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review 2018-12-11 00:07
I bet the Borg Queen never got invited over for slumber parties
Gods of Night (Star Trek: Destiny #1) - David W. Mack

Star Trek Destiny #1: Gods of Night by David Mack is the first part in a trilogy which was a journey from beginning to end. Firstly, let me start by saying that when I initially ordered these I did so not realizing that they were written quite a few years ago which did cause me some confusion early on. (I bought them at a discount rate as an ebook set so I really should have put 2+2 together.) Secondly, let me give you the heads up that I didn't have (because I really went in blind, ya'll) that you need prior knowledge about The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, AND Nemesis (which is the one I had not seen (and still haven't seen)) if you want to have any hope of following along. If you haven't seen these you are going to be 1. lost and 2. very much spoiled for future events. 

 

Now that that's all out of the way let's delve into the meat and potatoes of the plot of this book. Like most books that begin a series Gods of Night really lays down a lot of foundation for future action. And there is a lot of information to get through because there is a mess load of time travel back and forth with many, many different characters. (Hint: I didn't love this.) The reader follows 4 different Starfleet crews through multiple time periods which are denoted at the start of each new chapter. You have to be paying a lot of attention and since I read these as ebooks I found it a bit more challenging. Basically, the Caeliar are chanced upon by the Columbia and her crew and found to be so much more technically advanced that there is no chance of overpowering, negotiating, or escaping. The Borg are back and instead of assimilating they have changed their mission to one of annihilation. The Federation is trying to muster up the forces to stop the Borg without any success and the crew of the Columbia are just trying to get back home. SO many characters and so little time (ha time travel pun). I didn't love this book but I did continue the series because by the time I'd gotten to the end of this segment I was too invested to stop...and I'm glad I kept going because by the third book the action was intense, guys. (Wait til you get to the end!) For Gods of Night a 6/10 but check for the reviews of Mere Mortals and Lost Souls in the coming weeks to see what I thought of those and my overall series rating. ;-)

 

Quick rundown of details:

The Columbia captained by Erika Hernandez, the Aventine captained by Ezri Dax, the Titan captained by Will Riker, and of course the Enterprise captained by Jean-Luc Picard. The aliens encountered: the Borg and the Caeliar. The times explored: too many to recount.

 

What's Up Next: Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-08 04:38
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn (audiobook)
The Jane Austen Project - Kathleen A. Flynn,Saskia Maarleveld

A team of two travels back in time to insinuate themselves into Jane Austen's life so that they can steal and copy some of her letters and rescue an unfinished novel (a complete version doesn't exist in the future) from being destroyed.

 

The concept was interesting, but I sometimes found the main character, Rachel, to be annoying and I wasn't sold on the romance.

 

I haven't checked, but if this fits one of the books for 24 Festive Tasks then I'll use it towards that. But that's a tomorrow task.

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review 2018-11-30 20:07
The Chronothon by Nathan Van Coops
The Chronothon - Nathan Van Coops

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it can be read as a stand alone.

Ben has decided to continue on with his time travel explorations. He’s been traipsing around with Mim Quickly, Dr. Quickly’s daughter. But before he knows it, he’s tricked into entering a competitive race, the Chronothon! Each competitor is matched up with a guide and they all vault through time, hunting out their specific hidden items at each stop, each hoping to be the winner. Alas, there’s a lot more going on with the Chronothon than just a simple time travel race.

I had a lot of fun with this story. I love this take on the Amazing Race. Ben has learned some great skills in the few months he’s been time traveling and this race will need all his tricks and wits. Even before he can get started, his assigned guide is murdered and he’s suspected of it! But the race must go on, so he gets a new guide (Viznir, who packs practical stuff like snacks).

