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review 2017-06-23 16:22
The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (trans. Ken Liu)
The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin,Ken Liu

What would you do if the laws of physics, of the universe, turned out not to be laws at all? Imagine you're a scientist confronted with this realization. This is one of the more disturbing realities that characters must contend with in The Three-Body Problem, the first of a trilogy by Chinese author Liu Cixin.

 

The book does an excellent job of making the scale of the universe, from its immensity to its sub-atomic particularities, conceivable and real. One of the scientist characters has a gift that allows him to visualize numbers, and in a note the author reveals that he has a similar gift. The book is very intelligent and detailed in its explanation of science; I can't say I could follow it all, but I understood the larger picture and was fascinated by the minutiae.

 

The book begins in China's cultural revolution and fast forwards to the present, shifting perspectives from the scientist daughter of a persecuted university professor to a man working in nanotechnology. Most of the significant characters are scientists, with the exception of Da Shi, a corrupt, wily policeman who became my favorite character. The protagonist, Wang, learns of the deaths of prominent scientists and starts seeing strange things, such as a countdown that appears visible only to him. He is tasked with helping to investigate a shady scientific organization, which involves his playing a strange video game called Three-Body. Nothing is what it seems, and Wang falls down a rabbit hole (more like a black hole) that leads to knowledge of extra-terrestrial life.

 

This Chinese SF novel was something unique; I found its different style of storytelling often engaging, though sometimes odd. The translator explains in a note that there may be narrative techniques unfamiliar to Western readers, and I could sense them. For example, much is explained through pages of dialogue, and the narrative can feel interrupted by the video game chapters, as much as I enjoyed them. I struggled with the fact that, after a brief appearance earlier in the book, Wang's wife and child do not re-enter the narrative, not even Wang's thoughts. His thoughts themselves are often unknown--for a time I wasn't sure where he stood in the quiet war going on.

 

Nevertheless, I do look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy (after a break) and to seeing the movie adaptation.

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review 2017-06-14 13:18
Two more samples
FCBD: Worlds of Aspen 2014 (FCBD 2014 Worlds of Aspen) - Vince Hernandez,Peter Steigerwald,Peter Steigerwald,Mirka Andolfo

Aspen's Worlds of Aspen are previews and samples, as far as I can tell.  Then again, the DC ones are either free issues - or previews and samples.   Marvel gives us new short stories, two per issue, and other companies do any of these things.   My point is that previews and samples aren't unheard of, and I know that I might get them in these freebies.   Then again, I'm not disillusioned: Free Comic Book Day is not only a celebration of the love of comics, and a way to give back to the fans, but also something that the companies are using to try and sell more comics.   

 

I've come to think of Aspen's FCBD like the samples at Trader Joe's.   I might like what I get, and I might not, but I appreciate the free taste so I know what I'm buying.   (Or not buying.)  It's free, so I can't really find it in me to begrudge them choosing what to sample, and I know I'll be buying, well, more of the same, but I'm also usually happy to try something new. 

 

Which is why I'm happy to read these, even when I won't continue on with the series.   Damsels in Excess is a good example: I like the eventual reveal, the premise of this series, but its' also done like a princess reality show.   And I'm not a reality show person.   The execution is actually quite clever, but it's also something I don't enjoy.  Since I'm getting into this publisher, I like knowing what I enjoy and what I don't.   (And it's not possible for one publisher to pander exclusively to one person, or for one person to enjoy 100% of what they publish because of that first fact.   I don't expect to love everything Aspen puts out, but this helps me decide what to continue with.)

 

I think I will follow up on Zoohunters, though.  I love the main character, an interstellar poacher who has morals.   She will get the animals, but not harm them in the process.   When she sees an animal being abused by another poacher, she decides to buy it, even though the price is... bizarre.   

 

I also like the world: it looks like a fun, space opera type adventure, and I had enough fun with the sample that I want to continue. 

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review 2017-06-07 14:11
DC Comics Essentials: Batman: Earth One (2014-) #1 - Geoff Johns,Gary Frank

Loved this reboot of the Batman.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-28 22:47
Book review : Daughter of smoke and bone lanini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

My review from 2014

 

 

April 8- May 23

Summary -Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?




Review - Karou lives two lives she's a teenager that lives in Prague and has sketchbooks filled with different creatures and the other life where those monsters are actually real she is the errand girl to the chimera a man monster named Brimstone and it involves teeth Brimstone has teeth Karou doesn't know what is with the teeth and where the shop really is he says it is in Elsewhere . other characters that I loved are zuzana is karou's best friend . then we meet Ackiva who is an angel with vengeance for the chimera he and the rest of the angels are putting black handprints on portals when Ackiva and Kauro meet he tries to kill her and then stops Karou gets away and gets back to the portal she sees the door that has always been closed open and goes in and brimstone is there and this other creatures he throws her out goes home and she tells zuzanna and she believes her when kishmish is flying dead into her hands and the portal is gone. ackiva wants to know who Karou is and when he finds her Karou bares her hamsas and hurts him they go to talking and then something happens she starts to feel for him and when he notices her wishbone necklace and he says he knows who she is then his angel family appears he tells her to run and ackiva tells them that he fell for a chimera and they left . before I get into something big that I was not expecting I want to talk about the wishes so the wishes comes from pain scuppies are not that bad but bigger it's worse and Brimstone said hope is bigger than wishes . so when they break the wishbone it goes back to madrill I knew of her because she was akiva's love and she died but this was like the biggest thing I liked hearing all the stuff but when Mad is sentenced to death for being an angel lover that's when resurrection comes into play so apparently when you die you can take the soul and put it in another body and that's what happened to hide Mad from thiago the white wolf Brimstone put her as Karou WHAT! I didn't see that coming and the ending there all dead I loved this book so much I recommend it .

