A New Adventure in the Saga of the Skolian Empire.
Kamoj Argali is the young ruler of an impoverished province on a backward planet. To keep her people from starving, she has agreed to marry Jax Ironbridge, the boorish and brutal ruler of a prosperous province. But before Argali and Ironbridge are wed, a mysterious stranger from a distant planet sweeps in and forces Kamoj into marriage, throwing her world into utter chaos.
The author of more than twenty-five books, Catherine Asaro is acclaimed for her Ruby Dynasty series, which combines adventure, science, romance and fast-paced action. Her novel The Quantum Rose won the Nebula® Award, as did her novella “The Spacetime Pool.” Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the AnLab from Analog magazine and a three time recipient of the RT BOOKClub Award for “Best Science Fiction Novel.” Her most recent novel, Carnelians, came out in October, 2011. An anthology of her short fiction titled Aurora in Four Voices is available from ISFiC Press in hardcover, and her multiple award-winning novella “The City of Cries” is also available as an eBook for Kindle and Nook.
Catherine has two music CD’s out and she is currently working on her third. The first, Diamond Star, is the soundtrack for her novel of the same name, performed with the rock band, Point Valid. She appears as a vocalist at cons, clubs, and other venues in the US and abroad, including recently as the Guest of Honor at the Denmark and New Zealand National Science Fiction Conventions. She performs selections from her work in a multimedia project that mixes literature, dance, and music with Greg Adams as her accompanist. She is also a theoretical physicist with a PhD in Chemical Physics from Harvard, and a jazz and ballet dancer. Visit her at www.facebook.com/Catherine.Asaro
Here are a few reasons why it may have won the Nebula:
* The entire novel is an allegory for quantum scattering theory. This is a clever and unexpected device. * The series brings back the old "space opera" style of science fiction. (Think "Star Wars.") * The technology described in the books is much more carefully balanced with current scientific knowledge than in most "space opera" books.
And here's one reason why maybe it shouldn't have won a Nebula:
"If thwarted passion could have powered space ships, she and Vyrl would have launched an entire fleet by now."
I picked this up because it was a Nebula Award Winner, and as a public librarian I need to read a diverse body of literature. My diversity unfortunately just happens to be within science fiction.
I read a sexist comment once online where a guy said that he thought that women science fiction writers seemed to all be inspired by "Star Trek". He obviously wanted to start a flame war, and I of course don't think this is true. [Let me just say here, I think Octavia Butler was one of the best science fiction writers of all time of either gender:]
Although I do think this book was inspired by "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" cartoon series and/or its lesser known sister cartoon "She-Ra."
Because it is the sixth novel in a series you get the feeling that you are missing a lot of back-story. I downloaded the audio book version of the first novel "Primary Inversion" from my public library and that was more confusing than "Quantum Rose.” Apparently they are all stand-alone and you don't have to read them in any order, I guess.
I can't believe that this beat out a lot of well known competition for the Nebula in 2001.
This novel has a really cool science fiction backdrop but a really insipid plot. In this case, you really can judge a book by its hilariously terrible cover.
It’s a mostly nonsensical story about the whirlwind romance between a petite beautiful snowflake and her creepy husband (who buys her from her family with a room full of treasure, and literally tells her he almost just raped her but decided to marry her instead. AND THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE ROMANTIC).
Which is really too bad, because the universe is cool. After exploring the galaxy, human technology failed and stranded colonists on their new worlds. Thousands of years later, humans are exploring again and are surprised to find other, slightly differently evolved humans, on other planets. I like the concept but the story in this novel is just SO BAD I cannot possibly recommend it.
Asaro has written other books in this universe; I’d like to hear from anyone who’s read them! I hope they do her world-building justice.
About halfway through this interesting, but deeply flawed work, I said, "this would be better if the writer could write artfully." But then the plot took a sharp left into being about something else entirely, and I had to force myself to finish.
The premise is good. Woman governs a small feudal province in the decaying remnants of what used to be a super-future human culture. Woman gets swept off her feet by warlord who turns out to be from space. Problems ensue.
It was good, but that book ended, more or less, and ended unsatisfyingly, about 2/3 in. Then it was about space politics, and it would be tough for a book to be written well about future space political/military issues from the perspective of a person who grew up with a 1600's level of technology, but as I said before, this book is written in the "tell in the blandest fashion possible" style that infects so much genre fiction.
