I picked this book up out of curiosity, and was immediately sucked in when I met Odile, a woman that seems a bit like a vampire at first as she speaksI picked this book up out of curiosity, and was immediately sucked in when I met Odile, a woman that seems a bit like a vampire at first as she speaks of immortality and the hunger that dogs her as she travels to find the one she must "choose" to sate it. Odile is as enchanting on the page as she must be in person, mysterious and charming. Odile travels to Venice to find the one she seeks, followed by one of her past lovers, Nicolas Dane, an aspiring poet who believes that his entanglement with Odile is what stripped him of his inspiration, as he hasn't written anything since she left him. Nicolas is determined to keep Odile from choosing, both to save the poor sot she chooses, and to destroy her.
Next, we meet Sophie and Joseph Hannigan, twins who come to Venice to start over in the wake of a scandal that forced them to leave New York. The two of them are almost disturbingly close as siblings, but they are both incredibly charming. Sophie is a gifted storyteller, and Joseph a talented artist. They are hoping to find a patron for Joseph, both so they can stay in Venice, and so Joseph can become a famous artist.
Nicolas and Joseph meet, and Nicolas knows immediately that he must keep Joseph away from Odile, as she feeds off the talent and inspiration of artists, musicians, and poets. Her power is such that she feeds from talented individuals to maintain her immortality. In exchange, she inspires them to their greatest work, one final masterpiece. After that, a great painter's work would be like the scribbles of a child. Many go mad after they've been with Odile, especially if she deigns to leave them, which is a fate that Nicolas hopes to prevent for her would-be lovers.
The story unfolds gradually, like the blooming of a rose, revealing the individual petals of each character's story, and each of them are inexorably drawn together for the climax. Toward the end, you think you know what's going to happen, but there's just a little unexpected twist that you might have just seen coming if you were paying attention.
Overall, I thought this book was an excellent read. It starts a bit slowly, but Odile, Nicolas, Sophie, and by extension, Joseph, are all enchanting and charming characters that you really grow to care for. The end is not quite as happy as one would hope, but in the end, everyone gets that they wanted... to some extent. ...more
I got the ebook free from the Baen free library, which offers hundreds of books to download. Anyway, this book wasn't quite what I was expecting basedI got the ebook free from the Baen free library, which offers hundreds of books to download. Anyway, this book wasn't quite what I was expecting based off of the description. It bills itself almost as a thriller with a woman who works in the logistics department of the United Nations Armed Forces on Earth being wrongfully accused of moving goods illegally. Being advised of this by a friend who works as an MP and being told in no uncertain terms that she would be arrested, she flees from the base to the embassy of Graine, which while doing trade with the United Nations on Earth is a free colony (also called the Freehold, which is of course, where the book gets its name.)
Seeing that Kendra was wrongfully accused, the ambassador of Graine grants her amnesty and she is allowed to immigrate to Graine where the UN has no jurisdiction.
I had thought some sort of manhunt would commence and Kendra would end up living on the run, but she moves to Graine and starts to settle into life there. It turns out that Graine is far different from Earth where crimes like theft, rape, and murder are quite common. On Graine, merchants display their wares out in the open, unsecured for anyone to peruse as they will, people walk around naked and no one bats an eyelash, and everyone carries a weapon of some sort, partly because Graine is still largely wild despite being settled, and partly because they can. Anyone can carry a concealed weapon.
The culture on the Freehold is so different from Earth that Kendra has a difficult time adjusting, even after Rob, who lives in the same apartment building as Kendra takes her under his wing to show her the ropes and guide her with how things are done on Graine. He tells her at one point that part of the reason she is having such a hard time integrating into society on Graine is because she thinks of the people there as being the same as she is, whereas she should think of them as aliens, because their cultures and societies are so different.
Kendra actually lives on Graine for several years before she decides to join their military like Rob and her other friend, Marta. Even the whole military experience is quite different from what Kendra is used to. Even basic training was a completely different experience, and when she leaves basic training, she sees that the military on Graine's sole purpose is fighting and protecting the freehold. They have no other mission during peacetime but to train and do combat exercises to maintain readiness for the time where they will have to fight.
Of course, that time does come. Only months after Kendra joins her unit in logistics, the UN launches an attack and invasion of Graine where they attempt to change the Freehold into something much more like themselves.
