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.


View all my reviews

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…

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!

View all my reviews

And an overly hot apocalypse…

Perihelion SummerPerihelion Summer by Greg Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“People have had a couple of years to stockpile whatever they wanted, even if they thought the chance of anything happening was minuscule. The only ones who haven’t done that are temperamentally incapable of entertaining the possibility of disaster, and nothing they’ve heard in the last few days is going to change their minds.”

A third into this short novel (slightly overlong novella?) things haven’t changed so dramatically yet. And the old maps still work perfectly. Or rather, the frog is boiling so slowly that it hasn‘t noticed yet. I had expected something a lot more dramatic.

By the middle of the book things have started to heat up. Literally.

The world building is ok, the characters are mostly exchangeable. The most confusing thing for me as a European were the upside down seasons—the story is set south of the equator.

It was ok. It probably would have profited from having a few more pages.

And the ending was not satisfying. I actually flipped back a page, to see if I had missed something.

View all my reviews

Pretty chilled apocalypse

Moon of the Crusted SnowMoon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Decided to get the audio. The narrator is an Aboriginal Canadian, same as the author. The first few chapters were odd, as he has an unusual way to emphasize his sentences.

The story starts slowly… No power in the reservation, the male MCs talking about hunting, slow build-up… I really wanted to try some moose meat one hour into the audio!

The plot is pretty straight forward and not terribly suspenseful. It’s about the community and how it deals with the lack of power and the issues following that. It does not really explore the situation deeply. The dream sequences had me hoping for something more exciting. Besides the slightly unusual setting, there is nothing here that hasn‘t been covered before by similar stories. Predictable. Clichéed.

Fairly flat and stereotypical characters. Towards the end I still struggled to tell some of them apart.

It was ok. I liked it. I am not rushing to get more by this author. The audio narration grew on me.

Why Waubgeshig Rice wrote a dystopian novel about the collapse of society from an Indigenous perspective…

View all my reviews

More Naomi Kritzer

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #126)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe” by Naomi Kritzer

“I ran out of gas in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, just two hundred miles short of Pierre, my goal. Pierre, South Dakota, I mean, I wasn’t trying to get to someone named Pierre. I was trying to get to my parents, and Pierre was where they lived. I thought maybe, given that the world was probably ending in the next twenty-four hours, they’d want to talk to me.“

End of the World. Nothing else needed to make me read this. Nice. Relationships, family, should you fulfill the usual expectations, just because it‘s the done thing?

Can be found for free here:…

About the Arecibo Oberservatory:…

Internal soundtrack, while listening to the podcast: GoldenEye by Tina Turner (because of the Arecibo Observatory—watch the movie, if you haven‘t yet, it‘s great).

Quirky podcast. At one point she took a break to drink something. That was a first!

View all my reviews

The end

No Flight Without the Shatter: A OriginalNo Flight Without the Shatter: A Original by Brooke Bolander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very different to the last two stories I read by her. Apocalyptic, end of the world. A requiem for all the species we extinguished with our greed and incomprehension. We meet the Dodo and the Tasmanian Devil and other long gone animals. One human is there to witness it all, till the bitter end. And like she said, „it‘s…. all so…. dumb.“

Interesting. Not really my kind of thing, but full of deeper meaning, messages between the lines, maybe a little preachy. True, though. We just don‘t listen.

Here to be found for free:…

Author‘s webpage:

View all my reviews

The acpocalypse can be bland, too

Drop by Drop (Step by Step #1)Drop by Drop by Morgan Llywelyn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“In this first book in the Step By Step trilogy, global catastrophe occurs as all plastic mysteriously liquefies. All the small components making many technologies possible—navigation systems, communications, medical equipment—fail.“

A great premise with potential for lots of catastrophic scenes and society as we know it breaking down spectacularly. Alas, the apocalypse unfolds very slowly, over a longer period of time and slowly dissolving bits and pieces. Not necessarily a bad thing, albeit lacking suspense.

It is told from the changing view of a group of people all living in the same town. Unfortunately, it is done by showing instead of telling and making the reader live through what happens. By the middle of the book that apocalypse is picking up speed and things get considerably worse—sadly lots of it in the off. That continues to the end of the story—any climactic event, any high point of the story happens in the background and the reader is treated to a bland recap of events. Very unsatisfying.

There is not a lot of world building in general and some things simply aren‘t explained enough, do not really make sense or the author actually contradicts herself.

On top of that it is a book full of some very unlikeable people. The characters are all very stereotypical and although this is set in the near future, they are all white, middle class, old-fashioned people with dated attitudes. We have a token black couple and a another couple with an alternative lifestyle, that shows up maybe twice. The women all have about two brain cells between them. Well, Nell actually develops into an almost likeable and not too stupid person by the end.

Worst of all, this book full of the patriarchal world of the last century was written by a woman. Albeit an over 80 years old one. And that certainly shows in the dated writing with its old-fashioned attitudes.

I did not actively dislike the story, despite my misgivings it was pretty readable. However, it is very unlikely that I will read the rest of this trilogy or pick up something else by the author.

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

View all my reviews

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere #1)The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent. Loved the stroy, although it depressed the hell out of me at times. The audiobook was extremely well done as well.

The main character waking up in a hospital and figuring out that the world has ended is a pretty tired idea by now. Nonetheless, the book started on full throttle and was great from the get-go. And horrific. By chapter three I had goosebumps allover and was close to crying. The story had an episodic feel to it, as it follows the midwife on her trip across the country, chronicling her encounters with various other survivors. Very graphic, with a realistic feel to it.

From chapter eight onwards there are other POVs strewn in, which I found a little jarring at first. But they give a good overview of the fates of some of the people she meets on her way and of the world in general.

The next book in the series sounds like a pretty different animal, I am not sure if I will pick it up. But this was definitely one of the best books I have read (listend) to this year.

The narrator did a smashing job. The various characters have very distinct voices and she brings a lot of emotions into it. I would definitely get other books narrated by her.

View all my reviews