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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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review 2017-01-20 11:16
Atonement - Sloane Kennedy

Simply amazing. Every book in this series is five stars for me. Atonement is no exception. It may even be my favorite. I loved Magnus and Dante.

Dante goes through life with a self-assured, cocky attitude, doing whatever and whomever he wants. Using random hookups to never get emotionally involved because he cannot risk being rejected when someone he cares about sees the dark truth inside him.

Magnus is balancing him out perfectly with his quiet calm. But even that calm is just a cover for the guilt and pain he carries inside. He is also presumably straight!

They get off on the wrong foot and there is a lot of anger between them. Dante is a bit of an ass, to be honest, doing anything he can to rile Magnus up but at the same time pushing him away, fighting his attraction to a man he cannot have. Magnus doesn't quite understand his reaction to Dante but he is quick to accept the attraction. I am very much a fan of a guy who just rolls with it when he discovers he may not be as straight as he thought. Magnus doesn't care what any of it means in terms of his sexual orientation - Dante is important to him and he cares about him and that is all that matters.

 

There are loads of steam in these books and it is hot as hell. And yet never drifts off into mere porn because there is always so much emotion and such intense connections between the MCs.

There is also a lot of pain here. Most of Sloane Kennedy's guys have dark pasts with horrible experiences and although we usually don't get to witness the horrors as they happen, just the references and the memories of the characters can make some of it hard to swallow. Atonement is one of the worst in this regard. Just imagining the things that must have happened in the past made me sick. Don't get me wrong, I don't think these books would work so well if the characters didn't have bad experiences and were somehow broken, but it is definitely not the kind of book to pick up if you are looking for fluff.

Knowing that, I cannot wait for the next ones.

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