Reviews of the books I've read

A list of all the books I've read this year. For these reviews, this is my book review scale:

burn Burn any copy you find of this book, it is horrific.
mock This book is awful. Don't read this book and mock anyone you see reading this book.
don't Don't read this book.
desert If you're on a desert island and are bored out of your mind, this book is okay to read.
fan If you're a fan of this author / genre, this book is worth reading.
worth This book is interesting, fun, entertaining, and thus worth reading. I would hand this book to a friend who asked for a _____ type book.
strongly I strongly recommend this book
amazing OMG, this book is amazing and/or life-changing, let me buy you a copy.

Post date:

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Notes

Yeah, as much as I think the author could be considered certifiably insane based on her obsession with tidying up, I will say that this is the book that can seriously help to declutter a life, if the reader is willing.

Willing. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. This is a good book for decluttering, purging when one is ready.

The book gives you permission to let go. It gives you permission to give away items you don't use. It gives you permission to THROW AWAY items you don't use or want.

The book cautions the reader not to dispose of items by burdening someone else with the items. Don't give your sibling something from your parents if neither of you want said something, for example.

The two biggest take-aways for me were 1. don't keep it if it doesn't spark joy, and 2. once you've read what is on a paper, it has done its job, you can toss it.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to purge. Hoarders will need more than just this book. Not-yet-a-hoarder will benefit.

Gone With The Wind

Book Notes

Before reading

This book has been in my to-read pile for, well, um... uh.... 20 years? No, that's not quite right, but let's go with it. I have it in paperback and audiobook form, and finally decided that, dammit, I am going to read or listen to this book and finally remove it from my to-read pile. In reality, I want to read it because I want to see if my "If you see the movie, and someone tells you the book is better, don't bother to read the book, because you already know the high points" theory, formed after reading This Is Where I Leave You having seen the movie first, is valid. I've seen the Gone With The Wind movie. I saw it waaaaaaaaay long ago, before I was old enough to understand the nuances of the plot, story, messages. I plan on watching the movie again after finishing the book.

After reading

I was not expected to be moved by this book, as Scarlett O'Hara really isn't a nice person. As Rhett puts it, she has one of those flexible consciences that allows her to survive, but said conscience doesn't make for a pleasant person. That said, the whole Southern genteel society which seems to use gossip as its internal fuel, is one that I am REALLY sure I would have suffered greatly in.

I also struggled with this book. The language bothered me a lot, even though it was acceptable language at the time. The whole "I'm bothered by this" is also amusing to me. I curse like a sailor, using f--- and sh-- ALL THE TIME in my language, yet reading "niggers" and "darkies" bothers the crap out of me. The descriptions of life in the South around the Civil War era bugged me, too, until I realized that both THE BOOK IS FICTION, and it really didn't portray the bad stuff well at all. There was no whipping or abuse at Tara, the O'Hara plantation, because Ms Ellen was, of course, a lady. There was no physical retaliation when the original Tara foreman was fired (for getting the next door's "white trash" daughter pregnant, but come on, let's be real, in real life, it was probably a slave who was pregnant). The book seems to make slaves an okay thing to own (but hiring convicts for manual labor isn't).

The book had various classifications of people, including field niggers, house niggers, white trash, crackers, and those received. The house niggers looked down on field niggers and the white trash (poor white people), while the white trash envied the house niggers, and I was all, what, really? Then I remembered, the book is fiction. I couldn't tell if this happened, it could, why not given human nature, but, really did they? And then I thought, maybe, even though this is fiction, it might be true. Or, it really might be what Mitchell projected happened, she was born into a rich family, she heard Civil War stories on the knees of Confederate veterans, she formed her image of the Civil War South when she was six. So...

Yeah, reviewing Wikipedia, "Perhaps the most enduring legacy of Gone with the Wind is that people worldwide would incorrectly think it was the true story of the Old South and how it was changed by the American Civil War and Reconstruction. The film version of the novel "amplified this effect". Scholars of the period have written in recent years about the negative effects the novel has had on race relations by its resurrection of Lost Cause mythology." As for the Lost Cause, it is the "belief was founded upon several historically inaccurate elements. These include the claim that the Confederacy started the Civil War to defend states' rights rather than to preserve slavery, and the related claim that slavery was benevolent, rather than cruel."

Yeah, so, back to the book.

The book wasn't what I was expecting it to be, even though I've seen the movie way back when. The book is a tale of longing, duty, and loyalty. It's a book about surviving, about accepting the present as it is instead of living in the past. It is a cautionary tale about the loneliness of a life lacking vulnerability. It's about the stupidity of a woman unable to see beyond herself.

