Although well written, I've found some of Miéville's earlier, renowned works (Perdido Street Station and The Scar) to be extremely frustrating reads.Although well written, I've found some of Miéville's earlier, renowned works (Perdido Street Station and The Scar) to be extremely frustrating reads. In contrast, The City & The City is excellent and gripping with a fabulous "City" construct (virtually Miéville's signature at this point) that explores a number of interesting themes all in the context of what is otherwise essentially a murder mystery. ...more
I had very mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, Bacigalupi paints a type of apocalyptic future very different from that of other authors, taI had very mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, Bacigalupi paints a type of apocalyptic future very different from that of other authors, tackling subjects such as genetically-modified organsisms (GMOs) and global warming in ways not really seen before. On the other hand, the characters are almost universally dislikable. They are uniformly racist, which becomes frustrating after awhile (although to be fair, its equal opportunity racism since at least four different races are all portrayed as being completely disdainful of every other race), even if it may be sadly realistic. I found it hard to care about a story in which everyone was so unpleasant (even though a few were less so than others). The most sympathetic character by far (at least major character) is the titled "windup girl", but even she failed to really capture me (although she improved quite a bit by the end). I understand the hype about this book and why it has won so many awards, but it's simply not a book I'm likely to have any interest in re-reading in the future. I'm giving it four stars because of the depth of the novelty, rather than because I actually found it entertaining....more
I'm not a particular fan of either steampunk or zombies, but Boneshaker delivers a fun tale of both. A reimagined 19th century Seattle, booming decadeI'm not a particular fan of either steampunk or zombies, but Boneshaker delivers a fun tale of both. A reimagined 19th century Seattle, booming decades earlier due to an earlier Alaskan goldrush suffers a disaster when the Boneshaker Arctic drilling device is tested for the first time. Among the outcomes: a poisonous gas that resurrects some of its victims as zombies. The city is walled in to contain the fumes and those left scrape out a meager existence in the outskirts of the city. A decade later, the widow of the Boneshaker inventor is forced to enter the city to search for her missing son. A solid story with vivid scenery and colorful characters....more
A fairly fun book, for the most part The Privilege of the Sword doesn't overreach itself, but rather successfully achieves somewhat moderate goals. ThA fairly fun book, for the most part The Privilege of the Sword doesn't overreach itself, but rather successfully achieves somewhat moderate goals. The main characters are moderately well developed, but many of the side characters are flat and there were times where it felt like secondary plot-threads were just lost in the complexity of a few of the plot lines.
It should be noted that the book is not truly a fantasy, despite being generally categorized that way. It is a fantasy only in that the world is made-up and contains a reasonably traditional-style feudal/noble political system. However, there are no fantastical elements. If it had been set in the right time period in various parts of Europe, most of the story and plot would have worked perfectly well with little alteration. This is not a criticism in any way, simply an observation....more
The Innkeeper's Song never really grabbed me. I found it to be a disjointed tale, that was somehow just missing something. Told from multiple first-peThe Innkeeper's Song never really grabbed me. I found it to be a disjointed tale, that was somehow just missing something. Told from multiple first-person point of views, it also starts with a slightly disjointed time narrative although this evens out rather quickly. It's also told entirely as a past tale, i.e., the first-person narratives are all about past events, which in some manner might be considered a giveaway to potential story outcomes.
It is quite different than most fantasy novels. Most fantasy is about setting and adventure, with character at best secondary. This book is about character, with very little in the way of setting. In and of itself, I don't think that would lead me to dislike it, so there must be something else that didn't work for me, but I can't pin down what it was....more