Not a satisfying ending

BLAME! Vol. 6
by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I made it through this endless rambling mess. Ok, yes, some cool artwork. Empty, architectural landscapes. Indecipherable fights. Less and less plot after Volume #2.

As for the ending… You have got to be kidding me. Argh. I get it, I can see the red thread in retrospect. I wish the story had been told more coherently. So much pointless filler. Pretty to look at was not enough for me. I would have preferred a well told plot to go with it. If I had stopped after the first two volumes, it would probably have been a more satisfying experience.


Still wandering the Megastructure

BLAME! Vol. 5
by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

::LOG.43:: Provisional Safeguards ::003::
We‘re having a flashback! 


Dhomochevsky seems to be here to stay.

::LOG.44:: Inside the Megastructure ::037::
Finally a fight scene that I followed easily, that had a great dynamic and was very well drawn.


::LOG.45:: Compound Dynamic Particles ::061::
Connecting the dots…

::LOG.46:: Temporary Access Authentication ::091::
Sorting out stuff, going places…

::LOG.47:: Infiltration ::121::
Let‘s call this the Pac-Man-Chapter…


Plenty of monsters in this one. Good action.

::LOG.48:: Impulse ::151::
::LOG.49:: Log 9 ::185::
Skocking things happening…

::LOG.50:: Distant ::215::


Good artwork, some very nice panels…. plot? Hm. Speculative. Optional. Erratic.

::LOG.51:: Parallel Battery Storage Cluster ::245::
::LOG.52:: The One Who Calls ::275::
And we are walking again. Lots of stairs. And a very nice cityscape. Not enough of those in this volume!


::LOG.53:: Omissions ::293::
::LOG.54:: Captors ::325::
That was a pretty unsatisfactory ending. 

In total very little storytelling. An almost plotless affair with very little text. World building in this volume—also not so much. This volume lives through its artwork. Mostly good, sometimes great. One more volume to come. Really wondering how this will all tie up.

Currently reading…

So, still a slow month… I am currently reading:

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint. One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers. But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.

From the GR blurb

I am currently in chapter two. I picked this up last week, but quickly realized that I wasn‘t in the mood and read some Johnlock fanfiction instead. I restarted again last night and this time around like it! My first thought was that this was inspired by China, but I just adjusted that thought to Korea, after having come across a Kimchi pot…

I looked up the author‘s website and: 

It’s about a nonbinary painter teaming up with a pacifist mecha dragon against an evil empire (as one does), and it takes place in a magical version of Korea during the Japanese occupation.

Which reminds me that I also still have to finish this as well:

From the incredible imagination of Hugo- and Arthur C. Clarke-nominated author Yoon Ha Lee comes a collection of stories set in the world of the best-selling Ninefox Gambit. Showcasing Lee’s extraordinary imagination, this collection takes you to the very beginnings of the hexarchate’s history and reveals new never-before-seen stories.

From the GR blurb

So far I have read one story and some snippets. Good. And no, I have not read Ninefox Gambit yet. Wrong order, I know. I have read one other short story in this setting before and liked it as well. So I guess eventually I will read that series.

I received these free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you! I am late again, I know, I know….

#PhoenixExtravagant #HexarchateStories #NetGalley

Fairly conventional enemies-to-lovers

Conventionally Yours (True Colors, #1)
by Annabeth Albert (Goodreads Author) 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Our main characters Conrad and Alden go on a road trip to a gaming convention. Both of them are desperate to win at the tournament taking place there, for a variety of reasons.

Obviously they don‘t like each other, so we have plenty of strife and arguments on the way. And, rather expectedly, their animosity undergoes a change during the trip.

Chapter POVs alternated between our two main characters, with some slight overlap. Nicely done, but sometimes I had to check back to the chapter headings, to remind myself whose chapter I was reading.

The first chapters did not endear either of the main characters to me. Once the reasons for their desperate wishes to win the tournament got clearer, they became more likable. But I never became a fan of either of them or their blooming romance. 

The story didn‘t do much for me. The road trip was a nice idea, but was pretty dull. Their soul searching was pretty bland as well. Predictable, with a relatively uneventful plot. It wasn‘t boring, but it never grabbed me either. I skimmed heavily during the middle bit, because I simply didn‘t care what happened. I liked the last 30% at the convention. Sadly, the ending felt rushed.

I am giving this New Adult enemies-to-lovers M/M romance the benefit of the doubt, rounding it up to three stars.

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

Well, not a lot of reading actually…

After a weeklong holiday I have barely read anything this week. A few pages at night in bed, that‘s it. Busy, busy, busy… I did however just add a buddy read to my list for next year…

With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

Sounds like fun, right? The fake-relationship trope is one of my favourites anyway. So, added to the pile… yes, yes, I didn‘t want to plan (many) buddy reads next year or buy new books. Sigh.

Oh, my prediction… they marry at the end! Let‘s see…

Blast from the past

I read this one in 2016 and I was not amused…

Death’s Hand (Descent, #1)
by S.M. Reine (Goodreads Author) 

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The ever changing timeline in the beginning was confusing. Elise was not a likeable character. The author didn’t explain any of the demons or other working of her world. Building thereof, not much.

The writing didn’t seem so bad early on, but the story was mostly meh for me. James was more likeable than Elise, but I did not connect with either of them and the plot never grabbed me.

The first and only time in this book that I thoroughly enjoy the action, one of the sidekicks was in a fight scene. How can that be? 

Around the middle of the book my interest actually picked up a little and I thought, this might not turn out so bad after all! And right after that the writing and the story crashed so badly that I considered 1-starring this silly thing.

Have I mentioned the lack of world building? I actually looked up demon names on Wikipedia, because not a thing is explained. Not. A. Thing. World building: Zero!

