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Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
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Revenger (2016)

by Alastair Reynolds

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Adventure, treasure hunting, and revenge in space. A sci-fi Pirates of the Caribbean, starring a teenage girl. A quick, exciting, and satisfying read was a bit of a departure from the hard sci-fi we’ve come to love from Reynolds. 3.5 stars, rounded up.

The good:

- I loved the setting: a lived in universe, filled with a civilization that constantly collapses and rebuilds. Everyone is a scavenger: it’s not even clear if the “current” civilization can even build computers (everything is handwritten!). I’m hoping Reynolds spends some more time in this universe – a more traditional Reynolds book, filled with hard science, grand scale, and intrigue, would work well here.

- Pacing: never a dull moment.

- The treasure hunts: I would read an entire book about people racing against time to find discarded technological artifacts in an abandon city of a bygone civilization. Kind of niche, but I’d love it.

Some criticisms:

- Wooden Characters: Reynolds is getting closer, but still not there. I’m not sure the perspective of a teenage girl was the best for Reynolds to adapt. Many of the supporting characters were your typical “motley crew” stereotypes

- Not enough hard science: Narratively, it makes sense that a non-technological teenager would not spend much time of the sciencey-stuff, but I have no idea why Reynolds would shoot himself in the foot like this.

Common, but unfair criticisms:
- “Reynolds got paid 10 Billion Dollarz over 10 years for writing books!!! Wut a sellout!?! (gif) (meme) (meme) (one star) (did not finish the book).”

First of all, children, [1] cool it with the media. If I wanted to scroll through 20 pages of shitty memes, I’d be wasting my lunch break on Reddit, not Goodreads.[1]

Second, are you implying the unthinkable, that authors get paid for their work? And, gasp, that more popular ones get paid more? Have you considered the possibility that some small financial security allows the author to take risks and depart from her typical formula? I think this book is a perfect example of this: Reynolds tries something faster paced, from a new perspective. Its not perfect, but nor is it more of the same.

[1] I wanted to quote this picture, but I know better than to make what might be interpreted as sexist remarks about the popular kids on Goodreads. ( )
  dwkenefick | Apr 20, 2017 |
Steampunk Riff SF: "Revenger" by Alastair Reynolds I've literally just finished the book and put it down, and I'm still reeling. Two sisters go on a space quest; get separated in an atrocious event; and then one of them seeks the other as well as revenge for the said appalling event. Sound familiar? I'm just out of the latest Reynolds after the wonderful short story collection, and this latest installment confirms it once again. Reynolds should only write short fiction...In the middle of the book I couldn't give a dam about the demise of these ridiculous characters. Why would anyone one want to support something that is completely self-absorbed and inane alive just to balance gender in the publishing industry? Please. Some real intelligence here if at all possible. Nowadays we're starting to have lots of female dominated YA SF novels. No problem with that, just to compensate for the misogyny of the 40s and 50s. What I've got a problem with is when the novels are riddled with the same idiotic characters as their male counterpart novels....
 
If you're into SF, you can read the rest of this review on my blog.
 
SF = Speculative Fiction.
  ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
Great book. What seems to be another piece of Firefly homage turns out to be a ripper piece of space opera. Adrana and Arafura are two young girls who run away from their cosseted life and overbearing father to join the Monetta's Mourn, which travels the space surrounding the Congregation, a collection of 50 million artificial worlds huddling against the darkness between the galaxies, in search of baubles, relic planets left by ancient civilizations which contain caches of advanced technology. The girls become bone readers, able to tap into the psychic emanations emitted by a long-dead alien skull to communicate across vast distance and spy on other ships who are also hunting the most valuable baubles. Howver, any thought that this is just another comfortable Firefly clone - rackety old ship, crusty but lovable captain, crew of misfits - is turned on its head when within the first 100 pages most of the crew are slaughtered and the ship destroyed by a vicious pirate. Adrana is captured by the evil Bosa Sennen, and Fura is left to foment a plan to recover her sister and put an end to Bosa's reign of terror forever. Great writing, really rips along, strong characters, and solid creation of a believable universe. This takes Firefly homage space opera to new levels, I can't wait for the sequel ( )
  drmaf | Oct 16, 2016 |
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