The Long Earth is a good book. It's not a great book, or an astounding book. There were portions of the book that felt unnecessary, and it seemed a lo...moreThe Long Earth is a good book. It's not a great book, or an astounding book. There were portions of the book that felt unnecessary, and it seemed a lot of the time like it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be an adventure story or something a little more serious that explored the political implications of the seemingly endless worlds. Occasionally it managed to mesh the two pretty well, but for the most part the book felt kind of disjointed.
That wasn't helped by mostly unlikable characters. The relationship between Joshua and Lobsang was interesting (even though Lobsang seemed to want to creatively murder Joshua by dropping him unprepared into dangerous situations every other chapter) but it never really felt real. Joshua's presence on the journey seemed mostly redundant, as he didn't really do anything but get into trouble. Sally, another natural Stepper that they pick up later on in the book, is deeply unpleasant. All she seems to do is make bitter asides about both Lobsang and Joshua, and humanity in general. And while initially she seemed to me like one of Pratchett's familiar wonderful prickly female characters (in the vein of Susan Sto Helit and Granny Weatherwax) Sally doesn't get to do any real developing or even show another side of her personality, and so she (like Joshua and Lobsang) falls flat.
Maybe these are all problems that will be solved by the sequel novels, and I am fully willing to give those a try, because the story elements that were presented in The Long Earth were very interesting. But as a stand-alone novel, it doesn't work very well.(less)
As far as movie novelizations go, this one was pretty decent. The writing wasn't mind-blowing, but it wasn't horrible like so many novelizations are....moreAs far as movie novelizations go, this one was pretty decent. The writing wasn't mind-blowing, but it wasn't horrible like so many novelizations are. And the book contained a lot of clarification and extra information that wasn't in the movie, which in my opinion would make it worth reading even if it sucked out loud.
My only real complaint with the novelization is that it went with the Raleigh and Mako kissing ending, which they decided to leave out of the movie because it didn't feel right. Which it still doesn't in the book. But it's a minor complaint and I can easily ignore it for all of the details about the characters, Jaegers, and kaiju.(less)
I really enjoyed this story. Tamora Pierce is a very good writer, and Angela Del Toro is a great character. The art gets worse and worse as the story...moreI really enjoyed this story. Tamora Pierce is a very good writer, and Angela Del Toro is a great character. The art gets worse and worse as the story goes along, but it's pretty easy to ignore until the last issue of the arc, at which point it's just kind of hilarious.(less)
A really excellent adaptation of an amazing book. Probably a bit hard to follow if you're not already familiar with the series, so I'd recommend at le...moreA really excellent adaptation of an amazing book. Probably a bit hard to follow if you're not already familiar with the series, so I'd recommend at least reading the stories from Swords Against Death before picking up the comic.(less)
The book seemed like it struggled to figure out what it wanted to do. The main plot, as presented at the beginning of the bo...moreNot a big fan of this one.
The book seemed like it struggled to figure out what it wanted to do. The main plot, as presented at the beginning of the book, is largely ignored for most of the middle section of the book in favor of tangents designed entirely to serve as big action set pieces or pointless gross-out sequences. The characterization was terrible; none of the characters behaved in any reasonable way given how they were previously described. The main character, Horza, was particularly guilty of this. He was clever and calculating and mercenary until it served the plot for him to do something totally stupid and emotionally driven.
The book meandered quite a bit as well, and seemed more like a series of vaguely interconnected vignettes as opposed to a coherent novel. There were characters introduced that had no bearing on the story. The ship and mercenaries wandered around aimlessly until most of them were killed off. The climax of the book dragged on for a million years and depended on the reader being able to suspend disbelief enough to buy that an alien which had been thoroughly crushed and then shot several times in the head could get up and retain enough brain and muscle function to operate a train.
The book ends on a pretty nihilistic note; no one really accomplishes what they set out to do and almost all of them die (including the object of Horza's woefully underdeveloped affections, who reveals that she's pregnant just when things start to get dangerous, sealing her fate in the most obvious, disgusting, and unfortunately typical manner). There are some interesting passages that imply that Horza was kidnapped and brainwashed and that he might not be who he thinks he is, but after the idea is presented, it is immediately dropped in favor of repetitive action sequences and explosions.
I've seen a lot of people call this book an intellectual space opera, and I'm kind of curious exactly what part of this mess they thought was even remotely intelligent.(less)
I bought this, Hyperion, and Fall of Hyperion all at the same time, and while I enjoyed the two Hyperion books, they took me a while to get through. I...moreI bought this, Hyperion, and Fall of Hyperion all at the same time, and while I enjoyed the two Hyperion books, they took me a while to get through. I was a bit worried that Ilium would be the same, particularly since it deals with the incredibly dense Iliad as its central subject matter.
I shouldn't have worried, though; Ilium is easily one of the most interesting books that I've read. The way Simmons weaves together science fiction and literature is amazing to me, and the fact that the book also throws in Shakespeare's The Tempest as additional inspiration is the best. The descriptions of the gods, the mystery of Odysseus, and the threat posed by the ominous and as yet unexplored Setebos inspired me to go buy the sequel so that I can start on it immediately.
My only gripe with the book is that many of the characters are fairly static. The only two we see go through any significant character arcs are Daeman and Hockenberry. I suspect that will change in the sequel, though, and I'm excited to see what happens with Hannah, Helen of Troy, and Mahnmut and Orphu. Can't wait to start Olympos!(less)