Prequel time…

Precious Little Things: A Tor.com OriginalPrecious Little Things: A Tor.com Original by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A prequel to the magical novella Made Things. I enjoyed this prequel more than the novella.

It had a fairytale feel to it. The world was more fully envisioned than the novella. The characters remained a bit more one-dimensional though.

I liked Tam and that he wanted more for his child than he had been given. Poor guy.

The ending left me unsatisfied. It feels unfinished.

Can be read for free here:
https://www.tor.com/2019/11/20/precio…

View all my reviews

Oh no, it‘s a heist story…

Made ThingsMade Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know Pinocchio, right? This is not his story. Here the Made Things or rather the homunculi come across as a separate world of clans and types with their own society and ecosystem. They connect with the world of humans via the help of the Moppet, aka our main character Coppelia.

This is a fantasy heist story. Not my favourite trope, it‘s usually too formulaic for my taste. Which this is, to some extent.

The story didn‘t do a thing for me. I actually considered to DNF this, but it probably doesn‘t do the story justice. I missed Tchaikovsky‘s humour. Maybe he is more suited to science fiction?

2.5 stars, rounded up (barely)

View all my reviews

We opened the box….

Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1)Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very long book and really should be read with the plan to continue with Judas Unchained. The story unfolds with the speed of a geriatric snail, so bring patience and time and appreciation for the little things along. I took me two months to get through the audiobook—ok, I am slow with audio—and I did it with the print version next to me, to double-check on details.
The world building is great, this is full of great ideas. And when there is action, it is well done. Characters take their time to develop and the aliens are truly scary in their otherness. This is good, although I wonder what it would be like at half the page count…

Thoughts and comments, while working my way through this monster:
————
Audiobook Part 1: 6 h 56 min (183 pages), Chapters 1-6, ★★★½☆
Glacially slow set-up and introduction of a variety of characters. Very little plot progression. I liked what was there. Alas, it was not for the impatient and easily bored (aka ME!). I wonder how all these very different stories will come together.

————
Audiobook Part 2: 7 h 22 min (pages 184-376), Chapter 7-11, ★★★★★
Interesting biology and chemistry! Really cool idea, although Merredin is not necessarily a planet I would like to visit. Just that by itself is a great plot bunny for a colonization/first contact novel! There are several other planets and constructs in this part of the book, that would make for great settings for separate novels. The world building here is fascinating.

With all people living multiple lives, I would love to have a timeline sketched out at the back of the book. If I should ever decide to re-read this book, I plan to make annotations and try to figure out a timeline myself.

You definitely need patience with this book. Interesting things happen and then you switch POV and…. something else happens and it‘s all a very loooong game….

But by Chapter 10 (yes, yes, almost 300 pages of set-up), things are starting to come together, the many characters are becoming familiar names and the plot picks up the pace.

————
Audiobook Part 3: 7 h 30 min (pages 377-574), Chapters 12-16, ★★★★☆
The characters are finally familiar and we are getting into the meat of the story.

————
Audiobook Part 4: 8 h 52 min (pages 575-806), Chapters 17-21, ★★★★☆
Chapter 18 was horrific! We are moving towards a climax… maybe… Besides the action I still enjoyed Ozzie‘s chapters the most.

————
Audiobook Part 5: 6 h 48 min (pages 807-988), Chapters 22-25, ★★★★☆
Wow, I finished! I thought this would never end. There was some light wrapping up of the status quo at the end, but I guess it would be a good strategy to have Judas Unchained ready to go! I pretty much continued with the audio straight away.

————
On the Marie Celeste of the Commonwealth universe: https://peterfhamilton.fandom.com/wik…
And the RL Mary Celeste: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Ce…

The Commonwealth, publication order:
https://www.goodreads.com/series/1085…

View all my reviews

Meh? Not sure…

Interference (Semiosis Duology, #2)Interference by Sue Burke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had trouble to remember the book title, whilst reading this. In my head I was reading Inheritance. You have to deal with what you were given, good or bad. That holds true for Karola from Earth as much as for the people on Pax.

I made an effort to finish Semiosis, because I liked the world-building so much. I wasn‘t a fan of the pacing or the tone. So I went into this with some trepidation. And it took me longer than usual to read the first two chapters. At which point I was pretty much done and could have gladly stopped reading.

I came to dislike the almost infantile tone of the communication between the characters and their internal thoughts. Why did they all sound as if they were a bit simple? No complex thought processes or critical thinking seemed to be present.

In Chapter 3 the new explorers from Earth arrived on Pax. Great opportunity to give the reader an external view of that society. I did not like the execution at all. The characters were not believable and bordered on caricatures. They had the emotional maturity and mental capacities of gnats. I almost DNFd right there and then!

Curiosity kept me going. I enjoyed chapters 4 and 5 a lot more. The chapter with Queen Thunderclap gave some nice insights into the societal structure of the glassmakers.

Chapter 5 was fun for its action and Stevland, my favourite character, finally showing up again a little more prominently.

The author shines when she goes into the scientific aspects of her story. Society, biology, cultural understanding and interaction. Writing believable, realistic characters is most definitely not her strength.

One of the biggest missed chances of this novel in my opinion is further exploration of Karola‘s character. And of the coral plain. I would really liked to have dived into that ecosystem more deeply.

Chapter 6, finally, was a Stevland chapter. And the longest chapter of the book. I liked it, but it also confused me. The story didn‘t gell for me, there were things that did not make sense.

The last chapter was was fun and the epilogue left the reader with interest in more.

Bottom line, it was allover the place. Some parts I actively disliked, sometimes I was bored, sometimes it was fun and I was fascinated. As a whole it was not a gripping read. I might pick up something else by the author, but she will not become an instant buy.

View all my reviews

Japan, anyone?

The Complete OkkoThe Complete Okko by Hub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cycle of Water

Okko the ronin heads a small group of demon hunters… Noburo, a mysterious giant who hides his face behind a red oni mask, and the whimsical monk Noshin, the saké lover with the power to summon and commune with the spirits of nature.

The young fisherman Tikku enlists the group’s help in finding his sister, the geisha Little Carp, who was kidnapped by pirates…

6-B0-B7-DC2-12-D6-4-E99-A06-E-1-C5-B2-A2-E0-AAA

The Cycle of Water, Part One:
Pretty cool. The beginning was confusing, but the plot has developed quite nicely and I like the very colourful artwork.

Ongoing…

View all my reviews

Gasp!

Ascender #5Ascender #5 by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well…. wow. That is a bitch of a cliffhanger. Plotting similar to issue #4, felt too short and was a little thin. Still exciting, emotional and a little shocking.

Bottomline for issue #1 to #5, very good stuff, very exciting. The art at times looked less exceptional than in Descender. Still very good though. The lettering was a little bold and 2D at times. Was that the same in Descender?

(Slightly spoilerish comments coming up…)

I do like the switch of theme. Descender was very clearly SF. Ascender is fantasy with SF elements.

I would have liked more world building—where did mother come from, what is the general look of the galaxy now, what is up with those vampires??? Will we see Eff again or is she lost forever? Waiting for the next collection aka volume 2, maybe it will shed some light on those questions…

★★★★½

View all my reviews