Friday, August 29, 2008


After finishing The Cipher one week ago, I've finished 3 more books (it helps that I've had the last 3 days off from work). Here are the next books I need to review and some short impressions of them:

The Cipher by Diana Pharoah Francis (of course) - This one started off somewhat good (although never that great) but by the end, I really didn't like it very much at all. I won't be continuing with the Crosspointe series.

Archangel Protocol by Lyda Morehouse - This is the first in a series I definitely will be continuing with - a cyberpunk story about not just the tech but religion with an interesting female lead and a mystery. Any time I have tried reading cyberpunk I haven't liked it because the character and story always seemed secondary to the cyberpunk aspect of it but this one didn't have the same problems.

The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia - A lovely, well written story using the character of an intelligent automaton to explore social inequality.

Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre - I read this in one day. That is something I have not done in forever but this was very difficult to put down. I liked it better than the first book in the series, Grimspace (which I also couldn't put down). It was very fast paced with lots of adventure yet still had focus on character interaction (this one was more about friendships than the romantic relationship although there was some of that too).

Now I'd better read some longer books while I get caught up on all these...


Janet said...

I really enjoyed The Alchemy of Stone. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC (signed!) and reviewed it a while back. Sedia has such a wonderful way of expressing herself.

Kristen said...

Signed arcs are always nice, especially when they are good books like The Alchemy of Stone. It was a very lovely story and I enjoyed it as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked Archangel Protocol, rather relieved, actually, given my shameless pimping of it. I finally read Apocalypse Array, the 4th and last in the series, in full last week. (I skimmed through it when I first got into the series, just to see what happened, found one unbelievably juicy revelation, I still grin thinking of it, and was content for the time being.) That is a good test of a book's quality - after you've skimmed it or looked at the ending, is it still exciting to read it paragraph by paragraph?

I'm very impressed with Lyda Morehouse - how she kept every book in the series suspenseful, tight, brisk, and fresh by bringing different characters into the spotlight. It goes to the top of my recommendations list as an example of scifi done right - plot, writing, characterization, ideas political, social and scifi, all coming together in a highly accessible package. I just can't imagine someone *not* liking it.

(The feminist aspect, done with a featherlight hand, is only a bonus - Deidre's a great main female character, and in Fallen Host you get another main female character, and you have the gender-ambivalent Page and the cross-dressing Uriel, and references to God that alternate She/Mother with He/Father).

Alchemy of Stone was a very different book. I do admit to liking melancholic books like that; it rather reminded me of Maureen F. McHugh's novels. What spoke louder to me, though, was Mattie's relationship with her creator, maybe under the influence of several other books I read recently with female characters caught in a power struggle with their father-lover-creator figures.

Kristen said...


I have never been let down by any book you have shamelessly pimped! Once Dreamhaven Books is accepting online orders again, I intend to get the rest of the books in Lyda Morehouse's series. I really liked that Archangel Protocol had some of everything - a great plot, some action and adventure, religion and politics, and characterization. It never felt like it was about just one or two of those but tied them all together pretty well.

I loved Deidre... and Michael... and Morningstar too.

A couple of books by Maureen F. McHugh are on my wishlist. If they're similar to The Alchemy of Stone I'll definitely have to check them out. The relationship between Mattie and her creator was an interesting aspect of that book, too. There was a lot packed into that book; I'm sure I could reread it and easily find a lot more.

Mihai A. said...

I wait for a copy of "The Alchemy of Stone" too, I'm really looking forward to this read :)

Kristen said...

Dark Wolf,

I hope you enjoy The Alchemy of Stone!

Sara J. said...

I find that DPF's series tend to start well, but in her past trilogy the second and third books when in a completely different direction than the first... I've been trying not to let that cloud my judgement on this new series. I had a lot of problems with the last third of The Cipher, but I might pick up the second one from the library just because I'm still very interested in seeing where the story goes (the whole construction of the evil empire idea just bothers me on so many levels though, so it may be irreversible).

Kristen said...


The last third of The Cipher is where I had big problems with it too - the evil empire plus the ending was much too convenient. I also didn't care about what happened to any of the characters by the end of the book, either. When I started it, I was in the mood for something light so it started out well for me (although I never thought it was a fantastic book) but about 50 to 100 pages from the end I just couldn't wait to be done with it. It was the first book I read by her and maybe her other series is better, but I don't think I'll be finding out unless I ever start running out of books to read (which never seems to be a problem for me!).