I have mixed feelings about this book. This book was interesting enough to keep me engaged until the end, but it's not the best of its genre that I haI have mixed feelings about this book. This book was interesting enough to keep me engaged until the end, but it's not the best of its genre that I have read.
Let's start with what I liked. This book is set in modern times, with many cultural references to present day. It's from the perspective of an army soldier, and much of the language and style feels very authentic. The premise of this book is interesting- alien species recruiting us to fight off world using pretty much only our modern earthling weapons. I also enjoyed the galactic hierarchy- species are subordinate to other species, and are aligned with one side or the other of this never-ending war. I felt that was a fresh take on the interactions of other species.
Now let's talk about what I didn't like. As many others have lamented, this book needs an editor! There are so many basic grammar errors, omitted words, duplicated words, and etc. It definitely makes it hard to read. As for the story itself, it's hard to tell if the writer is intentionally being cheesy, or if he doesn't know how cheesy the story really is. Most notably, the interactions between the protagonist and "Skippy" feel particularly forced, and I imagine they should be accompanied by a laugh track in some 90's era sitcom. Finally, the book doesn't climax in the right spot. You would think there would be some great conflict or tension at the end, but the last few chapters were really just setting up for the subsequent books. The real tension comes about 75% of the way through the book.
Overall, this was an interesting book, but not an engrossing book. At some point I will probably pick up the sequels, but I have other books I would rather read first....more
I wanted to read and review this book before the movie came out. I didn't want my review of this book to be affected one way or the other by the film.I wanted to read and review this book before the movie came out. I didn't want my review of this book to be affected one way or the other by the film.
Overall, this is a decent addition to the Star Wars universe. It is easy to read, and draws on familiar elements and events from the movies. However, this book does not stand well on its own. It feels like an extended prologue to the upcoming movie. The book spends a lot of time on exposition of plot points and development of characters, but the plot itself and the flow of the book are uninspiring. Furthermore, the climax of the book does not feel like a typical climax for a sci fi or adventure novel. It feels somewhat flat and lacks enough tension, conflict and emotion.
Overall, I'm glad I read this novel because I intend to see the movie, and because I like Star Wars universe in general, but this book does not stand on its own....more
I have a hard time verbalizing my feelings for this book. Some parts were fantastically amazing. Other parts were thoroughly boring and wholly unnecesI have a hard time verbalizing my feelings for this book. Some parts were fantastically amazing. Other parts were thoroughly boring and wholly unnecessary.
Specifically, the beginning and ending were fantastically well-written. They had great character development, vivid imagery, and a compelling story. I really enjoyed the writer's style of subtle sarcasm. Some of his jokes did not age well, but others are just as funny now a they were 150 years ago.
I really enjoyed the symbolism and foreshadowing the author embedded in many places. He did a good job of giving the reader a good feeling something bad was about to happen. It also enriched his characters as they all got towards their breaking points. You could see the effects of a monomaniacal (Melville's word, and it's used prolifically) captain on the safety and well-being of the crew. You can see the dutiful officers struggling between carrying out Ahab's orders and descending into outright mutiny. Even Ahab saw the danger of a crew revolt, at least towards the beginning. And the ending was oddly satisfying despite its brevity. In general, I had to keep reminding myself that these characters and plot lines were revolutionary at the time of writing; it has only been in the 150 years since that thee same mechanics have been borrowed and reused to the point of cliche.
What I didn't like about the book was the meaty encyclopedia of all things whaling in the 1850s. Melville would write one or two chapters of juicy plot development, and follow it up with several chapters about some facet of whaling. He went into great detail about the anatomy of a whale, from the head to the tail. He discussed everything known at the time about breeding and behavioral patterns. He distinguished one type of whale from another in excruciating detail. He thoroughly explained every practice and procedure on the whaling vessel. Whether or not these accounts were wholly accurate for the time period, I could not say. However, they felt comprehensive enough to be believable. They also distracted from the story, and you honestly wouldn't miss much from skipping right over them.
Overall, this was a good book and well worth the effort....more
Great book. excellent bridge between the original trilogy and the Force Awakens movie. This novel definitely stands alone in its ability to captivateGreat book. excellent bridge between the original trilogy and the Force Awakens movie. This novel definitely stands alone in its ability to captivate and engage the reader even without watching any of the movies. However, if you have seen the movies, this book is so much more engaging. It takes you somewhat behind the scenes of some of the major events of the original trilogy, like the view from the hangar bay of the death star as it destroys alderaan.
This book ends somewhat abruptly, without full resolution for all of the characters. I sincerely hope these characters return in some way shape or form. Excellent novel!...more
This was a really engrossing book. It was smart and suspenseful. It was puzzling at times, while the reader struggles to figure out what is going on,This was a really engrossing book. It was smart and suspenseful. It was puzzling at times, while the reader struggles to figure out what is going on, but in a good way. It was fresh and different. Fantastical yet realistic. There are lots of great things to say about this book.
My issue is the tempo really grinds to a halt in the last 70 pages or so. The book gets really sciencey, which made it hard to understand what was going on. I just had to accept what they were saying and move on.
Let me start with what I liked about this book. The descriptions of the cities and people of China were so vivid I felt I was actually there and thatLet me start with what I liked about this book. The descriptions of the cities and people of China were so vivid I felt I was actually there and that I learned something about China. It's clear this author knows what it's like to live in China and interact with the locals. It reminded me of my own time living in Spain. This alone kept this book above one star.
It's unfortunate the plot and the protagonist were not as rich and well-developed as the scenery. In general, I had trouble emotionally investing in the character because I could not understand her motivations. She gets herself into quite a bit of trouble, but she doesn't do anything wrong until she starts lying to people. Why didn't she just tell the truth and step away? Maybe at least catch the next flight back to the states to be with her mom?
What's worse is the climax of the book doesn't feel like a climax, and the resolution doesn't really resolve anything. Are these people still looking for her and her friend that was harboring the Uighur? What about the state security thugs? This book sort of leaves things unresolved, but again, I had trouble buying into it in the first place. Not that great of a book....more
It's not often I give only one star to a book, but I think this one really deserved it. This book is mired in philosophical rambling and fails to builIt's not often I give only one star to a book, but I think this one really deserved it. This book is mired in philosophical rambling and fails to build upon the rich world Orson Scott Card has built over the series. Children of the Mind lacks the exploratory excitement found in Speaker for the Dead, and the coming of age angst from the original Enders Game. This book was far less about Ender figuring out the puzzle or winning people with his charisma, and far more about pontificating the philosophical and ethical nature of human actions. This felt more like a college philosophy class than a sci-fi novel.
Others have talked about the inherent racism and segregation undertones, as well as some of the major plot holes. I won't go into them here, but they just subtracted from the already low-quality book. Overall, this book feels like a chore to read and not a pleasure....more