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review 2018-04-26 19:59
Planetfall
Planetfall - Emma Newman

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Science fiction that is more of the social kind than hard, as in, while it was easy to imagine how the colony ran, the story focuses on the main character and her relationships with other people, rather than on a lot of technology. In a way, I liked this aspect, but on the other hand, with Ren being pretty much a recluse, her interactions weren’t always so developed; in the end, I’m not exactly sure what to think of it.

The storuy revolves around Ren, and in a certain measure Mack and Sung-Soo. More than 20 years ago, Ren and Mack embarked on an expedition throughout the stars to find another planet, guided by Lee Suh-Mi, who determined that planet’s location after waking up from a coma. After landfall, they found a strange structure they quickly nicknamed God’s city, into which Suh-Mi walked in, never to come out. Since that time, every year sees a ritual, almost religious ceremony take place, which will last until the day Suh comes out again. Only it quickly becomes apparent that this is all based on lies crafted by Mack and upheld by Ren, for fear that without it, the community’s union and focus will collapse, and the colony will be destroyed.

I spent most of my reading torn when it came to Ren as a character and narrator. It’s obvious that while she’s competent in her job, she’s also broken in quite a few ways (her reclusiveness, the reason why she never lets anyone into her home, the mental disorder she’s been developing due to all the stress and lies piling up), and this made her touching; you can tell from the early chapters on that she’d endured trauma and has been coping and suffering all by herself, ashamed of her choices, then refusing to look at them, then not even realising anymore that she had a problem (one that is all the more important that all the things she hoards are materials that can’t get recycled to fuel the colony). Yet at the same time, it was difficult to relate to her and to really care about her, probably she keeps people at a distance. Also, due to the latter, the other characters never really came into focus: Nick remains ‘the guy who’s in because he had money’, Carmen is ‘that annoying religion-obsessed woman’, and so on.

The foundations of the colony, too, were of a kind that made me cringe. Let’s be honest, I’m not a religious person, and basing such a whole expedition on ‘finding God’ (with the potential consequence that, if the religious aspect is destroyed, everything else is, too) seemed, I don’t know, flimsy. Deeply, I believe that what a society needs is ethics, and not religion: the latter can too quickly devolve. Which makes Mack’s lies and fears sort of understandable, if not justified, considering all everything goes to the dogs when the lies are revealed (because they will be, that’s half the plot, after all). In the end, I found myself not caring whether the colony collapsed or not.

Still, I enjoyed the world-building: the author didn’t need to explain a lot for me to picture this world, with its self-sufficient, half-living houses, built at the foot of that bizarre organic city that will kill whoever gets too deep inside. And while I kind of guessed quickly what the big secret was (it got dragged for a little too long as well), trying to imagine what happened to the people in the other pods was also enjoyable. The writing style itself was pleasant, and I never struggled with it. Besides, it looks like there’s much diversity in that colony, but it’s never presented in a heavy-handed way (‘oh, look, people of colour!’). Ren as I perceive her is likely black or close to, the founder/pathfinder is Korean, several other are probably of Indian or Pakistani origin, it’s not ye olde average colony full of white men only, and it’s also not emphasised: these people all come from different backgrounds and areas of the world, and it’s normal, and it’s normal that it’s normal because why would you ever expect anything else? In other words, the book doesn’t feel the need to justify anything about it, which is great.

The ending is somewhat controversial. I think I liked it, in general; it feels like giving up, and it leaves quite a few things unexplained when it comes to God’s city, but it was strangely fitting (with Ren having to first strip herself of everything that was dragging her down, in order to understand what they had refused or been unable to see in the beginning). However, I also think that some parts of the plot were not sufficiently explained, or dealt with too quickly, especially the part about Sung-Soo; had this been better strung into the narrative, its impact would have been different.

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review 2018-04-24 15:37
Fantastic Follow-Up to Lock In!
Head On - John Scalzi

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

Not a lot to say here besides I freaking loved this book. I loved Lock In (the first book in the series) and the world that John Scalzi created. I adored the characters of Vann and Chris. Though the book is told via Chris's POV, I do wish one of the books would be told in Vann's POV. She is just my favorite.

 

It's been several months or at least a year since the events in the first book. We have Chris still working for the FBI and partnering with Vann. When Chris goes to meet his parents at a Hilketa game, he witnesses a player being taken off the field. Everyone quickly realizes the player is dead. The FBI is brought in due to the fact that the Hilketa game is played by Hadens and that means though the crime took place in Washington, D.C. the Haden player's body was somewhere else. What follows is a lot of twists and turns until you have Chris and Vann figure out how somehow could have killed someone while they were playing a game. 

 

Chris is still living with his roommates and though they were barely in the first half of the book, they do pop up in the second half more. His partnership with Vann is still the best. They crack me up and pop off each other a lot. Chris's parents are still reassuringly there for their son and are involved with the plot in this book too. 


We do get new characters in this one and we get to meet another integrator (someone who had the first symptoms of Haden's, but didn't get the full disease) whose life I wish we were told more about. I swear that Scalzi could totally publish some novellas featuring new characters and I would not be upset. 


