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review 2019-07-10 00:06
Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey - My Thoughts
Abaddon's Gate - James S.A. Corey

I am enjoying this series so much!  Both the books and the TV show.  But we're here about the book.  The third book in the series (and the one that brings me up to date with the show.)

Our four faves are back.  Holden, Naomi, Amos and Alex.  We don't see enough of the latter two as far as I'm concerned, but that doesn't take away the enjoyment of the story, really.  Once again, the known universe is in flux, Earth, Mars and the OPA are trying to cooperate and investigate the ring construct of the protomolecule but old suspicions and ways die hard.  Miller returns as well, but only Holden can see or interact with him. 

Someone is out to destroy Holden and in the process of attempting to do just that, all hell breaks loose.  We meet Clarissa Mao (the sister of Julie), Anna Volovodov, a spiritual leader and Bull, an Earther member of OPA.

Lots of folks die in this book. And there are many heros throughout.  I could just recount the political thriller type plot, but suffice to say, it was logical and intriguing.  I don't know why it took me so long to read this book, because I was quite into it, but maybe it was the heat.  :)

Anyhoo, great read and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!

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text 2019-05-23 08:38
The Expanse Rocinante Ship T-Shirt

Are you looking
The Expanse Rocinante Ship T-Shirt?
then this the perfect for you.

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text 2019-04-16 23:01
Reading progress: 2%.
Caliban's War - James S.A. Corey

Oh my, I'm really caught up in this series.  (Still not viewing the tv adaptation.)

"Ganymede didn’t erode or weather. It changed when rocks fell on it from space, or when warm water from the liquid core forced itself onto the surface and created short-lived lakes. Neither thing happened all that often.


At home on Mars, wind and dust changed the landscape hourly. Here, she was walking through the footsteps of the day before and the day before and the day before."

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-03-24 21:17
A Very Large Expanse of Sea
A Very Large Expanse of Sea - Tehereh Mafi

***Warning: This review assumes that you've read the book.***


I so wish this book had done more. It's hard to say this, but it felt phoned-in. I'm surprised it was long-listed for the National Book Award.


It felt a bit like Ms. Mafi was not writing from a need to write this story, although I'm sure she felt passionate about the project when the idea occurred to her. It's Own Voices about a Muslim girl's struggle with prejudice (others' and her own), it has a sweet young-adult romance, and the heroine has a hip, unusual hobby. But everything was explored on such a superficial level, I found myself thinking, "I guess it's nice to have a meh book about diverse characters." We need diverse books that hit it out of the ballpark, but we also need diverse books that are just okay. 


I got the sense that Ms. Mafi began writing this with the idea that there was an important story to tell: a person who is unjustly rejected and ridiculed by society because of her religion and clothing can herself begin to adopt prejudices. But then I picture Ms. Mafi unexpectedly finding herself slogging through the manuscript, trying with some discomfort to make it part memoir, second-guessing herself on how to tackle these serious issues, wanting it to be YA, thinking (erroneously) that the romance was the key to her character's growth, and the whole while she wasn't achieving the depth or lyricism that she wanted. But she'd written something by the end, it was finished, and her editor liked it well enough.


It was so benign, as literature. Shirin's family's religious life is oddly absent (the only mention of praying is when she and her brother lie to their parents that they've said their morning prayers) while focusing almost exclusively on the family's cultural traditions. The sections about break dancing are described without a hint of passion, or what it feels like for the character to dance, or what dancing makes her feel. (Some of the sections about her hobby sounds almost rote, like a wikipedia entry of break dancing and its history.) Break dancing doesn't tie in thematically in any sense, it just moves the plot along. The prose is flat and telling. ("Music [through earbuds hidden under her scarf] made my day so much easier. Walking through the halls at school was somehow easier; sitting alone all the time was easier.") And by the end, the story spends far too many pages and too much emotional energy on the struggle that the white boyfriend character, Ocean, faces when he dates Shirin. (He loses his basketball scholarship, gets expelled from school, Shirin worries about what their relationship has done to his college prospects and breaks up with him for the sake of his future, etc.)


It's incredibly valuable to show not only characters of color and of diverse religions and cultures in YA literature, but also the wide range of diversity there is. For example, undoubtedly Ms. Mafi's family and many other Muslim families are very accepting of white friends, so that the parents' welcoming attitude toward Ocean reflects an accurate part of the spectrum of the lives of children of immigrants. But while I don't expect Shirin's parents to reject Ocean, I do think his whiteness, his boyness, would create at least a small issue for these otherwise traditional parents--would be discussed, would be grappled with. By eliminating all sources of conflict about Shirin and Ocean's relationship other than what the outside world lobs at them, we get that same sense of superficiality that the novel has in so many dimensions. (Even Shirin's otherwise protective brother arranges for a quiet rendezvous for them in Shirin's bedroom.) In general Shirin's parents are not three-dimensional characters but a montage of charming, jovial characteristics. 


After reading the focus on Ocean's struggle toward the end, I became suddenly disappointed by the title, too. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is, in fact, an ocean. I have an active imagination, and I picture Ms. Mafi's beta readers or editor pointing this out. I see the author tossing in this line to try to deflect the criticism that this book is too much about the boy: "We broke apart, fighting to breathe, holding on to each other like we were drowning, like we’d been lost, left for dead in a very large expanse of sea.” See there, she says? Now it's a line in the book, now it's only a double entendre.


We need diverse books, even the ones that are just okay. This one is just okay.


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review 2019-03-24 21:00
Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey - My Thoughts
Caliban's War - James S.A. Corey

Excellent sequel to the first book of the series.  All our favourite characters have returned... well most of them.  :)  I have been firmly confirmed in my favouritism towards Amos and Chrisjen Avasarala. That being said, I love most of the characters.  And we get to meet the stellar Bobbie Draper, Martian marine extraordinaire. She and Chrisjen working together are the absolute best.

The plot of this book clips along at a decent pace and the writing style makes it an easy, fluid read.  I have to say that I've watched all 3 existing seasons of The Expanse and have found that the they're fairly faithful to the books and the changes not too jarring. 

Anyway, loved my read and am looking forward to getting to book 3, which I have on tap soon.  :)

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