Review: Odysseus Ascendant, Evan Currie

Rating: 4 out of 5

Evan Currie is really giving empires a bad name — I wonder what they ever did to him? Too much of the social aspect on these novels now seems to be a bit too “perfect” if this makes sense. If the social conduct of this foreign power was a bit different, if the hierarchies worked a bit different, if there was a clear underlying motive to what they are doing…

I did enjoy it — but that’s more due to the amount of innovation and enterprising solutions which get presented, though I was not a fan of that last and final one. What was impressive was how good a tactician some of the people in it were, and therefore how thoroughly thought out some of the action starting with Books 3 and 4 has actually been. This was an aspect which increased my estimation of the author.

Lastly, every book that passes makes it look as if there could be twenty more — although Mr Currie also indicated in which direction this series is going and who is the “real” antagonist, which is a fact that is probably quite obvious to the reader but not to the people in the actual novel. We’ll see how true this course is — or, at least, I will, because despite some of the negatives above I will read the next one as well.

Review: Odysseus Awakening, Evan Currie

Rating: 4 out of 5

The series’ sixth installment continues much as before although with a slight change to the previous narrative structure (only one conflict here though it lasts for the duration of the book). The (often dark) humour of the previous episodes continues here much as it did elsewhere, but I am in general less happy with this one — mostly because these novels really play out as a more complex level after the previous one, and so on in an endless series. If you took this to the logical conclusion, this might never end.  Continue reading “Review: Odysseus Awakening, Evan Currie”

Review: Warrior King, Evan Currie

Rating: 4 out of 5

I recently noticed that Books 6 and 7 of this series were out, so I wanted to refamiliarise myself with the previous volume and then jump to those two. Reading it again, I think I am drawing the same conclusions as I did the last time round: This is not the best book ever written, nor is it even a close second — what it is, however, is thoroughly enjoyable entertainment. Continue reading “Review: Warrior King, Evan Currie”

Review: ‘Dangerous Women’, George R.R. Martin

Dangerous WomenDangerous Women by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say, rating a collection is tough as it can obviously be very variable in quality. I found this here — a few of the stories were breathtaking in their intensity and beauty while others (the majority, regrettably) not nearly as interesting. For personal reasons, I found the stories which touched on the historic aspect a bit more thrilling but in general the variety was commendable. Continue reading “Review: ‘Dangerous Women’, George R.R. Martin”

‘Stargate SG-1’ and ‘Stargate Atlantis’

Having just recently watched the full Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, I cannot emphasise enough how good I think these series are. There are plenty of weak episodes but to keep the overall story and characters so good over a total of 15 seasons is a remarkable achievement.

This time I revisited plenty of episodes I barely remembered which was a very welcome distraction. There are some episodes which I have seen dozens of times, but especially SG-1’s season 10 and the later seasons of Atlantis are less well known to me.

What did irk me this time round was the weird nature of the moral compass of John Sheppard. Also, looking at the decisions the frontline teams make in general there are plenty of doubtful ideas that come through their minds. In some ways, it all feels very conceited, but I guess that is because it is. What can one do… The good episodes are still good.

This overall took me a lot longer than half a year, I would think, and was only helped along by the virtue of dinners that extend into the late evening. I was rarely enthralled enough to divert my full attention to the series, but that is perhaps what it’s really good at: some scenes are mindblowing and others are good background. Just like life.

Review: Babylon’s Ashes

Babylon's Ashes
Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this is the Expanse I have been waiting for. The novel is strong throughout and it is more humane, maybe by virtue of focussing not just on three or four people but on a myriad of characters with their very own hopes and wishes.

I have missed out on the novellas to be fair — excepting the Anderson Station one — so I may know less about the backstory than I should, but I wanted to keep on going with the main story, and I am happy I did. I may not like the ending here — and I do as it feels logical — but it is a partial ending. We know things are going to get better, we know things are going to get worse. It’s a good place to stop.

Although some of the things in the books felt out of character. Maybe it could have been the stress these people were feeling; maybe I am reading them slightly wrong. I also feel that Mars is getting the least good end of the stick, but that’s probably for a good reason (and you can find this one out on your own).

Lastly, I would just stress again the humanity of this book. It feels right. People do righteous things by themselves and they either work out or they don’t. People agree to work together or they don’t. But everything keeps on going, just as it always does.

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Review: Nemesis Games

Nemesis Games
Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I find the Expanse a thrilling series because of the topics it manages to consider as it goes through the various episodes. This episode here was more about individual people and their relations than the previous books, and the book here manages these topics in a more straightforward manner than previously.

I quite appreciated the move to use the crew of the Rocinante as the POV sources. This created a better atmosphere than some of the previous options, though it was obviously also pleasant to see the return of characters such as Bobby and Chrisjen even if we did not see the situation from their POV.

I am uncertain about some of the actions here though and their overall motive. I don’t want to say too much about this in case people read this review before reading the book, but things look very short-sighted. We’ll see, I guess, we’ll see… And carry on reading…

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Review: Cibola Burn

Cibola Burn
Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 really, but I felt that a “3” would be overrating it.

See I read this and wondered, had the authors read ‘The Great North Road’. As both seem to have been published at nearly the same time, I’d say not. And yet, the first half of the book (or more) reads like a poorer copy of that book and that is because Mr Hamilton writes better crime sci-fi.

Neither did I really find the mysteries on the planet compelling — and that’s mostly because even though the authors note a lot of secrets they don’t really come close to even a basic description of what’s going on, and I feel that’s hurting the series as it is.

Lastly, I think that the choice of characters the authors have chosen to represent Sol and everything else is getting pretty bland, having noticed some themes arise. I’ll see whether these still hold true in the next installment (hopefully not) but can’t note really before then. Of the people previously mentioned in the universe, the one actually interesting (and new!) character for most sci-fi readers isn’t covered in anything more than a paragraph (view spoiler).

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