Wesley Chu, Tao Trilogy (2013-2015)

Fat loser meets snarky alien. Gets in shape. Fights war over control of humanity’s evolution. Gets a girlfriend. Not in order of importance.

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A trilogy based on a very cool idea. Written by a guy that, thanks to this trilogy, escaped his boring finance work to become a pro writer. Published by Angry Robot, great little company despite its hipster tendencies. Lots of great British urban fantasy (Newman, Shevdon), good heroic fantasy, very interesting covers (Blackbirds). And interesting business ideas, you can buy a seasonal pass to get or their books in electronic format. If you hate all that is good, traditional and physical 😉

The basic premise of the series goes like that: a long time ago an alien ship crashed on Earth. Aliens, a race called “Quasing” where extremely unsuited to inhabit our planet. They needed different atmosphere, and, to survive, unable to live alone, they started to posses the creatures of Earth. Firstly – dinosaurs. Soon – homo sapiens, species they judged most likely to develop a science able to allow the Quasing to rebuild their ship and get back to their planet.

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Robert Jordan (1990-2005), Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (2009-2013) – The Wheel of Time

Jak już pisałem, w swoich przygodach z nowszą i starszą klasyką fikcji gatunkowej trafiałem różnie, raz lepiej, innym razem – fatalnie. Koło Czasu (dalej – WoT, czyli „The Wheel of Time”)… było porażką.

Również graficzną, oryginalne okładki WoT (środkowy rząd) należą do najbrzydszych w historii gatunku, edycja brytyjska (góra), jak zazwyczaj, lepsza, ebooki (najniższe), znośne:

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Jean Johnson, A Soldier’s Duty (2011)

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I tried to like it. I wanted to. I even feel sorry I wasn’t able to.

It got to my “to read” pile after author’s sfsignal appearance (long ago, but it’s a huge pile) and I had high expectations. It was clear that she did her research, the premise was interesting and there was genuine enthusiasm in the way she spoke about her project.

The book itself, however… It felt like a very Mary-sueish Powerful!Harry fanfic. With all the problems of that genre. Main character was ridiculously overpowered from the get go, not only with her precognition (although it, by itself, seemed to make her omnipotent), but her physical strength, electricity-resistance (!)… and the list goes on… when I read that she even sings so beautifully, that her drill sergeant wondered why she joined the Marines instead of going pro… geez. And all this during pretty generic boot camp part, weak echo of its predecessors in Heinlein’s, Haldeman’s or Scalzi’s classics. Not to mention how preachy Ia was every time she got a chance to make a speech (ok, I’ll mention it – very preachy).

I liked some of the alien races, some of the battle scenes, the way protagonist used a religious order in her schemes and I really think something interesting could have been built around the main idea. Many elements were nice, even if most of them were borrowed – but that would be justified if they were used to create something new and exciting. New – to a degree. Exciting – not for me.

[short review published previously on Goodreads]

Score: 2,5/10