A book of the "Saga of the Skolian Empire" series, 'The Quantim Rose' is a book that probably requires a rudimentary background knowledge of the series to understand the full story. Overall, at it's core, it's a story of a romance between two worlds and cultures that go horribly wrong; which, our two protagonists struggle to overcome to change things for the better. Fans of Star Trek's "The Prime Directive" might find this of interest when the spirit of that rule is not followed in this book. As interesting as that description sounds, 'The Quantum Rose', suffers from the fact that it's a book that's dealing with multiple plots at the same time that sometimes doesn't transition too well from one to the next. Others also might find parts of this book disturbing, since it involves scenes of kidnapping, coercion, and rape. Overall, another interesting chapter in the history of the Skolian Empire, though not quite up to the level of the other books in this series.
Un troisième tome totalement différent des précédents. Du coup il a un peu moins fonctionné, il n’avait vraiment pas les éléments qui m’intéressaient dans les précédents et que j’attendais en ouvrant celui ci. Mais la lecture n’a pas été désagréable pour autant, ce tome marche bien comme tome bonus ou on découvre un frère caché des personnages principaux précédents.
Comme dans le tome précédent ce tome est en deux temps, limite comme deux livres différents à la suite.
Dans la première partie on suis la rencontre entre les deux personnages, on met le contexte en place et on assiste à leur lute contre les obstacles sur leur route pour être ensemble. Dans la seconde on repart sur du space opera en lien avec les deux tomes précédents, mais en moins épique et plus « tranquille ».
Kamoj Quanta Argali est une jeune femme comme les autres, sauf que depuis quelques années et la mort de ses parents, elle gouverne l’une des provinces les plus pauvres de Balumil, une planète isolée aux confins de la galaxie. Les technologies ont existé à un moment donné sur la planète mais le Savoir c’est perdu petit à petit. Le dernier « carré de lumière » de la province brille dans la résidence de Kamoj, mais pour combien de temps?
L’armurier de lumière du village sait les réparer. Il semble, ainsi que sa famille, avoir le don pour trouver les connexions qui fonctionnent si on lui donne du matériel opérationnel. Mais le problème c’est qu’il devient impossible de trouver ledit matériel. Tout tombe en ruine.
La jeune femme c’est résigné à accepter « l’offre de fusion » de Jax Point-de-fer, le puissant maître de la riche province d’à coté, histoire que son peuple ne meurt pas de faim et de froid durant les 20 années d’hiver qui vont arriver. Mais Jax est brutal. Ses colères ont toujours une conséquence fâcheuse et Kamoj est très souvent en première ligne.
Alors quand le nouveau locataire de l’ancien château de sa famille, un individu masqué qui a débarqué d’on ne sait ou avec de nombreux hommes et plein de richesses, fait du jour au lendemain une offre bien supérieure en matériel à celle de Jax, elle ne peux pas refuser.
La voici maintenant mariée à l’étranger et elle va devoir avoir fort à faire pour comprendre d’ou il vient et les horribles origines de sa propre lignée …
J’ai trouvé la première partie très très très frustrante. Pour comprendre le contexte nous lecteur comprenons les tenants et les aboutissements de la situation, mais le personnage principal non. Pour elle c’est du chinois, elle ne comprend pas les concepts d’ordinateur, de courant, de vaisseau, de radio, … Du coup il y a un petit coté mignon quand elle se trompe ou qu’elle réagit de façon pas appropriée au début.
Mais c’est très vite étouffé par le fait qu’on apprend bien vite que la planète était dans un très lointain passé une « réserve » d’esclaves dans laquelle on a fait plein d’expérimentations génétiques pour les rendre plus résistants, plus soumis, les empêcher d’apprendre, les faire grandir et être actifs plus rapidement, les faire voir dans le noir, être plus petit pour consommer moins … Toute la société de son peuple a pour but de maintenir l’équilibre tel qu’il est et de ne surtout pas déranger la norme établie.
Les gens ne se plaignent pas, ils sont conditionnés génétiquement pour ne pas résister aux ordres, et surtout pour faire plaisir à ceux qui ont l’autorité. Car si les esclaves ont subsisté, les maîtres aussi. Ceux qui à l’origine étaient la pour encadrer leur projets.
Et quand les gênes non modifiés ressortent après des générations, un « leader » prend tout de suite le dessus sur les autres. C’est ce qui se passe avec Jax. En plus il a des avantages que d’autres n’ont pas comme un triple estomac et une résistance accrue aux conditions climatiques intenses. En plus il est un peu sociopathe, seul son plaisir lui importe. Il ne comprend même pas que d’autres soient plus faibles physiquement que lui. Il leur impose un rythme qu’ils ne peuvent pas suivre.
