This is a romance novel. It's not bad. It's a fast read.
I read this for Sci-Fi book group.
Some of the other reviews have compared it to Ursula K LeGThis is a romance novel. It's not bad. It's a fast read.
I read this for Sci-Fi book group.
Some of the other reviews have compared it to Ursula K LeGuin. But it is not in LeGuin's league at all. Some of the reviews have compared it to Star Trek. I can see it as fan fiction of the Star Trek reboot with the Sadira as the Vulcans after their planet is destroyed.
All the races are variants on human and can interbreed. There are only minor differences in hair, skin, eye color, and psi ability.
All the flora and fauna are also the same as earth. And they have access to all of Earth culture, despite not having access to the actual earth, for some reason that is not explained very well.
I thought the world building was lazy, uneven, and not very well thought out. The author apparently had an idea she thought would be interesting to explore. Then she just went an wrote a romance novel that really didn't need the idea, and she decided to throw in Elves, Shangri-La, a murder attempt, slave trafficking, amnesia, and a cave rescue just to keep things from getting boring. And wrapped everything up with a deus ex machina.
The romance story was predictable. But pleasant. The psi variants were handled well.
She threw in one person of deliberately ambiguous gender, and made the main character's mother gay or possibly just bi, for no particular reason. Which was nice.
I found the few references to religion to be totally ignorant and very much of our current times. I don't think this book will age well.
If you want to read a good sci-fi story writen by a woman, with political commentary, non-white characters, and sexual diversity try "The Summer Prince" by Alaya Dawn Johnson....more
A father goes to the corner store to get milk for his two daughters and comes back with an amazing story about what hapThis was a clever little book.
A father goes to the corner store to get milk for his two daughters and comes back with an amazing story about what happened on his way home. Fortunately the milk remained undamaged by the journey. ...more
A bit depressing really. I think this collection had more darker stories than he usually includes in his collections.
I had already read most of theseA bit depressing really. I think this collection had more darker stories than he usually includes in his collections.
I had already read most of these because I'm a long time fan. But there were a couple that were new to me. (I didn't know he wrote vampire stories.) And all of them were worth reading again.
These are fan favorites so I recommend them to anyone who is just checking out Charles de Lint. It gives you a good overview of his style and subject matter.
Introduction In Which We Meet Jilly Coppercorn Coyote Stories Laughter in the Leaves The Badger in the Bag And the Rafters Were Ringing Merlin Dreams in the Mondream Wood The Stone Drum Timeskip Freewheeling A Wish Named Arnold Into the Green The Graceless Child Wintere Was Hard The Conjure Man We Are Dead Together Mr. Truepenny's Book Emporium and Gallery In the House of My Enemy The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep Crow Girls Birds Held Safe by Moonlight and Vines In the Pines Pixel Pixies Many Worlds are Born Tonight Sisters Pal o' Mine That Was Radio Clash Old Man Crow The Fields Beyond the Fields Copyrights & Acknowledgements About the Author Memory & Dream excerpt...more
This is a very well written and novel take on a classic fairy tale.
I have only one complaint. The protagonist spends too much time wondering if she iThis is a very well written and novel take on a classic fairy tale.
I have only one complaint. The protagonist spends too much time wondering if she is going crazy. Protagonists who constantly doubt the crazy things that are clearly going on around them are annoying enough when they come from a world without magic and have some reason to question what it is happening, but for a girl who regularly has to pick gremlins out of the wheat she spends too much time doubting what she is seeing. The reader knows that magic works in this story. The protagonist knows that magic works. Just get on with it!
Other than that I like Rhea and I like this story. ...more
Why did I pick this up? I watched a panel discussion with the author on women authors of dystopian fiction. And I thought the idea of factions based aWhy did I pick this up? I watched a panel discussion with the author on women authors of dystopian fiction. And I thought the idea of factions based around different values was interesting. I like that kind of thinking fiction.
Why did I finish it? It was really fast! The story was action packed. The main character keeps facing challenges and overcoming them in various ways.
Who is the protagonist and what does she want? The protagonist is 16 year old Beatrice Prior. She wants to leave the safety and selflessness of the community she was raised in for adventure, and she does.
Criticisms Some people have complained that the society is unrealistic. That nobody would think dividing society into five factions is a good idea, or that this could not possibly happen. Personally I blame such criticism on poor education is public schools. A better understanding of history would make you realize that people end up doing a lot of things that no rational person would think are good ideas.
