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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Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That Will Improve and/or Ruin EverythingSoonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That Will Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, finally getting round to this… not really…. my NetGalley version only consists of the introduction and the first two chapters: How to get into space cheaply and asteroid mining. Once I realized that, I mostly skimmed and just perused a bit here and there.

Entertaining, amusing style, that borders on slightly silly. Amusing, very simple comic strips—I recommend reading the ebook version on something that allows colour. Easy to understand explanations of complex topics. Space elevators, reusable rockets, Elon Musk and the odd Star Trek joke make an appearance.

It‘s ok, if you are looking for something light to flick through, when you have a few minutes to spare. Coffee table reading, mostly decorative.

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

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Flora does not flower for me

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere, #3)The Book of Flora by Meg Elison
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

„Let’s see what I can grow into, see how long it takes me to reach the light.“

The first three chapters were not an easy read. First Flora‘s pretty horrible childhood and then Ommun and Alma—I am not a fan of her. This book was fighting an uphill battle to make me like it from the start.

Reading this back to back with Book of Etta would probably have work well. I struggled to place everybody, as it was a while since I read Etta and the author made no effort to explain things.

After picking this up and putting it down again for 3 weeks and not even making it halfway, I declare defeat. I do not like any of the characters. I don‘t care what happens next. I don‘t like the plot, it just doesn‘t work for me. I can‘t put my finger on why it doesn‘t. Maybe it‘s me. The first two books got 5 stars each from me. Perhaps I expected too much. I don‘t know, was the plot too aimless? The characters all remained very one-dimensional as well. How can the first book be so great and this one…. not.

DNF at 43%, chapter 18.

I received this free e-copy from 47North via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you! And sorry.

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Don‘t bother

The Taste of Different Dimensions: 15 Fantasy Tales from a Master StorytellerThe Taste of Different Dimensions: 15 Fantasy Tales from a Master Storyteller by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first story is an utterly forgettable piece about genies and the classic three wishes gone slightly wrong.
The second story is about dreams, what is real, how do our dreams affect our reality, how do I tell the difference… also nothing exciting.
Halfway through the third story I decided that this isn‘t doing much for me. So, DNF at 22%.
I am also not happy how women are portrayed. It feels a bit dated. Actually, the entirety of what I read felt dated, which is par for the course for a 70-year old author, I guess… And a bit like the author spooled off something by rote. Not sure why he bothered.

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

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Space Opera at its best

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very, very good. Great concepts, excellent character development, great dialogues, humour, emotional depth…

“Ambassador Dzmare,“ he said, „welcome to the Jewel of the World. A pleasure.“

Mahit, a very green-behind-the-ears ambassador, comes to the capital of the empire that might have designs on her home, Lsel Station. This is what she yearned for, but it‘s not entirely what it was supposed to be. And things don‘t go as planned.

After the first two chapters this made me think of Ann Leckie‘s Imperial Radch and Cherryh‘s Foreigner. Loved the first, was bored silly by the second and never got past the first book. I am reconsidering that now.

I like Mahit and how this world is slowly revealed to her and the reader. The character building is excellent. The imago lines are a fascinating concept.

There is a lot more talking and showing than doing, which normally results in me not liking a book much. But this was excellent. It took me quite a while to get through this, because it was pretty dense, but in the end I truly loved it. I can‘t wait to find out what will happen to my new best friends in the next book, A Desolation Called Peace.

You can call me ThirtyOne Adaptation!

https://www.torforgeblog.com/2019/03/…

P.S.: This could be fun for poetry lovers. And Sarah Gailey, Ann Leckie and Martha Wells 5-starred it on Goodreads. High praise indeed. Recommended.

Author‘s website: https://www.arkadymartine.net

Review on Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/s…

And if you liked this, check out https://www.tor.com/2019/04/03/7-spac…

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

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The Walking Mutant Trees

Green Class - Volume 1 - PandemicGreen Class – Volume 1 – Pandemic by Jérôme Hamon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Feels a bit like a YA version of Walking Dead, with a World War Z beginning. Instead of zombies we get a kind of mad, mutated tree people.

I liked the artwork—nice colouring, good sketchwork. Very nice sketchbook at the end.

The story is pretty wordy and in general didn‘t do much for me. It didn‘t hold many surprises. However, that‘s just me. If you like the story, this could be a fabulous read for you. This has potential.

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

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New planes of existence

Dichronauts

Dichronauts by Greg Egan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Symbionts on a planet with a different set of dimensions and shaped as an hyperboloid.

A somewhat human body and a leech-like creature, cohabiting and sharing their life. How do you decide the direction of your life, how do you choose your profession, your partners…. who gives in, who takes precedence, what happens in case of irreconcilable differences? Fascinating.

The book is split in several parts, each part of the book dealing with a distinct section of plot. Part One did a nice job of explaining the tensions between the cities competing for resources and the possible societal conflicts, caused by the symbiotic relationships of its inhabitants. And the next parts… well, you‘ll have to find out for yourself.

The tricky part in this book is the planet and its physics. Because of the way it‘s shaped, nothing works as you would expect. I really struggled to picture this world and its inhabitants. I am not sure if it‘s me lacking imagination or if the author did a poor job of explaining it. Or did he do a deliberate job of leaving blanks, to challenge the readers to figure it out by themselves?

It took me over half of the book to even realize that the walkers do not have symmetrical bodies (I think?). I understood that they were shaped differently, with restricted options of movement and a different visual system, but I could not for the life of me picture them for most of the book. Not sure I have the right visual even now, after finishing.

Very, very imginative and pretty much a mystery to me. Without the book blurb I would have been lost in the beginning. Minor degrees in physics, math, astronomy and mechanical engineering might have helped. At one point I started reading up on orbital planes, torque and Euler‘s theorem of rotation. And I looked up Egan‘s explanations as well: http://www.gregegan.net/DICHRONAUTS/0…
He also explains the physics at the end of this book.

I got so occupied with trying to understand the physics of this world, that the plot took a backseat until the last few chapters.

Explain this to me… I know it‘s a play on words and letters, but I can‘t figure it out:

Theo said, „Flerdibyll graznisniff?“
Seth responded effortlessly:
„Mulpeneresh, sockulee!“


Translation into plain English, please!?

This book was hard work! Fascinating stuff and deeply weird. I am docking one star for the sheer incomprehensibility (is that a word?).

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you! Sorry it took me so long….



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