Kamoj est vraiment conditionnée pour faire plaisir. Quand Jax s’impose à elle elle ne résiste pas. Et elle ne se rend même pas compte du problème. Elle ne connait pas le mot « consentement ».
Ce thème est vraiment au cœur de ce tome. Avec l’aide de l’étranger, qui est en fait le frère de l’héroïne des deux premiers tomes, elle va découvrir un nouveau monde, et surtout elle va faire son chemin vers la liberté. Et ce chemin ne sera pas facile, elle devra aller à l’encontre de tout ses instincts.
Du coup pour en revenir au coté frustrant de la première partie. C’est quand nous on sait qu’il suffirait qu’elle résiste un peu pour changer tout, mais qu’elle est tellement conditionnée qu’elle ne fait rien que c’était le pire. C’est de la bonne frustration mais ça m’a un peu empêcher de passer un bon moment dans cette partie la.
La seconde partie était bien plus sympa même si pour moi il lui manquait le coté épique du précédent.
C’est limite de la SF pastorale au final, vu qu’on suis le coté « fermiers » de la dynastie Ruby. On est loin de la politique et des batailles précédentes.
Ceci dit ce n’était pas un mauvais tome, juste plus anecdotique et reposant.
I didn’t care for Catherine Asaro’s “Quantum Rose,” but the reason has nothing to do with the dreaded HEA (happily ever after) ending and everything to do with the late Merv Griffin. Let me explain.
Simply put, the plot begins when a Prince from another planet arrives on Governor Kamoj’s planet. The latter woman is the young ruler of a relatively improverished farming province that has lost all contact with technology. Kamoj cannot even read. She has been betrothed for years to Jax, the strong Prince of the neighboring province, who can read, and thus has access to some technology. Merging the two provinces would make a stronger whole, despite the fact Jax is a jerk.
The off-world Prince, Vyrl, butts in and buys Kamoj’s marriage contract by tendering a dowery Jax can’t match. This hardly makes for harmonious relations among the three. Indeed, Kamoj initially cannot decide what to do, especially given Vyrl seems to be disfigured (although local marriage law is clear). And Jax doesn’t much care about any stinking law. But when Kamoj has to choose between staying and being a strong ruler for her people, or following her new husband to fight the remnants of a galactic war, it nearly is a toss-up.
We have arrived at the half-way point of the book and so far, so good. The reason: plenty of jeopardies (hence the Merv Griffin reference). Kamoj is faced with multiple conflicting options, all bad. She has to do a min/max calculation several times. Jax and, more obviously Vyrl, also are weighing conflicting values. Most interesting.
Yet once Kamoj decides to head off-planet, the jeopardies disappear. Oh, sure, thay have to sneak into Vyrl’s home world and battle (as it turns out) Earth. But they do so in a Gandhi “salt-to-the-sea” fashion. An inter-planetary stare-down. After which Earth says, “You win.” No muss, no fuss—and no real decisions to make. (Kamoj even gets along with her in-laws.) You hardly could conceive of a space-opera with fewer battles.
And then there’s the title’s imagined tie to quantum mechanics. It’s explained in the “Author’s Note” that follows the text, but suffice it to say it’s high concept, but low logic.
This is book six in the Skolian Empire series. I read it first because it was advertised as (and was) a stand-alone. The issues surrounding the relations between the Empire, Earth, and planets like Kamoj’s are not without interest. So I’m not ready to dismiss the series as a whole based on this book. Still, it seems as if Ms Asrao stopped trying halfway through “Quantum Rose”.
Next time, aim for the Double-Jeopardy square.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I can't tell if this book, a winner of the Nebula and also Romantic Times, is a genius or just pretentious.
It's supposed to work on two levels, 1) based on the author's doctorate work in physics, and 2) as a story in its own right. Unfortunately I have less than an average (is that right? I don't know what the average working knowledge of astrophysics is) working knowledge of scattering and resonance, and each chapter is subscripted with an astrophysics phenomenon. Kudos to the author for (trying to) incorporate(ing) such theoretical knowledge. I would love to know if it actually made sense to actual physicists. Yes, I'm a doubting Thomas for sure.
