Re-reading “Product Leadership” by Banfield, Eriksson, and Walkingshaw, and I can’t figure out if I just unknowingly internalized a ton from my first reading years ago, or if I ended up learning all the same lessons, but after ten years in the role, it’s definitely been an object lesson in confirmation bias…
I noticed I haven’t written a long-form post in quite a while so I figured I’d get back into it with a review of Circe.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--neither powerful like her father nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power: the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts, and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from or with the mortals she has come to love.
I have to admit it’s been a while since I read Circe, so this review is probably gonna be a) a bit short, and b) based on fuzzy recollections. But, I’ll do my best with what I can recall.
If you’ve not heard of the book, Circe is a mythological retelling, and I have to admit, I really wish I was more familiar with my Greek mythology because, even based on the limited knowledge I do have, Madeline Miller’s work in adapting this tale is really pretty astonishing. Through beautiful prose and incredible characterization she manages to find the humanity in this ancient and epic story.Continue reading...
Review of Morning Star (Red Rising #3.0) by (9780345539847)★★★
While this is the last book in the Red Rising series, this is actually an attempted review of the whole thing since I was too last to post about the previous instalments…
Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.
Finally, the time has come.
But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.
Disclaimer: I have to admit I did not keep any notes during the reading of this series, so a lot of my recollections are gonna be vague and non-specific. Frankly, this review is mostly for me so I remember roughly how I felt having completed this series if ever I look back and wonder about it.
Red Rising. I don’t know about you, dear reader (… is there anybody out there…), but among my circle of friends, this series got no shortage of hype. One friend even put the series up there with A Song of Ice and Fire on his list of all-time favourite series. I’ve seen folks praise the world building, the plot, the characters, and of course, Darrow himself.
But I admit it: I honestly just don’t get it.Continue reading...
A review of the last book of The Expanse series, which brings to a satisfying close one of the finest sci-fi series I’ve ever read.
The Laconian Empire has fallen, setting the thirteen hundred solar systems free from the rule of Winston Duarte. But the ancient enemy that killed the gate builders is awake, and the war against our universe has begun again.
In the dead system of Adro, Elvi Okoye leads a desperate scientific mission to understand what the gate builders were and what destroyed them, even if it means compromising herself and the half-alien children who bear the weight of her investigation. Through the wide-flung systems of humanity, Colonel Aliana Tanaka hunts for Duarte’s missing daughter. . . and the shattered emperor himself. And on the Rocinante, James Holden and his crew struggle to build a future for humanity out of the shards and ruins of all that has come before.
As nearly unimaginable forces prepare to annihilate all human life, Holden and a group of unlikely allies discover a last, desperate chance to unite all of humanity, with the promise of a vast galactic civilization free from wars, factions, lies, and secrets if they win.
But the price of victory may be worse than the cost of defeat.
Disclaimer: This review is coming about a week since I finished this book, and I neglected to take notes right after I was done. So note to my future self, my memories are a bit fuzzier than usual with this one. This is exacerbated by the fact that I chose to re-read Persepolis Rising and Tiamat’s Wrath prior to reading this book, so the narrative has definitely blended together in my head.
With all that said, to get it out of the way: if you haven’t read The Expanse and you’re at all a science fiction fan, just a quick note that you need to go out and start reading Leviathan Wakes right now! The Expanse is undoubtedly one of the finest hard science fiction series out there (and has been adapted into an utterly fantastic TV series as well). I could go on and one about why I feel that way, but quite frankly, that’s pretty well-trod ground at this point.
But, after a ten-year-long journey, this incredible series of books and novellas is finally coming to a close.
Now, full disclosure, I will attempt to avoid major spoilers for this specific book in this review, but it’s going to be tough to avoid that with the previous two books in this trilogy. As a result, if you haven’t read this series at all and think you might, or if haven’t gotten around to reading books seven and eight, then it’s probably best to stop now.
Alright, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get right into it!Continue reading...
25 years after I last read The Lord of the Rings the pandemic has given me a renewed appreciation for the book.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.
When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.
The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
There really is something truly unique about “The Lord of the Rings” (hereafter to be abbreviated “LOTR” because I’m way too lazy to type that out over and over). It’s well recognized that without J. R. R. Tolkien we might not have Brandon Sanderson or Robert Jordon or George R. R. Martin. But, at least in my own experience, even within the annals of high fantasy, Tolkien’s work is something special.
It had been at least 25 years since I’d last read the book. But I’d just come off of re-reading the Stormlight Archives and was waiting for the ninth Expanse book to come out, so it seemed like as good a time as any to return to Middle Earth to see how it held up.
And I’ll be damned if it isn’t still one of my absolute favourite books.
I have to wonder, though, if I would’ve felt quite the same way had I not read the book at this particular time in my life. Like the people of Hobbiton, we find ourselves facing a vague threat that permeates our lives and has profoundly changed the world in ways we can barely understand. It’s dizzying! And, like the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth, while I know that eventually this threat will diminish, the world will never return to the way it was. And maybe that’s okay.Continue reading...