Interesting world. Although I'm still not sure about the spren, sort of a animist spiritual being that embody everything from rot to fear to creation)Interesting world. Although I'm still not sure about the spren, sort of a animist spiritual being that embody everything from rot to fear to creation) and the biology (most of the animals are crustacean or something, the plants are all fungi instead?). It's interesting, but I'm not sure if there's a point or if they're just odd for oddness's sake. Good characters, for the most part. Although Shallan, the only woman viewpoint character until almost the end (and there were maybe three others of note) had an annoying trait of being "witty", which mostly involves her taking compliments literally and turning them to insults and I'm sorry but Touchstone she ain't It's odd. I read it, I liked it well enough, but u couldn't tell you whether I'll pick up anything else in the series, or any of Sanderson's other books. Which sound like three stars if ever I've read it. ...more
A worthy follow up to Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigade deepens Scalzi's universe, especially the complexity of the Colonial Union. The plot is also aA worthy follow up to Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigade deepens Scalzi's universe, especially the complexity of the Colonial Union. The plot is also a tad more focused; having established the world in his previous work, we skip right into the plot: treason and alliances and memory and the faintest chance of peace. It isn't as compelling, in part because of the understandable move from first person to rotating limited third. But really, if you're looking to read Ghost Beigafe, you've already read Old Man's War. I don't have too much in the way on analysis, but if you're wondering if it's worth continuing? Yes. Yes it is. ...more
The first thing you need to know is that Lloyd Alexander is one of the greats of children's literature. His magnum opus is the Chronicles of Prydain,The first thing you need to know is that Lloyd Alexander is one of the greats of children's literature. His magnum opus is the Chronicles of Prydain, a pseudo-Welsh fantasy coming-if-age that can break your heart in all the right ways; I'm partial myself to the faux French Revolution of his Westmark trilogy, in particular the second book, The Kestrel, where war brutally, beautifully drives Theo into post-traumatic madness. Lloyd Alrxandet writes for kids, but his protagonist suffer, because of life. Which brings us to The Iron Ring. Here, we find a young lord in a Hindi-derived setting (although more philosophy than religion), setting out to pay a debt of honor and stumbling into war, love, the limits of his rigid world. Alexander is in fine form with both his casual explanations of caste, never quite seeming to "As you know, Tamar..." as well as his motley of characters, elder loyal teachers and monkey kings and vengeful serpents and noble exiles. And yet... Well, for one thing, the love interest, Mirri, in particular feels too much like that. While Eilonwy or the Beggar Queen Mickle feel fairly fleshed out, Mirri is spunky on a children's novel love interest sort of way, withou much more to reccomend her. For another thing... There are way too many characters for such a slender book. At one point, three important new characters walk onto the stage and introduce themselves over two chapters. It gets a lulu title crowded, and if he'd cut a few and given the remaining characters more to work with, things may have seemed tighter. Finally, the end itself works well, but the penultimate event of the novel concludes a plot line you had probably forgotten about ages ago, which seemed more like world building at the time. Again, cutting it would have made the rest of the plot hold together more. There are a few other quibbles. But it's a kids book: if you're an adult, these criticism mean more, so bump it down to three stars. But if ultimately the biggest problem with the book is that it isn't as good as the best Lloyd Alexander has to offer, is that really a failing?...more
A novel about a widower bookstore owner in renamed Martha's Vineyard, who is saved from despair by an unexpected loss and an even more unlikely gain. WA novel about a widower bookstore owner in renamed Martha's Vineyard, who is saved from despair by an unexpected loss and an even more unlikely gain. Well written, good characterization, quick moving. Expect I'll have almost completely forgotten about it in about a week. The theme, the redemptive power if love and literature, us a wonderful theme, but there is hardly a drought of books on it. I enjoyed it well enough, but why IndieBound is gushing over it I cannot rightly explain. ...more
The Hydrogen Sonata is, in part, a take-that against thrillers. But not the kind you'd expect. Not agains scifi, space battles of all against all, orThe Hydrogen Sonata is, in part, a take-that against thrillers. But not the kind you'd expect. Not agains scifi, space battles of all against all, or even techno espionage.
No, this is Iain Banks, in his final at-bat, going up against the man himself: Dan Brown. (And Steve Berry to an even larger degree. But who's the famous one?)
The Hydrogen Sonata is the story of an ancient secret coming to light, and of those who want to keep it dark. Only... The secret is basically common knowledge to the Gzzlt, never confirmed but much suspected. The source of the information is doing the galactic equivalent of Douglas Adams bit about public notice for bypass construction ("It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard"). And the group trying to uncover the truth isn't sure what they'll do once they confirm what they already know.
Like the other Culture novels I've read, I'm impressed less with the big ideas (here, the value of the Truth vs pragmatism, the nature if the Culture-verse's ineffable Sublime) than the small ones: sand fountains and fractal castles and inferred alien cachet value (positive), honorary. None of this is to say that the story is bad, just... Besides the point, a shaggy dog story beyond the arguable shagginess of the first Culture novel I read, Look to Windward. I enjoyed it, and plan to read more Culture books. They just never quite grip. ...more
A mystery that doesn't even bother cheating, a comedy of errors that isn't funny, an Austen pastiche that lacks her energy. I think the death may be lA mystery that doesn't even bother cheating, a comedy of errors that isn't funny, an Austen pastiche that lacks her energy. I think the death may be less the murder victims than the characters, lying on the gurney with the grinning semblance of their one-time animation...more