Aside from this one, I only read book two in the Jackson Brodie series, but I felt like I was not missing that much, plotwise. These are really standAside from this one, I only read book two in the Jackson Brodie series, but I felt like I was not missing that much, plotwise. These are really stand alone mysteries, as far as I can tell. The audiobook reader for this one was pretty good. The mystery in this was fairly obvious but it was more like a character study than a traditional whodunit....more
I found this book while searching for a book club book in my library's ebook catalog - I had heard of Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest, whichI found this book while searching for a book club book in my library's ebook catalog - I had heard of Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest, which I had been meaning to read for awhile but never got around to. So I opened this ebook, saying to myself that I would only read a few pages to get a feel for her writing, and then BAM, it was 3 am and I was finished with this and obsessively googling the release date for the next book in the series.
I had recently watched Top of the Lake, a show that is definitely NOT YA, but I thought of it a lot while reading this - the desaturated landscape cinematography and general sense of foreboding combined with strong & independent female leads was pretty similar for both this book and the show. The stillness & wildness of the land was almost another character, someone who never spoke but was holding their breath through the whole book. I know that this is meant to be set in some version of Scotland or another historically Celtic area, but in my mind while reading it, this was taking place in that sort of NZ landscape.
I loved the main character, Neryn, in this. I loved that she was not slow witted, a choice many YA authors seem to make. It's sort of understandable, because then characters can be used as vehicles to transmit information to the reader, but it sacrifices any scrap of humanity a character might have had. That was not the case at all with this book, characters were living beings who were definitely believable, just as they were also fallible and imperfect. I LOVED that (view spoiler)[Flint/Owen was a spy. A double agent! (A TRIPLE agent, maybe???) (hide spoiler)]
I also appreciated the realistic survivalist aspects of the book - many times in fantasy stories you have characters who will be living off the land for years, sleeping on the ground and leaping up to lead armies or perform amazing feats, when in reality, survivalist living is not a path to a long & healthy lifestyle. I really appreciated that the main character got sick, was physically weak & unwell, just as she would be if she was living like that in real life. I appreciated how much of her time & energy was spent on securing food & shelter - I realize that for many people that might be a negative, boring aspect of the book, but for me, it was one of my favorite parts. Your needs & wants really contract in hard situations and I very much appreciated the realism.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
While I was reading this, I could not clearly remember all the characters/plotlines in Ship Breaker (which I read iThis is more like 3.5 stars for me.
While I was reading this, I could not clearly remember all the characters/plotlines in Ship Breaker (which I read in 2011), and I kept having the nagging feeling that there was some stuff I was missing because of that.
This book was okay. I like the sections about the DC metro area - there was one part where it talked about DC metro area commuters, underwater, which I heard as I was listening to this as an audiobook, while commuting in the DC metro area. (Meta!)
The worldbuilding was, as always, fascinating. The characters were a little dull & repetitive, which I am chalking up to this being a YA book. I felt like the allegory was laid on a little too thickly with all the historical artifacts & ephemera from the "accelerated age" US of A. It was interesting to spend more time with the child soldiers as people, instead of just a plot device. They reminded me of the terrorists from Bel Canto.
Overall this was okay - the audiobook reader was good also - but I suspect I will have trouble remembering character & plot specifics 2 years from now just as I do with Ship Breaker....more
I liked this novella - I didn't think I would until I got about 40-50 pages in and got used to the language and made up alien names. I liked Bult, theI liked this novella - I didn't think I would until I got about 40-50 pages in and got used to the language and made up alien names. I liked Bult, the satire needling bureaucracy & political correctness, and the alien world. I really liked the concept of exploration and surveying of alien worlds. I was not a big fan of the romantic subplot, which I thought was not very believable. ...more
I did not love this book. I appreciated the prose and wit and dialogue, but as a reader I was not invested in any of the characters. I did not particuI did not love this book. I appreciated the prose and wit and dialogue, but as a reader I was not invested in any of the characters. I did not particularly like Locke himself, I did not really think the scheme they were working on was 100% interesting, it was just not the book for me.
The prose was dense and took some effort to get into - it was a very specific dialect that worked very well for the setting, with a different tempo of dialogue, which worked well for the characters. I was just not very moved by the plot, which I think was the weakest part of the book. It felt very familiar - like I had read a similar fantasy book before, or played a similar game, it was very referential, but I couldn't put my finger precisely on what it reminded me of. (I felt a little like the Berengias Sisters were supposed to be some kind of send up to the Duras Sisters.)
The timeline skipping all over the place was also a little confusing and annoying to me as a reader. I was able to figure it out, as I was reading, but it felt like that was a hurdle I should not have to cross, and a problem that could have been solved easily with headings or chapter titles. I am also kind of over the Know It All Teenager trope common to countless fantasy books, which constantly annoyed me as I was reading this, but that is a personal preference, not the fault of the book. ...more
I do not think I would have finished this book had I not read it as an audiobook. The readers/performers were great - they really propelled the storyI do not think I would have finished this book had I not read it as an audiobook. The readers/performers were great - they really propelled the story along and lived each character in a way that I do not think I would have seen if I had just been reading the words on a page. The characters were not really interesting to me in and of themselves - the whole book felt very experimental in nature with the different writing styles and forms of dialogue. It just kind of felt like a standard literary fiction MFA piece. I did like the setting and atmosphere - but the book overall was just okay....more
This book was so great. I love this whole series. I was really amused at the range of accents Kobna Holdbrook-Smith had to do, some of which sounded mThis book was so great. I love this whole series. I was really amused at the range of accents Kobna Holdbrook-Smith had to do, some of which sounded made up specifically to challenge him.
The mystery in this was great, the quiet people were great, I love this series. I almost want to read this again, immediately....more
I thought this one was not as good as Rivers of London only because I had figured out the Jazzman killer mystery right at the beginning and I felt likI thought this one was not as good as Rivers of London only because I had figured out the Jazzman killer mystery right at the beginning and I felt like I was waiting for Peter Grant to catch up with me the entire time.
I totally loved every other aspect of the book, though. It was like a long Geordi themed TNG episode, which was another thing I guessed right at the start, but those are some of my favorite episodes, so it was still good. And the performance by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was fantastic. ...more
This book was AMAZING. Part of that was the stellar performance from Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as the reader of this audiobook, but the writing was just pThis book was AMAZING. Part of that was the stellar performance from Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as the reader of this audiobook, but the writing was just perfect! The characterization was so excellent, Peter Grant was one of the best characters I have come across in a long long time. I cannot think of one single negative or critical comment about this book, I loved every second of it.
The magic system and way it's woven into modern society reminded me a little of the way it worked in The Magicians, but it was SO much more believable.
I just had such a good time listening to this book, I immediately searched out everything else the author and audiobook reader had ever done. Listening to this book while commuting brightened my entire week, through a lot of tough stuff at work, I really wish I could personally thank both Ben Aaronovitch and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith for creating it. ...more
I liked this book a lot. It reminded me a little of Ship Fever: Stories, but I can't decide if it's because of the short story format or because one oI liked this book a lot. It reminded me a little of Ship Fever: Stories, but I can't decide if it's because of the short story format or because one of the short stories, Counting the Days, is set in St Lawrence during the same historical events.
I liked the theme of travel, and being far from home, the book is divided into 3 sections, Departures, In Transit, and Arrivals & Aftermaths. Each story is set in a different location & time, based on actual people or events.
My favorites were The Widow's Cruse, Counting the Days, Snowblind, The Gift, and What Remains. ...more
OMG. This was ridiculous, as expected. Not as crazy as the Star Trek: The Next Generation: Planet X book, but still. The Borg and the Cybermen team upOMG. This was ridiculous, as expected. Not as crazy as the Star Trek: The Next Generation: Planet X book, but still. The Borg and the Cybermen team up? TNG and Original Series crews both meet Cybermen & Doctor Who? Totally implausible but it seems like everyone involved had a lot of fun making it.
The art in the main storyline bugged me - it was this wispy dreamlike watercolor that made it hard to focus on. I guess it was easier to illustrate obviously well known actors in this style, but it didn't really work for me. (I liked the flashback art much more.)...more
But I liked this story a lot, I wWriting what I think about wildly popular or classic books is always a little bit like Ted Wilson Reviews The World.
But I liked this story a lot, I wish the book was longer or that there was more in depth character development. I appreciated that Anne was not an effervescent and boisterous heroine, that she was a person who recognized that the real world has consequences and that things don't always work out for the best. But she was still patient and kind and strong and good even in the face of dismissive and rude and manipulative family. It ended kind of abruptly, and I felt like a lot of the plotlines that the first 1/3 of the book built up just kind of fizzled, which was sort of a letdown. ...more
I listened to this in audiobook format, which was not ideal, because I kept wanting to check footnotes or sourI cannot stop thinking about megacolons.
I listened to this in audiobook format, which was not ideal, because I kept wanting to check footnotes or sources. I especially couldn't do this while driving, but that did not stop me from requesting two of the most promising full text versions of articles from NLM at NIH:
Dalton, J C M.D., Experimental Investigations to Determine whether the Garden Slug can Live in the Human Stomach. American Journal of the Medical Sciences April 1865, Volume 49, Issue 98, ppg 334-338.
Armstrong BK, Softly A. Prevention of coprophagy in the rat. A new method. Br J Nutr. 1966;20(3):595-8.
I especially am looking forward to seeing the pictures of the method in the second one....more
The reader for this audiobook, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, is FANTASTIC. His performance just MADE the story for me. Like all other Alastair Reynolds booksThe reader for this audiobook, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, is FANTASTIC. His performance just MADE the story for me. Like all other Alastair Reynolds books (except Terminal World, BARF) this is great for commuting - the editor seems to have fled the building when this book was written, so there are plenty of long-winded descriptions and enough extraneous dialogue so that I could zone out (mostly) or pay attention to something important traffic-wise (rarely) without missing key parts of the story. But the plot also does not bog down and isn't repetitive. And the characters are interesting and distinctive people. Eunice, in particular, is awesome.
For personal reasons, I can really identify with a main character who kind of just wants to study and hang out with his elephants, but is a member of a large family with many successful yet prickly and disapproving cousins. I really liked all the parts with the elephants.
Like all Alastair Reynolds books, this one featured a space elevator, and a long deviation into a pointless plotline that the author just wants to info-dump on. This one seemed to be a futuristic version of Robot Wars, which I can't fault because, hey, I used to watch reruns of that all the time also.
It was only a short time into this book that I started seeing the world around me as Surveilled World vs Descrutinized Zone - I was reading this at the time that Google was promoting Google Glass, with all the conversations and discussions about privacy that were happening at the time. I really like this concept - especially because I think now many people are unaware of how surveilled they are, exactly.
This book also includes one of my very favorite science fiction tropes, Whales In Space. I love it.
I really want there to be a sequel to this book, and I really want to read it right now....more
I almost never finished this book because it violated my 100 page rule - if I don't like a book by 100 pages in, I can put it down and we c(3.5 stars)
I almost never finished this book because it violated my 100 page rule - if I don't like a book by 100 pages in, I can put it down and we can both move on with our lives. The whole first half of this book was filled with clunky dialogue, a supremely annoying main character, writing that was mostly telling, not showing, and a totally cliched plotline involving a highschool that was more suited for the 1980's than hundred(s?) of years in the future.
BUT the SECOND half of the book was just great. The Plastine and plot and utter creepiness of her parents, and the big reveal of (view spoiler)[Bren's grandfather being Xander (hide spoiler)] which I sort of suspected, but still surprised me. I really liked Otto. I can see how this was set up with room for a sequel, or even a trilogy, but I thought the ending wrapped it up well - I was pretty satisfied.
