Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Review:Molly Fyde and the Blood of Billions(The Bern Saga Book 3) by Hugh Howey
When I choose a book I don't choose by cover- although the covers sometimes are pretty to the eye. I rarely choose by the blurb or any small amount torn out for advertisement purposes. I chose often by reading whatever samples I can get. Usually while in a book store I can get as many pages in as I have time to loiter. On line I can get what they offer. I detest when they drop pages from that sample-I've no idea what that accomplishes. That's equivalent to scanning the book, so whatever first pages they give me are all I take and I stop at the first break. Thankfully this book offered a fair amount of contiguous storyline.
I've lately gotten into reading the reviews first- particularly the low star ones. Those are generally short and never sweet and sometimes I get a good laugh. On occasion they do make me pause and with this book there were two items that stood out. One was that there was a lot of gratuitous violence. The other is that it seemed like a different writer wrote this book.
If the first two books had not been so flaming good I might have paused before spending more hard earned money for the last two. But, through reading the sample I was at least assured that it had to have been the same author.(Not that I had that much doubt.) That's all the assurance I needed. The problem with a majority of the objections to there being too much gratuitous violence was that it was preceded by or followed by the line 'I scanned through those sections'.
When an author puts overt violence into the story it takes most people from their comfort zone and I can understand that much. The biggest difficulty in edging comfort zones is that this practice lends itself to scanning. Scanning ruins a book. Whether you are bored or upset or maybe even lost, scanning opens the door for the next comment: The flow of the book was all over the place and hard to follow. Well, yeah, you've been scanning again. If you scan and don't correct the problem you will likely have trouble following the plot. I'll touch on the gratuitous violence later.
This book is by far the hardest to read of the three. There are those scenes which might jar some or even all. And there is a lot of Speculative Science in here pertaining to the beginning and the end of the universe, not to mention the shape and other characteristics. There are a huge number of stumbling blocks for any and all readers. One of my meters as to rough content is, if it gets bad enough that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth I won't finish it.
And if it gets on a bit much expository with the geeky science stuff I'll know when I reach the end of the page and look at the last sentence with no recall of what is on the rest of the page. (Then I have to go back and actually read it.)
With The Blood of Billions I'm happy to say that neither of those happened. There were moments when I began to wonder while in hyperspace, if this might be gratuitous violence. Gore for the sake of shock value. After having read the first two novels I was willing to forge ahead and give Hugh reasonable doubt. I was not disappointed.
Molly Fyde is, in my opinion, a familiar yet unique character. She's familiar in that she is strong willed and independent and sometimes focused while living a world that has suppressed her to perhaps a 70's or 80's woman. A woman who wants her independence but wants that man to lean on. That man is Cole but in this story Cole is way off the map clear into hyperspace, in fact, and basically lost. The good news is he's in the same place that Molly's father is and so there's a chance for him to meet her dad.
Edison and Anlyn are on a mission for the Drenard that takes them to the rift where they defend against the Bern incursion. Things are not going well and soon they will find themselves on the other side of the rift trying to act as ambassadors while the rest of the Drenards have begun an invasion of human space. It may prove that the Bern are a bit absent also.
Molly has returned to her home world, the world of her birth and like many of the backwater planets in these stories this is out the back and yonder somewhere. Molly is Molly and we've already established that she's her own worst enemy. (Sometimes Molly's actions are just downright frustrating.)Thankfully she has her mother the ship and Walter to look after her. But, this is voting time Lok and the pollsters are about to bleed Molly dry. Walter seems to be less help to her than the Wadi that she's befriended. And she's naively walking into danger once again. Although she knows this she doesn't seem to be able to control herself.
Also it may be that Walter is the reason that Cole is way off into Hyperspace.
Molly's only regret, sometimes, seems to be that she doesn't have Cole to lean on while she endangers herself and everyone around her.
She is getting better though. And as usual she seems to always come up with a plan that in the end saves more lives than not.
There are some rough spots and so there should be caution about reading this novel. The first is in Hyperspace with Cole and his friend Riggs. There are some bad graphic scenes, but I think these were meant to affect Coles character in a specific way and it also leads to some awesome upgrades for Cole. These upgrades remind me of the last few steam-punk novels I've read. Unfortunately dismemberment is involved in qualifying for these upgrades. Cole also gets to be elevated to a high position of importance as a character in this novel. Whether that will hold true we shall see, but it seems more likely as certain sights of the seer prove out.
Every time I think I know where this story is headed I get derailed.
There are some grisly things ahead for Molly-perhaps its to cure her of her Molly-anna attitude. Mild optimism peppered in moments of uncertainty punctuated by careless moments of walking into trouble.
And there is the crash of many star-ships onto a planet and the description of the rescue mission. All of which entail most of the violence and gore in the story. I think that they are all well intended have a purpose and are also well paced so they are not stacked one on the other. Unless one starts skimming and then the lines start to blur and it could seem like there's a book full of gore.
Not for the faint of heart this SF Military Speculative Universe is great for those who like the SF-Military Political novels. Scan this novel at your own risk.
Speed reading is fine though. I don't do speed read that well so it takes me a bit longer to read this type of novel. All told it is well worth reading.