Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Befriend

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is characters I could be best friends with.  Outside of my first pick for this topic I have a hard time imagining being best friends with any of these characters, so this is more of a, characters-I’d-like-to-have-on-my-side kind of post.

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Nina Zenik (Six of Crows) – Finally, a friend who doesn’t make me feel guilty for never ordering a salad when we go out to eat.

Pig Gif

Circe (Circe) – That person who cut me off in traffic?  Bam! Pig.  That person who orders $50 worth of food at the drive-thru when you just want your morning coffee?  Bam! Pig.  If nothing else, I’d never run out of bacon.

ARTtistic Cat GIF • Cat vs Squirrel soon gonna catch you naughty squirrel blah blah blah

Reichis the Squirrelcat (Spellslinger) – Listen, I just really want a squirrelcat, okay?

Legal Trouble

Ariel Corta (New Moon) – I’m going to need an all star legal team after I’m done transforming all those people into pigs…

Hold on to your butts

John Hammond (Jurassic Park) – I am actively rejecting modern science. Jurassic Park is going to be a thing in my lifetime.  And I will be first in line.

Patrick plotting

Mycroft Canner (Too Like the Lightning) – Because knowing all the world’s secrets is a super power all by itself.  This is weirdly probably also my most dangerous choice of friend, considering what happened to his other friends…

Not quite ten- but I prefer quality friends to quantity.  Who made your list this week?

Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples & Characters in Fiction

In honor of Pride Month, I wanted to do a post celebrating my favorite LGBT+ characters and coupes in fiction.  Some of these books were not my favorite (and some of them are)- but if there was one thing that stood out about them, it was the characters.

The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

Captain Callie & Dr. Elena Oh – The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt: I do remember the beginning of this relationship felt a little forced, but by the end I was rooting for this couple all the way.  I’m more fond of this book for the fun level than the romantic factor- but The Wrong Stars is such a rollicking good space romp I don’t think it matters.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang Tensorate 1

Akeha – The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J.Y. Yang:  It’s been awhile since I read this, but one thing that stands out to me when I think of it, is that I remember how heartbroken I was for Akeha throughout. IIRC, in this world, children are brought up genderless until they choose the gender they want to be.  Akeha struggles with the choice, because not only does he not want to choose, but when he thinks about choosing, he realizes he’s not leaning the way everyone expect’s him to.  This is a quick novella, and well worth reading.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Niclays & Jannart – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: I wanted to put Ead and Sabran here, but one of my complaints about this book was that Ead and Sabran never felt like they had chemistry together, while it was very obvious how much Niclays cared about Jannart.  I won’t get too spoilery- but Niclays reminiscing about Jannart was one of the highlights of this book.

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Tracker & Mossi – Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James: Admittedly, the romance between Tracker and Mossi is a very, very small piece of this book.  This couple works because Mossi provides so much balance to Tracker.  He breaks up Tracker’s icy exterior and makes the reader realize that yes, Tracker does have a heart somewhere behind his violent shell.  If James ever wrote a novel/novella exploring this relationship in more depth- I’d 100% read it, despite the issues I had with this book.

Mycroft & Saladin – Terra Ignota series by Ada Palmer: Someday I’ll make a list Terra Ignota isn’t on.  Today is not that day.  Mycroft and Saladin are one of the more twisted couples I have on this list… and I’m not telling you why because it’s a huge spoiler.  We don’t often get to see them together (Mycroft’s Servicer duties and general genius keep him busy) but their relationship feels very Shakespearean.

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Jesper & Wylan – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Like Mossi & Tracker above- I feel like these two balance each other out.  Jesper’s a loud, in your face, hot mess and Wylan is quiet and cool headed.  I loved every scene they were in.

Ariel Corta – Luna series by Ian McDonald: Ariel Corta is one of my favorite female characters in literature ever.  She’s ambitious and cunning, and she prints a killer wardrobe.  She’s on this list because she’s one of the first ace characters I encountered in fiction.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Omat & Brandr – The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky: I love Omat & Brandr because neither one of them is your typical protagonist.  Omat is dealing with his own identity issues.  His gender doesn’t match his physical body, and internally he struggles to come to terms with that.  Brandr is a Viking with a soft side. Between the two of them, Omat takes the lead, and Brandr is perfectly happy with that.  He never questions Omat’s choices, never challenges them. He accepts Omat as he is and that’s what I loved about them.

