Guardian by Jack Campbell marks the first of the Lost Fleet books that I’ve read in print (the rest I’ve listened to on audio) and it was an interesting experience. Insofar as I could tell the digital galley sent to me by the publisher was a pdf or at least a very very poorly formatted mobi file. This is a fact that is inconsequential as far as the novel’s content goes but certainly makes a big difference in my enjoyment of the reading experience. The formatting wasn’t too horrible however and I speed through the novel at lightning speed. Audiobooks have the benefit of control the rate at which I consume (assuming I don’t want to increase the playback speed) fiction, however they also have the benefit of allowing me to enjoy a book a can’t put down while actually doing other things. Reading Guardian in print definitely saw my attention to other responsibilities greatly lessened as I wanted to know what was going to happen next with an almost feverish desire.
Austin Grossman’s You has drawn some comparisons to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One from many venues but is a very different beast in many respects. While both lean on the nostalgia factor of readers You trades the frenetic action and bright palate for a more subdued story that occasionally stumbles but manages on the whole to be an engaging and entertaining read. Where Ready Player One is an open love letter to the 80s, You is a paen to a lost age an exploration on how the heart of an industry has changed over the long years.
I don’t understand Brandon Sanderson. Seriously. Most fantasy authors are lucky if they come up with one new fascinating and intricate fantasy setting. Most fantasy authors are lucky to come up with a single complex magic system (or unlucky depending on your view). Except Brandon Sanderson isn’t most fantasy authors. It seems likely that he has somehow tapped into some mystical wellfont of fantasy ideas. Of course that doesn’t even mention the fact that he seems to produce material at a seemingly inhuman rate. Since Elantris‘ release in 2005 (and up to and including The Rithmatist) Sanderson has released somewhere around 16 novels (and at least 2 novellas), 3 of which completed Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time (he has at least one more novel due this year, Steelheart in September). A Feast For Crows was published in 2005 so in that same time period George R. R. Martin has released one book: A Dance with Dragons. I’m not sure it’s a fair comparison but it’s still impressive to say the least.
Tarnished Knight marks the first book outside of Jack Campbell’s two Lost Fleet series. Part of a new subseries entitled The Lost Stars, The Tarnished Knight, is Campbells first work to feature protagonists not from the Alliance worlds. Picking just before the Alliance fleet arrives in the Midway star system (I believe it was in Dreadnaught) this novel features two former Syndicate CEOs Artur Drakon, and Gwen Iceni. The two CEOs, having formed a tenuous alliance, have hatched a plan to overthrow the Syndicate security forces in their system and take control of Midway. Assuming you’ve read Dreadnaught you know that their initial coup succeeds but Tarnished Knight delves deeper into the shaky alliance between these two individuals and the actions they had to take to ensure the safety of the people of Midway and the strength of their own positions.