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review 2019-06-17 20:20
"Recursion" by Blake Crouch - Abandoned at 10%
Recursion - Abby Craden,Blake Crouch,Jon Lindstrom

"Recursion" was a mis-buy on my part. An intriguing premise but written in a way I struggled to engage with-


I pre-ordered Blake Crouch's "Recursion" because I thought the premise, the emergence of a disease labelled False Memory Syndrome was intriguing. I also wanted to give Blake Crouch another try. I didn't get on well with his "Pines" trilogy, opting out after the first book. Given the reviews his books get, I wanted to see what I was missing.


The premise is an intriguing one: in 2008, a well-intentioned and heavily funded scientist sets out to save the world from Alzheimer's and ends up creating a technology that will undermine our whole sense of who we are. Ten years later, a New York City Robbery Division Detective with a tragic history and a drinking problem is present at the suicide of a woman suffering from False Memory Syndrome. He starts to research the phenomenon and can't let it go.


With a premise like that, I should be happily hip-deep in a mystery /thriller with some cool science at its heart rather than writing a review of a book I've abandoned at the 10% mark.


I abandoned the book because of a number of small things that, when I added them together, told me I wasn't looking forward to spending another ten hours with this book.

The plot structure, with the two asynchronous but converging timelines is a nice idea but the delivery is dull and the pace is slow.


The NYC cop didn't interest me. He's a fully-loaded cliché: late middle-aged white man, divorced, the tragic death of his daughter has broken him and his marriage, lives alone, drinks too much and is married to the job. Are you bored yet? I was. There was nothing distinctive about the man to make me care whether he's going to get involved in hunting down the cause of False Memory Syndrome or not.


The scientist is a mirror image, thirty-eight-year-old scientist, still seeking funding for her big idea, nothing in her life but her work which is in part a crusade to help her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's.


Then there's the memory science, which seems to model human memory as if it where computer memory only on a larger scale in terms of data set size and complexity. My understanding is that memory doesn't work like that. It's not a tape we play, it's something we reconstruct each time we recall something.


Setting the science aside, how these characters remember things doesn't match my experience. They seem to be watching 4K HD TV while I'm tuned to the radio.

So I'm putting this one down as a mis-buy and sending it back to audible.

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review 2019-05-29 22:20
"Kill The Queen - Crown Of Shards #1" by Jennifer Estep
Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep,Lauren Fortgang

"Kill The Queen" is an intrigue-filled, action-packed romp, set in a classic fairy-tale setting, with castles and princesses, except that some of these princesses hold lightning in one hand and sword in the other.


In this world, ruthless, magic-wielding royals rule, gladiators fight to the death to entertain the crowds and creatures that morph into beasts, dragons and ogres attend royal courts. This is not a happy ever after kind of place. Here the poisonous politics have deadly consequences and the blood and guts spilt by blade weapons are vividly described.


At the centre of the book is a pay-no-attention-to-me minor princess who has spent her orphaned life hiding her power and doing her best to seem harmless but who now finds herself running for her life and seeking revenge for her murdered family. She is a princess we can all cheer for: brave but broken, modest but charismatic, rage-filled and lethal.


Although the book starts a little slowly, in order to establish the fairly large cast of characters, it is most fast-paced, lunging from one nail-bitingly tense crisis to the next. I love the way the plot let me guess the next crisis while keeping the Princess blind, which made me feel insightful, yet was complex enough that I couldn't guess how the crisis would be averted, which made me keen to read more.


This is the best Jennifer Estep book I've read, I have great hopes for this series.


I recommend the audiobook version of "Kill The Queen". Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear an extract.



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text 2019-05-17 22:06
Reading progress update: I've read 64%. Wow - this is such an improvement over the "Elemental Assassin" series
Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep,Lauren Fortgang

I read the first few of Jennifer Estep's  "Elemental Assassin" series, carried along by the originality of the ideas and some of the character building. Eventually, I put them aside because there was so much repetition, even within the same book. 


I picked up "Kill The Queen", the first book in the "Crown Of Shards" series because it had good reviews, a great cover and I really WANTED to like Jennifer Estep^s books.


The start felt a little slow but I think, in retrospect, it was just laying necessary groundwork. Once the action started, I couldn't put this down. The world being imagined here is a sort of fairytale environment except with all the blood and guts split by real weapons and all the poisonous politics of real courts. There's magic and creatures that morph, gladiators who fight to the death and vicious royals. And at the centre of all this is an engaging woman, filled with rage, that we can all cheer for.


Part Two of the book tripped my geek switch. It's called Black Swan so I immediately assumed that it was going to be about a statistically unlikely event that has a strong impact and is then rationalised away - yep, that's how geeky I've become) so I was surprised when It turned out that the title referred to: the name of a gladiator troupe, the name of a gladiator, and two actual black swans. Although the other definition does seem to apply.

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