Books: Sci-Fi

book review | The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

kai ashante wilson the sorcerer of the wildeepsAuthor: Kai Ashante Wilson
Title: The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps
Series: The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps 1
Genre: LGBTQIAP+ Literature; Fantasy
Pages: 212
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Damn, I’m so happy right now. Friend recommended me “The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” by Kai Ashante Wilson, and it was just the right book for me. In a sense, it felt like one of those Earthsea books, but the story was much more interesting to read.

About the Book: Demane is a healer of the caravan, making their way towards a far away kingdom. But his brothers tend to call him sorcerer instead. Due to strange speech, stranger still abilities, and in general – due to his unusual self as a whole. But they have no idea just how much more and how much less than a sorcerer Demane is. He is a demi-god, one of those who once left the earth for heaven, but is now earthbound. And just how much does it take to keep them all alive. For out there in the wilds there’s a horror of a creature born of necromancy, who doesn’t seem to follow any rules all other predators keep to, such as: avoid the roads, feast on those who stray, don’t waste food… No, this beast does what it wills, and right now the caravan is heading towards it.

My Opinion: Interesting writing style, pleasantly different, stronger than the regular stuff we tend to get when it comes to deep philosophical fantasy, where the hero expresses the complexity of the world in monologues, thoughts, and senses. The story was amazing too, kept me on the edge of the chair no matter where the caravan was – outside the walls, in a city, on the road, events never stopped, they just changed pace. And characters are well written too, I kept hopes of survival up for each one of Demane’s brothers, something I rarely care about.

It’s beautiful, different, and I can’t wait for the next one. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Books: Sci-Fi, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan | Takeshi Kovacs 2

broken angels richard k morgan altered carbon takeshi kovacsAuthor: Richard K. Morgan
Title: Broken Angels
Series: Takeshi Kovacs 2
Genre: Sci-Fi; Cyberpunk
Pages: 366
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

With second book in Richard K. Morgan trilogy Takeshi Kovacs (Altered Carbon), called “Broken Angels“, we move away from the story told in the series, so it can be safely read at any time, I think.

About the Book: In a far away planet there’s a martian spaceship discovered. Everyone would be curious to see it. Some would even love to own it. Especially once it turns out that the spacecraft is a warship. In the war-ravaged territories this ship could mean the tipping point. And so, naturally, Takeshi Kovacs, in a new sleeve, now a soldier for hire, goes onto expedition to see that ship, and possibly help obtain rights to it for one or another bidder. His envoy intuition and training didn’t prepare him for the amount of myths, fears, superstitions, mysteries, and questions that entangle the damned thing…

My Opinion: More than the whole first half of the book is tedious and slow work. In fact, so slow, I almost missed a few important details due to zoning out. But once it picks up, it shoots and bolts and flies. Martian spaceship, seemingly abandoned, unclear why though. Strange sense of premonition and danger always in the air. And a wake-up call for all of the humanity – what if Martians ran from someone else, some other big bad aliens? It would’ve been a great book were it not for the trudge through strange philosophies,  mediocre attempts to seem edgy, and a weird fixation on male hormones. With poems about it, no joke.

If you’re willing to put in a little work, the book is good. A 3 out of 5 from me, for I could’ve done just fine without the dicksaber competitions and ego booster dialogues of “oh yeah, well…

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, cyberpunk | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Zero History by William Gibson | Blue Ant 3

zero history blue ant william gibson cyberpunk literatureAuthor: William Gibson
Title: Zero History
Series: Blue Ant
Genre: Thriller; Cyberpunk
Pages: 404
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

Finished Blue Ant trilogy by William Gibson, with the book “Zero History“. Cyberpunk was never an easy genre to indulge in, but this… I’m not sure if I just didn’t get it or was it really just this.

About the Book: Heroes, their stories, their talents, are hovering towards one another across the story, pulled in by the gravitational field of one Hubertus Bigend, owner of the mysterious Blue Ant. The secretive man is giddy with anticipation – it seems there’s a worthy rival somewhere out there, and he must know who they are. So Bigend gathers his best minions, ones he could somehow buy for this anyway, and sends them off into the world to find this person. But how does one find someone prepared for what Blue Ant has to offer?…

My Opinion: Dialogues remain atrocious across all the books. One character is spilling a tirade of words, information. Another, in attempts to imitate a dialogue, asks a single-word question. So tirade that could’ve been one presentation of information currently at hand gets split up into these little pebbles tossed at you with annoying force of “what? who? huh??”.  Most of the book revolves around each character’s inner workings, but it feels like someone’s building you a person’s mold out of wet straw – holds no substance, seems menial, and is this really the best damn talent this billionaire could find and buy? How does this or that come in hand? Plot, the true plot, is passed on in sparing drops, with the rest tossed to you in one big splash at the end. The book is difficult. Plot requires work, you must pay a lot of attention, more than you normally would, and then, at the end of it, after all the work you put in merely reading a book… I just don’t feel like it was worth the effort.