And, it's the story about a lifelong desire for a love that can never be fulfilled.

That is what caught me off guard. The yearning, wanting of one person, while the beauty and love of another (better fit) remained at arm's length.

I mean, think about it, the need of the Civil War to end slavery is enough of a tragedy. This whole book is a tragedy. Those dreaming of a lost past that never really existed. Those with unrequited love. Those who died for a cause not their own. The whole thing. A tragedy.

A tragic love story. Huh.

So, other parts of the book that stood out for me.

When Scarlet was describing Ashley, she notes, "He was as proficient as any of the other young men in the usual county diversions: hunting, gambling, dancing, and politics." In an era without television (parents generation) or the internet (our generation), without telephones or cars, what did people do to fill their days? Right. Diversions. Though, Ashley did also read a lot. (Books. Bah.)

There's a part about, at 10 years, boy slaves were sent the cobbler, the cow man, the mule boy, the wheelwright or carpenter, to see about their aptitudes. If they "showed no aptitude for any of these trades, they became field hands and in the opinion of the negroes, they had lost their claim to any social standing at all." Again, "Huh." True? Not true? Makes sense, but it makes the assumption that slaves were "happy" workers. It sounds good on paper, but was it true?

And the description of Scarlett's mother's world:

Ellen’s life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was woman’s lot. It was a man’s world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took the credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him. Men were rough of speech and often drunk. Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words. Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving.

I live in a world of gender inequality, yes, but I have not know the level of inequality that existed even 100 years ago: women haven't yet been able to vote in the United States for 100 years, that's coming up in 4 more years. Again, "I can imagine, but is this real?" How could a family survive in the wild West without some level of equality? Ehhhhh... uncomfortable about this, too.

“That’s not courage,” he said tiredly. “Fighting is like champagne. It goes to the heads of cowards as quickly as of heroes. Any fool can be brave on a battle field when it’s be brave or else be killed..."

Yuuuuuup.

Yeah, so there's a repeating pattern in Scarlett's behaviour and that's in continually wanting what she doesn't or can't have. Sometimes, the longing is for "Home! If she were only home, Yankees or no Yankees. Home, even if Ellen was sick. She longed for the sight of Ellen’s sweet face, for Mammy’s strong arms around her." The entire book is a longing for Ashley. There's a longing for a man to be strong and take away her burdens. And, of course, the longing for security and love. At no point is Scarlett satisfied, nor does she ever seem grateful for what she has. I want to believe this was a deliberate choice by Mitchell, to create an ironic character who scoffs at those pining for a past that will never be restored, while simultaneously striving for a future that will never be.

In this book, the only person I could relate to or even like was Rhett (also, likely written this way). Seriously, the man kept dropping truth bombs. "Then you’ve made the only choice. But there’s a penalty attached, as there is to most things you want. It’s loneliness.” Even the passing remarks have "Huh. Yes." truths in them.

And then, there was this line, "And she could understand his shrewd caginess, so like her own, his obstinate pride that kept him from admitting his love for fear of a rebuff."

If ever two characters unable to communicate were written, it was Scarlett and Rhett. Together, they would have been unstoppable. And neither could be vulnerable to the other. Right, this book was written 150 years too late for these fictional characters. More's the pity.

So, the book.

I enjoyed it. I'm glad I read it. I'm more glad I remembered THE BOOK IS FICTIONAL as I was reading it. It's an entertaining book and easy to think it was non-fiction. It wasn't. Made up from 70 years after the fact, from a winner's perspective. I'm looking forward to watching the movie again.

Above All Men

Book Notes

I cannot figure out why I have this book. I thought maybe it was on some Book Riot list, but I can't figure out which one. Can't say I liked this book. I can say I didn't enjoy this book.

The premise is post-apocalyptic world (most of which are usually interesting), a war veteran is home trying to take care of his wife and son, while still fighting his own demons. The back of the cover says, "When a girl in town is murdered, David tracks the killer, while battling his own past." That back of the cover fails to mention said girl is his son's best friend. Also fails to mention that said girl is the neighbor girl.

So, why did I not enjoy this book? Couple reasons: the world described was hazy and completely unclear. I know what a farm looks like. I know what a dust storm looks like. I feel I should have been able to picture this world given my experiences with both, but I couldn't. The world was hazy. The characters were hazy. I didn't connect with any of them.

