Friday, April 20, 2018


I can't keep up this blog anymore. My life has moved past the days of incessant reading. I'm getting married soon, starting a family. I'm already way too busy--I'll be even more so then.

Plus... I don't have a laptop anymore. I got rid of it to prevent my large overuse.

So maybe one day, maybe I'll have more of a desire to pursue hobbies like this, and be rich enough to buy a new laptop. But meanwhile, I'll maybe keep up the Top Ten books and covers per year, because those are SO fun, and not too time consuming. But I'll skip reviews and awards, and just keep track of books on Goodreads.

RED Book Awards 2016

So I'd decided that my life was too full of other things to keep up this blog, and that I'd only do the top ten lists and the awards every year, and that's it. But even that seems to be too much, since it's been more than a year since I was supposed to finish this post.
Oh well. There's life for you.
I made some notes on the books for the first half of the year, so that was helpful. But the rest of them I forget so much. The RED Book Awards are too fun to skip altogether, but they are NOT going to be very accurate or insightful this year. Yet here they are anyway, the RED Book Awards of 2016:

Favourite Central Female Character: Ok, this is cheating, but Helene Hanff from 84, Charing Cross Road. Helene is a real person from a non-fiction book, but I couldn't help choose her. She is just so American in the very best sense of the word: energetic, obnoxious, kinda crazy, but charismatic as hell. She felt like a Main Character.
Runners Up:  >>Maree Mallory from Deep Secret: I don't remember her all that well anymore, but what I do remember is a grumpy, funny, delightful character, not a type nearly common enough as a main female lead. >>Miss Pym from Miss Pym Disposes: a bit older, a bit different, a bit feisty.

Favourite Central Male Character: Gonna be a tie for this one. I could have chosen, but I had so many runner up options I decided I could afford to give the winner's place to two.
Gwalchmai from Hawk of May. Very inspiring and heroic, in an interesting way instead of a cardboard cutout hero way.
Shoya Ishida from A Silent Voice. Such a realistic complex character, especially for a manga. Child bully turned depressed, lonely teenager--how many popular manga, or books in general, could choose him as a character and be so fascinating?
Runners Up: >>Cazaril from The Curse of Chalion: he's not quite as fantastic as Bujold's main hero, Miles Vorkosigan, but he still has this great arc of people slowly realizing his awesomeness as events spiral into exciting chaos. >>The whiskey priest from The Power and the Glory: he's not a good character, but he's an amazing character, if you know what I mean. Complex, real, fascinating. >>Rupert Venables from Deep Secret: basically an ordinary British guy, but with this delightful undercurrent of weirdness.

Favourite Secondary Female Character: Yuzuru Nishimiya from A Silent Voice. So feisty, so funny, so cute, so devoted a sister, so unique a character. All the characters from this manga were fantastic and complex, but she was the one I liked best.
Runners Up: Sophie from Jinx, Jinx's Magic, and Jinx's Fire: so practical and intelligent. She wasn't a very central character, but she appealed to me a lot. >>Elidan from Kingdom of Summer: honestly, I can't quite remember what I liked about her. But I have so few people for this section, and she was on a list of favourite secondary female characters I made last year sometime, so I must have liked something about her. Maybe it was her complexity and hardness or something?

Favourite Secondary Male Character: Simon, also from JinxJinx's Magic, and Jinx's Fire. This is where my lack of memory really annoys me. Because I remember loving Simon so much, and him being so great a character. But I just can't remember him enough to define it. I think it was the grumpiness, the intelligence, the complexity. The fact that you couldn't really tell if he was evil or wonderful. One of the two for sure, just not ordinary.
Runners Up: >>Scholar Christopher Wolfe from Ink and Bone: fiercely intelligent, harsh yet a good teacher. >>Keir Ieskar from The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost: so fascinating, so controlled, so secretly emotional. >>The Bloodwitch from Truthwitch: very mysterious and powerful, and definitely my favourite character from this book. >>Nick Mallory from Deep Secret: I really don't remember this book well enough to talk about Nick, but I think he was grumpy and clever. >>Also there's some of the knights from Hawk of May, and the king from The Sand-Reckoner, but I really don't remember enough about them to write anything. I wanted to make note of them, though. Good characters.