A better understanding of literature would make you realize that just because a story takes place in the future doesn't mean it is a prediction. This kind of story is a thought experimenter. It is an answer to the question "what if". The idea of factions based on values gives the author a chance to explore what it would be like to base a community around these ideas. That the faction don't like each other is a given. But what are the strengths of each group. What are the unexpected consequences of their choices. What is it like to live in a community of shared values. We only get to see Abnegation and Dauntless in the first book. Abnegation are very much like some religious orders in their adherence to selflessness and service to others, but with touches of the Amish or the Mennonites. Dauntless are more like a biker gang or an anarchist camp. My version of the book came with extra material in the back about the author and the world she created. She got the idea for the Dauntless from exposure therapy, a way of overcoming your fears by exposing yourself to them until they are no longer scary. Fear serves a good purpose in our lives. It keeps us from doing stupid things. The Dauntless get hurt and die a lot. It is hard for me to see that working as a life style choice. On the other hand, there are people in our society who do choose that life. People who want every day to be exciting.
Some people have complained that the plot doesn't get started until the end. Again I would have to say that a better understanding of literature would help you see that the plot of the book is not the political intrigues of the factions but the growth of the protagonist. Beatrice wants her life to be more interesting. She chooses to leave her family and choose a faction that values bravery and facing your fears. Every day in the story she faces tests and conquerors challenges. The plot is a coming-of-age story about a teen aged girl who (essentially) joins the military and grows up a bit. It's about her discovering who she is and what she can do, as all coming-of-age stories are.
Some people have complained that Beatrice is too special. That she succeeds because she is the "chosen one". I have to disagree. While Beatrice is Divergent the story makes clear that she is not the only one. Despite the efforts of the big villains to kill off every Divergent they find there are several in the book. It is mentioned that the Abnegation faction produces more Divergents than any other faction. And while Beatrice does get some training on how to kick ass, when she succeeds on her own it is mostly when she is using her will, in simulations where will power is the only thing that really matters, or when she has a gun in her hand. When it comes to hand to hand fighting or strength she usually loses and needs to be saved by others. She is dauntless but not invincible.
Spoiler Warning One person pointed out that toward the end of the book Beatrice kills one of her friends but chooses not to kill several of her enemies. She agonizes a lot afterward about killing her friend. Was killing her friend necessary? Could she have done something else? I think that the problem here is that the author knows something that Beatrice can't know yet. Here is the real spoilery part. When Beatrice's father shoots the soldiers who are under control of the simulation we sees that they don't stop. People under control of the simulation will not stop attacking until they are dead. They are like zombies that way. People who are "awake" on the other hand can and do respond to pain and choose self preservation, so wounding them is viable option. So, no she had to take the kill shot anything less would not have stopped him. But we don't see any evidence of that until after she kills him. Which is unfortunate. If Beatrice's mother had told her that the mind controlled soldiers don't stop until they are dead or if Beatrice had noticed that when her mother was shooting at them then her actions shooting her friend would have made more sense. End Spoiler
Overall I enjoyed reading this. It was a fast fun read. I plan to read the rest of the series. ...more
This is a Harry Dresden novel. If you like Harry Dresden novels you will probably like this one. If you don't like Harry Dresden novels you probably wThis is a Harry Dresden novel. If you like Harry Dresden novels you will probably like this one. If you don't like Harry Dresden novels you probably won't like this one.
As Harry Dresden novels go this one has lots of fight scenes and introduces a few new characters and brings back some old characters. I have read all the novels and the short stories, but I think I need to get the graphic novel as well. As there is a reference to a character that I think is from the graphic novel, but I'm not sure because I haven't read it.
I enjoy the way Jim Butcher writes Harry's sex life. Harry may be a bit over-protective around women but he truly does respect women. It's nice to read a male character who cares more about his relationships than just getting laid. And I like Harry learning to be a father. It fits in well with his protective urges.
I am tempted to say that Jim Butcher is a feminist writer. I haven't actually done an analysis of his female characters, or if his novels pass the Bechdel test. But he certainly writes strong women and that can't be a bad thing. ...more
The Bookshop is the story of woman who tries to open a bookshop in a small English village in 1959 and the problems that involves.
I would not describThe Bookshop is the story of woman who tries to open a bookshop in a small English village in 1959 and the problems that involves.
I would not describe it as a comedy but there were many times when I laughed out loud and read passages to my father. The author certainly knows how to turn a phrase.
I read this book on my mother's recommendation. She was quite impressed with the skill of the writer. It is a thin book and an easy read, I finished it in two days, I probably could have done it in one.
It is not my kind of book in general, I prefer sci-fi, fantasy, or mysteries. This is more literate fiction. It is similar to English comedies of manners such as "Mapp and Lucia". Although writing style also reminds me of John Crowley, such that I wonder if people who enjoy this book would enjoy reading the Ægypt series by John Crowley.
If you like to period stories about English country life you will probably like this book. ...more
I stopped reading in the middle to go read "Side Jobs" and come back. The last short story in "Side Jobs" is called "Aftermath" and deals with some ofI stopped reading in the middle to go read "Side Jobs" and come back. The last short story in "Side Jobs" is called "Aftermath" and deals with some of the things that happen in Chicago between "Changes" and "Ghost Story". I really feel that any Dresden fan should get "Side Jobs" and read these short stories. The fill in some gaps.
