August 16th, 2006

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I finished "Romanitas" and the psychic powers did turn into 'get out of plot point free' cards, Collapse ). I'm not sure if it's worse if they were added after the author got to an impasse or if they were part of the grand plan all along ;) It's a shame, as apart from that addition it's a fairly carefully worked out alt-history set up. I've some quibbles with the tech pace - the timeline at the back makes it clear it's set now, with tech that's roughly equivalent to now. And I just feel that if there hadn't been the collapse of the Roman Empire & the slip back from civilisation & organisation that that entailed then science & engineering would've progressed faster. But I'll admit to skimming the timeline, so may've missed where she explained that. It's the first of a trilogy, but I'm not sure I care enough about the story to bother looking for the others in the library.

Also read "To Ride Hell's Chasm" by Janny Wurts. Which was a fun read. The princess has vanished just before her betrothal feast & the captain of the lowergate guards (so vaguely like the police) and the captain of the highergate guards (so the palace guards) have to collaborate to find her. Made even more difficult for them because the lowergate captain (Mykkael) is an ex-mercenary, a foreigner in a city where foreigners are spat on. I liked that the princess hasn't run away for any of the immediately obvious reasons (we find out early on that she's actually in love with her betrothed), and I liked the way that the past of Mykkael kept being revealed. I wasn't so keen on the ending - everything gets tied up a bit neatly for Mykkael, but that was just the last handful of pages and it felt vaguely like the author was waving around a sign saying "told it was standalone" ;)
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