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review 2017-03-26 04:35
Clock towers adventure
Timekeeper - Tara Sim

This novel didn’t really work for me, although it has an intriguing premise. Time can change. It can Stop. It can jump without continuity. The only things that keep the time from hiccuping are the magical clock towers. Each clock tower has an area of influence, usually a town and surrounding area, which together constitute a time zone. Built hundreds of years ago all over the world by unknown magical artisans, the towers are an enigma for most regular people.

The secrets of their construction were lost centuries ago. Nobody knows now how to build new towers anymore, and only magical clock mechanics, gifted with the magical sense of time, are able to repair them. They keep the towers running and prevent the time from Stopping.

Danny, the seventeen-year-old hero of this book, as a clock mechanic. He is thrust into the middle of the story, together with the readers: someone has been sabotaging clock towers around England, time has been acting up, and nobody knows the culprit. Danny’s father was one of the casualties. Three years ago, he was trapped in a town where the time Stopped. Nobody could get in or out of Stopped towns, and Danny still mourns his father. Danny himself was a victim of a bombing of one of the clock towers. He survived, but he still bear scars, physical and mental, and he is determined to figure out who is responsible for what is happening to the clock towers of England.

The story follows Danny through a series of harrowing adventures, blending several genres together. It should’ve been irresistible, but in fact, it drags. I think the author tried to combine too many genres inside one book.

There is the obvious fantasy angle – magical clock towers in the alternative Victorian England – which attracted me to the book in the first place. Then, there is a mystery inside the fantasy. The author follows the rules of the mystery genre and throws lots of red herrings into Danny’s investigation of the clock towers accidents.

I don’t like mystery genre very much. For me, a fantasy reader, the red herrings felt like an unfocused story. A bunch of characters who were not important to the main plot. A bunch of event that convoluted the logic and didn’t have any impact on the ultimate conclusion of Danny’s journey. I got so bored with the story meandering, I started skipping after the first 100 pages or so. Until I got to the last 80 pages, which I read in full. Strangely enough, I didn’t miss much by skipping over more than 100 middle pages. The story was clear, and I read it to the conclusion without wondering what happened in between.

Another genre convention that even worsened my impression of this novel was its YA approach. The protagonist, a seventeen-year-old gay boy, is chock full of teenage angst. He is unpleasant, unfriendly, and cares mostly about himself, like most teenagers I know. I’m not enamored of this genre and I disliked the protagonist. No, this novel didn’t work for me. 

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review 2017-03-24 10:50
Sweet Child of Time
Sweet Child of Time: Episode Seven of The Chronicles of the Harekaiian - Shanna Lauffey

by Shanna Lauffey

 

Wow, I wasn't expecting that!

 

Usually when I read a long series, I start to lose interest around the fourth book. Things get samey and the later books feel like a lot of rehash. Not with this one.

 

Akalya had some different challenges to deal with in this 7th book, yet part of the plot tied in neatly with what has gone before. One interesting new character was introduced, but it's hard to tell if he'll make an appearance in the remaining books. I just never know quite what to expect from the next episode.

 

I got to see some of Akalya's past that I hope will be visited again in future books because it involves a setting that appeals to me a lot and as always, some bits of nostalgia that would appeal even to people who weren't actually there. There wasn't as much about time travel Physics as there sometimes is, but it wasn't entirely missing. Just enough questions about how things work to stimulate the thinking processes.

 

What strikes me about every book in this series is how I feel when I've finished. It's like I've been there myself and experienced these things, and I'm still dealing with the emotions raised from whatever situation happened. This is what makes this my favorite series, apart from just the fact that time travel is cool and the methods explained in this are close enough to plausible to suspend disbelief.

 

I feel like I'm still assimilating this experience, though I finished reading last night. It's going to be far too long before the next book comes out! I can't wait to see where it goes. The reappearance of one character who I thought was done has me speculating about the extent of his significance. I do love it when a book makes me think!

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review 2017-03-24 02:23
Excellent Audiobook Experiance
Gemina (The Illuminae Files) - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

I love a great audiobook, one you can visualize so clearly you feel like you are part of the story. The sound effects, the voices, the pacing all fabulous.