(This was my favourite category this year. Some really top-notch secondary male characters.)

Favourite Ensemble: The group of kids from A Silent Voice. This series is getting many awards for a good reason. The reality of these kids' characters, and the complexity of their goodness. Just so great. And you got so many different interactions between them. Almost no paring (not in a romantic sense) was left unexplored.
Runners Up: >>The warriors from Hawk of May: so cool, so inspiring. >>The girls from Miss Pym Disposes: so funny, so real, so interesting, such a great contrast to Hawk of May. >>The Orkney people from Kingdom of Summer: I had a note that this was an interesting ensemble because they were "so messed up". I don't remember anything more than that, but I know I do like messed-up fictional families sometimes.

Favourite Romance: Tie again.
Simon and Sophie from JinxJinx's Magic, and Jinx's Fire. They were already married, a point in their favour since this seems to be a bit rare in books. They were so different, yet suited. Some angst, some unexpected affection, yet without the drama that many romances have.
Medair and SPOILER from Medair books, The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost. Spoilers for the books ahead!
I was not a big fan of the primary romance (between Medair and Illukar), so I was so, so excited when my favourite character, Keir Ieskar, turned out to be a love interest, in the most weird, interesting, time travel-ly way.
Runners Up: >>Shoya Ishida and Shoko Nishimiya from A Silent Voice: not really explicitly a romance (or it might have won), but probably one anyway, and so sweet and real. >>Gwalchmai and Elidan from Kingdom of Summer: very sad, but good. A good story. >>Robert Blair and Marion Sharpe from The Franchise Affair: I liked it. Don't remember why. But look at this quote of him describing her: "[A]ll compact of fire and metal. ... People don't marry women like Marion Sharpe, any more than they marry winds and clouds. Any more than they marry Joan of Arc." >>Romeo and Juliet from Romeo and/or Juliet: of course, being a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, I didn't always like their romance, but some of the endings could be very sweet and show how awesome marriage can be.

Favourite Bromance: Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage from The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. They bond over awesome computer stuff, and up being the first programmers. It's awesome.
Runners Up: >>Jinx and Simon from JinxJinx's Magic, and Jinx's Fire: ok, not exactly a bromance. More father/son. But so great, with all the gruff exteriors and hidden affection that are so fun to read about. >>Duun and Thorn from Cuckoo's Egg: again, father/son, not bromance. I don't remember this one too well, but there was some good stuff. >>Helene Hanffe and Frank Doel from 84, Charing Cross Road: she is just SO American, and he SO British. And their relationship via letter is sweet and grows so slowly and naturally. I am so glad this is nonfiction and this relationship actually happened. >>Jess Brightwell and Dario Santiago from Ink and Bone: Again, not exactly a bromance... but such a good frenemy relationship that I had to add it.

Favourite World: Curse of Chalion (also Paladin of Souls because it's in the same world, but I liked reading about this world best in the first book for a few reasons). It's the gods that get me in this one, and the people's relationship to them, and the religion in general. Bujold seems to really understand somehow how people's relationship to God tends to work (in a way that reminds me of Megan Whalen Turner and The King of Attolia).
Runners Up: >>Hmmmm, this one is hard... (Man, do I tend to forget world building) Hawk of May, maybe, cause of the Light and all that? Ink and Bone cause books? Deep Secret cause of Diana Wynne Jones craziness? Jinx cause of cool fairy tales? And All the Stars cause of cool alien/apocalypse stuff? Maybe even Speaker for the Dead or Fortress in Eye of Time or Wild Seed, although I've forgotten too much to properly add them?

Favourite Surprisingly Good Book: Let Your Life Speak. I thought it was a wishy washy New Age-y book. And you know what? Maybe it is. But it changed my life. The start of a long process of growth and change started from reading this book, and I am so, so grateful.
Runners Up: >>No Exit: I actually like Sartre's plays. Who knew? I didn't. Existentialism is fascinating, even if I disagree. >>Voice of the Lost: considering it's really only half of one book, I expected it to have a very similar feel, but actually I liked it considerably better. It put several aspects of the first in a completely different light, and had unique plot twists.

