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David Bremner Locked account

Joined 6 months, 1 week ago

computer scientist, mathematician, photographer, human. Debian Developer, Notmuch Maintainer, scuba diver

Much of my "reading" these days is actually audiobooks while walking.

FediMain: is also me. Trying a smaller instance to see if the delays are less maddening.

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David Bremner's books

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Babel (Hardcover, 2022, Harper Voyager) 5 stars

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal. 1828. Robin Swift, …

provoking, but in a good way

5 stars

I did feel like this violated the dictum "show don't tell" a bit too much, but it has interesting characters and a gripping plot to go with it's anti-colonialism message. Can be read as a straight forward critique of imperialism, but there are also interesting connections (or at least possible interpretations relating) to the role of technology and technology driven capitalism in contemporary society.

The Graveyard Book (2008) 5 stars

The Graveyard Book is a young adult novel by the English author Neil Gaiman, simultaneously …

just what I needed

5 stars

I forgot how much I liked this book. Gaiman claims it is inspired by the Jungle Book, but to me it felt more like Kidnapped, but improved.

The most remarkable thing (other than me sitting down and reading a book on paper for once), was the complete lack of cynicism. That is not a sure thing with Gaiman.

The Liar's Girl (Paperback, Corvus) 4 stars

Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin's elite St. John's College--and …

Twisty plot, somewhat interesting viewpoint.

4 stars

The plot is very much a whodunnit (or whodunwhat), and keeps the reader guessing to the end.

The viewpoint of the protagonist, namely "serial killer's girlfriend" is unusual for a police procedural.

I wasn't completely convinced by the characters. At one point I found my self agreeing with the protagonist's mother that she should just get over her trauma. That's not fair of either of us, but I think the failure of empathy is not all mine.

The setting is modern Dublin, which feels a bit like any modern north-western european city: trendy cafes, expensive to live in.

reviewed Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Woman (Hardcover, 2022, Viking Books for Young Readers) 4 stars

From the moment Sunny Nwazue discovered she had magic flowing in her blood, she sought …

The further adventures of Sunny Nwazue

4 stars

The book is an adventure story to be sure, but at some points I was really taken by the calmness / centeredness of the main characters.

I was a bit tripped up by my expectations. From the title I expected a more drastic coming of age aspect (I understand that was a foolish amount to read into one word, but here we are), but it's really more a gradual evolution of the characters. I also thought the blurb about "coming back a changed person" was a bit overstated. Both of those points are more warnings to ignore the blurb (always?) and enjoy the book.

Another aspect that really struck me as unique both in this book and in Akata Warrior, is the physicality of the heroine. It seems like some kind of nerdy double bluff that not only is Sunny smart and talented, she is phsyically strong (and fast) in …

Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1) 4 stars

Ship Breaker is a 2010 young adult novel by Paolo Bacigalupi set in a post-apocalyptic …

post-climate-apocalypse meets high seas adventure

4 stars

People who have read the (one year earlier) Windup Girl will find aspects of the setting familiar, but it is not identical. This book does not talk about calorie scarcity which really drives Windup Girl but focuses on resurgence of sail transport. A triumphant and uncaring capitalism probably prevents the book from being solarpunk.

As for plot, young boy from underclass rescues princess, has adventures on land and at sea. It is immersive and makes the point well enough about human driven climate change, but it didn't touch me as deeply as some other stories in e.g. Pump six. Not sure why, could just be the others were my first exposure to the author's world building.

I guess this is targeted at young adults? No explicit sex, some light (hopeless?) romance. Reference to impoverished women forced to sex work as a means of survival.

The Tropic of Serpents (Paperback, 2015, Tor Books) 4 stars

"Attentive readers of Lady Trent's earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar …

Series is growing on me

4 stars

I enjoyed this more than the first book in the series. The political / cultural intrigue seems to have a bit more depth, perhaps because the main character is maturing a bit. The setting is essentially Colonial era (19th century?) Europe + Africa. (with dragons). I'm not sure why all the countries and institutions are renamed, it doesn't seem necessary.

An Unnatural Life ( 4 stars

The cybernetic organism known as 812-3 is in prison, convicted of murdering a human worker …

will appeal to fans of murderbot and legal dramas

4 stars

I'm not sure if I really love the novella form, but maybe I just need to get used to it. It does feel like this book is better at asking questions than answering them. It's true that it moves right along, but on the other hand it does finish a bit abruptly.

Wabanaki blues (2015, Poisoned Pencil, an imprint of Poisoned Pen Press) 4 stars

When teen blues musician Mona Lisa LaPierre is sent by her parents to the boondocks …

A retelling of a north american indigenous myth as coming of age tale

4 stars

Much of the plot is a fairly standard high school musician / coming of age story. The bits of northeastern north american indigenous ghost story / myth made it interesting to me, since I live in the territory of the Wabanaki confederacy referenced in the title.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (EBook, 2021, Tom Doherty Associates) 4 stars

It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; …

Sleight book on weighty themes

4 stars

First a disclaimer: at this point I think a Becky Chambers book would have to be pretty terrible to get a bad review from me.

This is very clearly a novella, and continues Chamber's trend away from plot driven fiction as seen in the later Wayfarer books. So, not much happens, but deep themes are explored.

The solarpunk aspect has been remarked elsewhere, but I didn't expect was how much it seemed like a reflection on the (privileged) human condition. As a fellow privileged human, I recognized some of Sibling Dex's disquiet.

A big ship at the edge of the universe (Paperback, 2018) 4 stars

Furious and fun, the first book in this bold, new science fiction adventure series follows …

This space opera with magic was not magical for me.

3 stars

It's a solid enough adventure story, and queer positive (which maybe I've become a little blasé about, but could make it very affirming for the right young adult). On the other hand the world of Expanse + Spells didn't really grab me. Maybe that's just me, but I want to be lied to a little bit, and have your magic pretend to be weird science.

The Likeness (2008, Viking Adult) 4 stars

Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying …

A strong followup to "Into the woods".

5 stars

Cassie Maddox is sucked back into undercover work by the freakish coincidence of a murder victim that looks just like her. Most of the book is Cassie impersonating the victim to her housemates. There is lots of interesting characterization of Cassie, the housemates, and the victim.

While "Into the woods" kindof sucker-punched me with the ending, this was less traumatic. The ending of this book is a bit more conventional (even using some police procedural trope, slightly twisted).

You should definitely read "Into the woods first", this book references it quite often. It does switch points of view a bit startlingly compared to the previous book.

Light From Uncommon Stars (Hardcover, 2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful …

a fun mess, with some touching moments

4 stars

Content warning mild spoiler about ending

The Lincoln Lawyer (2008) 4 stars

The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2005 novel, the 16th by American crime writer Michael Connelly. …

Police procedural, about a defence lawyer.

4 stars

I guess Connelly (e.g. with the Bosch novels) always mixes courtroom / legal drama with cop / detective adventure. That is true here as well, although the main character is probably more ethically gray than Bosch at his grayest.

I did like the theme most of Haller's clients were not actually evil. They might be thugs, but Haller makes a distinction between trying to get by and making some bad choices, and actual evil.

Long suffering ex wives seem to be a theme with Connelly. Possible author life spoiler there?

I did zip right through it, so it might be a perfect read for sitting on the front porch in the summer.

A Gathering of Shadows 3 stars

A sequel, for better or worse.

4 stars

If you enjoyed the first book of the series, you will probably enjoy the second.

Interesting characters neither strictly hero nor anti-hero.

Some of the characters are further developed, but some minor issues like the survival of the human race are left unresolved.