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review 2017-10-21 23:29
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: Mini Review
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

This was pretty much a meh for me. I don't really feel like the author got the tone right, but am also on a lot of cold medication right now, and it is entirely possible that I missed something. I want to give the author the benefit of the doubt because he clearly knows how to write, but the dry narration in counterpoint to the fantastical environment wasn't really working for me. I think that's more a disconnect between my expectations and the author's intent...I was just expecting the book to be something it never really advertised itself as, and so, couldn't deliver. I'm still looking forward to the movie. I think Alex Garland can make something pretty great out of it. If nothing else it will be visually stunning. I still like the concept, very much, I guess I'm just not crazy about the execution. 

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review 2017-10-20 16:00
No Day But Today - fauvistfly No Day But Today - fauvistfly

2.5 stars. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-18 19:23
Stargate: SG-1: Alliances by Karen Miller
Stargate SG-1: Alliances - Karen Miller

Right after the mission to Euronda O'Neill's threatened by Kinsey with a court-martial because of his actions which led to the death of Alar - and to Earth not procuring new weapons. Meanwhile, the Tok'ra come up with a plan to get new hosts and spies. They plan on infiltrating a human breeding farm, and for that endeavour to succeed they need SG-1... which conveniently would put O'Neill out of Kinsey's sight.

 

I picked up this novel because of the post-Euronda premise where Jack and Daniel clashed in quite an unprecedented way. But somehow, this was the weakest part because, quite frankly, at times it felt as though this novel was set early in the series, not its 4th season. Everyone's unsure of everyone else, Daniel believes himself on the high moral ground which gets tiresome really fast, and the author doesn't waste time emphasizing Jack's past in covert ops including his stint in an Iraqi prison (that's only been mentioned twice within the series, that I can remember). Okay, but why not elaborate on that? Instead, she chooses to have him second-guess himself left and right about killing Alar.

 

When I think about Euronda, *that*'s not the moment I was doubting Jack, that decision to close the iris on Alar, after having warned him not to follow. Indubitably a questionable decision in itself but Jack isn't the person to doubt himself after the fact. But in pondering the aftermath, I'd have Jack question his single-minded quest for new weapons, his being deceived and not asking questions until it's almost too late. There's a reason why people should hear both sides of a conflict before making any kinds of judgement. And that should apply to military personnel as well, tasked with first contact. Standing order to procure weapons aside, this is the line dividing the SGC from the NID and their illegal operation.

 

And Daniel? Back in that episode he was right to question that war. But he should have talked to Jack in private, not in Alar's presence - who after all could use the division within the team for his own purpose. So Jack's right to be angry and lash out at Daniel in this novel. But I definitely could have done without that heart to heart where Daniel practically forgives Jack for killing Alar and everything's fine again. I've read better fanfic.

 

Unfortunately, one of the most promising premises, the threat Kinsey's posing to Jack, is dropped after the first confrontation. It's like once SG-1 is off Earth, Kinsey's vanishing back into the hole he's crawled out of, as well. Granted, we know that nothing comes out of Kinsey's threat of a court-martial, but I'd still have appreciated some mention of what's going to happen after SG-1's return, just one sentence would have been enough...

 

The main plot: Quite honestly, I don't understand why SG-1 claims to free those humans from slavery (even back when they're only targeting select humans, not the whole farm) when all it is they're doing is send them to the Tok'ra - what if they don't decide to become Tok'ra hosts or spies? What happens then? No one mentionned that. And quite frankly, the timeframe's just ridiculous. SG-1 joins such a breeding farm where people are terrorized, and within a day they talk about freedom and question everything the slaves know... that they're not killed or betrayed's not credible at all.

 

And finally, everyone using idioms and military speak got a bit annoying quite fast. At least, I didn't hear Jacob talk like that in the series...

 

So, overall, rather negligible.

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review 2017-10-16 02:52
The Girl in the Tower
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden does not disappoint with this second installment of her Winternight Trilogy. It seamlessly continues the story of Vasilisa as she strives to find a place for herself in a world that does not take kindly towards change and independence, despite its desire to forget the unfathomable traditions of the past. While this is a book where the charm of magic and pagan mystery tries to maintain a steadfast hold, it also does not shy away from the very personal issues of identity and belonging, as well as delve into the broader concerns of power, politics and duty.

I think that duty becomes one of the main conflicts within this story, as the characters begin attempting to reconcile their sensibilities and personal wishes with the eventual need to follow through with the tasks and responsibilities they are expected to fulfill. This holds true for both women and men, as the reader witnesses with both Vasya and her brother Sasha, as well as many of the other characters met over the course of the novel. The reader is also presented with the alternative, the individuals who have already had to assume their respective roles, forced to learn to adapt and derive a sense of pleasure from the various situations within their control.

There is a lot of truth presented in this book, and Arden does not attempt to provide simple answers to many of the questions and issues that arise. Magic can only go so far in supporting the natural order of things.

This is truly an excellent work, and I personally can’t wait for the next installment.

Copy provided by NetGalley

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review 2017-10-15 19:46
Artemis
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

I loved Andy Weir's previous book The Martian so when I found out about Artemis I immediately went to Netgalley to request it. This book follows Jasmine (Jazz) Bashara who is a porter (and also a smuggler) in Artemis the only city on the moon. Jazz is struggling to make ends meet when someone comes to her with a highly illegal task to do but with a reward too good to pass down. Jazz finds herself pulled into something way bigger and more dangerous than she thought it was.

 

Jazz was a bit of a mystery to me at first. I was really curious to see how she became a lowly porter. Once her past was laid out I was a bit disappointed. I think that is when I started to like Jazz less and less. She was definitely funny at times but her attitude could be a bit annoying especially since she only had herself to blame for the position she was in.

 

Sometimes I felt that this was a bit bogged down in too much discussion about pressure and chemicals mixing, basically in science. It is understandable that there would be some discussion about that but it got to be a bit much at times for me.

 

Overall I did enjoy this book and will definitely be reading more from Andy Weir.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley.

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