I don't think I've ever been so conflicted about rating a book - the second half was definitely 5 stars, but the first half almost lost me. The only reason I kept going was because I was reading this as part of a group, and some of them finished it before me, and gave it high ratings, and I had to find out why. It was not because the story or writing hooked me in. I understand WHY the writing was done that way - it's from Rose's perspective, and she's slow-witted waking up from stass. It got quicker and flowed more as Rose woke up & took control of her life. If I wrote a story from my perspective while I was recovering from a migraine it would involve a lot of long boring pauses and simple phrases as well. It worked with the story as a whole, I wish I had some solid editorial advice to give to fix the problems I had with the beginning but I don't. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The number one thought I had throughout this book was - and this is not intended to offend any Australians, and absolutely exposes me as an American iThe number one thought I had throughout this book was - and this is not intended to offend any Australians, and absolutely exposes me as an American ignorant of world affairs - but who the heck would want to invade AUSTRALIA? Seriously, from a military standpoint, what advantage does that give you? Yeah, a whole lot of sparsely populated land that's difficult to defend, on an island, basically, not near anything else on the planet. If your goal was to set up a secret base of operations, why not just fly in to the middle of the outback, and have it be REALLY secret, instead of taking over a small town? Even if it is a small town on the way to somewhere else. What sort of step up does having control of an Australian city give you, in the scheme of things?
Also, no offense to anyone I know in real life, but if we are in a crisis situation where we have to decamp to the wilderness and I have to pick between you and my dogs, I hope you know how that decision would pan out.
I thought this book held up surprisingly well for being almost 20 years old, it fits right in to the post-apocalyptic YA trend that's going on now. The technology didn't feel dated or out of place, which was nice. The characters were well differentiated, but I was not all THAT interested in them, personally. All the teenager-in-love storylines were boring, to me. I was most interested in the invasion & occupation, and the story of the hermit.
I was a little disappointed in the ending - so many things were just left hanging. I guess that's the way it is with a series, but I was frustrated. I want to know who has invaded and why, but I'm not sure if I'm invested enough in the characters to read the other books in the series or just summaries online. ...more
This one was not great. The characters are mostly unlikeable people, definitely unsympathetic people, there is not a great plot, and the dialogue wasThis one was not great. The characters are mostly unlikeable people, definitely unsympathetic people, there is not a great plot, and the dialogue was flat. Also, this was Georgian as opposed to Regency, not what I was expecting.
The only bright spot was the trio of Pelham and Pommeroy and Edward Heron. The other thing that kept me going through this was the incredible detail. Otherwise, ugh....more
This review will be wholly unhelpful to anyone who is not me, FYI.
Ahhhh! I had the niggling sensation about halfway through this book that it was someThis review will be wholly unhelpful to anyone who is not me, FYI.
Ahhhh! I had the niggling sensation about halfway through this book that it was something I had read before, a very long time ago, when I was a little little kid, and when I had gotten about 2/3 through it I was POSITIVE I had, AND parts of this story have been appearing in my dreams for about 20 years, but I could never identify where they came from. I feel like I have to give it 5 stars at least because I am so thrilled to make this discovery, the murder and mistaken identities (especially the scene with Cedric, near the end) and madcap-style action, the stagecoach overturning and Pen all dressed in boy's clothes. I have no idea where I read this previously because I can't think of anyone I knew 20 years ago who would have had this. (I can very easily see myself reading this as an 8 year old, no one really cared what I read, plus it seems like something I would pick. In retrospect, a great book for an 8 year old, many crazy antics, fabulous language, & only one murder.) Was this ever a stage play, or ripped off as a stage play? That part might have been part of the dreams.
As it is, I would give the story, characters, etc 3 stars for being amusing & entertaining, but not paragons of literary style, per se, with a whole extra star for the personal discovery of a long lost book.