The story was science fiction space travel adventure with deceit, misjudgments, death, nasty creatures, nastier humans, worm holes alternative universes and romance light. I cheered and jeered for the characters. I really got to know them and care what happened. There is a cliffhanger ending. I normally am unhappy about that but this one left me with a big smile. Fantastic twist ! 

A great second edition to the series. I am excited to continue to book 3, as soon as it is released.

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review 2017-03-23 21:27
Captain, wife, mother
Cordelia's Honor - Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve been Bujold’s fan since my first reading of one of her Vorkosigan novels. Miles Vorkosigan, the hero of the series, is definitely my favorite sci-fi hero, but Cordelia, his mother, is much more. I love Cordelia. Her humanity and strength are humbling and uplifting. I hope such women exist in our lives, not just in Bujold’s sci-fi world.

Although I read and reread most of the books of this series more than once, this is my first review of this novel. It is Cordelia’s story, and it is divided into two parts: Shards of Honor and Barrayar.

The first part, Shards of Honor, opens with Cordelia as a Betan survey ship captain, exploring a newly discovered planet with her colleagues. Suddenly, her world explodes around her. Her scientific camp is destroyed. Some of her ship officers are dead or wounded. Unknown dangers threaten from every tree and bush, and her only ally in the frightening chaos is a Barrayaran officer, Aral Vorkosigan, who takes her prisoner. From that perilous position, Cordelia finally escapes, thanks to her courage and ingenuity, but her troubles are only starting.

Her twisty path weaves through the brutal war; she suffers capture by the Barrayaran military and the POW camp, but even when she at last reaches safety at home, troubles follow her in the person of the army psychiatrist who wants to wipe her mind clean of all she had endured. Especially from her love for Aral, the love that crept on her unawares, the love that changed her life.

Their love triumphs, of course, huge and poignant. The second part, Barrayar, begins after Cordelia’s frantic flight from her home on Beta Colony, one step ahead of the charges of treason and the dratted psychiatrist. Now, she is quietly married to Aral. Both are middle-aged, ready to settle down. He is retired from the military, and both of them are prepared to enjoy their retirement. They plan to start a family.

Barrayar interferes. The old dying Emperor of Barrayar asks Aral to become a Regent to his orphaned grandchild, five-year-old Prince Gregor. A patriot and an aristocrat to his bones, with honor imprinted on his psyche, Aral can’t say NO. Thus, Cordelia is thrust into the maelstrom of Barrayar’s turbulent politics, as the planet climbs from its almost feudal mentality towards galactic standards under Aral’s guidance. The resistance of the proponents of tradition is fierce, and Aral and Cordelia’s son Miles pays the price.

But Cordelia never gives up. She stands beside her husband, proud and free, a symbol of the new possibilities. She fights for her husband as only a Betan ship captain could, and she fight for her son’s life as any loving mother, and she wins in the end, although that victory comes with a painful price.

Cordelia is a marvelous human being, compassionate even to her enemies and a role model to countless young women on Barrayar. Loving and forgiving is her default mode, understanding and acceptance her dual mottos, but she could be ruthless to her enemies and acidic towards fools. I love Cordelia and I enjoyed her story. For me, it was, together with its sequel, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, the best two books of the entire Vorkosigan saga. And the best heroine in the sci-fi genre.

This book is a sci-fi adventure in form, a love story in essence, and an exploration of several deep and penetrating issues humanity has been wrestling with recently, from feminism to democracy. Although it is at times hysterically funny, the laughter is frequently tinged with sadness. So many of Barrayar’s problems mirror our own that Cordelia’s tale sometimes slips into satire. Other times, into philosophy. It captivates its readers with all its multiple facets and its irresistible heroine.     

A lovely, amazing book.

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review 2017-03-23 19:33
Star’s End: An Inner Space Opera
Star's End - Cassandra Rose Clarke

Man, I really like Clarke's stuff. Not real flashy, but emotionally detailed.

 

My latest at B&N SciFi & Fantasy

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