Guilty Pleasures Anita Blake by Laurell K Hamilton

Jean Claude & Asher – Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton: I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I have read these books, considering the direction Hamilton took them in, but please know that the first ten(?) books are actually pretty good (and everything after that would make E.L.James blush).  From the moment I met Jean Claude & Asher I adored them as a couple.  Asher is physically scarred and a thoroughly damaged character because of it, and JC is the only person who’s ever really able to make him feel better about it.

Ninth Step Station by Malka Older Fran Wilde Jacqueline Koyanagi Curtis Chen

Detective Miyako – Ninth Step Station from Serial Box: I haven’t actually finished this season of Ninth Step Station, but Detective Miyako has grown on me so much.  She’s smart but grounded.  I find her much more relatable than Emma.  Her relationships don’t come into play so much- but I wanted to mention her anyway.

Do you have any favorite characters or couples on the list?  Anything else you can recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books of the past decade

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

First- a belated Happy Memorial Day weekend to all my American friends!  I hope you enjoyed it!  I’m sorry to kick this week off with a T10T when I haven’t posted a single review in weeks, but it was a hectic weekend for my family, filled with grilling, guacamole, sunshine and sprinklers.  My huge library book haul seems to be doing the trick as I will have a couple reviews for you all later this week.

Anyway, I’m looking at this topic and relieved because it seems easier than some of the last topics we’ve had this month, but I’m also wondering if I have a favorite for each year of the past ten.  I guess we’ll find out!

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

2019: The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky.  I’ve read significantly less 2019 releases than probably most other book bloggers- but I don’t foresee this changing.  I read this all in mostly one sitting. Not bad for a 500+ page novel! Honorable mentions to: The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, and Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald.

The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley

2018: The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley.  I also haven’t read that many 2018 releases apparently.  In my review, I only gave this 4.5 stars because the ending disappointed me, but months later I find myself craving more fierce, unapologetic fiction like this book, and wishing for ANYTHING with a similar voice. It really does deserve five stars. Honorable mentions: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark.

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2017: The Moon and the Other by John Kessel.  I think this is another that I gave 4.5 stars to instead of 5.  My reason for including this and The Mere Wife (above), is that in the end, I’ve held these novels to a higher standard.  If we’re going by literary accomplishment, I have more respect for them than I do for some of my 5 star reads for 2017.  The Moon and the Other is beautifully written, metaphoric, entertaining, and manages to give lots of food for thought. Honorable mentions: The Will to Battle and Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer, and Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell.

TLtL

2016: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer.  This is a weird one for me.  I absolutely will not recommend it to anyone to read, but it remains as a favorite.  I think if you can read it with buddies who can help you understand the intricacies of the plot and the world building, you’ll get more out of it.  If you are patient, this is one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read. Honorable Mentions: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

2015: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  I suspect I’m not the only person to slot this for their 2015 favorite.  SoC is the reason I will still occasionally pick up a YA novel despite being disappointed with most other YA offerings (it’s not them, it’s me).  It’s dark and gritty with just the right touch of romance. Honorable mentions: The Just City by Jo Walton and Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell.

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2014: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. These books are fast paced and the characters and their banter are fabulous.  There’s not a lot of magic- but a little, and I’m more than okay with that.  Fun fact: the author is an actual fencer, and his dueling scenes are better for it. Honorable mentions: Revival and Mr. Mercedes both by Stephen King.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

2013: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.  This is about a vampire from Christmasland.  I know that’s odd.  Don’t question it.  Just go with it.  Honorable mention: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie and The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

Gone Girl Gillian Flynn

2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I know Amy Dunne is a sociopath, but she’s a disciplined and brilliant sociopath.  For some reason- along the with The Mere Wife, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gone Girl and wishing there were more stories like this available.  Honorable Mention: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

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2011: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. Much like Amy Dunne, I find Jorg to be a very compelling as a character.  Also- this is just a delightfully wicked book. Honorable mention: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.

Sh*t my dad says by Justin Halpern

2010: Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern.  So this is a weird place to end up.  Anyway- apparently I didn’t read much and definitely wasn’t tracking my reading in 2010.  Don’t let that stop you from checking out this hilarious book. Justin’s dad is definitely a guy I wouldn’t mind drinking a beer with.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“On [Justin’s] Response to Having [His] Tires Slashed ‘Oh, don’t go to the goddamned cops. They’re busy with real shit. I don’t want my tax dollars going to figuring out who thinks you’re an asshole.'”

