Accident on an asteroid colony goes from bad to worse. This is a YA hard Science fiction book, but the 'hard' is back-grounded by the plot as things g...moreAccident on an asteroid colony goes from bad to worse. This is a YA hard Science fiction book, but the 'hard' is back-grounded by the plot as things go from bad to worse, avoiding the worst excesses of that genre. The problem is that too many things are going on, we have asteroid survival, nanomachines, political maneuvering, emergent AI, and a boys own adventure all vying for space, and while the individual pieces range from good to excellent, the connective tissue between them involves coincidences and connections that feel contrived and drag the book down. Similarly, characterization is a mixed bag, with Geoff, the initial protagonist feeling like a cliche, while other point of view characters feel deep and well rounded. This was a good book, but with a little more focus, it could have made the jump to excellent.
Recommended for those who want a solid plot in their hard sci fi, or anyone who wants to dip a toe into the genre.(less)
Historical urban fantasy set during the height of the troubles (70's Ireland). The fantasy manages to be bot...moreHugo nominee review 2013 - Campbell award.
Historical urban fantasy set during the height of the troubles (70's Ireland). The fantasy manages to be both important to the story and largely unobtrusive,* the characters are generally well developed, and it also functions as an interesting perspective (if a republican one) on an interesting time. In other words, why aren't you reading it already?
It does have some weakness in that the end feels somewhat abrupt and out of tone with the rest of the novel, and a couple of the minor characters feel underdeveloped, but this might be a deliberate choice given the restricted viewpoint of the narration. These are minor quibbles, and I really do recommend this books if any of the elements sound appealing.
Finally, it should be noted that there is some intense non-supernatural violence (I only mention this because it might not be obvious from the title and description, not because it detracts from the book).
Hugo notes - Again this continues my trend of being more impressed with the new author contributions than the best novel contributions.
* That is to say it feels like the supernatural is contained enough for the rest of the world to have followed it's historical course; a problem that plagues some urban fantasy, contemporary or otherwise, when the supernatural seems like it should have changed the world more than it has (or earlier than the present).
Deserts and bounty hunters, war and bugs, Islam and feminist politics, this book reads a little like David Cronenberg's (not lynch!) Dune. To feed the...moreDeserts and bounty hunters, war and bugs, Islam and feminist politics, this book reads a little like David Cronenberg's (not lynch!) Dune. To feed the endless war, there is a universal draft of men, and only those who survive come back. A female bounty hunter who specializes in finding and killing deserters takes a bounty with political ramifications.
This starts off as a book about a hard person who does hard things. Then a female dominated Islamic society is layered over this, with a dirty war of biological atrocities clearly modelled on an Iran-Iraq war that never ended. Beyond that this is just one, deliberately isolated world, and in the stars a greater religious war is fought. Oh, and there are wizards and shape shifters. This is a book that tries to balance intense action with world building and social commentary, and it succeeds to a surprising extent. If there is a weak link, it is the main character, who while she eventually gets fleshed out, never really seems to live up to her terrifying reputation. Her main sidekick has a more interesting arc, as a devout man in a woman's society, and the exploration of the confluence of strict faith enough to fight "God's War" with a society that has become entirely populated by women is the main draw of the book.
It shows some weaknesses as a book; a couple of chapters are from the perspective of a minor character, for no other reason than to maintain the first person perspective on a couple of scenes, and some of the physical/technological underpinnings of the world feel somewhat fragile and not fully fleshed out, however these are somewhat minor complaints.
Recommended for people who like their action with a bit more substance, or their substance with a lot more action.
Loved parts of this book and general approach but found the writing style distanced me from the story (deliberately, as it is narrated, but I didn't l...moreLoved parts of this book and general approach but found the writing style distanced me from the story (deliberately, as it is narrated, but I didn't like it). Admired more than liked the book. (less)
October Daye, Book 6 - Start with Book 1 (Rosemary and Rue) or Book 3 (An Artificial Night)
October is called upon once again to rescue a child in trou...moreOctober Daye, Book 6 - Start with Book 1 (Rosemary and Rue) or Book 3 (An Artificial Night)
October is called upon once again to rescue a child in trouble. By book six, you are either a fan or a completionist, so a review is almost unnecessary, but here goes. This book represents a step back from the series high of the last book. It's not a catastrophic misstep, but it feels a bit recycled, missing child, extended background on a previous supporting character, more fae, and most notably, little forward movement. It still features all the good things in this series such as deep characters and an interesting and consistent universe, but this one feels like spinning wheels.
Recommended for anyone who has liked any of the previous books. (less)
October Daye, Book 7 - Start with Book 1 (Rosemary and Rue) or Book 3 (An Artificial Night)
October Daye tries to stamp out supernatural drugs amongst...moreOctober Daye, Book 7 - Start with Book 1 (Rosemary and Rue) or Book 3 (An Artificial Night)
October Daye tries to stamp out supernatural drugs amongst the changelings, but meets resistance from the gentry. At this stage, if you are reading October Daye reviews, you have a pretty good idea what you are in for. Unfortunately, the author still feels the need to insert clunky exposition in to catch readers up to speed. Once past this however, this book represents a shift, pulling threads from previous books and spinning the series in a new direction. While not up to the best of the series, this actually leaves me hopeful towards future volumes.
The big thing here is not the deposing of the local queen, but the shifting of the series mythology towards the relationship between the Luidaeg and October. By reframing their relationship, it recasts the earlier books in the series (though I wonder if the early interaction between the two are really consistent with the new backstory). The idea that the Luidaeg needs October for something is a far more intriguing throughline then the kidnapping of the earlier books. This combined with the larger cast, and intriguing new ideas like the library have the potential to drastically open up the world.
Also the shoe finally dropped on everybodies favourite Canadian: about time.