I purchased this title because it was discounted and seemed like it might be entertaining. I am so glad I gave it a try. The world is very well realized and the reading is wonderful with nuance and inflection. I purposely save this to listen too as I use my elliptical machine because it makes me want to exercise just to listen to this story and I frequently go past my allotted time just to keep listening. A very nice change to the standard fantasy that is out there right now, no vampires or werewolves in sight.
Thoroughly enjoyed both stories and the world the authors created. Even though both stories are set in the same world the Point of View of each protagonist expands and develops it. I particularly like the stance Buckell takes with The Executioness. So many stories have middle aged rugged men being heroic and doing what has to be done. The Executionist is a middle-aged rugged woman being heroic and not once does her appearance take centre stage. Hurrah!
These two stories were well written and the readers were quite good. The world the authors created is intriguing and would make a good setting for a longer novel. The only quibble I have was that it was a little unsatisfying that the two stories didn't tie into each other and the first one had such a pessimistic outcome. It would have been fun to see what would happen if the two protagonists met.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
The protagonist in the Alchemist was so naive about the state of the world that I wanted to shake him a little bit. And it was clear that the author wanted you to think that it was a horrible thing that the Jolly Mayor was killing people...
But I guess that's the world we live in - each of us has the right to piss in the water, making it toxic for everyone else. What do we care as long as we make sure we get "our fair share" to use for our own family's benefit and so what if it destroys someone else's family?? We can't see them, we don't care about them.
I guess I'm in the minority... if I live in a world that has a specific set of rules, whether or not I agree with them, I should be expected to follow them and would like to believe that everyone else should have to follow them too.
The Exectioness: Woman seeks revenge for the stealing of her children. Does it matter if her kids were "stolen" for their own benefit, or for the betterment of the world in general? Oh, right, nobody else has the right to interfer with our autonomy, even if that autonomy is destroying other people's lives.
I guess someone will always say, "who gets to choose who is right?"
Both stories are very interesting and well-narrated.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
This book contains two slightly-connected stories set in the same vaguely Near Eastern fantasy world.
Bacigalupi's piece, "The Alchemist", is the real gem of the pair, an eloquent parable on what has to be sacrificed to deal with an environmental catastrophe caused by human short-sightedness. The story is readable for its dark twist and the moral question at its heart, as well as its even-handed, credible character voice. At least a 4 star story.
Buckell's piece, "The Executioness", a story about a middle-aged woman who discovers her inner hero, treads standard fantasy ground. I found it enjoyable enough to justify the purchase, but not especially memorable. More of a 3 star story.
This story was full of wonderfully imaginative ideas; well developed, unique characters; and an overall great plot that sucked me in right away. I highly recommend this download.
I really liked the dilemma of bramble. Bramble sprouts as a result of using magic. Even though everyone knows it, individuals still use it, justifying their needs for magic despite the effect it has on their society. This tension between the needs/wants of the individual and that of society as a whole is such a fascinating element to the story.
Both narrators evoke such emotion in their reading, I was mesmerized by the pictures they painted in my head. I felt that Jonathan Davis read a little too slowly for my tastes, but he still did a great job.
Yes, but I don't want to spoil it for everyone else. I was drawn into the characters as they struggle with their moral quandary- what begins as a very clear right/wrong situation becomes much more complicated as the stories develop. I really wanted the story to continue to explore this. I just wasn't ready for these stories to end, they were that good!
Paolo Bacigalupi has recently become one of my favorite authors so of course I recommend this book. But I would recommend it for Katherine Kellgren's voice alone.
The Executioness because she was a strong woman who didn't shirk from doing what she felt she had to do to save her family.
Watching the ships sailing away.
Mu favorites are paranormal, supernatural, post-apocalyptic, and horror!
The Alchemist and the Executioner was surprisingly short! (only 5.5 hours). Just as I was really getting into the characters – it ended! Perhaps it would have made more sense to me at the time had I realized that the book contained 2 completely separate stories; NOT meant to come together later on in the novel.
Still, I enjoyed it and began listening all over again right after it ended. The narator, sound effects, and performance were absolutely excellent! The stories were well done as well. My overall score is a solid 3.5 stars. I listened to the authors' discussion of how the stories were written to show how a middle-aged female hero could be developed and executed. On this front, they definately fulfilled their goal.
I love to read. I also love to write. I'm a harsh critic and very, very, very rarely give five star reviews to anything. Three stars for me is an average representation of literature and not a bad review by any stretch.
The Alchemist. This story was well paced and interesting.
When The Alchemist ended I wanted to know what happened next because it was up in the air.
When The Executioness ended I was thanking God it was over.
I thought both did a good job bringing their respective stories to life.
The Alchemist ... Forget The Executioness
The Alchemist was worthy. Nearly four stars.
The Executioness was a waste of my time. Just two stars.