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text 2018-06-22 13:50
Going to take another break from non-fiction
Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) - Paul Kincaid

This is good, and the excerpt is only 29 pages long, but I want to feel that I'm finishing a book.   The medicine I'm has depression listed as a side-effect, which means I need to feel productive to bolster my self-esteem. 

 

So I'll be working on the next category: graphic novels, yay!

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review 2018-06-21 22:59
Going Dark by Linda Nagata - My Thoughts
Going Dark - Linda Nagata

I have no idea why I enjoyed this near-future military trilogy as much as I did, but there you go, I did.

The hero of the trilogy, James Shelley, has gone through hell... multiple times.  He's been manipulated, pushed from pillar to post, lied to, betrayed... jeez... all kinds of horrible things.  And I keep coming back for more.  *LOL*

There's action galore in this third book.  Some new team members to get to know.  More mysteries about The Red.  It's pretty much non-stop from the get go.  Nagata writes so well that I can pretty much see the action happening in my mind's eye.  Part of the might be the 1st person POV coupled with the present tense which works. 

I was pretty much satisfied with the way the trilogy wrapped up, but I'd be lying if I said it was a perfect ending.  I was left with a bit of a nebulous feeling of bad things still out there underneath the surface despite everything.  And maybe that's a trope of this type of book.  The main point is, that it didn't really detract from my overall pleasure with the trilogy.

I have another Nagata book in my Kobo and I'm looking forward to reading it.

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review 2018-06-19 16:12
Wizard's First Rule / Terry Goodkind
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help . . . and more.

His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence. In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them--for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not say.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword--to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out.

 

I’ve read quite a number of “high fantasy” epics as part of my SFF reading project and the Sword of Truth series is yet another one. Maybe I’ve read a few too many of these series over the past couple of years, as I was quite weary by the end of the first 100 pages. Goodkind believes in getting right to it—by 100 pages we are introduced to Richard Cypher (our chosen one for this series), Kahlan Amnell (his love interest & travel companion), and Zedd (the obligatory wizard). Not only that, Richard’s brother is set up as the corrupt politician who is going to cause trouble later. I guess it’s a toss-up between those who don’t want too much exposition or description and those who would like a gentler introduction to this new fantasy world. I cut my high fantasy teeth on Tolkien, so I tend to favour more introductory material before plunging into the adventure.

Warnings to those who are sensitive souls: both torture and pedophilia are aspects of this story. If you choose your TBR based on avoiding these issues, strike this book from your reading agenda. The torture section, where Richard is in the power of a Mord-Sith, Denna, is rather long and dwells lingeringly on her brutal treatment of Richard. We learn about what Mord-Sith are right along with Richard. Needless to say, they are on the Evil side of the equation in this story.

Richard’s talents appear to be a questioning nature, insisting on getting to the truth of things, and an ability to see things from another’s perspective and appreciate them despite their behaviour. This is how he manages to find an affection for Mistress Denna and sweet talk a dragon, among other diplomatic coups. The fact that he is portrayed as a highly unusual man because of these capabilities (to empathize with others) I leave to your judgement.

Richard and Kahlan have a whole Romeo-and-Juliet plot line going through most of the book, probably one of the oldest plot devices going. If you’ve read The Lord of the Rings you will also see echoes of Wormtongue when you consider Richard’s brother Michael and hints of Gollum when you read about the former Seeker who has been distorted by magic. Not to mention Zedd’s tendencies to give incomplete advice and to disappear when he is most needed, rather like Gandalf.

I think that perhaps my adoration of modern urban fantasy is a reaction to the plethora of rather medieval settings and simplistic good-vs-evil plots of much of high fantasy. There’s a place for both and I enjoy them both—they use many of the same tropes, after all—but we all need variety in both our physical and reading diets.

Book number 289 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

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review 2018-06-19 02:13
All the stars!
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee

Can I give this all the stars?   No, only five?   Okay, then.   

 

So I think that the lazy/sloppy world building reviews kept me from finishing this.   I thought they were rational and well thought out arguments, and they make me think about how I approach and read books.  And how others will approach them differently.  

 

Because you know what?  I don't get so much of this book.  Like a lot of this.  This book makes me feel like a big 'ol dum-dum, and so do some of the reviews where I am like 'you clearly understood something I didn't.'   I frown-y face at myself so much for being dumb enough not to really get so much of this book.   I actually am not sure I disagree with the reviews, although I have a different take on the world building: I think that things, like how the calendars work and influence the fighting, and the math of it all, were left vague on purpose, and for two different reasons. 

