Bothell, WA, USA | Member Since 2004
I've listened to The Last Werewolf (the prior book in this series) more than once - the prose is often of a quality that invites reflection, like one may indulge in a particularly fine food.
Talulla Rising is similar, though with a main character who is, naturally since she's much younger, is somewhat less refined in speech and depth of experience - but also less bogged down by the past, and more ruled by the immediacy of her situation. Not yet weighed down by a lifetime or two worth of being a monster, she's, as of yet, free to experience life with new eyes.
It does lead to a different tone at times - it is naturally far less cynical than the prior novel, as bitterness has not had the time to develop. The inevitability of bad things is still present, as it was in the first - and the daunting nature of the world is still there, naturally. Simply expect young Talulla, along with most of the other characters, to grapple without the benefits or burdens of experience alike.
Some may struggle with the vulgarity of the subject matter itself, but it's ultimately delivered with very finely crafted words - just don't expect to be shielded from the nature of the subject matter.
In fact, that someone capable of this sort of verbal depth, combined with a lack of shyness, applies himself to matters often glossed over and given a sparkly, superficial Twilight sort of way, it's utterly enthralling. Some will come looking for junk food, which goes down easy, gives a sugary thrill, feeds a sort of unthinking addiction, so forth. This book, like it's predecessor, feeds more particular and complex tastes - some will love it, and others will reject it outright. But that's where this particular series will inevitably reside - a sharp flavor, which will reward those who can appreciate it.
A few final notes -
The voice actor's style grew on me in time, though the accent for Talulla herself can be a little uneven. A learned Queens style, which only becomes very evident in a few words, a little too evident. Forgivable, though, just overly noticeable.
It's really delightful to have multiple strong female leads - and it's touched on, but not overstressed.
There are certain avenues I really crave to hear more of - but I think I'll need to wait for the next book. The possibilities are clearly there for it, by the end.
Reynolds creates a fantastic sort of world, with all sorts of questions and concepts to keep me thinking far /outside/ of the book.
I've no problems with his characterizations, and enjoyed the progression the main character made over time - but that having been said, the real strength of this book in my mind is the progression through the world itself, new, mysterious lands, ideas, and concepts.
Through it all, a solid level of tension pervades, and I don't think think any portion felt like a real lull. The ending is both incomplete and complete - that is to say, you can see the direction things will go after the conclusion, and even envisage another book, but it might not be necessary, and can stand on it's own.
That having been said, I'll note I'm very comfortable with Reynold's style, and have more or less ended up binging on everything he's published recently! John Lee seems the perfect sci-fi narrator to me, perhaps because of prior experience - but I've developed a deep fondness for his voice over time, and this book is no exception.
Hilarious, scary, and insightful! And striking that most people really only remember Khrushchev banging his shoe at the United Nations. His tour of the United States, an accident of a communication omission, was the largest, greatest media event of its time. And thanks to the author's research, including meetings with his son Sergei, Susan Eisenhower along with his initial access to archives of media material which sparked his interest, the story feels very complete, peeking behind the scenes at nearly every point.
A good, clear narration does not overdo the accents, and the author's ability to use metaphors both of his own and the many hilarious ones (often involving comparing whatever event happens to occur to sports) from the media of the time brought a smile to my face many times. But most of all, Mr. K himself steals the show, whose humor, anecdotes, blow-ups, outrageous, emotional, scary, and delightful behavior could, with little alteration elsewhere, engross nearly any reader in rapt attention.
Eisenhower is ever so serious, hardly a humorous character, perhaps more befitting a man who could destroy the world. And if this were going on today, perhaps I would want to see his level head rather than Mr. K's - there's no doubt, in reading this book, that it was a frightening time. Nixon was closest in character to K's in many ways, and how they loathed each other! Georgy Malenkov's embarrassment at K's actions bleeds through wonderfully, and a host of personalities from Marylin Monroe to Roswell Garst, an Iowa corn farmer who alone could truly outmatch Mr. K's attention grabbing make the book so much more in the end, however!
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