Male readers who enjoy unpleasant quirks.
They all seemed equally unlikeable.
Anger and disappointment.
It's a shame review boxes are so narrowly set out — I can't easily say what I felt about this odd, jumbled work. The writer clearly knows how to write. The buildup of tension is generally quite strong. However I felt no connection with the main characters, and didn't really like any of them — none stood out from the background of self-obsessed insularity and smothering middle-classness. The fetish for film work didn't appeal to me and would, I think, put off many general readers, while the moral links the novel seems to want to make (despite its obsession with amorality) between violent depiction and 'evil' are, I think, merely mundane. The punchline to this meandering, under-structured novel seems to indicate that the purpose of the book isn't to explore a moral viewpoint but to illustrate an amoral one. If narratives exist to give shape and meaning, it makes sense that the illustration of shapeless meaninglessness can be justified as a counterpoint. Alas, it doesn't make for a worthwhile novel.
Less cliche; greater attention to overarching plot, story purpose, and character development. Also, better attention to female characters, of whom there are few (and almost none interesting or developed). Oh, and just better writing overall.
No—my friends tend to like books by women or about women or with some other recommendation such as good writing.
Often in scenes where Seregil and Alec are riding along or sitting at a campfire or whatnot, the writer uses the opportunity to tell backstory in dialogue. Pages and pages are filled with this tedious form of telling, made even more tedious by the fact that none of it matters to the characters themselves during the telling. Backstory should never be delivered in great slabs like this. Furthermore there are many bland descriptions of stage elements that simply don't matter to the tale. Does it matter if a drawer is low and wide or tall and high? Does it matter if there's a brass ring? Details of curtains, fireplaces, furniture, clothes and buildings seem to occupy large parts of the novel without having the slightest bearing on events being described. The writer should have chosen which details to explore and which to brush over; my feeling is that most should have been glossed.
Words can't express my disappointment with this series of novels (of which I've read the first 2). More than anything it's the sheer blandness of the storytelling and the list-like description that turn what might have been a fun and blade-filled adventure into abject tedium, albeit with a few faster and more delightful moments.
The characters aren't specifically to blame—Seregil is jaunty enough; Alec is innocent enough—but there isn't enough character development to make them really stand out. At the same time, while character non-development could have been forgiven in a book where the plot keeps emotions alight, here the plot often flounders as well. As for world-building (one of the staple crafts of fantasy), it takes more than an oft-repeated oath (Bellari's balls) to make a world live in the reader's mind, while the magic of Luck in the Shadows seems entirely derivative.
By far the worst aspect of this novel, however, is its complete neglect for female characters. Indeed, so indifferent was this book to its female characters (pottering wives, saucy scullery maids, the odd belligerent queen or haughty warrior princess) that I wondered whether 'Lyn Flewelling' might be a man's name. Where Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword (by Ellen Kushner) make great fun out of sexual and social shenanigans (homosexuality being a natural part of things), Luck in the Shadows simply seems to want to bring women readers along as an exercise in audience-expansion on the basis that there wouldn't be many gay male readers of the genre.
I know my criticism is harsh, but the work was reviewed at 5 stars when I made the purchase, and I was recommended it after loving Swordspoint. Luck in the Shadows is basically competent for a genre-read, but absolutely not worth such a comparison.
Yes, and again after that... It's haunting, captivating, sweet and painfully real.
When the main character reveals what happened to her sister.
Unfortunately, the narrator was occasionally hard to understand because of her strong accent. Once my ear became 'tuned' this was less of a problem, but it was frustrating at times very early on.
No; I wanted to stretch it out because I enjoyed it so much.
This amazing book can be read on two levels almost all the way through: a completely realist book about a girl's imagination compensating for tragedy and disability; or a fantasy story about ghosts and fairies. Either way, or both, it's beautifully observed, wry, whimsical and wonderful. My only qualm is that the ending felt too sudden and a little contrived, as though the writer simply decided to finish as quickly and efficiently as possible (throwing most of the ambiguity away). Still, even with that caveat, this is one of the best books I've listened to all year.
Psychologically profound sci-fi
The perfection of this work lies in its integration of scientific logic with ordinary human feeling. I read this book after seeing the recent film; without expecting to love it, I found I couldn't stop listening. Unlike the film, the book dwells on the mechanics of Solaris as well as the psychology of the station inhabitants, so it's a far richer experience.
Anyone expecting a thrills-per-minute hair-raising ride will be disappointed, but for readers who love genuine exploration, this beautiful novel works on all levels, and is the most seamless integration of the human condition (pain, loss, desire) with the scientific condition (trial, error, knowledge) I've ever found. Strange, haunting, highly recommended.
I've never listened to this performer before, but didn't have a problem with the performance.
There are countless deaths in Wild Seed, but almost none makes the reader feel more than irritated on the main character's behalf. Similarly, she has countless offspring, again with little reader feeling for her investment in them. Her relationships with others are for the most part shortlived, livened up faintly by the various mutations she encounters. These superficial elements don't hold interest for long enough to make the book's violence and the oppressive relationship at the core of it appealing.This is a parable for slavery, and on that basis alone should have been compelling and remarkable. Alas, the relationships don't matter, the main character's immortality means that violence and excess are repeated ad nauseum, and the ending could just as easily have come right after the beginning.
It's a shame the story itself was so unsatisfying, because the writer is adept at bringing a reader into a place and time.
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