Title: The Dragons of Babel
Author: Michael Swanwick
Number of pages: 320
Genre: fantasy
Book Number/Goal: 46/52
My Rating: 5/5

The life of young fey Will changes when a war dragon crashes in his village and, out of all village-folk, claims him as a lieutenant. Eventually Will is exiled. He has many unbelievable adventures and goes through many hardships before he discovers the truth.

The universe is a unique blend of magic and technology, and even our contemporary culture. The inhabitants range from familiar fantasy creatures (feys, centaurs, elves) to rare and original (haints, stickfella, Year-Eater); only humans are missing. Babel is a classic "noir" city, swamped with crime and corruption. The whole world is dark and cruel, revealed through rich details offered "as-is" without lengthy explanations. (It's the same universe as in The Iron Dragon's Daughter, but the story is less depressing, and even optimistic.) The plot twists and turns so much that it feels more like a patchwork of unrelated vignettes than a novel, but this approach worked for me.

Overall, it's weird, crazy and intense.
Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Number of pages: 352
Genre: sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 47/52
My Rating: 5/5

Ender, a 6-year-old prodigy, is sent to the Battle School for military training with other children, the Earth's last hope to withstand the expected invasion of aliens. The teachers intentionally put him under a lot of pressure and alienate him from other kids because they feel it's the best way to mold him into a brilliant commander.

It's similar to classic boarding school novels but with a radically different atmosphere, much more stressful and dystopian. The training is rigorous and exhausting; Ender is constantly pushed beyond his limits, yet he successfully handles all the obstacles and keeps improving himself. Most of the characters are 6-12 years old but they think, talk and act like mature adults; I appreciate this very much. The only indication of their age is when they themselves say "we are just kids", which invariably feels out of place. (I wonder if childhood is a cultural phenomenon, and humans indeed can mature much faster under appropriate circumstances.) There's even a couple of unexpected plot twists, and an intriguing computer game.

Captivating and highly inspiring!


a_reader_is_me: (Default)
A Reader Is Me!

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags