More book reviews (finally)

I’ve managed to fall fairly far behind on actually posting reviews of the books I’ve read, so I’m going to start trying to catch up by posting my comments about several books at once. The comments are, for the most part, brief, and in large part that’s because it’s been a while since I read the novels in question.

A Scattering of Jades by Alexander C. Irvine [3/5]

Nice prose and interesting ideas, but I was distinctly unimpressed by how the plot was put together and didn’t much like most of the characters.

The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod [4/5]

There were a lot of very interesting ideas, many of them about politics, and two good major plot threads in The Stone Canal. Unfortunately, when the author tried to connect those two threads together toward the end of the book, I thought things took a serious turn for the worse. Still, I plan to read more of his work. [Edit: I've been reminded that I really enjoyed the in-depth political aspects of this book, so I'm raising my rating to a 4/5. The less than stellar ending doesn't mean the majority of the book wasn't very good.]]

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn [4/5]

Though this is, in theory, not a YA novel, the smooth and simple prose meant that it read like one at times. The atmosphere is absolutely great though, and overall the book reads more like a legend than like a piece of modern fiction. Recommended.

Gridlinked by Neal Asher [3.5/5]

There were parts of this one that were quite good, but I didn’t feel that the author managed to balance his various plots especially well, and that definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King [3/5]

I didn’t find this to be nearly as good as the first of the Mary Russell novels (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice), maybe because there was less of the interplay between Russell and Holmes that was, in my opinion, the best feature of the previous book. I do still plan to read the third book in the series at some point.

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross [4.5/5]

I was part of the cult of Charlie long before I actually read this novel, so I went into it expecting a lot, and Singularity Sky didn’t disappoint. The novel started with the line

The day war was declared, a rain of telephones fell clattering to the cobblestones from the skies above Novy Petrograd.

and then managed to live up to a first sentence that was that good. This is a great piece of science fiction, with lots of interesting ideas tied together in a weird, fast-paced space opera plot. Very highly recommended.

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