There’s one weak spot in this entertaining story. It’s the ladies. Fresca from book one has a tiny cameo. Mim is a ridiculous woman who spends much of the story in a jealous sulk; the rest of the time she’s relegated to love interest & doesn’t get to do much else. There’s some new ladies introduced, out of whom Kera is the more interesting. I hope she gets a bigger part in the next book. I like her attitude and weapons. Mim grew up time traveling and yet the author hasn’t used her character for much. Such a shame. That’s a missed opportunity.

We have tons of new characters in this book. The other competitors include the kid Jonah and his dog Barley (yay!), the Ivans (two copies of the same guy), a tattooed green skin alien named Bozzle, and several others. There’s also several new bad guys like Ariella (who lured Ben into all this madness) and the time purists who don’t get names until near the end. Ben’s life is threatened more than once during the adventure. The scariest moment was when he tangled with the circus freak! Eeek! Yes, a real paid circus freak who lives and travels with a circus.

I loved the time traveling dog and his kid. Such an excellent addition to the story. This tale would have a been a bit less great without those two characters. Jonah’s special ‘organism gun’ brought a lot of humor to the story. Awesome! Can I have one of those guns? <img class="emoji" draggable="false" src="https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/11/svg/1f609.svg" alt="

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review 2018-11-30 19:33
Time Is Relative for a Knight of Time by Brett Matthew Williams
Time is Relative for a Knight of Time - Brett Matthew Williams

There is a lot going on in this story! Rolland has fallen on hard times since his mom died and his dad disappeared. He’s been trying to finish out highschool on his own, living out of a car when he can’t hang at a friend’s house. His pride keeps him from telling people his true situation, that, and a healthy sense of self-preservation. It’s always good to not appear vulnerable. Right away, I was cheering for Rolland and wishing him well on whatever horrible undertakings he might be forced into.

Then Time Knights! Yes, I think they need their own theme music. They swoop in and change his life forever, which includes the unfortunate permanent demise of his car and all his possessions. Sephone, Tina, and the old Prof Turtledove try to ease him into his new life, but there’s just no easy way to rewrite your personal history, is there? Rolland has little time to absorb the truth about his parents before fate sweeps them up into a dangerous adventure that involves Andrew Jackson. Yep. Prepare yourself for some fascinating US history (and not the boringly bland stuff you had to learn in school).

I did find most of the ladies and their interactions with Rolland to be silly. Tina dives right into some pre-teen-ish lust thing that just comes off awkward and weird. Meanwhile Rolland is having his own lustful thoughts about Sephone. Later Joan joins the mix, but she’s totally worthy (and great at hand to hand combat). Then we get Blaisy (spelling?), a Native American princess who pulls her own weight. These last two ladies made up for the short comings of the other ladies. I just couldn’t see Tina being the successful leader of anything.

Andrew Jackson is written as a villain in this tale and he’s right up there with the Time Villain (cue evil theme music) Edward Vilth. I will say that Jackson is the better written villain as we get details about his mindset and lack of consideration for others. Tho that hypnosis bit was silly. Vilth is indeed a bad guy but he’s covered all in shadows and doesn’t really stand out at any point in the story.

Towards the end, I did get a little battle fatigue. There’s a lot of back and forth with alliances, new enemies around every corner, but, hey, wait, maybe they could be temporary allies as we kick some butt over here, but then yet another person is kidnapped and held hostage while the others try to rescue them or are forced into doing things their mom told them not to do. So, yes, the story could have been shortened up a bit in this area and it would be more exciting.

All told, there’s a decent story here with a blend of scifi and fantasy going on to propel the time travel. 3.5/5 stars.

