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Too Like the Lightning: Book One of Terra…
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Too Like the Lightning: Book One of Terra Ignota (edition 2016)

by Ada Palmer (Author)

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6262822,232 (3.78)82
Member:tamaranth
Title:Too Like the Lightning: Book One of Terra Ignota
Authors:Ada Palmer (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2016), 433 pages
Collections:Ebooks
Rating:*****
Tags:read17, fiction, femalewriter, gender, sf, C25

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Too Like the Lightning: A Novel (Terra Ignota) by Ada Palmer

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
For me, this was a five star books, plain and simple, but I *completely* understand why it would be a 0-, 1-, 2-star book for others.

It's pretentious at times. It wants you to have classical knowledge of ancient Rome and 18th century France. It plays on that knowledge, and knowledge of literature in 18th century France explicitly. At least it explains lots of the in-jokes, so it's not terribly arrogant in choosing its readership, but the pretentiousness is there. The storytelling is great, full with an apologising, opinionated actor-narrator, with intermezzi by other characters.

That said, I loved it. I loved the world, the 24th century world that consits of lots and lots of non-nation based groups (and some nation based ones), and seven major orientations everybody chooses (or becomes a blacklaw, which is fine, too): The Masons who have resurrected ancient Rome, the Humanists who have a flexible democracy, the Mitsubishi super clan who are focussed on land ownership, the Brillists who go ahead and analyse anyone and everyone, the Cousins who are something like the priests of a world that prohibits organised religion, the Europeans, based around a borderless idea of old nations, and the Utopians who are everywhere, especially in space, on the moon, and terraforming Mars.

We get a complete, complex world, with penal systems, laws, cultures, capital punishments, regular people, and … special people of all kinds. Emperors, kings, convicts, gods, …Wow.

And then it just ends in the middle of it all. *sigh* ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
This is a fascinating and demanding read. One so complex that I don't find it easy to recommend it without adding a 'but.' It's a very ambitious book with an epic scope and intriguing world building. To like this book, you (probably) must either enjoy Voltaire, the 18th century, philosophy, or all of the above. It feels, at times, like the prose and the way Ada Palmer chose to write this book is more important than the plot itself, and not everyone is willing to put in that kind of work.

It plays in a futuristic utopia, maybe dystopia, and is told from the perspective of Mycroft Canner, an unreliable and to a certain extent unlikable narrator. We find ourselves in the 25th century, but Mycroft insists on writing like he time travelled straight from the Age of Enlightenment. Ada Palmer describes this futuristic society in astonishing detail and the characters are fascinating and well developed.

This one is definitely for the ambitious science fiction fan, and I'm pretty certain it will benefit from a re-read. ( )
  Vinjii | Jun 18, 2018 |
Someone please explain this book to me. Although I finished it, the world-building is so all encompassing that the plot was impenetrable. When a world is so fully realized, the new comer, in the shape of the reader, doesn't know what details he or she should be paying attention to. Without sufficient information, I found the plot difficult to follow and the characters hard to care about. If it weren't for a handy police report near the end of the book, I still would be lost. ( )
  barlow304 | May 30, 2018 |
I got over 100 pages in and still didn't have a clue as to what was meant to be going on. The world-building was shambolic, the characterisation lacking, and the breaking-the 4th-wall asides to "dear reader" teeth-grindingly arch. Did not finish. ( )
  SChant | May 25, 2018 |
I'll bump this rating to 5 stars if the forthcoming second volume (of what is clearly one long novel) stays the course and closes out strong. This is an all-too-rare novel of BIG ideas. Palmer fleshes out a truly different type of society with incredible depth and humanity, and manages to wind through a suspenseful plot whiles she's at it. I'm truly dying to read the second part of this, because it could end up being a classic along the lines of Foundation or Dune. ( )
  Chamblyman | May 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Palmer, Adaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mosquerra, VictorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saunders, HeatherDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Ah, my poor Jacques! You are a philosopher. But don't worry: I'll protect you.

—Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the first human who thought to hollow out a log to make a boat, and his or her successors.
First words
You will criticize me, reader, for writing in a style six hundred years removed from the events I describe, but you came to me for explanation of those days of transformation which left your world the world it is, and since it was the philosophy of the Eighteenth Century, heavy with optimism and ambition, whose abrupt revival birthed the recent revolution, so it is only in the language of the Enlightenment, rich with opinion and sentiment, that those days can be described.
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"The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech... And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life..."--Book jacket.… (more)

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