I do love the world that Scalzi has built in this one. Hadens are unfortunately dealing with the fall-out from a bill that was passed in the last book. Many are struggling to make ends meet and now there are rumblings about having non-Hadens get their own threeps as well. I like that Chris sees the issues with this in this book, and I wonder if this is going to pop up in the next book as a plot point. 

 

The ending leaves things with some of the bad guys caught, but with Chris and Vann realizing a bigger conspiracy may be out there. I really did need the X-Files theme song blaring away in the background at this point. 

 

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review 2018-04-23 18:27
On The Dark Side – Fated by Donna Augustine @donnaugustine
Fated - Donna Augustine

 

 

Fated by Donna Augustine is the third book in the Karma series and the more I read, the more engrossed I become in Karma’s world. This is my favorite one and it left me breathless

Fated (Karma, #3)

Amazon  /  Audible  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

Fated by Donna Augustine is the third book in the Karma series, and the more I read, the more I am loving it.

 

Things are changing and not all of them are for the better.

 

Are people all good or all bad? What about the gray area in between the black and white?

 

Is an apocalypse coming? Can they stop it? Are they even supposed to?

 

The Jinxes saved her and now they have become her posse. She will need them. They bop around on skateboards and act like a bunch of teenagers. We all know they are not. Who knows how old they are?

 

I love the humorous writing mixed in with the seriousness.

 

Karma even meets the Gods.

Another god having a temper tantrum in less than a week? I’d either been created at a bad time or these folks needed some anger management classes.

The fight against good and evil rages on, but the romantic love story traverses time. Plenty of sexual tension, spice and heat as Karma struggles to come to terms with a love that will not, cannot be denied.

 

AND THAT FRIGGIN’ ENDING. OMG! It almost had me in tears and I was blown away by such a surprisingly fabulous ending.That makes this over the top and a five star read for sure. I am so invested in this series, I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait for Dead Ink, Lar’s Story. I recommend the series be read in order.

 

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Fated by Donna Augustine.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

 

READ MORE HERE

 

MY DONNA AUGUSTINE REVIEWS

 

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/on-the-dark-side-fated-by-donna-augustine-donnaugustine
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review 2018-04-22 20:33
Artemis by Andy Weir
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

This started out strong, then the main character, Jazz, started showing the reader why she was known for making poor life decisions and so it got kind of annoying for a while. At least Jazz was annoying. It did redeem itself a little in the end with the way she made up with her father but overall I'd describe the book as just okay. Not great, not terrible, but with a main character who makes bad decisions and shouldn't be trusted to pull off sabotage on the moon.

 

Actually, describing Jazz as a lifer in a small touristy town is probably fairly accurate. Artemis only has a couple thousand permanent residents, after all, and although it doesn't seem quite fair to describe a population of technicians and so on living on the moon to be stuck there, they kind of are. Although unlike some characters who might be desperate to leave a small town, Jazz is desperate to stay.

 

I did quite like Jazz's father.

 

Side note: I'm glad I got through this one so quickly because there are apparently 172 people waiting for it at the library (with 33 copies in circulation although ten of those are express copies).

 

Previous updates:

222 of 305 pages

184 of 305 pages

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review 2018-04-21 18:43
Judas Unchained by Peter F Hamilton (audiobook)
Judas Unchained - Peter F. Hamilton,John Lee

Series: Commonwealth Saga #2

 

It's finally over. The ending wasn't even all that interesting; stuff just happened and then things finally ended. Even the stuff with the Prime aliens and the Starflyer wasn't all that interesting in this one, so everything that bugged me about the world Hamilton created just started screaming at me. There wasn't enough to interest me to balance things out. 

 

This has to the most depressing and unimaginative future someone could come up with.  This may be an urban legend, but I once heard a story about someone asking Patrick Stewart why they hadn’t found a cure for baldness in the twenty-fourth century. His answer? It’s the twenty-fourth century; no one cares if Jean-Luc Picard is bald.

 

The universe in which we find ourselves in Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained isn’t like that. It’s shallow, ageist (physically), mysoginistic, and it portrays all socialists as terrorists. It’s considered expected and even desirable that human society has organized itself in such a way that, despite miraculous medicine, someone can be grievously injured while escaping a war zone and have to go into debt to pay their medical bills because their insurance company refuses to honour the claim. Seriously.

 

This is just about the most unimaginative future I have encountered. It reads more like it was written in the 1980s rather than mid-2000s. It’s also indulgently edited to the point that it reads more like an epic fantasy than a space opera and very little happens. It even had a few overtones of what should probably be called racism, but I’m open to other terms, like when a character observes that it just isn’t civilized to build a city in a humid environment like a jungle. Civilized? Wtf?

 

Melanie, the dimwitted wannabe journalist who pulls off amazing stuff, drove me up the wall, but lots of other characters did too.

 

The sex scenes were laughable and I just can’t get over how bleak a future it is. The portrayal and judgement of women in the novel just made me angry. The narrator didn’t help matters with his dull reading, but I won’t be indulging in another Hamilton even in print. There are too many better books out there.

 

Previous updates:

82 %

73 %

 

Review for Pandora's Star

 

 

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