And that’s it!  What about you?  What are your favorite books of the past ten years?

 

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Gamechanger by L. X. Beckett

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.Gamechanger L. X. Beckett

Title: Gamechanger

Author: L. X. Beckett

Publisher: Tor

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 576 pages

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Blurb (from GoodReads): Neuromancer meets Star Trek in Gamechanger, a fantastic new book from award-winning author L. X. Beckett.

First there was the Setback. Then came the Clawback. Now humanity thrives.

Rubi Whiting is a member of the Bounceback Generation. The first to be raised free of the troubles of the late twenty-first century. Now she works as a public defender to help troubled indiviudals with anti-social behavior. That’s how she met Luciano Pox.

Luce is a firebrand and has made a name for himself as a naysayer. But there’s more to him than being a lightning rod for controversy. Rubi has to find out why the governments of the world want to bring Luce into custody, and why Luce is hell bent on stopping the recovery of the planet.

Why I’m excited for it: First and foremost- it’s Tor.  They are without a doubt my favorite publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I’m almost never disappointed with what they put out, and they publish many of my favorite authors (Jo Walton, Ada Palmer, and Ian McDonald to name a few).  They are also pretty good to their fans, with generally low priced ebooks, a new free ebook offering every month, a short fiction newsletter quarterly, and more short stories easily available on their website.

Something about this cover reminds me of Too Like the Lightning (I have a feeling the cover artist is the same) and I’m hoping the contents of the book will feel similar too.  What I loved about TLTL was the picture it painted of what the world might look like 400 years in the future.  Aside from all the cool tech- Palmer totally reimagined government and societal values which was the most fascinating piece (to me).  Gamechanger seems to be imagining a world 200 years in the future after it’s survived an apocalyptic event.  I can’t wait to see what the author does with it, but I’m hoping for something that’s a vast departure from the world we currently live in.

Additionally- with a title like Gamechanger, I’m hoping for a high-stakes political game, twisting turning secrets, and a plot that will make my head spin.  By the way- who decided September was the best month to release all the good stuff?  My TBR is already full for September!

Gamechanger can be found on GoodReads or pre-ordered on Amazon.

Which upcoming releases are you most excited about?  Leave me a link below so I can drop by and check it out!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

First I’ll apologize, because I am hastily throwing this together in the early hours of the morning not having gotten enough sleep last night.  I think this week’s topic is supposed to be “inspiring” quotes- but I’m not sure how many of those I have laying around so I’m just going with general favorites, and hopefully I can give the spotlight to some books I don’t discuss as frequently.

“I may have to eat you, you unfortunate young macaroon.” -China Mieville, Kraken

“…but politicians run all the big scams. Government’s the thief of all time. That’s why it tries so hard to catch thieves—it doesn’t like the competition.” – Jeff VanderMeer, Acceptance

“In my experience men are curiously blind to aggression in women. They’re the warriors, with their helmets and armour, their swords and spears, and they don’t seem to see our battles—or they prefer not to. Perhaps if they realized we’re not the gentle creatures they take us for their own peace of mind would be disturbed?” -Pat Barker, The Silence of the Girls

:”I call death onto those who don’t know a child when they see a child. Men who think they made the world out of clay and turned it into their safe place, men who think a woman wouldn’t flip the universe over and flatten them beneath it. I have enough bullets for all of them.” -Maria Dahvana Headley, The Mere Wife

“I think there is no person, myself aside, so hated by the ambitious of this world as Bryar Kosala, since those who fight viciously to grasp the reins of power cannot forgive the fact that she could rise so high and still be nice.” – Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning

“They say: only exceptional people can cross the borders. The truth is: anyone can cross, everyone has it in them. But only exceptional people can bear to look it in the eye.” -Naomi Alderman, The Power

“The operating theory—lacking any other credible explanation—was terrorism. The president had disappeared to a secure location but had responded with the full force of his Twitter account. He posted: “OUR ENEMIES DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY STARTED! PAYBACK IS A BITCH!!! #Denver #Colorado #America!!” The vice president had promised to pray as hard as he could for the survivors and the dead; he pledged to stay on his knees all day and all night long. It was reassuring to know our national leaders were using all the resources at their disposal to help the desperate: social media and Jesus.” -Joe Hill, Strange Weather

