Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

loveallthis’s #cbr4 reviews 18, 19, 20: Insurgent, 2312, Angelmaker

(cross-posted from my blog.)

18 / Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the sequel to Divergent, which I reviewed earlier. It is, unfortunately, not quite as good as the first in the series. (The similarities to The Hunger Games continue!)

We learn much more about the other Factions in this installment, as well as unexpected things about our protagonists’ families. Other than that, there’s a lot of somewhat confusing double-crossing, teenaged angst, freedom fighting, and a promise that things will get more exciting in the as-yet-untitled third in the trilogy.

Three stars. Might read the next one.

19 / 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

I got a good hundred pages into 2312 thinking “holy shit, I finally found a ballsy female hard sci-fi author!” before looking up Kim Stanley Robinson and finding out that yeah, he is a dude.

In which case, (and I don’t know why I’d be easier on a woman – there’s probably something wrong with this) this is a pretty forgettable attempt at an Iain M. Banks-like story. Sprawling and with lots of characters (check), super-advanced human/alien diaspora (check), secret evil cabal potentially run by robots trying to control the universe (check), mysterious bombings of technologically advanced cities on far-flung planets (check).

This is a nicely-crafted and intellectually impressive book without a lot of heart. Like this summer’s unfortunate Prometheus, it’s a story about commuting. From Earth to Mercury to Mars to Saturn to Jupiter’s moons, with lots of shuttles and asteroids-turned-spaceliners in between, our characters hop around the solar system incessantly – all the while investigating who or what is behind the attacks.

There are some interesting bits, to do with body modification, art, music, and technology. The book’s 560 pages, though it felt significantly longer.

Three stars. A decent read.

20 / Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

This book, like Nick Harkaway’s first (The Gone-Away World) is nerd heaven.

We’ve got a literally-underground society of thieves in London, a terrorist organization of clockmakers, kickass nuns, and uber-makers who travel in a handcrafted train named after Ada Lovelace.

I’m not going to get into the plot, because it’s mostly an excuse to throw all of these amazing elements into conflict with one another. Plus, come on: if the list in the previous paragraph hasn’t already sent you to your local library’s website to put this thing on hold, there’s not much more I can say to convince you.

Four stars. Totally enjoyable.

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