Favourite Book Not Getting Enough Awards: Fortress in Eye of Time. There were some great characters here, some interesting world building, and some great relationships (Tristen and Cefwyn, Idrys (Master Crow) and Cefwyn, whatever-her-name-was and Cefwyn). But I knew even while reading it that I was going to forget far too much to read the sequels. It needed to grab me just a bit more. But still--it was good stuff, so I'd like to acknowledge it.
Runners Up: >>Romeo and/or Juliet: because it's hilarious and amazing. >>Spiritual Formation andThe Case for the Psalms: the RED Awards are mostly about aspects only applicable to fiction, but I read a bunch of really great nonfiction this year, and it feels sad not to include them. So here's a small shoutout to them!

P.S. See also the previous years awards: 20132014, 2015.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Top Ten (Or So): Books Read in 2016

As I said in my top ten covers list:
Yes, it's September. Yes, I have basically abandoned this blog. I'm writing short reviews on Goodreads, but I can't keep up with this anymore due to life circumstances. I'll probably write an official post about it in a while. But meanwhile, the Top-Ten Lists are just so fun to do, that I can still manage to find the time and energy.
So yeah. I don't remember a lot because my memory's bad and it was a long time ago. But I tried.

But besides LIFE stuff happening, this was a decent year for reading. I read 4 more books than I did the year before (60 vs 56). 14 out of the 60 books were nonfiction--one more than the previous year. (Next year's going to be even better: I already read 14 and the year's not even done yet.) I count this as progress because it shows a diversifying of my tastes. I discovered a few new fabulous authors (especially Jean-Paul Sartre, Sage Blackwood, Gillian Bradshaw, Henri Nouwen).
So yeah, decent. Although the feeling in general is kind of meh, I think because of how many books I found just slightly less enjoyable than I'd hoped. (As a preview: this is not the case for this year, 2017. Difficult year, but good books.)

So without further ado, in sort-of approximate order from least to most favourite, are some of the best books I read in 2015:

Section Three--these were great, I loved these ones: the "all the good ones" section:

From Nikita Golubev
--Jinx by Sage Blackwood. Children's literature as it should be. Complex characters, complex relationships (Jinx and Simon! Simon and Sophie! etc etc!). Also I found this artist who did gorgeous illustrations for the all three books in the series, which just made me love them all the more.

--Cuckoo's Egg by C. J. Cherryh. This will bring me to a whole new set of adult scifi books, both from the author and from the sub-genre (hard sociological scifi). There were relationships and world-building and people's inner thoughts that were all complex and interesting and made me think. Cool stuff.

--No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. Existentialist works are actually really interesting. I had no idea before this. At least Sartre's are. I so, so much wanted to properly discuss this one with someone after reading it, but alas my life was lonely last year.

--Shirt of Flame by Heather King. I'm just going to repeat my short original review for this, because it says it all: "Profound and difficult and consoling simultaneously. It came at an absolutely perfect time in my life, and gave me a relationship to St. Therese for which I'll be forever grateful. Also good coming so soon after The Power and the Glory, since King also get the grittiness and paradox and beauty of Catholicism."

--Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North. Ryan North is one of my favourite authors, which seems weird to say about someone who mostly writes comic books and choose-your-own-adventures. But he's just... SO. FUNNY. And comedy is as an acceptable genre as tragedy or realism. So take that.

Section Two--these are just so good: the section with my actual favourites of the year:

--Spritual Formation by Henri Nouwen. Made me think and pray in a way I hadn't before. Always, always worth it, that.

--Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. This was just such a lovely reading experience. The way Tey gets into the heads of her characters is so great--I'm interested in all of them, which is so rare. (They're almost completely women in this book too, which is cool and interesting.) She also makes physical descriptions and atmosphere that actually interest me. As I said in my original review, it's "[l]ovely and light and cozy and creepy all at once". Plus just add in the feel of the book, the look of the cover. This is a book to read all alone when it's poring rain and you have hot chocolate and cookies to eat.
(Also a shoutout here to The Franchise Affair. I liked Miss Pym better, and I liked both of them for similar reasons, so I thought I wouldn't include TFA, even though it was pretty awesome.)

--Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw. I forget more of this book than I wish I did, but I remember it good. And didn't portray Gawain as a dumb brute. It was just a good, good historical-fiction-with-hints-of-fantasy book that actually portrayed Christianity as not a terribly thing. In fact, it was quite inspiring, and I remember being so thrilled to find a book about Gawain (called Gwalchmai here) and his family that was interesting and gritty. I really, really liked it.