The author's style of writing also put me off. Ala Ulysses, quotes were absent from the characters words. I would have to stop and reread parts of the books (many, many, many times) in order to understand what was said and who said what. Each reread broke me out of the flow of the book. The no-quotes thing might be good for the author, it is crap for the reader.

The ending was reasonable, even if sad in the many lives changed. One hopes the characters can draw strength from doing the right thing in a seriously messed up world. That there are people who do the right thing, even at great personal cost, makes this book somewhat compelling.

My copy will be going into the Little Lending Library out front of Andy's house. I hope someone else enjoys this book more than I did.

The war was hard on him. It was hard on both of us. You come back and still see problems and you think you ought to fix ‘em.

One More Thing Before I Go

Book Notes

On my little mini-Tropper kick, I picked up this book and read it quickly. I can still claim this to be a Mom-stack book, in a fashion, given how nearly all the other Tropper books I've read were Mom-stack books. Or not: I read it because I enjoy his writing style.

This book wasn't as outrageously amusing as Tropper's other books, though it still had some laugh-out-loud parts. I'm not sure how much amusement you can put into the story of a man who has a short time to live if he doesn't have an operation to save his life, but Tropper manages a good amount.

The thing that sticks with me with these last two Tropper books is the idea of falling in love with the girl walking by. Trooper describes Judd and Silver as both falling in love with the imagined story of this girl as she rides by, or that girl as she serves coffee. The idea of falling in love, of having those crushes, and enjoying the emotion, basking in the warmth of it, just rings delightful with me. It is in such contrast with the idea of One True Love That Survives The Ages™ that is this gold standard, impossible ideal of the lonely heart.

I enjoyed this book, as with all the Tropper books (just don't read them one after the other, they lose their delight). The ending was perfectly ambiguous.

This Is Where I Leave You

Book Notes

You know when you go see a movie, and all the readers who have read the book the movie is from say, "Ugh, the book was better!" and you think, "Okay," and decide you won't ever read the book?

Right. Because reading the book, THEN seeing the movie is the correct order to experience a plot. Really.

Really really.

When I started this book, which I deliberately picked up because it is by Jonathan Tropper and I have enjoyed his other books, I keep thinking, "Ehhhhhhhhhhh, I feel like I have read this book," but I couldn't find it in my list of read books, so maybe I hadn't read it. Which is to say, I read this book at lightning speed because I really really really really felt I had already read the book.

Turns out, no, I hadn't read the book, I had seen the movie. Well, the last two thirds of the movie, anyway. I came across it while channel surfing and watched it because Timothy Olyphant is in it, and, well, after Sheriff Bullock and Marshall Givens, I'll pretty much watch most things Olyphant is in (and because, come on, he has a really cool last name, too).

So, yeah, the movie is STUNNINGLY close to the book. I knew all the plot twists and many of the jokes, and I have to say, if you've seen the movie, skip the book. If you've read the book, skip the movie, because the book has how the movie should have ended.

Will Grayson Will Grayson

Book Notes

I have no idea why I had this book in my to-read stack. NO. IDEA. Could have been a mom-book, which would explain a lot, actually, given that it's by one of my mom's favorite authors. Could have been a free book I picked up. I have no idea. I think I said this.

This book was, regardless of possession origin, a delightful read, both delightfully quick and delightfully entertaining. I laughed out loud a number of times reading this book, which is a good sign, I'd suspect.

This book is about two boys, both in high school, both named Will Grayson, who meet under odd circumstances. One is coming-out gay kid, the other is the best friend of an out gay kid, and oh boy are there issues with being gay in the horrors of high school.

I can't say I'm the same level of John Green fan that Mom is, which is why I'm willing to say I'm glad I read it. I can also say I'm okay not reading all of his other books, being astutely avoiding The Fault in our Stars. And I can also say, while not overly recommended, it's a fun read.

The Peripheral

Book Notes

ANOTHER BOOK NOT RECOMMENDED BY MOM. I know, shock.

Rob recommended this book, after I mentioned that I have been reading The Knowledge 10 pages a day in the morning while trying to absorb enough sunlight to make a dent in my vitamin D levels. He had just finished it, and mentioned that it's an entertaining read.

It is.

Imagine a future where only the rich survive some apocalyptic event, where everything around is a power game, and you can talk to the world 75 years in the past. Essentially, go with the assumption that subatomic particles can be be sufficiently quantum entangled that information can flow both through time both ways up and down stream, and that the game you're playing isn't really, let's say, a game.

Both Rob and I agree that the story takes a bit to get into, but once the action starts happening, it's a ride.

I enjoyed it. If you like Gibson's work, of course read it. If you don't know who Gibson is, wait a couple years, this will surely be a movie.

Burned

Book Notes

This is book 7 of the Alex Verus series.

I realized only two nights ago that it was out, and kicked myself for not realizing it a month ago. Good thing I was ordering that tea on Amazon and the site recommended the book. Also, added Jacka to my list at Author Alerts.

I really liked this book. I really like this series (though, maybe the last one I didn't like as much). It was recommended by Jim Butcher at some point, and I'm glad I read them. I like tales Jacka spins and the mage world he has created. I like the recurring characters and the intrigue developing.

The one was pretty much all action. Verus had very little time to relax and little time to brood. The book ends on a cliffhanger, WHICH IS GREAT, as it means there's another book to follow.

I am looking forward to it.

Recommend the series.

The Circle

Book Notes

Okay, I understand the world described in this book: the one where no one has any privacy because, well, a shit named Zuckerberg declared privacy is dead and no longer the social norm, then spent $100,000,000 protecting his own privacy, but it doesn't mean that I agree with it or like it or didn't struggle to throw this book across the room when I was reading it.

The gist of it is there's this big social media payments company that forces its users to log in with real names then promptly begins absorbing everything so that it knows everything about its users and peer pressures its users into sharing everything, connects everything, tracks everything, until the concept of privacy is destroyed. It follows the journey of an idiot 20-something woman, Mae, as she becomes a sheep and stops thinking for herself, acting only on the whims of others, the opinions of others.

I wanted to throw this book across the room a thousand times, pick it up, and throw it across the room another thousand times. Sure, "sharing is caring," fine, yes, but forced sharing is bullshit. And "privacy is stealing"? YES, the obvious conclusion of a surveillance state, which is the direction the world is going, where, again, those in power stay in power.

Related: instantaneous, required democracy is called a lynch mob.

Eggers got his point across with this one. Problem is, the people who are listening already knew, and the people who refuse to listen? Well, they kinda deserve the future they get.

I recommend this for the rage inducing stupidity of the sadly realistically written main character, and the cautionary tale told.

The Oregon Trail

Book Notes

Okay, really now, why I am reading this book, I don't know. It is so far outside of my normal reading patterns that at this point you need to shake your head and say, "Because it is on your mom's reading list?" and I answer, "YES! THAT IS IT."

The Oregon Trail is the recounting of the author's and his brother's recent (like 8 years ago) traversing of the United States in a covered wagon along the (you guessed it) Oregon Trail. And while you did guess "the Oregon Trail" you'd be only mostly right, since parts of the trail don't exist and longer, parts were only hand-wavy sketchily defined, and part have been obliterated by the Mormon marketing machine for their own money-making history-cleansing needs.

I tend to read fiction books, and I read far less biographical material than history, and I don't read much history. Which is changing, I'll admit. I'll also admit the only reason I actually read this book is because it is the last of the books from Mom's recent reading list.

I really enjoyed this book.

I liked how history lessons of the Oregon Trail were interwoven through Rinker's and Nick's travels.

I appreciated how Buck didn't stick to a chronological telling of the Oregon Trail history, but explained important parts of history as they related to the part of the trail they were on.

And I enjoyed learning about the growth the two brothers had on their journey. A reminder, perhaps, that a complete shift away from the mess one has made of one's life, coupled with a stupidly hard goal, is just the thing needed to accept one's past and move on.

Night Strangers

Book Notes

WHY DID I READ THIS BOOK? Had I not learned from Guest Room?

Okay, here's the thing: I'm plowing through all of the seven books Mom bought, mostly so that I can go back to my two meter tall stack of books I've selected, and didn't look at the author of this book. When I was 90% of the way through before I noticed the author of the book. I did a double-take, checked that this author indeed had written Guest Room, and then groaned. Pretty sure Chris Bohjalian takes his writing cues from George R.R. Martin, because I didn't like this book's ending, either.

The good guys don't win!

WTF?

Anyway, this book was another psychological thriller, complete with ghosts and pains and witches and potions and kids and tragedy and all sorts of situations that I find uncomfortable (which is to say, those where you KNOW that someone is taking serious advantage of another someone and a kid's sense of fairness in this world just rages).

This book won't be around in 10 years, or kept as fine literature. It's a creepy romp for a weekend read. If you like his style, read it. Otherwise, skip it.

