Wednesday, June 26, 2019

[Book] Defy The Worlds by Claudia Gray

Book cover
This is book 2 of the Defy the Stars trilogy.  I recommend first reading my review of Defy the Stars before diving headlong into this review.  Also, there may be mild spoilers of the first book in this review.  I'm not sure that can be helped.

I recommend not reading Defy The Worlds until Defy The Stars has already been read.  Like most sequels, this book could stand-alone, but there is not as much exposition and recap as I'm used to reading in sequels.  It seems to be more closely written with the expectation that readers will start from book one.

The book starts with Noemi back on Genesis, trying to fit back into military life while dealing with global inquests, and summons to talk with world-leaders, many of whom do not trust her, or her judgement.

Most of the characters from the first book have a part in this second book.  The conflicts in this book are more political and far-reaching, and the pacing of action is quick throughout.

In part, due to the abbreviated recaps, and the little space dedicated to explaining the world-building that had occurred in book one, the action in this book picks up very quickly.  If this were a stand-alone (or first) book, I would be complaining about this, but it works very well for a second book.  Overall, I actually enjoyed this book more than the first one (which is very rare).  This has me looking forward to book 3, even more.

I recommended reading this series.  At this point, I recommend reading anything by Claudia Gray.  Her writing has yet to leave me unsatisfied.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

[Book] The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King

Book cover
Subtitled, The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, this is a biography of a man that most Americans over 30 grew up watching as children on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which is a show that ran on US public television stations (PBS) for 31 years (1968-2001).

I cannot review this book without noting that Fred Rogers means a lot to me, as I watched his show regularly for many years.  Because of this, I find his life interesting... possibly more than most.  Then again, David Bowie means a lot to me too, and I didn't review that book well at all.

The narrative line of this book is solid.  There is very little jumping around in time, and there are few narrative conflicts (and those that happen, are explained as conflicts in a straight forward manner).  There were some chapters dedicated to explaining the times he was in, people he worked with, and the beginnings of the Television Industry, in which he was an early entrant.  Some of these chapters didn't make sense to me until I saw how that background became important in the following chapters.

There was one chapter that was filled with religious references, and comparing Fred Rogers to revered religious figures.  That was awkward for me to read, and I think I would have gotten the same thing out of the book, had I skipped the rest of that chapter once I felt awkward.  Overall, after the first quarter of the book, I found myself crying pretty regularly.

In any case, if you grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, or you have a friend who won't shut up about him, or even if you saw the 2018 documentary and want to know more, I highly recommend this book (it covers so much more than the documentary).  Like any biography, it probably won't be interesting if you don't know who this is.