Yet another enjoyable ride from Brandon Sanderson and a fun, fast-paced book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Our young hero David, always masterful at pullYet another enjoyable ride from Brandon Sanderson and a fun, fast-paced book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Our young hero David, always masterful at pulling his own fat out of the fire as well as his allied Reckoners, does so many times in this final book of the trilogy. There is a lot of action here, reminiscent of superhero comic books and Sanderson’s famous world building and creative use of magic/superpowers/tech is once again on full display, especially in the final climactic chapters.
Sanderson has been at the very top of my favorite authors for quite a while now and I have come to expect nothing but the best from him. And so I know I’m being extra nit-picky this time by only granting 4 stars to this one. I felt that there was simply too much action, too many epic battles and last minute eureka moments that saves the hero’s bacon. While there were some good character moments I would have liked to have seen more of that, even if it meant sacrificing a skirmish or two.
While the ending of the novel was very climactic, it seemed a little rushed and I’m not completely clear on the resolution. The balance seemed a bit off…dealing with Prof was truly epic but lengthy while the Calamity face-off was quite short and almost too easy. But don’t get me wrong. This is still a top-notch novel and if it weren’t Sanderson writing it, I doubt I would be so critical. I understand he writes these YAish novels as a break from his more traditional and complex fantasy (which has to be tremendously stressful) and serve to recharge his batteries. I have such high regard for Sanderson that I feel like apologizing for being even the least bit critical.
But overall, this is a wonderful trilogy with innovative plots, intriguing characters, and powerful underlying themes. ...more
Polly Newton has a straightforward personal career goal: become a starship pilot, preferably as an intergalactic pilot and take advantage of the new MPolly Newton has a straightforward personal career goal: become a starship pilot, preferably as an intergalactic pilot and take advantage of the new M Class drives being developed. However, her immediate plans are interrupted when her mother, the Mars Colony One director, announces that Polly and her twin brother Charles have been enrolled at the prestigious Earth-based Galileo Academy. Polly, having been born and raised on Mars as the third generation, post-colonization, has never stepped foot off-planet so moving to Earth for three years is a dreadful prospect, even if it might help her chances of getting into a pilot training program.
This stand-alone novel reminds me a lot of the Robert Heinlein juveniles. That’s a good thing because I really enjoyed reading those books. It’s told from Polly’s first person POV as she struggles to adapt to her new environment on Earth. I’ve read a lot of science fiction about people living on Earth who have to adjust to life in space, other planets, asteroid mining colonies, etc. but this is the first time I’ve seen that concept spun on its head. (With the exception, I suppose, of Heinlein's own Stranger in a Strange Land). Not only must Polly struggle with things we take for granted, such as the relatively high gravity of Earth, the concept of “outdoors”, the vastness of the oceans, etc. but she must also cope with the prejudices of fellow students and teachers who regard Polly and Charles as outsiders and lesser people.
Polly herself is an interesting character. As a typical older teen, she has the usual sarcastic observations, a bit whiny, self-esteem challenges and so forth but she is also courageous, smart, funny, and it’s a joy to watch her learn how to adapt. Much of the novel is about how she makes this adjustment and builds a coterie of friends but there is also a mystery here… something is going at Galileo Academy, something that seems to be moving beyond the expected rigorous academic training and testing and seems to be getting more and more dangerous.
Billed as a stand-alone novel, the story is complete in this one volume but it practically screams for a sequel or three. I am hopeful Ms. Vaughn will consider writing more of Polly’s and Charles’ adventures....more
Despite the author's attempts to portray a realistic approach to a child struggling to endure while his parents pursue a divorce, he has failed miseraDespite the author's attempts to portray a realistic approach to a child struggling to endure while his parents pursue a divorce, he has failed miserably. His young protagonist tries to deal with his situation by having an active imagination. I applaud him for that. But the author of this book seems to feel that is the wrong approach. His bottom line seems to be that reading comic books is bad for you. They lead you down a path of sickness because, I guess, they aren't real...? He doesn't make any case for his viewpoint but is content to let the supporting characters simply say things like, "Uggh...you actually read that disgusting trash? No wonder you are always getting into trouble."
Not recommended for children or for parents (or teachers or youth ministers) to give to their children to read....more