Some books have suspenseful endings, some leave unanswered questions, some are ambiguous, some are actual cliff-hangers.
This one just stopped. Some oSome books have suspenseful endings, some leave unanswered questions, some are ambiguous, some are actual cliff-hangers.
This one just stopped. Some of the plot had been resolved, but not nearly enough for it to feel like an entire self-sufficient book. I understand there is a sequel but there is (or should be) a difference between a book with a sequel and a book that the author just stopped writing. This one felt like the latter. It felt like it was the first part of a book, not a book unto itself.
I found it enjoyable and interesting, and I'm intrigued to see where Newman is going with some of these plotlines, but I was irritated at the book's non-ending. ...more
What a beautiful, wonderful book. Neither strictly fantasy nor purely science fiction, this book marries both genres and, in the end, transcends bothWhat a beautiful, wonderful book. Neither strictly fantasy nor purely science fiction, this book marries both genres and, in the end, transcends both worldviews. There characters were remarkable and enjoyable. This was a perfectly balanced, incredibly joyful, optimistic, lovely book. It was exactly what I needed right now. ...more
I never really expected to like a Jodi Picoult novel, but I sure loved this one. Which just goes to show that really solid elephants are an asset to aI never really expected to like a Jodi Picoult novel, but I sure loved this one. Which just goes to show that really solid elephants are an asset to any book.
Reviewing this book requires spoilers. So the spoiler-free review is here: an excellent book with sound characters, very good elephants, and a surprising twist. Read it, even if it's the only book of hers you ever read.
Now for the spoileryness. (view spoiler)[ Slowly it dawns on you that there's a central mystery being blithely ignored. Namely where was Jenna the night of the murder? When you finally get the truth--seriously spoiler here--that she died and most of the people helping her are also dead, the entire story snaps into shape. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
What I don't understand is why it's not honestly shelved as fantasy, because that's what books about ghosts, spirits, and psychics are. It's not a bad thing, it's just true. (hide spoiler)]
This was a thought-provoking engaging book.
And also: good elephants. Most of the science bears up.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I like big books. I was so excited to find this (well-recommended) book with the good cover, and to see how lovely and FAT it was.
Unfortunately, it'sI like big books. I was so excited to find this (well-recommended) book with the good cover, and to see how lovely and FAT it was.
Unfortunately, it's 500 pages TOO fat. The story was good, the characters were fine, but the plot went WAY TOO SLOW, and FAR too much time was spent with various characters talking to Jenn about her "good heart." While all the time, extraordinarily interesting things were happening on the borders of the book that we never got to find out about.
The book was OK, but the ending was wildly predicable, and the whole book would have greatly benefited from some sterner editing. ...more
Halfway through this book, Fitz and the Fool finally have the conversation I expected them to have in the first few chapters.
I enjoyed hanging out witHalfway through this book, Fitz and the Fool finally have the conversation I expected them to have in the first few chapters.
I enjoyed hanging out with the characters in this book, but not a great deal actually happened. Everyone spent a lot of time waiting around or being generally clueless (Fitz, though we're used to that).
I'm very much looking forward to the third one, but I was sad more didn't happen in this one....more
I struggled to find a good answer for her, and I'm still struggling. Maybe because it was fun for the authors? (I hope it was fun.) Because those three names on the cover means a lot of people will pick it up, even if just out of curiosity? Because it's a good way to introduce fans of one author to the other?
But whatever the reasons, it wasn't because it made for a compelling book. The story is interesting but, due to the structure of the plot and the book, it read more like three short novels about a character who was supposed to be--but wasn't--the same throughout. Sario Grijalva's character changed fairly dramatically depending on which author was writing him, and I don't think the conceit of the plot was enough to convince me to accept these changes as in-character.
In addition, the magic was never fully threshed out. (Or it was and I totally missed it and misunderstood.) But I never solidly understood how or why it worked or what rules it obeyed (or was supposed to be obeying.)
