16 December 2015

This Girl's Read of 2015: Nemesis Games, James S. A. Corey

As in years past, 2015's read of the year coincidentally lights up my brain just as the days darken and windows begin to reflect the sparkle of holiday lights. With the tree up, Christmas has suddenly advanced significantly in this house with seven types of cookies in the freezer and a generous amount of rum in the cupboard. My husband confessed that whenever he sees me near the tree he hankers for an eggnog; must have something to do with my name, inspires drinky feels. With this festive beverage firmly nestled in your brain, time to reflect on what makes a book worthy of the number one spot. Personally, my read of the year must be an all encompassing experience, something that blinds the world, slowing reality while simultaneously rushing time as the pages run out far to quickly. 

And of utmost importance for this girl so happens to be the fifth instalment of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse, Nemesis GamesEver since the charged Leviathan Wakes, The Expanse has kept me, a self-confessed space opera junky firmly in the stars. A sucker for all things vomit zombie related, the substantive world building and charismatic allure of this series has never left me dismayed with disappointment.

Nemesis Games returns James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to our solar system having escaped the perils found in Cibola Burn. I am a spoiler-free book reviewer, alluding to greatness without jeopardizing the reading pleasure and thus finding this post difficult. It is not like I am recommending you to jump into this serious at the 5th stage, this is a courtship with the entire grouping. 

Keystone to the overarching plot, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th were grand studies of humanity's reluctance to learn from our past. Nemesis Games focuses on the personal, revealing the complex lives of James Holden's crew whom have yet to have their moment. And when the authors decided to give the crew their moment they decided to go pedal to the metal, escalating an already intense series to an all time high. There is an apex in every grand literary series at which immediacy is craved. Space opera, if it is to become really good space opera uses the universe as it's stage while grounding the narrative with a human perspective.  Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga shines because she knows how to write likeable characters. And with Bujold, Baker and Herbert, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham intrinsically know the key to The Expanse's success is the crew of the Rocinante. The addition of depth to Naomi, Amos and Alex keeps the heartbeat of the storyline, reminding us, that even in space, forgiveness and love are a worthy pursuit even with the destruction of the Earth. 

Sshh, you didn't read that. 

3 December 2015

This Girl's Wish List 2015

It must be Christmas. Moments ago I could be found in the storage room, wedged between a bike and a large robotic T-Rex while my toes were nestled alarmingly between the blades of the push lawn mower, all in the fruitless pursuit of Christmas cards. Cards, that as my hip brushed against a pile of old clothes, cascading the lot of size four PJs and underwear down upon me like an unnaturally cute snow storm, I realized that I never actually purchased said items. 

Recuperating from Storage Wars, it is time to gather my thoughts and focus on this girl's wish list. With a library-only policy in perpetual effect the pressure of deciding what books to own has become a quandary. Not only am I not allowed to purchase but any gift arriving under the tree should have an impelling re-reading allure. How does one kindly request possible seasonal gifts to meet that standard? Writing a blog is beyond effective, as is directing the major book patron in my life to this city's premium SF bookstore; a conveniently short walk from this girl's front door. The hubby knows a happy marriage is built on the foundations of solid space operatic adventures and magical tales. Over the years he not only introduced his geeky wife to The Expanse, my personal obsession, but Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and Jo Walton's delightful Among Others. And while I am positive that he does not need This Girl's Wish List, compiling lists are the ideal busy work when one is ignoring the laundry, and maybe the kitchen floors, dinner and the dusting.

Of all my SF reading years, 2015 was my least engaging. I managed to successfully ignore all the hot it books while reading a thoroughly wonderful lump of sci-fi.  Take that internet, I am not your puppet. Okay, not completely accurate as I creep three bloggers, reading everything they recommend. Megan from Couch to Moon, Anton at Genre-Bending and Emma at This space intentionally left blank read well, love science fiction and thoroughly know their geeky stuff. I am perplexed on why we four are all not hanging out, eating popsicles and being awesome together. And so with that little weird fandom crush confession, I give you the books I hope to read  this holiday season, thanks in full to the power three. 

Topping the happy list is Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora. Although 2312 was overall a fail for me, components continue to sing in my imagination. A lover of grandiose ideas that seem to explode with vivid imagery of the universe, 2312 was a winner and my anticipation for what lies within the pages of Aurora finds me rubbing my hands together like a crazy evil scientist. 

Following closely are Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente and A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Shwab both meeting my weird requirements. Radiance is described as a space opera mystery set in Hollywood within the larger framework of an alternative universe. A Darker Shade of Magic is my attempt to full the void that The Rook has left in my heart for fabulous magical mayhem. A Darker Shade of Magic offers four realities of London: Grey, Red, White and the never mentioned Black. Intriguing enough, add Kell, one of the last Travellers, a magician who choses to live between the worlds, and you have my full attention. Sitting here, pondering this book the more I realize I should put it at the top. 

Perpetuating my disturbing desire for the post-apocalyptic is Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace. Wasp is not only a ghost hunter but an Archivist, chosen at birth and with that sentence alone I am in. Simon Ings' Wolves is on the list simply because one of my Power 3 found it to be her favourite book of 2014. I really do read what they recommend, hence the addition of Aftermath from the Star Wars universe. Unable to escape the Star Wars hurricane that has been these past months, Chuck Wendig's offering interests me enough to give this entire fandom genre a go again.