Exploring the Megastructure

BLAME! Vol. 4
by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A lot of fighting, where I struggled to understand what was going on. Very stylish artwork, minimalistic plot. Familiar looking images, that I can‘t quite name. I really like the larger panels. Great views, almost 3D. The little plot we get is good. 

I was pretty confused for long stretches of this volume. I am oscillating between 3 and 4 stars. Benefit of the doubt?

Here is my chapter-by-chapter-not-a-review…

::LOG.31:: Sanakan and Cibo ::003::

No idea. Fighting.

::LOG.32:: Vibrations ::029::

Yep, more fighting.

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::LOG.33:: Collapse ::057::

Um… ok? Very stylish, no substance. Can be nice, but I wouldn‘t mind a little more here or there. 

::LOG.34:: Meltdown ::087::

Plot! Survivors having a conversation, yay! This chapter I liked. The disintegrating core reminded me of something, but I can‘t recall what…

::LOG.35:: Annihilated ::119::

Kyrii is not really vital to this volume so far. Cibo is the more central character. I like her, with her augmentations she is more interesting that monosyllabic Kyrii.

::LOG.36:: Beautiful Life ::149::

Just wrote that and a few pages later Kyrii uttered two full sentences! 😝 

I like the panels the most where we get vistas of large open spaces with massive structures or long walkways and ladders. Despite the otherwise very two-dimensional sketches, those large panels always have a lot of depth and grip to them.

::LOG.37:: Unofficial Megastructure ::177::

Ok, that was odd. Let‘s call it the travel chapter…

::LOG.38:: The Warehouse ::199::

2 million hours later? That‘s a new one! I was wondering who the heck that was.
Excellent artwork and good story in this one. This was really good. Mysterious new characters.

::LOG.39:: Type 1 Unknown Criticality Weapon ::239::

Started well, but then dissolved into another confusing fight scene.

::LOG.40:: Captured ::269::
::LOG.41:: Anti-Infiltration Electronic Space ::301::

Hm. Fish!? Cibo in action… weird blond guy is interesting. Plot, thank you!

::LOG.42:: Internal Fissures In The Megastructure ::335::

Kyrii is in somewhat yucky circumstances at the beginning of this one.
Otherwise that was a very short chapter with a very interesting ending.

Onwards to volume 5!

Still riding…

Dragonquest (Pern, #2)
by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first re-read since being a young adult. I went into Dragonquest with slight apprehension. I never much liked the drama with the Oldtimers and Kylara always grated. But we also get fire-lizards! Love them! Want one! I didn‘t remember that they show up for the first time in Dragonquest. My memory had placed them securely with Menolly and the Harperhall trilogy…

The language feels a little dated sometimes, however that feeling disappeared as I delved deeper into the story. 

The gender roles are old-fashioned. But I think that is largely on purpose and there are some indications that it could or should be different. There are some hints at non-normative pairings, because what do you do when you ride a green dragon, right?

Characters in general are not explored much emotionally. The developing romance between Brekke and F‘nor delves a little deeper and I enjoyed that part. Writing sex scenes is not something that McCaffrey did well, even for the non-graphic variety.

The dragons feel more real to me than they appeared to be in my memory, with more pronounced personalities and intelligence. 

In this one they find some more ancient tech. As a teenager I found that confusing. And now I find it surprising that they just grab any old tech they find and use it. As if it was perfectly normal to live in a quasi feudal, medieval society, find a microscope or a telescope, figure out how works and just use it. If they regressed in their technological level, wouldn‘t that rather be like magic and very unsettling for them? How can they be at the level they are and then back-engineer electrical wiring, etc.? 

Anyway, I ended up enjoying this book very much, more than Dragonflight. Onwards to The White Dragon!

P.S.: I am filing this under Fantasy. It‘s a tough one though, because there is talk about other planets, traveling there, we discover tech from the colonists that settled our planet, however—this is very much a feudal society. Hm.

Vampires in Mexico City

I listened to this audiobook in 2017 and did not post my review here for some reason. So, this is what I thought…

Certain Dark Things
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Goodreads Author) 

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Very difficult for me to review. I did not really enjoy this book. The storyline was very one-dimensional and I found the telling of it boring. The idea of the various vampire species was a good one, though.

