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Bear, Elizabeth: All the Windwracked Stars

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All the Windwracked Stars (2008)
Author: Elizabeth Bear
Genre: Futuristic Fantasy
Pages: 368 (hardcover) 
Series: The Edda of Burdens #1

Summary (from Chapters.ca)Collapse )

Read For: Jawas Read Too!'s Women of Fantasy book club (July)

I read Bear's work back in January for the Women of Science Fiction book club (Dust) and to be completely honest, it left me reeling. I ended up liking it, but it was HARD book to read. I learned very quickly that Bear's work is very "sink or swim", in that she plops right into the middle of a story and you have to really pay attention to what's going on or are you are going to be LOST. However, this doesn't make Bear's work bad, or impossible to read; she's a great author who I have a lot of admiration for, but I can't bring myself to seek her out. This is mostly because I have to work so hard to read her books, and I guess that makes me a lazy reader, but as much as I like her stuff, I can't get *excited* about it. 

Anyway, all this is to say that yes, I was kind of excited to read this book because I knew I was going to be in for something completely different, but I was also a little apprehensive as well because I know Bear's stuff is harder to read than most. 

REVIEW: minor spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: While this novel can be confusing, it's still very good. Bear is a really talented writer, and while I don't think I ever see myself seeking out her work, I won't hesitate to take an opportunity to read it. This novel is an awesome mix of fantasy and sci-fi (while still being exclusively fantasy) with a really engrossing plot that'll have you turning the pages (once you understand what the hell is going on.) The characters are sympathetic and multi-faceted, and some of them ambiguous. Overall, it was a solid read, but I recommend it with reservations. If you want an easy breezy read, you will NOT find it here, but if you want something completely different and don't mind working for it a bit, than one should be able to find a lot of enjoyment in this. 

Cover Commentary: I love its depiction of Muire and of the Tower, but I'm curious as to why they made Kasimir all fleshy-like. He spends almost the entire novel being made of metal. It's still a really neat depiction of the valraven though and looks just how I imagined to look at the very beginning of the novel.

Bear, Elizabeth: Dust

books x 4
Title: Dust (2007)
Author: Elizabeth Bear
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Page Count: e-book
Series: Book One of Three (Jacob's Ladder Trilogy)

Summary -- (from Chapters.ca)Collapse )

I love that I've decided to do these book clubs this year, because I'm already reading stuff that I never would've picked up on my own otherwise. I've seen Elizabeth Bear's name floating around (I work in a book store) but I've never actually heard a lot about her or her books. Well, she was the January selection for the Women of Science Fiction book club being hosted at Dreams and Speculations. While I have some conflicting feelings regarding this book, I'd say my overall feeling towards it is, in the end, more favorable.

REVIEW: minor spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: This is definitely not a book for beginners in science-fiction, unless you're really looking for a challenge. This book was most definitely challenging for me (to the point where I actually almost gave up at the beginning, but I pushed forward because it was a book club pick) but I'm glad I read the book the whole way through, because in the end, it was really gratifying. While I think the story suffered from slightly underdeveloped characters, it definitely makes up for it in the lush world that Bear has created, even if it takes awhile to get settled in said world because of the confusing narrative. The gender and sexuality themes brought up were a breath of fresh for me. though they might bother others who really don't like that kind of thing. With all this being said, I would recommend it this title, though not without hesitation. This isn't a book for everyone, though a book I think everyone who is a fan of sci-fi should try. If you're not a fan of the genre, you have been warned. Try it out if you're looking for something a little more challenging.

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