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Sevenish Books - Qualified Perceptions
Sevenish Books
The Long Run (by Daniel Keys Moran)
mjperson told me to read this so I would review it. Not that he really needs a review; he's read the book a hundred times. But then, after I see a movie, I go and read up on it at IMDB; after I watch a TV show, I read what televisionwithoutpity has to say about it. Just one take on a particular piece of media isn't as interesting as many. I don't have to agree with everyone else's opinion - I don't find Studio 60 quite as misogynistic as the twop reviewer does, and I think the Jagrafex on the ceiling is silly; just being a monster with big teeth doesn't actually let you reshape a culture - but in many ways it's easier for me to understand what I think by seeing where it's in contrast with someone else's opinion. Or, as the Jagrafex essay claims, "the quality of the entertainment is always directly dependent on the quality of the viewer, how much you are willing to risk in engagement." desireearmfeldt does this with conversations; reading up later is more like a solitaire version of the same; and like solitaire it's probably less rewarding than an actual multi-person game, but it doesn't require a book club for everyone to have read it at once. This concludes the Adapatation version of my book review of the Long Run.

The Long Run (by Daniel Keys Moran)
Okay, okay. I did actually like it quite a lot, though probably not up to the level of "best book ever!" that I was promised. The arc is definitely a roller coaster - there's a long slow ascent, and then the actual "long run" starts, and speed picks up through all the zooshings of the plot, until there's something of an abrupt stop at the end. The running is very nice. Trent has a good combination of understandable tech and social engineering, though occasionally his plans are more aesthetic than practical. He has the author helping him, though, so going the extra yard for the aesthetic makes for a better read. (But the preference for the aesthetic does mean that while we do find out who gave the original "warning", there's never a good explanation for why the warning was given in so convoluted a fashion, other than it made for a cool plot twist to start off with.) Moran does have a nice knack for chapter-end lines, too. There are a couple of other minor quibbles I have (it doesn't seem plausible to me to have a Famous Hacker without knowing what his net avatar is, and as good a social engineer as Trent is really shouldn't make the mistakes he does while first meeting Melissa), but all in all it's a lot of fun and a solid four stars.

The Last Dancer (by Daniel Keys Moran)
Also part of the mjperson literature series. I didn't like this one as much as Long Run; individual action scenes were good, but the overall plot was too large and sprawly for me to get hooked by. Exactly who was on what side and whether they were really there or just pretending was a lot of the point, but most of the characters weren't sympathetic enough for me to care about them. And "dancer" is way too overloaded, even if you assume that all the modern uses come from the ancient-times usages. Three stars.
the Repairman Jack series (by F. Paul Wilson)
This could be seriously interesting, though I seem to have accidentally started with Book One and Book Seven. This was a mistake, as he develops arc plot between the two. The shtick is good (a guy who "fixes" problems - as mjperson described it, "like the A team but without the construction montage"). The genre is weird-shit-impinges-on-modern, but with a horror spin (it's mostly the Bad Things that have the weird shit, though Book Two is entirely non-weird). I think the main character is more amoral than the author does (if you're going to do something akin to planning to push someone in front of a train, it's not sufficient for the victim to Really Deserve It; the train driver doesn't deserve it.) But then, the character himself doesn't really claim to be moral, so it doesn't irk me that much. The little kid is well written. And (it being a horrorish genre) he's not afraid to kill people off. A high three and a half, but I'm going to try and track down more of the series.
Buried Deep and Paloma (by Kristine Katheryn Rusch)
Two more in the Retrieval Artist series. Buried Deep has some pretty good alien psych, and excitement. The books have mostly stopped paying much attention to Flint, the nominal main character, the actual Retrieval Artist (but it's a very narrow job description, so hard to work it in to all that much) and focus on DeRicci, the cop. This makes sense for Buried Deep, but Paloma is all about Flint's mentor, so having more Flint would make sense. On the other hand, really not very much happens in Paloma, the bits with Flint in them turn him into something of a whiner, and it ends rather lacklusterly. I've appreciated the aliens and the crazy legalisms, but I think I'm probably done following this series. Three and a half stars for Buried Deep, two stars for Paloma.
First Wife, Twice Removed by Clare Kurzon
I mention this one only for completeness; it's unusual, in that it's the domestic-style murder genre, but instead of a main character, it's an ensemble cast. As such, I might have been better off starting with the first one; too many characters are assumed rather than introduced, so I never grew very fond of any of them. But it's hard to fault them for me starting in the wrong place. Points for an unusual twist to the genre, but loss of points for not really making me care very much about the characters. Two and three quarters stars.

The Confidence Game by Michelle M. Welch
The cover of this book looks misleadingly like the cover of the Kushiel books (except no tatoo), so I had high hopes.
But... it's just muddled and boring. I was nearly ready to give up by page 100, when things briefly came alive for an internal narration of "playing" someone (how to string them along and make them trust you), but that only lasted a few pages. I gave up by about page 200. The setting is inexplicably oppressive. The romance is inexplicably terse (I think he's in love with her after having met her for about five minutes, but there's no mention of his finding her pretty or interesting or any other sort of attractive, other than being female.) And the writing is... insufficiently ruthlessly copy edited. "She sat at his table[,] drinking the water he offered her deeply." The voice shifts between first person and second person omniscient in a way that bugged me a lot more than I think it should have. One and a half stars, and this one has already been sent off to paperbackswap.


10 comments or Leave a comment
From: desireearmfeldt Date: March 16th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
So... What's The Long Run about? :)

(And, can I be in line to borrow the Otori books, which were in a previous review? :) )
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 16th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
So... What's The Long Run about? :)

Trent the Thief is running from the Peaceforcers. The Peaceforcers are chasing him. The good part of the book is basically just a complicated, clever chase sequence.

Sure, I'll put the Otori books in the Pile of Stuff for you. :)
From: desireearmfeldt Date: March 16th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
twe From: twe Date: March 16th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Daniel Keys Moran

Okay, granted I have never actually read The Long Run and The Last Dancer, but I am surprised to learn that you have not. I seem to recall that the blurb on the back of the former reads like a synopsis of treptoplax's DI run. (You know, that slightly before my time, every Friday night run that still had tirinian wearing white on Fridays years after it ended.

I feel like I heard lots from our friends about how great the series was. I read Emerald Eyes first though and found it disappointing and so never bothered with the others. I think I gave my copy of The Long run to treptoplax because he liked it so much and I gather they are hard to come by.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 16th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Daniel Keys Moran

The biggest reason that I started writing these reviews is that I don't remember the books I read very well. :) I think I did read most of his books, from the MITSFS, but long enough ago that I had forgotten most everything about them.
crs From: crs Date: March 16th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
And he didn't have you read Emerald Eyes?
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 16th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's next. :)
ricedog From: ricedog Date: March 16th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I made the mistake of reading The Long Run first, and winding up incredibly disappointed with Emerald Eyes. I also really liked The Armageddon Blues, which might be part of the same series, depending on whether you believe the author. :)
jencallisto From: jencallisto Date: March 16th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's been a long time since I read the Daniel Keys Moran series, but from what I seem to remember, The Last Dancer is going to lose some of its epic plot effectiveness if you haven't read Emerald Eyes first... The Long Run is by far the best standalone novel -- it's probably the only one I'd re-read by itself (interesting, given that it's the middle book in a series) -- but the series is pretty good as a trilogy too, with The Long Run being a nice rompy break in the epic while still maintaining relevance.
From: desireearmfeldt Date: March 16th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anything named "First Wife Twice Removed" *ought* to be good... (And makes me think of the current Auria goings-on.) :)
10 comments or Leave a comment