“What if he killed millions? I can guarantee you such a person would not be considered a murderer. Indeed, such a person may not even be thought to have broken any law. If you don’t believe me, just study history! Anyone who has killed millions is deemed a ‘great’ man, a hero.” -Cixin Liu, Death’s End

“Money is life. Poverty kills.” -Nick Harkaway, Gnomon

“Some places, though, were very strict about recompense and fairness. Very serious about resource management, and they considered music to be a resource like any other. Wouldn’t want anyone to get more than they’d earned, because that was what doomed the old world.” -Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless

That’s it!  Leave me a link to your Top Ten Tuesday below so I can marvel at all your fabulous quotes.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Locations I’d Like to Visit

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is places mentioned in books that I’d like to visit.  This is a great prompt for science fiction and fantasy!  I’ll try to keep it brief (no promises).

The Moon as presented in Ian McDonald’s Luna series (starting with New Moon).  The Moon wants to kill you.  But I want to visit it anyway.  In McDonald’s Luna series, the moon is hollowed out to allow room for a huge city in its interior. It has high rises, a city center, dazzling, glittering estates.  I love everything about this setting, except for that part where you can die of poverty, because even oxygen has a price.

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Dolingo in Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James.  You’ve probably heard the concept before.  A city built in the trees.  James owned this concept and made it totally his own.  I loved imagining the height of these trees, crossing from tree top to tree top in a “car” on a pulley system.  Can we figure out a way to do it without the slaves in the walls though?

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Isla Nublar in Jurrasic Park by Michael Crichton.  If you’ve been reading this blog even once a month you had to know this was going to end up on here right?  In my dream vacation- I get out before the TRex escapes.

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New Amazonia in Carnival by Elizabeth Bear.  The world Bear has built in Carnival is honestly one of the most creative, most interesting worlds I’ve ever “visited.”  While reading, I fell in love with this world.  It’s a matriarchy (girl power!) where the female leaders carry around swords and wield them like the bad ass women they are. There’s this thing called a House.  You just say what you want and House spits it out of a wall or something. Carpet Plant: The carpet is a plant and I like to be barefoot.  Nuff said.  Your wardrobe is actually full of secret weapons. And no- I don’t mean like the wardrobe you put your clothes into, I mean the wardrobe you wear.  That guy that’s looking at you funny? Brush your sleeve up against him and ZAP! He gets an electric shock.  Can’t say it enough- I love New Amazonia.

The Galactic Court in The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.  In this book, everyone who’s anyone lives on an intergalactic spaceship.  Planet dwellers are referred to as Excess.  In my review I mentioned that the setting reminded me of the generation ship in the movie Passengers.  I love the idea of glass in space and being surrounded by stars at all times.

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The secret village of the Leopard People as presented by Nnedi Okorafor in Akata Witch. The writing transported me to another place where magic is real and I could see the world through the lens of a child again. Everything felt new and fresh.  A kind of magical currency called Chittim falls out of the sky as you gain wisdom.  There were magical bookstores and familiars and everything you can imagine.

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The colony in Planetfall by Emma Newman.  This world is set on an alien planet complete with bio-architecture and more carpet plant (seriously- I really, really need carpet plant in my life).  All the tools you need are created with 3D printing.  People have a chip in their eye that can do things like call for help, administer pain medication, and transmit messages.

The future as presented by Ada Palmer in Too Like the Lightning.  I realize this is a dead horse that I refuse to stop beating- but the truth is, even if the future isn’t perfect, I think the world Palmer has imagined is a lot better than the one we have.  No place in the globe is more than a couple hours away because transportation is so fast.  Proselytizing is illegal (which I know sounds awful to some people, but sounds great to me).  There’s no such thing as country borders.  You pick the laws you want to live by (black law, grey law, white law).  Wars are a thing of the past.  My kind of future.

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Elizabethan England in Fools in Mortals by Bernard Cornwell.  Honestly- I just want to see Shakespeare performed under his own direction with Will Kemp as his clown.

Middle Earth.  (This needs no further explanation right?)