The planet Balumil is a lost colony, with a ring and six moons. Its distance from its sun, Jul, means that their revolution around the sun takes the equivalent of 20 earth years, with every season comprising 5 years. The days and nights are around 30 hours each. It is filled with what's later called "Theta" humans, that is, a different hybrid of humans from the hybridized humans that left Earth in 6000 BC. Kamoj Argali is one of these Thetas, bred to withstand the low oxygen environment due to the low irradiation of this planet. Incidentally, later on, you find that her name means "bound resonance" as opposed to her oppressor's "free resonance." I wish, though, that the physics and anthropology lesson from Havyrl in the book had come in segments rather than in a giant info dump that left me reeling.
It's also supposed to work as Beauty and Beast, the Disney version, with a super-strong, super-oppressive, and a super rapey Gaston. Jax Ironbridge is just the dream man, what with his fade-to-black beating of Kamoj and his equally fade-to-black raping of her, and what was not fade-to-black -- his neglect of her bodily needs: Because Jax Ironbridge was probably also a hybridized Theta bred to slavery, his body could withstand cold and hunger for an exceptionally long time. He simply had no idea he was starving her or freezing her, but he refused to listen to anyone else when they told him that she needed to eat and wear more clothes in the freezing cold. At one point, she went 3 days without food. That's 180 hours, people. In the freezing cold. And yet, somehow he didn't get a comeuppance. Come on, throw him into the void, people. Disney had the right idea there.
Somehow Kamoj was extremely docile (this was explained as her embedded nature as a bred slave) who was "a farm girl like a virginal sex goddess out of an erotic holomovie, and all she asks is a simple life, a husband who doesn't beat her, and the freedom to walk in the woods." She spent most of the book dressed in a scanty negligee with R-rated bits showing through the fabric, and being captured by one person or the other. She had absolutely no control over anything in her life. I suppose the author tried to incorporate the behavior of an abused victim towards her abuser, in that she was said to "love" the abuser in her own way. She was certainly in no hurry to run away from him, despite all the torture meted out to her in the above paragraph. While distasteful, I suppose I can understand that she didn't especially trust that this new group of settlers were going to exert enough power over the planet to do any good.
What didn't work was the data dump, not just about the series, but also the legal proceedings towards the end. A legal expert Asaro is not, because the trial and the precedents mentioned made no sense whatsoever. Furthermore, it made very little sense for the trial to be conducted by the person who was holding Havyrl under house arrest, and for the laws to be at first that of the cultural norm of Balumil, and then that of the Dynasty. I think the Dynasty should really have made it clear which set of laws took precedent over the other. It simply was conducted and explained in a way that left me with huge question marks floating above my head. Plus, it also seemed to me that if Balumil's own culture and practices were to take precedent, than Jax's actions towards the Argali province should have gotten him arrested. Seriously, with all the technology that the people of the Dynasty had and Balumil did not, you would think someone would have "instagrammed" something happening. I mean, we're talking about Havyrl, a Ruby telepath, along with a whole battalion of minor telepaths, and NOBODY could tell that Kamoj was being kidnapped, beaten, raped, starved and that her land had been purposely razed? It just seemed...outlandish.
And I think the version I had ended abruptly. According to Wikipedia, the third part of the book goes on to Havyrl's home planet, but I saw a couple of reviewers who also read the version that I apparently had -- where the book ended with Jax getting no comeuppance and the two of them frolicking in the water, Kamoj apparently recovered from the razing of her land, her 3 (180 hour) day bout without food and clothing, not to mention constant beatings and rapings, along with a knife held to her neck.
Oh well. I still enjoyed most of the book. Most genius is pretentious and ambitious as well, right? Better a book that tries hard than a book that didn't at all.
The Quantum Rose (2000) 381 pages by Catherine Asaro
The first half of this book was serialized in Analog and I read it a year ago. Since then I've read five or six more Skolian universe novels. I got the book, skimmed the first half and then really enjoyed the second half. The story is written from the perspective of Kamoj, a native of the world Balumil and the leader of the Argali province which has fallen on hard times. She is on the verge of a union with Jax Ironbridge of a neighboring land when Vryl enters the picture. Prince Havryl has had his own problems. To escape the Allieds he pretends to be his dead father and is launched in a specially built casket into orbit. This was supposed to last one day of which he would be sedated...it ends up being a month of sensory deprivation before he is retrieved by the Ascendant. He has taken to alcohol to ease his nightmares. The Assembly has plans for Havryl, but he is in no shape to help and the Ascendant travels to Balumil, because of its similarity to his home planet of Lyshriol. Riding into town Vryl sees Kamoj across a lake and is immediately taken with her. Somewhat aware of the customs he sends a dowry to Argali and is pleasantly surprised when she accepts his proposal, not realizing she really couldn't refuse. It turns out they really are a match and Kamoj helps heal Vryl's psychic wounds and Vryl saves Kamoj from a life with Jax, but Jax isn't giving in so easy.
