The Martian, by Andy Weir. An enjoyable book, very good physics feel and plausible problems. It’s a mostly solo adventure, a bit of a shipwrecked feel updated to really hostile environs. There some good internal development and a number of interesting peripheral characters. It’s well done, though it lacked the total Wow! that many reported feeling from it.
Basically, it’s a great disaster repair struggle; lots of competent, creative problem solving. It only goes wrong in the Earth chapters; the sustained attention on his plight struck me as… very surprising. Particularly sustained over so many months. (A 20 day countdown, I could envision getting a chyron, but sustained year plus interest seems… difficult in this distractable world.) The politics of mission control seem reasonable, though the characters feel much thinner.
Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. A fascinating near future; the world has gently shifted its focus to India and Africa. The cultures are interesting, as are the parallels between the two stories. It’s weird and surreal (particularly the modern Meena story), while Mariama’s story is more steadily straightforward, though from a younger viewpoint.
Actually, this review lends a great pull quote: My experience reading The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne can be boiled down to: this was an amazing novel until it wasn’t anymore. I loved the world and setup; the characters, particularly the unreliable narrators, were interesting. Meena’s story was the one I most identified with, which makes her breakdown revelation at the end incredibly bitter. Mariama’s story was less engaging, probably because she was so young and (after making the decision to flee) so acted upon.
While this one only mostly worked, I’ll be interested to see what else the author puts out in the future.
Several issues of the Fate Codex. (Mostly a quick reread and skim for my upcoming Fate Deyrni scenario.)
Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. A compelling, interesting read, with a bigger than expected twist near the end that makes you reconsider the whole first 2/3rds of the book. It was well done.
Mancreu is a fascinating place; I’m curious about how much is grounded in reality, and how much is the world specific response to the disasters. It’s a fascinating setting; an idyllic near paradise crossed with a lawless megacorporate protectorate. Lester is a very interesting guy, way over his head, in what feels like a sleepy PR role that spins out of control. His relationship with the boy is the book’s heart. He’s a good man, troubled by difficult past.
Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien De Castell a (reread). The book flowed smoothly, and was difficult to put down at times. It’s a subtle magic setting, with a great swashbuckling feel. The downfall of the Greatcoats is complete before the book begins, but you wince as it takes place in flashbacks concurrent with the advancing plot of ducal schemes.
The next book, Knight’s Shadow is due out next week. I’m looking forward to it!