Recommended: eh, I guess Cool concept, weak execution. Probably come for the series / idea more than the characters or plot or world-building or moral questions…. Expected Release: April 6, 2021
Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years. The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there. When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all. As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
What I liked about this book is probably what everyone who reads this is drawn to: the interesting premise of a human-designed AI taking over the human afterlife. WHAT. AN AMAZING. IDEA. And probably a new fear for a lot of people. This premise is so unique and cool that I can see a lot of similar content sprouting up after people get wind of this idea. And I liked the end, and that may be it’s saving grace to keep me reading this series. I’ll probably give it a second chance to improve.
Recommended: not really….. Recommended for highly metaphoric and visual language and an unreliable narrator. Not recommended for a coherent plot, not for a quick or easy read, not for readers who prefer linear or stable stories, not for people who think “the book is always better than the movie”
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
Oh wow, was this very much not for me. The nature of it is to focus on incoherent ramblings, and VanderMeer nailed that. Unfortunately for me, that’s not something I enjoy or found interest or meaning in. It was just exhausting meaningless gibberish — which was exactly as intended? I don’t know anymore. I’m just exhausted.
Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to write about an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is a new adaptation of an old classic… that I have still never read. Maybe this graphic novel will be my entry point to Frank Herbert’s Dune! Expected Release: November 24, 2020
Why wait on this one?
I’m excited to have an approachable path to this intimidating book. Though it seems to have all the elements I would enjoy — a fantastic new world, a dramatic environment, a zero-to-hero character, betrayal — I’m not 100% sure I actually WILL. A graphic novel might help bridge any barriers to writing style or dryness that could pop up in the original 600+ page prose.
By all expectations, this story seems like an EXCELLENT candidate for a graphic novel adaptation. The desert world alone is ripe with possibilities for stunning landscapes and stark contrasts to really breathe life into the story. Just look at the cover above! I have very high hopes for the art with this.
If I like this “part 1” graphic novel, I will probably read the original someday as well. It’s a good sampler, and I desperately want to read this ultimate-classic kind of book for the world of science fiction. This is like my chance to read a little taste of the overall story, but not have to commit to the entire Beast.
Summary: Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for. When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. Dune is a powerful, fanstastical tale that takes an unprecedented look into our universe, and is transformed by the graphic novel format. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s adaptation retains the integrity of the original novel, and Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín’s magnificent illustrations, along with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz, bring the book to life for a new generation of readers.
Recommended:yessss for big book aficionados, for a story that takes its time in unfolding, for a plot that weaves in and out and around until you’re entirely surrounded in it, for adult Paolini goodness that shows how much he’s grown as an author
Summary: During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.
As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.
While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .
I’m currently reading To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (advanced copy, praise the stars! Release date on September 15, 2020). I’m also currently watching Battlestar Galactica for the first time. And since they are both, at their simplest, space stories about fighting/fleeing other life forms, there’s a lot that’s similar between the two.
And I keep getting them mixed up.
This isn’t really a bad thing! It just gets confusing when I try to remember where I left off when I resume either of them. I’ll read some Sea of Stars and then watch some B.G. that night and before beginning an episode think, Okay, so last episode was where they were in an unknown system searching a planet for something, and then the bad guys showed up…. wait…. was that in the book or the show???
Luckily the show has a recap before each episode. 😂
Also, that example sentence above is 100% real and 100% accurate for both the book and the show, at the moment! So while moments like that can get kind of muddled, it’s also really fun to see the similarities between them on a larger scale! Below are some that I’ve noticed, with no spoilers for the book, I promise everything I reference is known early on or even in the blurb or general enough to be obvious. Even their covers look similar!
both are in the middle of wars with other life forms — and losing, badly
both have to make constant FTL jumps to try and evade their pursuers, often with tricky recalculating tactics
flash tracing is a concern in both (basically when they make a fast than light jump and their pursuers make on in the opposite direction then watch through a telescope once the light from the event reaches them to see where the first group were pointed when they jumped. science!)
both have pretty crazy alien life, that is way more tech advanced than humans (but like, when aren’t aliens way more advanced)
and, in general, both are facing a lot of issues and having a pretty tough time of things
And, the most obvious similarity: both are FANTASTIC! Sometimes it can take some doing for me to get really interested in space stories, but each of these has done a stunning job. They’re complex and exciting and intellectual and so, so good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go spend some time with…. one of them, I’ll have to decide! 😁
Hey y’all! I happened to get particularly lucky with s chance to get an advanced reader copy of a book that made stars pop into my eyes the second I saw it was coming out. So what is this magical amazing book?
Hint #1: it has three appendices, including an appendix of terms and one about the physics in the book, and that’s how you know an author is super serious
Hint #2: it’s an absolute beast at almost a thousand pages long
Recommended: Yes. But you need to be ready for it. For a look into power, for a painful clever parallel with lots of tongue-in-cheek moments, for something that will challenge your perceptions about society and your own patterns of thinking, for an unflinching story of a world in the midst of change
Summary: In The Power the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
Thoughts: I wasn’t ready for this. I should have known better, but I went into this thinking “Oh, it’ll be a fun fantasy read about how crazy the world is after women develop the power to create and control lightning!” Looking back, I don’t know how I was so wrong, but I’m glad I was because this story blew me away when I least expected it.
Recommended: For the curious and the open-minded who are ready for something new For those who will pay attention to detail, appreciate each person for who they are, and hold tight through the supremely bizarre/amusing/revolting moments
Summary: Are you allowed to be mad that someone leaves you to die, if they did so just before you were about to kill yourself? Jim is left with that question, even as he’s thrown into the secret game Cryptofauna. Ambiguous rules, yet strenuous training. Randomly plucked allies are there to help him not-die, but there are plenty of monstrosities trying to help Jim complete his original suicide attempt. Sticking to his socks and his bag of smiling ash, Jim rolls through his initiation as an Operator. If he can just get that out of the way, maybe he can stop his Rival from bringing about the apocalypse. You know, if there’s time.
Thoughts: If you’ve read a lot of science fiction, you might be bored of the tropes that come up fairly often. This book will be a refreshing break from the safety and familiarity of cliche, by throwing you details, characters, and situations that baffle the mind — in the best way! I was a little nervous this would be the kind of story that’s forcibly odd, where details and twists are thrown in deliberately just to be weird, even if they don’t add to the story or really make sense. Amazingly, that was not it at all, and I was beyond delighted to see what I had instead!
I want everyone to read this book so we can talk about it. It’s one of those books.
Recommended: yessssss ♥ For people who also adore Orson Scott Card’s work, for those who want immediately deep and lovable characters, for an intriguing exploration of unique tiny magic that will have you thinking about what your micropower might be. For lovely warm fuzzies enhanced by the incredible darkness woven together
Summary, from Goodreads: “Are you really a thief?” That’s the question that has haunted fourteen-year-old Ezekiel Blast all his life. But he’s not a thief, he just has a talent for finding things. Not a superpower–a micropower. Because what good is finding lost bicycles and hair scrunchies, especially when you return them to their owners and everyone thinks you must have stolen them in the first place? If only there were some way to use Ezekiel’s micropower for good, to turn a curse into a blessing. His friend Beth thinks there must be, and so does a police detective investigating the disappearance of a little girl. When tragedy strikes, it’s up to Ezekiel to use his talent to find what matters most.