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Garett Hornwood

August '18 Reading- (Insert Clever Subtitle)

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1 hour ago, Errant Bard said:

The way the narrative tried to depict a jerkass romance love interest(tm) who is also a mass murderer as likable was grating.

Well I hope that isn't a spoiler.

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52 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Well I hope that isn't a spoiler.

Not in any significant manner, I think.  I have to add that in a romance fashion there may be several jerk love interests.

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8 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

Not in any significant manner, I think.  I have to add that in a romance fashion there may be several jerk love interests.

I shan't comment on the love interests...they weren't half as interesting to me as the political intriguing and the world building...

Though I would agree none of the Male characters shine, except maybe one...

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On 9/1/2018 at 9:47 PM, williamjm said:

I did like the book, but I suspect this isn't going to be an uncommon reaction to it. I did find the characters and setting interesting enough to make up for the relative lack of plot, but perhaps a few more major events happening could have made this an even better book.

More events or stronger character motivations, either would have been appreciated. Going to put some discussion on the plot elements in spoilers so as not to ruin things for new readers:

Spoiler

The book has five main characters: Kip, Tessa, Sawyer, Isabel and Eyas. Plus Ghu'loloan the Harmagian, who serves as a sort of sixth narrator. It bothers me that only half of them have any arc of sorts:

Kip is a bored teen who constantly gets into trouble while trying to figure out what to do with his future. Good enough arc, at the end of a couple of his chapters I found myself wondering where this story was going. From the start, it was clear that he was going to go somewhere, as he has this essential question (where will he end up?) presented from the very start.

Sawyer is the outsider and newcomer, we get a very fresh look of the Fleet through his eyes. All the other characters experience it as natives, while he is a seeing it all for the first time, with interesting reactions to stuff the others don't even think about. Sawyer also tries to find his place in the Fleet, which makes for an interesting character arc. It gets even more exciting when he comes into contact with some obviously shady types and gradually realizes he is doing something illegal. And then immediately after, just half a page later, he is killed in a freak accident. I'm all for subverting audience expectations, but his story was the only interesting one, that the book sorely needed.

Ghu'loloan is another outsider, but I felt her narration didn't quite match Sawyer's in terms of providing the exciting newcomer perspective. She is only there to observe, there is very little uncertainty to her, she just comes, sees stuff, and leaves. Her musings on humanity from an alien's perspective tend to revolve around anatomy and customs, but not to the same thrilling degree as Lovelace/Sidra in the previous book, who not only had to learn all of this stuff, but be that stuff in order to stay undetected. Sidra had motivations beyond mild curiosity, which Ghu'loloan hasn't. Her brief interaction with Isabel's wife was built up as a small plot event, but resolved quickly without any drama

Then there are Tessa, Eyas and Isabel. All of them just wander around the book doing their daily stuff, musing a little on life, hardly interacting at all with the other characters, and in the end only Tessa has to take any choice at all, a choice that was only presented to the readers in her second to last chapter. None of these three people have to go anywhere or do anything in particular, nor do they have any major moments that aren't completely routine tasks for them. It says something that the most exciting thing to happen to Isabel all book was that Ghu'loloan had to get out of her cart and walk for a bit. 

The book is brilliantly written and the setting carefully crafted, but in the end I wished I had seen it all through the eyes of more interesting characters, like the ones presented in the previous two books. It didn't make me think any less of the series, or make me less excited for the next installment, but I don't look back on it as fondly as I did of the other two. It might look better upon re-reads, though, when the story (or rather, lack thereof) is already known to me, so I can read it and think about other things than "Okay, so when does this character start doing anything?"

 

At least it isn't the complete slog fest of 4 3 2 1, which I've all but given up trying to read. Two hundred pages in, and it's still a complete bore with sentences that are three times longer than they ought to be, and no semblance of plot in sight.

Edited by Kyll.Ing.

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