The Narration: This is where this audiobook fell down for me. Williams decided to narrate his own book and with some polishing, he could manage it. He has distinct voices for each character most of the time. His female character voices are feminine. His verbal pacing is good too. However, there’s several repeated half sentences, mispronounced words, mouth noises, and why is he pronouncing Rolland like ‘Rawlins’ most of the time? There are significant issues with the recording as well. Sometimes it sounds tinny, sometimes like it was recorded in a cavern. There’s these odd pop sounds (and I’m not referring to the finger snaps) that I think might be from bumping the mic. Then there’s the rustling sounds (paper I think). Also, irregular long pauses between chapters too. If this book was narrated by a professional, it would be so much better. As it was, the narration/recording made it a chore to finish. 2.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Brett Matthew Williams. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-11-29 07:04
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascanenhas
The Psychology of Time Travel - Kate Mascarenhas

My friend Figgy was making status updates about this book, and despite it not being YA, I immediately felt like I had to read it. Luckily for me, it was available immediately to me on Netgalley (getting it onto a reading device was a whole other drama because I normally read mobi files and this was strictly only available in epub, and I had to reactivate my Adobe Digital Editions which had lay dormant, literally for years, and finally got to read it via Overdrive on my phone but my gosh, it was a drama and to be honest I almost cried, I was so excited to read this.)

 

It started off really well, initially. It had a really strong opening section introducing the concept and some key characters, certainly enough to grab the attention of a slush pile reader, an editor, or someone in a bookshop. So that was good.

 

But as the book went on, it also went downhill for me.

 

 

You know how Christopher Nolan used to make films that are studies into whatever he’s filming? Like how Memento is a study into the viewer’s memory, Batman Begins is a study of fear, The Prestige is a study in illusion, or Inception is a study in reality? This novel, about time travel, is a study about time travel with the reader as the subject. It’s a great concept, but not a good execution. Unable to tell this story linearly, we jump all around the place following characters and timelines seemingly at random.

 

The plot meanders between extra irrelevant points of view, and coupling this with the bland voice and lack of characterisation, makes many of the large cast of interchangeable characters seem like cardboard cut outs. I don’t know what anyone’s feeling or thinking. The prose is completely lacking in any kind of embellishment. It’s such a sterile way to tell a story. I just don’t give a shit. And I want to! I want to care about these characters, but in a novel that’s already time travelling itself, I can’t care. It’s chaotic and because of the blandness of character and voice, it’s also sometimes confusing – rather like this version of time travel itself (where older selves and younger selves frequently interact with little consequences).

 

After I finished the book I read the acknowledgements where the author referenced this book as being about ‘a time travelling grandmother’ and I went, “Oh, is THAT who the novel was meant to be about?” Too many characters that have little to no characterisation cause them all to blur. No one character is favoured and the two I thought were the ‘main’ characters often blurred in to one because of a lack of defining characteristics that went beyond ‘one is a lesbian and one is French.’

 

It feel like such a great concept but it lacks drama. I want to read books where characters actually feel emotion and you care about them. To me, this felt more like it would have been better as a textbook rather than a fictional narrative story with characters and plot. You know, like Quidditch Through the Ages pretends to be a textbook. Mostly because as far as I’m concerned, the author has a great concept, interesting glossary, and thoughtful, decent worldbuilding but was absolutely shite at writing characters with feelings, emotions, and anything that made them remotely human.

 

 

What it does have in its favour:

  • Worldbuilding. The jargon around time travelling: having sex with one’s past self is a ‘legacy fuck’, and you know it happens often enough that it has its own name. Children’s toys are created using the same technology. How they start doing something in the present because someone discovers it is done in the future. One character creates a painting in reverse. How time travel affects the people who do it and the people who don’t. So much lingo and regulations and tidbits that show the author thought about her world and not only the consequences but the little things that would happen as well.
  • So. Many. Female. Characters. It’s like Annihilation but about time travel.
  • Diversity! Sexual diversity, racial diversity, class diversity.
  • The psychology stuff was actually really good. How time travel messes with you.

 

What the novel lacked:

  • An ability to make me give even half a shit about anyone or the situation or anything, really. And look, I cry really easily. I’m a super emotional person. I own that. But I just didn’t care, I didn’t care who had died or how and who was responsible, and I really should have.

 

But look, if you’re interested in the psychology aspect of time travel and you’re prepared beforehand with knowledge that it’s shit at characters, you might find this more enjoyable than I did.

 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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