Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gravity Dreams - L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Gravity Dreams
L. E. Modesitt
Tor Books
Copyright: 2000

The product description:
In Earth's distant future, Tyndel is both teacher and mentor, a staunch devotee to his conservative and rigidly structured religious culture. Then a rogue infection of nanotechnology transforms him into a "demon", something more than human, and he is forced into exile, fleeing to the more technologically advanced space-faring civilization that lies to the north, one that his own righteous people consider evil. Although shaken by his transformation, he has the rare talent required to become a space pilot. What no one, least of all Tyndel, expects, is his deep-space encounter with a vastly superior being--perhaps with God.
I've read and reviewed Gravity Dreams before, and loved it. No difference this time - just the challenge of getting my hands on a copy. I know I owned it previously, but for the last year or so I couldn't find it. Figuring it was lost in one of the boxes from my moving, I just shrugged, and thought it would turn up. Books have done this before - usually after I give up and replace them. Well, I replaced my copy of Gravity Dreams, but the original copy has yet to show up. I'm still waiting...

Aside from that - and the note that I ended up buying my replacement copy through Abebooks - I still found Gravity Dreams to be a very good read, racing through it over the course of about four days - including a camping trip.

L.E. Modesitt Jr. writes his science fiction with layers. The surface layer is the story, but there are other deeper layers and themes to each of his books as well. With Gravity Dreams, I'm sure there were layers that I was missing - quite a bit of the Dorchan culture left me scratching my head at their ways of thinking, but at the same time raising some interesting points.

One of the biggest themes in this book, as well as others of Modesitt's such as Adiamante is personal responsibility. In Adiamante, the personal responsibility theme was strongly focused on the environment, but there nonetheless. In Gravity Dreams, it's geared more to responsibility for your choices and the consequences thereof.

The other big theme in this book is honesty. Honesty with yourself and with others, distilled down to the most basic and even extreme levels, even to the point where it's forced on people - using some of the characters own words here. This is where I have to be honest myself and say that this is a world I wouldn't want to live in. I like my illusions a bit too much thank you - a comment I made in my previous review as well.

In terms of story structure, Gravity Dreams is rather interestingly put together with time-jumps both forwards and back. Thankfully, each chapter starts with the date for the events in that chapter, and also the location. Definitely something that I found was needed. Also, and I've seen reviews complaining about this, much of the story is set up around dialogue and internal thoughts. I liked it, but others obviously don't.

Following on that is the depth of descriptions that the author uses. I especially liked the use of color and music in overspace, making it a multi-sense experience rather than just simply visual. Humans have five senses, and Modesitt makes use of that as best he can though the medium of the written word. On the other hand, I quite like descriptive stories, so this was right up my alley.

If you like science fiction and also want a story that will make you think while you're reading it, I highly recommend Gravity Dreams and also L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s other science fiction novels.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Crown of Renewal - Elizabeth Moon

Crown of Renewal (Legend of Paksenarrion) - Elizabeth Moon
Crown of Renewal (Legend of Paksenarrion)
Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey
Release Date: May 27, 2014

The product description:
Acclaimed author Elizabeth Moon spins gripping, richly imagined epic fantasy novels that have earned comparisons to the work of such authors as Robin Hobb and Lois McMaster Bujold. In this volume, Moon’s brilliant masterwork reaches its triumphant conclusion.

The mysterious reappearance of magery throughout the land has been met with suspicion, fear, and violence. In the kingdom of Lyonya, Kieri, the half-elven, half-human king, struggles to balance the competing demands of his heritage while fighting a deadly threat to his rule: evil elves linked in some way to the rebirth of magic.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia, a set of ancient artifacts recovered by the former mercenary Dorrin Verrakai may hold the answer to the riddle of magery’s return. Thus Dorrin embarks on a dangerous quest to return these relics of a bygone age to their all-but-mythical place of origin. What she encounters there will change her in unimaginable ways—and spell doom or salvation for the entire world.
I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was nearly finished reading Crown of Renewal. Well, I finished it, and all I can say at the moment is "Wow!".

