Somewhere, I got lost. I hurt my hip, and that made it difficult to sit up and read, and I’ve never been much for reading in bed. Mostly better now, so I finished Dzur off in a couple of meals and some final reading at home. It’s almost unfair to rate this one. I can tell you the mechanics — immediately follows on the last one, for once; framing story is an extension of the prologue, with hazy connection to the text; and, at last, the second of my two “What”s is resolved. Nicely plotted. I’m just unsure if my haziness about Vlad’s motivation is because I read the book so slowly.
And now, with the first new-to-me book in this series re-read, I am surprised. Issola hung together much better than Orca for me, and I was much more engaged. Many things changed in this installment and I really want to move directly on to Dzur.
(On a silly note, this book was printed in a really tiny spindly typeface, for a paperback. Really hard to read in non-searingly-bright-light situations.)
A more complicated framing story than most and plenty of distractions left me feeling like I missed some stuff, but various articles about the book online say that I didn’t. The second of the “here’s how I got involved with all these folks” stories. Not my favorite entry, and not just because it does nothing to address the double-what?! from the end of Orca.
This is the last one I read back in the day, so now I’m going to start on the ones I haven’t read: Issola, Dzur, Jhegala, Iorich, Tiassa.
I’m kinda conflicted on Reamde: on one hand, a fun globe-trotting techno-thriller; on the other hand, silly terrorist buffoonery. I really liked Jones’ initial reveal, but grew very tired of that aspect of the book by the end. Still engaged enough with the characters to see it through and enjoy it.
One of my favorite types of story is the multithreaded tangle; a lot of disparate viewpoints that slowly grow closer together until they are all satisfyingly tied up at the end. Cloud Atlas is a bit like that, except that the threads are kept resolutely separate; touching on, referring to and echoing each other, perhaps, but never crossing.
One of the best books I’ve read in years.
This book was ridiculous, and only rarely in good ways. The tone is just… odd. It had a good mystery at the middle of it. I was only surprised once, and incredulous many more times, which just isn’t a good balance for me.
I was predisposed to like The Long Earth. I’ve always been fine with SF travelogues, and that’s what this is, with a couple of asides that really deserved more attention. My main problem is that it just wasn’t very well-written, which is not what I expect from a book with Pratchett’s name on it; purely workmanlike is how I’d describe it. Flat characters, impactless action, not enough detail on interesting things found along the way, and an ending that goes “pfft”. A couple of great ideas mired in here, to no good effect. Ah well.
There’s a reason I jumped to buy this and bump it to the top of my queue: Tim Powers is flat-out amazing. This is how you write a time travel story.