So, back to "Ghost Story". I cried at the end. Well, not at the very end but at the part right before the end. You'll know it when you come to it.
I was hoping it would all turn out to be a dream or something, so many really bad things happen to characters we really care about but there is no going back, it all happened. ...more
If you are a real purist for chronology get "Side Jobs" first and read all the short stories between the novels where they belong. There is a little mIf you are a real purist for chronology get "Side Jobs" first and read all the short stories between the novels where they belong. There is a little message at the beginning of each story telling where in time it occurs.
If you aren't that much of a purist read this between "Changes" and "Ghost Story". It has stories that start before the first novel, but none after "Ghost Story". And it has one story "Aftermath" that takes place between "Changes" and "Ghost Story". "Changes" was such a game changer that you need to read "Aftermath" before you read "Ghost Story". ...more
Wow. He wasn't kidding with the title. A lot happens in this book. I mean, I thought a lot went on in White Night buRead the rest of the series first!
Wow. He wasn't kidding with the title. A lot happens in this book. I mean, I thought a lot went on in White Night but that was a just a warm up. This story really changes everything in the Dresden world. ...more
Warning: This book gets rather grim before it ends. There is a lot of humor and likable characters but it gets very dark.
"Gloober, get your finger ouWarning: This book gets rather grim before it ends. There is a lot of humor and likable characters but it gets very dark.
"Gloober, get your finger out of there!"
Sargent Nessilka is the head of the Nineteenth Infantry (the Whinin' Niners) After a particularly confusing battle she finds herself and her troop behind enemy lines and needs to get them all home.
Sings-to-Trees is an elf veterinarian who lives alone on the border between humans and elves.
You know their paths are going to cross. But what happens next was a total surprise to me.
I enjoyed this book. Ursula Vernon is using a pen name for this novella because she is well known as a children's author and this is not a children's book. It starts out rather lighthearted for war story, but it gets rather grim before the end.
Her writing is a bit Pratchett-esque and this story reminds me of Monstrous Regiment, with it's female Sargent trying to keep her troop together and alive.
It reminds me of what Pratchett said in the introduction to "The Carpet People". That kings and wars sound very interesting but not having kings or wars is better. ...more
I am a Pratchett Fanatic. I buy all his books. This one is near the top of my list of favorite Pratchett books. I recommend it to everyone.[return][reI am a Pratchett Fanatic. I buy all his books. This one is near the top of my list of favorite Pratchett books. I recommend it to everyone.[return][return]I describe it as The Catholic Church meets the Golden Age of Greece. The Catholic Church is represented by the Omnian Religion, Brutha, and the Great God Om (in the shape of a turtle). The Omnians believe that the Great God Om is the only True God and that the world is a sphere. The problem is that they are wrong on both points. There in fact lots of gods and their world is a flat disk on the back of four elephants on the back of a turtle. [return][return]Golden Age of Greece is represented by Ephebe . The Ephebians recognize many gods and have a lot of philosophers running around the streets looking for towels. [return][return]"Chain letters," said the Tyrant. "The Chain Letter to the Ephebians. Forget Your Gods. Be Subjugated. Learn to Fear. Do not break the chain -- the last people who did woke up one morning to find fifty thousand armed men on their lawn."[return][return]"That's why it's always worth having a few philosophers around the place. One minute it's all Is Truth Beauty and Is Beauty Truth, and Does A Falling Tree in the Forest Make A Sound if There's No one There to Hear It, and then just when you think they're going to start dribbling one of 'em says, Incidentally, putting a thirty-foot parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy's ships would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles."[return][return]It is a wonderful book that has a lot to say about organized religion and gods. And most of it is true....more
Danny Dragonbreath and his best friend Wendell find a bat in the public swimming pools and take it to Danny's cousin Steve in the jungles of Mexico. WDanny Dragonbreath and his best friend Wendell find a bat in the public swimming pools and take it to Danny's cousin Steve in the jungles of Mexico. Where they learn more than Wendell wants to know about bats and jungle life. [return][return]This the fourth book in the Dragonbreath series. It continues to be entertaining. Danny is indefatigable in his imagination and enthusiasm for adventure and always to manages to drag Wendell into trouble with him. [return][return]The whimsical plot and clear illustrations will keep the attention of young readers. But the humor will also keep adults entertained through repeated readings....more
Brian Froud illustrates Joni Mitchell's lyrics. The book includes a CD of the song sung by Joni Mitchell. [return][return]The illustrations are brightBrian Froud illustrates Joni Mitchell's lyrics. The book includes a CD of the song sung by Joni Mitchell. [return][return]The illustrations are bright show Froud's usual whimsy. A good book to read along with the song....more