his or her comeuppance at the end and I didn't like it that that didn't happen.
Anyway, I enjoyed Silent on the Moor and I'm glad I didn't let my lukewarm reaction to the previous volume stop me from reading it. But I'm perfectly happy to have borrowed it from the library. I don't need my own copy....more