If you want a semi-documentary history of WWII London Blitz seen from the point of view of three fictional characters, please read this book.
IF you want a tightly paced, suspenseful novel full of sympathetic, engaging characters trapped in history (as in her previous Doomsday Book), do not read these books.
I loved the previous Oxford Time Travel Historian novels, and was strongly looking forward to the release of these two. I purchased them both before even reading the first one.
They fail miserably as stories. The characters, supposedly intelligent, highly trained time traveling historians, act like idiots with no common sense. The plot is meandering The point of view switches back and forth between characters and timelines and was completely confusing. Entire chapters could have been totally excised with no loss to the plot. She could easily have compacted both books into one. A fabulous, tightly woven, suspenseful novel would have resulted. THAT one I could see winning an award. I'm not sure where all the favorable reviews are coming from. I finished Blackout from sheer perseverance and reluctance to waste so many invested hours without reaching the end, plus I am an inveterate optimist. I could not summon the enthusiasm to read AllClear.
Nothing new. Atticus teases another god and acts so surprised and innocent when the god gets riled up I read the other following books, as my son bought them all, but I had to stop after a few more. They were all the same.
The narrator, as always, is great.
All the Discworld novels earn 4 stars, but the City Watch group deserves 5 stars. But for me 5 stars means perfection and as close as Terry Pratchett comes, no one can be perfect. That said, I don't see how anyone can be disappointed with his characters, pacing, tension, plot and humor. So this is a 4.5 star review.
No point in going overboard with my compliments, as I don't believe in fulsome reviews and never give anything 5 stars. But I was tempted to do so when I first read this. But nothing can be so perfect that it deserves 5 stars, even this. But I'm tempted to give it a 4.5.
The characters were well drawn, sympathetic, and believable. The world picture is very believable. The pacing and tension was great. The cliche 'hard to put down' definitely applies.
That said, after the second book, the series slowly goes down-hill. Pacing, tension, dialogue all took a hit as editing skill/effort decreased. Story flaws that don't bother you in the first 2 books get more glaring. But for sure buy the first two and use your best judgement on the rest.
Read the other reviews to give yourself an idea of what you're getting into. (Unique plot, annoying characters and long-winded). Then if you think you'll like it, read this one and Doomsday Book. Then stop. These are the two best of her books.
I bought the first 3 books of this series sight un-seen (or heard) because it got such great hype. The first half of this novel was superb. I thought I had found a female Miles Vorkosigan. She solved an apparent losing situation using wits, wiles, deception plus the meager people and supplies at her disposal. The second half should have been excised. It was endless debates and conversations and little or no action. Unfortunately, the second half is more indicative of the series, so I didn't buy anymore after the first three.
This book, and To Say Nothing of the Dog, made me a Connie Willis fan. I would read what ever I could find. However, she has some faults as a writer that other reviews speak of. As she has won more and more awards, the problems get more and more glaring. So spend your money to read this one, then stop.
The book is only saved by an exciting space-ship battle at the end. The rest of the time, the heroine does dumb stuff. The rabid patriarchal planet doesn't like women in command, so she runs off in a huff, allowing the rest of the navy to get clobbered. There is some satisfactory revenge as she wins the next space battle and there is real human pathos as she liberates some POW's but then she goes off half-cocked when she finds they've been killed or raped. Weber could've found a more inventive form of revenge. She saves the life of the patriarchal leader, leaving her with physical disabilities, but the leaders had already been pretty much convinced to accept women by then. If we had half star rating, I'd have given this only 2&1/2, not 3 stars.
Bought first three books in this series at once, as they got such good hype, so I felt compelled to listen to them all. Dumb me. I could go on at length, but the two big things that stand out are that the heroine does absolutely nothing to win the battle; it's sheer luck (or author design) that her ship survives until rescue comes. She's running as fast as the rest of them. And then we see her being instructed at make-up to win a man and how to apply lip gloss? Hundreds and hundreds of years in the future? What's extra sad, is that he usually does space battles excellently, but even that falls down in this book. I won't be reading anymore of Weber's books.
This story seems to be an excuse for the author to take a European trip. It was more a travelogue, as more gods chase Atticus around Europe and England. Then make peace in a less-than-satisfying finish. That's it, go read the next book. Seems to be a time filler and setting up for the next book. I'm getting real tired of constantly hearing about how the dog likes sausage, bacon and poodles. And since at the end we find that they are getting one more dog, I'm more dubious about the next book. And I'm a real dog person, too.
As I began reading this, I realized that it was not the sort of plot that appeals to me. But it was so superbly written, that I kept reading it, mostly for that reason, (but also to find out what happens the the missing girl). There was the occasional annoying anachronism. I don't believe that hundreds of years in the future, men in outer space will still address each other with "Hey" and we'll eat take-away in plastic containers. But those were few and far between.
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