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July 2008 Archives

July 3, 2008

Borders of Infinity



Borders of Infinity, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

I really liked the way this was presented. It's actually three short stories in the Vorkosigan series that had been published previously, but put together in one volume with a bit of narrative between them binding it all together. The stories are "Mountains of Mourning," "Labyrinth," and "Borders of Infinity." The last of course confuses things slightly since it's also the title of the collection.

The first one is kind of a detective story. There's been a death in the Vorkosigan District and Miles' father sends him out to figure out what happened and deal with it. It ends up being very personal for Miles since the death was an infanticide of a child that had a cleft lip/palete (and therefore considered a "mutant" under the old traditions). I think this one deals more with the attitudes of the older generations and the less educated people towards Miles than the rest of the books I've read so far. It's always mentioned, but it's much more overt in this one.

Second is the story of how Sergeant Taura came to be a part of the Dendarii. At first she's presented as a genetically-engineered killing machine, but after a bit it becomes clear that under the 8 foot tall monster with claws and fangs is a scared 16-year-old girl.

The last one thoroughly confused me until near the end. But in a good way. Miles is stuck in a POW camp and he of course tries to take control of the POWs. For most of it it seems like it's almost just to give him something to do and because he likes to be in control, but what was really going on does eventually become clear.

The narrative weaving between the three is Miles (in the hospital getting his arm bones replaced) reporting about the three incidents to Illyan.

July 5, 2008

Brothers in Arms



Brothers in Arms, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

I really liked this one. It completely turns Miles' whole identity as being "one of a kind" on its head. There's a group (mostly the guy in charge of the group) that wants revenge on Miles' father the Count. So they clone Miles intending to replace him and cause all kinds of chaos when the clone gets back to Barrayar since he'll have all kinds of access, not to mention being third in line for the throne.

Of course since Miles' actual genetics aren't screwed up the clone has had to go through all kinds of pain since his creation to make him physically resemble Miles since genetically he is "normal" and therefore a clone would be "normal". I felt so bad for him. His entire existence has been pain and torture to satisfy the twisted desires of one man. It's no wonder he has some serious mental problems! There's just no way for him to trust anyone, even though we know he can and we know that Miles' and his family would help him and take care of him.

It isn't any treat for Miles either. He suddenly has a sibling, something he's always wanted, but said sibling has been practically bred to hate him and his family.

And there's that whole plot to destroy the Imperium that has to be stopped too...

July 8, 2008

Dark Hunger



Dark Hunger, by Sara Reinke

Second in the Bretheren series by Sara Reinke...

First off I have to say how thrilled I was to be able to read this when I was. It isn't due to be published until September and the author very graciously offered to send me an ARC of it after she read my post for the first book in the series. All of which is just way cool.

Honestly, I liked the first book better. But I think a huge part of that is because I was incredibly pissed off at Rene by the end of the book. Also, what really attracted me to the first book was the idea of a deaf vampire. That's just an incredibly intriguing concept, and that character really wasn't the focus of this book at all. I do find Rene interesting in his own way, just not quite as much as Brandon.

Since I do like Brandon a lot, everything that Rene does at the end of the book got me rather upset! I can't quite get my head around how he thinks that's going to make things ok. Does he really think Brandon's twin is going to be ok with what he did? Even if it keeps her safe, I just don't see her letting that go.

I kind of want to tell Rene to get over himself, he seems a lot more concerned about what other people are thinking about him than they are. I realize that's a lot easier said than done! He has this image of himself that isn't true any more and that's a hard thing to deal with. And that has to be harder since he knows he probably would have been fine if he'd just been left to feed and heal.

I've said this before, I figure a book that has characters that are real enough to piss you off is a well done thing. Otherwise they wouldn't make me mad, I just wouldn't care! And much as it irritated me, the ending makes it fairly clear that there'll be more to the series and that can't be a bad thing.

edited August 2008 to add: This falls somewhere between examples 2 & 3 in the Romance Disclaimer, leaning a bit towards the "2" side of things.

July 12, 2008

Mirror Dance



Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

A lot of this one is about Mark since Miles is rather out of commision for big chunks of time! Mark is trying so very hard to do something important, to gain respect, to be worthy of something. So he tries to become Miles again (or rather the Admiral) so he can use those resources to save a bunch of children and maybe if he saves them they'll look at him the way everyone else seems to look at Miles.

Things do not go to plan and Miles ends up having to swoop in and save the day (or try anyway) which I think almost makes it worse for Mark, that he just can't seem to do anything right and needs saving by the "big brother" he's trying to impress. And then being at least somewhat responsible for what happens to Miles while Miles is trying to save his butt.

Mark does end up back on Barrayar and finally meets the rest of his family. He's of course expecting them to hate him, but then he had been primed with all the stories of how evil they all were. He does start to figure out that he could have a place with them if he wants it, that they'll accept him. He just has so much baggage going in and it takes so much for him to trust any of them.

