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Saturday, December 26, 2020

 See Why I Immersed Myself So Deeply In. . .



The Lady of the Lake

Well, this is one for – excuse the pun – the books. What a story. And what a way Andrzej Sapkowski has of presenting it:

Sir Galahad, a knight of King Arthur, stumbles upon a maiden bathing in an enchanted lake. He suspects she may be of the faërie, and in that assumption, he’s not far wrong. Although this lady’s countenance is marred by a hideous scar, she has travelled through time and space to be in this particular place at this particular time. Yes, Sir Galahad has happened upon the legendary Child of Prophecy, Ciri, though she is a child no more.

Their exchange sets the basis for a detailed recapitulation of the events surrounding Ciri’s arrival at the lake, and as we see, the Lake itself plays a pivotal role in the unfolding of prophecy, one that touches multiple perspectives as the ages pass.

For example, we are introduced to the fabled Lady of the Lake, Nimue, who delves into the truth of things, no matter how veiled they are by the passage of time; we look in of Geralt’s adventures, and join him and his companions – Regis, Milva, Angoulême and Cahir – as they charged from adventure to adventure in their haste to track Ciri down; we see how Yennefer fares during her imprisonment at Vilgefortz’s hands; are peeved to find enemies of old – Stefan Skellen & Bonhart in particular – are still alive, kicking, and itching to wreak mayhem; and mystified by Ciri’s time among the elves, where she struggles to comprehend the sylvan realm and the future they have planned for her.

We even get to look in on an old friend from long, long ago. Do you remember the Urcheon Prince, Duny, who was cursed to change into a creature that looked like a cross between a hedgehog and a boar? The guy who fell in love with Princess Pavetta? Well, he makes an appearance too, and just wait until you find out the role he’s been playing all along.

Yes, the Lady of the Lake is a marvelous coming together of pieces first places out decades ago, and which now find their place in a complex puzzle for a grand revelation, helping explain why Ciri is hunted by so many factions, who all want to influence the Witcher girl in any way they can.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Lady of the Lake is an incredibly complex and compelling revelation that draws you in, hangs on tight, and never let’s go. A page turner, if ever there was one, because you “just have to find out what happens next!”

But what I liked about it is Geralt & Yennefer’s obvious influence on Ciri. They may have been parted for long periods, but they managed to make a great impression upon her. And no matter how many trials she faces, no matter what torture she endures, she remains her own woman. She never accepts the course any of the manipulators try to steer her along, and chooses her own destiny for herself. A destiny strengthened by Geralt and Yennefer’s loyal love.

Obviously, there are consequences to Ciri’s actions. But isn’t that what makes fairytales so fascinating? The bittersweet seduction that keeps you chomping at the bit until the end?

An excellent story, and one that won’t disappoint. 



Saturday, December 19, 2020

 See why I'm Beside Myself With Joy 

After Reading. . .



Supersymmetry

Just when you think you can’t get enough of a good thing, the expanding universe that is David Walton’s mind comes along with another quantum serving of something special: Supersymmetry, the follow-up novel to Superposition, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. Here’s the blurb:

*****

Ryan Oronzi is a paranoid, neurotic, and brilliant physicist who has developed a quantum military technology that could make soldiers nearly invincible in the field. The technology, however, gives power to the quantum creature known as the varcolac, which slowly begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and take over his mind. Oronzi eventually becomes the unwilling pawn of the varcolac in its bid to control the world. The creature immediately starts attacking those responsible for defeating it fifteen years earlier, including Sandra and Alex Kelley—the two versions of Alessandra Kelley who are still living as separate people. The two young women must fight the varcolac, despite the fact that defeating it may mean resolving once again into a single person. 

*****

Get the gist?

Good, because this time out, Walton spins the realms of possibility by using a slightly different style to that of the preceding story. For one thing, it’s set fifteen years after the events of Superposition. Alex and Sandra (once Alessandra) have grown into two distinct, separate women: Alex, who follows in her father’s – Jacob’s – footsteps as a scientist; and Sandra, who serves as a rookie cop with the Philadelphia police force.

Their individuality is an integral component in the ever evolving plot – as you’ll see – because when the reality of the varcolac’s return is established, their unique perspectives play a large part in helping stymie the entity’s efforts in gaining a foothold in our world. . .

Or do they?

Yes, for a second time in a row, Walton turns probability on its head by presenting us with the enigma of enigmas: the Grandfather Paradox.

And well played, because we’re thrown into a helter-skelter ride of deliciously devilish twists and turns that spins this murder mystery into a mind warping voyage of scientific discovery. Supersymmetry is a fast-paced, immersive, and outstanding form of alternative SF that will keep you engrossed from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope there’ll be more to come from the Kelly’s at some point in the spacetime continuum.





Saturday, December 5, 2020

 See Why I Got Into Such a Spin About. . .



Superposition

I am, and always have been, a science fiction & fantasy buff. I love the genre, as it allows you to experience a whole lot of fun in a vast universe where anything is possible. On those rare occasions where I fancy something else to read, I tend to lean toward John Grisham and Tom Clancy.

So, imagine my delight when I realized one of my favorite authors – David Walton – had written a book incorporating all three – sci-fi action/techno-wizardry/courtroom drama – of those elements. (Eureka springs to mind.)

For those of you who might be reading this review from my blog, (and not a purchase page including the blurb), here’s a quick peek into what to expect:

******

Jacob Kelley's family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob's house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.  

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

******
So, having prepared yourself for what’s in store, get ready for the reality-twisting ride of your life. The story arc is delivered in a clever series of ‘hops’ between the court case, and those events leading up to/during/immediately following Kelley’s trial. But are we skipping backward and forward in time (in a before and after scenario), or has David Walton thought of an even more imaginative way to present the narrative?

Yes, there are clues about what you’re going to read in the title; the blurb; and what it says at the beginning of each chapter. It’s a great idea, and one that gives that little extra boost to an already fascinating premise. I loved it! The murder-mystery intrigue starts from the very beginning; the pieces of the puzzle are carefully laid out; and then quantum physics jumbles everything into a gripping, fast paced adventure of possibilities that maintains the suspense factor throughout. You really don’t know what might happen until the very end.

For those of you who enjoy an addictive whodunit played out in a cross-genre playground, then Superposition is the book for you.