Chronicles of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton

Title / The Abyss Beyond Dreams and Night Without Stars
Author / Peter F. Hamilton
Publication Date / 2014 and 2016
Genre / Science fiction
Series or standalone / Duology
Page no. / 688 and 750
Overall Rating / ★★★★

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Goodreads synopsis of book 1: The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel—self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void, where the laws of physics are subtly different and mental powers indistinguishable from magic are commonplace. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics—the Fallers—that are intelligent but merciless killers. Yet these same aliens may hold the key to destroying the threat of the Void forever—if Nigel can uncover their secrets. As the Fallers’ relentless attacks continue, and the fragile human society splinters into civil war, Nigel must uncover the secrets of the Fallers—before he is killed by the very people he has come to save.
This is the latest series set in the Commonwealth universe. I hadn’t read any of his previous books before reading these two, but I didn’t have too many issues in becoming immersed in this world. There may have been things I missed, but I didn’t find that this detracted from the story. I think this is great for both readers familiar with this universe and new readers. Hamilton gives enough background to allow readers who are new to the Commonwealth to easily become immersed in this world. I have to admit about being a little intimidated by the size of this books, especially because I was new to this world, but it turned out to be completely fine. I really enjoyed this universe, but as I mentioned I will have missed some of the world building because I haven’t read the other books set in this universe. It wasn’t bogged down by all the information, so I never felt that it dragged in terms of the world building. Overall I thought the world building in these two books were well done and I loved learning about it throughout the books.

 

Both books are over 600 pages each, but for the most part the plot is tightly paced and compelling. As I hadn’t read anything else by this author, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started this and I ended up really enjoying both these books. While I did enjoy the plot, there were sections that were quite slow and I hate to say a little boring. Most of the time though I couldn’t put these books down. I think, with a book this size, it’s hard to keep it compelling all the way through, while also introducing the world and characters. Hamilton does a fantastic job at tying all the threads of the plot together. There is a lot going on in this duology and the author manages to keep each thread engaging. In terms of the characters, I thought they were all well written and liked their character development through the two books. It did take me a little while to warm to the characters, but after a while I was invested in them. I will say that these books suffer a little with pacing issues and I think some will find that they drag a lot, but I didn’t have that issue. I thought the ending was great

 

Overall I really enjoyed both of these books and I plan to read more books set in this universe. It is probably best that you read the other books in this world as it will give you a wider understanding, but I still enjoyed reading these books. Have you read this duology? I’d love to know what you thought. I’m sorry this review is short, but I have to admit that I’m slowly getting back into the flow of review writing. It’s been a while and I haven’t settled back into the flow yet, so apologises if this review isn’t very good. I tried my best :).  I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Children of Time / Adrian Tchaikovsky

Title / Children of Time
Author / Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date / 2015
Genre / Science fiction
Series or standalone / standalone
Page no. / 600
Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age—a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

 

 This is a fantastic sci-fi book with a unique premise and compelling plot. I’m not going to go into too much detail about the book  because I think this is one of those books that you should read knowing little about it. I only had a vague look at the blurb when I decided to pick this up. I’ve never read anything quite like this and I loved it. First of all, the writing is fantastic and I thought the two perspective used in the narration was so good. Basically as you can see from the blurb, we have the human perspective but we also have the perspective of the other civilisations on the terraformed world. I’m not going to say anything more about the other civilisation because it can be seen as a bit of a spoiler. Just known that these ‘other’s are incredibly well written. The use of both of these perspectives creates such an interesting and engaging story, because we get to see both sides of the story/conflict, whereas normally when there are ‘aliens’ involved we only get to see the human side of it. The plot itself is incredible. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it but I was blown away. The timeline spans thousands of years and it was fascinating to see how things changed for each civilisation.  You can clearly tell that the author has done his research because there is so much depth and detail to this world and characters. I loved learning about this world and the culture of the other civilisation. There is a wide range of characters that are all wonderfully well written too.

 

This book is epic in scale and I’m impressed with Tchaikovsky for managing to tell this story without us being bogged down or being sidetracked from the main story. Do not be intimidated by the size and scope of this book. At 600 pages it is a long book but it is well worth the effort and time commitment.  I have to admit that I was a little intimidated at first as someone who doesn’t read a lot of sci-fi but there was no need to be. There are many good things to say about this book, from the innovative story to the fantastic world building to the writing that will have you gripped from early on. If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-packed sci-fi book then this probably isn’t for you, however if you are a big sci-fi fan then I think this is well worth checking out.

 

Overall I loved this book. If you are looking for a new sci-fi book to read then I highly recommend checking this book out, especially if you want one that handles the whole alien thing a little differently. Have you read this book? Or have you read anything else by this author? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday…

New WoW
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on:
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night / Jen Campbell / Nov 2
Artemis / Andy Weir / November 14

 

I’m sure there are other exciting book releases this month but these are the two that I am interested in. I’ve actually already read Artemis but I wanted to mention it anyway. I’ll be picking up a physical copy at some point. I’m also interested in picking up The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night. I don’t know too much about it but I kind of want to keep it that way. These are two books I’m interested in so I thought I would share them with you guys today. What book are you anticipating? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

 

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4 Mini Reviews: Science Fiction

Title / A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet 
Author / Becky Chambers
Publication Date / 2014 (first published)
Star Rating / 
‘Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own’. (Part of the Goodreads synopsis). First off, if you are looking for an action packed, fast paced science-fiction book, this is not the book for you. However if you are looking for a character driven story with thoughtful commentary on life/existence than I think you will enjoy this book. For the most part I enjoyed this book, but I did not love it. I can’t really say why – it is an interesting book and I don’t mind slow pacing but something about it just didn’t quite work for me I guess. I did find the detail in this book a pleasure to read – we learn alot about the characters, as well as different cultures and species. The interactions between the characters are a pleasure to read about as well, however I felt that there was no real growth of the characters. Overall I enjoyed it but I wasn’t quite blown away. Currently I am thinking I will check out the sequel (I think it’s a companion novel) when it is released but we’ll see. 

