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review 2017-09-23 15:35
Thyme of Death
Thyme of Death - Susan Wittig Albert

I really thought I was going to love this book and series. This book is the first book in the series but it is the last one I´m reading. I just couldn´t get into it. It seemed silly to me but I think I have just gotten tired of cozy mysteries and need to read more serious mysteries. This book just had too many details that wouldn´t have happened in real people land. The main one for me was when the paramedics came to check on the lady that called 911 and didn´t speak to the dispatcher. They went rushing into the place and then decided they needed to try to resuscitate her. They had to go back out to their vehicle to get the equipment. They wouldn´t have gone in their without what they needed to save someone´s life. Then, China is walking around crime scenes and no one stops her. She is telling the paramedics and police about her theories about what happened and I´m picturing them all like goofy saying, ¨well okay!¨ I know what it is really like and none of that would have happened.

 

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review 2017-09-22 20:47
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death) - Nnedi Okorafor

This short, futuristic novel is essentially a power/revenge fantasy focused on the exploitation of people of African descent, especially in medical research. (Calling it a power fantasy isn’t necessarily a criticism; much of sci-fi and fantasy consists of power fantasies for white male nerds, so it seems only fair for others to get a cut of the action.) Despite a compelling start and socially relevant themes, however, this one flopped for me.

Phoenix lives in a future America in which powerful corporations perform medical experimentation on people, mostly black, who live locked up in mysterious Towers. She knows nothing else and is content until something awful happens to her best friend and love interest, at which point she starts to rebel and discovers the powers with which she was endowed. This is a prequel to a post-apocalyptic fantasy tale and has a frame story, so it’s no secret that somewhere along the way the world as we know it is destroyed, and most readers will guess how; nevertheless, this is your warning that this review will contain SPOILERS.

Okorafor sets the stage well, with an oppressive dystopian setting and a young protagonist struggling to make sense of it and survive. The first third of the book makes for compelling reading, with a fast-paced story full of danger set in a believable world. But as in the companion book, Who Fears Death, the protagonist becomes too powerful, leaching the story of dramatic tension. Once Phoenix learns that she can fly for days on end, die and regenerate as many times as necessary, and move through time and space in an instant and apparently without limit, the story no longer presents obstacles that really challenge her. She attacks one of the Towers alone and without planning and succeeds, so the long stretch toward the end spent preparing to attack another with a group seems unnecessary and anticlimactic (though from a narrative perspective, it allows some down time and for Phoenix to bond more with other characters).

The end also proved unsatisfying. Phoenix suddenly decides the world is irredeemable and that the goddess Ani – who, mind you, does not appear in the book – wants her to destroy it. This decision made little sense to me: after all, her lover is alive and needs rescuing, and while she did just discover that several powerful and corrupt men have used the Towers’ research to extend their lives indefinitely, there’s nothing stopping her from hunting them down individually. The connection to the writing of the Great Book and the world of Who Fears Death also seems strained, though I enjoyed the chapters of the frame story as an independent short story.

Meanwhile, the characterization is fairly simplistic; reviewers who have interpreted this as intentional due to Phoenix’s chronological age may well be correct, but I have my doubts, as the book portrays Phoenix as an adult woman in her intellectual capacity and ability to form relationships. Likewise, the writing style is simple and sometimes staccato, which suits the dystopian setting fine. The world has texture and is a conceivable outgrowth of our world, an important but often-overlooked element of a good dystopia. On the other hand, some details seem under-researched: the bizarre chapter in which, despite the secrecy in which these projects are shrouded, the only records of ongoing medical experiments turn out to be catalogued and housed in hard copy in the Library of Congress (which apparently will switch to Dewey Decimal in the future?) available for browsing by anyone with ID, has been thoroughly dissected in other reviews.

Overall, while this book has some interesting ideas, their execution proved to be a letdown. Not having thought much of Who Fears Death either, I’m ready to conclude that Okorafor’s work is not for me.

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text 2017-09-22 09:12
Reading progress and fishy story
Thyme of Death - Susan Wittig Albert

I just can´t get into this.  I guess it just isn´t my cup of tea.  I need something more real and less silly.  I´m almost finished and I just don´t care who did it.  They could all die and I´ll be totally okay with that.

 

On a more interesting note.... one of my Emerald Barbs (fish) found a little rubber band and is running around with it in his mouth while the other members of the clan (there are 6 total) chase him to try to get it from him.  Sometimes he drops it and another one gets it before it hits the ground but the bully always ends up getting it back.  I wish I could get a good picture or video but it is dark and the pictures are coming out blurry with bad light reflections and stuff.  If they do it again during the day time I´ll try to get a video.  That usually works better than a picture through the glass.

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review 2017-09-22 06:09
Lecretia's Choice: A Story of Love, Deat... Lecretia's Choice: A Story of Love, Death and the Law - Matt Vickers

Books such as this are neither good, nor bad, just varying degrees of horribleness. This is Matt's account of his beautiful wife, Lecretia's battle against a virulent brain tumour plus a fight with the New Zealand government to change the law so that people in similar situations can choose how and when to die. She was a successful high flying lawyer when she started getting the first worrying symptoms of this merciless illness. Brutally honest about what happened, how they coped, his feelings and the shortcomings of the New Zealand health service. Very sad, but uplifting at the same time.

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quote 2017-09-20 06:36
If I´d known how the week was going to turn out I would have sent it back first thing Monday and asked for a refund.
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