Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Grail” as Want to Read:
Grail
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Grail (Jacob's Ladder #3)

by
3.89  ·  Rating details ·  451 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Rife with intrigue and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice, Grail brings Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant space opera to a triumphant conclusion.
 

At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary o
...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Grail, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Grail

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
StarMan
SUMMARY:  We meet the aliens, and they are us.
[not a spoiler, see back cover!]

Lots of new developments here in the finale (Book #3), so no big spoilers from me. The ending was out there (more fantasy than SF), but the individual characters arcs were interesting. My favorite parts were the two groups finally seeing each other and sniffing each other out, so to speak. And, of course, the parts where things go horribly wrong.



BOOK # 3 VERDICT: 4+ stars, except for the over-the-top ending (which wa
...more
Phoenixfalls
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and Roger Zelazny.
Dust was an ambitious novel, drawing on a medley of influences ranging from medieval romantic ballads of chivalry to gothic horror novels to classic SF generation ships, all overlaid with a smattering of Judeo-Christian myths. Its sequel, Chill, was best read as a character study. Grail, the final novel in this trilogy, just might be my favorite. It is that rarest of all beasts: an anthropological and philosophical science fiction novel like few people have written in my lifetime.

I have to admit
...more
Bradley
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's all light.

I liked this one much better than the previous two novels, full of better contrast, deeper ethical considerations, and more interesting intrigue. Mind you, this is all subject to my own subjectivity, but It was much easier to fall into a society of dull board members and sit back confidently as they get pounded ideologically by a godlike feudalist ecology, and back again as they said, "Uh, no thanks, I think we'd best stay on Prozac."

It's funny and delightful, with some real promi
...more
Hallie
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the first two books in this series, so I was disappointed with the uneven quality of this one. Characterizations and speech registers were pretty wildly inconsistent, which is always the most annoying aspect of writers who are mediocre at world-building. She did such a good job with the first two books, but introducing another world into this one let it get out of hand. The ending was a little deux ex machina (one of those "wait, you didn't tell me they could do that!" moments), a ...more
Peter Tillman
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Best of the series, until the end which goes off into La-La land. IMO of course, but she is such a good writer....Well, it is her book. But, in a better world, she'd have written a better ending.

I do like the idea of mythic space-opera, and there's never been a fictional generation ship like the "Jacobs Ladder." It's fun to see the ship and crew from normal human eyes. Even half-ruined, it's almost the size of Manhattan!

If you are new to the series, you should start with #1, DUST, though be awar
...more
Alexandra
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011

The last thing I expect from the final book in a trilogy is for it to throw up major questions about the characters we have come to, if not love, like and admire over the course of two books. But that's exactly what Bear does in Grail. It's a remarkable move that I admit makes a fitting end to a remarkable series. As with Chill, there is no way of telling from the front cover that this is part of a series, although the blurb mentions that it brings Bear's space opera "to a triumphant conclusion.
...more
Niall519
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
While each of the three books in the trilogy has the odd small problem, they're all very, very good. Inventive, poetic, and with the whacky jusxtapositions that I've come to love and expect from Elizabeth Bear. Taken as a whole though, the story that spans the three is brilliant! The three together would get 5 stars if Good Reads had a facillity for that.

The meditation on 'natural' versus 'forced' or tinkered-with evolution; the relationships between individuals, species, and the biospheres they
...more
Fate's Lady
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
While I did sort of enjoy this book, I didn't feel like it was as strong to me as the previous two. Once again the villain who we were SURE was really dead this time rises up to conquer the world. This happens just as the ship is arriving at Grail, which it turns out is already inhabited by humans who leapfrogged over the shipwrecked generation World, Jacob's Ladder. Culture clash is inevitable, and there's a strong philosophical debate between the extreme evolutionists of JL and the "rightminde ...more
Liz
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remain somewhat in awe and more than a little jealous of Elizabeth Bear's ability to take on ANY genre of spec-fic and write it magnificently. To be sure, she is something of an acquired taste (you mean not everyone likes their sci-fi sprinkled with Arthurian legends and quotations by Victorian poets?). Still, I really enjoyed this series and the strangeness of the world Bear created, one with few easy answers for the good guys and some seriously impressive baddies (Insert Shatnerian "CONNNN!! ...more
Sara
I think this rating is a little low, honestly, but I am nothing if not vindictive when I don't like an ending. I really, really didn't like this ending. It was something beyond deus ex machina - which, I'm going to point out, I have absolutely no problem with when used in an interesting way.

