1. Easy language. A bit thick, but not hard to sink into. 2. Possible gore alert for the easily squicked. (No, th...more**spoiler alert** Unspoilery thoughts:
1. Easy language. A bit thick, but not hard to sink into. 2. Possible gore alert for the easily squicked. (No, this isn't a spoiler.) 3. Not my kind of fantasy, more on that under the cut. 4. Rated: *** (out of a possible 5)
Maybe I've been reading fanfic too long, but it's a bit frustrating to spend 75% of the book on the setup. *G* Okay yes, in general that's how it works, but it seemed to me that the plot, the 'adventure' was a bit-- *shrugs* I dunno-- setuppy. I've read other books where it didn't seem like they FINALLY got a good clip going and bang it was the end.
What bothered me the most though was the complete disconnection from logical workings that this universe represented. Which I suppose was the point and there was some, a system of how this works held together by hope and spit, but it felt a bit like cardboard cutouts of how a word would work, supported by nothing than agreement that yes, it should work that way. Again, I suppose that this was the point, but for me, that's not enough to take on the author's word. I don't need it all spelled out for me but I need to be able to think a little about how it MIGHT work in my own head.
Also, I'm not terribly surprised it was his first solo novel outside of the graphic novels and such. It was good, fun even, easy to move on with even with all of the characters and such, but I found it very-- first novely. *shrug*
That said, it was fun and an easy read. I'll probably never reread it, but I don't regret having spent money on it.(less)
Nothing wrong with this book perse-- I think I'm just grumpy. the main character is a bit dense at times, which I don't object to, main characters sho...moreNothing wrong with this book perse-- I think I'm just grumpy. the main character is a bit dense at times, which I don't object to, main characters shouldn't be perfect and have no room for an arc, I'm just grumpy enough that it's annoying me more than it should. Will be back for it sooner rather than later!(less)
It took me approximately 50 pages to go "Oh. Interesting." Another 50 to go, "OH. INTERESTING." And another 20 or so after that to really see how even...moreIt took me approximately 50 pages to go "Oh. Interesting." Another 50 to go, "OH. INTERESTING." And another 20 or so after that to really see how even MORE interesting it was going to be. After that, I stopped keeping count.
This is obviously one of Sawyer's earlier works, he's a bit clunky in the exposition, there's definitely a good deal of interesting in the beginning, but it's shrouded in uneven introduction and clunky science. It might have been that this particular science was not something I knew the basics about at ALL, which I find helps when reading a novel heavily steeped in some science concept or another, or that Sawyer just hadn't gotten a handle on thinning it down for the laymen while still making his characters sound competent.
One thing that Sawyer obviously has a grasp on early on (though you get a better picture as the novel goes on) is how to do Aliens. I mean, serious Aliens. I don't really have a huge problem with Star Trek form of Alien, anything is plausible when we don't know all that much, but Sawyer does it right, from biology right down to sociology. Sawyer really understands aliens and the implications thereof.
This novel is startling and refreshing. It reminds me of Heinlein minus all the things I hate and with a dash of wonder and mystery that Heinlein didn't often pull off. Despite its slow start, I plodded along until the pull of plot wasn't simply a tiny string plodding me along, but a full force tug that continually surprised me by its directions.
Sadly, the book is out of print, but Amazon has it used for a reasonable price.(less)
So far my impressions of Scalzi are that he's an easy read and prefers to dump you into the universe and explain on the way rather than start with an...moreSo far my impressions of Scalzi are that he's an easy read and prefers to dump you into the universe and explain on the way rather than start with an epically dense first chapter full of exposition.
I'm okay with this. *G*
The book itself reminded me a lot of Heinlein, but with 80% less objectionable POV, less the feeling that the author was simply finding a soapbox for his own feelings on the Way the World Should Work and 100% more like I came from the same place culturally as this author did. Structurally though, it was eerily similar.
It was a fun read, my only complaint was that it didn't really feel like a structured story and I'm not exactly sure why it ended where it did. Though knowing there's 3 or 4 more in the series, it wasn't as frustrating as it could have been.(less)
Personal prejudice warning: There's always something about werewolf internal politics that I hate. Always. No matter how well it's written. I'm fairly...morePersonal prejudice warning: There's always something about werewolf internal politics that I hate. Always. No matter how well it's written. I'm fairly sure I know WHY, but it still always sort of lessens the enjoyability of a book for me.
That aside, this book does not tread on already covered ground. There's enough new variations on old fantasy elements and unexpected plot twists that this book is well worth a look. It's short in the way the first book of a series can tend to be, but it packs a punch of plot and characters and backgrounds and politics and what have you all the way through it.
The only complaint I have is I think the ending was a tiny bit rushed. Otherwise it's a nice balance of humor and seriousness.(less)