Bleh.

The Farm

Book Notes

What? Another book recommended by Mom? Yeah.

Again, not the book I was expecting. Again, a book that surprised me.

This book deals with an older woman's difficulties moving with her husband to a new location (back to her home country), depression, interpretations, and dealing with family secrets and the past.

A son's mother comes to him in a panicked, paranoid state, with wild accusations of what had happened with her move with her husband, the son's dad. The dad follows shortly, while the mother tells the son convincingly in chronological order of the events on the farm the parents had moved to. While the mother's interpretation of events is plausible, so are the father's rebuttals of what was happening. How is a son, who is also hiding his own secrets from his parents, to choose or know which is actually true.

Okay, yeah, that's the gist of the plot. The telling, however, is remarkable. We are conditioned to believe what we read, so of course the mother is telling the son what happened. Yet, interpretation, paranoia.

I wasn't expecting to like this story as much as I did. The ending is haunting.

Guest Room

Book Notes

What? Another book from Mom's list? I know, I know, I can't believe it either. Thing is with this book, I can't believe this is a book Mom would read either. I mean, I can understand why she read some of the other books she's read, they fit various themes of what I believe she reads. Except, she reads what she wants to read, what she finds interesting, and this is one of those, "Wait, what?" books that she wanted to read.

I guess.

I'm not giving anything of the book away when I say the book centers around two sex slaves escaping after killing their captors while working a bachelor party, because this particular part of the book happens in the first paragraph of the book. The rest of the book is about the aftermath of that act: the why, the history, the emotions, the recovery, the fall. It is told from the first person viewpoint of one of the sex slaves (ex sex slaves) and from the third person omniscient view of the father-husband-brother-of-the-groom, his wife, and his daughter.

The causal violence in the book threw me off.

The sex slaves in the book threw me off.

The description of the emotional journey of the wife threw me off.

The emotional attachment to help someone in need totally resonated.

The book is lingering with me. I'm not sure I recommend the book, nor am I sure I'm glad I spent the time reading it. It is lingering, though.

The Grownup

Book Notes

This definitely is one of the books from Mom's pile of books. She recently added this one to my list as one "you have to read!" Except she hadn't read, so I'm unsure why she felt I needed to read it.

I suspect it's because it's by the same author as Gone Girl, and Mom really liked the twist in that one.

This one starts out as giant con job, and turns into a ghost story. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the twist near the end, while the actual ending had me cracking up.

The book is a quick read, no reason not to borrow it from the library and read it in an evening, with enough time left over for a barbeque, to be honest.

The Passenger

Book Notes

I know! I know! SHOCK! Another from the pile of books from Mom. I swear I have other piles of books and books from other people and books from lists that sound interesting. I do! I do!

Though, I suspect I beat Mom in finishing this book. Go me.

The book starts with the main character fleeing her life after the death of her husband, who had fallen down the stairs. Normally, contacting authories is the correct reaction, but Tanya Dubois has a past that she doesn't want investigated, so instead of the "correct" reaction, she runs.

She adopts new identities in an attempt to establish a new life, but continues to be on the run from town to town. She eventually moves towards confronting the dark secret of her past, learning more than a few things along the way, with a satisfying resolution at the end.

The story cuts off at an interesting place, the part where things could start to become boring, so we have a "she lived happily ever after," but I'm uncertain that one could switch from looking over one's shoulder for ten years to settling down. I guess it could happen.

The book was interesting, but I don't know that I'd recommend it. I might have to start a new rating scale: Don't read, get from library, borrow from friend, buy a copy, buy two copies, one to lend.

Something like that.

Looking for Alaska

Book Notes

I swear, all of the books I have been reading lately are from Mom's pile. It might begin to frustrate me if my pile of books doesn't start reducing in size, too. Something about the growing stacks, from two to three, is starting to bug me.

Also bugging me about this book is the setup. We have a geeky, six-foot kid who actively wants to go to private school because he has no friends in the public school he attends, who meets the most amazingly beautiful girl in the school, who we later learn is also attracted to him, and we are supposed to believe this setup?

If a six foot kid isn't immediately recruited to the basketball team, even in a private school, something is wrong. But the most unbelievable part is having the most attractive girl in the school being attracted to the book's protagonist who has exactly no friends in his previous school. Having no friends? No girls attracted to him, throwing themselves at him, wanting to date him? That's a hard suspension of disbelief to have. Just saying.