The character development was ok, although some of the main characters were wasted in the end and did not get the attention they deserved. On top of that, I did not like any of the characters. Ana was not bad and Bernardino was interesting, but Atl and Domingo did not grow on me at all. The romance, if that is what it was supposed to be, lacked all chemistry.

The ending was not satisfying either. The final scenes leading up to it had some good action, but I would have wished a different outcome. 

Would I get the next book, if there is one? Most likely not.

The Siege of Ravenna

No, not the real one. The other one…

Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild
by Marjorie M. Liu (Goodreads Author),  Sana Takeda (Artist) 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We are back in Constantine, briefly… at the beginning of each chapter. Finally we are being told what really happened six years ago, in very small doses.

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Back to present day: War is about to break out! The siege of a city looms in the distance. There is quite a lot of bloodshed eventually and some gruesome scenes. 

Maika shows her true colours and does what needs to be done. Consequences be damned. However, she is barely there through large stretches of this volume.

Chapter #27 has a very pretty cover!

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Several good scenes with Kippa. Ominous! And the ending of that chapter was… a flashback? Very strange.

The witches are pretty and creepy. I like how these sister-soldiers are drawn and coloured. Quite a lot happens in chapter #28. Not everything is immediately clear and it feels a little rushed after all the slow build-up of the previous three chapters.

Kippa as central figure on the cover of chapter #29 is fitting — she is the one making this volume shine. The artwork of the flashback to Constantine at the beginning of this chapter is outstanding, with really great panels.

My favourite is probably the flashback at the start of chapter #30 — nice! Our characters are coming full circle… A great scene, very emotionally powerful. And great artwork.

The plot thickens! Some interesting revelations in the last chapter. We keep on going…

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I realize that I am not really talking about the story itself or the ongoing struggles of our characters. But I really do not want to give anything away. If you‘re a fan, you know the broad strokes and themes anyway. And if you are new to this series, go away and read the first volume! 🙂

Playlist:
– Edwin Starr, War (what is it good for)

On gossamer wings…

Dragonquest (Pern, #2)
by Anne McCaffrey

My first re-read since being a young adult. The language feels a little dated now and the gender roles are very old-fashioned. Characters in general are not very deeply explored emotionally. But still fun to read.

I just finished Chapter IV.

I went into Dragonquest with slight apprehension. I never much liked the drama with the Oldtimers and Kylara always grated. But we also get  fire-lizards! Love them! Want one! I didn‘t remember that they show up for the first time in Dragonquest. My memory had placed them securely with Menolly and the Harperhall trilogy… Now that they showed up I can‘t wait to dive into the next chapter…

This future is not for me

The Ministry for the Future: A Novel
by Kim Stanley Robinson

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This might be about great big ideas, but without a decent narrative or memorable, well-developed characters I simply don‘t care. If I want to read essays about possible solutions for climate change, I do that. And if I want to dive into blockchain or speculate about economics and virtual currencies, I talk to my colleagues at work. Throwing in the odd chapter with minuscule plot and barely there characters doesn‘t make this a readable novel for me. 

Mary and Frank were not bad and I liked the Antarctic setting, there just wasn‘t enough of all that. Hence, boredom. I started skimming a third into the book and finally DNFd at 56%. Not for me.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

Poem a day

Shakespeare’s Sonnets
by William Shakespeare

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sir Patrick Stewart, lovely man, read Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram, one a day, starting in March 2020. It took a while. It was lovely to listen to his gorgeous voice and very relaxing. He must be the most adored man in social media. 

I did not listen to him daily, but rather had a peek now and then. I liked that Jonathan Frakes checked in one day and read a sonnet, too. And Ian McKellen visited for SirPatStew‘s 80st birthday.

I definitely need to revisit this at some point, as I haven‘t read or listened to enough of these sonnets. WIP.

Aftermath…

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory (The Murderbot Diaries #4.5)
by Martha Wells (Goodreads Author) 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Takes place before Network Effect. I had to look that up, because I honestly remember little of the novellas or the novel. High time for a re-read, apparently.

It feels unfinished. Just a small plot bunny with some editing mistakes. But it was nice. I liked it. Told from Mensah‘s POV, seeing Murderbot from the outside, but really struggling with her internal landscape after the events of the last novella. Unusual! For fans…

Can be found here: https://www.shortstory.club/assets/ma…