This characters in this novel are simultaneously mired in loss, turmoil, and the politics of the war in Vietnam, yet at their best come together, almoThis characters in this novel are simultaneously mired in loss, turmoil, and the politics of the war in Vietnam, yet at their best come together, almost ethereally, to form a tight-knit family, if an unconventional one. In the age of polyamory and gay marriage, the subtexts (and they are subtexts, this is no gay or even anti-war polemic) seem quaint. But having lived some of those years, it was easy to evoke the understated "radicalism" that underlay everyday life and conversation, the sense that improvement was possible, the starshine glitter of a deep blue sky. Ruth is a Canadian woman in her 50's who is separated more or less from her husband, loves and supports her mother in law, and has lost both her daughter and an arm. She runs a boardinghouse, the nominal "mother", of characters most certainly on the lam from the US, another who is mentally challenged, and some student/drifters. The outside world has begun an incursion into this household as the book opens, as the home is being demolished for urban renewal. The fast pace of the ensuing journeys, tragedy and triumphs won't give you much space to catch your balance, but the journey back into time is worth putting on the good shoes....more
This is a review of the 17th book in a series, and contains limited spoilers. If you haven't had the pleasure, please start with the best first contacThis is a review of the 17th book in a series, and contains limited spoilers. If you haven't had the pleasure, please start with the best first contact novel ever, Foreigner. http://www.amazon.com/Foreigner-Anniv...
How do you write an arresting narrative when action is stringently limited (by environment) but tension and cogitation is at the highest pitch? SFWA Grandmaster C.J. Cherryh does it so well that I'd finished my initial read before I realized that much of this installment of the beloved Foreigner series was exposition, exposition, exposition. But far, far from boring. Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, and Cajeiri, the young heir the aiji of the planetary owners, the atevi, are along - always a complication, whether for good or ill. Machinations in the Reunioner section continue, but not necessarily in the direction any character or reader was expecting. And, baji-naji, the promised kyo ship is approaching, and the outcome of that meeting has the station and planet on a fine edge of anxiety. It's here that Bren Cameron returns to his roots as the paidhi, the interpreter, the linguist. I don't want to spoil, but S P O I L E R S the conclusion hints at how baldly the Phoenix may have been lying to their passengers, the stationers, Mospeira and the atevi. But there's no hint about Bren Cameron. The penultimate scene is a stunning show of just how ruthless, analytical, political and - dare one say it? - atevi the paidhi has become....more
Our heroes are in dire straits (whenever are they not?) as Lawrence suffers a head injury and amnesia, and Temaraire must search him out, as NapoleonOur heroes are in dire straits (whenever are they not?) as Lawrence suffers a head injury and amnesia, and Temaraire must search him out, as Napoleon continues his European depredations into Russia. Another charming and engaging entry in this well-written series. ...more
I needed a breezy read, and I got one. Predictable, as romances often are, with a paranormal twist in that the main character, Aubrey, is a (reluctantI needed a breezy read, and I got one. Predictable, as romances often are, with a paranormal twist in that the main character, Aubrey, is a (reluctant) medium. This unwanted and sometimes dangerous talent dogged her childhood and a year ago, broke up her marriage. Finally settled into a job with a small town newspaper, Aubrey's life is overturned when the convicted murderer of a young woman twenty years ago is released due to the discovery of new evidence. Brash and arrogant reporter Levi, brought in to cover the story, is unexpectedly paired with Aubrey. The two discover they have a connection that spans decades, and resulting sparks seem to derail the story and the (you knew it) growing romance. I thought the author did a nice job with descriptions, and the plot led smoothly to the climax of the story. Fairly good handling of the fallout from emotionally complex issues including abuse and suicide. In the end, our heroes solve the murder (at risk to life and limb), and anything else would be a spoiler, wouldn't it? (grin) ...more
I wanted to love this book. I was enamored of the plot via reviews and de Bodard's short stories before I even read it; enchanted with the entire ideaI wanted to love this book. I was enamored of the plot via reviews and de Bodard's short stories before I even read it; enchanted with the entire idea. And the plot was indeed superb. In a post-apocalyptic, gang-ridden Paris, rife with manifestations of world-spanning mythologies, the great houses of fallen angels spar with each other in a city riven by the Seine gone dark and toxic. Notre Dame is a shell of its former glory, part of the house of Silverspires, founded by the missing Morningstar. Now run by his pupil Selene, Silverspires was the most powerful house in Paris, but the house itself is being attacked by foul magic. de Bodard is a courageous writer, make no mistake. Her fallen angels are nearly bereft of emotion - no easy hooks here. The reader doesn't know what horrible transgression sent an angel hurtling to earth. Other than pride, what little intimation of connection or caring between characters seems limited to their house (spoiler redacted). It was difficult to connect with the characters, not least because the glimpses the reader gets during the frenetic action of the plot never opens up to a full picture, with one (almost, spoiler redacted) exception. (Me being me, de Bodard's Paris is a player too, one I'm at least as curious about as the rest of the fascinating cast.) I am hoping that this is the first of a series; that we get to learn more about these characters, fallen angels, humans and non-humans alike. The author needs more space to tell this story....more