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Dee 📖 (book aspect) Locked account

Dee@books.underscore.world

Joined 9 months, 1 week ago

Hello I'm @Dee@fedi.underscore.world. I run this instance, and I'm currently its only user.

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An ancient society of witches and a hipster technological startup go war as the world …

Nice blend of fantasy and science fiction

4 stars

All the Birds in the Sky is, broadly, a novel about the conflict between science and magic. Less broadly, it's a novel about growing up, love, empathy, hubris, mistakes, and the desire to do good.

The story is told mostly from the perspectives of the novel's two main characters, Patricia and Laurence. The overarching plot of the novel may have some awkward twists, and its resolution may arrive a bit abruptly, but it generally works well anyway, considering the novel's focus on the character's individual experiences, and how their relationship plays into the larger events.

Genre-wise, the novel is a blend of science fiction and fantasy, and tone-wise it is a blend of serious and whimsical. While the plot does go to some dark places, the book's writing tends more towards wistful than grimly dark. The style may seem a bit weird, but it works with a story that is …

Ancestral Night (Hardcover, 2019, Gallery / Saga Press) 4 stars

An enjoyable space opera

4 stars

Ancestral Night is a space opera, of the sort that features a crew of a small starship getting into some adventures in a universe of interesting aliens and colorful characters.

The book is written from the perspective of its protagonist, in a generally lighter tone, which works well for that character. The overall arc of the plot also does not get too dark—Ancestral Night belongs to the subgenre of space opera that features universes which, while perhaps not entirely utopian, are generally not unpleasant places to hypothetically exist in. The plot, nevertheless, involves the old favorites such as ancient mysteries of the universe and space pirates, which Elizabeth Bear utilizes to generally good effect in crafting a space adventure.

The novel is not just pulp, however. An underlying plot concerns the questions of individual autonomy versus collectivism, and the use of transhumanism to better societies as a whole. The …

Desolation Called Peace (EBook, 2021, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with …

A Worthy Sequel

4 stars

There were many directions in which Arkady Martine could have taken the sequel to her popular 2019 novel A Memory Called Empire, and she has chosen an interesting and entertaining one.

The worldbuilding for which A Memory Called Empire was praised is back in A Desolation Called Peace, and while the first book focused on the Teixcalaanli capital, the second one explores more of the life onboard of the Lsel Station, as well as life in campaigning military fleets of the empire. For the most part, the worldbuilding in the sequel does not disappoint.

The bits where it does disappoint is in Martine leaning perhaps too heavily on space opera tropes in the parts of the book that take place aboard starships. While the descriptions of the capital or the palace grounds therein continue to be evocative, the descriptions of what it is like onboard of an imperial …

The City We Became (2020, Orbit) 4 stars

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn't remember …

Putting "urban" in "urban fantasy"

4 stars

The City We Became is urban fantasy, in that it features a bunch of magical stuff happening in a modern day city. It's also urban fantasy in that it is about cities. People are cities and cities are people, and not in a metaphorical way, but in a more supernatural and literal way.

N. K. Jemisin manages to channel the spirit of New York City (where the novel's action focuses) through the novel's characters, without resorting to tired and popular stereotypes of the city and its people. While in a way the book is an ode to New York, it also doesn't shy away from some of its more dark and shameful aspects. All of this is wrapped up in writing that manages to be evocative and sufficiency casual to flow well. The book paints an engaging picture of both the real New York, and its fictional, supernatural, embodied New …