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Garett Hornwood

August '18 Reading- (Insert Clever Subtitle)

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15 hours ago, RedEyedGhost said:

What kind did you get?  The waterproof feature of the Oasis sounds nice, but I'm not sure it justifies the price jump, and I'm not sure how I feel about the lopsided nature of it.

I'm just getting the paperwhite. The big advantage of the Oasis for me -- not that I ever had one -- was the resolution. But the newer paperwhites have matched that now and I've never had an issue where a wet kindle exploded, killing thousands, while simultaneously opening a portal into Hell to release hordes of Peadar-eating-demons.  What are the chances?

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2 hours ago, Peadar said:

I'm just getting the paperwhite. The big advantage of the Oasis for me -- not that I ever had one -- was the resolution. But the newer paperwhites have matched that now and I've never had an issue where a wet kindle exploded, killing thousands, while simultaneously opening a portal into Hell to release hordes of Peadar-eating-demons.  What are the chances?

Pretty damn high now that you typed it out!

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Maia said:

I am making my way through Adrian Tchaikovsky's oeuvre and have finished his "Echoes of the Fall" trilogy, which, after having been somewhat luke-warm towards the first book, I greatly enjoyed. The resolution was particularly ingenious, I thought, but I still have so many questions (see below. Too bad that the author doesn't have any kind of dedicated discussion boards)! Also, the solution arrived at, however clever, seems to be a strictly short-term one, IMHO. So, I really hope that he returns to this world.

I agree it doesn't seem like the world is left in a stable state - and I think at least some of the characters realise that. I haven't heard about any follow-ups to this series, but he does seem willing to revisit settings as seen by the Apt short story collections so it wouldn't surprise me if he did go back to this series as well sometime.

ETA: My attempts to combine quotes and spoilers seems to have gone a bit weird below, although I suppose it's better for the spoilers to hide too many things than not enough...

 
10 hours ago, Maia said:

Why were the Owl, the Bat and the Serpent people immune to the Terror, while everybody else wasn't? It is hinted that even the Champions would be ground down eventually. I mean, sure, some species of the 3 are insectivores, but so are Toads, for example, and their people aren't immune. What is the secret truth hidden in the legend of the Three Brothers?

 

I did wonder if some of their abilities, such as the resistance to the Terror, could be that they have an affinity for what the Apt would call magic.

In general, it can be hard to really work out the details of how the different things which from our perspective supernatural operate in Tchaikovsky's world, it doesn't help that the people in that world mostly don't have a good understanding of how things work either. I don't think I'd consider it a flaw in the books, but it does make questions like this difficult to handle.

 
 

And finally, how is that the Beetles learned to transform even before Manye opened the way for arthropode souls, when the Spiders have been trying for a millenium without success?

 

Maybe being Apt somehow makes it easier to learn how to transform?

 
 

I am also on book 8 "The Air War" of his "Shadows of the Apt" series and while I continue to enjoy the imaginative world-building, the fact that evolving technologies play an important role in the conflict, the many different localities and PoVs, etc. at the same time I began to feel that the narrative spreads itself too thin, that technologies progress too quickly - they go from swords, crossbows and catapults to something comparable to and in some cases even superior to WW I tech in what, five years?; and that some installments have a distinct feel of "side-quests" in an RPG campaign. Power-inflation spiral is very reminiscent of one too. I am very curious where it is all going to lead, though. 2.5 books to go!

While the technological progress in the series does lead to some interesting plotlines, I agree it does seem a bit too fast to be entirely plausible. They seem to have jumped from WW1 technology to WW2 technology almost overnight.

I think the series comes to a strong ending, although some elements of the final book should maybe have been introduced earlier in the series.

 

And I just finished his SF standalone(?) "Children of Earth". I thought that non-human part of the narrative was very good - inventive, full of interesting extrapolations, original world-building and compelling characters, whereas the human one seemed rather familiar from many other SF books. I liked it a lot on the whole, though.

I agree the spiders were more interesting than the humans. Tchaikovsky recently announced he's written a sequel (or at least a book set in the same world, I'm not sure how closely they're connected) called Children of Ruin which I think should be out next year sometime.

Edited by williamjm

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Posted (edited)

Finished off the Anthony Ryan Drake Trilogy. It was well done but the world was nasty, the people were beyond horrible, and the bad guys were over the top. Spy girl and nephew boy were fine if over-competent. Everyone else could just go dia(drake)f.

Edited by brunhilda

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On 8/8/2018 at 8:36 PM, Little Valkyrie said:

That first book of hers was one weird read, so I'm interested in whether this one gets more coherent or keeps that driftiness.

I didn't find the first book incoherent at all, though to be fair it took me a little to get a handle on her prose. Is that what you mean, or more narratively?

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12 minutes ago, JEORDHl said:

I didn't find the first book incoherent at all, though to be fair it took me a little to get a handle on her prose. Is that what you mean, or more narratively?

Well, I have no idea what to read next so I'm going to read the first book of this. If it sucks it's all you guys faults!

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Just now, Darth Richard II said:

Well, I have no idea what to read next so I'm going to read the first book of this. If it sucks it's all you guys faults!

Blame is for God, and children. 

I'm interested to see what you make of it.

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52 minutes ago, JEORDHl said:

I didn't find the first book incoherent at all, though to be fair it took me a little to get a handle on her prose. Is that what you mean, or more narratively?

The prose was an acquired taste, it was more a case of feeling like none of the narrative threads had much impetus or direction to them.  Things happened, other things happened, it was often rather oblique why people were doing things--it felt like wheelspinning until maybe the last 20% or so of the book.

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Ah, ok. After some thought I agree with you, caveat being that in retrospect a lot of the earlier peculiarities then made sense [after that last 20% or so] For me, anyway.

Except for Tobias, whose arc felt the opposite. It does however seem to be going somewhere now though [maybe 1/3 into the next book] even if I can't pinpoint precisely where that might be.  

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I've also started Tower of Living and Dying. It's started very much where the first one left off.


The thing about the first one that I enjoyed but is part of why it's always gonna be a fairly divisive book is that it starts off disguising itself as quite a normal book of the grimdark type and then slowly morphs into something less sane, and I could see why people might find that transitional period trying, along with the rather unusal prose.

The second one just dives right in already there so I don't think it'll be as much of a problem if you've already trusted book 1 through to the end.

On Tobias's role here:

He's obviously got concrete things to do as well but his role here seems to be that he's the only one awake. Everyone else seems to be functioning in a fever-dream atmosphere and he's the one keeping it grounded and being someone we can empathise with.

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Posted (edited)

For my summer reading, this year I opted for Fahrenheit 451. I suppose I'm one of the few people who have not read that book,  since it was written more than 60 years ago. I decided doing it since HBO announced a new remake of the movie (I wanted to watch the original). So far it's.....really curious. Have not read much. I didn't know it was dystopian till I started reading, now I'm not surprised.

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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On 8/9/2018 at 8:21 PM, brunhilda said:

Finished off the Anthony Ryan Drake Trilogy. It was well done but the world was nasty, the people were beyond horrible, and the bad guys were over the top. Spy girl and nephew boy were fine if over-competent. Everyone else could just go dia(drake)f.

I have read the first two and have the third waiting on my Kindle.  I like this trilogy quite a bit.  I like all Ryan's stuff, though.

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I finished A Veil of Spears by Bradley Beaulieu, third book in the Sharakai series a while ago, and I think this deserves a prop.

This is actually one of the only, if not the only SFF series that incorporates friendship and love (not of the teenage sexual tension nor of the old settled couple kind) and more generally interpersonal ties that are not negative (grudges, anger, envy, etc.) Sure there is plenty of conflict, war, vengeance, anger, murder, conspiracies, manipulation and generation spanning grudges even among the gods and godlings walking the sands of this arabian inspired setting, but it still does feel more emotionally balanced than most books around.

This installment manages to still expand the scope and turn some tables compared to the first. The pacing is still awesome (really, I'm impressed by the mastery of story rythm,) and it's visible that the author has a good grip on the overarching story direction and details as well as on the structure each book has to follow... Much better than GRRM, to take only one example.

So, maybe I'm a sucker for badass female main characters, maybe it's the non-Olde England setting, maybe it's the unusual emotional relationships (how often is there a bi main character that's not done for titillation?), but I really like it.

 

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1 hour ago, Errant Bard said:

I finished A Veil of Spears by Bradley Beaulieu, third book in the Sharakai series a while ago, and I think this deserves a prop.

This is actually one of the only, if not the only SFF series that incorporates friendship and love (not of the teenage sexual tension nor of the old settled couple kind) and more generally interpersonal ties that are not negative (grudges, anger, envy, etc.) Sure there is plenty of conflict, war, vengeance, anger, murder, conspiracies, manipulation and generation spanning grudges even among the gods and godlings walking the sands of this arabian inspired setting, but it still does feel more emotionally balanced than most books around.

This installment manages to still expand the scope and turn some tables compared to the first. The pacing is still awesome (really, I'm impressed by the mastery of story rythm,) and it's visible that the author has a good grip on the overarching story direction and details as well as on the structure each book has to follow... Much better than GRRM, to take only one example.

So, maybe I'm a sucker for badass female main characters, maybe it's the non-Olde England setting, maybe it's the unusual emotional relationships (how often is there a bi main character that's not done for titillation?), but I really like it.

 

Loved the first two books, I have the third queued up on my Kindle so I'll bump it up a bit. I do love the series though

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2 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

I finished A Veil of Spears by Bradley Beaulieu, third book in the Sharakai series a while ago, and I think this deserves a prop.

This is actually one of the only, if not the only SFF series that incorporates friendship and love (not of the teenage sexual tension nor of the old settled couple kind) and more generally interpersonal ties that are not negative (grudges, anger, envy, etc.) Sure there is plenty of conflict, war, vengeance, anger, murder, conspiracies, manipulation and generation spanning grudges even among the gods and godlings walking the sands of this arabian inspired setting, but it still does feel more emotionally balanced than most books around.



If you haven't, you should have a read of Becky Chambers' A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, plus sequels (third one's just out actually, must get on that). She's very good at this. Also Karen Lord's The Best of All Possible Worlds.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, polishgenius said:



If you haven't, you should have a read of Becky Chambers' A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, plus sequels (third one's just out actually, must get on that). She's very good at this. Also Karen Lord's The Best of All Possible Worlds.

Thank you.

Yes, I liked A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, though I felt it lacked some punch and was more akin to a short story collection than a cohesive book (though not worse than moxiland, that I read at the same time) the sequels are in my tbr pile already anyway.

I will definitely check Karen Lord's book out, when I finish the God Of Small Things (hopefully I will not be disappointed by the hype, here I am expecting something as touching as To Kill a Mockingbird).

 

Ah, while I'm here I thought I would mention I gave up on Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Story seems an appealing, if unoriginal YA classic, with a young girl going to (assassin) school,  only she is special, with sad past and magical powers (and pet)... but the writing is weird and though I think it grates less on me, an ESL reader, it's still so purplishly flowerily overwrought that it becomes rubbish at some times.

Edited by Errant Bard

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Jay Kristoff is one of the worst writers I can think of. I;ve read better Goodkind books. Not to mention he takes cultural appropriation and turns the dial up to 11.

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I just finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's For Love of Distant Shores, his third short story collection set in his Shadows of the Apt world. The previous two collections had a variety of characters and genres of writing, but the four stories here all follow Dr Phinagler, a Collegium Professor with a passion for exploration and seeking out lost civilisations, and his sidekick and chronicler Fosse who narrates the stories. There's an obvious debt to 19th and early 20th Century adventure stories by the likes of Verne, Conan Doyle and H. Rider Haggard, and Tchaikovsky is obviously having fun transposing the genre to his world, and taking the opportunity to explore some of the more peripheral areas that were briefly mentioned in the main series, like Lake Limnia, the Nem Desert or the Forest of Aleth.  It quickly becomes clear Fosse rather than her employer of the stories, her witty narration making up for the slightly formulaic nature of some of the plotting, although the fact that she comes across as the hero of the stories might have something to do with her being the one telling the story.

I think fans of Tchaikovsky's series should find it an enjoyable read, even if most of it isn't too essential. The most important story is left for last, a Columbus-style voyage to the West to try to find a new sea route having consequences that fill in a key connection between some of Tchaikovsky's books.

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22 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

That Tchaikovsky man is some sort of writing demon. I think he outpaces Sanderson at this point. 



And, from what I've read and heard about of the later books of both, he's improved considerably as a writer (and I already liked him more than Sanderson on a prose level) whereas Sanderson doesn't seem to have.

Like Sanderson writes really fast because he's got a reputation to maintain whereas Tchaikowsky writes really fast coz he writes really fast.

 

17 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

 

Yes, I liked A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, though I felt it lacked some punch and was more akin to a short story collection than a cohesive book (though not worse than moxiland, that I read at the same time) the sequels are in my tbr pile already anyway.



You might find the Lord book to have a similar issue, if that was an issue for you, it's quite episodic, though there is slightly more of a linking through-line throughout it.
The second Chambers book on the other hand doesn't suffer from that problem at all imo. The sequel to Lord's book doesn't seem like it does either, from the setup, though I haven't gotten round to it yet myself for some reason.

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