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Search tags: Kameron-Hurley
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review 2017-03-11 20:41
The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley

I needed this book. It is pure escapist fun. Brutal, but fun.

 

Hurley throws you right in the deep end with Zan, a warrior who has lost her memory. She explains the minimum amount required for the narrative to make sense, so you’re basically forced to just to accept things until they get explained in bits and pieces, generally much later on. I’m ok with that, and I find it to be a much better world-building experience than info-dump after info-dump. Also, everything that I thought needed an explanation got explained. I’ll admit that some of the background information is only implied and I had to fill it in myself, and I think that’s what drove some people crazy who didn’t like the book. Because the whole idea that the worldships have been orbiting in Legion for so many generations that they are just literally starting to fall apart was pretty clear, I thought, although I suppose it’s never actually spelled out.

 

You should just ignore the summary because it’s hard to summarize this book without giving away spoilers, and the summary won’t prepare you for the book. We have massive organic worldships run by various clans at war with each other. The Katazyrna, the Bhavaja, and the Mokshi are the big players in the novel. They’re at war for resources, basically, and Zan and Jayd (mentioned in the summary) are trying to break away from the past destructive cycles. Of course, this naturally entails a lot of death and destruction.

 

All the characters are female, but this makes sense in the context of this universe. If this is too unbelievable for you, this probably isn’t the book for you.

There is literally no biological function for men to perform in this world, Legion, so just consider them all post-humans rather than your traditional humans. It would have made no sense to shoe-horn males into this world, so get over it if that’s your beef. Actually, it’s never confirmed that they are our descendants, so they could all be aliens instead. It doesn’t matter to the story. They’re trying to escape Legion and its decay but they’ve lost too much knowledge to do it easily.

(spoiler show)

 

I’d call this space opera, but you can tack on the fantasy label if the advanced technology seems too much like magic. Be forewarned that there’s a lot of violence and moral grey zones, but I thought it was great.

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text 2017-02-18 21:11
2017 book pre-orders
Amberlough - Lara Elena Donnelly
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley
The Beauty - Aliya Whiteley

These are the physical books I've pre-ordered. Most from the almost-local book shop, unless otherwise noted. Like the e-book post, the ribbon only contains the books BL had covers for.

 

January:

Lesbians in Space - Kameron Hurley: Will be the next thing I read. B&N was selling signed copies from their online store, so that's what I have.

 

February:

Amberlough - Lara Elena Donnelly: Spies, smugglers, and fascism. I've heard many good things, but my copy is in another city waiting for me to pick it up.

 

The Classic & Craft Cocktail - Clair McLafferty: We wrangled Clair and another bartender into doing a multi-course cocktail tasting when she was still tending bar. Another time we took a stirred cocktail class from Clair. She is great, and I'm buying multiple signed copies from her to gift to friends.

 

March:

Gwenpool, The Unbelievable Vol. 2: Head of M.O.D.O.K. TPB - Christopher Hastings,Irene Strychalski:  Technically haven't pre-ordered yet, but will acquire from the local comic shop. Did anyone see the video of the car driving through a comic shop that made the rounds recently? That's my local shop.

 

April
Tender: Stories - Sofia Samatar: A short story collection from one of the best writers.
 
June
 
July
Dichronauts - Greg Egan: I have no idea what this is about, but Egan. Always Egan.
 
September
An Unkindness of Magicians - Kat Howard: This author + this imprint + this title would be hard not to pick up.
 

October

The Broken Heavens - Kameron Hurley: Last book in the amazing Worldbreaker trilogy.
The Breathless - Tara Goedjen: YA thriller with romance that starts with a mysterious death, what could go wrong.  
 
November
The Beauty - Aliya Whiteley: Billed as "a dark slice of the New Weird, encompassing dystopian post-apocalyptic fiction, dark fairy tale and horror"
 
December
Persepolis Rising - James SA Corey: 7th book in The Expanse. Book 6 was great, looking forward to more.
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review 2017-02-16 15:33
Review: Geek Feminist Revolution
The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley

There are a million great reviews of this book already, you don't need mine. Instead I'm going to nitpick one essay, then give you links to better review, and links to some of the essays as samples if you aren't already sold. 

 

But seriously, buy this book. Read this book. There will be a quiz. Every day of your goddamn life is a quiz this book has answers to.

 

Part 1, in which I am tedious and pedantic.

 

Hurley loves narrative. It's her day job, her dream job, her whole life. Her essay trying to sell me on narrative, though, I have to give a little side eye to. Her "isn't narrative great!" example is how she successfully sold people something they didn't need. And her rabid enthusiasm for the subject comes across like that of people I know who are super into firearms. Yeah, it's great, but in the hands of the ignorant or the malicious, it's also a fucking terrible weapon we are all vulnerable to. If you need evidence of that, just look at who we just fucking elected. In my firearms metaphor, narrative with no basis in fact is a gun with the safety off. So here, even in complaining, I'm not disagreeing with her. You're right, Hurley, it's great. It's fucking amazing. Please be careful where you aim it and always act like its loaded, even when you "know" it isn't.