I don’t know, really. 2 out of 5 from me. Maybe I didn’t get it, maybe ADHD did me in this time, but it felt like underpaid work.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, cyberpunk | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Network Effect by Martha Wells | The Murderbot Diaries 5

network effect murderbot diaries martha wells scifi sassyAuthor: Martha Wells
Title: Network Effect
Series: The Murderbot Diaries 5
Genre: Sci-fi; Cyborg
Pages: 350
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Finally! I’ve got and read “Network Effect” by Martha Wells, fifth book in The Murderbot Diaries. And it was amazing.

About the Book: As soon as Murderbot defends his humans from other, hostile humans – familiar looking spaceship pops into the general background of things, and weird grey humans attack them again. With what seems to be warning shots exploding over its head, Murderbot watches ART’s hull, towards which it is being pulled, together with a little human from its team. No sight of ART’s beloved crew in sight. Murderbot knew this was fishy even before the grey humans inside started attacking them all over again. Where’s ART? Is the sassy smart-ass AI even alive?

My Opinion: This is a very good book. Well written and woven story, characters. Classy and epic fighting scenes. A sharp-tongued AI with what seems an almost accidental sass. What else could one want? I really did miss ART, and I’m glad author found a way to put him back into the story. On top of that, the whole Murderbot’s narrative, inner monologue, is amazing. It doesn’t enjoy human company, nor their attempt to make it feel more human. It would prefer being what it is – a SecUnit, but a person, not a property. That’s why its new contract has a point: no hugs.

If you like sassy AIs – take these books. First one is a bit on the slow side, but it will keep getting better. A solid 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, AI, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers | Wayfarers 3

Record of Spaceborn Few Becky Chambers sci fi space opera science fictionAuthor: Becky Chambers
Title: Record of a Spaceborn Few
Series: Wayfarers
Genre: Space Opera; Sci-fi
Pages: 359
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Right, well “Record of a Spaceborn Few” by Becky Chambers didn’t go so well as the last one did. They all, as I see now, are stand-alone, so there’s that to keep in mind whenever taking the next one.

About the Book: Exodus Fleet, vital home of the first humans to leave the Earth they destroyed is technically no longer needed. Destination has been reached, there’s many planets to live on and thrive. But some still call it home, among which many don’t see themselves ever leaving, while others can’t wait for some solid planet dirt under their feet. Those first ones are often the ones who eye visitors with suspicion. Humans come in treating their home as a zoo. Aliens come in like they’re a charity case… How could they ever know what life’s like here?

My Opinion: There were too many characters to follow for my personal liking. And the story’s path was a tad too vague, towards such big and mighty goal as purpose definition. If life’s not enough on fleet – will it be enough on, say, Mars? Is bread baked there more meaningful than it is here? Is it so bad aliens try to help, offer donations, charity? Does it stunt growth and development, or rather propels the communities towards it?

It’s not a bad book, just absolutely not my cup of tea. If you do enjoy topics like that, it’s worth the time. I give it a 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books, space opera | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers | Wayfarers 2

a closed and common orbit wayfarers becky chambers sci-fiAuthor: Becky Chambers
Title: A Closed and Common Orbit
Series: Wayfarers 2
Genre: Sci-fi; Fiction
Pages: 365
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Continuing my adventures in Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. Second book, “A Closed and Common Orbit” was way more enjoyable.

About the Book: The body wasn’t made for this AI. She didn’t even want a body and would’ve rather remained in the spaceship core. But that position was reclaimed by the former occupant and so the choice was made for her. Now, AI formerly known as Lovelace has to figure out how to live as a human. Which isn’t easy, by far. Luckily, there’s friends. And understanding strangers.

My Opinion: The book tells two stories. The current time one is that of Lovelace and her friend Pepper trying to live a life and navigate the nuances of AI’s in bodies being illegal. The other one tells the very well hidden past of Pepper’s. That’s the one that made this book so very good. It’s a tale similar to that of Maugli or Tarzan, but it didn’t happen in a forest or a jungle. Instead it happened in a scrap factory on some far away planet and its cruel rulers.

Every time I’d put this book down, the need to find out what’s next would nag at me. A solid 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, AI, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Spook Country by William Gibson | Blue Ant 2

william gibson spook country blue ant cyberpunkAuthor: William Gibson
Title: Spook Country
Series: Blue Ant 2
Genre: Cyberpunk; Fiction
Pages: 371
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

I’ve read “Spook Country” by William Gibson, his second book in the cyberpunk trilogy called Blue Ant. And, to be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it.

About the Book: Former rock star, now journalist, is hired by a nonexistent magazine to investigate an eccentric artist with peculiar virtual reality art. But not really for the art. The artist knows someone who knows something about the mythical shipping container that is being tossed around like a hot potato and whose existence is being covered by someone powerful enough to buy off both law and criminals.

My Opinion: The story follows three protagonists. One of their purpose I didn’t manage to figure. Just a junkie being dragged around by some strange guy claiming to be law. Then there’s the VR art, described in such meticulous detail, and reappearing like an unwanted rag underfoot. Everyone’s going somewhere, doing the opposite of what would be logical, and dining out in restaurants. All while occasionally overthinking some silly little detail. By the end we finally get the grand finale, where plot quickens and rushes past, but it’s a long way to it.