There are many messages in this book, but one thing I got from it in particular was that if Americans had followed the spirit of the second amendment, which wasn't about the right to carry weapons, it was about the right to form militias and overthrow a corrupt government. If we as Americans had done that, we wouldn't be griping about how awful the government is. We gave away our right to complain because we denied the spirit under which the second amendment was written. We focused on the semantics claiming the right to carry firearms and ignored our right to form a militia and overthrow a corrupt government....more
'Animal Farm' was written by George Orwell as a commentary about the consequences of communism. Since I read '1984' before I read 'Animal Farm,' I can'Animal Farm' was written by George Orwell as a commentary about the consequences of communism. Since I read '1984' before I read 'Animal Farm,' I can see many parallels between this book and that one, and how it seems that in many ways, 'Animal Farm' is a sort of precursor to '1984.' The system created on the Animal Farm once they drove the humans away, started off with good intentions. All animals were to be equal in every way, and animals were to eschew the things that they perceived to set them apart from humans, like sleeping in beds, wearing clothing, and walking on two legs.
At first, things work well for the animals. They work well together, increase the harvest, and in many ways, run things on the farm much more effectively than the humans did, but there's a problem. At the heart of things, animals really aren't completely equal. There are some that are clearly smarter than the others. Orwell depicts the pigs as being the smartest of all of the animals on the farm. They teach themselves how to read and write, and the pigs immediately establish themselves as the leaders, the ones who run things on the farm.
Others of the animals work harder than all the rest, but are a little on the dimmer side of the intelligence spectrum. The pigs learn how to manipulate the other animals.
At the root of the story, the message I get here is that there is no such thing as true communism. Not everyone are truly equal. People (and animals) all have different levels of intellectual and physical ability. Someone in a group will always rise and deem himself "leader," and humans always divide into the groups of those who lead and those who follow, and those who lead always develop a sense of entitlement. Because they work so hard to lead, they believe they are entitled to benefits that all the others aren't entitled to because they do all the "work." People are too individual to be truly "equal."
This is the first book I read of 2013! I hadn't even realized it was out until I was looking for a book and bam! It was there! That happened with 'DarThis is the first book I read of 2013! I hadn't even realized it was out until I was looking for a book and bam! It was there! That happened with 'Darkness Falls' too. Such a pleasant surprise.
Anyway, of the books in Cate Tiernan's 'Immortal Beloved' series, this one was definitely my favorite (though I loved the all too brief glimpses of River's past in 'Darkness Falls').
Nastasya is back at River's Edge after the whole fiasco with Innocencio in Boston. She's made a lot of progress, come a long way, grown as a person, and finally started to realize that everything River said about choices and how you always have them in entirely true.
But things can't stay peaceful too long at River's Edge. River's older brother, Ottavio, the King of the powerful Genoa House of immortals shows up and without preamble, says Nastasya doesn't belong there. He's an a-hole, but he's only trying to look out for his little sister.
Things are also progressing very quickly between Nas and Reyn, who are still very confused over their feelings for each other, considering their terrible shared pasts and how their families killed each other. Nas is terrified of admitting that she has real feelings for Reyn and is actually falling in love with him. She had already been married once, and that didn't turn out too well for her.
In the midst of this and Nas's continued path of self-discovery, River's other three brothers show up, all thinking Nas is evil incarnate and apparently not thinking River is a big girl and able to take care of herself. (And apparently Ottavio forgot that he and his siblings killed their own parents to steal their immortal powers and had plotted with River to kill their other three brothers--whoops).
Most of the book is daily life at River's Edge and Nastasya's path to self-discovery, much like the other two books. One would think that without a whole lot of action, the book would be boring, but Nastasya is a fun narrator and so very real that you can't help but be riveted by her story, and you can't help but keep pulling for her.
Mysterious occurrences at River's Edge and the news of the deaths of powerful immortals around the world give the sense that something is building behind the scenes, punctuating the otherwise mundane occurrences and building up suspense for the Epic Battle at the end of the book.
I'm really sad the series is over. In a way, it's a pity everything was from Nastasya's perspective, because there are so many interesting characters in these books that you're left wishing you could have gotten to know all of them better.
You got little glimpses into their pasts, like finding out that Daisuke had been a samurai in feudal Japan and that Reyn (who was the only character besides Nas to get any real development) was age-old enemies with River's youngest brother, but they kind of left you wishing for more. In fact, I feel as though Mrs. Tiernan could write an entire series and barely scratch the surface of the fascinating pasts of all the Riverites, as Nas would call them, leaving you feeling like the books could have been longer.