 

Part 2, better posts you should read.

 

Ana at The Book Smugglers (review)

Silvana at GR (review)

Aiden Moher at B&N (review/interview)

 

Part 3, a few of the included essays.

 

Gender, Family, Nookie: The Speculative Frontier

On Public Speaking While Fat

Female Rage Doesn’t Exist In A Vacuum

 

Part 4, there's always an epilogue.

 

I lied. I'm not ready for an epilogue. I'm too busy kicking the world square in the nuts. 

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review 2017-02-03 02:03
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley

HERO.

 

Alright, it’s not like I agree with Hurley or can relate to her about everything, but I was tempted to make that comment several times while reading just for her speaking out. This series of essays was compulsively readable, on the whole, and although it focuses a lot on the struggles of writing and getting published at the beginning, I feel like there are a few essays here that should be read by everyone.

 

Plus there are cannibalistic llamas.

 

I’m thinking I should start reading her blog. And actually get around to reading some of her fiction.

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review 2017-02-02 21:02
The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga, #1) by Kameron Hurley
The Mirror Empire: Worldbreaker Saga 1 - Kameron Hurley

Where do I even start with this book? I first heard of this book on BookTube. I became intrigued by it because of the gender aspects so when I went to the library, I thought I'd give it a go. Well, the gender aspects are about all I enjoyed from this book.

 

That's not true. I also enjoyed the writing. The writing is actually quite beautiful. It's very easy to envision the world, its inhabitants, the magic system, everything. I quite like what Hurley does with language and how she uses it to fit this unique world.

 

Another thing I liked about this book was how gender was portrayed, You have gender-fluid characters and non-binary characters and characters who were pansexual and all of that was fantastic! I also liked the talk of using the correct pronouns for whatever the person identifies themselves as and to no do so was seen as extremely offensive because, guess what, it IS offensive to do that to anyone. I adore that Hurley made that very clear within her writing. 

 

Continuing with the gender themes, Hurley also reversed the roles between men and women within this society. It is a matriarchal society where the women are seen as superior to men. Now, I personally don't like matriarchies or patriarchies. I think all should be seen as equals regardless of gender. However, I realize Hurley did this as a commentary to our own society where women are seen as weak. I understand the commentary and I do appreciate what she has done here in her book.

 

However, I don't like seeing rape. At all. And the women do, in fact, rape the men. One character in particular, Zezili, is raping her husband constantly. She beats him, carves her initials into his skin to show ownership, and her husband, Anavha, is of the mentality that she does this because she loves him... something abuse victims tend to say of their abusers. And I get it. This happens a lot in our society. So I understand what and why Hurley decided to include this in her novel, but I'm not okay with any type of abuse. So reading that left me very angry, which is the point, I suppose.

 

Oh, but there's still more about this book that left me feeling rather empty. Let's talk about Lilia. She's one of the main characters in this book and she annoyed the hell out of me. She does stupid things for no reason. Basically, her reasoning is along the lines of "because I can." She is selfish and cruel to the point of callous. But the thing is there's no reason for it! She is not supposed to be a horrible character. She just is. And I can't say much more but because of her stupidity, she gets so many innocent characters, who are trying to help her out, killed. She gets them killed because of her selfishness. And what makes it worse, she shows no remorse! As long as she gets her way, she doesn't care who she screws over in the end. But we, as the reader, are supposed to sympathize with her? We're supposed to believe she's a good person? No. I don't think so.

 

The motivations of some of the characters make no sense to me. Going back to Zezili, she is someone that's ruthless. She kills anyone her Empress tells her to. But then she decides she wants to be a hero and save others... what? Where did that come from? Why are you being kind now? I don't get it. I felt like the development for a lot of the characters were not fleshed out enough, which is sad to say since this book is over 500 pages. 

 

But one of my biggest problems this book has is not telling the reader anything. Like, I get it. As an author, you don't want the reader to know everything. But you also need to give the reader enough to go on so that the reader in intrigued enough to keep reading. After 250 pages, I saw so many forced moments the author put their for the "shock value" that I was disappointed. She inserted what she wanted so much without giving reason to it. Most of those moments left me feeling "Why? What was the point to that?" And that's what most of this book is. What was the point? And it's never fully explained. At all.

 

I could go on but I'll stop here. This book had so much potential. Hurley had a lot of great ideas but, ultimately, could not pull off in a cohesive manner. All of it felt too messy and all over the place. I love what she did with gender and sexuality and the world is such a cool concept! But everything else just fell flat for me.

 

If this book intrigues you, go ahead and give it a shot. You might like it more than I did. Just remember there's a lot of gratuitous violence, gore, and rape. Don't read it is any of those themes are harmful towards you. But if you're okay with those themes, then try it out. Hopefully, you like it even if I had a few problems with it.

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