in Grimspace, we met a brash spacepilot on the edge of burn-out. she and a scruffy bunch of space-pirates careened all over the known universe, racingin Grimspace, we met a brash spacepilot on the edge of burn-out. she and a scruffy bunch of space-pirates careened all over the known universe, racing one step ahead of the corporation that owns and operates pretty much everyone and everything. the goals they're pursuing throughout that first book, important though they are, are far-reaching and aren't anywhere near completed by the end, so the series felt very well set up (though sans the annoyance of a cliffhanger) and ready to move on to further installments.
rather unexpectedly, then, this book feels disappointingly like a bunch of filler that exists mainly to set the stage for the remainder of the series. Jax is tapped to be an ambassador to a far-off world only because she's basically the only human on speaking terms with any of the insect-like aliens...and then spends the entire book dodging and weaving on her way to just get to that other planet. most gratingly, several of the classic romance-novel tropes crop up in the main character's relationship (miscommunication, running away from intimacy), though i otherwise wouldn't have all classified this as a romance novel.
oh well. the characterization is still really solid, and the adventure whizzes along at break-neck speed, so we still have an zippy and engaging read. here's hoping the rest of the series finds its feet more solidly....more
it is perhaps possible that I don't actually enjoy China Miéville. don't get me wrong, here, I admire the hell out of what that man does with words anit is perhaps possible that I don't actually enjoy China Miéville. don't get me wrong, here, I admire the hell out of what that man does with words and what comes out of his uniquely skewed brain. I adore that there are female characters that are just that: actual characters, with foibles and good qualities and bad qualities, people, not placeholders. and NOBODY build worlds like this man (which may be a good thing, because if everyone did this, it would be evidence that we are all on major drugs).
but his main characters? meh. this is the 3rd book of his where I just don't have any connection with who the story is ostensibly about. side characters are far more interesting than bland, shy Sham ap Shoorap, half-ass indiffeerence at everything he does being his main trait. this is a bizarrely quirky coming of age(ish) adventure yarn, that i found myself plowing through only for the weird scenery. ...more
'falling free' tells the story of the quaddies, experiments in genetic engineering designed to have 4 hands rather than pairs of arms and leg3.5 stars
'falling free' tells the story of the quaddies, experiments in genetic engineering designed to have 4 hands rather than pairs of arms and legs to make them more dexterous (literally) in zero-gravity. the story is interesting and the pacing is good, but unfortunately it utterly lacks subtlety. villains are dastardly from the get-go, and the smart but quiet good guy is appalled by the moral issues as soon as he sees them. if I was reading this as being written by someone else, I probably would have liked it more, but I'm spoiled on how awesome I usually expect LMB to be.
the novella is a repeat from earlier in the omnibuses, where Miles discovers and rescues Taura, included here because of the quaddie musician also rescued.
in 'diplomatic immunity', Miles has to sort out a mystery taking place in quaddiespace, the corner of the universe these guys ultimately carved out for their own. though he has more mature things to be thinking about (impending fatherhood, being an imperial official), Miles runs around jumping hands-first into the line of fire, throwing his life on the line because he can do it best and think faster than anyone. he's not a rash kiddo anymore, but he acts like it again more than a bit here. I'd be ok with him growing up some and leaving the actual death-defying to some clever protege, so here's hoping he can keep from directly risking his life for a while. ...more