Favorite quotes Who are you ? he asked she almost didn't recognize the language he spoke as chimera so soft on his tongue don't you usually find that out before you kill someone.

Daughter of smoke and bone by lani Taylor

You haven't come up here before ? He asked she turned to him oh yes I bring all the boys up here . And if they don't meet your approval he said you can always push them off. Page 218

Fiala would so eat her words . You should bring him in to model on monday . Right said Karou I'm sure he wouldn't mind stripping for a bunch of humans disrobing said zuzanna ,prim .For art page 236


It's a wishbone , she told him , holding it out . you hook your finger around the spur , like this , and we each make a wish and pull. whoever gets the bigger piece gets their wish. Magic ? akiva had asked . what bird does this come from that it's bones are magic . oh it's not magic . The wishes don't really come true then why do it ? she shrugged . Hope ? hope can be a powerful force . Maybe they're no actual magic in it , but when you know what you hope for the most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen , almost like magic . Page 288
 

 

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review 2017-05-27 03:13
Allusive Aftershock by Susan Griscom (2014-01-31) - Susan Griscom

This book took me by surprise. It was nothing like I expected. I went in believing that this would be an ordinary young adult romantic story. Man, was I wrong. There is nothing ordinary about this story. This not your typical story of teenage love. It is a story of survival, forgiveness, coming of age, learning tolerance and love.

Courtland Reese has loved Adela Castielle since the fourth grade, but she had no idea how he felt. Considered weird, because of his uncanny ability to communicate with animals, he spent most of his time alone. Adela has no idea what to make of him, especially when her best friend Max (the guy she hopes will become her boyfriend and future husband) continues to spout his hatred of him. However, when a catastrophic earthquake slammed into California and Courtland rescued her not once but three times, she questioned the stories she heard and was eager to uncover the mystery that is Courtland.

I don't read many young adult books, but I found the premise of this title intriguing and could not resist the lure. I am happy to say I had a great time with this story. The story was well written, and it flowed fluidly from start to finish. I never had a chance to be bored. The story was intense and had me on the edge of my seat. I felt nervous for Adela and Court as they traversed earthquake ravaged territory in their quest for survival.

The story told from both the POV of Adela and Courtland, allowed me to develop a connection with them. I got the opportunity to learn the reasons for their actions. It made me privy to their thoughts and feelings, thus allowing me to relate to their pain and fears. I loved that in spite of their fears they were able to keep a level head during times of crisis.

When I first met Adela I was not a fan, as she appeared a judgemental, spoilt and selfish brat. Her treatment of Courtland at the time was unfriendly. Her treatment towards him was no better than that of his other peers. However, when disaster struck, I saw a different side of her. I came to appreciate this version of her, which proved to be sweet, caring and protective. Her actions towards Courtland demonstrated these traits.

Courtland was a sweetheart. He is half Miwok Indian who had to deal with bigotry on many levels. He did not have an easy childhood. He lost his mom at an early age and his dad and the bottle became best friends as a result. However, he remained strong through it all. He is not the type to wallow in self-pity. He is a take charge person, which he proved by his actions after disaster struck. What I liked most about him was he did not allow what people thought of him to change him. Even though Adela treated him with disdain, his love for her never faltered.

Max was the least likable character. His hatred of Courtland was not justified. It was hard to believe that they were ever friends. He is selfish, cowardly and belligerent. In the end, he developed a measure of kindness, but it was too late for it to endear me to him.

There are some areas that I had a bit of a problem with, fortunately, it did not take away from my enjoyment, but it left me with some questions.


*** THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD *** -

I would love to know what transpired with Max after he left Adela and Courtland in his parents' wine cave on the pretense that he was going to get help. Nothing is heard of him again until Courtland and Adela found him on the brink of starvation.

- It would have been good to know what exactly happened to Adela's dad. It was stated that he had not survived, but there was no evidence to indicate this. How did he die?

- I am one of those readers who is all for an epilogue, however, in this case, I was disappointed. It would have been nice if it was geared towards what took place years later, instead of what was expected to happen.

*** END OF SPOILER ***

Verdict

The story demonstrates the value of teamwork, friendships and the dangers of accepting rumours without having the facts. If you are a fan of the young adult genre and looking for a unique story, then you will enjoy this book.

The Romance Review


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