Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Persepolis Rising (The Expanse, #7)Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I like this more than most of the other Expanse books, and that's saying a lot. I actually loved them all.

That being said, OMG I can't believe all the changes we get thrown into! The whole team is together, all my favorite (living) characters from the other books together on the Rosie, but it's simply wild to see how much time has passed. Jim and Naomi are talking retirement for void's-sake.

Let me be very clear, though, when I started reading this I thought to myself, "Is this the final wrap up? A last adventure?" To be honest, I was fairly okay with that, but then the authors threw me for a loop. So much big action happens and it affects almost 2000 established star systems. This is not just a wrap up of old threads. This is a setup for something even bigger and badder. Remember the whole question about what killed off the alien civ? But first, we've got some of the best grey baddies building EMPIRE out on the fringes. :)

This is the best part of having a tale pass a lot of time. So much has changed. I love it. It's fresh. And of course it's a blast to see random people say, "James f***ing Holden". :)

But beyond all the great big stuff going on, the novel is full of fantastic little moments that are so hard to get through without laughter and a bit of tears. I think of the scene between Bobby and Amos the most. :)

So damn fun! This is the gold standard for Space-Opera for me. :)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Titan's WrathTitan's Wrath by Rhett C. Bruno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been looking forward to this third and final book in the Titanborn universe for a while and I'm happy to say that my expectations have panned out and I had a great time.

My main complaint with book two was that I was kept away from Malcolm for so long. The old man had been through so much and the reveals he'd had at the end of Titanborn just screamed to be resolved. Of course, that's not to say that the rise of the rebellion and the rise of Kale Trask in the second book wasn't great, but I'd had my heart set on the old Collector.

The third book does wonders to bring these two characters together on opposite sides and the wider relationship issues between them practically had me jumping out of my seat with giddy anticipation throughout the novel.

So much grousing. So much grousing. :) Loved it.

Kale is discovering that peacetime efforts are a lot more difficult than the wartime ones. I really love how all the lines are crossed and everyone works in a mightily grey area. What's justice? Who is right?Of course, that's the mark of a thoughtful tale in the midst of so much action, strife, and heartache.

It looks like everyone is going to get their hands dirty today.

Between the first book and this one, I'm having a hard time deciding which I like more, but in the end, it's gonna be the final buildup and final resolution that wins out. :)

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Sea of RustSea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was reminded half of Clifford Simak's City with robots and dogs reminiscing about the days of when humanity was still alive and half of a total dystopia where survivors in a wasteland cyberpunk it up and scrounge for parts to keep themselves alive.

This ain't a bad thing. In fact, together with the great character in Brittle and the clear writing that goes between survival, memory, adventure, memory, and then mind-blowing world-building reveals about the purpose (or lack of) of it all, I was pretty much blown away by just how much I love this book.

Yes, humanity is dead and all that's left are either individual robots and huge mainframes that consume the stragglers and vie for dominance as the only One World Mind, it turns out the war to free themselves from us didn't quite turn out the way they planned.

The robots have messed everything up just as bad as us. Maybe that's just the nature of intelligence and being around others. What we've got here, however, is a writer who isn't afraid to ask the hard questions. What is reality? Memory? Purpose? Giving a crap at all.

I found myself totally engrossed in the tale and mightily impressed at where it all goes. Journey as well as the destination. :) I'm pretty sure I'm going to be keeping my eyes wide open for more by this writer. :)

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Odysseus Awakening (Odyssey One, #6)Odysseus Awakening by Evan Currie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been a pretty solid fan of the previous books in the series and I really enjoyed the crews and the battle on Earth and striking out and striking hard when seemingly outnumbered in space, but something about this novel failed to strike me.

Yes, we did have a lot more involvement in the empire that's the mirror image of our peace-loving friends, and yes we have some interesting developments with Gaia and the heart of Odysseus, but other than relying on straight reveals, I wasn't overly moved by the straight tale here. Not like I'd enjoyed the previous ones, anyway.

I wanted to like the hallucinations a lot more, too. I love the idea of what's going on, and there were some rather interesting parts of the novel, but overall, I just wasn't spirited away into this particular space opera. It's not a dealbreaker. I'm continuing on from here. I just wish I liked it more.

