Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

roses and rot

What would you sacrifice for your art? How much would you give up to be the very best? How much does one’s identity as an artist comes from innate talent versus the act of creation? Can an artist create art separate from their past experiences? Can an artist ever surpass their past?

These are the questions Roses and Rot asks of its readers and that protagonist Imogen, her sister Marin, and their fellow artists ask of themselves.

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Where am I?

Still here among the living. I’ve been dealing with some health issues and starting a new job while dealing with said health issues. All that means my time and energy for blogging has been minimal. I have a review halfway written for Roses and Rot, and I really want to write a review for Rise. Aside from those two, I’m going to give myself a moratorium on writing reviews for any books I’ve read up to now and haven’t reviewed (and possibly for the book I’m currently reading.)

Hopefully everything will resolve itself soon and I’ll be back in fighting shape. Until then.

Review: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

ninefox gambit

I feel like I’ve failed.

Every single review I’ve seen for this book, every article about it written by people whose tastes I share or opinions I trust have praised this book to the high heavens, some citing it as good as or even better than Ann Leckie’s debut Ancillary Justice. Sure, they all said the concepts could be fiendishly difficult and that this book definitely required work to read, but that the work would be rewarding and worth it.

I’ve read Ninefox Gambit. I liked the story and the ideas behind the world-building, I loved Cheris and Jedao, and I want to find out what happens next in the sequel.

I have no fucking clue how anything works or how plans got accomplished or foiled, and I’m frustrated and sorry to say this had a significant impact on my ability to love this book alongside everyone else.

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Review: Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

central station

Central Station is unlike anything I can recall having read either recently or a while ago. Not a traditional novel, Central Station is a mosaic novel comprised of several older short stories previously published in different short fiction venues and two entirely new ones. Tying all these stories together is Central Station, a space station on the outskirts of Tel Aviv that has become a primary hub of space travel and an constantly oscillating area of cultural exchange. In this future, data is both the medium and the stuff of reality driving knowledge, understanding, and reality. Humans coexist (or not) with sentient machines, robots, cyborgs, data vampires, and Others, creatures made up of pure data itself.

Central Station features a cast of recurring characters such as Boris Chong, who’s just returned from Mars after several years away from Tel Aviv and is now picking up with his old flame Miriam while dealing with his elderly father, Vlad, who is trapped inside his own memory. Motl the robotnik, a metal machine with the brain of a formerly alive human man, and who was created to fight one of Israel’s long-ago wars and discarded when the technology became obsolete, is in love with Isabel, whose job it is to play a fully immersive MMO as the captain of a spaceship. Ibrahim is the rag-and-bone man, also known as the Lord of Discarded Things, who regularly provides the inhabitants of Central Station with ancient tech and treasures of times long ago. His son Ismail and Miriam’s son Kranki are two mysterious boys who may represent humanity’s next step in this digital age. These characters and many more drive this multifaceted novel of both a provincial land-bound community and a far-flung expansive world out amongst the stars.

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