Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Participation Trophy winners

And now, since 2016 is just about finished and I want to write about what I've read in the past 12 months, I'll close out 2015 with the books that I deemed finishable, though not much more than that. Still, with my fickleness, finishable ranks higher than 'blurb was good enough for me to throw $4 at it'. With that, here are the two novels I finished in 2015 that I haven't covered yet. 

Gemini Cell, Myke Cole (Ace, 2015) 
X-Men meets Black Hawk Down, says the blurb, though I'm not sure that many today remember what Black Hawk Down is. I enjoyed this book, though the protagonist's heavy reflections tended to rob him of some agency. I'm sure the author was also trying to convey what a strong female character the protagonist's wife was, but in doing so, again, I feel like we were almost dealing with two main characters but maybe not really? Especially when the two characters' agendas don't always line up. Might have been a bigger problem for me than it is for you. Still, pulse-pounding action, and a great machine-gun wielding Frankenstein character made the story worth finishing, even if barely. 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit, 2010)
The daughter of a wayward noble and small tribe prince is thrust into the capital to compete for heir of the throne (of, you guessed it, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms). Enough vicious politics keep her confused, while a closeted pantheon of ignored minor gods hope to use her as a ticket back to the big show. In true Heroic fashion, she creates her own path. The writing is very good. But, ya, the story was kind of a slog getting places. Again, the heavy reflective nature and romance-pacing is a bit of a turn-off for me. This worked better for a lot of people, still, I finished it, but I won't finish the series. I felt the gap between the gods and our protagonist was a little too conveniently bridged. I found that disappointing. Unfortunately, I'm sure that conflicting worldviews got in the way (like if an atheist was uncomfortable with the propitiatory death and resurrection of Aslan), the author is a communist-feminist, and while I have enjoyed books, by...well just communists, I guess, I couldn't cross the hurdle in this particular volume. I might try Jemisin again, I heard her newer stuff is better. But (spoiler alert) don't expect to see her getting a participation trophy here in the 2016.

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