Monday, June 29, 2015

The Fold - Review

Title:  The Fold
Author: Peter Clines

                 “IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE. 

“The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.  

“That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step. 

“The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe. 

“Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.  

“As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.” 

Review:  The Fold was great for approximately the first 70% of the novel.  The story zipped along and I was really into it.  I loved the main character, Mike, and understood his wish to be normal.  I was on the edge of my seat and excited to see how this was going to turn out.  Then, at 69% (I read on a Kindle so it shows me the percent read) something strange happened (not strange good; strange bad).  Up until this point the story, although written in third person, had been following Mike.  We had little glimpses inside his head and knew what he knew and what he thought.  All of a sudden we are following Sasha.  It was weird and it threw me out of the story.  “Wait… This is a story about a man named Mike, why are we suddenly reading about Sasha?”  And then it head hops several more times before the end of the novel.  If you are going to head hop, which I seriously dislike 98% of the time because it isn’t well done, you need to set that precedent early on.  To start jumping around in the last third of your novel, in my opinion, is unprofessional and shows that you rushed through it, or did not plan properly.  The last third of the novel could have used better editing overall.  The characters repeat themselves.  Other reviewers complained about the use of the ‘f’ word, which I do not have a problem with.  But there is a lot of redundancy in the dialog, and in the narration, as if Clines is beating us over the head to make sure we understand where he is going with the story.  Which is another example of the end of the novel being rushed.
     I enjoyed The Fold, and I do recommend it for lovers of weird fiction.  However, be aware that the writing is not of a professional level before going in, and then you won’t be disappointed when you reach the final third of the novel.

**I received a free copy of this novel, in exchange for my honest review, via NetGalley.**

Publisher: Crown

If you like this book you may want to read:

Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon (read BookGirlR’s review here)

Directive 51 by John Barnes

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Karen Memory - Review

Title: Karen Memory
Author:  Elizabeth Bear

Synopsis:  “Set in the late nineteenth century – in a city a lot like what we now call Seattle Underground – when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront.  Karen is a young woman on her own, making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello.  Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house – a resourceful group – and the poor and the powerful of the town.
     “Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap – a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
     “Hard on the heels of that horrifying discovery comes a lawman who has been chasing this killer for months.  Marshal Bass Reeves is closing in on his man, and he’s not about to reject any help he can get, even if it comes from a girl who works in the Hôtel Mon Cheri.”

Review:  I have yet to meet a novel by Elizabeth Bear that I didn’t like.  That goes for Karen Memory as well.  This novel sucked me in and would not let me go.  I mean, just look at the first line: “You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway”.  Told in the first person, Karen Memory allows us to see inside the head of Karen Memery, which is fascinating.  As readers we get to see coarse, outspoken Karen evolve into a steampunk hero, wielding her sewing machine.  One of my favorite things about the novels by Elizabeth Bear is the depth of her characters.  Now that I’ve read a novel about Karen Memery I want a novel about Miss. Francine, Karen’s transgender friend.  I want a friend like Miss. Francine, any takers?
     I love the characters.  I love the story.  I love this book and I love Elizabeth Bear.  Go buy Karen Memory or find it at your local library, you won’t regret it!

Publisher:   TOR Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seveneves - Review

Title:  Seveneves
Author:  Neal Stephenson

Synopsis:  “A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb.  In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
     “But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remains…
     “Five thousand years later, their progeny – seven distinct races now three billion strong – embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown… to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.”

Review:  I loved Seveneves.  I have never read anything else by Neal Stephenson, but now I think I want to!  This book is going on my favorites shelf.  You know; the shelf of books I will frantically attempt to save should there ever be a house fire.  (It’s a lost cause I know.  There are so many books on that shelf it would take multiple trips to save them all.)
     A lot of other reviews have complained about the length of this book.  Yes, Seveneves is long.  It’s 861 pages of awesome story that I could not put down or stop thinking about.  I will admit that around the two thirds mark I was starting to get a little frustrated with how long it was taking to read (It took me a week and a half to get through); but that’s mostly because I’m used to being able to whip through a book in a day or two, three days tops!  Now that I’m finished reading it I’m sad.  I wish there was more. 
     Seveneves is massive, and not just in size.  Readers of Science Fiction, Apocalyptic Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, and students of human behavior will all find something to love about this novel.  Stephenson does it all!  Rush to your nearest bookstore and buy this book.  You will not regret it!

Publisher:  Harper Collins

If you like this book you may want to read:

Species Imperative Trilogy by Julie E. Czerneda

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi