On the Horizon – the rending and the nest (Kaethe Schwehn)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the rending and the nest (Kaethe Schwehn)

Title: the rending and the nest

Author: Kaethe Schwehn

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-1632869722

Source: NetGalley

 

This is truly wonderfully delightfully oddly bizarre.  It is a post-apocalyptic book wherein 95% of the population disappears with no explanation.  This becomes known as the Rending.  Along with people, portions of buildings and other items simply disappear as well.  Thousands of random objects are mixed together in towering Piles that dot the landscape.

In this new world, we are introduced to (and follow) Mira as she and fellow survivors try to make a new life in a settlement called Zion.  The novel deals with the current day to day living and then switches into snippets of the past.  The main issue appears when the first pregnancy of Zion post-Rending is announced.  The settlement is fraught with excitement over the prospect of a new baby.  Imagine the surprise when the new baby turns out to be an inanimate object.

So what does this mean?  Read the novel and find out.  Just be prepared that this is a slow burn, heavily detailed story.  I found it fascinating, horrifying, and lyrical all at once.  I am very glad I read it and have been thinking about it ever since I finished.  It is certainly not a book for everyone, but it was perfect for me.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Bloomsbury USA!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

When ninety-five percent of the world’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. Four years after the Rending, Mira has everything under control. Almost.

Then Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first in this strange world and a new source of hope for Mira. But Lana gives birth to an inanimate object—and soon other women of Zion do, too—and the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new world begins to fray. As the community wrestles with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world outside Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn’t return, Mira has to decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her community, and her own fraught pregnancy.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Kaethe Schwehn – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the rending and the nest – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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The Captain’s Log – the coelura (Anne McCaffrey)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I am assuming that most of me crew has heard of Anne McCaffrey.  I read a lot of her work when I was a younger lass.  So when I was perusing some used books that be for sale, I snagged a copy of this short novel.  I had never heard of it and it has a funny looking cat like creature on the cover:

The edition I picked up was published by Tor in 1987.  It is a hardback and part of its appeal were the 50 black and white illustrations by Ned Dameron.

It is an odd little snippet of a story.  Lady Caissa is the body-heir for her father.  Her father helps rule the planet of Demeathorn.  As body-heir, Caissa owes him strict obedience – especially in the matter of producing the next heir.  But when her father proposes his pick of suitor, Caissa is appalled at how inappropriate the choice is and wonders what scheme her father is participating in now.  So she decides to find out.  Will she be a dutiful daughter or will she revolt?

Part of that scheme involves the coelura.  I don’t even know how to describe them.  After reading this book, I still be completely confused as to what one is. They certainly don’t look like the cat creature from the cover.  The illustrations don’t really do them justice.  It was perplexing.

The illustrations, while super fun, were rather odd.  Sometimes they seemed to match an element of the story.  Sometimes I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to portray.  They were not always placed near the section of the book being described.  In fact, often they were scattered in seemingly random order.

I enjoyed this novel but ended up being mostly confused.  As McCaffrey’s writing is usually crystal clear and rich in detail, this seemed unusual.  But instead of being frustrated, I still very much enjoyed the odd experience and the puzzle of it.  I can’t recommend the story, such as it was, but I am glad I own this particular book and will certainly revisit it in the future.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The Lady Caissa, heir to the Ambassador of the Federated Sentient Planets to the world Demeathorn, had grown up knowing that she owed her sire obedience and unconditional loyalty. She was expected to do her duty, even to the extent of entering into a marriage alliance she did not understand with a man she despised. Lady Caissa, beautiful, rich, and well-educated, had never learned the great secret of Demeathorn, although she was about to be caught in its spell.

In the aftermath of disastrous diplomatic negotiations, she fled north toward interdicted territory. A distress signal from deep within the forbidden zone drew her to a rocky island where she would encounter a man alone: intense, handsome, and severely injured in the crash of his antique flyer. Lady Caissa did not know it, but she had just set in motion events which would determine the fate of her family, her planet…and her happiness.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Anne McCaffrey – Author

To buy the book go to:

the coelura – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – semiosis (Sue Burke)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

semiosis (Sue Burke)

Title: semiosis

Author: Sue Burke

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: Tomorrow!! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-0765391353

Source: NetGalley

Well mateys.  I learned a new word from this novel.  Semiosis.  Cool sounding word.  Wasn’t sure of it’s exact meaning.  So I be sharing with me hearties:

semiosis : a process in which something functions as a sign to an organism  source.

Yup, this book was indeed all about that.  A bunch of folk from Earth have dreams of creating a new space colony dedicated to being in harmony with nature.  The colony is called Pax for the peaceful civilization of their dreams.  Only when they wake up, they find that the ship has sent them to a different planet than they expected.  With little choice, they decide to make the best of it.  But what happens when nature has a mind of its own?

Well, interestingly weird things happen.  Plants, animals, weather – nothing is like the humans planned for.  In fact one of the best things about this novel is how the human planning goes all wrong – especially in the beginning.  Humans do survive but with interesting consequences.  Another fun thing about this novel is that the story is told over 5 generations and 107 years with different narrators for each chapter.  So the reader gets to see the ramifications of earlier choices as well as get some of the distortion of truth as time goes by.

Me favourite thing about the book is the relationships formed between the humans and the natural inhabitants of the planet.  The signs and communication between lifeforms is the theme and highlight of the book.  I loved the way language was used and the various forms it took.  If I could have some of the animals as me life companions then I would certainly want a kat, which I picture as a cuddly miniature kangaroo that plays leapfrog and digs holes .  The characters were individualized and well portrayed.  I thought the plot was solid if somewhat plodding.  But the concepts of utopias, mutualism, first contact, culture, and co-existence made this a very enjoyable read.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sue Burke – Author

To buy the novel go to:

semiosis – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – thunderhead (Neal Shusterman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, scythe, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book. Worth the read. If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril .

First let’s take a look at another beautiful cover:

 

I am absolutely glad I read this novel.  I loved it!  This book is set one year after the events of book one.  Citra is a junior scythe and is trying to settle into that new role.  At the same time, her approach to death is unusual and is causing political waves.  Rowan has chosen to become an vengeful angel of death known as “Lucifer” and attempts to fight the corruption of scythes from the outside.  Much to the chagrin of the organization.  The clash between the new wave scythes and the older guard continues to cause havoc.

I thought this book be way better than the first novel in terms of plot and pacing.  The Thunderhead viewpoints were fun and I adored the addition of Greyson.  In fact he became me favourite character in the book.  And I loved the ending all around.  I won’t give any other details because no spoilers.  But I am eagerly awaiting book three and think that all of me crew should give this series a chance.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

thunderhead – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

scythe – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Sci-Fi)

The Captain’s Log – sourdough (Robin Sloan)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This story is about sourdough bread, robots, and a quirky girl named Lois.  This book made me long for fresh baked bread to eat while I read.  It is a contemporary with a blend of sci-fi and magical realism and fantasy mixed in very subtlety.  It kinda defies adequate explanation.  The simple version is that a woman named Lois who works as a programmer is given a bread “starter” and learns to bake sourdough thus changing her life forever.  That seems like it could be boring but it is not.  The book feels lighthearted and yet has dense ideas underneath.  It was fast paced and a delight.  I read it in one sitting.  I loved Lois.  I loved the starter.  I loved the book.  Try it.  Just  be prepared for it to make yer belly rumble.

Check out me crew member’s effusive review:

Stephanie @ adventuresofabibliophile – who introduced me to this one!  Thanks matey!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.

Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.  Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer’s market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show.

When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Robin Sloan – Author

To buy the book go to:

sourdough – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Sailing to the Stars – a closed and common orbit (Becky Chambers)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I absolutely fell in love with this author’s novel the long way to a small, angry planet.  In fact, readin’ me review after all this time made me heart happy as I recaptured the feel of how great that book truly was.  While this book is the second book in the series, it actually can be read as a stand-alone, though I still recommend readin’ them in order.

Whereas the first book followed multiple people traveling the universe with a purpose, this story follows two individuals in two locations. In alternating chapters, ye explore how one person’s past influenced the present and then explore how the other person chooses to live their future.  The juxtaposition was poignant and absolutely engrossing.  I would actually be sad for a split second to switch perspectives and then become mesmerized once more.  The switching was deftly done and completely enriched this character driven story.  Both Pepper and Sidra have fascinating journeys.

Like in the first book, there are larger themes of friendship, identity, challenging prejudices, education, perseverance, and overcoming the circumstances of yer past to thrive.  This book was almost as good as the first.  So close.  I just wished the ending was different, but I am positive it is personal taste and that others will find it perfect.  So get this book and enjoy!

Side note: book three is coming out this July!  Arrrrr!!!!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for – and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers’ beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Becky Chambers – Author

To buy the book go to:

a closed and common orbit – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the long way to a small, angry planet (Sailing to the Stars – Sci-Fi)

Captain’s Log – the salt line (Holly Goddard Jones)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This book was described as being in the spirit of station eleven but with ticks.  Being as I love me some dystopian fiction I gave this one a shot.

So in this version of Earth, ticks have become a menace that is so bad that most humans live in zones beyond controlled wastelands (the salt line) and walls that keep them sequestered and safe from the natural world.  The difference in this book is that a lot of the outside world is still beautiful.  So there are very rich adventure seekers that pay vast sums of money to go on death-defying adventures to see fall foliage or the mountains etc.  But beware if a tick bites, they only have a very limited time to burn them out of their skin or risk serving as an incubator for tick eggs – usually with fatal results.

The strength of the novel lies in the characterizations and in the overlaying ideas of the adventure-seekers.  Each member of the expedition has interesting reasons for venturing beyond the salt line.  In particular the relationship between Marta and Wes was very much a favourite.  Edie and Violet were two other beloved characters.  I also thought the ticks and their impact on society were well through out and portrayed.

The main problem I had with the book was with the politics of the outer-zone survivors who take the adventurers hostage.  Once the hostages reach the village and are trapped, the books plot went downhill for me.  The outcomes were a little predicable and the politics were rather simplistic.  The pacing slowed down.  I continued to read because of the characters but was overall unsatisfied with the ending.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the read.  I just didn’t think it was amazing.  But the characters and ideas are worth reading this novel and who know ye may love it more than I did.

For a take on this novel by some of me crew check out:

this review by Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum

this review by Lisa @ tenaciousreader

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Holly Goddard Jones – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the salt line – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List