Crown of Renewal is the fifth book in the Paladin's Legacy series by Elizabeth Moon, starting with Oath of Fealty (which is probably going to be my next read/reread), and maybe the final book. I'm not sure on that, as the ending is one that could go either way.

One thing about this series at this point - familiarity with the earlier books is a must. I was finding myself a bit lost at points because it's been a while since I read Kings of the North and Echoes of Betrayal, much less the earlier books. That's part of why I'm planning a big re-read of the series. I'd actually like to be able to re-read The Legacy of Gird, which I struggle with as well, as aspects of that book affect the current one.

It was rather neat as I was reading to go "OK, so this is what she was talking about on her blog" at various points - discussion of researching different kinds of boats for example.

Definitely a read I enjoyed and will read again.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rereads and a Reading Update

I've been doing a fair bit of re-reading over the last month and a bit, but I've also been away for a lot of that time as well - thus the lack of posts.

The thing with re-reading, especially here, is that I've already reviewed these books, sometimes more than once, and I'm having a lot of trouble thinking up new things to say about them. So, I'm going to cheat/take the lazy way and just group them together in this one post with links to my previous reviews.

The books are:
The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Overall, I've found that L.E. Modesitt's books are often quite challenging to review, mostly due to the different layers to the story. His science fiction is some of my favorite as well, also due to those layers, which leave me thinking about different aspects of society.

This one, despite being well over a decade old, has aged very well. It's not dated in any way and still very relevant to our own world despite being set in a very far future world.

The Adept - Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris
The Adept by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris.
Another favorite novel. This one's the first in a series of five books, fantasy and set in Scotland. Again, being an older book, I have to say that it's aged quite well. The first time I heard of this series would have been over a decade ago on a Mercedes Lackey mailing-list. If my memory's not playing tricks, it was in reference to someone asking for recommendations of other books they might like to read. So, if you like Mercedes Lackey, especially her Diana Tregarde books, these could be well worth your while to hunt down.

Adiamante by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Another thought-provoking science fiction novel that's aged very well. As I've noted in my earlier review of this book, it's a world that I don't know that I could live in, although there are some aspects that I really like - especially the environmental consciousness. At the same time, those are the same ones that I think I'd have the most trouble with.

Definitely worth a read though you might have to hunt to find this one.

If you're noticing a theme in this post, yes there is one. I've been on a bit of a L.E. Modesitt Jr. streak of late, and it's just going to continue. There's another of his books that I want to re-read: Gravity Dreams. And I finally can. For some reason over the last couple of years, my copy of the book simply disappeared. Maybe it's still hiding somewhere, packed away from my first move - five years ago now. (It's happened to me before. Only last month I rediscovered my original copy of Jo Graham's Black Ships, missing since that first move).

Anyway, I've been wanting to re-read Gravity Dreams for a while now with no luck in finding my copy. So, I ended up ordering another copy, which arrived last week.

The reading update portion of this post:
The Lady - Anne McCaffrey
The Lady by Anne McCaffrey
I'm about two thirds of the way through this one and struggling with it, even though I've read the book several times before and loved it. I think what's getting to me this time is the 1970's attitudes in Ireland. For some reason I'm really noticing them this time around.

Aside from that, it's a great story. Some romance, but I'd generally class this as regular fiction as half the story is from the daughter's point of view (13 year old), and more of a horse story than anything.

Crown of Renewal (Legend of Paksenarrion) - Elizabeth MoonI'm also still reading Elizabeth Moon's latest novel, Crown of Renewal. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get through it - no reflection on the quality of the book I have to say. My husband got interested in her books as well, and so I promised to read Crown of Renewal only while he's reading the first book, Oath of Fealty. From what he's said, he's really enjoying the read. It just takes him a while. Personally, I can't wait to get back to reading this one - then I'm going to be snatching back Oath of Fealty to start the whole cycle from book one.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...