The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
4 of 5 stars
This was such a fun read!
First of all, it starts off with a
startling and intriguing first line, and the beginning of it does a good job at
drawing you in with the action keeping you turning the pages.
a good way to do it, because after the breathlessness of the first bit, it does
slow down just a tad, but not enough that my interest lagged. Alternative
history can be tricky because it can be difficult to make it compelling and not
just leave the reader going 'no, this doesn't make sense', but I didn't really
find myself struggling to believe the historical events and how things were
I struggled a little bit with the acceptance presented
in the books, both in terms of Elma's relationship with her husband on a
feminist slant, and also the look at racial relations at the time. I *so*
appreciate the feminist take and the attempt to make Elma a character who was
more aware of the wrongs at the time - I'm just not sure how believable it is,
and I can see how it might bother some people. To me it doesn't really tarnish
the overall thrust or accomplishment of the book, but I'm just one person.
would have liked to see more development of some of the background characters
other than the antagonist, but by and large Elena is interesting enough and the
plot fascinating enough that I was willing to overlook this. The book did remind
me a little of a couple of disaster movies, but given the unique take presented
here, it makes for some intriguing evaluations of the 'happy ending' presented
in some and how accurate they were.
The thing that I liked most
about this book, though, is that it's *smart*. It's about smart women and smart
men working really hard to save our planet, and I really enjoyed that! I'm eager
to pick up the next one.
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