Review: Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) – James S. A. Corey

12591698Verdict: I liked this both more and less than the first one.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Published by Hachette, 2012

Find it on Goodreads.

For someone who didn’t intend to wreck the solar system’s fragile balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it.
While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. The outer planets and the Belt are uncertain in their new – possibly temporary – autonomy.
Then, on one of Jupiter’s moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers of Earth and Mars indiscriminately and reigniting the war. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.

I am buddy reading this series with my boyfriend – which is something we have not done before but which is enhancing my enjoyment of this series immensely. But that meant that I had to take about a month’ break in the middle of the book so that he could catch up – and then he sped up and finished the book around 200 pages before me (which is just rude).

This book starts some time after the events of the first book – and the structure mirrors that one a bit too closely I found. In the prologue we are introduced to a chronically ill girl who is abducted, serving as one of the main characters main motivation. At least this time, that person is her father and I am a lot more interested in family dynamics than into some dude’s weird obsession. What worked best for me where those newly introduced characters, especially the two women. I loved spending time with Bobby, a soldier from Mars with a pretty severe case of PTSD. She is wonderfully drawn in a superhuman way which I just adored. I also loved Chrisjen Avasarala – an aging beaurocrat with a knack for the game of intelligence. I love that her abrasive nature is counterbalanced by her lovely relationship to her husband. But, Holden still annoys me to no end and his tendency to act before thinking (acknowledged in the text as a flaw) drove me up the walls.

I also found the story to be meandering and antagonists ill-defined. I do hope this will change over the course of the next books, because I am so intrigued to see where this goes next.

Wrap Up: May 2018 or Finally.

I had a really good reading month, especially compared with the last two. I read 10 books which I mostly enjoyed.

Books read in April:

  1. An Abbrevitaed Life by Ariel Leve: 2,5 out of 5 stars
  2. Not That Bad eNotificationsdited by Roxane Gay: 5 out of 5 stars
  3. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh: 4 out of 5 stars
  4. Florida by Lauren Groff: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 3 out of 5 stars
  6. The White Book by Han Kang: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. Women & Power by Mary Beard: 3 out of 5 stars
  8. Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells: 4 out of 5 stars
  9. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferries: 4 out of 5 stars
  10. Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) by James S. A. Corey: 3 out of 5 stars

Continue reading “Wrap Up: May 2018 or Finally.”

Wrap Up: February 2018 or I read so very many memoirs

I had an okay to good reading month. I read some absolutely brilliant books, finished a few meh books, and have also been stuck on some books for longer than I would like to admit (How I Lose You is taking me forever). I did read a lot of books though.

These are the books I read this month:

  1. I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell: 4 out of 5 stars
  2. The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale: 2 out of 5 stars
  3. Mean by Myriam Gurba: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot: 5 out of 5 stars
  6. All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells: 4 out of 5 stars.
  7. The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn: 3 out of 5 stars.
  8. This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins: 4 out of 5 stars.
  9. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie: left unrated.
  10. Meaty: Essays by Samantha Irby: 4 out of 5 stars.

Favourite of the Month

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot was just so unbelievably stunning that I still don’t really have the words to talk about it. It is hypnotic and mesmerizing, honest and raw, and most of all poetically beautiful. And also the opposite of cathartic.

Mean by Myriam Gurba is another memoir that I can only recommend.

Stats (ish)

My reading month was dominated by memoirs and genre fiction. More than half of the books I read were memoirs or essay collections or something in between. This has never happened but I am loving every second of it.

I finished 2929 pages worth of books. Of these ten books I read six memoirs, two science fiction books (one of those was a novella), one post-apocalyptic book, and one fantasy book. Three books were written by men, seven by women. six books were written by people of colour (so at least I seem to be succeeding with parts of my resolutions).

How did I do with my TBR:

This month I set myself a TBR; I don’t usually do this but I had so much fun thinking about the books I might read this month. I think I will keep doing this, if only for the fun. Because sticking to a TBR? Not that much my thing. I read a lot more non-fiction than I thought I would this month. But memoirs seem to be the kind of books I gravitate to right now. I will take that into account for my TBR next month.

I read two books of my TBR… Oops.

Currently Reading:

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson: I am absolutely loving this. I am listening to the audio book of this and Juno Dawson is hilarious.

The Sea Beast takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen: I am nearly finished with this and have a few thoughts that I still need to organize in my head.

How I Lose You by Kate McNaughton: This is taking me forever. While I enjoy parts of it, others drag. I will finish this though, hopefully before the release date on the 8th.

(Some of the) Blog posts I loved:

I wasn’t very good at remembering to bookmark the posts I loved this month. So this list is “slightly” shorter this month.

I loved Paula’s review of a book I had never heard of before.

I am glad I am not the only one with way too many unfinished series. Also Jeroen agrees with my assessment of The Name Of The Wind.

And finally, Sarah compiled a brilliant list of upcoming SFF-releases.

How was your reading month? What was the best book you read?

Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) – James S.A. Corey

8855321Verdict: I have mixed feelings.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Published by Orbit, 2011

Genre: Science Fiction

Find it on Goodreads.

James S.A. Corey delivers compelling SF that ranks with the best in the field. In Leviathan Wakes, ice miner Jim Holden is making a haul from the rings of Saturn when he and his crew encounter an abandoned ship, the Scopuli. Uncovering a terrifying secret, Jim bears the weight of impending catastrophe. At the same time, a detective has been hired by well-heeled parents to find a missing girl, and the investigator’s search leads him right to the Scopuli.

This was so far outside my comfort zone that I am not all that sure how to review the book. I did enjoy it (for the most part) and I am planning on continuing with the series but I had some issues with parts of it.

This is relatively hard science fiction compared to some other books in the genre I have read and I have to admit that some of the rather drawn-out descriptions of life in the Belt and of galactic war did make my eyes glaze over. I am not very good at visualising fighting scenes; and man, are there quite a few of those. I did, however, love the world building a whole lot. I loved the differences (subtle and not so subtle) between people born on planets and those born in space), I loved the way the societies evolving made so much sense, I love how central conflicts were based on different life-expiriences.

I thought the book had some pacing issues; the beginning being slow did not bother me, I liked how the authors put their pieces into place and took the time needed to expand the world organically; I loved the middle (I had so many theories!); but thought the last 150 or so pages dragged (I did like my theories better!).

I also had issues with the main characters: they felt tropey and represented tropes that annoy me (hard-boiled detective past his prime with an alocohol problem. Naive but righteous captain with womanizing tendencies of the “let’s put women on a pedestal”-variety). I want to hit them on their heads repeatedly. I also learned way more about their testicles than I would want to. I do want to see where they characters might go next which is a good sign.

I am trying to read a wide variety of Science Fiction novels and novellas this year because I am so very sure there will be books that I will absolutely adore; it is a genre I have not read enough of and I think that needs to be remedied. It also means I will read some books that might not work for me completely. This is one of those books. I buddy-read this with my boyfriend and even though I hopelessly overtook him (and cannot talk about my spoilery thoughts just yet), I did love reading this together. That feeling of spending time with my boyfriend really did help the book and is one of the reasons I am excited to keep reading the series, at least another book.

Wrap Up: January 2018

I had a pretty good reading month. I am still playing catch-up with all the ARCs I have to read (there are so many books coming out in February and March!) but still managed to read a few of my already owned books. I have also not read a book yet that I haven’t liked.

These are the books I read this month:

  1. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi: 5 out of 5 stars.
  2. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy: 4 out of 5 stars.
  3. Folk by Zoe Gilbert: 3 out of 5 stars.
  4. The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: 4 out of 5 stars.
  5. Monstress Vol. 1: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (reread): 5 out of 5 stars
  6. Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: 4 out of 5 stars
  8. The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson: 4 out of 5 stars
  9. The Starlings by Jo Walton: 3 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the month:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, hands down. It is just stunning and I absolutely adored every second of it. I am very excited for more people to read this.

Stats (ish)

I read 9 books with 2400 pages and gave them an average of 4 stars. Of the 9 books, two were written by men, 6 by women and one by a person identifying as gender-nonconforming. I read two memoirs, two short story collections, one graphic novel, on literary fiction novel, one science fiction book, one novella (horror), and one mix between crime and fantasy.

I like that mix. I have been craving mostly genre fiction and memoirs. And will continue to read in this vain.

Currently Reading:

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell

How I Lose You by Kate McNaughton

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S. A. Corey

(Some of the) Blog posts I loved:

Rachel’s list of her ARCs inspired me to write a similar post of my own and caused a bit of book envy.

Stuart’s list of classics he still needs to read made me remember similar goals I have.

Callum recommends brilliant family dramas (and has an all-around impeccable taste).

I loved JW’s post on spoilers and have been thinking about what constitutes a spoiler since.

I also really enjoyed Rick’s post about reading and Virgina Woolf.

I love reading about people discovering new favourites; especially when those are books I loved as well. Go and check out Sarah’s review of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.

I really enjoyed Rita’s Alphabetical and think you all would, too.

How was your reading month? And do link me your favourite blog post you have written this month.