October 3rd, 2010

  • cat63

Book 55 for 2010

The Rapture Effect by Jeffrey A. Carver. 371 pages

I'd read a couple of other books by this author and liked them quite a lot, which is just as well, or I might have given up on this one quite early on. It starts rather slowly and disjointedly with an advertising executive on Earth trying to organise a huge sculpture in space and an alien survivor of a space battle in a faraway galaxy. From there it spins out into a fairly interesting story of interstellar war, colonisation and personal relationships, but I felt it could have been told a great deal better.

For one thing, the narration always seems to be a little distant from the human characters. so that the reader never fully engages with their feelings, particularly Sage DeWeiler one of the principal human protagonists - I actually felt more sympathy for the alien at the beginning than I did for the people on Earth.

The alien Ell were nicely realised, with a suitably different culture and history, and the story itself would have been excellent if it hadn't felt essentially lifeless. I think perhaps the author made the mistake of having too many elements in play so that he wasn't able to fully develop any of them. Pacing was also awkward in places with long periods of essentially nothing happening, which proved necessary for later developments but were still rather dull.

On the whole, this book struck me as a lost opportunity.
Caleb- snug as a bug!

Book 38: Poison Study

Poison Study
Maria V. Snyder
Fiction; fantasy
409 pages

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooma in the palace--and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust--and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

This was a wonderfully unique story of survival of a young woman named Yelena. Throughout this book, there are many twists and turns that occur. If you want to read a great book with magic, adventures, love and betrayal, I HIGHLY recommend this book!

***Next read: I am about to start reading The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer. I've heard if you don't like the Twilight series, then to give this book a chance. We shall see haha!
  • blinger

Book 22 - 2010

Book 22: Your Planet or Mine? by Susan Grant – 379 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
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Sci-fi/rom-com is my genre. It’s the genre my own series (the one I’m writing – the one I always talk about but that no one has seen!) is in. It’s the genre I love the most. I grew up on Star Trek (my father’s influence) and rom-coms (my mother’s influence). As a teenager, the two came together in my head and –boom! – suddenly that was my thing. My friends still roll their eyes and laugh at me, convinced the genre actually is of my own making.
But they are wrong as evidenced by this book!
One of the things you are apparently supposed to do when you submit a manuscript to an agent is note books that your book is similar to – to provide some sort of confidence to the person who is going to root for you in the publishing war that there are other books out there like yours, that there is actually a market. Over the 18-month period it took me to write the first of my series (I finished it this past May), I went on the hunt for something similar to my story. It was not an easy task initially, especially when I was just looking domestically – Australia’s publishing industry is hardly significant – probably partly because half the reason I started writing the story was because I hadn’t found anything in the genre I so desperately loved the idea of in my head. However, after finding bookdepository.co.uk (and after more google searches than you can imagine) I stumbled across Susan Grant’s Your Planet or Mine? Two things happen when you find a story even remotely similar to your own (especially when you were sure it was the only one in the genre). Simultaneously, you feel excited and terrified. Excited because there’s always a part of you that wants to belong, even if it is in the fickle world of storytelling. And terrified because for a heart-stopping moment you’re certain that this book’s going to be exactly the story you’ve spent eight years working on.
Needless to say, Your Planet or Mine? is not as much like my story as I initially thought, even if it fits very nicely into the sci-fi/rom-com genre.
But I’m sure you all care a lot more about the actual story itself.
Firstly, I must say that I really did have an absolute ball reading it. It’s funny and silly and rambunctious, a big rolling, crazy adventure. There’s sexy aliens, jaded politicians, a psycho but gorgeous assassin, and best of all, something to save the world from. Its a million miles an hour and a laugh a minute. Having said that, I think I can be a little trigger-happy when it comes to stories that are in a genre I love. I’m less inclined to look at them critically, I skate over the flaws. Given that I’ve now had a month and a half to digest this book, I have to come find two things about the book that annoy me. The first thing is the fact that the aliens are not really aliens, they are humans from another planet. This doesn’t make sense – it’s against everything that makes sci-fi so awesome. I went into the book expecting a cross-species romance and there wasn’t one. There is a difference between a relationship between two people from different species, and one between two people from different planets – anyone who’s watched Star Trek knows this.
Nonetheless, I overlooked this for the most part. What is impossible to overlook in hindsight is the fact that once the whole ‘we’ve gotta save the world’ part comes into play no one actually cares all that much about the fact that the alien is an alien (or a human from another planet, if we’re being technical). I can’t ignore this – it’s totally not realistic. The revelation that there is other life out there has to be met with more than just ‘oh, that’s cool, can you save us?’. It’s a bigger deal than that. This kind of thing seems to happen in a lot of sci-fi stories, and it never fails to get on my nerves. As much as I loved the book, this will always annoy me.
Having said all that, these are the gripes of a die-hard, and a fellow sci-fi writer (I feel a little presumptuous saying that, seeing as I’m not published, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have done the writing part), so if you’re not as picky as me, I would definitely recommend Your Planet or Mine?.

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

7346 / 15000 pages. 49% done!

So I was catching up for awhile there with my reviews, but my CA exam hit and now I'm four behind again! Given that CA and busy season is over for awhile, let's see if I can finally catch up!!

Currently reading:
- Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown – 620 pages
- Moonstruck
by Susan Grant – 378 pages
- The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls – 341 pages

And coming up:
- She’s Such a Geek: Women write about Science, Technology & other nerdy stuff
edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders – 223 pages
- Nobody’s Prize
by Esther Friesner – 306 pages
- The Warlord’s Daughter
by Susan Grant – 314 pages