 

Throwback Thursday: Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer

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Rating:  ★★★★★

Two Thursday’s ago I lazily posted a review of one of my favorite books, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. This series really is a favorite for me and I’ve been thinking about them a lot as I wait for the release of book four.  I’m also eagerly anticipating a series re-read prior to release, but I need a release date first.  In the meantime, here is my review of book two, Seven Surrenders:

This was a group read with a few of my SFF book club buddies as a follow up to Too Like the Lightning. I think I was able to glean a lot more from it as a group read and it was interesting to see everyone’s different perspectives and take aways on it. If you’re considering this book, and have the opportunity to buddy read it- I highly recommend reading it that way!

I know the first book was very polarizing in that readers either enjoyed it or DNF’d or just didn’t like it at all. I think if you made it through the end of the first book, you owe it to yourself to finish with Seven Surrenders. I really think they should have been sold as one huge Sci-Fi epic. I get why the publishers did it, but I think a lot of readers will miss out on at least the plot related answers we were asking after in book one. Too Like the Lightning does not feel complete without Seven Surrenders. This is part of a four book series overall, but I can tell you that Seven Surrenders does not end on the huge cliff hanger type ending we were given in Book 1.

I don’t have any words to say that could do this book justice. There are too many topics covered. Religion. Individuality. Gender equality. Gender’s purpose in society: whether it is completely learned or innate. Utopia. How society achieves Utopia: what it looks like for humanity as a whole. Morality. Whether a people’s desire for justice and truth, a right to know, to not hide behind closed doors and propaganda, should be first before the safety of the rest of humanity. The greater good and the nature of goodness. Stagnancy vs. Progress. The nature of man. The nature of (G)od.

I don’t mean to say that the author is offering answers to all of these questions, more like, she is imposing these questions to the reader. There are so many complex shades of gray in this story. They are important questions to be asked, and I have to wonder, if as Mycroft would say, Providence hasn’t meant for these books to be released at this time. “Why now?” When Trump rules the USA, firing everyone who doesn’t agree with him. Using his twitter accounts as his own personal form of propaganda. Calling any news channel who dares question him #FakeNews.

This is not an easy novel to digest and I think it will require multiple readings. It will be one of those books that you pick up something different from every time you read it. It is complex and intricate and we often aren’t given the whole picture. People’s motives are unclear and sometimes don’t always make much sense in the context we receive them.

Aside from all the serious things happening, the world building was excellent. There are so many complexities to this society and I still have questions about it. I’m not sure what the difference is between blacklaws and graylaws etc. I don’t understand the nature or purpose of all the Hives. Or precisely how bashes are formed. I’m not sure why The Anonymous is so important and what precisely their contributions are to society.

But most of what I love about these books is the characters. I’m still strangely attached to Mycroft. I’m attached to Sniper. I’m attached to Mother Kosala and Papadelias and Ganymede and am fascinated by all their strange interpersonal relationships. The plot is twisting and turning and once again, whenever you think you have something pegged, another bomb is dropped, another layer peeled away and everything shifts. It’s like trying to solve a rubiks cube. For every shift of one square into place, another face of the cube has changed.

Overall- a fascinating and thought provoking read.

Any other Terra Ignota fans out there?  Let me know if you can recommend me something similar!

Throwback Thursday: Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer

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Hello friends!  Today I’m doing something incredibly lazy and sharing with you a review I wrote way back in 2017.  I’m calling it Throwback Thursday. The good news is- I promise to only share books I really loved on Throwback Thursday.  Mostly because I want to spread the love for my favorite books that never had the opportunity to be posted here on Hamlets & Hyperspace.  My hope is that maybe you’ll discover a new-to-you favorite.

Just so you are aware- I rated this book 4 stars and not 5.  It is also not a book I can blanket recommend to everyone.  I read it as part of a group (spoiler heavy discussion here).  There were many individuals who hated it, many who did not finish.  Though I love this book- I don’t fault a single one of those readers and I’m not even questioning why.

Originally posted on GoodReads.com:

This is going to be an incoherent review, so I’ll apologize right off the bat. This is not an easy book. It was 430 pages of struggle for me. There are few info dumps. The style is different. Mycroft Canner (the main character) is writing this book in the style of the 18th century (sort of- most of the book is written perfectly normally) to address someone reading it from the future. He frequently addresses the reader, breaking the flow of the narrative to address the reader in “thee” and “thou” and ask you questions and make arrogant assumptions about how you feel.