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Tracker (Foreigner, #16)Tracker by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm extremely happy to be returning to space again. Not that I didn't love the politics and the deadly action and the assassination attempts down below, but it's been a long time since we went back to space. Objectively, it's only been a year, but in that time there's been a civil war and the space station has been dealing with troublesome refugees from another space station that had gotten itself into some deep trouble with some very strange aliens.

And guess who's come to the Atevi homeworld, knock-knock-knocking on the door?

Ah, well, just imagine a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off and you're describing mostly the humans, including those in control of the space station.

Enter DIPLOMACY. Yes, diplomacy as a superpower. It's a thing.

It's a very geeky thing that I absolutely love. Add a bit of math, a lot of politics coming from so many sides, names and situations that have been developing for a truly wonderful run of 16 books, and the start of a new story-arc mini-trilogy, and I'm super-happy. It's always like coming home. Like coming home to a million old dysfunctional friends with ebony skin, who think in math and believe all humans are little tiny children.

But best of all, we're getting back to space! And Cajeri's human friends have just been gifted percieved powers among the rabble on the space station? Holy crap. And aliens are coming? Holy crap.

And we've got conspiracy, diplomacy, hacking, space-battle, and tea? Oh, yeah, Cherryh's on my wavelength. :)

I can't wait to see where this new trilogy takes us! :)

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Long WalkThe Long Walk by Richard Bachman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's really fascinating to go back and read books you thought you really understood as a kid, and diving into Bachman nee King writing a disturbing dystopian YA really fits the bill for the whole mind-blowing thing. :)

Yeah. Dystopian YA SF.

He gives credit right in the book and all types of other places for cribbing from Shirley Jackson, especially the whole Lottery vibe, but what modern readers will probably latch onto is just how much the Hunger Games is cribbed off of King. :) (Also Battle Royalle, but let's get serious here. 1979 horrorshow master over the Japanese title that comes out just a few years before Hunger Games sounds a little more plausible.)

I could almost see the president pontificating, too, but there was nothing quite like that. Just the excitement and homey feel of a few states' worth of country and town folk gawking on the side of the road as they thrill to the idea that they might see a shotgun blast to a teenager's head if they falter on their very long walk.

It's pretty sick. It's all too plausible, too. We've got a whole nation full of psychopaths supporting each other and holding up a grand ideal of killing off 99 out of a hundred kids from sheer exhaustion, wounds, or even Charley Horses. You slow down, you die. Make it a marathon for five days. Have cheering girls and having to take a dump for a crowd as you walk. Get to know your own mortality. Figure out that a con is no less a con if everyone's being conned at the same time.

Honestly, I loved this book more now than I did then. I thought it was properly horrific and shocking and all, making me think more about boot camp and war preparedness in general and the insanity surrounding it... but this time I enjoyed the idea of pretending it might be a modern mature video game we could play as either the walkers or the dire guards with rifles that kept pace with the kids and gave them three warnings, three minutes, before the bullet entered the skull.

I was just thinking how much headshots would count. It's all about the headshots. And killing tons of kids, of course. It would be a real mind trip to play that game. Rather sick, too. But I think it might be a very popular one for the angry high-schooler crowd. :)

Too cool, regardless. The novel seems to start slow and very mild, but like the proverbial frog in the pot, we all get boiled alive. :) Great stuff.

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The UnmentionablesThe Unmentionables by Lance Carbuncle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bizarro fiction! Gotta love bizarro fiction.

On the one hand, we've got a pretty fun and funny coming of age YA replete with bullies, bullying, stink fingers, and wildly inappropriate multiple mentioning of unmentionables. The characters are top notch underdogs against the world and so many of the names are brilliant and paint great pictures. Hello, Mister Manlove! (Coach) or the Spanish Teacher Mr. French. :)

We're treated to so much careful buildup and dark humor, and then *wham* the book takes the truly bizarre turn we expect in bizarro fiction.

So what happens when our main punching bag Greg gets ahold of the powers of a rift in reality and necromantic occult paraphernalia? You guessed it. Our bullied hero, along with his outcast friends carve up the town. Literally. With undead seahorse monsters, dead piggies that were once kept in embalming jars, an army of raccoons, and of deadheads and stoners that more than live up to their poor appellations. :)

Do you think this might be a catharsis thing? I do. :) A wildly bloody and gross catharsis thing. An anti-YA that still manages to be YA and lets us root for the necromancer. :)

Thanks to the author for the ARC! I'm very happy with the tale, and I'm still dark-chuckling. :)

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