Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two for One - Weeks & Baker Reviewed

It’s Two-for-Tuesday here at the o’Stuff! I had a bit of a backlog so I figured I’d post up two reviews this week: Brent Weeks’s Beyond the Shadows, the finale of his Night Angel Trilogy and The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker.

I liked the first two books in Weeks’s trilogy and was pleased with how he concluded it:

The revelation at the end of Shadow’s Edge was initially very surprising, but as it settled into how the story played out, it felt logical and perhaps could have been choreographed when put in relation to the story and the genre itself. That said, the effects of that revelation are played out to good effect throughout the majority of Beyond the Shadows. Weeks brought many of the dangling plot-threads together in this volume in a relatively satisfying manner.

The storyline is definitely wrapped up but Weeks has built a foundation for many stories within the pages of these three books. Whether they feature Kylar or some of the descendants of other characters like Logan and Solon, he’s got ample room to return and he will be doing that in the future as he’s signed to write some more books for Orbit.

On the other hand, sometimes a writer who a good number of people like just doesn’t connect with me and unfortunately that’s the case with Kage Baker’s SF. I like her short fiction, but I didn’t click with this one:
Mars is one of the most iconic and revisited settings in all of science fiction, both as a place of past alien civilizations and future colonization for futuristic frontier stories. In The Empress of Mars, Baker takes that second route as Mars is still an open planet ripe for pioneers to settle. Overseeing the colonization efforts is a very looming authority: the British Aerean Company (BAC). Unfortunately, the success the BAC had in colonizing the Moon didn’t turn out so well on Mars leaving the populace on the fringes and quite that evoked the Dustbowl situation in the American West in the 1930s.

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