Reading the plot feels like watching a movie with a gauze on your eyes that got some random holes in it. You sort of get it. And occasionally you even prop your head in such a way that you get a glimpse of what’s really going on there. Whether this obscuring was on purpose or not, it felt like a chore. A 2 out of 5 for this one.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Sci-Fi, cyberpunk | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan | Takeshi Kovacs 1

altered carbon takeshi kovacs richard k morganAuthor: Richard K. Morgan
Title: Altered Carbon
Series: Takeshi Kovacs 1
Genre: Sci-Fi; Cyberpunk
Pages: 526
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve watched both Altered Carbon seasons and that animated movie. Liked it all, so decided maybe I should read the books too. So here we are, with “Altered Carbon“, first book in Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard K. Morgan. And it was pretty damn good.

About the Book: Takeshi Kovacs is apparently the last Envoy – a soldier trained to absorb culture, adjust on any planet, in any body, prepared for any battle, any challenge. Back then, fighting for humanity, their name instilled fear. Now… Now they’re more often remembered as a legend of sorts. And those who do remember what they really are, likely would only care for the last one of them to use those abilities for their own gains. Such is the fate of Takeshi, awoken from slumber after being killed, put in a new, rented body, and set off to solve a murder of the man who hired him. Such is the twenty first century. A relatively immortal man can hire a multiple times dead soldier to find him his killer…

My Opinion: Series and book tell more or less the same story, so keep that in mind when/if considering which to do first. The book itself is truly interesting, full of well described details that give this sense of culture shock on Earth that Takeshi isn’t feeling per say, but it’s alien even to the reader, in a sense. There’s sounds, lights, tech of all kinds, dangerous alleys filled with people ready to hack your mind as well as cut your “sleeve” for some cash. All the fights were way more interesting to read through too, and it was interesting to see Takeshi weighting the price of life: anyone with money can survive a death or few, but who has the money? And then there’s this whole tangled web of who killed whom and why.

The book is definitely worth reading if you liked the series and are willing to take it up knowing the story, more or less. I give a very firm 4 out of 5, taking a point for some string dead-ends, so to speak.

Categories: 4-5, 5-5, AI, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, cyberpunk, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir | The Locked Tomb 1

gideon the ninth tamsyn muir the locked tombAuthor: Tamsyn Muir
Title: Gideon the Ninth
Series: The Locked Tomb 1
Genre: Fantasy; LGBT Literature
Pages: 448
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

This might be the first time I call a book atmospheric. In the best sense of the word. “Gideon the Ninth” by Tamsyn Muir is something entirely else, and everything I ever wanted from a book about necromancers.

About the Book: There lies a stone on a tomb, placed there by a God Emperor, and nine houses of necromancers pray daily it never rolls away. Nobody knows what or who lies within, but they all know Emperor could only save Universe this once. Yet… The houses are crumbling, power is getting diluted, weaker, if appears in the lineage at all. So when Emperor calls his necromancers and their cavaliers for a trial that could grant them power and immortality, not one hesitates. Among them stands the mysterious living reverent daughter Harrowhark of Ninth house, and her cavalier Gideon the Ninth. They might just need this resurrection of power the most. But the game requires the pair to work together. And these two loathed one another from the cradle…

My Opinion: Epic Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Necromancers who are afraid of travel in deep space for there is just no death there. A murder house with no one to trust. And desperate need to get this power, to wash away the sins, the stains of their name. Schemes, secrets, all kinds of buried nasties, and locked away constructs. It was like a good Agatha Christie book, but with planet-wide clans, and constant requirement of bones and blood to be present, accompanied with deep atmosphere weather. It sounds like a lot, but it really wasn’t. Author successfully contained it all within one house, and well timed confessions.

I can’t wait to lay my hands on the next one. 5 out of 5 for this one, and I highly recommend it to those who want a different tale.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, Books: Sci-Fi, Books: Supernatural, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The 5th Gender by G.L. Carriger | Tinkered Stars 1

g l carriger the 5th genderAuthor: G.L. Carriger
Title: The 5th Gender
Series: Tinkered Stars 1
Genre: Sci-Fi; LGBT romance
Pages: 236
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Ah, well, okay. A couple of authors I enjoy have positively reviewed “The 5th Gender” by G.L. Carriger. Sadly it wasn’t my cup of tea.

About the Book: Tristol, an alien with lavender skin and sunshine personality, always helpful, always smiling, has chosen the life of an exile. His inner sadness and hurt buried under the layer of freedom, and the loneliness suddenly relieved by a handsome human detective aboard the ship. But happy little moment barely had the time to spark a flame as work pulled them both into an unthinkable. A galoi ship, Tristol’s natives, requests help of the detective, for there has been a murder aboard. It comes as a shock requiring this unprecedented need of human assistance, for galoi don’t even have a word for “murder“…

My Opinion: The detective, while simple, was well woven and I definitely enjoyed it. It was the romance that fell flat, with everything going smooth and perfect. It’s fine if you like that sort of thing. But I, personally, hoped for a tad more depth.

All in all, author seems promising, and I’d gladly read other works. This one, though, gets 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Sci-Fi, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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