Friday, May 21, 2021

A Hole in the Sky by Peter F. Hamilton

When I finished reviewing the Salvation Sequence by Peter F. Hamilton, I said that I looking forward to trying his next series. And I was so right! I got an audio advanced reader copy of A Hole in the Sky and it was fantastic! I love Hamilton’s space opera, and I love a good generation ship story, and this was so much fun! 

I didn’t realize that this book was a YA book when I began listening to it, so in some ways it came across as a breath of fresh air. Some of the sex and violence in some of Hamilton‘s other books gets a little grim, and it was a pleasure to have a teenaged female protagonist in this book that I wasn’t going to have to worry about. 

The mysteries of how the people on the generation ship lost their access to technology war well plotted and well revealed. I didn’t wanna stop listening to this book because I kept wanting to find out what was going to happen next. I am very much looking forward to the sequel and everything else Mr. Hamilton chooses to write. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Angel of the Overpass by Seanan McGuire


Short version: one of the best books of 2021 for sure!

Long version: I came to Seanan McGuire late - I didn’t realize that she and her pen name, Mira Grant, were the same person for a long while. I found Mira Grant when Parasite was nominated for the Hugo award and my librarian bought all of that year’s best novel Hugo nominees for the library’s ebook collection. I loved Parasite, devoured the Newsflesh trilogy, and then went looking for more. I was too intimidated to start one of her long running urban fantasy series, so I picked Sparrow Hill Road, which I believed at the time to be stand alone. I loved it so much! It was lyrical, haunting, utterly amazing. I was hooked. 

So I was thrilled when DAW and NetGalley gave me an eARC for Angel of the Overpass, the third (but I hope not concluding) book of the series. This one picks up on where we left off with Rose Marshal, the hitchhiking ghost, in the last volume, The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. This novel also follows up on some world-shattering events from the Inncrpytid books (specifically the final Antimony book) that have massive repercussions for the ghost roads. I wondered, reading this book, if Seanan McGuire had sold it to her publisher as a chance to resolve dangling plot threads and provide closure to some storylines, because the book manages to do that incredibly well. The first novel was a fix-up, as the material had originally been published as connected short stories. That format seemed to result in some inconsistencies and didn’t always have enough room to allow some of the ideas to breathe, especially related to Rose’s high school sweetheart. This book satisfied tremendously on all fronts. 

Two things I must point out that made me sqee, which I will try to keep as spoiler free as possible. 1) dinosaur! 2) there was a moment in the book that didn’t mean much to Rose, but meant the world to me as a fan of Sarah from Incrpytid. 

What are you waiting for? Go buy this right now!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

This was a strange book that was well written that was not for me.

I first discovered Rivers Solomon with Rivers’s first novel, The Unkindness of Ghosts, set on a generation ship that has instituted a version of 19th century southern slavery (for undisclosed reasons).  It was excellent - raw and interesting and beautiful.  So I eagerly bought and dove into the Deep, Rivers’s novella based on a song about mermaids who evolved from enslaved pregnant people tossed overboard during the Atlantic crossing.  I did not love it - the plot was too non linear for me, the language too poetic for my tastes.  I couldn’t follow it. 

So I went into Sorrowland with lowered expectations.  It was a good book - an albino black woman escapes her black power cult after being experimented on, after which she has twins and lives off the land while on the run. And she sees ghosts.  The story was interesting, the writing excellent, but I couldn’t find a way to like the protagonist. I know she was supposed to be a flawed character, and I can appreciate her, but fairly early in the book she leaves her twin infants asleep alone in the woods in the middle of the night while she seeks out a sexual encounter. I was never able to move past that act of child endangerment and I could never like her or trust her again after that. I know she didn’t always make the best choices and that she was only 15 years old at the time, but I just could not get over that and it made it impossible for me to ever like her. This book is good.  It is just not for me. 

Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Andy Weir’s new novel has been highly anticipated since it was announced.  I was very much looking forward to it.  I really enjoyed the Martian, as did most people - it was a real crossover hit.  Artemis, his second novel, less so.  I enjoyed it, but his lunar heist novel showed some real deficiencies in plot and characterization. So I was excited when the publisher and NetGalley gave me an eARC, but a little trepidatious.  

While clunky in parts and overly long, Hail Mary delivers.  Mostly, it is enjoyable because it replicates the enjoyable parts of the Martin.  Like the Martian, this book consists mainly of first person narration, science puzzles and too much exposition, ratcheting tension cause by solving one problem only for another to arise. 

Weir also creates a realistic, believable first contact scenario.  I don’t want to spoil anything but the alien/human interaction is one of the best parts of this book.

If you liked the Martian, you’ll probably enjoy the heck out of this book.