Reviews and Comments

bigethan

bigethan@sfba.club

Joined 5 months ago

Love to read! All things!

Though sweet spots are Science Fiction and Fantasy and humorous Young Adult stuff. I generally read in bed, so my preference is for less stressful stories. My favorite stories that ones that are both Quirky and Unexpected.

Due to book experiences being very dependent on the reader, I belive that reviews should be short.

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reviewed The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz: The Terraformers (EBook, 2023, Tom Doherty Associates) 4 stars

Destry's life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she …

Fun world building, light on plot

3 stars

A fun world, with a story that unfolds across eras, that could have used a stronger plotline.

This felt similar to the Monk & Robot series by Becky Chalmers: Some sort of apocalypse came for humanity, and things worked out for the better (genderfluid, democratic socialism, respected personhood). But then there's still some capitalists around so they don't, kinda. But they also kinda do in the end? I like that it's one book, but it coulda used a couple more chapters.

Not as quirky, given I'd previously read a similar series, and some unexpected, but not much.

Justin Cronin: The Ferryman (2023, Random House Publishing Group) 5 stars

Great story in a single book!

5 stars

The core plotline is pretty rote at this point: Something has gone wrong with earth, etc etc. ButI like the way this story is told, good characters, unique world, keeps you in the dark but not too much. Good moments of action and excitement as well as reflection. I said "whoa, this is a good book" out loud while reading. And extra points for it not being a trilogy or something that'd take a month to read through.

Not too quirky, but pretty unexpected

Becky Chambers: A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Hardcover, 2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) …

Soothing, but I'm losing interest

3 stars

Similar to the first book, things happen without much tension. Which is a fascinating feeling! But this book doesn't push as hard on the introspection side -- or maybe I missed it? Felt much less quirky and unexpected compared to the first.

reviewed A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers (Monk and Robot, #1)

Becky Chambers: A Psalm for the Wild-Built (EBook, 2021, Tom Doherty Associates) 4 stars

It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; …

More philosophy than anything

5 stars

In reading more about this book after I finished it, which is a hint to it's unexpectedness, I learned the author is known for a genre called "Hopeful Science Fiction." The setup, roughly speaking, is that humanity has succeeded in it's transformation rather than entering a dystopian/post-apocalyptic phase.

That mindset makes this book a joy to read. It offers up a very rich and peaceful world to explore, with introspective characters who encourage reflection on the human condition.

reviewed Dust by Hugh Howey (Silo, #3)

Hugh Howey: Dust (Paperback) 5 stars

Ends the series wonderfully

5 stars

This book jumps right back into the action and keeps the plot-twist-heavy formula cooking. It was so good that I kind of ignored my family for a couple of evenings as I tore through it. But the real joy is that the conclusion was perfectly satisfying - a rare final book that gracefully wraps up a big idea.

John Scalzi: Starter Villain (2023, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Inheriting your mysterious uncle's supervillain business is more complicated than you might imagine.

Sure, there …

I really wanted to like this book

2 stars

I mean, the blurb is amazing! But the plot lacks any nuance or tension whatsoever. I like fun shallow books, but this reads like a swear-y version of a Bond-like for 8 year olds.

reviewed Shift by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey, Hugh Howey: Shift (Hardcover, 2016, John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harco, John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 4 stars

Adds depth to the plotline

4 stars

It's hard to say too much about this series without spoiling various plot twists and discoveries. Of which there are many.

This book feels like a great setup for the final book. It introduces more knowns, and unknowns, into the state of the world. It's a longer term view of the situation compared to the first book, which is critical backstory, but means less of that "discover the world through Juliettes eyes" thrill from the first book. Also, I wish I hadn't waited as long after reading the first book, there are some specific details that carry over and aren't re-contextualized.

Very much looking forward to the third book.

reviewed The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older (The Investigations of Mossa and Pleiti, #1)

Malka Older: The Mimicking of Known Successes (2023, Tordotcom) 3 stars

The Mimicking of Known Successes presents a cozy Holmesian murder mystery and sapphic romance, set …

Felt like a TV Show episode: unique universe with a shallow plotline

2 stars

It was interesting, but never compelling, with an ending felt like the author was trying to get out of the office on a Friday. Neat world though, would maybe like to see a sequel.

reviewed The World We Make by N. K. Jemisin (The Great Cities, #2)

N. K. Jemisin: The World We Make (Hardcover, 2022, Little, Brown Book Group Limited) 4 stars

Pulls the series together

4 stars

Cool things happen in this book! It's not mind-blowing, but it's much more unpredictable than the first book and has some compelling character development. Though wouldn't really recommend the series unless you're someone who likes thinking about cities.

reviewed The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (Great Cities, #1)

N. K. Jemisin: The City We Became (Paperback, 2020, Little, Brown Book Group Limited) 4 stars

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn't remember …

Cool premise, but only the first half

3 stars

This book has a cool core idea, but it doesn't do too much with it and the plotline is a little too predictable and brief. I'm still in for the second book (it's a duology), but mostly because it's N.K. Jemisin