It‘s not just the thought that counts.

The Contingency (The Contingency War, #1)The Contingency by G.J. Ogden
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The writing:
Verbose, with overlong sentences. Everything explained truly well, including the obvious, which really takes the fun out of things. Repetitive. Juvenile humour. Overabundance of metaphors. Some grammatical blunders. The writing irritated me so much that I had a hard time immersing myself into the story.
With the plot twist in the middle of the book, the writing became tighter and more focussed for a while, but then wandered off again into over-explaining mode. It almost felt as if written by somebody else for a while. Alas, …

The characters:
Barely developed characters. Interchangeable and immature. Casey reminded me of Jar Jar Binks and was really annoying. The Hedalt remained blanks. In that case it would have been nice to get at least a little information. If the humans didn’t know what the Hedalt look like, why not say so? Did I miss something in the beginning?

The plot:
Light space opera. Not a lot of world building, very little backstory.
Nice twist in the middle. It took the tale into a more unusual direction and offered something new. The next major plot development after that was a bit too much too soon. It all needed more depth, there wasn‘t enough meat to it.
The epilogue (wasn‘t called that, but felt like it) was nice. The story idea was not bad and had its moments.
I wish the first half of the book had been only half or a third as long. As it was, the plotting felt uneven.

Would I recommend this or get it for a friend? No.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley as well as BookSirens, in exchange for an honest review, thank you! Sorry, I just didn‘t like this much.

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Anemone?

Maelstrom (Rifters, #2)Maelstrom by Peter Watts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The sequel to the first Rifters novel, Starfish. Difficult. Lenie Clarke comes to shore and with her the apocalypse, of a sort (two sorts, actually).

The first half of the book was confusing. Multiple viewpoints with different agendas, some of them of the artificial kind. I was pretty lost. Cyberpunk meets the apocalypse meets a revenge story and…. it was a mess. I skimmed some of the more indecipherable parts. I contemplated to DNF, but my curiosity kept me going. It was a case of „what the hell did I just read“, but it had its moments.

A plot finally coalesced about two-thirds into the book and it was pretty slim. This book is more about the noise than about the red thread. The ending was satisfying enough. I might even pick up the third book at some point.

★★¾☆☆

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Groundhog day

The Last Conversation (Forward collection)The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do not read any reviews beforehand. You will get spoiled.

A little creepy and a lot ominous. Psychological horror. Our protagonist wakes up blind, without memories, restrained to one room, with the embodied voice of a doctor telling him what to do. Slowly memories return.

Desperation comes to mind, especially when the story and its secret begin to unravel.

The audiobook narration was ok. So was the story overall.

★★★½☆

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May the Force be with you!

Descender Vol. 6: The Machine WarDescender Vol. 6: The Machine War by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The beginning of this last volume starts with major backstory. We find out, how the humans discovered the tech to start building bots, drones et cetera.

Switching back to the present day, the plot does not fully make sense to me. Why did machinekind warn humans ten years ago, but then not follow through? That‘s a fairly big plot hole right there. Regardless, it was a good volume.

I liked the ending. Was it a great ending? Did the story develop in a satisfying way? I am not actually sure. It all worked, loose ends were tied, there was suspense and excitement and sorrow, it definitely had its moments…

Excellent art.

P.S.: Did anyone else feel the reawakening of the Force?

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Pretty wild

The Wild Storm Vol. 1 (The Wild Storm 2017-, #1)The Wild Storm Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I like the art…

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I feel as if I am missing some previous issues or as if I jumped into the middle of an existing story arch. Apparently this is a relaunch of an older comic book series. I will have to investigate.

She definitely looks like a Predator…

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Good story with a well developed plot, believable characters, good world building. Suspenseful. I did not expect that. And very good artwork. I will definitely look for more work by Warren Ellis.

Some gore and blood. Quite a lot of blood and gore. Bodily fluids. The violence made me think of Lazarus.

Not absolutely sure who the bad guys really are. I do not quite trust the obvious bread crumbs. Angie is the obvious character to root for, but I also really like Michael Cray.

Next volume already downloaded.

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Eep! Close shave…

Salvation (Salvation Sequence #1)Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Update September 2019:
I just almost managed to accidentally delete the review for this DNF. Wow, phew… still here! However, I have absolutely no recollection of listening to this. I have another of his doorstoppers lined up as a buddy read for October. We see how that goes. And if I don‘t hate it, I will definitely have to give Salvation another try.

November 2018:
Putting this one on hold after listening to roughly 5 hours of the audiobook, which is about 140 pages.

I like Callum and Savi, but generally I do not care about the story. Not sure if my lack of interest is the book‘s fault or due to my usual atumnal reading slump. Last year was the same—the later in the year, the fewer pages I read. So, might be me! Or not, based on the comments of my reading buddies…. long, slow, plodding plot, not covering any new ground, etc.

Listening:
The narrator in this one here does not do a good job with women‘s voices or expressing emotions. I find his accents confusing as well.

I might listen a little further, I might now. For now banned to the DNF shelf.

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Try, try again…

ArkArk by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The audio did not work for me at all. I was bored from the beginning. It just rambled along, I looked in vain for a red thread or something to grab my interest. I listened to it a second time with half an ear this morning and then proceeded to skim the written word.

I think that did the trick. I still don‘t love this story, but I think reading this brings out the subtleties of the story much better than listening to it. I only caught the final twist when I read the words, crazily enough. I might have fallen asleep last night, listening to this.

Audio narration by Evan Rachel Wood, who appeared on my radar in the role of Queen Sophie-Anne on True Blood. She did ok. Relatively bland. She made no attempt to bring any of the characters alive by giving them different voices.

Random thoughts, whilst reading this:

Svalbard makes me think of dark elves. Not sure, who is to blame.

In case you are wondering:
From spectacular orchids to towering trees – 2018’s top new plant discoveries
https://www.theguardian.com/environme…

None of my orchids have soil. Most orchids grow on trees (epiphytic orchids), although some are terrestrial. Or do you call the substrate that is used for potted orchids soil as well in English?

Look up a photo of a mirror orchid, it is so cool!

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