Maybe its just where my head is but I've been picking fantasy/SF books all wrong the last little while. Or it could be a trend: a great world, lousy cMaybe its just where my head is but I've been picking fantasy/SF books all wrong the last little while. Or it could be a trend: a great world, lousy characters. I honestly wanted to care about Oscar Britton but more often than not, I was just frustrated with his story.
This is what might happen if the X-men were forced into conscription, put into camps and given a choice: join us or die. Use your powers with the military to help make the world more secure. Some make that choice, some don't.
I just don't care about Oscar or any of these characters. Which is odd because they're some pretty interesting people in this story. All that being said the world is amazing, there are some fantastic ideas, and the action sequences are well written and crafted with a detail that makes you feel like it's happening right before your eyes.
I may pick up the second book in this trilogy another time. I like the idea of this book more than the book itself. Who knows, it could just be the wrong book for the wrong time, I might have appreciated at any other point in my life. ...more
Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favourite fantasy writers. He typically blends history and fantasy, taking real life historical settings: Islamic occupieGuy Gavriel Kay is one of my favourite fantasy writers. He typically blends history and fantasy, taking real life historical settings: Islamic occupied Spain and providing a fantastical spin on that time period. Elizabeth Bear wrote this series in large part because she was dissatisfied with the way that the fantasy genre so often privileges stories that feature European/western cultures and their stories. Elizabeth Bear uses Range of Ghosts as a way to infuse fantasy with a more Asian/middle-eastern spin. The Middle-east, Russia, China, Japan, Mongolia are the primary cultures that are sampled and used to inspire this particular story. A Mongolian-esque Prince in exile, a Russian wizard-priestess, a blind Chinese warrior all band together to battle a dark sorcerer who wants to control the world. Elizabeth Bear writes these characters with passion and sincerity. Any other writer who lacks the skills that she possesses might fall into a trap where these characters and settings would be considered stereotypical and/or outright racist. This is not the case. You get the sense that these characters are fully realized, and the places that are described, the journey that they undertake along the silk-road is something that I urge you to seriously jump into. I have already begun the second novel in this trilogy. Enjoy. ...more
An examination of grief and the ways that a family copes with a horror that cannot be named. Finished in a single sitting. Simple, sweet, and very infAn examination of grief and the ways that a family copes with a horror that cannot be named. Finished in a single sitting. Simple, sweet, and very informative look at family relationships . Will make you think about your own family and the many ways we all put masks on for each other. ...more
A Chinese spy who leaves his life and family at home in order to work as a deep cover agent who translates for the CIA. Gary Shang who is torn betweenA Chinese spy who leaves his life and family at home in order to work as a deep cover agent who translates for the CIA. Gary Shang who is torn between two countries. The novel oscillates back and forth between Gary's daughter who lives in the aftermath of her father's subsequent outing and imprisonment for spying against the United States of America AND Gary Shang's life of espionage and domesticity. The two story-lines are sometimes worked clumsily and I am not sure that I needed Gary Shang's daughter's POV. While her character is interesting enough, the real story rests with Gary and his troubled life as an agent. This is the first time I've read a book by Ha Jin. The writing is simple and straightforward. It felt rather flat...err..maybe that is not the right word. The writing felt direct. There is a kind of purity to his writing where it feels like a straight line, something solid, sure, and reliable. It feels effortless and that in itself is probably something that requires a tremendous amount of effort to achieve as a writer. I look forward to returning to some of his earlier works. ...more
Felt more like a series of poetic as sides, lacked a strong overall narrative. Beautifully written but disconnected and at times too free form for myFelt more like a series of poetic as sides, lacked a strong overall narrative. Beautifully written but disconnected and at times too free form for my tastes....more
This is a book that has big ideas but the way in which they are executed leaves something to be desired. An alien spaces that may or may not be huntinThis is a book that has big ideas but the way in which they are executed leaves something to be desired. An alien spaces that may or may not be hunting and destroying entire worlds, a research base that is being haunted by a mysterious "entity", a scientist who is being manipulated by those around her, trapped on another planet, alone except for a giant blue slug-man beast.
You'd think there would be something great there but the pacing is off and too much time is spent kick-starting this story. It takes a good 250 pages before this book even feels like a SF novel. I just wanted this book to be better. The trappings of a better story locked some where in between.