The more I read, the more the writing irritated me. Short, choppy sentences, followed by verbose exaggerations. Stating the obvious. Loose plot ends. And some of the descriptions were plainly silly. The writing was actually getting worse as I got closer to the end of the book.

And there are too many editing mistakes in the ebook, mostly missing words.

By the time the story started to build up towards the finale, I couldn’t WAIT to be done. I nearly rage-quit two chapters before the end. If I could, I would go back to rage quit now!

I couldn’t have cared less, if one of the fiends or zombies had eaten Elise. How can someone so strong and powerful (where did that power come from all of a sudden?) suck so much at fighting and get beaten so often and still win the war?

And I really don’t care if Elise turns out to be the daughter of the devil. Whatever. You know what? 1 star it is!

Where is Aquaman, when you need him?

Fathom Vol. 1 #0
by Michael Layne Turner,  Joe Weems (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This teaser is not uninteresting. Aspen, the main character, has a very weird body though. Barbie with a surfboard. Nobody stands like that on a beach… plus she doesn’t seem too bright, considering her first scuba lesson. Regardless, the artwork is not bad, the story has potential. 

Fathom Vol. 2 #0
by J.T. Krul (Goodreads Author),  Koi Turnbull (Illustrator),  Jason Gorder (Illustrator) 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I am reading these out of order, so I am missing a lot of information. Spoilers from here…

The Blue are the good underwater guys and the baddies are the Black, that one is easy enough. Aspen from the first issue I read did not make an appearance, but some flyboy, that seems to be her love interest. And he seems to serve on an aircraft carrier that is led by the human general, who seems to be committed to exterminating the underwater people. Ok then.

The artwork is just ok. The anatomical details are a little wonky. There is a lot of text in really ugly text boxes. I‘ll give this another few issues…

Fathom Vol. 2: Beginnings
by J.T. Krul (Goodreads Author),  Michael Layne Turner,  Koi Turnbull (Illustrator),  Jason Gorder (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Very short look at where Aspen came from and a brief recount why she ended up on that cruise ship. 

The artwork was good in this one.

More November reading…

Conventionally Yours (True Colors, #1) by Annabeth Albert

When two “big name fans” go head-to-head at a convention, love isn’t the only thing at stake. Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control. Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.

When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way—even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

The first chapters have not endeared either of the main characters to me yet. Chapter POVs alternated between Conrad and Alden. We‘ll see how that turns out, I am a quarter into the book… RTC!

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

November reading

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

A brand new space opera on an epic scale from the New York Times bestselling author of a beloved YA fantasy series.

I read the first three books of The Inheritance Cycle and liked them well enough. The movie, well… By the time the fourth book was published, I had started to actively avoid YA. So I never picked it up. Should I?

So, the much hyped adult SF novel by Paolini… All my reading buddies seemed to get a copy and those that read it were full of praise. I wasn‘t really all that interested, but I had that pesky Audible credit I wanted to get rid of… over 32 hours? Oh my Goodness… 

Yes, I did get it anyhow. Two hours into it I am thinking Alien (Weyland, Henriksen, Bishop) and most prominently Prometheus (you have to find out for yourself). Not so bad so far.

The runt of the litter saves the day

The White Dragon (Pern, #3)
by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I my memory this is my favourite Pern book, closely followed by the Haperhall books. There is a lot more going on than I remembered. Or that I thought of happening in another book of the series. This is definitely a worthwhile refresher.

We finally get to read more about my favourite dragon Ruth and about a ton of fire-lizards. Plus there is adventure, a conspiracy and plenty of exploring of the Southern continent and the past. Jaxom has to come to terms with his double role of Lord Holder and Dragonrider. Although he isn‘t allowed to be either and chafes at the restrictions put upon him. In the meantime Ruth grows and matures in unexpected ways. 

F‘lar and Lessa are in the sidelines in this storyline and we get to see more of the characters from the Harperhall novels. Which makes me wonder why this book was put into a collected edition with the first two books of the series, although the three Harperhall novels are set before it chronologically. But I guess this way you come full circle with all of the issues that are raised in Dragonflight and Dragonquest and the various plotlines are tied up neatly.

McCaffrey is still not very good at writing love scenes in this and we are still dealing with antiquated gender roles. But then, this is set in a medieval, feudal society, so that actually fits. The women do all the cooking and act as servants to the men, the actual servants are faceless drudges (I always deeply disliked that term), the farmers are beholden to their lords and the droit-de-seigneur is alive and well. Jaxom‘s dealings with Corana are not stellar, but he is a product of the society he grew up in.

Is this still my favourite? I think it is neck to neck with Dragonquest, which has a more focussed and streamlined plot. The White Dragon is longer and more meandering, with several highpoints. This could have easily been several novellas, stuck together.


Here is the chronological order of the current timeline and the books I plan to re-read:

Dragonflight — re-read in September 2020 
Dragonquest — re-read in October 2020

Dragonsong —> Harperhall, plan to read after White Dragon
Dragonsinger —> Harperhall, dito
Dragondrums —> Harperhall, dito

The Renegades of Pern — I might skip this one, it doesn‘t sound essential to the main plotline.
The White Dragon — re-read in November 2020
All The Weyrs of Pern
The Dolphins of Pern
The Skies of Pern

I never before realized that the Harperhall books are aimed at a different age group, aka YA. None of those books released in the years 2000+ are part of my planned read above. I‘ll decide after reading those, if I will pick up the newer offerings, co-written with Todd McCaffrey (set before Dragonflight).

What I wrote in 2013:

My all-time-favourite Pern novel. The ultimate underdogs of Pern. The rider should never have become a rider and the little dragon was a discard from the get-go. So they stick it to all of them and show the finger to those snobby other riders, dragons and assorted nobility…