Wednesday, March 23, 2016

read: Zoe's Tale (4 stars)

Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting and fun story re-telling the events of The Last Colony using the first-person perspective of Zoe. Her perspective, as a young woman, is based more on relationships (not emotions, as other reviewers are fond of writing) than politics (as was her father's in The Last Colony). This, along with her unique position as a revered figure for the Obin, gives the author a chance to explore life in the colony and the culture of alien races a bit deeper, though probably not deep enough.

The book clocks in as the longest entry to date in the Old Man's War series, probably due to Zoe's rambly, snarky (like her father), teenage, angsty take on things. Mr. Scalzi does an admirable job of capturing just enough of that attitude to carry the story, without sending it over the edge into unbearableness.

I can understand, but disagree with, the view that there's nothing new here, that everything was wrapped up quite nicely in previous book. But I'll grant the author his reasoning and opportunity to pull back the curtain a bit and add depth to the story. Plus, I'm pretty sure he's correct in how difficult it was to write this.

Recommended if you are a Scalzi completist or a YA-enthusiast.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

read: Star Wars: Before the Awakening (4 stars)

Star Wars: Before the AwakeningStar Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anyone aching for more details about the new Star Wars characters will enjoy this book of three separate stories. You must know, going in, that these aren't so much profiles as vignettes. This is light reading, even for something marketed as young adult (almost middle grade). We get personalities, not details; attitudes, not deep history. But they are nicely written and well plotted, with only a couple of flaws (every old ship seems to be 'venerable'). Recommended.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

read: The Handmaid's Tale (4 stars)

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that everyone is supposed to have read, but there's a good chance you haven't. But you think you know the story. This is bleaker than that--a haunting tale of subjection and powerlessness that seems without end.

If you have the opportunity, the audio book read by Claire Danes is the way to do this. It's a first-person narrative and she does an exquisite (Audie Award-winning) job of bringing it to life.

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