This one's a bit of a placeholder. It features the usual dramatic political maneuvering by Bren as he is thrust into yet another impossible situationThis one's a bit of a placeholder. It features the usual dramatic political maneuvering by Bren as he is thrust into yet another impossible situation by Tabini and Ilisidi, whose method of solving all their problems seems to be "throw the paidhi at it, it's always worked before". This is followed by the usual dramatic run & gun during which a few plot threads get tied up but nothing really much of note happens. It's clearly a bridge between the last bit of important stuff and the next bit of important stuff, and that's fine; I continue to anticipate the next book; but the one major change on the board (the addition of a new piece (or player?) in Machigi) isn't really all that dramatic, we've been through this with Geigi eight or so books back. And the massive Guild-on-Guild maneuvering mostly happens offscreen, which is not as interesting as it might otherwise be. There's a bit of character development with Cajieri and his aishid, but Bren and company are too busy trying not to die to exchange more than a few words. As usual, Bren ends up mentally compromised (twice in this one) by either illness or fatigue, and as usual he manages to do his duty anyway. It was actually a bit disappointing how abruptly it all wrapped up, but as I said, this book is clearly just a bridge to get us to the next major development, and as that, does a competent and reasonably enjoyable job.
*EDIT* To be fair, lest you think I do a disservice to the book with this review, I will note that I did stay up quite late reading it straight through- Cherryh's writing is as crisp and engaging as ever. */EDIT*
One final note about this series in general, and that is, as much as I love every one of them, somebody in Bren's aishid has to die. The amount of sheer nailbiting mortal danger they have been through without a fatality or at least serious, career ending injury to mourn is just becoming too improbable to believe. Trust me, I don't want anything bad to happen to any of the gang either, but that's just my point- it's gotten to where I no longer worry about them. After 12 books, I'm reasonably sure that Cherryh won't abruptly whack ANYBODY on the "good guys" side, even when "bad guys" are dropping like flies. It's a bit ridiculous at this point, that's all I'm sayin'. (Which makes me worry that when Banichi or Jago finally does take a bullet for Bren, it might feel like a betrayal of our expectations. If we lose Tano or Algini or maybe Nawari or Cenedi along the way, it won't be quite a stab in the face when Banichi or Jago buys the farm in the line of duty.)...more
This book is such a treasure that when a group of my friends admitted they had not read it, I stopped by Barnes & Noble and bought every copy theyThis book is such a treasure that when a group of my friends admitted they had not read it, I stopped by Barnes & Noble and bought every copy they had so as to remedy their lack of culture....more
Back when I was a kid, there were dozens of variations on the "Choose Your Own Adventure" style of book. The Interplanetary Spy series was one that foBack when I was a kid, there were dozens of variations on the "Choose Your Own Adventure" style of book. The Interplanetary Spy series was one that focused more on a linear plot that required visual puzzle solving skills to progress through. In this particular book, you got a cybernetic glove and had to track down a notorious space pirate who was kidnapping creatures from the galactic zoo and mutating them into killing machines. What kid could resist a plot like that? Certainly not me. I loved every page of this book. I wish I knew where my copy was now... I hope one of my siblings found it and maybe will pass it on to their kids....more
If you can manage to read/listen to this one without all of the background noise of Gilman's life and legacy, it's actually pretty Lovecraftian and crIf you can manage to read/listen to this one without all of the background noise of Gilman's life and legacy, it's actually pretty Lovecraftian and creepy stuff. Once you know the context of its writing, it's still creepy, but the horror elements have been replaced with social commentary. Still good, but a different story....more