 

The first is twofold in fact: the math it would take to come up with the way the calendars actually worked, and implement them, seems to be, I dunno, so much work it would make me want to curl up in a corner and weep.   More than that, if that much math is involved in such a complicated calendar, do you really want to read that?  I mean, I'm sure many math-oriented people would geek over it, but I personally didn't want to read that much math, thank you very much!  I think Lee realized that nine-tenths of this book would be 'and this how the calendrical fighting system worked' if he were to properly explain it.   (And I probably still wouldn't get it, and I would feel like the largest dum-dum ever, so thank you, Lee, for not letting my ego take that blow!)

 

Secondly, I don't think it's that important.   So did it bother me at first?   Yup.  And even when I saw those reviews, I tried to read it and was like, nope, don't get it, and got frustrated.  I figured with those reviews, why bother?   But when I started reading Raven Stratagem for the Hugo voting, I realized I kind of needed the backstory, and hey, I owned a signed copy!   (A signed copy that came with me to rides on Universal Studios, FL, by the way.)

 

So I grit my teeth, started reading, and I just let go of needing to understand.   Once I realized the world, or part of it, was incomprehensible, I allowed myself to appreciate the nuance of the political system, those who rebelled against it, and the characters' interplay and growth.   

 

And I found that I loved this: I didn't care that this book made me feel stupid, massively, epically stupid.  I didn't care that I didn't get so much of it.   I just wanted more

 

Of course, this book has loads of the kinds of angst and mind-fuckery that I just love, so it filled a hole in my soul.  And I even sent the author a note saying that after the shitshow of a wedding and my grandfather's passing that these books kept me trucking. 

 

He sent me back a lovely e-mail that said he was glad they brought me comfort.  I own this as an e-book - and an audiobook.  I'm probably going to listen to the audiobook soon and may invest in the second and third, if I can get over Jedao's voice.   The problem with audiobooks is that often times the characters voices don't match the voices in my head, and I listened to a bit of Ninefox Gambit earlier tonight.   Jedao's voice might kill this trilogy as audiobooks for me, to be honest.

 

 

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review 2018-06-19 01:59
Yes, please, more of this
Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty

I was worried that IAN, the AI, wouldn't play much of a role given the excerpt of this novel given out for the Hugo packet.   So I took it out of the library, and quite frankly blew through this.  I disagree about the flashbacks.  I say disagree, and what I mean is I read at least one review about how great it was to learn about them in the past. 

 

I was far more interested in the present, and while I didn't particularly mind the flashbacks, I found a couple a bit too drawn out and I found myself starting to get bored.   

 

However, this is a minor complaint.   This is a mystery set on a spaceship in a universe where people can clone themselves, put their memories in the new bodies, and voila, new life.   When you die and wake up in a new cloned body, it's called a wake.   (And you can only wake in your own body; in this universe, there are issues in going into other bodies, those issues being going crazy.)

 

Criminals are chosen to go on the first ever generation ship: they will be cloned as much as needed until they get to a new body, and then clone their crew.   The proper memories will be put in the proper bodies, and hey, new colony.   And the criminals will no longer have to live as criminals on this new world. 

 

But just in case something goes wrong, the super sophisticated AI, IAN, will run the ship and be able to protect the criminals from, well, their criminal tendencies.   And it all works, until they all wake up in a bloody room.   They've been killed, someone has thrown the emergency switch that will clone them and wake them.   IAN is malfunctioning, and their cloning tech has been destroyed.   Their memories of the twenty five years they've been on the ship have been erased.   These are their last lives, unless they can manage to fix IAN and fix the tech, or at least find a way around it. 

 

It's a pretty tight mystery and a fun book as they try to figure out which of the crew members is the murderer, as well as worrying about how much time they have left.   And IAN comes into play pretty heavily in the end, so I was super into that part.   Especially since I didn't see how he was going to play into the story until it was revealed: I was pleasantly surprised by his origin story, so to speak. 

 

Knocked down one half star for feeling like it lagged a bit during the flashbacks.   They wouldn't stop me from rereading this, but they bothered me enough to knock off a half a star.

 

 

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