The book countdowns to the major event in the book, then counts up from said major event. It does that well for structure, but fails to convey the overwhelming heartbreak that is involved in said event. Not sure how else to explain how the second part felt superficial.

It's a good story, so for that reason I'd likely hand the book to a friend, though I wouldn't be worried about asking for the book back, or buying a second copy so that I had a version to loan. My copy will likely go into the Little Lending Library out front.

Dissolution

Book Notes

Why I have this book, I have no idea. Okay, I have maybe some idea, but said idea involves Mom's pile of books and my misguided attempt at reading books outside of my usual genre of science fiction / fantasy. That, and the fact that this is book one of a series, what could go wrong?

Well, nothing went wrong, per se, with this book. It's about a hunchback (read: outcast, cerebral, loner, rational) detective, Matthew Shardlake, from the mid-1500s who solves mysteries for Cromwell of Henry VIIIth fame. While part of me is thinking, "Huh, right, of course Cromwell was a man, and a man of power, and as a man of power, he did deals," the rest of me is wondering, "Eh? This is an odd setting for a mystery."

Which is also to say, I'm not a fan of this book, but not because the writing was bad (it wasn't, it was good), and not because the mystery wasn't convincing (it was convincing), and not because the world wasn't built up well (it was built up well, with the reader stepping into the hunchback's world midtale, and, nicely, without beleaguered explanations), but because this really isn't my style of book.

I'm not a fan of mid-millenium England or Victorian England or all of those older Englands. So, a mystery set in England during the Reformation where people of power all scramble for more power at the cost of the masses, yeah, just doesn't do it for me.

If, however, you do like mysteries set in Old England, have at it. This book is a quick read, and there are two more Shardlake mysteries.

Vital Abyss

Book Notes

Okay, when do I ever start a review without an "okay?" The answer is, "Never," though usually I delete the "Okay," before a actually post the review.

Speaking of review introductions, man, am I starting to dislike reviews and tutorials and articles that have 50% "why I'm writing this" and like 30% actual meat of the story, and 20% wrap up. Kinda like these two paragraphs so far.

I am really liking the Expanse backstories that I've been reading. They fill in the gaps where events, movtivations, and circumstances are just assumed (rightly so), in the plot the reader follows in the main books. Just as with the Churn where we learn of Amos' backstory, and Gods of Risk where we see more of Bobbie, and The Butcher of Anderson Station where we understand the conversion of Fred Johnson, this book provides the backstory to the scientists doing the research into the protomolecule. It also explains some of the questions about just how people can do experiments on a population in the millions and not question the morality of such an action.

Fans of the Expanse should, of course, read this book, too. I wish the four shorter books were combined into one book, but, hey, more money as four smaller books than a compendium.

I kinda wonder if I should include plot lines so that I remember these books I'm reading. See? That was the lingering, unrelated 20% conclusion in this review.

Butcher of Anderson Station

Book Notes

Okay, those readers who have read even the first book of the Expanse series we know who Fred Johnson is. He plays a pivotal role in the Outer Planets Alliance's political pull, he thinks outside the realm of normals when dealing with possibilities in warfare, in politics, in words. He was one of the top military men of Earth.

And then he wasn't.

While a man can look at his actions, see what he has done, and learn what he was led to do by circumstance or by deceit, he can't always choose the direction he needs to go for redemption.

The missing piece to Johnson's story that starts in the Expanse is shown in this book, for which I am thankful. The television series' explanation was, well, shallow and unsatisfying. This book's revelation was right.

If you're a fan of The Expanse, yep, read this book. If you aren't yet, start with Leviathan Wakes.

Morning Star

Book Notes

Okay.

Okay.

Okay, wow.

Yes, this book is as great as the first two Red Rising books. The bummer part of the book is that IT IS THE END OF THE SERIES. GDI!

Morning Star continues Darrow's story, but this time, instead of being alone, he has friends. And oh boy does he tell about how much he has friends, about how his friends changed him, how they kept him sane, about how, no, he's not using his friends, they are making him a better person. The thing about that is that you have to choose your friends well if your friends are going to change you, give you support, make you a better person. Darrow (Brown) ignores this particular detail, as he chose honorable do-the-right-thing people to be his friends (even in the end), but it's still a bit of a "Huh" kind of message after I let the story sit a bit.

That all said, loved the book. I recommend these books, the entire series is great. I'm still amused with myself for not immediately devouring the books. I would have to say that I wasn't in the place to hear the message, maybe?

Action packed, lots of fun, and wow, didn't see that twist coming.

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