The second half of the book is Vryl and Kamoj traveling to Lyshriol, Vryl's home planet which is under Allied "protection," and their struggle there to free their world. The Skolian back story such as the Radiance War between Skolia and the Traders that decimated the fleets of both powers could be useful. So you may want to read Primary Inversion and The Radiance War. In contrast to those novels the war on Lyshriol is being fought with public opinion.
The romance between Havryl and Kamoj is great reading. How Kamoj heals the spirit of Vryl and he gives her the strength to fight for her own right to be happy. The story lines on Balumil and Lyshriol are also very well thought out and told. It's a fun read and the entire Skolian set of novels have been fantastic.
Rivets. I recently heard that it's the telltale sign that differentiates the two main scifi genres. If the cover art has rivets then the book will be a science-based scifi story, and if it doesn't then it'll be a fantasy-based scifi story. I'm a fan of rivets. On my continuing quest to read all of the Hugo and Nebula Award winning novels, though, I came across the Quantum Rose. My initial impression of the novel before I even cracked the cover... no rivets. Regardless, I'm glad I read on.
This is the sixth installment of the Saga of the Skolian Empire series, which I haven't read any of. Even though I didn't know anything of the story leading up to this book, it was not a detriment to my enjoyment. While the rivet assessment held fairly true for this story too, there were enough "sciency things" to keep that side of my brain interested. The story was very engaging and entertaining to me.
I listened to this on audiotape, and the only (slight) detractor was the voice the narrator, Anna Fields, used for the leading male, Haveryl. There was something about it that I didn't care much for, but it was a slight issue that I was able to get past fairly quickly.
Overall, it was an enjoyable listen, but I don't think I'll be looking to catch up on the rest of the series anytime soon. I'm going to go find some rivets instead.
First half is a romance in a "lost colony" setting. Second half is empire politics, more sci fi. Revelations do adequately explain the squicky parts of the romance that made me squirm, but didn't make me like it. The second part with family / empire politics reminded me pleasantly of the situations I love in Bujold's Vorkosigan books... except with lackluster prose and far, FAR more descriptions of tawny hair and curls.
It’s always nice to get a pleasant surprise while carrying along on my attempt to read all the Hugo and Nebula award winning novels. There are certain winners that just don’t get talked about very often, the black sheep of the family. So as someone who wasn’t keeping up with Science Fiction when this book was published about 20 years ago, I would have never come across it if it hadn’t won the Nebula. And frankly if I ever had come across it I would have been completely turned off by the cover (I know, I know, there’s a saying about that).
I gave The Quantum Rose three stars but that was rounding down. This book was a combination of several SF tropes that I enjoy. It did that and more, dealing with issues such as alcoholism and rape/patriarchy at the same time. It also helped that although this is apparently in the middle of a series, zero foreknowledge is necessary to enjoy this book.
The novel starts in a very fantasy-ish setting. A feudal (alien) world with lords and ladies and women being bought with dowries. A lord claims the main character for marriage and it turns out he’s from the stars! So it turns out the world this takes place on was part of an Earth empire that expanded for thousands of years and then collapsed. There’s space ships, some form of genetic telepathy/computer assisted mind reading, AI, genetic modifications, all the normal far-future tropes end up. But we see this all through the eyes of what is essentially a backwater bumpkin.
Also there are a couple layers to this novel as apparently the author did her doctoral dissertation on quantum... coupling? (I can’t remember without looking it up). So the entire thing is also an allegory for that. The audiobook didn’t have her essay explaining it which was at the end of he original print book. I’ll have to track it down but either way it only makes it more technically accomplished but doesn’t really affect my enjoyment.
I'm sure I've never read Asaro before. This won a Nebula, so I need to review it. After this, only 10 more to complete that project, other than newer winners as the years go by. It's #6 in a series, but hopefully enough of a stand-alone to be comprehensible. Let's see how it goes.
Well, it's not going well so far. I'm going to set this aside and move on to another Nebula winner. This may end up being the last title I review to finish off that project, however many years into the future I continue blogging.
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1984726.html[return][return]Many years ago, when this book originally won the Nebula, I read it and was distinctly underwhelmed. But that was in the days before my bookblogging became serious; now that I am almost finished working through the Nebula winners, I felt I owed it to the book (and to its author, who engaged with me very gracefully and decently over my criticism) to give it another try.[return][return]Well. In fairness the novel itself is not all that bad, just very ordinary; our viewpoint character is a beautiful aristocrat bred for a submissive personality (which she is able to overcome just sufficiently for the needs of the plot); she is loved by another aristocrat who is from a different planet and conceals a heart of gold under his rugged exterior and alcoholism; and a third aristocrat envies them and tries to break them up ( cut for possible triggering ). Our heroine then goes to her lover's home world where they discover a lost city which his people had carelessly forgotten about. Also the nice aristocrats are locked in conflict with the evil Earth people. Then we find out in an afterword that the entire novel is a metaphor for quantum scattering theory and the three characters should really be considered as elementary particles (I am not making this up). [return][return]I guess the kindest thing that I can say is that this sort of thing is simply not my cup of tea; and I think on reflection that among Nebula winners The Quantum Rose is not quite as bad a novel as Robert Sawyer's The Terminal Experiment, and roughly as bad as The Gods Themselves.
I feel a bit sorry for this book. It came in while I was waiting for A Dance with Dragons so I got just a few pages into it when I put it down again. And I'll admit that, even when I started it again, it took me quite a few chapters to actually feel committed to finishing the book. What I realized, thankfully, was that it's been a very long time since I read a book set in a world that I'm unfamiliar with. A long, long time. That was a jolting realization of itself.
I'm glad I kept reading -- the world Asaro worked with is fascinating (yes, I now want to read other books set in the Skolian Empire) and I'm intrigued by the history of one of the ruling families. Was this a perfectly plotted book? No, but once I adjusted to the universe I didn't really care -- I liked the main character (soon to be characters) too much.
Once I finished this book, what did I turn to? Did I pick up something short and easy to read, like the Sookie Stackhouse book (my first!) that's on my Kindle? Nope -- I reached for Shadows of Saganami, a 900-page behemoth by David Weber and ... someone. (My apologies to the co-author, for whom I know this was a big deal.) I haven't read an Honor Harrington novel (or anything set in the "Honorverse") in ... a long time (I looked it up -- it was 2005). As a result, I keep trying to reacquaint myself with the tech, continuing characters, history and other things that were once almost second-nature to me. I want to keep reading this book, but I suspect that it would make a lot more sense to me if I re-read the series. Darn. What a horrible, horrible ordeal that will be.
I found the "romantic" relationship tremendously disturbing. The inhabitants of the planet were bred to be good slaves, and part of that is the females having physical traits attractive to men. The "hero" dude from another planet sees the main female character naked by acccident and decides he wants to fuck her, so he offers an extravagant dowry for her, not understanding that this compels her to accept him and marry him, the very next day. At which point he goes ahead with the sex in a thoughtless drunken way. Part of being bred to be a slave in this case is that the main female character is empathetic and responsive to the "needs" of other people, and even though he is already a great grandfather from a previous relationship (ick) she finds him attractive, so does not resist. A second man from her own planet had thought he was going to get her. He is an abusive asshole, but because of the empathy thing, she doesn't fight him either when he reclaims her. It is really disturbing.
The planetary society is pretty interesting, though, but the exo-anthropologists have done a crappy job prepping the main hero character.
Impresionante. Me quedo con ganas de leer más de Asaro pero lamentablemente no va a ser tarea fácil. Sólo me queda un título y estoy esperando a que lo salden (Inversión primaria). Y a continuación, intentar leerlos en inglés. Corroboro lo que Diamond Star me indicó. Asaro se convierte en una de mis favoritas por saber mezclar con inteligencia historias de amor en escenarios de ficción. Aunque reconozco que es más que posible que estas historias las disfrute una gran minoría ya que los que leen scifi se cortaran las venas al ver que no hay acción ni batallitas piu piu y si le das el libro a una romántica de pro, acabará descolocada con tanto detallito sci-fi. Ojala me equivoque :)
In what I now think of as "Catherine Asaro style," she jumps to another portion of her universe, creating another puzzle piece that will (hopefully?) tie together more portions of the saga.
TRIGGER WARNING: This one has an abuser in the story line, as well as someone who's spent years enduring abuse, and has to come to grips with whether to break the cycle. I would be careful who I might recommend this book to, based on the trigger warning.
