September 1st, 2009

book 1

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Publisher: Gollancz, 2009
Genre: Science fiction
Sub-genre: Steampunk

Read the full, spoiler-free review.

Retribution Falls is one of those books that's just plain fun. They're pirates flying around in an airship, the underdogs caught up in events bigger than themselves. The plot unfurls at a comfortable pace, with plenty of room for action and humour and world-building.

What makes this book stand out from other action/adventure spec fic novels, though, is the character development. Frey is a complicated character, a man who starts as a selfish rogue with a habit of collecting strays but grows and changes through the story to eventually realize he actually cares about those strays and might make a halfway decent captain if he just stepped into the role.

His crew is just as interesting, each on board for their own reasons, each broken in some way. They've all got their secrets (some darker than others), and the book takes the time to explore them each as they're forced to work more closely together to survive under the sudden pressure they've been placed under.

So we've got lovel depth of character, fine adventure, pirates, and a lot of fun in a fantasy/steampunk world... really, how can you lose?
Kitty: Angry Calico

Moon, Elizabeth: Engaging the Enemy

Engaging the Enemy (2006)
Written by: Elizabeth Moon
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 398 (Mass Market Paperback)

The premise: in the third book of the series, Ky Vatta's got two ships: one's old, slow, and simply for trade; the other is outfitted perfectly should she become a privateer. What she really wants is to use her marque to actually unite the privateers and take the fight to the people who killed her family. That's easier said than done: not only does the government not trust her, but neither does her remaining family or the other captains. Ky's got to do everything she can in order to accomplish what is right, but that's not going to be easy, especially when someone from her past shows up who could change everything. For the worst.

My Rating

Worth the Cash: pretty enjoyable, and again, if I'd actually spent money on this instead of borrowing it, I wouldn't have minded in hindsight. Moon is writing solid SF, both in military fiction and in space opera, and the characters really do stand out and develop nicely. And of course, I'm enjoying the world-building here and the details that go into it, though I feel like sometimes, the details slow the story down. Still, the series is moving a solid pace so far, with the ante being upped with each book, so I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Review style: Two sections, what I liked and what I didn't. Expect spoilers. :) However, if spoilers don't bother you, the full review is in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)


Happy Reading!