 

 

Title / Fuzzy Nation 
Author / John Scalzi
Publication Date / 2011
Star Rating / ★★
This is a re-imagining (or at least inspired) of H. Beam Piper 1962 book Little Fuzzy, which I have not read. Jack Holloway works alone as an independent contractor, but when he finds a small furry biped in his home he must decide whether to save them from the encroaching corporation, ZaraCorps. I think this would make a great introduction to science fiction if you are trying to get into the genre, or a great place to start if you are new to Scalzi. The dialogue is witty and sharp, and the main character Jack Holloway is a smart, funny protagonist – I also love his dog. The world created is an interesting one and the fuzzies are not sickeningly sweet. It is a funny, moving, sad and clever story that is really enjoyable throughout. I am definitely interested to read the original to see where the inspiration came from. I highly recommend this book, as well as the author in general.

 

 

Title / The Martian
Author / Andy Weir
Publication Date / 2011 (first published)
Star Rating / 
After a dust storm nearly kills Mark Watney and forces his team to evacuate the planet – they think he is dead. He must now survive on his own in an unforgiving environment, with only damaged equipment to help him.  This is an extremely popular book, which was now been made into a film staring Matt Damon. I am in the minority of not loving this book. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed it but it didn’t blow me away. It was good, not great. Although there were funny moments, I didn’t find it hilarious and sometimes I found it dragged abit. The main issue that I had was that there was no suspense, no worry about how it all ends up – I knew right from the start how it was going to end, which kind of detracts a little from the enjoyment of the story. I did enjoy it though and I would recommend, especially if you are a science-fiction fan. The film was also pretty good.

 

 

Title / The Midwich Cuckoos
Author / John Wyndham
Publication Date / 1957 (first published)
Star Rating / 
In the sleepy town of Midwich, one day all of its inhabitants fall unconscious. When they wake seemingly unharmed, it is discover that all of the women are pregnant. I really enjoy Wyndham’s storytelling and writing, however the build up in this book is really quite slow considering it is quite a short book. It wasn’t too much of an issue for me but it is maybe something to be aware of going in. I found the concept an interesting one and the characters are well written. This book touches on many topics/issues but does it in a light way and in around 200 pages without bogging down the storyline. My one issue is the neglect of female characters, but this is probably partly due to the time period it was written in. Overall I highly recommend this book and the author.

 

See you next time

 

Pippa

 

Red Rising trilogy / Pierce Brown

Title / Red Rising, Golden Son and Morning Star
Author / Pierce Brown
Publication dates / 2014, 2015 and 2016
Pages / Overall – 1342
Star Rating / ★★★★★

 

Earlier this week I finished Morning Star and I wanted to do a kind of series review/thoughts. I thought I would do something a little different so here is a review in the form of five reasons you should read this trilogy.  Red Rising is set in the future on a terraformed Mars and takes place within a colour-coded society. Darrow, the protagonist, is a Red – the lowest caste and he discovers something that will shatter everything he thought he knew about his world. It is part science-fiction, part dystopian and part epic war tale. That is all I am going to tell in terms of a synopsis, because I think it is best if you go in not knowing a lot.
  1. The depth of characterisation is incredible. Not only is Darrow an unforgettable protagonist, but the amazing cast of supporting characters is just as well-written and developed as he is. All the characters have flaws and they make mistakes, but they are all also just very compelling to read about. The character arcs are so well done, and it is a pleasure to read about their journey.
  2. It is brutally enlightening – there are so many times Darrow, or other characters, question themselves and what consequences may happen after their actions. There is an indistinct line between good and evil. Darrow’s struggle with morality and his musings on philosophy are very compelling, and are just another reason to why you will devour this trilogy. They may be good people, but they have to make some hard decisions.
  3. Although there are similarities to other books, for example it is often compared to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,  especially in book one – such comparisons don’t do the books justice. On the surface, yes there are some similarities, but look deeper and you will find a dark, gritty world with an amazing selection of characters that you will get completely lost in. Just dive into the somewhat trope-ridden world (on the surface) and you will see that Brown does it very well. I wasn’t bothered by it at all, and I promise you this trilogy is amazing.
  4. It gets better. The first book, is what most first book are, great but used to establish the setting, the characters and the plot. The second book violently smashes everything we thought we knew and just has so many plot twist that I ended up swearing a few times because I just couldn’t believe what was happening. I think the last book may be the best – I would have to reread them to say for certain but it was an amazing conclusion. If you have read book one but aren’t sure about continuing, definitely try book 2 – it gets better!
  5. The use of Roman mythology I really enjoyed. If you find mythology interesting and like books with it in, then I would definitely recommend it. The blend of Roman Gods and science fiction is unique and really entertaining.
So there you have it. I absolutely adore this trilogy and would highly recommend checking it out.
Have you read this trilogy? What did you think?
See you next time.
Pippa