But if you are not someone who shoulders that type of scar, the warning should be sufficient.
First half of the book was a good medieval style romance adventure novel with nice scifi insights, second half was more about resistance to foreign forces which was more like pushing down Berlin wall or Baltic singing revolution and reading that was not that interesting.
I was a little reluctant to read this one because it was part 6 of a series. I almost never read sequals to books when I haven't read it's predecessors. However I was sold on the Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Romance genre blend alone. I was also happily surprised to find these books were stand alone. So, you can jump right into this without feeling like you missed anything. Also, no sitting through recaps.
This is, I think the second or third book I've read of the Nebula Awarded books. I sort of see a pattern in what criteria might apply a book for the award. Seems originality is most of the rating.
The page to page writing of The Quantum Rose was decent, but it certainly wasn't powerful flowing off the page hooks that pulled you into the story.
The good, the bad, and the ugly (backwards):
The ugly: The most horrifying part of the whole book was basically when two lovers told each other how old they were. The girl: 18. The: guy 68. Vryl was literally a grandpa. This was his second marriage.
Now, the popular Twilight series gets away with pairing 18 yo Bella with 100 something you Edward because Edward appears to be a young 17 in appearance. The Quantum Rose does a little backstepping, trying to explain that the female protagonist Kamoj appeared older because of the responsibility she shouldered as govener. As well, it tried to explain that Vryl seemed younger because of nano meds.
But it wasn't enough! I tried not to judge the book too much for a somewhat trivial thing such as this, but I couldn't. The writing backsteps didn't do nearly enough to dispel my disgust over that age barrier.
It wasn't helped either that Vryl basically just saw Kamoj naked in a lake, and decides he wants her. So he used his wealth to provide an impressive Dowry. Then he drunkenly shags her before hardly speaking to her.
And I get why Vryl seemed to be an ass at first. Typical cliché plot. Asshole guy turns out to be knight in shining armor once you get to actually know him. He does improve in some aspects, but he certainly wasn't a character I thought strong.
If the author made this age gap even a little less, it would have been easier. And I don't see why she couldn't have shortened the gap. Maybe some of the timelines of the other novels in the series prevent this from aligning right. But hell! I'd have opted to make a new character or fudge numbers to prevent this grandpa & jailbait tale.
...ok...so I'm a little mad about the age gap thing.
Two things stood out as bad to me.
The first - the lone perspective.
Kamoj was a good character. I didn't mind following her perspective. This story however needed other character's perspectives to add conflict, and shed light on other more complex story details. What did Vryl think of Balumil? What made Jax act the way he did (other than the obvious)? I wanted more character depth aside of the 2 main characters. Kamoj, and Vryl were real characters moving through this story but all the others were total mannequins.
The bad part 2:
The repetitive descriptions. The author tried really hard to paint the worlds in this book. All throughout she tells the colors of the sunsets, the glows of the moon, the hues of the leaves. But most were just that - color descriptions. Most were trying to say something looked gem-like in color. An emerald forest. A sapphire sky. "The Ruby Empire". It got old real fast.
Knowing the colors of things was indeed nice. I love when authors stop and smell the roses. But what about the textures, shapes, and feels of things? Other than the colors, the atmosphere seemed a bit empty.
"Like riding a greenglass stag". That line got old real fast too. I think there were about three creatures described in the entire book. The greenglass stag analogies entwined into the story were great. But it would have been just as easy for the author to change about 20 of those with other creatures to support the wildlife descriptions in the story.
The good: spoiler alert
Spoilers (kinda) . . . . . There were a few neat surprises in this story. It starts out as a sort of fantasy with some romantic aspects, but then you get hit with: characters living with old technology in this fantasy world, characters up in spaceships, eventually into characters riding around in spaceships and trying to stop one galactic force from occupying and invading parts of their homeworld.
I especially liked seeing Kamoj's reaction to being on a spaceship. Seeing her reaction to such technology was cool. I was always afraid she was letting herself out of an air lock or something. Also the author did a good job of putting you in her shoes at times.
Overall, more went wrong with this book, than went right. I sorta want to re-read parts of the beginning because I think it would be interesting to pay attention to things and characters that would be affected by story transgressions. Though, I don't want to re-read this anytime soon. Book was meh.
