For such a slim volume, this took me forever to finish! Part of the reason, however, was that I was making copious notes, so really the length of timeFor such a slim volume, this took me forever to finish! Part of the reason, however, was that I was making copious notes, so really the length of time I spent with it is testament to its usefulness as a piece of research. I learned a lot about development, trade, and immigration in Minnesota from this one ~ not in any great special depth, but the exact sort of overview that I needed with plenty of tidbits from which to pursue things in more depth. The maps were also very helpful in getting the lay of the land. This books uses primary sources that I would ultimately like to get my hands on, but also provides plenty of details about the climate, culture, etc. to make me feel like I have a decent grasp of it all. Lot's of excellent information particularly about the 1850s, which was exactly what I needed....more
The first book in this series is surprisingly ho-hum for being "the most violent story that ever erupted from our native territory". Oh, it's got violThe first book in this series is surprisingly ho-hum for being "the most violent story that ever erupted from our native territory". Oh, it's got violence, sure. I lost count of the bodies after fifteen. But the character of Edge is pretty dang flat and the basic revenge plot is devoid of any nuance. Asking too much of a pulp western? Perhaps. But this one got a little silly in its picaresque journey. Edge meets so many ridiculous characters (and mostly kills them), that I was literally skimming by the time he got to the Apaches attacking the wagon train. Too too silly. I also feel like maybe Gilman improved as he went along. The narrative is pretty humdrum and so much of the dress and behavior in this was weirdly anachronistic--and if he used the word "boot" one more time with regard to holstering a rifle on a horse, I was going to have to start shredding.
Eh. Lackluster, weakly written introduction--and this edition is riddled with publishing errors.
And yet somehow I keep reading 'em. Must be the 50-cent price tag. ...more
a 19th century homosocial contigency. snow. cannibalism. it's like this book was tailor-made for me! but the reviews were so polarized it took me a loa 19th century homosocial contigency. snow. cannibalism. it's like this book was tailor-made for me! but the reviews were so polarized it took me a long time to decide to actually read it. still, i suspect it's fans of Simmons' science fiction who hated this rather than people like myself who are new to his work.
it's hard to talk about the book without spoilers, but i'll try: yes, i agree with reviewers who say this is an exercise in the minutiae of polar expedition research. there are definitely places where Simmons rolls in his details like a lion in its kill and i found myself skimming whole sections about ice ice ice and boat boat boat. but that's okay. i appreciate that the detail is there for those who want it, and especially appreciate that Simmons did the work, period--even if an editor could have helped him sort some of it out.
where the book founders for me is in the balance between all this research and the insanity of the Thing on the ice. in a book so overwrought with precision, it was hard to reconcile this creature. i feel like the story would have been that much better had we known earlier what the heck was going on. the jumble of revelation at toward the end hurts the story because it feels hurried, tacked-on, and explanatory rather than organic. that said, i was not disappointed or dissatisfied as some other readers were. it doesn't work entirely, okay, but i think the idea is interesting enough.
the other major struggle is that it takes about 300 pages for the characters to really grow on you. the heartbreak is worth it once they do, but you have to give it a steep commitment. normally i would have given up less than 100 pages in, but i confess sheer ghoulishness pushed me onward. also the "villains" in this story (perhaps with the exception of Tozer, who's not really a villain, but kind of an idiot) are a bit flat, unfortunately, but our protagonist Crozier matures nicely.
the agony of the expedition's struggle is plenty terrorizing even without the Thing, but maybe a lot more fun with it. Cut about 200 pages of too much sledge-dragging and descriptions of ice and this is a pretty good monster yarn. the fact that the expedition itself is historically based just makes it all the more harrowing....more
i really wanted to like this retelling of the Arthurian legend set in the 19th century on the pacific coast. beautiful artwork and an interesting conci really wanted to like this retelling of the Arthurian legend set in the 19th century on the pacific coast. beautiful artwork and an interesting concept, but some of the design elements were too silly and the sequential storytelling was occasionally very awkward (couldn't really follow what was happening now and then). also the actual book construction was amazingly shoddy ~ it fell apart halfway through reading. geesh....more
this book is 197 pages and 100 pages too long. as a short story, it could have been cool, but it's bogged down under repetition and way too much "he tthis book is 197 pages and 100 pages too long. as a short story, it could have been cool, but it's bogged down under repetition and way too much "he thought, he wondered, he imagined...."
when there's action, the story moves, but it's too little to fill all these pages and all that verbiage doesn't really add anything to an adventure narrative.
okay bit of fluff if you skip every third and fourth paragraph....more
still overwritten by about 50 pages, but a much better plot than the last installment of this series. and despite being about a woman warrior, it wasstill overwritten by about 50 pages, but a much better plot than the last installment of this series. and despite being about a woman warrior, it was pretty realistic and not annoyingly proto-feminist.
of course it ends predictably, which is kinda too bad, but you can't expect much from these, i suppose....more
not particularly well-written, but a decent yarn nevertheless. some of it struck me as downright silly and many of the tropes here are typical of thenot particularly well-written, but a decent yarn nevertheless. some of it struck me as downright silly and many of the tropes here are typical of the genre. Garcia as a protagonist is surprisingly not very well-developed and emotionally all over the place. he seems to shed his Spanish heritage without too much difficulty (he almost never ruminates on his past except a few times regarding his training at the academy and his father's Andalusians). the character seems very inconsistent: he has moments of stupid impatience and others of old man wisdom that are more plot-driving than organic. and Coldsmith as a writer has some annoying sentence structure habits that i'm really struggling to be patient about.
not overly enamored with this, but it might grow on me. first book of the series down, 27 more to go! ...more
This book is a very (very) broad overview of the Dakota War in 1862. It's too broad to be especially useful for someone who wants a critical examinatiThis book is a very (very) broad overview of the Dakota War in 1862. It's too broad to be especially useful for someone who wants a critical examination of the causes and results, but a nice introduction for anyone without any foundation whatsoever.
For lots of pictures and a general time-line of events, this is great, but the writing is unfortunately dry for such a charged topic, and if you're already familiar with the basics, you'd spend your time more wisely reading something with more substance....more