Alright, I finally have my thoughts on the novels up for consideration in some sort of order:
Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie
This was the only book, out of all five up for the novel Hugo, that I felt deserved to be up for nomination, and it was gorgeous. Ann Leckie, I have no idea how you mind could keep that all straight to create it, but kudos. It was flawlessly executed. Its a complex novel with chapters that alternate between a past time line and the current, with a main character who is both a singular part of a ‘hive’ identity, and the overarching whole. Its fascinating and explores the concept of ‘self’ quite beautifully. Its trippy, trying to keep track of things at times, but Leckie accomplished it with very little fuss. Definitely my vote for first.
Neptune’s Brood – Charles Stross
This one had real promise, just like some of the others. But, again, the author failed to deliver. This time it wasn’t a lack of movement, or disinterest, or poor handling of tropes. Nope, this one failed in that trap that a lot of speculative writers fall into: too much world building. The first couple pages are so concerned with making full use of the terminology of their extensive banking system knowledge that I had to read through it four times just to figure out what the plot was about. And it turns out, this whole construction is really not necessary for understanding anything so far. I’m halfway. I don’t think I’ll read anymore because the entire book is like this. I just feel like I’m being pounded over the head with world building again and again, and I just want to yell, “We get it! Your world is wicked different, shut up already and tell the story!” Don’t get me wrong, all the various things he’s built are pretty cool, but most of the time, all the details he layers in are completely unnecessary to the scene/plot and he just needs to calm down. I might give it a shot again after I cool down from being so frustrated with it, but then again, I might not. I’ve got better things to read.
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles – Larry Correia
This book was a total meh for me. So meh that every time I put it down, I couldn’t remember what had been happening when I next went to pick it up. I’ll probably just leave the area for this one blank on the voters form so people who actually have an opinion about it can weigh in.
The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
I’d never been a big fan of the series, and this is just a compilation of all the novels up for the Hugo. I’m going to vote No Award because I just don’t feel its worthy of it. Plus I think its being sneaky about getting around the publication rules.
Parasite – Mira Grant
No award. NO AWARD. Oh god this was such a…okay, I’m going to try not to give you too many spoilers in my rant about this book. <rant> This book had SO MUCH POTENTIAL. Its an interesting twist on the zombie thriller type story, with a potentially fascinating main character. But, here’s the trouble. You know the rule of chekov’s gun? Well, anybody but the least intelligent readers ever have figured out by approximately 50 pages in that there are four great big f**king Uzis hanging over the fireplace of this story…and then they don’t go off until way late in the story. And in the meantime, this potentially fascinating character sits around twiddling her thumbs and being pathetic and letting things happen to her (she never takes agency in the whole frickign novel), passes out several times, screams a lot, and then at the end of the book FINALLY FIGURES SHIT OUT and sequel set up! That’s it. I wanted to scream and shake the author. Or the editor. If this book even had an editor. There is so much talking in circles and unnecessary interaction/set-up/exposition/dialogue that should have been cut way the hell out, and the character needed to take her life into her own hands and actually DO something about the impending apocalypse. But no. She’s either too dumb or too lazy, but I’m leaning towards dumb. Seriously, all of the signs were there from the VERY BEGINNING and it took her 500 pages…I can’t say this enough NO AWARD. </rant>
I’ve got some other categories to go through, and I’ll have more thoughts next week!