And then there's everything that happens when he goes to get Miles. All of which just made my heart break for him.

But I think he does finally start to figure out who he is apart from Miles. That he doesn't have to be a better version or the backup version, that he can just be himself.

July 15, 2008

Memory



Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold...

This one is very much about Miles. He's having to deal with a particularly nasty side effect after his death/revival that ends up with him being kicked out of the military. That particular event was one of those that I find hard to read. He's losing everything he's ever wanted and everything he's worked for for most of his life. It's just heart-breaking watching that happen.

So he's completely lost and depressed and really doesn't have a clue what to do with himself and Ilyan (his former boss) gets sick, something either natural or external causes his memory implant to start to break down; the end result of which is him losing all concept of time. He jumps from year to year in his own head and is very rapidly going crazy.

Miles gets the Emperor's help and gets himself appointed in charge of figuring out what's happened. It starts out as a means to an end (helping Ilyan being the end) but along the way he starts to find a new purpose for his life so it helps him too.

I found the Ilyan stuff really interesting. He's had this implant for basically his entire adult life that gives him an artificial eidetic memory. So everything he has ever seen or heard is remembered exactly. When that is removed he has to almost learn how to think all over again. There's a really cute scene when he discovers maps, having never had a need for one he'd never used one before and it has an almost magical feel to it for him.

Oh, and there's a rather huge personal change going on for Gregor in and amongst it all too.

July 19, 2008

The Stone Monkey



The Stone Monkey, by Jeffery Deaver

Fourth in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver, and a re-read.

The main plot this time involves a group of illegal immigrants from China who are being hunted down by the man who arranged to smuggle them across the ocean. Lincoln and Amelia were already trying to find that man so they end up both searching for him and trying to protect the group he's hunting.

In their personal lives Amelia is dealing with finding out that she has some physical issues of her own that might get in the way of them having kids. Lincoln is still pursing the surgery he was trying to have in the last book, and there's a number of really interesting conversations between him and a Chinese cop about it.

July 22, 2008

Lyon's Pride



Lyon's Pride, by Anne McCaffrey

Fourth in the Talent/Hive series by Anne McCaffrey, and a re-read.

This one is very much about the continuing adventures of Damia and Afra's children. What Roger and Thian are getting up to with the Navy, and what's happening with Laria on Clarf.

Even though I knew it was coming everything that happens with Roger's 'Dinis still made me cry. Both the initial event and the resolution. The first part wasn't nearly as bad as the first time I read it since this time I knew everything would be ok. But the resolution still gets me.

July 25, 2008

Death du Jour



Death du Jour, by Kathy Reichs

Second in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs...

It would appear that I read the first book in the series about two years ago. This one didn't grab me quite as much as the first one did.

It felt a little more like just plot. Go here, find that, connect this, go there, find thing two, connect that to thing one.... repeat. There was a mystery and deaths to prevent and all that, but for whatever reason I just didn't care that much.

Maybe it was that the coincidence factor was really high. There's this group that just happens to recruit Tempe's sister in Texas and want her to go with them to a specific place in Canada (near Tempe's place of employment there of course) and they just happen to have another part of their group active where she lives in North Carolina. It was all just a little too neat for me.

July 28, 2008

The Vanished Man



The Vanished Man, by Jeffery Deaver

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

On with the re-reading!

The important bit to remind me of which book this is is that it's the one with the magicians. And of course it's all twisty and confusing, there's even some twisty bits within the story with the characters messing with each other (and therefore the reader) as to what actually happened.

The Rhyme books always have that interesting juxtaposition of incredible mental power with complete physical dependency, but this one has it spelled out a bit more explicitly than most.


July 31, 2008

Grave Peril



Grave Peril, by Jim Butcher

Number three in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher...

A new character is introduced in this one that I really liked. Both the character himself and what he brings into the whole Dresden universe. The guy is basically a Knight Templar, with the sword and the chain mail and the white robe (I know it has a name that isn't "robe" but I can't come up with it). He has an incredibly strong faith and that along with the sword is what he uses to fight the nasties with Dresden.

It very much reminds me of the way Tanya Huff's Blood Books treat religion. Acknowledging that there are bad supernatural forces, but there's good ones too. I love that! It makes the universe so much more interesting to me. It's not just the humans against all the bad stuff, there's good out there too.

Plot-wise there's something torturing various ghosts in order to weaken the barrier between their world and ours which would allow all kinds of nastiness to get through, including something that Dresden and Michael (the knight) thought they had dealt with already. This, of course, would be a Bad Thing. We also meet Dresden's godmother who is an interesting... person. I'm looking forward to learning the whole story behind her and how they're connected.

About July 2008

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

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