We wants the precious… we wants the precious now!

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This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and Bookish is :

‘Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get (my dirty mitts upon)’

This is a post that I’m not going to have any difficulty with at all!!  Because I want ALL the books!  However, I will restrict this to 10 (or so) because I’m good like that.  So, in no particular order or any particular idea of when they’ll arrive on the scene:

  1. The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence – I’m in love with his books!!!
  2. The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch – hopefully early ’15 (fingers crossed) (ditto the above)
  3. Doors of Stone – Patrick Rothfuss – no idea when this is due so if anybody wants to chuck me a frickin bone… (ditto the above- forget it – I love all the authors on this list!!!)
  4. Patricia Briggs – Mercy Thompson No.9 – not yet titled.  Want.
  5. Clash of Iron by Angus Watson – Age of Iron was so good and not a long wait for No.2 – April ’15!
  6. No.3 of the Seven Forges by James a Moore
  7. Sword of the North by Luke Scull
  8. Whatever delights the lovely one known as Gillian Phillp decides to produce next
  9. Ditto the above for Lauren Beukes and Sarah Pinborough – see how I fit two in there!!!
  10. Skybreaker by Brandon Sanderson- did you really think I wouldn’t have the Stormlight Archives on here – go on now!!!
  11. Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Yes, I know I have too many but sometimes rules are made for breaking.  The end.  (Oh, I’ve put a few covers – some of the above don’t have covers yet!)

Apart from all my lovelies, whatcha waiting for????

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Just finished reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.  It would be easy to say I had mixed feelings about this but to be honest I don’t have mixed feelings at all – it simply, and bluntly wasn’t for me!  And, that’s in spite of having some very original (to me anyway) concepts and from having what I considered to be a very good ending.

Set far into the future Ancillary Justice is a space opera of epic proportions.  At the start of the story we follow Breq, currently residing on an unfriendly and largely inhabitable ice planet Breq comes across a former colleague, Seivarden, who has been attacked and lies dying in the cold – that is, until Breq intercedes.  This is a strange relationship between two characters who have no liking for each other. Now, jump back approximately 20 years and follow the story of One Esk Nineteen of the Justice of Toren warship.  One Esk is an ancillary, an AI, linked to many other similar AIs all sharing their thoughts and actions.  I’m not quite sure how to describe ancillaries other than that they are simply shells of people that have been used to create armies to be used by the Radch Empire in it’s quest to rule the stars.  Bear in mind at this point that these are not the only avatars being used in the story.

What becomes fairly quickly apparent is that Breq and One Esk are in fact one and the same character – except all One Esk’s former counterparts were destroyed along with the Justice of Toren about 20 years ago.  Breq, the only survivor now seeks revenge upon the person responsible – the Lord of the Radch – Anaander Mianaai.

So, what did I like about the story.

Well, without a doubt, there’s a lot to comprehend. This is a story of revenge.  It’s fairly involved given all the characters and different systems plus becoming familiar with all the names, back story and the way the AIs function plus trying to get a feel for Breq and Seivarden.  It’s a book of politics that takes a look at issues of class and inequality.  The measures to which some societies will go to impose their will upon those that they deem ‘uncivilised’ and in the act of doing so commit all manner of atrocities themselves.  It is, without doubt a thought provoking book and whether you like it or not it will definitely make you sit and consider things.

I actually liked that the author has come up with a system where sexual identity seems to be left undefined.  The dominant culture seem to use a language that uses primarily the word ‘she’ although sometimes with a scattering of the word ‘he’.  In their language and culture this is acceptable but does lead to difficulties when conversing with people from other cultures. What I actually really like about this concept is that whilst reading the book I didn’t have any defined ideas of how a person should be acting because of their gender.  In fact this was really a breath of fresh air.  I wasn’t thinking about the dynamics of possible relationships between characters or whether a character was acting in a way that I thought they would or should because of any predetermined ideas based on their gender.  I was simply concentrating on the story.  Such a great concept.  But, that being said, I didn’t like the way it was executed.  In other words everyone described using the female pronoun ‘she’.  Why?  I think it was a little confusing to be honest.  If you’re going to have a genderless society or at least – not genderless because clearly there are males and females but a society where ‘he’ and ‘she’ have become irrelevant somehow in terms of the language then why still specify one of these?  It just seemed odd to me and jarred a little plus it just felt a little confusing (although I admit that could just be me and the fact that I’m such a newbie to sci-fi).  I mean, I just don’t get it.  Why would you ever reach a point where you drop one of these descriptors but not the other?  If you’re trying to reach some sort of equilibrium it clearly makes sense to drop both altogether doesn’t it?

The other slight negatives for me – in a universe this size, how likely was it that Breq would have come across Seivarden – seems a bit too convenient a plot point – and yet, did Seivarden really add anything? Other than getting Breq a foot in the door towards the end probably not – although I concede that both Breq and Seivarden were having identity issues and their journey together seemed to alter them both – which was actually one of the more enjoyable elements of the story for me. Plus, whilst I did like the ending it felt a little bit too easy in parts.  I can’t say more because I don’t want to spoil it.

Anyway, I can’t deny that there are parts of this story that were really good and I did become quite gripped towards the end but to be honest this wasn’t really for me and put simply it didn’t hold my attention the way I thought it would.  Can a good ending redeem the book – sometimes, but in this instance I don’t think so.  This book took a lot longer than I would have expected because I kept putting it down and finding it hard to pick up again.  I’m clearly in a minority as it seems to be very popular so I certainly wouldn’t try and dissuade anyone from reading but I doubt that I will continue with this series.  I must confess that I feel a bit grumpy with myself for struggling with this one and feeling like somehow I’ve missed something fundamental or just been too plain dense to ‘get’ it – I really did want to love it but it just didn’t happen and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

This is my first read for Sci Fi November 2014.  Check out the details here.

To read or not to read – that really is the question??

Posted On 16 November 2014

Filed under Book Reviews
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Comments Dropped 41 responses

Just how much will you take when reading a book.  How long will you continue to read even if you’re not enjoying it when will you eventually just flip and say ‘why don’t you smegging well smeg off, you annoying little smeggy smegging smegger??’

Basically, will you stay the course, even if you’re not enjoying the book??  I admit that I’ve reached a point where I think life is just too short and books far too plentiful to read the ones that just aren’t doing it for me.  But, every now and again I will be grimly determined to finish a book even though I’m not enjoying it – this is usually because the general feeling ‘out there’ is it’s a must read book so I continue to the bitter end because I keep think something will suddenly change and a light bulb will go on for me.

One of the problems with DNFs is if they’re review books – I won’t write a review for a book I’ve not finished.  That’s just a personal whim of mine and not something I sit in judgement over others on.  Plus, I make it fairly clear on my ‘about me’ that if I don’t finish I don’t review.  Simples.  Yet, I do appreciate knowing when others didn’t finish a book and understanding why that was the case!

Here’s the conundrum – if you don’t review the books that you don’t finish then your blog seems to be full of glowing reviews of books you love.  This is a good thing in itself but does also have the tendency to make you look like a pushover or as though you’re just prepared to enjoy everything that’s put in front of you – which in turn makes you look a little undiscerning! This makes me feel like I should press on and finish all the books I start so that I can review them – which in turn will lead to negative reviews, which I really hate doing!!  Catch 22.

So, when is enough enough?  Do you read on to the end or not?

In honesty, I’ve just read a book that clearly wasn’t for me and yet I pursued it to the end!  But, in doing so, it took me a lot longer than it normally would to finish the book as I kept putting it down and I didn’t really have any enthusiasm to pick it back up again!  Not only did I not really enjoy the reading of the book but I also won’t enjoy writing the review – why, oh why, did I do this to myself!!  Well, I think I was trying to prove something to myself really.  I haven’t quite put my finger on what that was yet.  And, was the exercise successful?  Well, that depends on how I measure success.  It certainly confirmed for me that I won’t be reading to the end in future if the book isn’t grabbing me.  And, yes, we can’t all like all the same books all the time.  Something about being human…

So, when is the cake all gone for you?  Do you read everything you pick up even if you’re not loving it??  I personally feel like I’ve lost so much time when I read a book that I didn’t enjoy.

Thoughts welcome please.

She’ll be back.. she has the technology. She has the capability to build a sci fi event, better, stronger, faster (than it was before)..

Posted On 15 November 2014

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 8 responses

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify the species of event involved.  Remember that favourite game of yours?  Who’s the better killer/reader/blogger?, Lets play.

In the above and below are quotes – see how many you can guess:

Little Red Reviewer is holding her annual Vintage Sci fi event.

Andrea: ‘I remember your gom jabbar.  Now you remember mine!  I can kill with a word.’
Us: are you telling me you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?

Andrea: Y’know, this was supposed to be my weekend off. But noooo. You got me out here, draggin’ your heavy asses, through the burnin’ desert, with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with an attitude, actin’ all big and bad…and WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL?!

Us: I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m just “Crewman Number Six.” I’m expendable! I’m the guy in the episode who dies to prove how serious the situation is! I’ve gotta get outta here!

Andrea: Follow the white rabbit…

Us: Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope

Andrea: Come with me if you want to live!

Us: This is a place for crazy people. I’m not crazy.

Andrea: Look, I have one job on this lousy ship. It’s stupid, but I’m gonna do it, OKAY?  Listen and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead.

Us: By Grabthar’s hammer, by the sons of Morvan, you shall be avenged. The appropriate question is: when the hell are they?

Andrea: I know you people have been through a lot. But when you find the time… I’d rather not spend the rest of the winter tied to this fucking couch!  Remember: You lose it here and you’re in a world of hurt.

If you’re thinking : “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Remember:

Andrea:  I am your father.

Hasta la vista, baby!!

“There’s that word again; “heavy”. Why are things so heavy in the future?”

We come in peace…’ack, ack, ack’

Art it Up.  This is a weekly meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. So, this week my reading has mostly been dreadful – too much going on at the moment!!  I’m reading Ancillary Justice and The City Stained Red but couldn’t come up with anything for those so I’ve gone for an alien – to coincide with Sci-Fi November ’14 and also for a random person with a couple of swords which sort of ties in with Tough Travel’s theme for this week (named weapons – over at the Fantasy Review Barn – come on, this person at least is carrying two swords so it sort of ties in). They’re not terribly inspiring so you should probably check on over to Not Yet Read and see what’s going on there!

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