And it sucks because I really liked a lot of this. I liked Fortune and its story SO MUCH, just so much, really. Whatever, the ending just hit all my "ugh no" buttons, so.
Kris
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
As usual, things didn't go in the direction I anticipated. In this case, though, I was kind of looking forward to seeing more interaction between the two very different cultures, and I'm disappointed that we didn't get it.
Jaime Moyer
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
What does it mean to be human? What is it like to finally--ultimately--grow up?

Such a good book and a completely satisfying end to this series. Loved it.
Alytha
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mackenzie Caple
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the bulk of this book was very interesting but I found the ending unsatisfying.
Ove
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jacob’s Ladder leads to Heaven and God according to Genesis.

I have just finished Grail the concluding volume of Elizabeth Bear’s generation ship epos Jacob’s Ladder. I have a hard time distilling the story down to review size but here goes.

Jacob’s Ladder is getting close to journey’s end and the planet Grail. Perceval became the captain after her beloved Rien scarified herself and merged with the ship’s ai and vanquished the dragon Dust, the ship library that ruled ship for centuries turning it
...more
Beth Dawkins
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
4.5
This is the third and last book of the series. The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has found a planet. The ship might not be able to last trying to find another planet. They take to calling the planet Grail, but its name is actually Fortune. In the midst of discovery, and deciding if the planet is occupied someone close to Captain Perceval is killed.

It introduces new characters to the story from Grail. They, like the people on Jacob’s Ladder, are originally from earth. Their leader, Premier D
...more
Shara
The premise: ganked from BN.com: Rife with intrigue and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice, Grail brings Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant space opera to a triumphant conclusion.

At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of sharing Fortune—especially with people who have genetically engineered themselves to such an
...more
Mortalform
The juxtaposition of two cultures that would be considered quite highly moral but with very different beliefs. Part of the reason this series is so cool..... following quote:

Perceval managed her own neurochemistry through her symbiont, but manual manipulation of any system so complex, nuanced and responsive was inevitably cruder and more granular than what the healthy brain managed on its own with the proper stimulus. p 49

"Its an established principal,"she said. "The survivors of a crisis and th
...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Grail is the third book in the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy. I checked out Dust and Chill from my local library. When I went to check out Grail it had been ordered but I had to wait for it to arrive and be processed before I could finish listening to the series. I said before but let me say again. I do not think I would have read the series but I enjoyed listening. Elizabeth Bear has a way with words and descriptions. There is a wonderful flow to her prose that made listening a pleasure.

I loved how Gr
...more
Warren Rochelle

Grail is the conclusion to Bear’s Jacob’s Ladder trilogy, begun in Dust and continued in Chill. Jacob’s Ladder, an ancient generational ship, finally comes to the end of its thousand-year journey when it reaches the habitable world the crew, led by the Conns, has named Grail. They have come to the end of their quest. Unfortunately other humans beat them to it—they call the planet Fortune. Conflict is inevitable. The people of Fortune are “right-minded,” genetically altered to achieve emotional b
...more
Megan Baxter
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have spoken many times about my habit of starting series wherever books cross my field of vision. This is one where I think I would have benefited from starting at the beginning. I didn't, though, I started at book 2, and was pretty much utterly confused. That is my own damn fault. By this book, though, the third and final one in the trilogy, I think I pretty much had my feet underneath me, and could enjoy it more deeply than my confusion let me sink into the second. This novel is from the ear ...more
Juushika
As the ship nears the planet where they hope to end their thousand-year journey, they discover the worst: the planet is already inhabited--by humans. The divergent human societies can feel insufficiently alien--or, rather, they don't extrapolate well: the clash of worldviews stretches thin when meant to encompass two complete cultures. But when it works (and, here, Bear's headhopping shines), the view of each society from without is creative, refreshing, thoughtful, and sometimes even hilarious. ...more
Besha
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I love this series for its imagery, its language, and its sweeping examination of evolution, ethics, and the definition of humanity. I don't love the way it consistently buries the dénouement, even though tortuousness is one of the things I love about Elizabeth Bear's writing.

(view spoiler)

Come ON, man.

