July BotM Review Roundup!

In July we read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Read on to see what our members thought of the books!

Sci Fi

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

On the whole this book was really enjoyed by the members who read it! Ratings ranged between 3 to 5 stars, but from the looks of it there were more 5 star reviews than the lower ones.

There was acknowledgement that the book character driven and about them and their relationships rather than being particularly plot heavy. A lot of people enjoyed this, and also enjoyed the way Chambers tackled issues like sexuality, gender, and race in the book.

As far as characters go, there was a lot of love for Sissix and the Aandresk species in general, whilst Kizzy really seemed to split people’s opinions. There was also a lot of discussion about the morality and ethics of some of the characters actions in the book.

Here is member Lel’s review:

★★★★★ 5/5

Wow!

It is been a little while since I have read a book that got me so angry that I had to stop reading to go to work, or sleep or even eat. This book was amazing!

The book is centred around the crew of a ship that bores holes through space (very dangerous) to make ‘tunnels’ that other ships can fly through in seconds and travel across the galaxy. The crew is a mix of human and alien but all with a deep felt love of each other and a great group dynamic. This book is definitely character driven rather than action based. To be honest not much action really occurs that you would expect with the dangers faced. But all the drama and draw of the book is about the wonderful characters on the ship.

I hate to compare it to Firefly as I feel a lot of fantasy/sci fi books are being compared to that brilliant show but this book had all the traits that I loved from that series without being a carbon copy. There were some hilarious moments (mainly with Kizzy), some heart wrenching sobbing moments and some moments where you just want to shout out loud at the book in frustration and annoyance when something upsets one of the characters you love.

I would recommend this to anyone and everyone!

You can find Lel’s original review over on GoodReads.

Fantasy

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined.

There were some really mixed reviews of this book! Most people gave it between 3 and 4 stars, though there were some pretty bitter 1 stars in there. Most of the criticism seems to be around the juvenile style of the book, and most found it difficult to like the protagonist, which effected their enjoyment of the story. There was also a mixed view of whether the similarities/references to other fantasy books was a good thing or bad thing. A few reviewers who have read more of the series have said that it is worth persevering through the first book as it gets better.

Here is member Ryan’s review:

★★★☆☆ 3/5

The Good:
The Magicians is well written. It’s very moody, becoming increasingly dark, so the genuinely funny moments are a frequent relief. The characters are outstanding (view spoiler).

The Bad:
The protagonist, though fully three dimensional and ‘realistic’ for a college age wizard, is far from heroic. For this reason I found him unsympathetic, however I understand that’s just a matter of taste. Ultimately though, the characteris the story of this book, and so the plot itself ends up disjointed.

‘Friends’ character the protagonist is most like:
Quentin is certainly more of a protagonist than Ross Geller but it’s still the best comparison. He’s smart, fragile, privileged, and he’s from Long Island.

You can find Ryan’s original review over on GoodReads


So that’s the general view of our books for July! We hope you enjoyed them if you read along with us. If you haven’t already, let us know what you thought.

The picks for August’s BotM’s are The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan, we hope you’ll read along and join in on the discussions over on GoodReads.

Happy reading Jetpackers!

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