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12 April 2012 @ 03:20 pm
Sick and "A Rising Thunder"  
I was still stuffed up and snuffly and such this morning, so i decided to call in sick. I've gotten about twelve hours of sleep, and also finished up David Weber's "A Rising Thunder"

I was reading it in the ebook format, and i've got to say that although there are a lot of advantages to ebooks in terms of convenience and stuff, i still prefer the "real" thing. Of particular note is the ability to figure out how far you are in tbe book by tactile means =P

I had gotten absorbed in the book and was cruising along, and got to the end of a pretty innocuous chapter. And then i tried to go to the next page. Nothing happened. Not that that is unusual, there are numerous times where i fail to swipe a page in the exact right manner, and some cases where i'm _not_ trying to flip pages but accidentally do so anyways. So i swiped again, more carefully, and the page slid over a little bit but then bounced back.

Only then did i look down at the bottom of the page to see that i was at page 437 of 437. Without the feel of the book in my hands i'd completely lost track of how far i was through the book, though it certainly didn't help that it ended in a place that didn't really feel like and ending to me. (And when i checked online it seems quite a few other people feel the same way. Supposedly this was just the first half of what was originally intended to be a single book before it got too long, and it definitely feels a bit like that.)

This isn't even a problem i normally have with audiobooks, since i rarely listen to them for much more than 30 minutes at a time (ie, about the length of my commute) and i'll generally glance at the time remaining as i start and stop the book at either end, so i'll generally have at least some idea of when the book is going to end. Not to mention that most of the books are split into two or more pieces, which means you get at least one bit of "you have reached the end of this part of the audiobook" message, letting you know you're 1/2th or 1/3rd or whatever of the way through. Usually when i get towards the end of a book i'll start thinking of the time left as X number of commutes left, though in the case of especially compelling books i'll sometimes break down and start listening to it outside of the car as well.

But anyways, back to "A Rising Thunder." Unlike the last book nothing really surprising happened in this one, at least not if you've been paying attention at all. Everything seemed to kind of be running on rails while dangling issues from the last book got resolved and things get set up for the big action in the next book (at least i sure hope there's some big action in the next book!) It certainly didn't help that there were a couple chapters devoted to going back in time to fill in some not especially exciting backstory on the journey the "secret agents" took from Mesa back home with the news about what's been going on there. Since their actual arrival and the results of that information were kind of they keystone of the previous book those flashback chapters seemed both confusing and unnecessary, unless there's something important i missed in them.

Also, let's see if you can spot the patented "let's jump into the middle a battle simulation without telling the reader it's a battle simulation so maybe they'll think the characters are in an actual fight" maneuver :)

All and all it was reasonably well done filler, and obviously i had no trouble getting absorbed into it enough to lose track of where i was in the book, but it was still just mostly filler.
Current Mood: sicksick
Steuardsteuard on April 13th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)
I haven't read "A Rising Thunder" yet. Well, mostly: I was following along with the posting of snippets of the first few chapters on the "Driblets of Baen" site before it was published, so I've actually read up through chapter 11 or so. So I definitely second your comments on "secret agents flashback" chapter(s)! It took me a while to figure out what the heck I was reading.

Hearing that the pace and significance of the material doesn't really pick up even by the end of the book isn't doing a lot to make me rush out and finish it, though. I think that Weber has been doing a great job of expanding the "developed" region of his fictional universe, but I feel a bit like he's also decided that he needs to show all of those developments "on screen" (and all at once). One advantage of the earlier Honor books was that they always centered (mostly) on what Honor's particular ship or unit was doing, no matter how broad the surrounding canvas may have been. They've lost some of that focus and feel considerably less "tight" as stories now that Honor's role is so broad.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 13th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
There's exactly one big event, at least that's the way i felt about it. You know, the one big event that they set up at the end of the last book, and he couldn't possibly avoid dealing with in this book. And which only has one possible outcome, though i won't spoil the details of how hard or easy it was for Manticore to pull it off. (Gee, spoiler, Weber's not going to have the whole series come to a crashing stop by having Manticore actually get defeated and occupied by the Solarian League right out of the starting gate =P)

Oh yeah, and there was a big wedding. Which i presume was led up to in some of the "Worlds of Honor" or other side novels, because when it showed up out of the blue in A Rising Thunder i found myself wondering "who are these people, and why do i care that they're getting married?"

Which isn't to say there weren't other important things that didn't happen, but to me they all seemed to be the obvious and predictable fallout from the previous book, or, in the last third of the book, the obvious and predictable fallout from the "one big event."