Blackout and All Clear are really one book split in two, and then published only months apart. Together they won the Hugo and Nebula awards... those aBlackout and All Clear are really one book split in two, and then published only months apart. Together they won the Hugo and Nebula awards... those are rightly earned. Together they are a moving look at the unsung heroes working behind the scenes in World War 2 England. At times moving me to tears and other times making me laugh, I am glad to have discovered these books and this author, albeit a bit late.
Before going any further I should add that I listened to the audiobook version which pushed this book over the top. Narrated by amazingly taleneted Katherine Kellgren (also my first time listening to her) I was transported to the world created by Willis. Kellgren has amazing range and a deft grasp on the characters voices. I didn't need to think about who was talking because the voices were so clear and distinct. Quite an unparalleled performance that had me missing the characters voices after nearly a month with them as my companions.
But back to the story. It focuses on three time travelers from 2060 Oxford, using technology that they think allows them to observe, but never alter, historic events. The structure of the novel is a bit confusing (made slightly worse by the audiobook and my insistence not to rewind but that is my fault) as some time travel books can be. We see several viewpoints out of both chronological to the characters and historic sequence as we jump around. On top of this we don't know who all the viewpoint characters are at the offset, as time travelers tend to use different names when they go back in time. This jumpy/confusing structure has turned some people off but I felt it was useful at times in clueing in the read while also keeping them curious.
Despite the sci-fi mechanisms, this is a story of the people and trials of WWII. At the moment, I'm not a character-driven reader. What I mean is that the action drives me most of the time. There should be explosions and fighting etc. This book was good enough (most of the time) to keep me entranced. I usually just listen to audiobooks as I walk to and from work, and while walking the dog. This book(s) had me hooked and wanting to know what happened next, even though there wasn't a big fight scene coming up.
Willis did a TON of research for this book, taking eight years to write. It shows. The details and lifelike characters/situations/problems had me learning more about and feeling closer to the English people and what they went through in WWII. I loved the characters and wanted them all to live happily ever after. This was an amazing book with twists, turns, and "a dangerous, desperate world in which there are no civilians and in which everybody—from the Queen down to the lowliest barmaid—is determined to do their bit to help a beleaguered nation survive."
Willis and Kellgren together can't be stopped. 5+ stars!...more
I've been grooving the urban fantasy genre for a bit now. Dresden Files caught me and swallowed me whole. A few others have touched the right vein. FoI've been grooving the urban fantasy genre for a bit now. Dresden Files caught me and swallowed me whole. A few others have touched the right vein. For me, there needs to be action, humor, and fun characters.
This one checks all three boxes and takes it to a different level of awesome!
Extremely unique and creative. Underwood takes everything that geeks love and hope for, and brings it to life in a funny and action-packed ride with trolls, lightsabers, underground sewers full of unmentionables, and much more.
In this world, magic abounds, yet is multi-flavored and non-traditional. There are the Geekomancers, Bromancers, Furrymancers, and... well just read the book! There is nothing else anywhere close to the creativity and geek-awesome-ness out there.
If you've ever hoped to have a super power or dreamed of being a jedi, this book is for you!
Read. This. Book.
If you need more convincing check out Ala's review that got me to buy it in a heartbeat....more
My Wheel of Time journey has begun (02/08/13). I am listening to the series on audiobook and enjoyed the first book. The concept is interesting, and tMy Wheel of Time journey has begun (02/08/13). I am listening to the series on audiobook and enjoyed the first book. The concept is interesting, and the lack of standard fantasy beings is refreshing. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series....more