Well, as evidenced by my slow progress, you can tell this book didn't catch me immediately (and it also coincided with the latest Binding of Isaac DLCWell, as evidenced by my slow progress, you can tell this book didn't catch me immediately (and it also coincided with the latest Binding of Isaac DLC coming out, which promptly trumped any extracurricular activities besides groping for achievements). It's definitely a slow burner, but once Gurgeh makes his decision and the story really starts moving, it quickly becomes a solid, fast-paced read, with many excellent twists and turns along the way.
Of course, as is often the case with novels in the genre, it's the concept and storyline that really shine here, while the characters are a bit shallow and the dialog is a touch clunky (putting Banks in the same mold as the Asimov's of the world). On top of that, the analogs to our own troubled little planet are a little too on-the-nose for my taste... I enjoy sci-fi that tries to use the medium to explore contemporary issues, but subtlety has its merits.
But, on the whole, I very much enjoyed this introduction to The Culture and will likely be moving on to Use of Weapons next.
The only trouble is I now have an urge to return to playing Go......more
To say this book was better than Cibola Burn would be an enormous understatement... in fact, it was a close call as to whether I would bother continuiTo say this book was better than Cibola Burn would be an enormous understatement... in fact, it was a close call as to whether I would bother continuing the series after book four, but I decided to take a crack at it, and I'm very glad I did!
Nemesis Games differs from all previous books in the series in the way it deals with the crew. By book four we had our crew humming along, everything seemingly comfortable and settled. Of course, comfortable and settled doesn't make for a very exciting plot, so in Nemesis Games, Corey splits the crew apart... to be honest, the individual pretexts feel a bit contrived, but it provides an opportunity to explore each of the individual characters, allowing them to grow and change outside the context of the Rocinante and her crew. This gives Corey a change to unsettled things again and create new opportunities for tension and character development, which ends up working quite well.
Cibola Burn differs from its predecessors by also focusing on the action on a single planet, largely divorced from the wider human context of Earth, Mars, the Belt, and the rings. Unfortunately, the result is a book that felt smaller, less driving. Nemesis Games is an absolute return to form in this regard, giving us a solar system-wide conspiracy to unravel, the results of which utterly transform the series, setting the stage for subsequent books.
In short, where Cibola Burn stumbled, Nemesis Games gets the series right back on track....more
Some have likened it to a fantasy version of Oceans 11, and I suppose that makes for a reasonable distant approximation, but it's definitely a lot morSome have likened it to a fantasy version of Oceans 11, and I suppose that makes for a reasonable distant approximation, but it's definitely a lot more than that. The world constructed, here, is familiar yet different, with a lot of standard fantasy tropes mixed with these little flairs that give Camorr a unique flavour all its own. And the plot is paced well enough to keep you wanting to move forward.
The characters feel a bit two dimensional... Locke is, obviously, fairly well sketched out, but Jean and the twins feel a little flat. If I had to pick a surprise stand-out character it'd be the Spider... pity we see so little of them, relatively speaking. But while they may all be familiar archetypes, they're fun ones, and so we can enjoy them for what they are. ...more
This, right here, is a Discworld novel for Discworld fans. The Watch have always been my favourite characters, and Vimes obviously my favourite of theThis, right here, is a Discworld novel for Discworld fans. The Watch have always been my favourite characters, and Vimes obviously my favourite of the bunch. So obviously an origin story about the man is going to go over well. But this isn't lazy fan service, and is replete with Pratchett's beautifully incisive writing, teaching us about what it means to be a "copper" when the world is falling to pieces....more
Just what I needed to wash away the lingering after-effects of Revelation Space... short, sweet, perfect Pratchett. If you've ever wondered why satireJust what I needed to wash away the lingering after-effects of Revelation Space... short, sweet, perfect Pratchett. If you've ever wondered why satire is an important artform, Pratchett shows us, with his uncanny ability to take cliches and archetypes, twist them around, and use them to teach us a little more about ourselves:
"He'd never been keen on heroes. But he realised that he needed them to be there, like forests and mountains... he might never see them, but they filled some sort of hole in his mind. Some sort of hole in everyone's mind."...more
Poor characterization and even poorer dialogue (honestly, don't give me the names of the characters and by their dialogue I probably wouldn't be ablePoor characterization and even poorer dialogue (honestly, don't give me the names of the characters and by their dialogue I probably wouldn't be able to tell them apart), uneven pacing, gimmicky writing (e.g., frequently creating artificial tension by withholding information from the reader for no good reason)... and a brilliant concept.
I have a like/detest relationship with this book. I nearly didn't finish it, but once the plotlines converge and we start rushing to the end, it becomes compelling enough to plow through.
The book is slow to start and it often feels as though Grossman is going through the motions. But the driving second half more than makes up for it. AThe book is slow to start and it often feels as though Grossman is going through the motions. But the driving second half more than makes up for it. And with choice quotes like:
“Look, who’s the talking bear here?” Quentin snapped. “Is it you? Are you the talking f*****g bear? All right. So shut the f**k up.”
The meta-fiction is downright entertaining.
Some might find the book needlessly angsty, and there's some merit to that complaint. But its an interesting alternative look at what it would mean to discover a magical world embedded in our own....more
"You"'s biggest problem is simply that it came after Ready Player One, and so everyone presumes that, just because they both deal with video games, th"You"'s biggest problem is simply that it came after Ready Player One, and so everyone presumes that, just because they both deal with video games, they must be similar.
They're not. At all.
Ready Player One is exactly what I suspect most people would expect of a video game novel: fast paced, fun, full of action and suspense. That it'll get made into a movie I have no doubt.
"You" is something else entirely. "You" is, at it's heart, a character study, a confessional from a man who as a kid felt lost, was found, then in adulthood lost themselves again before rediscovering that kid they were and the man they wanted to be. It's a book about feeling outside and set apart, and then discovering others in the wilderness and taking shelter together.
In this story videogames are, I think, better thought of as a catalyst. They bring these outsiders together and provide them with shared experience and a medium in which to find and express themselves, to, as Grossman writes, "[try] over and over to tell yourself your own story, and get it right".
So it's no great surprise that some might feel disappointed by this book... if you're looking for action and adventure, you won't find it here. Instead here you're find genuine nostalgia (not the kitschy, clever, pop-culture infused kind), a love letter to those of us who grew up on videogames and always felt like a bit of a square peg being pounded into a round hole....more