--The Thrilling Adventures of Babbage and Lovelace by Sydney Padua. Famous historical computer science people! In an alternate universe! In graphic novel form! I looooooove books like this. Enough said.

Section One--life-changing, ground-breaking, or astonishing: the new additions to my all-time favourites

--A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima. Messy, real, tragic, romantic, sweet. There were aspects of my inner life and anxiety that I saw in this series that I never saw anywhere else. And the realness and complexity of these characters!

--Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer. This book changed my life. It's weird to say this, because in some ways it doesn't seem like the most profound book in the world. And truthfully, the change it immediately made wasn't that profound. But it started me down a path of growth that I am so, so grateful for. Self-knowledge and nurturing the inner life are WORTH it, guys! Who knew. But seriously, it is a great book, containing such phrases as "fierce with reality" which make me want to be the best person I can possibly be.

--The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. This book surprised and astonished me. Who knew it was going to be so thought-provoking? While still easy to read? And actually gripping? And so Catholic in the best, gritty, complex sense of the word? Amazing book, and it is to my great sorrow that I didn't get to discuss it with anyone while it was still fresh in my mind.

Runners Up (In No Order Whatsoever and Possibly Missing Some Good Ones Because I'm Really, Really Bad at Making Up My Mind)
--Voice of the Lost. Great romance! Unusual plot twists! Improvement from the previous book!
--Curse of Chalion. The way Bujold builds up the awesomeness of some of her characters... Also the religion. Good stuff.
--In the Night Garden. The structure! The imagination!
--Wild Seed. Memorable, unique adult scifi.
--Acedia & me. Interesting take on one of the most serious problems of our time (I think).

P.S. See also the Top Ten (Or So) lists from previous years: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Top Ten (Or So): Covers of Books Read in 2016

Yes, it's September. Yes, I have basically abandoned this blog. I'm writing short reviews on Goodreads, but I can't keep up with this anymore due to life circumstances. I'll probably write an official post about it in a while. But meanwhile, the Top-Ten Lists are just so fun to do, that I can still manage to find the time and energy.

So here they are--in only approximate order--favourite to least favourite, the best covers of the books I read in 2016. It was a bit of a disappointing lot this year. Not that there were lots of bad ones, just none that really struck me (unlike last year). (Note that I am not in any way an artist or designer or anything, so these are based purely on what I like in book covers.)

Deep Secret. It's almost purely because of how much I love space. I LOVE space. Look at how that beautiful, beautiful space is outlined by an ordinary door, giving the impression that you never know when you'll open a door and come across GLORY. Plus there's a simplicity to this cover, and I generally like simplicity and a certain amount of minimalism.

Although, speaking of simplicity, I like the cover for In the Night Garden for completely the opposite reason. There's so much going on here. I kept referring back to the cover whenever I read a new story to see if I could find elements. And the art is beautiful too.

Vicious also has an illustrated cover, and I love it. The colouring, the blood, the striking human figure. I pretty much always hate people on covers when they're real live people (see Truthwitch below for a surprising exception), but illustrated! Especially this well!

I love the cover for Romeo and/or Juliet because it's hilarious and it suits the book so well. (I like it better than the cover for To Be Or Not to Be actually, even though the illustrations inside that one are better.)

Wild Seed looks like an old-fashion scifi cover, which I normally don't like because of the colouring and busyness and weirdness. But this one fascinated me. Not sure why.

Not God's Type has books and a sword on it and it's teal, which is my favourite colour. What else can you ask for?

I don't loooove the cover for Truthwitch, but I do like it a lot. That surprised me a lot because it's a live girl on the front with lots of CGI-type looking stuff, which is pretty much my least favourite type of cover (if you don't include bare-chested romance covers). But--I do like it. Maybe it's the blue colour, maybe it's how everything is arranged, the shape of it.

Catch & Release has the type of simplicity/minimalism I love. Also the colour's nice. And those hooks! Eye-catching. Good stuff.

