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review 2018-06-19 02:13
All the stars!
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee

Can I give this all the stars?   No, only five?   Okay, then.   

 

So I think that the lazy/sloppy world building reviews kept me from finishing this.   I thought they were rational and well thought out arguments, and they make me think about how I approach and read books.  And how others will approach them differently.  

 

Because you know what?  I don't get so much of this book.  Like a lot of this.  This book makes me feel like a big 'ol dum-dum, and so do some of the reviews where I am like 'you clearly understood something I didn't.'   I frown-y face at myself so much for being dumb enough not to really get so much of this book.   I actually am not sure I disagree with the reviews, although I have a different take on the world building: I think that things, like how the calendars work and influence the fighting, and the math of it all, were left vague on purpose, and for two different reasons. 

 

The first is twofold in fact: the math it would take to come up with the way the calendars actually worked, and implement them, seems to be, I dunno, so much work it would make me want to curl up in a corner and weep.   More than that, if that much math is involved in such a complicated calendar, do you really want to read that?  I mean, I'm sure many math-oriented people would geek over it, but I personally didn't want to read that much math, thank you very much!  I think Lee realized that nine-tenths of this book would be 'and this how the calendrical fighting system worked' if he were to properly explain it.   (And I probably still wouldn't get it, and I would feel like the largest dum-dum ever, so thank you, Lee, for not letting my ego take that blow!)

 

Secondly, I don't think it's that important.   So did it bother me at first?   Yup.  And even when I saw those reviews, I tried to read it and was like, nope, don't get it, and got frustrated.  I figured with those reviews, why bother?   But when I started reading Raven Stratagem for the Hugo voting, I realized I kind of needed the backstory, and hey, I owned a signed copy!   (A signed copy that came with me to rides on Universal Studios, FL, by the way.)

 

So I grit my teeth, started reading, and I just let go of needing to understand.   Once I realized the world, or part of it, was incomprehensible, I allowed myself to appreciate the nuance of the political system, those who rebelled against it, and the characters' interplay and growth.   

 

And I found that I loved this: I didn't care that this book made me feel stupid, massively, epically stupid.  I didn't care that I didn't get so much of it.   I just wanted more

 

Of course, this book has loads of the kinds of angst and mind-fuckery that I just love, so it filled a hole in my soul.  And I even sent the author a note saying that after the shitshow of a wedding and my grandfather's passing that these books kept me trucking. 

 

He sent me back a lovely e-mail that said he was glad they brought me comfort.  I own this as an e-book - and an audiobook.  I'm probably going to listen to the audiobook soon and may invest in the second and third, if I can get over Jedao's voice.   The problem with audiobooks is that often times the characters voices don't match the voices in my head, and I listened to a bit of Ninefox Gambit earlier tonight.   Jedao's voice might kill this trilogy as audiobooks for me, to be honest.

 

 

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review 2018-06-19 01:39
Cybertron comes back to Earth
Transformers: Robots In Disguise (2011-2016) Vol. 7 - John Barber,Sarah Stone,Livio Ramondelli,Andrew Griffith,Casey Coller

At least, Optimus Prime and a small group of Autobots do.  I wasn't a big fan at first read, but I'm coming to appreciate just how brilliant a move this was: the focus stays on the Cybertronians, not the humans, and even then?   Thundercracker adopting a dog and becoming the worst screenwriter ever is just hilarious. 

 

Somehow, even when he's mangling screenplays and writing in general, Thundercracker just wins me over.   Like completely over.   

 

Loved this, and read it early on in the month, right before the Hugo packet hit.   

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review 2018-05-28 13:18
Gets better and better.
Transformers: IDW Collection - Phase Two Vol. 4 - Various,Various

I know there is some crossover with volumes five of More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise, but I'm just reading all of those, especially since I particularly like some of these issues.   

 

In particular, issue 18 of RiD is from Arcee's point of view, and you get a far more nuanced and sympathetic look at her character than you've gotten before.   At some point, she goes from someone who had a gender transition forced upon her and was simply angry, and portrayed as insane, to someone who was trying to be a better version of herself, and trying to connect with others.   It may have started before here - I suspect it did - but you don't see it.   It starts showing here.   However, she had to be watching Bee, and how others reacted to him, to come up with the thoughts on how others saw him and on how she felt about him.   This didn't happen spontaneously, and yet it happened off scene so it can feel like it did.  

 

I don't know why is when she went from assassin to fully fleshed out character who - yes, was an assassin - but also became thoughtful about that aspect of her life - without fully ditching her itch to react violently to little provocation.   (To be fair, she had this built in to her character.   Yes, in a really offensive way, but it is part of her character in this continuity and they were making a clear point not to retcon, or go against previous continuity.   That being said, the only reason I didn't knock of stars is that Barber tries to undo as much of the damage he can by really drawing her out, particularly later.   Also, a lot of time this comes from on high: you have to live with horrendous decisions because you want to keep your dream job, and I get that.)

 

This volume is where I start to really loathe Rodimus.  I say start, but that's not true: I've loathed him for a while.   But this turns into a visceral rage that Arcee and I could talk about over some Energon.   I mean, like she would understand the depth of my rage at him.   Then again, she spent years killing Jhiaxus, watching him come back to life, and killing him again - and I wish it were Rodimus she were killing over and over again...

 

The lives she would save!   Just think of all the lives she'd save!

 

Bad, bad shit goes down in More Than Meets the Eye.   It's Rodimus' fault.   It always is.   He just lets Drift metaphorically fall on his great sword for him and fuck you Rodimus.  Drift would make a way better captain, even if he captained on his feels.   And he totally would!

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review 2018-05-26 15:05
That's not how this works
Transformers Continuum - Andy Schmidt

Good writing, editing, getting facts right.   That's not how any of this works. 

 

 

It's like someone who was totally bored and/or hated Transformers wrote this, and just wanted it done as quickly as possible without any fact checking. 

 

Burn it.   Burn it with fire. 

 

Or, y'know, read it if you want to be totally misinformed as to what happened before, with a bridge between Phase 1 and Phase 2 that leaves out much of the important information.

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review 2018-05-25 22:00
Absolutely fantastic!
Transformers: IDW Collection Phase Two Volume 3 - Jimbo Salgado,Nick Roche,Alex Milne,John Barber,James Lamar Roberts

This is just splendid: a lot of storylines are coming together, and it's beautiful to watch it all in one go.  

 

I think I'm gonna reread all this next year, too, to be honest.

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