For a book in the young adult genre, there was a lot of sexual...stuff, mostly heavily implied and not very graphic, admittedly, but there.
Overall, loved the books, but I feel like there could have been much more. There were so many interesting characters that never got developed. I loved Nas's narrative voice....more
Currently the last book in George R. R. Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' series, it continues where 'A Storm of Swords' and 'A Feast for Crows' leavesCurrently the last book in George R. R. Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' series, it continues where 'A Storm of Swords' and 'A Feast for Crows' leaves off, rejoining the main characters in the first part of the book, and then picking up with where 'Feast for Crows' leaves off with Arya and Jamie.
It's getting where the deaths aren't as shocking as who you think is dead that turns out to actually be alive. Some of the characters that were thought to be dead that turn out not to be were much more shocking than some of the deaths in the past, but of course, I won't say anything specific about it because I don't want to spoil it for anybody. At the same time, all the characters that are seemingly coming back from the dead will get old soon. It's not quite as shocking when he kills a character and comes back later and says, "But wait, they're not actually dead!"
Overall, I think this is one of my favorite books in the series so far. Now GRRM really needs to finish the next book, before HBO catches up to him!...more
Cute, though I think it gets a bit redundant after a while. I liked the last few pages, and there's something inherently hilarious about a bedtime stoCute, though I think it gets a bit redundant after a while. I liked the last few pages, and there's something inherently hilarious about a bedtime story that uses dirty language....more
Ahhh... I'm writing this about two years after I actually read this, and reading some reviews from other Goodreads users makes me remember why, even tAhhh... I'm writing this about two years after I actually read this, and reading some reviews from other Goodreads users makes me remember why, even though I've meant to re-read this book at some point, I haven't yet.
1Q84 is the first (and only) Murakami book I've read, and I just don't get how I can love and hate a book at the same time. At once, his prose can be both terrible and fantastic. His sex scenes are only terrible though.
I liked Aomame and found her somewhat interesting and relatable, if only because she is in the exact profession I am pursuing. Sadly, one of the things I liked best about this book was Aomame's DIET.
Maybe I'm not a very profound person. Maybe the depth of this book is lost on me, except when it's good, it's great, and when it's bad, it sucks donkey balls. 1Q84 feels incomplete, and by the end, you think, 'what the hell was that all about' and 'what? Where's the rest of it?'
That's right... 900 pages and the guy never explains who the Little People are or what the hell an Air Chrysalis is. You feel both proud for making it to the end, and deeply unfulfilled. I don't remember exactly how long it took me to read this monstrosity, but I want (most of) it back! Sadly, I think the terrible parts outweigh the good ones....more
This was the first TNG novel I ever read, and I was completely entranced by the story of Deanna and Will's relationship in the past, present, and futuThis was the first TNG novel I ever read, and I was completely entranced by the story of Deanna and Will's relationship in the past, present, and future. This book made me an eternal fan of Peter David. His writing is rich and gripping....more
This book actually remains one of my favorite forays into military SF. Sandra McDonald, having been in the navy, understands and illustrates the day-tThis book actually remains one of my favorite forays into military SF. Sandra McDonald, having been in the navy, understands and illustrates the day-to-day workings of the military. I never thought I'd be interested in a military Sci-fi book that doesn't actually involve any fighting, but I like the slice of life genre, and I found both Jodenny and Terry to be interesting characters.
The backdrop of Aboriginal mythology and the mystery aboard the Aral Sea add a depth to a story that would otherwise be about the life of a supply officer.
While I enjoy this book (and it remains my favorite of the trilogy), it's not without its flaws. The romance between Jodenny and Myel kinda comes out of nowhere, the secondary plot is introduced about halfway through the book, once Jodenny has settled a bit to her new job and met a whole bunch of people really have very little bearing on the actual story and it advances very slowly. I'm a patient and easily entertained person, so I don't mind sitting through the somewhat superfluous stuff... I mean, it all ends up being relevant, I just think maybe we could have cut down a bit on the exposition.
I still think Jodenny and Myel were a bit rushed though, but I guess since she's an officer and he's enlisted, they'd have to do what they did to even end up being able to spend any amount of time together....more