Hirondelle's Reviews > Encrypted

Encrypted by Lindsay Buroker
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's review
Sep 07, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: horrible-covers, sf, ebooks, mary-sue-land
Recommended to Hirondelle by: Isa Lavinia
Read from July 11 to 16, 2011

This was a rec from a friend, and she got my number, this sort of story is precisely my thing : a sort of cross between Shards of Honour with a touch of The Man in the Maze for ominous, and a code breaking / language translating theme. Right up my alley.

And it starts well. I like the author´s writing (nothing to write home about, but competent and not in the way). I like the universe, it is interesting - a planet where there is a clash of cultures, some depending on magic, another more backwards and militaristic expansionist one counting only on the physical sciences. The plot advanced fast and competently enough. There were yes, a couple action scenes which might be a too high-octane for total plausability, but I can overlook that.

Then around 50% of the way in I put down the book, and when I pick it up again a few days later, I find I liked the whole book much less. Now either it was a coincidence I stopped reading precisely where the plot was going to pieces; or it is me in a different less kind mood. I suspect a mix of the two factors. It can´t be just me, seriously Tikaya was not *that* much of Mary Sue on the first half. Which is precisely one of my two main issues with the plot:

- Tikaya, our abducted translating genius heroine (it´s on book description) is a great heroine: smart, strong, sensible, mature, intelligent. But on the second half of the book her resourcefulness and above all her translation skills (and confidence in said translation skills) stretch credibility a LOT. (view spoiler)

- The sense of wonder, of mystery about the setting does not last long into the novel. About 2/3rds of the way in, our heroine with her marvelous translating skills translate a 1-paragraph explanation of it (not a technical passage by any means, spoiler above). That´s it. The whole thing is a McGuffin for a lot of action, and a few twists, some good and some bad.

Another friend wants to know if I recommend this now. I am not sure. I recommend the author and I am considering reading more of her books, because I liked the writing, liked the setup, liked very much the pace and concept. This particular book I am not sure I recommend (though I am thankful it was was recommended to me and not sorry I read it), its second half I found just too frustrating for that. So 4-5 stars to the first half of the book, 1-2 stars to the second half, let´s split hairs and call it a 3.
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Reading Progress

45.0% "So far this book is like the love child of Shards of Honor and Man in the Maze. It rocks (not a perfect book, but OMG yes it´s awesome)."
75.0% "I was about 45% done and liking it a lot. Then I put the book down to read something else and when I repick it, the plot is going to pieces and characters are becoming unlikely. Ouch. I was liking this! I want first part back!" 2 comments
03/31 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Hallie Unfair! I'd never heard of this writer and this sounded really interesting. Will keep an eye on whether you keep going or not.

Hirondelle I think the plot went all to pieces - I am not sure, because it seems like I seemed to totally change my opinion of the book precisely when I stop reading it for a couple days. It´s either a coincidence, me stopping precisely when it starts to go to pieces or *me* and I suspect coincidences. But OTOH seriously some of the Mary Sueisms just have me scratching my head.

Hallie It does seem a bit much of a coincidence! :) I've seen the books are available very cheaply on iTunes - makes it much more tempting!

Hirondelle I think I will finish it today, I can try to let you know more coherently my problems with it then! But yeah is interesting - not having read anything of hers, so far might advice might be to try the other book with lots of ratings. Because this one has some bugs, though she *can* write.

Hallie Looking forward to hearing the final verdict!

Hirondelle Yeah and remembered the selfish reason to advise you to read her other book instead of this one - so you can tell *me* if it´s good ;) But OK, I swear impartial analysis of this book coming up tomorrow.

Hallie :) I need something new right now, so works for me too! (Yeah, aside from the new somethings everywhere in the house.)

message 8: by Isa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Isa Lavinia Ha! I predicted you would give this one a 3, when I first recommended it to you :)
I really would need to re-read it to address some of your points, I don't doubt they're all true, but reading it all without pause probably got me so into the action that I overlooked its failings - which, tbh, happens to me all the time :/ That being said, let me know if/when you read her other book, in case you read it before I do :)

Hirondelle And thank you, you were right, it was interesting and the writing was IMO quite good (in a non-flashy no-look-at-me way).

I am curious about the rest, one day maybe! And LOl this is apparently a prequel the one secondary character I was thinking was dying for a sequel apparently is a main character on the other one.

But you know, now I have a problem. I want to reread shards of honor!

message 10: by Isa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Isa Lavinia I've re-read Shards of Honour like 3 times now, I'd give it a 5 every time, you should do it!

I, too, am curious about the other book, the only thing stopping me from reading it right now (apart from exams) is the fact that, from GR reviews, the romance part of it (if there was one at all) left the readers unfulfilled.

Hirondelle I am pretty forgiving about romances not getting resolved at once, so that might not be a problem.

and shards of honor, oh so tempting.

message 12: by Isa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Isa Lavinia From what I understood from reviews, it never happens at all, but of course I'd have to read it to be sure...

Hirondelle Ok, I am warned, thank you!

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