Chapter 2 Books Blog
A well-written thriller. Some of the early parts of the novel seem to move rather slowly as we get a lot of the domestic lives of the characters. However, this really serves to establish the characters and set up the contrast to what happens to them later on. Some of the domestic stuff hit a little too close to home for me (Zoe is a single mom with adult children who live with her, as does her new boyfriend Simon) that it made me uncomfortable. The book is written in alternating chapters, with Zoe's in first person and present tense, while the other chapters center around policewoman/detective Kelly Swift, and those chapters are written in third person and past tense. Normally, those type of switches would bother me, as they tend to take me out of the story, but here, somehow, it worked (or at least didn't bother me too much). Swift's chapters are essentially a police procedural, while Zoe's are a more intimate look at the crime/mystery situation (all of this emphasized by the difference in viewpoint and tense). Set in London, the book has a strong British feel to it - Zoe and her family take the Tube to work; there's an intense level of surveillance (cameras everywhere); while arresting a suspect, the police use a variation of what we in the U.S. know as Miranda rights. The biggest mystery is who is the mastermind behind a criminal enterprise in the book that affects Zoe and her family. Approaching the end of the novel, there were 4 or 5 different characters who might have been the guilty party, and I didn't really have a clue as to who it was. And it turned out to be someone completely different, but in a way that made sense given what we'd seen and learned earlier. This is good writing.
Picked this up (volume 1 in an ongoing series) awhile ago, but just got around to reading it this week. The painted artwork by Dustin Nguyen is beautiful. At first it seems a little "sketchy" for a hard sci-fi concept/story, but it fits very well. Lemire's story is set in the far future, when planet-sized mechanical beings called Harvesters appear and attack the planets of the United Galactic Council. Anti-robot sentiment spreads across the galaxy and most robots, whatever their design and function, are destroyed. The story begins years later when a young "boy robot" named Tim-21, a companion robot for a young boy, awakens to find his "family" gone and his world all but destroyed. Tim-21 seems to have some type of connection to the Harvesters, and the race is on to either protect or destroy him, to find out what that connection might be before the Harvesters return. I got more and more involved and intrigued by this story as it went on. There are a lot of interesting concepts here, and Lemire does a good job of creating and presenting this universe to the reader. As an example, Tim-21 has a strange dream involving many of the destroyed robots in some type of afterlife, apparently. But robots don't dream, right? A lot of questions go unanswered and plotlines are set up for further volumes (I believe three volumes have been released thus far). Definitely a series I'd like to read more of.
Last night just before bedtime, I accidentally deleted some updates (mostly on Xcel spreadsheets) from my laptop. Basically, I lost about the last 10 days worth of information - sales info, bookkeeping, plus week-ending and month-ending info/stats. So I spent about three hours today re-entering info -- fortunately, with my POS system, my receipts (for supplies, postage, etc.), my bank's online accounts, and some notes I'd handwritten, I was able to figure out how to re-enter pretty much everything. I still have one major spreadsheet to go through, but I think my notes will help me out there. It just makes me realize how dependent we are on our computers, and how easy it is to lose stuff - especially if you make a simple, stupid mistake like I did.