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review 2018-04-16 16:55
Heir to the Empire / Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn

Five years after the Death Star was destroyed and Darth Vader and the Emperor were defeated, the galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war, Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins, and Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of new Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords—the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn—has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to create.

 

Dare I admit that I’ve never seen the Star Wars movies? And despite that gap in my experience, I still know enough of the plot lines and character details to be able to appreciate this book.

Thrawn is a great foe—alien, cool under fire, an intellect to be reckoned with, and a planning mastermind. It’s difficult to stay one step ahead of him, but somehow Luke, Han and Leia manage to do so.

My sense is that it would be best suited to a younger audience. Like the movies, things are not very nuanced, there are definite good guys & bad guys. The vocabulary and the sentence structure are uncomplicated and the plot is straight forward.

I can see the appeal to those devoted to the franchise.

Book number 280 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-04-13 19:14
Earth / David Brin
Earth - David Brin

TIME IS RUNNING OUT Decades from now, an artificial black hole has fallen into the Earth's core. As scientists frantically work to prevent the ultimate disaster, they discover that the entire planet could be destroyed within a year. But while they look for an answer, some claim that the only way to save Earth is to let its human inhabitants become extinct: to reset the evolutionary clock and start over.

 

My rating for this book probably suffers from my method of reading it—15 to 20 minute bursts while on coffee break at work. It’s a sci-fi thriller and reading only 20-30 pages per day really stretched out the action in a non-thrilling way.

It is also a little heavy on the hard science fiction side of things for my tastes—remember, I am primarily a fantasy reader! There’s an awful lot of mathematical calculations, envisioning the Earth’s core, and talk of gravity and fundamental particles. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my primary interest. Brin manages to bring in plenty of social and environmental issues too, and lots of people and politics, which was what kept me reading. Give me people issues!

One thing that I have to really credit this author for, he produces great swear words for his future characters. You realize that they are swearing, you accept it as such, yet the words aren’t any that would offend any contemporary reader.

It’s an interesting look at what the near future could look like and an action packed plot to keep you reading. I liked it, but I like his Uplift series more I confess.

Book number 279 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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review 2018-04-10 18:10
The Dragon Reborn / Robert Jordan
The Dragon Reborn - Robert Jordan

The Dragon Reborn—the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him—is on the run from his destiny.

Able to touch the One Power, but unable to control it, and with no one to teach him how—for no man has done it in three thousand years—Rand al'Thor knows only that he must face the Dark One. But how?

Winter has stopped the war—almost—yet men are dying, calling out for the Dragon. But where is he?

Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine Sedai, her Warder Lan, and Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams, Perrin is grappling with another deadly problem—how is he to escape the loss of his own humanity?

Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will be healed—if he lives until they arrive. But who will tell the Amyrlin their news—that the Black Ajah, long thought only a hideous rumor, is all too real? They cannot know that in Tar Valon far worse awaits...

 

I know that I’ve rated this (book 3) with the same number of stars as the first two, but I have to admit that I liked it better. There was less of Rand (who I’m having difficulty feeling sympathy for right now) and more of the other folks from Two Rivers.

I loved the amount of page-time spent with Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve! The women in this book aren’t just supporting characters, they are integral to the plot. The Aes Sedai remind me a bit of Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit—they are powerful, nobody knows exactly what they are doing or why, and men resent them for both of those qualities. How dare women have power and plans of their own?

I’m also liking Perrin and Mat much more than I did in book 2. All the Two Rivers folk are growing—growing up, gaining skills, getting confidence. Having come from a small, backwater town myself, I can admire the way they have revamped their lives to fit their new circumstances. It ain’t easy.

Robert Jordan really knew how to draw out a story—here I am at the end of book 3 and there are still 11 volumes ahead of me. I’ve already got a hold on volume 4 at the library and I’m ready for the Wheel of Time to continue to turn.

Book number 278 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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text 2018-04-10 17:54
Reading progress update: I've read 596 out of 678 pages.
Earth - David Brin

I've been reading this in 20 minute bursts while on my morning coffee break.  But I've finally come to a place where I may have to take it home and finish it.  This 20 minutes per day is really drawing out the suspense.

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text 2018-03-21 19:58
Reading progress: 10%.
Too Like the Lightning - Ada Palmer

What's up with all the references to 18th century stuff? Is it eventually supposed to add something to the story?

 

Oh, okay, fine -enough of a scholar they know such things but already excusing self from writing as if from our century while pointing out (sometimes slipping into) the style of own century.  I get it; this is in the future where of course language has changed along with gender roles/perception/usage.

 

It's wearing thin having reader addressed constantly supposedly moving between three styles.  If this book will be breaking the fourth wall to address me the entire story length rather than letting story progress and immerse me, it may not be for me.  

 

Get on with the story already; you've set the scene, the atmosphere and hinted at lots of complex politics and worldbuilding.  Now follow through and stop narrating subserviently to us ignorant readers who must be spoonfed 18th century philosophers with the utmost apologies for doing so.  It ain't an apology or an accident if you keep doing it.

 

How on earth did this get so highly rated and awarded?  The "what if" of ditching gender and nationalism -- while here -- so far isn't well done.  The writing has yet to flow well into story unless this is one long-ass foreword where not yet into the story part.

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