Two annoying DNFs, space and a mysterious shipwreck

>> Saturday, November 28, 2015

TITLE: Illuminae
AUTHOR: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

It's some 500 years in the future, and for a couple of centuries, a corporation has been secretly mining for a rare metal in a distant planet. Many thousands of people live in the settlement that has grown around these operations. And then one day ships from a rival corporation arrive, but instead of simply reporting the illegal settlement to the interplanetary authorities, they destroy it. A few thousand survivors manage to evacuate and face a long, cramped trip to safety, all the while being pursued by the evil corporation. They clearly don't want witnesses. And then things start to go wrong.

This sounded great. It's narrated through a collection of documents, from transcripts of interviews to chat logs and official and unofficial communications, which is a device which, if well done, works wonderfully for me. It didn't here. The problem was the YA-ness of it all, I'm afraid. The action focuses on two teens amongs the evacuees, Kady and Ezra, who used to be together but broke up right before the attacks. This focus means that a lot of the book is written in this really annoying snarky tone, one which feels really out of place given what's going on. Actually, it's not just Kady and Ezra. The whole thing is like that, and it just didn't feel believable. The worst were these little notes left by the supposed editors of the thing, the people who collected the material (for purposes that are not 100% clear in the sections I read). The little snarky jokes there were particularly out of place. Between that and (possibly because of it) the fact that the characters really weren't coming alive, I gave up at about 25%.


TITLE: Twelfth Sun
AUTHOR: Mae Clair

Regan Cassidy has agreed to help out her uncle by attending an auction and bidding for a volume he's been after for a while: a journal written by someone who was on a ship that was mysteriously lost at sea. She's to meet up with a professional contact of her uncle's, a marine archaeologist who's going to authenticate the journal. And it was their first meeting that put me off. Basically, Reagan is exactly the kind of heroine that really annoys me. The book opens with her mistakenly going into the wrong hotel room. She manages to come in right at the moment when the occupant (no points if you guess that it's the very marine archeologist she's meant to meet up with) is coming out of the bathroom naked. She flips. Fair enough. But then once they sort out the misunderstanding, she acts like a twit. She's all mortified and becomes really weirdly aggressive and formal with him, even in their further interactions when it becomes clear who Eli is. She treats him as if he's done something horribly wrong and offensive to her, when he did nothing of the kind (other than make some mild jokes when she was invading his room and accusing him of being a sexual predator). Seriously, woman, get over yourself.

The problem with this is that although the storyline was potentially intriguing (I loved the idea of the shipwreck and the mysterious log) and the hero seemed fine, Regan continued to be a complete ninny. I couldn't face spending more time with her, so I bailed.



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