But beyond that
...more
Cynthisa
It's a peculiar talent of Elizabth Bear's to write such "classic" sci fi (hyperliterate, applying strong, hard sciences in a deft and nuanced way) yet approach it in such a non-linear, Jungian way that just as I think I'm following along fine, the tale derails itself into tendrals of half-understood action and plots. It was moderately tolerable (for an absolute linear, non-intuitive like myself) in books 1 and 3. But in book 2 the whole last couple of chapters was near incomprehensible. Realisti ...more
Deborah Replogle
This trilogy, of which this is the last volume (too bad) was a FASCINATING read. Basically, the plot revolves around two civilizations of human beings, who came from the same Earth origins, but have evolved in completely different directions over about a 500 year or so period. The first group is contained in a type of Space Ark and the second group has settled a planet that the first group was heading for. The third volume is where they come in to contact and have to determine their outcome.

In
...more
Krista McCracken
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was probably my favourite book of the three in the Jacobs Ladder series. This one seemed to flow better and was less held up by technical explanations or world building. The characters fit like an old hat but still have new complexities developing throughout the book. I really enjoyed the premise of the book - a generation ship making contact with a human colony in space. And despite both being descendants from humans on earth the groups are vastly different in physical construct, mindset, ...more
Janet
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the best of the 3 books in the Jacob’s Ladder series. I read this series on the recommendation of a friend and I would also recommend the series. The second book was my least favorite and the 3rd was the best. You have to read all 3 books. This book had a unique ending which worked very well. It tied up the loose ends for the story. Some may say it was a bit sappy. Just call me a sap.
This was a strong Sci-fi novel with space ships, planet people and conflict between them and their value
...more
Jenny GB
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The ship finally arrives at Grail/Fortune and the ship's people make contact with their relatives that took a different evolutionary path. They all must discover how they can live together or even if they will coexist after all. Meanwhile, both sides must deal with assassination attempts and sabotage at this critical moment.

I liked the discussions about the evolution of the two groups and getting to know the people that live on Fortune. However, I thought that the ending was not enough. I was lo
...more
Jim Beckmann
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this trilogy. So many amazing ideas in these books. My only complaint, that each book seemed to accelerate rapidly to a conclusion in the last few pages. Not so much a problem in the first two as there is more to come, but the final book left me feeling like I missed something. World changing events just seem to happen in a few sentences. Some things are best left to the imagination, but I felt that important questions about several main characters were left unanswered. I will p ...more
Ruth
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
A trite comment but this book was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The ending could have gone a number of ways but the author kept a tight rein on the plotting whereas many other authors would have wrung a number of books out of this world and theme. I did get a little confused with the characters and who had morphed into whom but, again, delicate hints by the author usually solved the problem. Definitely recommended to the normal crew.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ally (Wess'Har Wars, #5)
  • The Tempering of Men (Iskryne World, #2)
  • The Noise Within (Noise #1)
  • Shades of Gray (Sholan Alliance, #8)
  • Overkill (Orphan's legacy, #1)
  • Ghost Ocean
  • The Empress of Mars
  • The Book of Transformations (Legends of the Red Sun, #3)
  • Expendable (League of Peoples, #1)
  • Unwelcome Bodies
  • Hell Ship
  • Love and Romanpunk (Twelve Planets, #2)
  • Recursion (AI Trilogy #1)
  • Gardens of the Sun (The Quiet War #2)
  • Home Fires
  • Uncharted Territory
  • Prince of Storms (Entire and the Rose, #4)
  • Omnitopia: Dawn (Omnitopia, #1)
108173
What Goodreads really needs is a "currently WRITING" option for its default bookshelves...
More about Elizabeth Bear...

Other Books in the Series

Jacob's Ladder (3 books)
  • Dust (Jacob's Ladder, #1)
  • Chill (Jacob's Ladder, #2)

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • These Vicious Masks
    $7.09 $2.99
  • The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #1)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Once Dead (The Rho Agenda Inception #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Door Within (The Door Within, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Harmony Black (Harmony Black, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Cloud Atlas
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Galápagos
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Thirteen
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Perfected (Perfected #1)
    $5.99 $0.99
  • Unspoken (The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation, # 2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Mark of Fire (The Endarian Prophecy #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Nova
    $11.99 $1.99