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text 2018-06-20 09:52
Reading progress update: I've read 74%. - I've been here before except I REALLY haven't
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

I'm rationing this book now as I have real life things that I need to do today. So much for, "I' can only take one hour at a time".

 

Right now I'm at a part that ought to be making me yawn. I've seen all the "Resident Evil" movies (now there's a confession). I know all about having a kick-ass heroine shoot her way through rabid used-to-be-people killers in a confined spaces with alarms sounding in the background, red warning lights flashing and severed high-voltage powerlines arcing. 

 

I've so been there,

 

But never like this.

 

Never with a smart brave heroine who cannot bring herself to kill.

 

Never with rabid used-to-be people that I feel deeply sorry for.

 

Never with an understanding that, when this isn't a first-person shooter game but an atrocity in which everyone is the victim, that winning isn't possible because surviving can cost too much.

 

Never with so much damned intensity and not a single line of prose.

 

In my work life, there's a lot of focus on disruption as something that changes the rules in commerce, opening up new opportunities and challenging established ways of working.

 

The structure of this novel is fundamentally disruptive. It's like the leap from "Tristram Shandy" to "Pride and Prejudice" in terms of form. This is the bloom of an almost post-literate generation that has freed itself from linear text and the straight-jacket of grammar that keeps writing on the ground and has taken to swinging through the trees with the confidence of those who've grown up comfortable with Kanji/Emoli/Gif ideography. To an old guy like me, it's astronishing and wonderful.

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text 2018-06-19 17:45
Reading progress update: I've read 54%.just met the AI and...
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

WOW

 

No other word for it.

 

Six hours in to something good and suddenly a switch is flipped and I'm  six hours in to something great.

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text 2018-06-18 10:10
Reading progress update: I've read 37%. - OK - so the format works if I take it an hour or so at a time
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

I'm more than four hours into this eleven-hour novel, which, in the audiobook version, is a full cast production.

 

When "Sleeping Giants" was presented in the same way, I'd lost patience with it by the four-hour mark.

 

This time, I'm enjoying myself.

 

I put the difference down to the quality of the writing - the characterisation and the emotion in the dialogue / first-person reports are excellent - I found the report on a Marine SNAFU assault quite moving for example.

 

There is also a nice balance between a more personal relationship between the two teen protagonists and the more role-driven interactions between the captains of the military and civilian scientific ship.

 

I find it difficult to listen for more than an hour at a time, but I think that has more to do with the quiet desperation of the story than to the format.

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text 2018-06-16 17:15
Reading progress update: I've read 11%. and I'm worried about how sustainable this narrative approach is
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

This series received a lot of positive reviews in the press and social media so I picked it up even though I've never read either author.

 

I'm now a little over an hour in.

 

The good news is that I'm listening to the audiobook which is an all cast production. The actors are good. The action and point of view shifts are plentiful. The unknown but suspected falls across the plot like an early morning shadow.

 

The conceit of the book is that the story is told through a series of files, reports and emails compiled by a covert agency and delivered to an as-yet-unnamed client.

 

In this regard, it reminds me of "Sleeping Giants"

 

My worry is that I ran out of patience for the radio-play with stage instructions read out loud narrative technique of "Sleeping Giants" after about four hours. The book was six hours long.

 

"Illuminae" is more than eleven hours long and is book one of a trilogy.

 

I'm hoping for something clever and engaging that fills the gap left by all the stuff in a novel that isn't dialogue.

 

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review 2018-06-16 15:04
"Fire Touched - Mercy Thompson #9" by Patricia Briggs - a nice ensemble piece
Fire Touched (A Mercy Thompson Novel) - Patricia Briggs

Having been a little disappointed in the eighth book "Night Broken" I was pleased that "Fire Touched" was a return to form for the Mercy Thompson series.

 

There were lots of things to like about this book. Personally, I'll grin at any series where, at the end of a period of domestic discussion, the step-mother says to her step-daughter, as she and her husband rush from the house,"Gotta go, kid, there's a monster on the bridge."

 

It was large and hard-to-kill monster and the battle scene was only exceeded by the melodrama (which I thought was actually quite stylish) of the rallying call that Mercy gives, blood-spattered, walking stick/spear lit with pulsing red sigils raised above her head, her mate apparently unconscious at her feet. No wonder it made national television.

 

This story avoided being another Mercy-takes-on-the-big-bad-almost-alone-nearly-dies-but-is-saved-by-friends theme that was becoming repetitive (albeit well done each time). Instead, it was more of an ensemble piece with some strategic ideas about the relationship between the wolves and the fae that moved things in interesting directions.

 

The Pack now feels real, populated by people I know who are acting from motives that I understand. It helped that Adam finally stepped up and did the full-on Alpha thing.

 

Three new characters are introduced, none of whom are narcissistic psychopaths who could run for President. Old characters re-appear but doing new things and sometimes working to new agendas. The politics is has become more complex and less easy to second-guess. The depiction of Fairy Land is original and quite chilling.

 

There was also some clever but unobtrusive cross-over references with the Maroc and Charles that reminded me to make a start on the Alpha and Omega series.

 

While there is still a lot of action, much of it involving Mercy taking on things many times her size and the body-count is satisfyingly high, the action was there to illustrate the story, not drive it. We're back to a story driven by the characters and their situation. 

 

I ended the book having enjoyed my visit with Mercy and looking forward to the next one.

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