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review 2019-01-20 10:58
"Casimir Bridge - Anghazi #1" by Darren D. Beyer - abandoned at 75%
Casimir Bridge (Anghazi Series) (Volume 1) - Darren Beyer

"Casimir Bridge" is an award-winning technothriller that combines deep space exploration and advanced technology with vicious corporate intrigue and global power struggles. The last thing I expected when I started this book, was to be abandoning it at 75%.


For me, the book got off to a weak start with a device I hate, a prologue. It was a short chapter that started in the middle of some action, ended with violence and was followed by a "One Week Earlier" heading before chapter two. The prologue wasn't badly done but I think it was a poor editing decision. To me, it shows a lack of confidence in either the reader or the writing. It says "let's show them some action at the beginning so we don't lose them while we're setting up."

I enjoyed the next part, which set up the good guys, the bad guys, and the likeable outsider to whom everything could be explained, in this case, a young reporter who actually investigates things. There was some explanation of the technology and a little world building. Then, for reasons I still don't understand, we headed off for a Zulu dance festival where our young reporter turns out to be part of the privileged elite. What that added to the plot or the characterisation still isn't clear to me.


By thirty-two per cent I was wondering if I would continue with the book. I liked the idea of intrigue on an interplanetary scale, larded with big dollops of hard science but I wasn't connecting with it on a personal level. Then the plot took a turn, our young reporter was rescued from a dire situation by a tall, dark and handsome, respectful, competent, quietly-alpha male and real thriller stuff started to happen at some speed.

So I continued, initially because I wanted to know what would happen next, and then because the science was interesting.


I stopped at seventy-five per cent when I realised I no longer had anything more than a mild curiosity about what would happen next.


When I'm reading a thriller, I expect to be keen to find out what happens and or be committed to the success of at least one character.. Neither the lead good guy nor the lead bad guy had much going for them to hold my interest. The politics was too superficial to offer any surprises and, although our young reporter still offered some interest, the action was constantly slowed while we examined some aspect of space technology.


More Larry Niven than Michael Crichton, "Casimir Bridge" does Hard SF well but struggles for traction as a thriller. If your main interest is in space science, spiced with strategy games, I think you'll have fun with this. If you really want a thriller, I doubt this will do it for you.


I read this as part of my Thirty Firsts reading challenge. This is a series I won't be continuing with.

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review 2019-01-18 16:03
Bayou Moon / Ilona Andrews
Bayou Moon - Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.


One of the main things that I love about the Andrews’ female main characters is that they are very self-sufficient & competent to run their lives. They are acknowledged to be high functioning people by their families & circles of friends. Not only can they handle the vicissitudes of life, they can defend themselves and their dependents.

Another reason that I love their books? The humour. In this book, when Cerise and William first meet, they are both “undercover.” She thinks he’s an ass and secretly calls him Lord Leatherpants. She is smelling rather pungent, and William not-so-secretly calls her the Hobo Queen.

William leaned forward and pointed at the river. “I don’t know why you rolled in spaghetti sauce,” he said in a confidential voice. “I don’t really care. But that water over there won’t hurt you. Try washing it off.”
She stuck her tongue out.
“Maybe after you’re clean,” he said.
Her eyes widened. She stared at him for a long moment. A little crazy spark lit up in her dark irises.
She raised her finger, licked it, and rubbed some dirt off her forehead.
Now what?
The girl showed him her stained finger and reached toward him slowly, aiming for his face.
“No,” William said. “Bad hobo.”

There are, of course, the obligatory rocks in the romance road. As Shakespeare told us, the course of true love never did run smooth. But that line is from Midsummer Night’s Dream and the plot line of this story is more Taming of the Shrew.

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text 2019-01-18 15:56
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
Casimir Bridge (Anghazi Series) (Volume 1) - Darren Beyer

I was just getting to the point where I was wondering if I would continue with this -it's intrigue on an interplanetary scale, larded with big dollops of hard science but I wasn't connecting with it on a personal level - when the plot took a turn and characters got connected and now I have to know what happens next.


So, I'll keep on keeping on and hope that the big science meets some big personalities at some point.

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text 2019-01-15 10:29
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.a reaction I often experience
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett

Grimes has just seen a dragon for the first time.


The voices in his head sound just like the ones that talk to me.


And it was all wrong, Vimes thought. Part of him was marvelling at the sheer beauty of the sight, but an insistent, weaselly little group of brain cells from the wrong side of the synapses was scrawling its graffiti on the walls of wonderment.

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text 2019-01-15 09:11
Reading progress update: I've read 27%. - the innocence of Carrot
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett

The Librarian has just visited the Watch Office, which Vimes has left Carrot in alone, polishing his helmet and breastplate, to keep him out of trouble. So now Carrot is leaving with the Librarian to *fight crime".


The final sentence sums up almost everything about Carrot


"And then he went out on to the streets, untarnished and unafraid"


One of the things that I love about Terry Pratchett is that he leaves you to draw your own conclusions about whether Carrot is a hero or an innocent


I prefer to think of him as an innocent. He's not self-aware enough to be a hero.


This makes me smile until a voice in my head whispers a quote from Graham Greene's "The Quiet American":


"Innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm."


Terry Pratchett won't let Carrot cause any harm.


Perhaps that's why I'm re-reading him and not Graham Greene.

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