« May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »

June 2008 Archives

June 3, 2008

Law of Survival



Law of Survival, by Kristine Smith

Third in the Jani Killian series by Kristine Smith...

After all the legal questions in the first two books, Jani finally gets to be an upstanding citizen with an above-board job! And it seems like her health issues are settling down (for the most part, there's still some problems but nothing compared to the first two books). So of course the political stuff has to heat up and create all kinds of issues.

This one has a lot more about Nema and the Vyshnaara (I'm spelling that from memory, I'm quite sure it's wrong) and their caste system. There's this whole sub-group whose souls are already damned for whatever reason so they do all the "unclean" jobs so those who are still "pure" will stay that way. There's a generational aspect to it as well, it seems like once a person isn't pure any more their offspring are similarly screwed.

Which seems rather unfair!

As does the idea that the upper classes only keep their souls because other people take care of the "unclean" jobs. If your existence depends on other people giving up their souls, there is something wrong with the system! How can you benefit from their work and not also become unclean? It seems to me like there ought to be some kind of transitive property going on there. (yes I know, I'm a geek, I'm using a math concept to explain this)

The whole issue of Jani as Nema's successor gets shoved right smack into the middle of everything too. She seems like she's starting to accept what's been done to her even though she doesn't like it. There just isn't a heck of a lot she can do about it at this point.

What else... Shroud still fascinates me, and I want to know more about Lucien. Is he really as without empathy as he claims? He seems to genuinely care about what happens to Jani and I have a hard time believing that's just a self-serving interest on his part.

June 4, 2008

The Sagan Diary



The Sagan Diary, by John Scalzi

Short story in John Scalzi's Old Man's War series, goes between The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony...

Wow, just wow.

This was achingly beautiful.

It's a diary of Jane Sagan as she's ending her Special Forces career and getting ready to become a "normal" human with Zoe and John. Everything she wants and fears, how she feels about her identity and if she's going to lose whatever it is that makes her her after that change.

It's so incredibly intimate and adds so much to her as a person, and we already know a lot about her after Ghost Brigades!

So yeah, I loved this.

June 7, 2008

The Last Colony



The Last Colony, by John Scalzi

Third in the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi...

Yay! Scalzi book!

I finally figured out one of the things I love about his books while reading this one. He assumes the reader knows things, the books are smart. I love that. There's references that you're just assumed to get. For example, in this one the planet is called Roanoke and the settlement Croatoan. The significance of the name Roanoke is mentioned off-handedly by one of the characters partway through, but that's it. And no it isn't vital to understanding the plot or the book, but it adds such an interesting layer to the whole thing.

And John and Jane are just cool. They seem like people I'd like to hang out with. John especially, he's all sarcastic and snarky and fun. Of course they can both kick some serious butt if necessary.

So... in this one John, Jane, and Zoe have been living as "normal" humans on a colony for a while until they're chosen to be the leaders of a brand spanking new colony. There are of course complications and much political wrangling behind the reasons for the colony which we don't learn about until partway in.

There's a lot going on for Jane personally, and I think it really helped to have read The Sagan Diary before this. She's finally feeling like she has a home and then they're sent elsewhere and she has all kinds of Special Forces stuff shoved back at her even though she's past that. It's such an interesting concept, she's barely a teenager chronologically and yet she's mother and leader and wife. Which is a heck of a lot to deal with if one is emotionally a teenager! And to be dealing with it and then be shoved back into what you used to be... quite the thing.

I also really liked the Stross character. He's so spacey (heh, in more ways than one!) and interesting. Perfectly happy just floating around in space studying literature.

June 8, 2008

The Turning



The Turning, by Jennifer Armintrout

First in the Blood Ties series by Jennifer Armintrout...

