RogerBW's Blog

Radiance, Alicorn 25 August 2015

2011 contemporary fantasy, a "re-imagining" of the Twilight series. Five years after Luminosity, Elspeth Cullen, daughter of Bella and Edward, tries to stay alive.

The narrator this time is Elspeth, though Bella and other characters from the first series (and from the original books) appear: many characters, in fact, most of them with unique powers, to the point where keeping track of them can be distinctly hard work. (There's a crib on the web site.)

The preaching is sometimes a bit more obvious this time round: what if simply explaining the truth to people really were enough to convince them of it? It's a classic fantasy of the thinker, and for Elspeth it's literally true. What's rather more annoying is that for a large chunk of the book Elspeth is under the influence of mental controls, with one character who can make herself seem so unimportant as not to be worth thinking about or noticing ("X said something irrelevant" is wearyingly often repeated), and another who can remove or build up interpersonal relationships.

Eventually this section comes to an end, various good guys get together, and there's a hugely long period of planning: if people X and Y go to place Z and use their powers on A, then B can be persuaded to do C, and… it reminds me of the sort of planning session one can get in role-playing games, but without the fun that interactivity brings. There's a reason why static fiction doesn't spend six chapters on the plan and one chapter on the actual operation: it's more interesting to show the operation and describe the plan as it plays out. Lots of people get copies of many people's memories over many years, and apparently don't have much trouble searching through them for the information they want, or care even slightly about privacy.

Finally the good guys have won, and spend a certain amount of time setting up a permanent vampire dictatorship to try to stop the oppression and nastiness from happening again. Some of the world-building here is quite interesting, but again it would be more fun in a role-playing game where one could have an influence on it. In fact, all of this latter section feels at times like a transcription of a role-playing session, except that everyone speaks with very much the same voice.

It's still enjoyable, but I didn't find it as compelling as the first book, possibly because it's got so far from the source material (or at least what I know of the source material) that I'm no longer drawing contrasts. It's a workable technical story of juggling superpowers into the right order, but characterisation is largely lacking here. Freely available online, and followed by a short-story collection Flashes.


  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 12:59pm on 26 August 2015

    Gosh Roger I'm remain amazed at what and how much you read.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 01:23pm on 26 August 2015

    In spite of some of the horribly negative reviews I've had to write, it's almost all on recommendation.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1