There I was, merrily reading along in this science fiction book. Then WHAM, S. Ghali ruined it completely. How? They depicted the main female character as having an irresistible attraction to the alien who was her enemy minutes before, a member of a race she’s been raised to consider lower than animals. Of course, she doesn’t understand what she’s feeling, and I imagine she’ll fight it to some extent, but that was it for me.
Boring! If I hadn’t been having trouble finding enough to read, I wouldn’t have finished it. I thought there was too much talking in Serpentine, but this volume takes the cake. While Anita is ostensibly in a small Michigan town because a therianthrope has been accused of a murder, the book mainly serves as a vehicle for interactions between her and Olaf. The ending is anti-climactic and the vast amounts of dialogue don’t move the plot along in the least.
Happily, there isn’t even one sex scene in this one. I figure Hamilton must be responding to the hordes of people who stopped reading because there was so much explicit sex in the earlier books.
Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another decent, though not amazing, book from Moon. I messed up in not doing my review as soon as I finished, because I moved straight on to volume three in the series, Engaging the Enemy. Obviously, the series did get more engaging in book two!
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Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted to like Vatta’s War as much as I did The Serrano Legacy, but this one nearly lost me at some points. Maybe it’s intended for a young adult audience? Considering the age of the main character, that may be the case. Still, I always enjoy Moon’s writing style, and she creates great universes. Definitely worth a read.
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Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just finished Lies Sleeping after reading the entire series straight through, so this review is about the series as much as about the ultimate entry in it.
Wow! I’ve been immersed in the marvelous world Aaronovitch created for us, and it’s a shock coming back. His world lives right next door to ours, changed just a bit so that magic is in use next to cell phones and deities walk and work amongst the “normal” folk. His descriptions of London and its surrounds are amazingly rich. The slang and British references are occasionally mysterious to this American reader, but I got enough from context to push right on.
I think Lies Sleeping might be intended as the last book in the series because it wrapped up pretty much all of the plot threads that have been building from Rivers of London to Lies Sleeping. If that’s the case, I’ll miss Peter and the rest of the characters. I can hope that Aaronovitch will give us more in the future, though. I will certainly be watching to see what he does next!
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Against the Odds by Elizabeth Moon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just finished reading the entire Serrano Legacy series by Elizabeth Moon, and I’m experiencing fiction letdown syndrome. You know, when you’ve been totally engaged in a marvelous world that’s so believable, and then suddenly, it’s over! It’s hard to come back to this world afterwards.
Moon mixes spaceships, horses, high-tech medicine, fencing, space battles, and religious fanaticism to create an amazingly believable universe. The Familias Regnant is a far-flung entity whose citizens follow many different belief systems. Its planets are tied together by ansibles and FTL ships, and protected by the Regular Space Service (aka the Fleet). Other societies mix more or less peacefully with the peoples of the Familias — Altiplano, The Benignity of the Compassionate Hand, various competing Texan worlds, and more. There are pirates, mutineers, assassins, and more, giving our heroes plenty of opportunities to shine.
Give this series a read. You will not be disappointed!
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I’m having a little trouble figuring out a rating for this, the 26th (!) book in the Anita Blake series.
On the plus side, the book kept me engaged to the point of being a distraction when I needed to do other things. Also, Hamilton dealt with my main complaint about the series quite nicely. I’ve found that the explicit sex scenes take up too much of the books now, and they’re not want I read for–if I wanted explicit sex I’d go seek out some erotica or porn. With this book, she’s finally figured out how to “fade to black” at the right time.
On the minus side of the equation is the fact that she left out a vital piece of information about the key murder. I can’t explain more without spoilers, so I’ll just say prepare to be disappointed. And once again, her characters engage in emotional processing to the detriment of the plot. In fact, one of the key characters points out that they’re getting into a “therapy session” instead of dealing with the crime at hand. I’ve lived polyamory, and it is complex, and it does require loads of communication between partners at all times. Poly people do frequently end up explaining our lives to outsiders when we’d rather get on to other matters. But there are limits, and every little bit of that doesn’t need to be shown up front in the book! Finally, she seems to have bought in to the Robert Heinlein school of ending a book. It feels like she went, “Oh crap, I’m approaching the number of words I’m contracted for! Better wrap all the plot threads up with a bow!” Things are paced well until suddenly, it’s all hurtling toward the finish line.
So a three-star overall, and I think I’m being kind.
I just finished this book, which I listened to while driving. I find myself wishing that I’d read it on my Kindle, instead, in order to be able to take some notes. It’s a rich read, full of mentions of people and studies that I’d like to have been able to look up.
I don’t know that I completely agree with Hari, who posits that the vast majority of people are depressed without any sort of biological cause, but instead due to various types of disconnection. I can see that each of the connections he points out are important, and improving them could certainly help depression. However, I’m fairly certain that we’ve got a chicken and egg issue here. From what I understand, even if you don’t initially become depressed due to a lack of certain neurotransmitters or what have you, being depressed can lead to the biological differences that can be treated with antidepressants. That’s why those medications do work for a fair number of people who try them. He does talk about neuroplasticity, so maybe my quibbles are semantic.
The seven ways we are disconnected, according to Hari, are from:
1) meaningful work;
2) other people;
3) meaningful values;
4) childhood trauma;
5) status and respect;
6) the natural world;
7) a hopeful or secure future.
He does address how to reconnect on each of these issues later in the book. He also acknowledges that some (most?) of these issues are due to societal rather than individual failings. The fixes are beyond many people because of that, but the more we become aware of them the more we can work on fixing our society.
I found the book very good, and certainly thought-provoking. It isn’t an easy read, but it is put together quite well. I recommend it!
This is the sixth book of the Laundry Files, and the first to be narrated by Mo instead of her husband. The plot keep me thoroughly engaged, and I enjoyed Mo’s voice — it was a nice change. I finished the book utterly wrung out, and I think that is probably a common experience due to Stross’ skill at bringing the reader into sympathy with the speaker. I think this is the fourth Stross piece I’ve read in the past couple of weeks, and it probably isn’t wise to immerse one’s self so deeply in this particular world! I’m going to have to step back and read something else for a bit as a breather.
First, let it be known that I am an unabashed fangirl when it comes to Lee and Miller. That much has long been established. Should they care to publish their grocery lists, I would most likely purchase and read them.
That said, Neogenesis is an amazing book, even among their other marvelous works. I just finished it, and already I am planning a re-read. It isn’t a good entry point for their universe, admittedly, for it ties together many different plot threads that were first spun out in earlier volumes. Lee and Miller tie up those loose ends masterfully.
I am tickled to have this be my first book purchased and read in 2018!