As if it isn't obvious from the title of both the book and the series... vampire book! So as is traditional, vamp rules... no sunlight, but able to be conscious during the daytime, can eat regular food it just doesn't do anything for them, they need blood to sustain them. Holy water will burn, staking works, or severe injury beyond their ability to regenerate (which gets stronger the older they get). They transform somewhat when feeding or if there's strong emotions going on. There's also a strong tie between sire and offspring. There's also this odd thing with an extra heart that grows allowing the human heart to be removed but it's still somehow attached to the vamp and if it gets staked they die.

The interesting bit is that there's a group of vamps that want to prevent any more vampires from being created. They have a long list of rules that they expect everyone to follow and if they don't... well, the consequences are rather severe! Things like no creating vampires, no feeding from unwilling "donors", no hurting humans, and if another vampire is going to die they have to let it happen. Even if it's a "good" vamp or a friend, kind of like a DNR order, no extrordinary measures!

So, our main character is a doctor in an ER and ends up being accidentally turned by a vampire that was brought in to the hospital. He's a bad guy so she's automatically marked for death by this vamp group because the tie between them will make her do what he wants. Of course she's not a fan of this plan and wants another option.

A "good" vamp does end up helping her and manages to get himself in some serious trouble along the way, both with a witch and with the vampire group (for whom he works) since he's breaking the rules.

June 10, 2008

Now You See Me



Now You See Me, by Tina Wainscott

by Tina Wainscott...

This was an interesting one. There's this blind woman who is slightly psychic and will sometimes connect to a kidnaped child and be able to see through their eyes. Which all seems to be connected back to when she was kidnapped when she was very young, which is also when she lost her sight.

So, a kid is snatched just before Christmas and there's a ton of similarities to her own kidnapping and she tries to help the police who of course think she's involved since she knows things she couldn't know otherwise. And she's having a hard time sorting out what she's actually seeing from what happened to her. The cop assigned to the case ends up being much more intimately involved than either of them thought at first.

It does do the weird "we've only known each other for a couple days, but we're soul-mates and let's hop into bed together thing" of which I am not a fan. But thankfully that doesn't intrude into the rest of the plot and story.

There's some really interesting stuff about conversion disorder, which I hadn't heard of before. The brain is a fascinating and weird thing!

June 14, 2008

The Broken Window



The Broken Window, by Jeffery Deaver

Eighth in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver...

Yay for a new Lincoln Rhyme book! I really like this series, I'm always happy to see a new one.

This one had some call-backs to both the first book in the series and the book right before this one (The Cold Moon) which was cool, I don't think that's really happened much in previous books in the series. It made me want to go back and re-read the earlier books.

The plot and story in this one had a lot to do with privacy and data mining companies. How much information about us is really out there for anyone to find. How companies use everything that's out there, all the information about what we buy and where. Every time we use one of those "frequent buyer" cards all that information goes somewhere. There's a scary amount of information available, and what happens if someone who wants to do something nefarious gets ahold of it?

My one complaint isn't really a problem of the book, it's more a problem of reading a book about something about which I already know a decent amount. I know most of the people reading the book aren't going to be very geeky or know too much about the privacy issue or about computers in general. So it's not that out of line that a number of the characters wouldn't either and there has to be a lot of basic explaining going on. But you'd think at least a couple of them would have some awareness of what's happening and not need absolutely every little thing explained to them.

But that's just one little part of it and the rest was very good. I can never figure out where all the twists and turns are going in Deaver's books, I love that. And there's always lots of interesting character and relationship stuff too. Mysteries that are just plot don't do much for me, I like reading books where I can get to know the characters and get attached to them.

June 18, 2008

The Vor Game



The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold, it's the second one I've read but there's a number of different reading orders so there isn't a firm "second in series" or anything like that.

Mr. Miles just keeps getting himself into trouble. He's managed to graduate from their military academy and gets assigned to the middle of nowhere to work on learning how to follow orders. Of course he ends up in the middle of a rather nasty situation politically but it's more that he ends up in trouble because he's trying to do the right thing.