I will say this though, the characters are fully realized and very engaging. I kept on reading because I really enjoyed the protagonist and how strong she was in the face of so much adversity. It's just a shame that it takes so long for the story to actually begin to be interesting. ...more
Absolutely loved this book. As if someone took all of my favourite authors: Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, & Patrick Rothfuss and mashed them togetheAbsolutely loved this book. As if someone took all of my favourite authors: Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, & Patrick Rothfuss and mashed them together to create Greg Keyes's The Kingdom of Thorn and Bone. An epic fantasy tale with familiar character types: noble knight, young book-worm, the woodsman, the spoiled princess, the evil brother, etc. Despite all of this, you turn the pages because each character is written so fully and so well that you do not care that these are familiar places and peoples. Greg Keyes makes this world feel warm and yet there is evil and terror. The Briar King wakes and seeks justice for wrongs from a century ago. The land is filled with people who have lost their way. Fat and gluttonous are humanity and the Fae have set their sights on a weak people. But there is hope and there are heroes in this land of violence and wonder. ...more
Evie Wyld was one of Granta Magazine's selections for Best Young British Novelists 2013. Considering past selections have developed into fairly strongEvie Wyld was one of Granta Magazine's selections for Best Young British Novelists 2013. Considering past selections have developed into fairly strong canonical names: Monica Ali, Sarah Waters, Hari Kunzru, Zadie Smith, David Mitchell, all from 2003... you can see that being placed on this list is a foreshadowing of a bright and storied literary career.
All the Birds, Singing is a dark story. Jake, a sheep-herder who finds herself in the British country hiding from a past. Jake who has left behind her Australian roots and a deep trauma. There are two story-lines: the unmentioned trouble in Australia and her current sheep-farm in Britain. It takes a bit of getting used to as this back and forth sort of jumps around but that bit of trauma is slowly revealed to the reader. It is a dark surprise and the last half of the novel picks up a great bit of speed. It went to a place that I was not expecting.
The ending seems a bit abrupt but aside from that, this is a novel that is definitely worth digging into. Jake is a hard woman, confident, and filled with a kind of courageous fear. The story-line in Australia was written so well that I often found myself not wanting to venture into those chapters because the characters and the landscape were terrifying. Jake is trying to escape a kind of ugly nature and those chapters are creepy as hell.
A farm of sheep that are mysteriously being killed by some unknown menace, a disgusting man with a dog that is on the verge of ripping your throat out, a homeless derelict with a kind face, a broken family, a journey across Australia: just a little bit of what you can expect to find in this novel. ...more
I was in the mood for something kind of dark, something a little bit brutal, and a little bit mysterious. There isn't really a happy ending, just a reI was in the mood for something kind of dark, something a little bit brutal, and a little bit mysterious. There isn't really a happy ending, just a resolution, a kind of reckoning. A thug who is good at what he does (murder, theft, intimidation) who finds himself on the road, on the run, running out of time. A young girl, a little sister, baggage he doesn't need but still accepts. A gritty tale with a few glimpses of "what might have been" and the ugly truth that sometimes the world is just fucked up. Nic Pizzolatto wrote the entire season of True Detective and I thoroughly enjoyed that show, so picking up this novel was a no-brainer. You have to be in the right mood for this kind of dark on-the-road noir but if you are, it'll definitely keep you satisfied. Sometimes you crave a bit of darkness. ...more
A brilliant blend of SF/Fantasy/Mystery/Weird/Horror. A dead God, a witch with a knife made of the moon, a lawyer who is suing the Church, a facelessA brilliant blend of SF/Fantasy/Mystery/Weird/Horror. A dead God, a witch with a knife made of the moon, a lawyer who is suing the Church, a faceless gargoyle, a woman who is addicted to having vampires suck her blood, a church cleric who has lots faith and smokes too many cigarettes, etc.
Just a few of the many memorable characters that stand out in this wonderful novel. It's hard to explain because the world is so unique and complex. I myself do not fully understand how this weird universe of the undead and the immortal functions but Max Gladstone makes it work. And I look forward to more of his books set in this universe.
Amazon describes the book as follows:
"A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart."