June 15, 2012

Review - Prologue - Greg Ahlgren

Hello you all!

I bring you today a book called Prologue, which falls perfectly into two of my favorite genres - History and Sci fi.
Greg Ahlgren brings us a world where the Soviet Union has won the Cold War (which wasn't so cold after all) and the United States is now part of it. Actually, half the world is Communist.
Our heroes, Paul DeVere and former Special Operations Officer Lewis Ginter have discovered a way of working with wormholes and going back in time. With that, they develop a plan to go to the past and change the course of history. But the soviets are on to them, Igor Rostov and Natasha Nikitin are watching them to find out what they are doing and how can they stop them.

I absolutely loved the story. Sci fi and history mixed up, both genres get this girl moving and in love.

We also have Amanda, to complicate the story, who is Paul's ex-girlfriend from years ago, who was shipped to the most soviet part of the soviet countries to study and be taught just how to be a good comrade.

The questions asked are important: if we change the future, what happens to us and the ones we love? Why are some people supporting the soviet system if even them are crazy to go to the not-so-soviet parts of the USA? And could that really have happened?

I think Greg has painted a very well done picture, considering several alternatives, several pieces, that put together avoided the advance of communism, but if apart, might have let open the frontiers.

The explanation to how the USA becomes part of the soviet union is perfect and it makes sense - conquer and fear, so instead of a cold war, we get a war war, and a dirty one at it.

Our characters here have fears and ambitions, they want revenge, love, friendship and are suspicious of each other, they are real people. They choose their paths, not always the best one, not always the right one, not always the easy one either, but they choose and work the best they can.

I think one of the most interesting things, aside form the human drama that surprises us around the end of the book and is, because of that, a spoiler, it's how we can see that changing the past isn't so easy. Who would believe you? How can you choose one moment, one definite point of time that can be changed and that will result on whatever you want? Are there such things?

I mean, if you wanted to change the world today, what would you do? When would you go back and what would you do there? And how?!
You can't talk people out of what they wanted, how would you prove you are from the future? Wouldn't they just lock you up? Because if someone came to me today saying they were from the future, I very much doubt they'd stay out of the mental institution...

Either way, I don't want to tell much about the story, because I don't want to spoil it. Parts of it I thought a bit predictable, like what they were going to do to change history, but a major part I could not discover before it was happening and, I must say, the signs were there, but so well placed that I couldn't see - that's a major thing to say.

Recommended to: Sci fi fans, history fans and everyone who likes a good "what if".

Available at Amazon Kindle or Nook, Amazon paperback.

June 01, 2012

Review: Heartless - Gail Carriger

Hello there.

Heartless was called, by some, a passage novel. That it was there to fill the blank between Blameless and Timeless. I agree partially.

From here on, there will be spoilers of Soulless, Changeless and Blameless. Be warned!

So, after our beloved Alexia manages to get back with her Lord Maccon, they go back to England, she gets her position back and they end up with still more problems, of course.

Because the vampires that wanted her dead on the previous book, well, they still do. And they send undead porcupines to do the trick of luring her husband out while some vampire finishes her off. I mean, really, undead porcupines? How cool is that?

Either way, Professor Lyall, the genious on the bunch, finds a solution - one that Alexia doesn't exactly love, that Lord Maccon doesn't like at all, but that will have to do. Alexia and Conall's baby will have to be adopted out. The vampires are worried that such a powerful and important being will be dangerous if raised by werewolves. So the Woolsey Pack Beta believes that it can be countered if a vampire adopts the child - and who better than Lord Akeldama to do it? Trustworthy and not tied to any hive, a friend of the family and always well informed, with an army of dandy drones, he'll be perfect to raise the baby in all the niceties of England's society.

Of course, Lady and Lord Maccon want to keep up with the baby so they rent the house next door and end up living on Lord Akeldama's second best closet. Secretly, of course.

Biffy, who is now a werewolf, because of the "accidents" of the previous book is having a hard time to adapt, so he's taken to the city along with Lady Maccon, Floote and some others, so to make everyone more comfortable.

At the same time, we have Alexia's sister Felicity joining the sufragette movement (le gasp!) and showing up to live with Alexia, since she's been kicked out, aparently.

Madame Lefoux is a rare show on this book, but she has a great part and a great reason to be away. We find more about Professor Lyall's past and it's simply heartbreaking, we find out more about the Woolsey Pack's past, how was the previous Alpha, we find out more about the treason that made Maccon leave -specially since Alexia decides it is important for a current problem and she must find out. We also find out more about Madame Lefoux and Former Lefoux, Genevieve's late aunt and a thing or two about ghosts, who seem to form some sort of... Whispernet... To talk to people who are away from where they are thetered.

Back to my first statement, this book does feel like an in between thing - it's there to show Alexia pregnant and to hold space for Timeless - but, at the same time, it's got a decent story in it and it explains so much about the past that I just loved to hear, specially Lyall's story and a lot of Lord Akeldama.

There're the food talks, the dress and hat talks, the setting of the real Parasol Protectorate - finally! - where Ivy Tunstell is nominated a member of a secret society and reveals herself to be not as shallow and silly as we first thought.

There is that one moment where you are screaming at the book "don't do that you fool, don't you know vampires??" but then again, you must forgive Alexia, she's enormous, she's in pain and she's trying to help while her husband and the whole pack is, well, locked up.

All in all, another one of Gail Carriger's masterpieces. Totally worth it, even if not her best work, simply because it leads to Timeless.

Oh, and I must say, it is NOT my favorite cover, right along with Soulless. My favorites would be Blameless and Timeless, definitely.