Runners Up (in No Particular Order): The Keeper of the Mist because it's just really pretty; And All the Stars because the girl on the front actually suits the description in the book (that doesn't seem to happen often), plus it just looks kind of cool; Ink and Bone because it's pretty too; The Return of the Prodigal Son because that painting is fantastic, and the cover couldn't really be anything else; Miss Pym Disposes because the whole feel of reading the book was so great, and this includes seeing the cover.

P.S. See also my previous lists: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Travel Reading: Madonna House Part 3

During the four months of reading the below books, I've been at a farming community in the middle of nowhere (if anything can be called "the middle of nowhere", rural Canada can), with no electronics. It is far too difficult to write up proper reviews in these circumstances, so I'm continuing the Travel Reading series, where I simply write a couple sentences about each book read, and leave it at that. Here goes the third set of three:

"Poustinia" by Catherine Doherty
Grade: 3 1/2 stars
I love the idea of Poustinia--it's epic. And some of Catherine's ideas are just so true and beautiful, and not something you see talked about anywhere else (at least in our culture). But I struggled a lot with her style, especially her seeming anti-intellectualism. This was a very up-and-down reading experience for me because of that. But I recommend this heartily! I think almost anyone could get something new and helpful out of it, at least.

"The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene
Grade: 5 stars
SO Catholic, in the best possible sense of that phrase. Greene gets so many things--what real sanctity is, the silliness that is sin, and how people think deep down to themselves. He reminds me of a grittier version of C. S. Lewis in those ways. This is a book worth a good, long sit-down discussion over beer or hot chocolate. Yet all this might give the impression that it's a "difficult" book, or preachy, or only relate-able to Catholics or something, but that's totally false. It's easy to read, excellently written, brilliant characters, gets to the bottom of LIFE. Man, I don't even know how to describe my thoughts properly, but I am so glad I finally got around to reading this.

"In the Night Garden" by Catherynne M. Valente
Grade: 4 stars
The structure of this book! It totally thrilled me. A layered, interlocking series of tales and stories, with unexpected connections and call-backs and Inception-like depth. The unending nature of the structure was a little annoying for me personally, though. I wanted everything wrapped up in the end, in an incredibly complex bundle of imagination and creativity. Instead it emphasizes the fact that stories don't really have a beginning and end, which is probably actually the best route to take, despite my personal preferences.

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen
Grade: 4 stars
A beautiful little book that gives you a new appreciation for Rembrandt's famous painting. I didn't find it quite as helpful as the last Nouwen I read, but excellent none the less.

"Shirt of Flame" by Heather King
Grade: 5 stars
Profound and difficult and consoling simultaneously. It came at an absolutely perfect time in my life, and gave me a relationship to St. Therese for which I'll be forever grateful. Also good coming so soon after The Power and the Glory, since King also get the grittiness and paradox and beauty of Catholicism.

"Paladin of Souls" by Lois McMaster Bujold
Grade: 3 stars
The gods in this series! With the religion in this series, and how Bujold presents the theist character of Cordelia in the Vorkosigan saga, I can't help but think she's had some experience of Faith. She just seems to get how it works (though the Bastard weirded me out a bit...). The rest of the aspects of this story were good enough, and entertaining, but I think the first book, The Curse of Chalion, remains my favourite by a large margin.

(There are some personal notes below this break. Feel free to skip them; they are pretty unintelligible anyway.)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Travel Reading: Madonna House Part 2

The last four months or so, I've been at a farming community in the middle of nowhere (if anything can be called "the middle of nowhere", rural Canada can), with no electronics. It is far too difficult to write up proper reviews in these circumstances, so I'm continuing the Travel Reading series, where I simply write a couple sentences about each book read, and leave it at that. Here goes the second set of three:

"Discovering the Feminine Genius" by Katrina J. Zeno
Grade: 2 1/2 stars
It was a little simplistic for where I'm at right now--or perhaps it's complex enough but just made for a different sort of person? Despite the fact that she and I have a fairly similar background in some ways (Catholic upbringing, down to the playing spoons till midnight). Most of the book didn't seem to relate to me or be that helpful. Yet... a few key points in it were the starting off points for some major growth these last few months, so I can't help but recommend it.

"Wild Seed" by Octavia Butler
Grade: 4 stars
A fairly different feel to this book than what I'm used to. Quite intensely personal for a speculative fiction book, without being overly emotional or having that "literary fiction" style that isn't my thing. Don't really know what else to say about this book, but it was good stuff. Hopefully I'll get to more Butler soon.

