Sleeping Giants deserves all of its endorsements. It's really a classic science-fiction story (technologically-advanced, possibly alien, parts of a giSleeping Giants deserves all of its endorsements. It's really a classic science-fiction story (technologically-advanced, possibly alien, parts of a giant hidden on our planet --- ring any bells?), but with a unique narrative. We learn about the unfolding events via interviews with the characters conducted by a mysterious unnamed individual, who has immense political reach and resources at his disposal.
Because Sleeping Giants has such a well-done narrative, I expected a better, meatier, and somewhat unpredictable ending. Unfortunately, I could see it coming a mile away --- at least the outcome, if not the exact manner. It seemed a tad cheap and out of the flow of the rest of the book. Oh well, no one ever said that cliffhangers are easy to get right......more
A Darker Shade of Magic is an intense but fun series --- there's unspeakable darkness, pain, despair, and loss, but it's balanced out by unparalleledA Darker Shade of Magic is an intense but fun series --- there's unspeakable darkness, pain, despair, and loss, but it's balanced out by unparalleled love, loyalty, heroics, and plain old careless adventure. There's magic, there are good vs. evil battles, and there are good people trying to find their way back after they were led astray in their search for redemption. All of this is against an intriguing backdrop of four parallel Londons of varying degrees of magical proclivities and the ability of only a select few (the Antari) to travel between them. A very compelling story indeed.
At certain points, the story did seem a bit juvenile (for instance, I'm a tad tired of the magic competition in Red London --- hasn't stuff like that been wrung dry already?). However, the third book, with Holland's origin story, made up for all that.
The characters are very well-rounded and relatable. I knew, even as I turned the last page, that I'm going to miss living vicariously through Kell, Lila, Alucard, Rhy, and yes, even Holland....more
I so wanted to like this book --- it miffs me when the blurbs are promising and the book doesn't deliver. Read its blurb here; if you're feeling too lI so wanted to like this book --- it miffs me when the blurbs are promising and the book doesn't deliver. Read its blurb here; if you're feeling too lazy to do that: 1) this book is definitely not for you --- it's ~750 pages and if you don't even want to read a blurb... 2) here are some keywords anyway: [witches, scientists, time-travel, linguistics, US government, bureaucracy, cats].
I did end up liking The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., but I didn't like it *as much* as I wanted to and I didn't like it the *way* I wanted to.
Let me elaborate. Neal Stephenson has always been a hit-and-miss kind of author for me. Sometimes, his analytical, philosophical writing --- punctuated occasionally with moments of action that only science-fiction books can offer --- appeals to me and sometimes, it just bores me. His Seveneves is a great example of both. Seveneves has three parts --- the first two are absolutely mesmerizing and the story could have easily ended there. Part 3 was an utter drag and I could feel every bit of pleasure that I got while I read parts 1 and 2 being sucked out of me as I read part 3. Stephenson should've quit while he was ahead.
I was hoping that since D.O.D.O. was a joint venture, Stephenson's rambling tendencies would be curbed in order to make room for Nicole Galland's writing. I hadn't read any of Galland's work before, but an online search told me that she's a whiz at creating relatable characters that have an abundance of humor. Since I put a lot of stock in books with well-developed characters, my expectations for this book rose --- would I get the best of both the worlds?
It turned out that I didn't, not really. D.O.D.O. has very little commentary, which is unlike Stephenson --- there's no analysis of actions and their consequences and there are very few serious discussions about philosophical differences among major players. Also, for such a long book, its pace was always breakneck, which is not always such a good thing. Everything was happening so quickly that there was no time for reflection --- sometimes, the characters seemed to be doing things just to be doing something, anything. Towards the end, I felt as though I was reading an online forum instead of a novel --- large parts of the narrative were in the form of emails and IMs people wrote to each other. The idea was, presumably, to show how bureaucracy and regulations caused unnecessary problems, but I didn't appreciate reading so many policy emails from the HR. One or two would've been enough to make the point. I will say that the book wasn't without humor --- Melisande Stokes, the female lead, and her interactions with the other characters lent levity to the whole story.
The lack of depth, the fast pace, and the funnies --- all these things made this book a good "summer read", and it's hard not to like summer reads. They're breezy and don't require too much effort on the part of the reader. However, I was hoping for a thought-provoking story about the complexities of fostering co-operation between magic and science. Consequently, I was left feeling dissatisfied.
Bottomline: read this book the same way you'd watch a Marvel superhero movie. Just for kicks....more