And the void is staring back at you…

Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture, #2) by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Author), Sophie Aldred (Narrator)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The sequel and middle book. I really liked Shards of Earth, it was one of my favourites of last year and a great adventure yarn of a misfit crew and found family. Ambitious space opera. 

I struggled to stay focused though. So many characters, ships, planets, alien races and concepts. And there seems to be so much filler and endless talking. I think picking the audiobook was the wrong choice in this case. 

The audiobook narration is well done, if slightly over the top and a little grating at times. The complex and very dense story had me constantly struggling to keep everybody and everything straight. My mind kept wandering off, waiting for some action and plot progression.

So, great concept, world building, plot and well-fleshed out, likeable characters, but the execution of this story just didn‘t captivate me. I had to make an effort to make it to the end, it was a slog. I would pick up another book in the series though, when it is published, to get closure on all those unresolved plotlines.

My next audiobook is:

Dead Silence (Audiobook) by S.A. Barnes

Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.

From the book blurb

Colourful silliness

I Hate Fairyland #1 by Skottie YoungJean-François Beaulieu (Illustrator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Gertrude is tossed into Fairyland and has to find the key to get out again. Colourful silliness with a lot of swearing and blood. Shrooms are digested, stars are killed and it‘s all rather pointless in an over-the-top fashion. Nice artwork.

Blast from the past, a comic series from the 70s…

Yoko Tsuno: TWO-IN-ONE: Unterirdische Begegnung / Die Orgel des Teufels
by Roger LeloupHarald Sachse (Translator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two issues collected in one softcover edition, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the German comics publisher Carlsen, translated into German from the original French.

Roger Leloup is a Belgian comic strip artist, novelist, and a former collaborator of Hergé, for whom he created drawings for The Adventures of Tintin. He is most famous for the Yoko Tsuno comic series, which was first published in 1970. (info transcribed from Wikipedia)

The first issue, Yoko tsuno le trio de l’etrange (CROSS OVER, was published in 1972. Yoko Tsuno and her colleagues get sucked into an underground world while scuba diving and meet aliens living in a subterranean colony. It‘s an SF adventure story with quite a lot of action and conflict. The story was not my cup of tea, I skimmed through the last few pages.

The second issue in this collection is L’Orgue du diable, first published in 1973. Katz Castle, a real castle towering above the river Rhine, and its surroundings are the place of action for this one. This part of the Rhine Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I have come past this particular stretch by train many times, trying to catch a glimpse of the Lorelei from my train window. The first frame of this comic gives a realistic view of the setting…

(Photo at the top taken from Wikipedia)

Here is the text of Heinrich Heine‘s poem Die Lorelei with an English translation:
https://www.ogn.ox.ac.uk/sites/defaul…

Anyway, back to Yoko Tsuno! Another mystery, this time a less speculative story, about a massiv pipe organ. I liked the artwork depicting real settings. But generally, as mentioned above already, this type of comic is not really my thing. Not bad, but I won‘t pick up any other issues of this series.

Mini holiday

I‘m at a wellness hotel with a friend. We arrived yesterday and will stay till Tuesday. The weather is beautiful, so chances are high that we will be doing things that prevent me from reading. Saying that, I enjoyed listening to Eyes of the Void for a bit this morning, so who knows!

Currently reading…

The Queen of the Damned: The Third Book in The Vampire Chronicles
by Anne Rice

The next book in my re-read of the Vampire Chronicles. I‘m in chapter 3, on page 75 of 573 pages. I‘ve been out a lot with friends this week again, so things are progressing slowly.

I did also rewatch the movie of the same name this week and can honestly say that it is really bad. It wasn‘t quite this. bad in my memory. Bad acting, bad directing, bad accents and I didn‘t feel the presumed romance at all. I am enjoying the book so far though. Let‘s see how much I remember of this one.

On the plus side I got a letter from my brother today and it had a really nice magnetic bookmark in it. Thank you, brother!

I am trying to buy a little less from Amazon and instead buy more local and/or second hand. So while I still bought this paperback online, I did buy it second hand from a German company. Local-ish, no new trees had to die, but still bad for my CO2 footprint. You win some, you loose some. The book was published in 1988, my edition is from 1990. It‘s in pretty good shape for being 32 years old. The edges are a bit scuffed, but the spine is not cracked. It is clean and has this nice “old book“ smell. The print is smallish, but ok.

So, Friday, last workday of the week, yay! No plans for tonight, so I might actually get some decent reading in. Saturday is Free Comic Day here, so I will take a trip to the big bookstore in next town over and see if there is anything there that tempts me. Or maybe I should pick something that I wouldn‘t normally choose…

It’s not a date 

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six 

I will update this anthology as I go along…

– YOUR BOYFRIEND EXPERIENCE by James Patrick Kelly — Dak’s boyfriend Jin asks him to go on a date with a playbot that Jin designed. I wouldn‘t call this romance, although Dak‘s relationship with Jin plays a major part in the story. It‘s more about Dak‘s self-discovery with the help of an AI. He ends up in a difficult position. 
The ending had a very ominous and creepy vibe for me. I could imagine this turning into a horror scenario, but that‘s just my imagination running wild, I think. Good plotting and pacing, well developed characters for a short story. Well done. ★★★★★

– LONE PUPPETEER OF A SLEEPING CITY by Arula Ratnakar — probably not bad, but I couldn‘t work up any interest for the story. ★★☆☆☆

Holy timeline!

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Holy timeline! There are two of them, right from the start. Or is that one timeline plus flashbacks? Three timelines? And four POVs. But it all makes perfect sense, trust me. There are smugglers and mathematical and physical geniuses, undercover activists, a war in space, aliens, genetic modification, love, heists and more. That‘s all I am going to give away, read the blurb if you want more! Anything else would diminish the fun of finding it out by yourself!

“We could even be completely outside the flow of time.“

You don‘t say! Smart idea to tell the story by jumping back in time by increments and slowly revealing pertinent information to the reader for consecutive chapters. With the odd surprising twist strewn in.

Jereth‘s shaking hands showed up a bit too often for my taste. Other than that I was quite happy with the writing, although I would have preferred more action and faster pacing, especially towards the end. Some bits could have done with less telling and more showing. 

There was quite a lot of navel gazing, which I tend to dislike, but here it fit nicely into the plot and was an integral part of the story telling. The characters were believable, distinct and varied.

Great concept, a love of history and screwy timeline shenanigans. No idea if the science was solid, it worked for me. Satisfying ending with a nice plot bunny. As a debut novel this is excellent.

There are two Q&As about the book on the authors‘s blog here: https://www.renhutchings.com/blog

I would read more by the author and recommend or gift this to others.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Rebellion Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.