Amanda's Reviews > Finch

Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
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Aug 24, 11

bookshelves: best-of-the-best, steampunk
Recommended for: people sick of kitschy, mediocrity
Read from January 31 to February 14, 2010

If anyone tells you it's fine to read Finch if you haven't read the other 2 books set in Ambergris, don't believe them, they most likely haven't read both of the other books and don't understand how essential they are for a complete understanding of Finch
This book would have been decidedly less impressive if i hadn't read the whole Ambergis Cycle. In the back of the Finch novel it says "Although each of the Ambergris novels stands alone, together they form the complete 'Ambergris Cycle', a vast 1,700 page story involving many of the same characters and themes, with Finch answering questions first posed in City of Saints and Madmen about the gray caps and about the nature of the city itself." Without knowing Ambergris as i did i know this book would have probably just been another great story rather than one of smashingest reading experiences ever.

That being said, Ambergris is the greatest, most original, achingly brilliant city ever created in speculative fiction to date, IMO. I hate to say, (because they are both beloved favorites of mine), that i felt it surpassed Mieville's world of Bas-Lag and Harrison's Viriconium. And it was levels above Ford's Well-Built City.

The writing style was a complete surprise however, wholely different from the 1st two books of the Ambergris Cycle. Instead of the legnthy, curiously beautiful prose, it's very choppy, utilitarian- clipped phrases often lacking pronouns. It first it caught me off guard and i wasn't sure i liked it, but it turned out to fit the noir(y) detective style of Finch like nothing else could have. It ended up flowing so well that i forgot it was written that way and it was the perfect device to let the reader encounter Ambergris, through the eyes of Finch, as close to first hand as is possible in writing.

Thank-you Mr. VanderMeer for creating one of the best books i've ever read in my life!!

P.S. the first 2 books of the Ambergris Cycle are, in order, City of Saints and Madmen and Shriek An Afterword


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Reading Progress

02/05/2010 page 130
40.63%
02/13/2010 page 285
89.06% "now officially one of my all-time favorites"
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Nick Poniatowski I know what you mean. Finch is, for lack of a better word, captivating. I love it! But I'm finding myself captivated by Windup Girl, too, but for different reasons. I'm not a huge fan of the story and plotting in Windup Girl, but the worldbuilding that Bacigalupi does is amazing.


message 2: by Jarrid (new) - added it

Jarrid Awesome. I look forward to reading it even more now. I had a feeling "Finch" would be something special when I heard that Murder By Death did an instrumental "soundtrack" for it. I just finished his craft/writing life book "Booklife" and it was excellent.


message 3: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Belle I can't wait to start this series! Thank you for your review.I have been working on the Discworld Series for the past 2 years. I'm on book 36, Making Money, and we are back in the city of Ankh-Morpok. I am almost sad to finish off the series, but I will have to check these out!

What book should I start with?


message 4: by Krista (new)

Krista I'm trying to look up the first two books in this trilogy (series?), but I'm not having much luck through Goodreads. Can you please provide the titles? Thanks!


Amanda Krista wrote: "I'm trying to look up the first two books in this trilogy (series?), but I'm not having much luck through Goodreads. Can you please provide the titles? Thanks!"

Oh sure, sorry i'll also add them to my review. i probably should have done that to begin with

book 1 City of Saints and Madmen
book 2Shriek An Afterword

Book one was actually my least favorite of all of them, but most people thought it was genius. It's a bunch of dif. stories that give the reader much of the history and daily life of Ambergris.


Amanda Laura wrote: "I can't wait to start this series! Thank you for your review.I have been working on the Discworld Series for the past 2 years. I'm on book 36, Making Money, and we are back in the city of Ankh-Morp..."

I posted the books in order in the post right above this one and i'll add them to my review also. I hope you enjoy them as much as i did. Although they are by the same author about the same city they are so extremely different in styles.

I recently started the Discworld series, me and my boyfriend have been reading it aloud to each other occasionally while we're driving. We live in rural Maine and everything, even the nearest grocery store, is a half hour away so we spend quite a bit of time in the car. The only downside to reading it aloud with another person is that it's going SLOW. We both love the stories though- very funny!


message 7: by Krista (new)

Krista Thanks, Amanda!




message 8: by Tamara (new) - added it

Tamara Romero I'm certainly delayed with Ambergris, and I just read all the time good things about Finch, so I need to start Shriek soon!


Simon Sounds interesting. I've yet to read anything by Vandermeer but he sounds intriguing. I'll have to track something down soon.


Jason I totally agree with you that first, reading the first two novels is a must, even though at times it might be difficult. This book Finch, remains one of my very favorite reads over the last few years...The combination of the unforgettable protagonist John Finch, plus the fungus and beauty of Ambergis, tied together with all the backstory and world building of the first two books, make this one a true gem... The very top of what the new weird can deliver.... Great Stuff!


Amanda Jason wrote: "I totally agree with you that first, reading the first two novels is a must, even though at times it might be difficult. This book Finch, remains one of my very favorite reads over the last few ye..."

i agree, this was an extraordinary book; new weird at its finest(with a pinch of noir)


message 12: by Tyler (new) - added it

Tyler Lutz How does VanderMeer's writing style compare to Mieville's?


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