April Book Dump

My reading spree of the past couple of weeks seems to be winding down to a close, and even though I’m just getting started on The Mongoliad and a couple more books, I think it worthwhile to post my notes on the rest I’ve read so far.

Stories of Your Life and Others ★★★★★

I heard plenty of good things about The Lifecycle of Software Objects (which is included), so I decided to give this short story collection a go and breezed delightfully through it in an afternoon.

All of the stories are mind-blowing in their own particular way and have their own little twists (in plot, subject matter, structure, you name it). Even though I wasn’t taken by one of them - I won’t spoil the surprise for you - I have to acknowledge there’s brilliance at work here.

Very highly recommended.

Manhattan in Reverse ★★★★

Another set of short stories worth reading (especially if you’re into Hamilton’s books). I found these well-wrought and entertaining, and the three prequel/background Commonwealth stories were particularly fun to read, but perfectly able to stand on their own as separate works.

The Hunger Games (inc. Catching Fire, Mockingjay) ★★★

This has gone mainstream since I first heard of it a few years back, so I decided I’d plunge in and see what all the fuss was about.

I wolfed down the trilogy in a handful of nights, most likely ensuring that the movie (if I ever have time to watch it) won’t be able to match the overall impression the books left upon me. Even though I’m not Collins’ target audience and found some of the plot devices somewhat contrived, the dystopian, hegemonic undertiones carried through and I’m giving it an average rating largely because it strikes an uneasy balance between being altogether too predictable and quite addictive to read.

Illium, Olympos ★★★★

Dan Simmons’ stuff is usually momentous and exceedingly well-crafted, but I wasn’t expecting a massive reinterpretation of Homer’s Iliad. Epic doesn’t begin to describe it, and even though I found the second book somewhat inconsistent, the first one certainly makes it worth your while.

Snuff ★★★★

I love Pratchett’s stuff, and this is no exception. Delightfully witty and with several layers of meaning intricately woven together, the only reason I’m not giving it full marks is that its overall tone is a bit more moral and reminiscent of the stuffy bits of Making Money than, say, the hilarious romp that was The Fifth Elephant.