Anastasia's Reviews > Star Dragon

Star Dragon by Mike Brotherton
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Jun 16, 11

bookshelves: hard-sf, dont-own
Read from June 14 to 16, 2011

Hard scifi with great potential that falls short for me in a few crucial areas, namely writing and characterization. The writing style needs more finesse, and the science parts frequently sound too textbook-like.

Brotherton is best when he invents things rather than describes real physical phenomena. For example, the opening chapter inside the bio-AI-corporation was very interesting, and the description of the space wisps grabbed my imagination. But when it came to real physical phenomena, they were explained very drily, and not well. I feel like I ought to understand what accretion and inner Lagrangian point is, but I don't. (And I have a B.S. in Engineering, and certainly knew what a Lagrangian was at one point, but way too much in this book went over my head. At least the course in Aerospace Dynamics (thanks, Prof. Kutt!) made me feel more comfortable when they were talking about travel trajectories.) On the other hand, I'm glad the author has a phD in the topic, so I could trust him. I feel that if he extrapolated more, inserted more fantasy & imagination, his science background would ground it in "hardness" and make it awesome.

The writing was at first better than I expected, and I liked that he gave characters backstories and motivations, but as the book developed, they really flattened for me, felt one-note, and unrealistic. If a group of 5 people are on a spaceship for a year, would they really not talk to each other at all? Some phrasing could use more work, I noticed that he tends to repeat certain words in a paragraph. I was also hugely turned off when he used the phrase "blithering idiot" to describe a woman flinging her arms around her lover, who's about to go on a suicide mission. To be fair, the character who thought so had a major head injury, so maybe that was a way to indicate the guy was seriously mentally impaired. Still, it grated.

The good things. I read the book, all of it, in 2 days, without skipping or skimming. In the middle, I get really interested and even peeked at the end, and then still read it all the way through. And that is saying a LOT for me. The plot is interesting and it moves. The idea of magnetic dragons living in plasma is awesome, and I wish it was explored more, in greater detail. What do they eat? How do they reproduce? I want this writer to grow & mature.
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Reading Progress

06/15/2011 page 270
77.0% "Not bad, but falls short for me in a few areas. The writing style needs more finesse, and the science parts frequently sound too textbook-like. Brotherton is best when he invents things rather than describes real physical phenomenon. The plot is interesting and moves. I want this writer to grow & mature."

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