There are few info dumps about the world and how it came to be because he thinks you are reading this from 400 years in the future, or thereabouts, and would therefore, presumably know much of what he is telling you about the history of the world. So no info dumps. Sort of.

To give you a quick and dirty run down, of which I will undoubtedly miss many points, it’s like this: the book is set in the future, where people have cool clothes that change with what they think, or make them invisible, or boots that are also weapons, visors that allow them to see what other people see and have text message conversations with people, or call them directly. They have trackers which track (obviously) and call police and monitor heart beats and give or deny security clearance. There is no more talk of gender, no more he and she. Women can choose not to grow breasts if they wish and so hide their physical sex. Clothes are genderless. They have anti-aging drugs and average life expectancy is over 150. People are often adopted into familial units called ‘bash(es?) where the ba’kids might be chinese, the ba’pa european, and the ba’ma indian. When the ba’kids grow up they can choose to belong to one of several hives, based on what they desire or find important in life and start a new ‘bash with their spouse. There is no war. There is no organized religion. Religious questions may be directed to your sensayer, whose training allows them to cover questions and matters of all religions, and it is always private, and proselytizing is definitely not allowed. Most people speak more than one language, with latin being reserved for the elite.

You wouldn’t think this would be a mystery plot, but it is. It begins with a boy named Bridger, who can “miracle” things into existence. Toys and pictures come to life, cures [for illness] and food made from paper. Mycroft has some sort of master plan for Bridger, but what is it? Then this thing called the Seven Ten list is stolen and I still can’t exactly tell you why it’s important other than to expose mysteries within mysteries [this is still true for me two years and two more Terra Ingota books later]. Just as you think your’e figuring something out, some bomb is dropped on you about someone’s identity, or past events or motives. I’ll be blunt, the Seven Ten list plot was kind of boring and confusing and I just didn’t care all that much about it. It’s the mysteries within the mysteries that will keep you reading, and there are OH SO MANY.

So Mycroft, I love, weirdly, if you read it you’ll find out why that’s weird. I did like the writing, if the style of writing was sometimes off-putting. The pacing could be slow at times and very fast at others. The chapters feel long and the book dense in general. The world building was both exactly what I’d want from a meaty sci-fi book and also somehow incredibly imaginative. The setting was beautiful and I’d absolutely love to see it recreated in CGI someday.

But, the book confused me a lot. Many people have many names and many titles and Mycroft will often point out a physical sex and a gender identification while everyone else refers to them as they and it can be difficult to follow. Thanks to the sensayers, there are lots of parts where the characters are debating or relaying philosophy to the reader, Voltaire, Marx, and many others I can’t name. Some paragraphs are written in latin and translated directly after and it was just unnecessary words on the page. The parts where Mycroft breaks off to address the reader were also sometimes tiresome and I just wanted to get to the story, but in the end, I am absolutely 100% DYING to find out what happens next, so for that much, I give it four stars.

Overall- an intriguing and thought provoking read that I’d definitely recommend to anyone interested in any of the many things I’ve mentioned above.

**End old review**

Having re-read this- it isn’t exactly a glowing review.  A lot of my love for this book came through discussion with other readers.  If you had asked me while I was reading it?  I would have told you – this is a Utopia.  No pollution, no war, no discrimination on any basis, stable economy, no prison.  <— It sounds pretty utopian right?

Until another reader began to point out that a lack of gender expression, a lack of religious expression, the ability to congregate with other people who share your beliefs, all sounded a lot more dystopian then utopian.  Suddenly my understanding of this book and all of it’s contents were flipped on it’s head.

If you can’t solve the issue of religious wars by banning religion in public… how the hell do you solve it?  Suddenly I had to re-think everything I had already thought about the book.  I was seeing it through a new lens with that one question alone.  How many other questions are there for me to ask and find a completely different answer?

Those last two paragraphs are absolutely what I adored about this book (aside from Mycroft, who is an enigma all his own).  Nothing on the surface is as it seems.  Reading it the first time will be one hundred percent different from reading it a second time.  Reading it again after reading the other two (three- someday!) books in the series will make it a completely different book.

Next week I will follow up this Throwback Thursday with my Five Star review of Seven Surrenders, Book Two in the Terra Ignota series, and hopefully this review will make a little more sense.