"Spiritual Formation" by Henri Nouwen
Grade: 4 1/2 stars
This book helped me a lot. Nouwen has such insight into the human journey. Also there are some cool new ideas to try for me, like "Visual Divinia". I just wish I'd gotten around to studying my notes (found below) properly when the book was still in my possession and fresh in my mind...

"Fortress in the Eye of Time" by C. J. Cherryh
Grade: 3 1/2 stars
Entertaining and atmospheric with some great relationships of all sorts. The central friendship was my favourite (Tristen and Cefwyn), but there was a small element of romance that was really great too (Cefwyn and .... I forget her name). The Tristen & Mauryl and Cefwyn & Idrys (Master Crow!) relationships were also great. The main issue is that it wasn't quite gripping enough to make me seek out the sequels immediately, and I'm going to forget the myriad names and world-building details that are necessary to understand even a little bit of what's going on. Cherryh is not someone who explains things unnecessarily--one of my favourite things about her, but still, it's going to make this difficult...

"The Psalms Are Our Prayers" by Albert Gelin
Grade: 3 stars
If I hadn't read The Case for the Psalms by N. T. Wright earlier in the year and loved it, I might have been more impressed by this. As it was, it was good but not particularly new or striking. I also found the style a bit disconcerting--perhaps it was the translation? My spiritual director recommended this book and this author, though, so I'd like to try another book by him at some point.

(There are some personal notes below this break. Feel free to skip them; they are pretty unintelligible anyway.)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Travel Reading: Madonna House Part 1

After my trip home to BC, I went to a farming community in the middle of nowhere (if anything can be called "the middle of nowhere", rural Canada can), with no electronics. It is far too difficult to write up proper reviews in these circumstances, so I'm continuing the Travel Reading series, where I simply write a couple sentences about each book read, and leave it at that. Here goes the first set of three:

"The Man in the Queue" by Josephine Tey
Grade: 3 stars
Entertaining Golden Age British mystery story, with some delightful but spoilery twists on the usual outcomes of such mysteries. I didn't enjoy this as much as some of Tey's other works, though. Her tendency towards atmospheric description I found a little more boring, rather than breathtaking and claustrophobic, as in The Singing Sands, or than entertaining and intriguing, as in Miss Pym Disposes. And although I loved to a surprising degree some of the secondary characters ([Raoul Legarde, Miss Dinmont, even Ray Marcable--Tey really has a strength with fascinating characters you want to know more about), they weren't as impactful as MPD, The Daughter of Time, or The Franchise Affair. In general, it seemed a little less well written. But it was her first book, after all.

"The Paladin" by C. J. Cherryh
Grade: 2 1/2 stars
Retired general in east Asian inspired land reluctantly takes on a young and passionate-for-revenge girl as a student. The ending felt a bit rushed, and there was too much emphasis on how much the older guy wanted to sleep with his student. Cherryh is great at a properly limited third person view, but in this case I would have liked the romance better if it had more of the girl's perspective. Especially because it was so much more central than expected. It didn't throw me off Cherryh, though. I found her writing both excellent and entertaining, and I'm looking forward to reading her more well-known works.

"Lost in the Labyrinth" by Patrice Kindl
Grade: 2 stars
Retelling of the Minotaur story. I think it is too young for me at this point in my life, and I didn't find it as unique as some of her other books, so not my favourite read of the year. It would be good for teaching kids about myths though, I think.

"Speaker for the Dead" by Orson Scott Card
Grade: 3 stars
Had a bunch of notes on this, but I lost them. Will update this if I find them. It was too long ago to remember most of what I thought, but it wasn't as good as I was hoping. Still good, though.

"A Confusion of Princes" by Garth Nix
Grade: 2 1/2 stars
The first half was pretty cool because of Nix's worldbuilding (which he always does awesomely), of the scifi future-y sort, and his secondary characters, of the distinct and memorable sort. But the second half, with the romantic relationship and the sudden resolution seemed a bit simplistic. Also, why is Khenri so special? He didn't strike me as being particularly special... The characterization could have used a bit of work, think. Anyway, ultimately it was fun but too light.