Paul McAuley – Quiet War & Gardens of the Sun – Book Review

Quiet War

“the fascinating inventiveness of the bio-engineered life-forms, the intricate detail of both the societies and habitats, the complex characters all amounted to a fabulous story. This is a book that has been carefully thought out and the author displays a wealth of knowledge on subjects such as bio-remediation and terraforming. It’s a tale well worth taking the time to get into and enjoying McCauley’s vision of the future.” SF CROWSNEST

The quiet war is just that, a novel, Hard SF novel that is, the technology is believable. The book title is a bit misleading, if you’re expecting “war” there isn’t much, so if you’re looking for a war novel this might not exactly be it as it’s more about politics and exploring the outer habitat. At times it isn’t a very gripping read, other pages it is. I didn’t much care for the characters(except Macy) and the feel of the atmosphere I found very different(might be just me reading it that way and I’ve never been to Brazilia anyway so I don’t really know..) but it felt I was experiencing things from the point of view of Macy’s culture. I would like to say that perhaps it is the state that Earth is in, the shift in power away from our current centers of influence in the world that makes it feel so odd to me.

But lets talk about Paul McAuley himself here for a bit:

Paul J. McAuley (born 23 April 1955), a British botanist and award-winning author, Ph.D in Botany, worked as a researcher in biology in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in botany at St Andrews University.

And back to the novel:

So worldbuilding is his forte in this novel, often I feel SF tends to favour novels which feel they are more about the setting, science, ideas, politics. So if you are used to SF this novel gives you what you expect. I felt the characters were somewhat uninteresting, they are believable, well thought out, they just didn’t grab me. The one character I liked most wasn’t a point of view one. Newton, one which I won’t be talking about as doing so might ruin the plot a little. There is a plot, but not a driving factor in this novel, no this is more about discovery the plot is just there, I wasn’t really on any side in this, wasn’t cheering for Earth or for the Outers.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked this novel very much(enough to wonder if I’ve been too harsh on this review so far).

I bought the sequel, I read Quiet War very fast. My feelings are now mostly based on the second novel here since it has been so long since I read this first one. This novel doesn’t lose out against other SF novels. It might be a bit info and description heavy but so are many others in SF field.

Quiet War manages at times to be a gripping read, you turn the page to find out what will happen next, then you might get a bit bored like I was at parts. I still needed to know how it all turned out. Science in this novel is interesting, based on real world science, you will get more out of the novel if you know about these fields. And there is some war in this book too.

Gardens of the sun

We return to our familiar characters from the Quiet War to find out what has happened to them. This novel is pretty much more of the same. To be honest I felt I was back to reading the first novel, almost as if I never finished reading Quiet War. Some time has passed but the setting is familiar in ways. I found this novel more interesting on the settings, the character stories were a bit more interesting too. There is even less war in this novel, I didn’t mind it at all. What Gardens of the Sun does is it advances very fast, it is very descriptive. I feel we get a more satisfying resolution at this novel to the whole story. One could say that the two books feel like one book. If you liked Quiet War you will like Gardens of the Sun.

Much of what I wrote about Quiet War applies on Gardens of the Sun.

Verdict – Quiet War and Gardens of the Sun are good SF novels that are carried by the worldbuilding and setting that they take place in. The characters could’ve been more unique and interesting and I felt maybe the plot was a bit weak, but these are only very small complaints and the characters&plot are quite good.

If you got Quiet War and liked it or felt it was incomplete on its ending then Gardens of Sun manages to end the story well.

I recommend getting both of these books if you are used to reading SF. These books made me think, to imagine the possibilities.


Patrick Rothfuss Interviews Jim Butcher

Random rant: Why is it that most author interviews are of so low quality? I have found that I don’t want to post most of them because the quality is so horrible.

SF Signal – List of Podcasts

I just had to share, because lists such as this are great.

Portal 2 – Want you gone (Taioo improvisation)

I love some of the sound on this video.

Harrison ford vs Wookie

Update on Book Reviews.

These are the books i have gotten read:

– The Quiet War. Paul McAuley. (1) Want to write a review before i do one for Garden..possibly double review.

– Gardens of the Sun. Paul McAuley. (2)

– Name of the Wind. Patrick Rothfuss. (7)

– Lies of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch. (3)

– Red Seas Under Red Skies. Scott Lynch. (4)

– Passage at Arms. Glen Cook. (5)

– Storm Front. Jim Butcher. (6)

(number) Means the review writing priority for the book, deduced by personal preference and considering the state of existing reviews on the book and its popularity.

Currently reading: The Blade Itself. Joe Abercrombie.

Tintin Trailer 2

Looks quite promising, though still want that classic tintin tune in it..