The whole book is a pretty good tour through an atopic future LA, but the main character is useless and never really gets any better. The plot makes little sense and tries to come together at the end but mostly fails. The book wanders from one violent event to another with little to hold it together. Kadrey tries to be William Gibson and doesn't get there.
I really look forward to Ms. Rusch's books in both her currently ongoing science fiction worlds but I'm growing a little tired of how she's rolling out the "Anniversary Day Saga". She's releasing a series of moderate to short length partial novels that don't really stand on their own, and don't complete a full arc as part of the larger story. This is a very well crafted part of a novel, but as a story on it's own is not satisfying at all. It's everything that "middle books in a series" get criticized for. There are only two more installments in this saga and I'll buy and read them, but I really think it should have been three or four much more complete books rather than eight incomplete ones.
If you've liked this series so far, you'll probably like this one. There's very little of the broader political and societal changes going on in that region of space. This is a fight book. There's a setup, and then a big fight between very different forces, and it ends. There's a twist at the end that isn't entirely unexpected which provides a bit more of a reason for the fight and points to the what the next fight will be about. Mostly, I've you've gotten to book 6 in this series you won't want to miss this one but you also won't find it all that satisfying.
In what seems to be a new trend in "Zombie" and other post apocalyptic stories, this one is set in the recovery period, a generation after the collapse. That's a good thing, as I think the stories of collapse are interesting but it would be a real challenge to find something fresh and new in that area. The recovery here is not as complete as in, say, Mira Grant's stories. That leaves a broad canvas for Wellington to tell his story and he uses it well.
I was excited to see another Wellington book. I thought "13 bullets" and the books that followed it were one of the most gritty, brutal, and dark takes on the monster genre I've come across. They reminded me of John Steakley's "Armour" (there's a guy who understands what fear is). Positive is different. In a lot of ways it feels younger, more hopeful, and it's definitely less graphic in its brutality.
There are some very hard themes here, and if you're sensitive to those you may want to give this a pass. Wellington addresses the vulnerability of young women and girls in a lawless society in a very direct way that may bother some readers -- though he is never graphic or puerile in those descriptions. For me, the balance was about right. Be warned, however. If you have a history with, or are particularly sensitive to, that kind of sexual exploitation the mention of it even without graphic descriptions could be upsetting.
Overall, I enjoyed the book even though it wasn't quite what I expected.
Insipid. There were so many positive reviews of this book that decided to try it. What a mistake. This seems like what you'd get if a writer of bad, g-rated, romance novels tried to imitate Michael Crichton. If Dan Brown had written The Lake House, maybe this would be it.
There are maybe three interesting ideas in here, which you get beaten on the head with over and over until you want to scream "just get on with it!". The last hour of this book, which I was listening to in the car, was so unnecessarily drawn out that it gave me road rage. I nearly pulled off at a rest stop just to download something else.
The only thing that made this even a small bit tolerable was Scott Aiello's performance -- which was nearly perfect, as always. I can't really find fault with Nicola Barber's performance either, except that I don't care for the style and that's about me, not her. She also got stuck with a lot of the most sappy and insipid parts of the reading so that worked against her.
Look, it's more of a romance story couched in a pseudo science fiction setting than it is an action or science fiction story. If that's your thing, well, whatever gets you through night is fine with me, but if you're into any kind of real science fiction, serious action, or decent mystery writing, look somewhere else.
This book is extremely well reviewed on Audible and I don't really get it.
It's interesting, and it's very intellectual. I usually like that sort of book. I don't need a lot of shooting scenes to enjoy a book that's densely packed with science. This book pretends to be densely packed but it's really only vague references to the real science and then huge fictional leaps. The story itself is all tied up with the idea of big social political movements in a very Chinese way. The exploration of how these waves of political thought influence the way people live can be very tiring for those of us who have not grown up in such a culture.
The ideas are interesting, a couple of the characters are terrific, but overall I don't really rate this very highly.
As far as Luke Daniels -- he does an excellent job. He's quite skilled and not the least bit lazy. I just don't care for his voice or his tone or something that I can't put my finger on. I can't fault his work in any way, and I've given the performance the highest ratings of the review. It's just a matter of taste.
Trying to avoid spoilers here. This is really just a loose-ends cleanup attempt wrapped up in a pretty straightforward story arc. If you, like me, have found that Koontz's writing in recent years has gotten increasingly lazy you won't be surprised. It was good to see many of the more memorable oddball characters from the series make an appearance, and a strange attempt was made to tie a lot of things together that we never really saw as needing to be connected.
Unfortunately, like so many other Koontz books, the end just kind of falls off a cliff. Since he ended the Moonlight Bay books, Odd Thomas was the only interesting stuff he's done -- and that was getting pretty tired by the end. At least now the series is wrapped up (unless he does something really contrived).
Dean Koontz moved from my "buy immediately" to my "wait for it to get cheap" list years ago for everything but Odd Thomas. Now he's moved to my "if there's nothing else" list.
A well tailored addition to the series with it's own story arc well integrated into the overall arc of the series. As with the first, there is a satisfying ending here so that you can choose to go on with the series to see how things develop or you can stop and still be satisfied.
Masterfully planned and very well read -- one of the few times that switching an narrator wasn't a disaster. I wish the narrator from the first could be there reading the parts from the characters he handled so well in the first, and that Robin Miles could be doing just the new main character here since it's nearly an even split. Still, she does a good job pulling it of.
I don't want to give anything away here, so no plot summary from me. I'll just say that it's a fantastic story in the same universe, that we learn much more about the aliens and humans, that we learn more about some of our favorite characters and are introduced to some good new ones.
It's hard not to compare this with "The Martian" which was one of the best new SF stories I've read in years, and extremely well read as an audio book. Benford's book is probably both far more rooted in the realistic problems of Martian environment and also far more optimistic and speculative about the possibility for any existing Martian biosphere. This story has a much more human angle and I think some of that human drama was far to simplified and even cynical (the details about the corporate and government workings, in particular). The story was still interesting, the concepts were good, and I was entertained.
Bravo! -- This works on several levels. It's a great mix of the hyper-modern and the simple pre-technology worlds. The culture, story arc, plot, and characters are all fully fleshed out, consistent, and well described. The story involves war between two cultures we don't usually hear much about in Science Fiction, one with roots in the Caribbean Sea and the other with roots in the Aztec world, marooned hundreds of years ago and just beginning to rise back to a beginning industrial technology level on a planet as a result of a larger interstellar conflict.
The accents are well read and the characters interesting. An attempt is made to bring those cultures forward without losing too much of their identity. The story works fairly well at that and also as a terrific science fiction story about rebuilding and lost technology.
The only thing missing, in my opinion, was the use of the linguistic concept of "I&I" (pronounced eye-and-eye) that is unique to Caribbean cultures. I've read other places that its use is a reference to the combined nature of the individual and his God as a both separate and unified. I think it's a beautiful addition to language and that the author missed an opportunity to incorporate it here. In all other respects, this is a fantastic novel.
If I wanted a romance novel, I'd go find one. There's a decent murder mystery here (though not great) wrapped around a bad romance novel. If any man ever actually acted the way the male hero in this book does, he'd be locked up rather than laid. I've also never man an abused woman who really just needs a good f*** in the role of a submissive to get over it. Talk about cliches. No, IMO, this is a pulp romance novel thinly disguised as a detective story -- which probably explains why it's so popular. The disguise lets people pretend to like it for one thing, when they really want the other. A bit like claiming to read playboy for the articles.
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