Absurd and disturbingly poignant, reading Pelevin's 'Omon Ra' feels akin to taking LSD and staring at a child's mobile of the solar system as the drugAbsurd and disturbingly poignant, reading Pelevin's 'Omon Ra' feels akin to taking LSD and staring at a child's mobile of the solar system as the drug wears off (possibly while suspended in a harness, wearing full SCUBA gear and after several months of eating only star-shaped noodles in a bland chicken and cabbage broth as your sole form of sustenance).
It runs the full course of: normality - LSD - coming down from LSD - becoming aware of new surroundings - questioning new surroundings - questioning everything - carrying on as normal. Of course, the tale itself contains no LSD, but reading it certainly feels that way.
I'm torn in that I can't say that I "liked" it, but I still liked it. It made me question the passive nature of man, and our acceptance of subterfuge when we can reconcile it with our own dreams. I was reminded, perhaps unduly, of Philip K Dick's 'A Scanner Darkly' crossed between the film 'Waking Life'. I can't explain that, maybe it's just the drugs.
There is a veiled dark humour behind the absurdity. Something I think was made more clear by the particular translation I read (thank you Yuri Machkasov and your glorious footnotes!). Otherwise the reader might be confused, or simply oblivious, to certain culturally specific references. I can imagine this book is hilariously on par with Orwell's '1984' when read in it's original text, but without a lot of the background history you'd be almost forgiven for missing the punchline.
Overall - a bleak and hilarious look at Russian space flight from the perspective of a dreamer who became an 'insider'. Explored through the eyes of a willingly unwilling cosmonaut, the setup is glaringly analogous to that of the American moon-landing "conspiracy". Anyone who scrutinised and relished that idea will no doubt enjoy Victor Pelevin's 'Oman Ra' as well....more
Trent's novel was my first foray into urban fantasy. Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen a novel set so close to home, as I found the local references jarTrent's novel was my first foray into urban fantasy. Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen a novel set so close to home, as I found the local references jarring at times. Perhaps the novel is directed at the YA audience rather than myself, and if that is the case then many of my irks would disappear. I've upped my rating to 3 stars based purely on my hesitations regarding genre and age group.
At first I struggled to separate my opinions of the writing with my opinion of the genre as a whole. Recognising that it was a new genre for me, I thought that some of the awkwardness injected into the detail of the world may not have affected me if I didn't intimately know each street, park, and building. But I worked beyond that, and still found some of the writing awkward and obvious. As far as stories go, this one was well constructed. There was generally a good speed and plot. However, I found the constant reference to Steven's dead companion being (in fact) 'dead' to be quite tedious. Each chapter rakes through the idea that she is dead, cannot me touched, can only be seen by him, can't pick up a glass, could disappear at any moment .. the list goes on. It's not that these references are naturally laced into the story, which would be fine, but Steven often says to himself, "Oh, that's right, she's dead", and then reminisces about what could be if she weren't dead. A good editor would have assured Trent that this wasn't necessary. To be completely brutal, I also would have chosen an alternative to the word 'pomp'; but that's neither here nor there.
All of that aside, I did enjoy it. It was very easy to read, and took me a few days reading on the commute to work. The pace was generally well managed, and the chapters were well constructed.
If you're looking for something that doesn't require much thinking and is easy to follow, definitely pick it up. I found myself wanting to read on quickly to see what would happen next, but still rolling my eyes when Steven would wax lyrical about his dead companion. Kudos to Trent on a great construction, but I'd recommend are more free-handed editor. ...more
Terrible. The writing is amateur and clumsy, and the characters lack personality, development and meaningful dialogue. Have you seen The Goonies? BonesTerrible. The writing is amateur and clumsy, and the characters lack personality, development and meaningful dialogue. Have you seen The Goonies? Boneshaker is a bit like that. It feels like a 'choose your own adventure' story, where some over-enthusiastic 9 year old boy has already picked the adventure.
While the story behind Boneshaker is a fantastic premise - this is probably the only reason the book was published. I had such high hopes and was woefully disappointed.
Where does it fail? It's a hard break between the schoolboy dialogue and the predictable plot. Maybe it's the straightforward list of fortuitous coincidences that help Briar and Zeke on their adventure. It could even be the writer's relentless attempts to suggest some hidden mystery, which just seem pointless. The only time the dialogue seems 'plausible' is when Briar is talking to her son at the start of the book, and when Zeke is talking to Rudy* when he first enters the city. Priest can't seem to escape the immaturity of the writing though. I don't think the book is written for primary school kids, but it certainly feels that way. Also - some aspects of the city probably do need to be explained in detail, but some do not. Priest does not have the balance right.
Lastly, (and my reason for downgrading from 2 stars to 1 star) I counted at least twenty text errors. Perhaps it is just the ePub version, but this left me feeling aggravated, and that the author, and the editor, just didn't give a damn about producing good steampunk.
I wanted this book to work out for me, I really did. But the last three hundred pages are tiresome.
*Rudy, as a character, means so little to me that I forgot his name immediately and had to look it up for this review. He was originally referred to here as 'the dude with the cane'. Come to think of it, I can't even remember if he lives or dies....more
A glorious pop-up book with letters, flaps, and a board game complete with spinner! Everything a young adventurer needs. Easy to read, well organised. KA glorious pop-up book with letters, flaps, and a board game complete with spinner! Everything a young adventurer needs. Easy to read, well organised. Kids won't be allowed to touch this one!...more