Goodreads Review – The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Phenomenal. It’s been a long time since a book started out rather ho-hum, and by the end I had to devour the last 50 pages in a single sitting, desperately wanting more. Jemisin created not just an intriguing retrofuture world of extreme, apocalyptic weather but also a rich culture surrounding the caste-bound humans who survive these Seasons, including those special humans who can feel the Earth and control it.
The setting is a delicious mixture of X-Men, Dragon Age, and even some Horizon Zero Dawn, yet it’s not derivative at all but feels like a natural evolution for sci-fi/fantasy. And the multiple POV features some incredibly rewarding and satisfying twists, including a very bold second person narration. Highly recommended and I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

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Goodreads Review – Raising Steam (Discworld #40)

Raising Steam (Discworld, #40, Moist von Lipwig #3)Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even a mediocre Discworld book is still pretty good. In the Discworld series, the Moist von Lipwig books are solidly at the bottom. They’re as much about the city of Ankh-Morpok and the steady march of progress as anything else, and Raising Steam is no exception, with the invention of the locomotion. Unfortunately a good chunk of the novel is spent on a wider lens look at the city, the inventors, and the Patricians’ machinations.
I do adore the Patrician but it’s mostly a snooze-fest, and I never did care about the locomotion pair of Dick and Harry, whom we spend a lot of time with.
The final third of the book picks up steam (sorry) into a nice little ending, and I did love the inclusion of Commander Vimes and the City Watch as supporting characters.
Note that although it’s a Moist book, the surrounding plot is a sequel to the Troll-Dwarf war story in Thud!, nearly making it required reading to know what’s going on. Of course, you’ve already read all the Discworld books, right?

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Goodreads Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2)

Book 2 of the Gentleman Bastard is a fun sequel that tries to do a bit too much.

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2)Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I still enjoy Scott Lynch’s writing style and characters, but this follow-up to The Lies of Locke Lamora is a bit too bloated, resulting in some odd pacing issues.

We don’t get to the pirate stuff (as evidenced on the cover) until much later in the book; until then it’s a casino heist that only circles back around at the very, very end. The casino heist peters out but the entire pirate plot line is absolutely fantastic, with a rich cast of characters and some much deeper emotional stakes.

Red Seas Under Red Skies thus ends up too long and too grandiose for its own good. A few chapters early on even add an additional timeline of events that happened after LoLL but before this one. They’re not bad at all, and I continue to enjoy learning more about this relatable fantasy world, but it makes getting through the first half of the book much more of a slog than it should have been. Thankfully the ending climax ramps up very nicely – I devoured the last 100+ pages in about a day.

Overall a worthy sequel but I wish it had done a bit less and focused entirely on the pirate plot line of the latter half.

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Goodreads Review: Sea of Rust

Sea of RustSea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not quite the post-apocalyptic summer blockbuster I was expecting. While there’s a solid chunk of explosive plasma-fueled action, it also dives deep into AI sentience, mental issues, and the uniquely harrowing civil war the robots find themselves in years after they killed all the humans. Protagonist Brittle has a delightfully sly human tone, making it a quick, fun read, but still poking at deeper, profound concepts of individuality, freedom, and sentience.

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