It was long, and well-written (regardless of the author) which kept me engaged, but that wasn't enough to make up for its more fundamental flaws. A solid, but not spectacular, book. ...more
I'm a big fan of books about wolves--nonfiction or fiction. I was pretty darn excited to find out that 1) Katherine Addison wrote books under other naI'm a big fan of books about wolves--nonfiction or fiction. I was pretty darn excited to find out that 1) Katherine Addison wrote books under other names and that 2) one was about wolves.
Also, you should understand going in that I was really expecting to like this book.
I just didn't.
The issue was a combination of factors, but I think mainly it comes down to three facts: 1) I had trouble following the characters and keeping track of the Norse-ish terms 2) I had a lot of trouble suspending my disbelief (this is rare for me) and 3) when I did manage to suspend my disbelief I was pretty uncomfortable with a lot of the situations Isolfr found himself in.
I didn't realize how, in books where half the characters are non-human, I rely on cues to separate them out from the other ones. It helps when they have a different style of name (like Nighteyes) or when they have a systematized system to denote their species (like Pern's dragons). But I just couldn't keep track of who was whom, let alone what species everyone was. Also, like Alice said, people come and go quickly here. This is a book that would have benefited from a cast of characters listed somewhere.
I don't like it when I argue with a book. But the way of life Monette and Bear describe just felt too contrived to be sustainable. And I was deeply uncomfortable with Isolfr's coercion into a sexual lifestyle he didn't choose. He was never forced, but he was never, either, a willing and enthusiastic participant. It felt, for lack of a better word, skeevy. I can understand doing something out of duty and out of love of one's family, and I even recognized the parallel the authors drew with women in arranged marriages lying back and thinking of England or whatnot. It just . . . grated. The characters weren't drawn well or solid enough for me to understand their decisions. I just really don't think you can wish yourself bi.
Other than the world-building, the characters, and the vocabulary, the overall writing was quite good. Just not enough to salvage the story.
In the end this was an interesting, but not a very enjoyable, book. Also Burrich would not approve.
I heard that Bujold was turning this into a full-length novel (maybe a trilogy!) and she just released this novella because she loves us and wanted usI heard that Bujold was turning this into a full-length novel (maybe a trilogy!) and she just released this novella because she loves us and wanted us to know what she was up to.
Well, no, I didn't hear that anywhere. But I'm hoping that by wishing really hard I can make it true. Because I really want more Penric and more Desdemona. I want to know what happened next. And I promise Bujold right now that I will buy it the minute it's available for pre-order. (As if that's not my standard operating procedure for her books anyway.)
It makes me want to go back and re-read everything she's ever written. She's so awesome. Reading her stuff turns me into such a fangirl. In the most perfect, good way.
Just imagine the rest of this review is hearts and unicorns and rainbows....more
Like Athena herself, this book is fascinating, brilliant, an engaging thought-experiment, and just a little bit heartless.
Walton did as good a job asLike Athena herself, this book is fascinating, brilliant, an engaging thought-experiment, and just a little bit heartless.
Walton did as good a job as it was possible to do telling this story. But given that it was pretty much a foregone ending, it lacked the depth and heart I had hoped for.
Simmea is an excellent protagonist. Socrates and Apollo were delightful. Maia was puzzling. The diggers were fascinating. And the breath-taking ignorance of humans of both Plato and Athene was just staggering. (When we got to the part about the babies, I just wanted to quit reading. A symptom, perhaps, of me just having had a baby myself.)
It did include one of the best-written examples of post-partum depression I've ever read in fiction. There were some excellent thoughts in here.
But in the end it read a little too much like a thought-experiment, and a little too little like a novel.
The whole book can be summed up in one line by Apollo "We've established, I think, that what Plato knew about love and real people could be written on a fingernail paring."
I adore Martha Wells. I literally do not understand why she is not more widely read. And I simultaneously pity my friends who have not yet read her anI adore Martha Wells. I literally do not understand why she is not more widely read. And I simultaneously pity my friends who have not yet read her and envy them--because the pleasure of discovering her is yet in front of them.
City of Bones is that rare thing in fantasy: a well-done standalone book. The characters are convincing, the plot is at once traditional and unconventional, and the ending is starkly un-cliched. It's a romp of a good adventure with excellent characters. Read it at once. ...more