This is the crowning finale to Dan Simmons' sprawling Hyperion Cantos. There are resolutions, big reveals, and shocking twists a-plenty, but Simmons still leaves a some things in the shadows, only partly explained. But this is a good thing, as it heightens the mystery of his universe and spurs the reader to imagine what will happen next after the final paragraph.
This is epic sci fi at its very best: imagining an all-too plausible future universe where people struggle with age-old conundrums and ever-evolving moral responsibilities, shadowed by the persistent anxiety of man versus his machines. Though the Cantos is most definitely a polemic against organized religion, and Roman Catholicism in particular, Simmons shows a surprising gentleness to the church in the series' resolution, and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about whether the church saved its own soul or not.
If you are a fan of science fiction, this series has it all: time travel, space battles, realistic physics and limitations in space travel, artificial intelligence, and, yes, a sweeping romance. This is a series of immense ideas and mind-bending scope. Do not miss it.
The prose in this book is almost lyrical. It is so utterly minimalistic that you stop to wonder how so much meaning can be packed into the briefest of phrases. The Road is one of the most depressing books I've ever read, because the picture it paints is so terrifyingly plausible. There are layers upon layers here, which bear repeat readings. The perspective focuses on the fragile but strong relationship between a father and son, and wisely does not venture beyond it. The catastrophe that ended their world is never named or explained, which makes sense: How would survivors of such a calamity even really know what happened without TV, without the buttresses of civilization? Full of haunting imagery that McCarthy presents largely free of opinion and merely lets "be," this book will stay in your head for weeks after you finish it. Required reading for anyone interested in post-apocalyptic ideas, and anyone who ever loved their father. Simply outstanding; this is one of my top five favorite books ever.
This is a fun book, light and quirky, that pokes a lot of loving fun at the Jesus story, and attempts to posit where he got some of his powers and put a human face on him. Some may think this sacrilegious but the story is actually pretty reverent to the overall idea of Jesus, if not in its methods. It doesn't take itself very seriously, and is not overly deep (an extended tour of the Orient provides an interesting depth to the idea of Jesus, however), and its humor is exceedingly dry and punny. I was hoping for a Douglas Adams-style satire, but the humor isn't what I'd call laugh-out-loud funny, but more of a "hmm, how clever" funny. Numerous anachronisms abound, but it somehow works. The narrator is quirky and fits the part of Biff very well, though his range is pretty limited. If you don't take your faith too seriously, you should enjoy this book as an alternative view of Jesus, which ultimately ends up in the same place you'd want it to. If you have no faith, like me, you will find much to smirk at in this book, and perhaps a new perspective on the mythology of Jesus as well.
The first Mistborn book is pretty good for pulp fantasy, though it's not much more than middling. This followup, however, is duller than dull and was a waste of credits. The characters spend most of the book hanging around the city, worrying and arguing and waiting for it to be attacked by rival armies. The prose is weak (I got to the point where the phrase "Vin paused" became so oft-repeated that it made me want to strangle the author...good for a drinking game, though), the characters are mostly annoying, whiny and horribly indecisive, and the plot is one long, abysmal slog that goes nowhere and does nothing. It's as if Sanderson had a hatful of interesting ideas for a fantasy series, threw some at a dartboard and waited to see what stuck. No momentum, no memorable characters (the only interesting character dies in the first book, alas), and a magic system that seems designed for easy translation into a video game and little else. Save yourself money and a LOT of time and avoid this series, or at least don't go past the first book.
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