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review 2018-02-05 21:48
Review: After Atlas
After Atlas (Planetfall Novel, A) - Emma Newman

Set in the same universe as Planetfall, but not a sequel, this police procedural follows the son of the previous book's narrator as he navigates a capitalist dystopian Earth as an indentured servant trained in investigation. While some of the aspects of the prophet known as the Pathefinder may be vague without having read Planetfall, the details included are sufficient and After Atlas can be read as a standalone novel.


This is a very different kind of story in a very different setting. The shape of the last act has something in common with Planetfall, which is interesting if you read both, but not necessary to enjoy either. 


As a murder mystery set in a high surveillance society, it's excellent. The start felt a little slow as the reader is introduced to life as a corporate asset (read: slave) and the protagonist's quirks, but once he'd assigned a case, everything was interesting. He knew the victim, the leader of a cult he left as a teen, but finds little recognizable in the man and the organization he remembers.


And the last act went totally off the rails in completely the right direction.


I did this as an audiobook and my house is much cleaner as a result of wanting to spend time listening.

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review 2017-03-15 22:36
Planetfall - Emma Newman

It's really difficult to talk about this book without being spoilery, so forgive me if it seems like I'm dancing around things and being cryptic.


Things I loved about this book: Almost everything honestly. Specifically though, the voice. Ren is a compelling unreliable narrator. I really appreciated what an excellent job Newman did with conveying what it's like to live with an anxiety disorder. Also, while Ren clearly has a Secret, I wasn't frustrated by the allusions to a bigger untold story like I often am in narratives like this. Ren's POV was so convincing I felt comfortable that the story continued to just hint at whatever happened in the past, because I felt like Ren herself was avoiding thinking about it. I was continually compelled and convinced by Ren's internal struggles.


This is a masterfully written book, and it is also a terribly personal book. This isn't a large sweeping drama. There's very little action. The bulk of the story takes place in a matter of days. It skips through time. It's a psychodrama. And in the end it's all about one woman. This was all a big plus for me because of the execution, but it could be a turn-off for people wanting something less meditative and more action packed.


Also: the science. I loved that this was a hard sci-fi book, filled with interesting speculative science and alien worlds, and it wasn't weighed down in jargon and complex explainers/exposition. The science is simply woven into the story, and makes perfect sense as you read. It isn't the focus of the story, but it is an important part. I didn't realize just how much I was craving a true hard sci-fi story that has such a personal focus until I was reading this book.


Be warned, there is something about this book you may really hate, and that's the ending. When I finished the book I was a bit taken aback, but after sitting with it for a couple days I actually rather like the ending. It feels right to me. However, I am in the extreme minority. Most people (both in my book club and in reading reviews) really strongly dislike the end. So you are warned. I think it is a matter of taste.


If you're looking for a deeply personal, meditative, character study: try this book. If you want to read a hard sci-fi that reads more like a psychodrama: try this book. If you love unreliable narrators, or really enjoyed Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer: try this book. If you want a sweeping space opera, an action packed sci-fi filled with a kick-ass heroine, or a book with a more traditional structure and ending: skip this book.

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text 2017-01-20 14:09
Friday Reads!
After Atlas (Planetfall Novel, A) - Emma Newman
Fool Me Once - Harlan Coben
A Portrait of Emily Price - Katherine Reay

So yet another busy weekend ahead. But these are my planned reads. I started After Atlas last night and really enjoyed it. 


Fool Me Once will scratch my itch to read thrillers especially after reading such a good one in Defending Jacob.  A Portrait of Emily Price just looks like an entertaining lighter read.


Winding down my January TBR and trying to get all my library books read before February. In February,  I will be reading only books I own. I'm looking forward to it as I realize I have quite a few good reads waiting for me. I want to see how many I can get read or donate to betterworldbooks. Dropped off another bag yesterday and I gotta say,  it feels good to get organized.


Hope you all have a great weekend! Happy reading! 

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review 2016-12-01 16:50
Planetfall - Emma Newman

As much as I liked the book up until the 90% mark, the ending fell flat for me and the last time I felt this kind of disappointment I was watching "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". Maybe you know that feeling: You enjoy something and in the end you are sitting in your chair and you say to yourself "Really? This is supposed to be the ending? They got to be kidding me."


It´s not a bad book and I still recommend it, because there really are some things in it I immensely enjoyed (the world building, the characters, the storytelling). I just don´t think I´m that much of a spiritual person to really like and appreciate the ending.

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text 2016-11-24 17:20
Update on my reading life
Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes
Dracula - Bram Stoker,Susan Duerden,Tim Curry,Graeme Malcolm,Steven Crossley,John Lee,Alan Cumming,Simon Vance,Katherine Kellgren
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie,Dan Stevens
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman - Robert K. Massie
Planetfall - Emma Newman
So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson

Hi everybody,

the last couple of weeks have been super busy for me, so I didn´t have that much time to drop in here on a regular basis. Add to this that I´m having the weirdest reading month ever, since I manage to finish up on my audiobooks while I´m dragging my way through my physical books. Apparently I´m not in the mood to read with my eyes.

I was planning to participate in the 12 tasks of christmas, but I don´t think I have the time rigth now. But I will definitely make a post about hygge. You can count on that.


These books I have finished so far this month:


Broken Monsters: Not a favorite of mine. You can find my review here


Dracula: The narration of this audiobook is amazing and Alan Cumming could narrate the phone book for all I care and I would be one happy listener. But I´m not completely satisfied by the book itself. As good as the first half of the book is, I didn´t like the second half of it that much. Mainly because I couldn´t stand Van Helsing and him constantly saying "fair madam Mina" and "My good friend Jonathan". And I´m flabbergasted by the sheer stupidity the men put on display when it comes to Mina and

count Dracula´s visits to her bedroom.

(spoiler show)


And Then There Were None: An excellent story and an excellent narrator (Dan Stevens), who gives all of the characters a distinctive voice. I´m currently watching the 2015 BBC-Adaption with Aidan Turner, Charles Dance, Sam Neill, Toby Stephens and Miranda Richardson and it´s brilliant as well.



And these are the books I´m currently reading:


Catherine the Great: A memoir of Catherine the Great, empress of Russia. I´m really loving this book and Massey truly makes history come alive. I´m about halfway through and I just needed a little break from this book, because the political chapters are a bit more dense than the chapters where the personal drama is going on (and there is a LOT of personal drama in Catherines life).


Planetfall: There is some great worldbuildung in this book and I really like that the author focuses on the very troubled main character instead of focusing on the mystery surrounding the colony. I will definitely finish this book over the next couple of days,


So You´ve Been Publicly Shamed: The author Jon Ronson narrates this audiobook himself and he brings the right amount of compassion to his narration. Ronson takes a look at the lives of people, who have been publicly shamed and the psychology behind the phenomenon of public shaming. I´m fascinated by this topic and this audiobook has the "I´m just going to listen to one more chapter"- effect.


Last but not least: A happy thanksgiving to all my American Booklikes friends :).


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