Monday, May 29, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Novel - Death's End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

Death's End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu is about humanity dealing, and failing to deal with, a hazardous universe.

I was very surprised and even disappointed that The Three Body Problem earned the 2015 Hugo, since it was the weakest of the three non-puppy finalists that year. It is a ponderous work that bogs down in technical details. Despite some great ideas, the execution leaves much to be desired, and reading it was a slog. This book, the third in the trilogy, is worse. It's got some fantastic ideas strung together with an overly complicated plotline told in the most boring way possible. The first book had some compelling characters - this one has cardboard cutouts moving through predestined roles.

The good: The first chapter, set in the past, was actually fairly well written and interesting. The rest? Not so much. Some great science fiction concepts are presented - but not creatively enough to engage me in the story.

The bad: I wanted to throw the book across the room before I was more than a few pages into the second chapter. If it wasn't on my Kindle, I might have. Those great concepts are bogged down with an unconvincing plot and cardboard characters that I hated so much by the middle of the book that I just wanted them all to die horrible deaths as quickly as possible. I had to start skimming fairly quickly, because every second I spent reading this book felt like it was wasted. The repetition also annoyed me. Yes, we know he bought her a stupid star already. Please DON'T tell me another fifteen times that he bought her the star. I know. I don't care anymore. I don't care that it's a plot point, because you've told me about it so many times I want to smack the narrator. *ahem* I guess you can say I found this book less than satisfactory. It was a relief to delete it from my Kindle.

Conclusion: I don't believe this book is worthy of the Hugo and I will be leaving it off my ballot.

Best Novel: I've read The Obelisk Gate and Death's End. I need to read All the Birds in the Sky, A Closed and Common Orbit, Ninefox Gambit, and Too Like the Lightning.