I can't think of much to say that this guy doesn't say in his well-wrought review. The story and all of it's practical and fantastical trappings are,I can't think of much to say that this guy doesn't say in his well-wrought review. The story and all of it's practical and fantastical trappings are, well, as completely established as any I've ever read:
"The overwhelming impression I get from the Mistborn books is that they have been written by someone who is a fantasy fan first, a fantasy author second. A pedantic geek, if you will. And I mean all of this as the highest praise – Sanderson clearly has a fanboy’s love of internal consistency, and distaste for discontinuity, and is writing the kind of books that he would like to read...Because of these qualities, Sanderson is without a doubt the most consistent, airtight world-builder I have ever read."
The meticulous construction unfortunately comes at the expense of the writing style. In many instances, the book reads like a plot review, like when details of allomancy or Vin's personal life are rehashed multiple times in boring textbook-style exposition. Sanderson's reliance on single phrases also annoys: "perked up", "flat look" and "noted" appear a dozen times (another review expresses ire at "maladroit"). I hope he can overcome this reliance on vocabulary rather than creative exposition in future works. ...more
**spoiler alert** I really like the premise, characters, and style of the Ancillary series thus far, but found this book a little shallow. The major p**spoiler alert** I really like the premise, characters, and style of the Ancillary series thus far, but found this book a little shallow. The major plotline from Ancillary Justice, the division of Anaander Minaai's personality into warring factions, is largely tabled as Breq addresses problems on the much smaller scope of a single planet. Unfortunately, the conflict that Breq encounters is cookie-cutter social injustice in the form of a feudal system of conquerors oppressing the conquered, and Breq's responses are similarly bland. The central conflict of Breq's exemplar morality versus Raughd's depraved selfishness plays out with little inspiration: Raughd commits incrementally more immoral crimes, until Breq intervenes with her power as Fleet Commander. As another reviewer put it, the story feels like a drawing by an artist who only got the primary color crayon box. The connection to the larger scope of the galactic conflict is tenuous, with Breq picking up a few clues on the planet which drive the sudden spate of action that concludes the novel.
It's easy to be disappointed by the reduction in scope from Justice to Sword: from the collapse of an empire to the conflict between conquerors and conquered on a single planet. Nonetheless, of course, many a great novel has been set on a single planet. The turn-off for me was the lack of nuance in presentation. ...more
Windup Girl is a well-written and captivating book, but the sheer depravity of the science and scientists in Bacigalupi's world breaks my suspension oWindup Girl is a well-written and captivating book, but the sheer depravity of the science and scientists in Bacigalupi's world breaks my suspension of disbelief, and drives home the message of caution against genetic modification with Olympian hyperbole. Scantly does Bacigalupi depict any of the benefits of genetic modification. Rather, he targets two far-fetched detriments: drastic upset of ecological balance, as with the Cheshire cats, and global-scale bioterrorism. Genetic engineering only sees positive light, albeit with a greenish tint, in Gibbons' forced cooperation in diversifying Thailand's seedstock. Is it the realm of science fiction to explore the ramifications of a changed future world, but Bacigalupi has condemned humanity long before the start of his novel. The aggression and malfeasance of corporate aggression should not be conflated with the technique of genetic modification itself.
I really would have preferred to love this book and it's wonderful storytelling. I am compelled to react otherwise by the current unthinking fear of genetic modification, driving events like the recent destruction of the Golden Rice field trials in, ironically, the Philippines. Agri-terrorism makes for a good story, but irresponsibly colors the popular understanding of modern scientific issues. ...more