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review 2018-10-17 12:18
More magic, more supernatural events, and plenty of wonder in the second novel of the series.
Atonement in Bloom - Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was offered an ARC copy of this novel, that I had been after for some time, and I enthusiastically decided to review it as soon as I was able to.

I have followed Teagan Geneviene’s blog for a few years and have long been amazed by her creativity and her power to weave stories from the most unlikely jumble of elements, always rising to the challenges set by her readers, and writing by the seat of her pants. I am inclined to think there is some kind of magic at work, and I am not surprised by the genre she has chosen for her novels.

I have read and reviewed several of her books (you can check my most recent review of one of her serials here) and have long been a fan of her first-novel, Atonement, Tennessee (you can check my review, here). I had been waiting for the next instalment of the series for some time and had eagerly read any stories and snippets the author has shared in her blog about the Atonement universe. And I jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC copy of this novel, the second one in the series.

The author has tried to make this book stand alone, to ensure that anybody who started reading the series at this point would be given enough background to follow the events and enjoy the narrative, without slowing down those of us familiar with the story. Having read the first novel a while back and having reread it recently, I am probably not the best person to comment, but, in my opinion, she succeeds, although I would recommend anybody considering the purchase of this novel to go ahead and get the whole series, as they will be able to more fully appreciate the plot twists and the character development that take place in the series. And there are some companion stories available that you will enjoy as well.

The story is told from two different points of view, as was the case with the first novel. We have Lilith, Esmeralda’s (Ralda for short) calico cat, whose narrative is told in the third-person, and whose personality (her likes and dislikes, her strong opinions, and, indeed, her all-appropriate curiosity) shines through even more than in the first novel. She is witness to a number of events that allow the reader to be slightly ahead of Ralda at some points, but also increase the suspense and the expectations. She is not a human narrator and her understanding of events is often puzzling for us, so her clues are a bit like cryptic crossword prompts, familiar and alien at the same time. She gets involved in some hair-raising adventures of her own, and the end of the novel hints at many interesting things to come for our favourite feline narrator.

Ralda is the other narrator, and she tells the story in the first person. Those of us who have read the first novel know that she is a Southerner at heart, although she has spent many not-very-happy years in Washington DC. Atonement, Tennessee proves to be anything but the quiet and charming little town she imagines at first, secrets and supernatural events abound, and most of them centre on her house and her family line. She is a woman of strong intuition, but there is more to the events unfolding around her than a sixth sense. If the first novel saw her teetering between real-world difficulties (the move, the state of her house, the problems of her new-found friends), and some strange and decidedly supernatural events, in this second novel she at first suspects, and later comes to realise, that in Atonement, Tennessee, there is no clear separation between the “normal” and the “supernatural”. One of the things that make her a very compelling character, apart from her lack of ego and her self-deprecating sense of humour, is her open spirit and her ability to experience the wonder of the world around her. By her own confession, she has suffered the nasty side of things and people, and she at times appears overcautious and paranoid, but she is unable to say no to anybody needing help, and no matter how hard she resists, she finds it difficult to believe the worst of anybody. She might hesitate, but she will get in harm’s way if any of those close to her are in danger (and that includes Lilith, of course).

As for the plot… After taking stock of what happened in the first novel, things start getting interesting very soon. Some of the characters we thought we knew are revealed not to have been how they looked like at first (some for the better, some for the worse), and we have quite a few new characters turn up, some supernatural without a doubt (including my beloved glowing pigs), and others… well, I’ll leave you to see what you think. But there are unrequited loves, magical objects (one of my favourite things, both in fantasy and in the horror genre), some very Shakespearian turns of events, kidnappings, natural (or supernatural) wonders, and a fantastic battle scene (and I won’t reveal anything else).

Although the storyline is complete in itself and the events that unfold during the book get a resolution (and a more than satisfying one, I might add), there are mysteries still to be solved, some new ones hinted at, and I can’t wait to read the next book. If you love fantasy, supernatural events, folklore, myths and legends, Shakespeare, and appreciate a wild-tale full of imagination, you’ll be delighted by this book. I know I was.

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review 2018-06-30 22:15
Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
Embers of War - Gareth L. Powell

Three years ago, Conglomeration and Outward forces were at war. One of their most terrible battles was fought on and around the planet Pelapatarn. On the orders of her superiors, Captain Annelida Deal directed Conglomeration ships to lay waste to everything on the surface of Pelapatarn. The planet's sentient jungle would die, as would hundreds of thousands of civilians and both Outward and Conglomeration troops, but Captain Deal's superiors believed that this one terrible move would end the war, and Deal agreed with them.

In the book's present, the war is indeed over, but the peace between the two sides is wary and tense at best. Sal Konstanz, formerly a member of the Outward forces and a horrified witness to the carnage at Pelapatarn, is now a member of the House of Reclamation, a politically neutral group dedicated to rescuing survivors of damaged/wrecked ships. She's the captain of the Trouble Dog, an ex-Conglomeration ship seeking to atone for the bombing of Pelapatarn.

When a passenger liner mysteriously shuts itself down, the AI equivalent of committing suicide, the Trouble Dog is the closest House of Reclamation ship available to rescue any survivors. Unfortunately, this mission has more complications than the Trouble Dog or any of her crew realizes.

I picked this one up because I'm drawn to stories with prominent AI characters in them. Trouble Dog was my favorite thing about this book, although I feel like Powell didn't go as far with her as he could have. For example, Nod kept saying how sad Trouble Dog was, something that Sal couldn't see and that Trouble Dog herself probably would have disagreed with (battleship AIs aren't supposed to feel sad about taking lives). In the book, AIs are grown from cloned human cells and, after a period of time, those organic parts sometimes bleed into their personalities more than their creators intended. Trouble Dog had clearly grown a conscience during the war and had indicated that she regretted her actions. Nod's chapters made it seem like she was maybe feeling more than she could process or fully recognize. I'm not sure the rest of the book ever confirmed that, though, and I feel like that thread eventually got dropped.

I'm not sure why the book's blurb and several reviews called this a fast-paced story. It really wasn't. Trouble Dog spent most of the book journeying to the wreck, with a couple stops here and there. I found myself thinking that at least half the people who survive shipwrecks must die of their injuries, dehydration, or starvation waiting to be rescued if it always takes House of Reclamation ships that long to arrive.

The characters and their gradually intersecting paths kept my attention well enough, despite the surprisingly drawn out journey to the downed ship. Sal battled with guilt over the death of one of her crew members and worried about what she'd do after she was thrown out of the House of Reclamation as she expected she soon would be. Ona Sudak's secret was blindingly obvious, but I looked forward to seeing what her final destination would be, as she tried to evade death/capture on a strange, planet-sized alien artifact. Ashton Childe, a Conglomeration agent desperate to be assigned somewhere cooler than the jungle he seemed fated to spend the rest of his life in, didn't interest me as much, but I at least wanted to see how he tied in with Sal, Trouble Dog, and Ona Sudak.

The book alternated between chapters from various characters' POVs (first-person, but thankfully not present tense). I didn't feel like most of the POVs were very well-differentiated, but the only one that actively annoyed me was Nod's. Nod was Trouble Dog's very alien engineer. Considering how important Nod was to Trouble Dog's continued ability to function, it was a little shocking how rarely anyone ever seemed to think of the character. I often forgot it even existed.

Even so, Nod's constant mental grumbling about the World Tree, Trouble Dog's damage, and the way no one on the ship ever thanked it for its work was kind of annoying. The part that really got to me, though, was the final chapter, where Nod thought something to the effect of "I know an important thing that I don't plan to tell anybody, but if someone thought to ask me..." Either tell them or don't, Nod. Wallowing in it like this makes you a jerk, especially if this thing you know could get people killed.

The ending was a disappointment. Trouble Dog said they were ushering in an era of "peace and diplomacy rather than a hawkish reliance on military strength" (402), but I disagreed. You know the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"? That's the feeling I got from the ending, and I didn't get enough of a sense that the characters truly realized what they were unleashing. The only exception was maybe Trouble Dog, but she seemed to think the end justified the means, which was odd considering her history. Despite my worries about where Powell plans to go with all of this, I'll probably read the next book once it's out.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2017-04-15 20:54
Atonement (McIntire County Book 1) by Winter Austin $1.99
Atonement - Winter Austin

 

 

Atone for your sins . . .

A rash of unexplained suicides in the sleepy town of Eider, Iowa, draws McIntire County deputy Nicolette Rivers into a devious killer's twisted plot. A former marine sniper suffering from PTSD, Nic hides her own deadly secrets, and The Priest will do anything to expose it and her.

For redemption is at hand . . .

Eider police detective Con O'Hanlon is assigned to help Nic uncover the truth behind the suicides. She rebuffs his help at every turn, but the stubborn Irishman holds on. When tragedy strikes, Con helps cover up the fallout, but is he too late to prevent Nic's dark, downward spiral? Or is Con the one man stronger than her demons?

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review 2017-04-07 20:54
Atonement by ameliacareful
Atonement - ameliacareful Atonement - ameliacareful
description
This is alternate 'Supernatural' season 11 following 'The Darkness' covering the country at the end of season 10. Sam has amnesia and Dean feels that he is happier that way. A well-written, intelligent fanfic. No wincest.
description
“Most people, when they go to heaven, they get their own special heaven. It might seem like there are other people in it but really it’s their version of the perfect place. But we’re like, I dunno, special snowflakes. We share a heaven. We were never really meant to be apart or some shit.”
Source: archiveofourown.org/works/4362077?view_full_work=true
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review 2017-02-10 00:00
Atonement
Atonement - Ian McEwan Deixei a minha opiniĆ£o sobre o livro em http://ocaocomeuolivro.blogspot.pt/2010/08/o-romance-de-ian-mcewan-unica-expiacao.html
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