He ends up far from home with the Emperor (who's having a bit of a personal crisis and is trying to run away from home, himself, his responsiblities...) and has to protect him. There's lots of interesting interactions between the two of them. There's something really interesting to me about people like them, people who are raised to be rulers and don't have a choice in their lives. They have incredible responsibility and power, but they never really get to be "normal". Except occassionally with each other. I find it a really interesting dynamic.

The two of them end up back with the mercenary fleet from The Warrior's Apprentice and have to prevent a war.


June 21, 2008

The Bone Collector



The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver

First in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver...

Like I said in the post for Broken Window, it made me want to re-read the earlier books in the Rhyme series so here we are back at the beginning.

It was really odd reading this one. I'd forgotten how incredibly broken Lincoln was at the beginning of all this. I hadn't realized how much he's changed over the course of the series. It was really jarring seeing him so despondant and having completely given up. Really weird. And Sachs not knowing what to do and all uncertain of herself.

I did enjoy seeing the very beginnings of their working relationship (not really the personal one just yet) again. Getting to know each other and yelling at each other and all of that. Figuring each other out.

I really like this series, and as odd as some of it was (especially in this first one) I'm liking going back and seeing the beginnings again.

June 25, 2008

The Coffin Dancer



The Coffin Dancer, by Jeffery Deaver

Second in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver...

More re-reading! I think I'm mostly going to do a bit of plot stuff since we all know I like this series already.

As opposed to the movie made from the first book, the personal relationship between Rhyme and Sachs doesn't really get going until near the end of this one. He's really almost sweet about it, he's scared and doesn't want to get hurt again or hurt her.

The case is about a professional killer who's been hired to get rid of some witnesses before they can testify before a grand jury. It has the pilots and all kinds of interesting things with planes.

As is normal for Deaver books, all isn't as it seems! But they're so twisty that even though I've read this before it had been long enough ago and convoluted enough that I didn't remember where the twists were. I almost (but not quite) want to read one of his books a second time right after finishing it to read it knowing what to look for. Who knows, maybe I will at some point.

June 29, 2008

The Empty Chair



The Empty Chair, by Jeffery Deaver

Third in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver... and it's another re-read.

So... Lincoln, Amelia, and Thom (of course) have traveled to North Carolina because Rhyme wants to have an experimental surgery that he hopes will give him a tiny bit of improvement, but it's risky. They end up getting involved in a local kidnapping/murder case because the sheriff is a relative of one of their friends back in New York.

Everything gets sticky and complicated right quick and in a hurry, but what else would you expect from a Deaver book?

As is usually there's all kinds of personal issues to go along with the plot (which is a huge part of why I like Deaver's books). Rhyme is feeling very out of place, both because of the small town being stared at thing and because he knows how to work a crime in New York, but he doesn't know anything about the area they're in currently so it's harder. He's normally so sure of himself and he just isn't in that situation.

And there's some level of conflict between him and Sachs about the operation he wants. She doesn't think it's worth the risk, he does. I do get the feeling that if they'd just talk to each other about what they're scared of it wouldn't be quite such a bit deal!

June 30, 2008

Cetaganda



Cetaganda, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Third that I've read in the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold...

This time Miles finds himself all mixed up in a huge political plot on Cetaganda. The Barrayaran political set-up I understand, it isn't anything like what we have in the States, but I get it. The Cetagandan one on the other hand... it is seriously screwy. There's women who are never seen, women that everyone acts like can't be seen, men in military power but only through their wives... it's very odd.

Miles of course gets himself stuck right in the middle of everything as is his habit. I'm never quite sure if he's right to go out on his own or if it would have been better if he'd told his superiors what was going on from the get go.

This one focuses more on the Barrayaran characters than any of the Dendarii, I think Miles gets to be Lord Miles though the whole thing actually, no Admiral.

About June 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Sunidesus Reads in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

July 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.