I liked the book, but first: Another vision of an ascendent white future. I don't believe there is a single non-white person in this book. It's pretty cis-het-binary in its discussion of gender. Asaro is certainly interested in different worlds having different gender norms, but this is played out along a "Men don't dance on my planet" "Really? because men DO dance on my planet" line.
I listened to the Audiobook which has some preposterous voices for the main male leads but otherwise is perhaps that narrators best work (she does a lot of voices for this publisher).
I've been reading too many planetary Romances and Romantic Space Operas and I think this should be the last I read for a while. This is romance with a capital "R" and although I'm no connoisseur I don't believe this is a great romance. It's a fine if sprawling and kind of pointless planetary romance and it consistently explains or alludes to the presence of a more interesting hard sci fi world beyond this book.
Still there's a lot happening here. There's the relationships between different civilizations at different tech levels, all of the modified humans and their societies and a frank discussion of the legal proceedings and cultural baggage caught up in sexual violence.
The quantum scattering metaphor almost completely alluded me, so I think as an experimental work the metaphor added very little. It's a pretty standard story structure without whatever motivated it.
Ultimately I think it was the frank discussion of sexual assault and abuse that won it the Nebula award. And I don't just think it's a case of women talking about rape = getting awards (I don't think this is ever just the case, although there are shallow arguments for it), instead it is a rather complicated and still resonant plot arch that elevates the work.
I can see why many people are less than enthused about this book, even though I enjoyed it. I've read the previous five books in this series so I am familiar with Asaro's strengths and weakness in her writing. Asaro tends to wend a bit in the story which results in slow parts and this book was especially bad about that. Also, even though romance is a big part of all her books, it's not very character-driven. I liked the two protagonists, and their romance was better than Kelric's from the last book. But, there are many conversations the two could have had from the beginning that would have fleshed them out and solidified their supposed love for each other. However, Asaro's strengths are world-building and creative plots. This book started very differently than the others on a primitive world and no mention of Rubee (sp?) scions. But, eventually we see how Asaro ties this story into the greater Skolian narrative with tragedy, trauma, and epic finales. One of my favorite aspects of her novels is her attention to loose ends; once you've finished the book everything is resolved one way or another. My other favorite part of her books is that the name of the last chapter is "The Last Chapter."
I wanted to read this book because it was a Nebula winner written by a woman, and I'd never heard of it. I hadn't read the other books in this series and had no problem following the plot, although I'm sure I missed some of the intricacies with the interstellar plotline. The combination of physics-inspired sci-fi writing and a kind of traditional romance was interesting but didn't always work for me -- I was not a fan of Vyrl and Kamoj's relationship, considering the power differentials (and the book's insistence on talking about how small and childlike Kamoj was and how big and beast-like Vyrl was). I did appreciate Kamoj's journey through an abusive relationship and her struggle to balance her duty and love for her people and her own well being. I was less interested in the last third of the book -- it seemed like a separate book, almost. We were introduced to a lot of new characters all at once and a larger, complex plotline that I was suddenly supposed to be invested in. The world building was creative and had rich descriptions. I'd be interested in reading some of the other books in the series -- I think this combo of genres is intriguing even if I didn't think it quite worked in this one.
This book is an allegory of quantum processes! Written by a physicist based on her very own dissertation. How cool is that?! Science fiction styled after science - that is so deliciously meta. Even without, it is a delightful story about a very courageous young girl finding love, escaping an abusive relationship, learning the ways of some obscure edge-of-the-Galaxy human-integrated tech, saving a planet or two - with some seriously entertaining Disneyesque scenery (blue unicorns!!! With translucent, rainbow-filled horns and hoofs! Bwoooahahahaha) and mildly erotic scenes to boot. And all that - an allegory of the "mathematical and physical processes of coupled-channel quantum scattering theory"!!! This is so very hard core. So very hard, rainbow sprinkled on top core. My inner girl nerd cried tears of pure unadulterated joy. Filled with rainbows and pretty sparkles.
Definitely the weakest of the three Asaro books I've read. The passive and genetically breed to be docile lead character doesn't counteract the world's magical sadism in the same way that Soz did in the previous books. I get the impression that I was supposed to know Vryl before reading this book because in the context of the book, he did little to make himself an object of desire. The treatment of trauma, alcoholism, and PTSD was not nearly as well done as Primary Inversion. When we got into the wider universe, I almost wondered if the Ruby Thorne was a good idea and in the right. And the ending was kind of simple in a naive way.
And yet, I'll probably keep reading in the series. Something about all the politics and many family branches makes me curious about how they fit together and what will happen.