Monday, June 12, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Novel - Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee is about the siege of a fortress.

I hate saying "I bounced off" a work, but this one I bounced off of when I first tried to read it. My second attempt was more successful, and I found some great bits within it. But as a complete work, it was mostly not my cuppa. At least I didn't bounce off it nearly as hard as I bounced off another finalist - I was able to finish this one without wanting to throw my Kindle across the room.

The good: Fantastic ideas, a true mind twist in some ways. The main character is incredibly unlikable at the start, but grows on you. There is a poetry in the descriptions in this book that is often very lovely, despite it being a book mainly about people headed off to die in pointless and horrible ways.

The bad: I still cannot quite understand the whole concept of "calendar" tech, and while I think I've got the gist of it, I'm bothered by the notion of it. The society that is painted by this book is absolutely awful and it's hard to believe anyone would volunteer to fight for it - but that's a plot point I think. The asides to other characters felt a little clumsy, with the reader getting odd views of information that Cheris didn't get. Within the confines of the story, it felt like a manipulative tug at the reader's emotions rather than part of the tale itself. I also got bored while reading, which is never a good sign, and caught myself skimming.

Conclusion: Good enough for a Hugo, certainly, but it'll be third on my ballot for now.

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