The narrative strives to portray Ky a little too perfectly, I think. I felt that it attempted to downplay Ky's weaknesses and mistakes in engaging wit...moreThe narrative strives to portray Ky a little too perfectly, I think. I felt that it attempted to downplay Ky's weaknesses and mistakes in engaging with Osman (Marque and Reprisal) by having Stella's completely legitimate concerns about Ky come across to the reader in the most unlikeable and non-credible way possible. I recognize that Stella is supposed to be the emotional sort, but I don't see emotional as being synonymous with petty and unreasonable (which was how the text presented her). It wasn't quite fair to Stella as a character, if it was just to make Ky look better.
All that aside, I liked this book better than the earlier ones. Especially loved reading about Aunt Gracie!(less)
As with the first book, my favourite parts of this one were when they were on Scarabaeus. Wish it took up a bigger portion. I was fine with Edie again...moreAs with the first book, my favourite parts of this one were when they were on Scarabaeus. Wish it took up a bigger portion. I was fine with Edie again this time, which convinces me my issues with her previously really was to do with her portrayal and a case of the last straw. All in all, an enjoyable read :)(less)
**spoiler alert** I've read some reviews that seem to be of the opinion that this book isn't one of her best. That it hasn't got any memorable charact...more**spoiler alert** I've read some reviews that seem to be of the opinion that this book isn't one of her best. That it hasn't got any memorable characters, aside from Miles himself, who is rather diminished as well. I think I have to agree. Bujold can write yes, but I've always felt that it was her characters who made the book, and all the interesting new ones promised in the summary,
"...a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don't mess with the secretary."
just didn't seem to live up to their potential. Everyone felt a little flat, smaller somehow and faded into the background, even the villains, who aren't even on-page at all. This book sounds like a dud right, so why am I still talking so much about it? Well, then there was the epilogue. Which was so bittersweet and beautifully written and in keeping with what the author has effectively set up for the whole novel, that I can't believe I didn't see it coming. In fact I feel like the entire adventure in Cryoburn was really a prelude to the epilogue, a thought experiment before the actual deed -- which may be why it seems so faded as a standalone? Because it's not meant to overshadow the ending?
I enjoyed this book. It's really fast-paced, there's barely any lull in the action, and because of that it's hard to put down. The aspects of Edie's w...moreI enjoyed this book. It's really fast-paced, there's barely any lull in the action, and because of that it's hard to put down. The aspects of Edie's work were nicely done, and I especially enjoyed the bits about Scarabaeus. I liked Finn and I actually quite liked Edie at first but...three quarters into the book, I started finding her rather tiresome, which significantly diminished my enjoyment towards the end. This review is about why.
Edie has a...highly empathetic character, which I found likeable at first, because hey, who doesn't like caring people? I got that she had a lot of empathy the first time she championed someone's life before her own safety. As well as the next fifty times she did the same thing. I get it already, Edie is selfless to a fault and she cares about the sanctity of human life. But it doesn't need to be pointed out again and again and again, to the point where it seriously starts to irritate the reader (me).
I felt like some of the moments used to emphasize Edie's empathy was overkill. To be fair, I don't think I had any problems with Edie's character, since it took me 75% through to finally get fed up with her. What I had a problem with was her portrayal, the focus on her selflessness and how it started getting preachy after awhile. For example, there is a scene in which her immediate safety and health is being threatened, and her knee-jerk response is to exclaim 'Don't you dare hurt Finn' even when the threats aren't even about him. He wasn't even in the picture. Yes there is the ever-present danger of the threats being redirected to him but in that moment it was such an irrelevant thing to say (and stupid, since it only brought their attention to Finn) that it seems it was just there to show how much she puts Finn before herself or something.
And then there was the scene on Scarabaeus. (view spoiler)[When Kristos was being swallowed by this giant tuber plant thing, she STICKS HER ARM INTO IT to try and help him. OMG that is the one thing you DO NOT DO in horror predator movies if you want to stay till the credits roll, and true enough, she's no help and gets in danger of being eaten herself until Finn saves her. TSTL, anyone? And then when they're being attacked by plant whips and shit, Finn asks her if she's ever seen anything like it before. She says no. "She just wanted to get back to Kristos." They are in danger of being killed by homicidal plants in an alien environment and the author still couldn't resist spotlighting Edie's selflessness. (hide spoiler)] I literally facepalmed at that. How many more of these self-sacrificing thoughts of Edie's need to be shoved under my nose before the author is satisfied that yes, I GET IT, EDIE PRIZES HUMAN LIFE, ALWAYS. It's not that I looked upon his life lightly, but at that moment deadly new factors were suddenly being introduced into the narrative and I was so anxious for them, I couldn't believe she wasn't either.
So when Finn shook her out of her self-pity, I cheered for him. When he manipulated Edie through her need to place the burden of everyone in the vicinity's lives on her shoulder, I thought, well okay, maybe there is a point to this irritating portrayal of what is generally supposed to be a good trait, after all. I thought maybe her nerve-grating martyr complex could be complemented by Finn's selfish survival instincts, coax him into learning to trust again, and he could provide a bit of a balance to her TSTL tendencies. But then at the end of the book Finn makes a small speech about how she's inspired him to fight again, which really quite cemented the preachy tone of Edie's portrayal. It made me a lot less eager to start on the second book.
There is a line at the end, where Edie thinks about what the things she wants would mean for others, and is appalled at her own 'selfish desires' (this the girl who has only had selfless thoughts since the first page). It made me laugh.
That's about the only problem I had with this book, which is really too bad, because I thought all the other characters were rather three-dimensional and interesting, and Edie would've been too if it weren't for the compulsive need to turn her into everyone's conscience. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)