I approached this book with a little trepidation, because the author has been a GoodReads friend for a number of years. What say I hate it? What say I think he's a dreadful writer and should have given up years ago? What say I go into an overly critical mode of reading because I'm like my grandfather who so refused to play favourites that when he was teacher to his own son (in a small country school some 70 years ago) he treated him abominably?
I have to confess that I channeled my grandfather for a while (and Grandpa, if you're reading this, I just want you to know that I understand your motivation and who-you-were, and it's all in the past, and I remember you with a great deal of love, and yes I feel your presence around me from time to time and my psychic friend Yolanda [name changed for purposes of privacy] tells me she often 'sees' you near me) and I read uber-critically. Not good, Kathleen. Not necessary. And I hate reading reviews where people pick the book (or movie or artwork) apart. I have to wonder where all that vitriol comes from (and you've got to agree with me that some negative reviews are downright nasty), or what gives someone the right to be so horribly condescending. So I started reading again.
Okay then, here's my honest opinion in three parts:
1) I really like the way each short story is followed by some author's notes - these help the reader see the stories as a development of the author's writing
2) I found the writing style rather pedantic in a number of the stories. Some words and phrases were redundant and disturbed the flow for me, and there was an occasional grammatical incongruity.
3) Despite not having been a fan of horror stories since I was in my teens (a long time ago, though not as long ago as when my grandfather was harassing my uncle), I enjoyed the ones in this collection (especially 'Blood is the Life', & 'Midnight'). Telander does a plot twist very nicely and his build-ups of suspense really work.
The Wild West ghost story is quite fun too ('Westville'), and the one about the boy and his neighbour ('The Bad Place') which captures boyhood really well. Of the 2 stories in the sci-fi genre, I didn't feel the "voice" of 'Connecting' quite worked, but 'Suspect in Interrogation Room One' rang true.
I'm not so sure about 'Kyra' but I very much enjoyed the sneak peek at the upcoming thriller 'Nothing is an Accident'.
All in all, I'm looking forward to this author's next publication and will read it without any pre-reading nerves.
Generation Icarus: First Flight
on March 11, 2013
Humanity has dreamed of flying ever since first recognising the beauty of birds in the sky. We picture angels with wings, when flight is not in itself a necessary part of their various roles. And while the engineering of spaceships is about exploration, the first impetus for developing mechanical flight was the dream.
When I said I'd like to review this book, the flying was the major drawcard. I also enjoy a lot of teen fantasy, so there was no hesitation. The only thing that might have gone wrong was that the book wasn't that well-written. Happily, nothing went wrong.
Generation Icarus has all the marks of good teen fantasy: it has teenagers discovering who they are, along with the confusion and doubt that's par for the course (and coming from a range of backgrounds with well differentiated personalities); it has adventure, with an assortment of foes and escalating danger. And it has something that takes us beyond ourselves.
I had to stop reading this for a few days because my Kindle's battery has been playing up, but I didn't want to. It's a great read. I can't wait till the 2nd in the series is published.
Four stars, five stars, four stars, five stars..... Wait! I read in bed last night till my eyes wouldn't stay open; I happily volunteered to sit waiting while my daughter had a (regular) appointment for the two granddaughters at a hospital clinic, and knitted and read this; I just as happily volunteered to knit and read in the waiting room while my father saw his dentist. FIVE stars.
This excellent sci-fi novel starts off brilliantly, setting the whole world-building into immediate relief - and I mean 'relief' as in a 'relief map', not "Whew! Thank Goodness for that!" or should I say "thank Stefan for that." Which brings me to my next point, or rather my next two points:
1) The descriptions of fashion in a world full of blind people, and of social propriety, are .. I want to use the word 'brilliant' again, but this review would get horribly boring .... excellent (oh no, I've used that word before too, but if I use too many different superlatives then this review will get unreadable):
[sister and mother planning a Twelve-Month (i.e. baptism) gown] "I wish you had brought Tineke ... It would be much better if we could feel them [the fabrics] when they are against her skin. ... This twilling seventy-six texture might not go with her hair but I need to feel the two together."
Kalaisa greeted Ayshe in the long fashion, running her fingers over the embroidery on Ayshe's skirt, exploring at length the cut and patterning of her cardigan and especially lingering over a new arrangement of Ayshe's hair. It would have been quite acceptable to use a short greeting with Bean, a few touches at his fair and clothing, but she did a long greeting with him too ...
2) Zanetti makes pithy comment (no, I'm not talking about citrus fruit) about how religions develop out of wise, strong leadership, and about the manipulative use of religious zealotry.
This book has a great pace throughout, does an excellent star-crossed lovers story, and has a thoroughly convincing world and its characters. Sci-fi at its best.