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Vernor Vinge, a scientist who can tell a good yarn, another anomaly among genre writers, the other anomalous authors being China Mi ville and David Brin, and they are all bald Makes me want to shave my head, I bet Patrick Stewart can write amazing books if he wanted to, make it so Pat A few months ago I read A Fire Upon the Deep, Vinge s first Zones of Thought novel, it quickly barged its way into my all time top 20 list A Deepness in the Sky is not going to dislodge another book from that list but it is still an indispensable read all the same This is a book that I imagine would be great all the way through on the second read because there would be no need to figure out the meaning of the setting of the book and the numerous characters motivations Initially I just could not understand Vinge s choices Why did he anthropomorphise the aliens Why do spidery aliens have names like Underhill, Brent, and Smith Why not call them Zark or Vygphm or something alienesque The author really threw me for loop for the first quarter of the book, I thought may be he is too lazy to think up weird alien names, silly bast that I am.I won t reveal the reason for Vinge s strange anthropomorphism, but it all makes perfect sense as you read on, and read on you must My favorite sf notion from this book is Focus, a elaborate type of mind control with no element of hypnotism A Focused person is sort of ultra fixated on the single task they programmed to do, everything else eating, bowel movements and grooming become completely irrelevant.Part of the book is a hoary sf trope of alien invasion turned on its head, in that humans are the invading aliens and the Spider race are the invadees This leads to a humdinger of a climax and an Uplifting ending Vinge s gift for characterization is again evident here though, with lovable aliens, eccentrics and a mustache twirling Machiavellian archvillain OK, no mustache called Nau This seems to be something of a Vinge trope as Nau is cut from the exact same cloth as the villain of A Fire Upon the Deep Mr Steel The character Pham Nuwen is the only one from A Fire Upon the Deep, though his role is much larger here and he is not quite the same character.I did get lost in some scientific details but most of them do become self explanatory as you read on However, if you want some help with ramscoop, localizer and podmaster you may want to check out this Reddit thread.I would rate this as a 4.5 stars book as I personally find it harder to engage with than the previous book To engage is not merely to understand what is going on but to feel involved in the proceeding, to empathize with the characters, and generally to immerse in the book as an experience rather words printed on a book It is for me the single most wonderful thing about reading fiction Any way, from the half way point onward this book is very involving and you may need a deFocus treatment afterward. Alternative Cover Edition Can Be Found Here After Thousands Of Years Searching, Humans Stand On The Verge Of First Contact With An Alien Race Two Human Groups The Qeng Ho, A Culture Of Free Traders, And The Emergents, A Ruthless Society Based On The Technological Enslavement Of MindsThe Group That Opens Trade With The Aliens Will Reap Unimaginable Riches But First, Both Groups Must Wait At The Aliens Very Doorstep For Their Strange Star To Relight And For Their Planet To Reawaken, As It Does Every Two Hundred And Fifty YearsThen, Following Terrible Treachery, The Qeng Ho Must Fight For Their Freedom And For The Lives Of The Unsuspecting Innocents On The Planet Below, While The Aliens Themselves Play A Role Unsuspected By The Qeng Ho And Emergents AlikeMore Than Just A Great Science Fiction Adventure, A Deepness In The Sky Is A Universal Drama Of Courage, Self Discovery, And The Redemptive Power Of LoveA Deepness In The Sky Is A Nebula Award Nominee For Best Novel And The Winner Of The Hugo Award For Best Novel A Deepness in the Sky Might have been interesting at half the lengthOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureA Fire Upon the Deep was a big success for Vernor Vinge, winning the 1993 Hugo Award Seven years later, he followed up with A Deepness in the Sky, set 20,000 years earlier in the same universe, and this captured the 2000 Hugo Award and John W Campbell Award I came to both books with high expectations and was eager for a big canvas space opera filled with mind boggling technologies, exotic aliens, galactic civilizations, and a big cast of characters Sadly, the first volume didn t engage me, and I m afraid the second didn t either At 28 hours, this audiobook became a chore about halfway through, and I mainly forced myself to finish it because I wanted to be able to write a review of it as a Hugo winner long on my TBR list.It was an interesting decision to set the prequel so far back in chronology that none of the distinguishing features of the Zones of Thought are known The scale of A Deepness in the Sky s story is restricted to human occupied space, before it was discovered that higher Zones of Thought exist That was probably the most original and interesting idea of A Fire Upon the Deep, so I was surprised Vinge didn t want to explore it further In this book there is no FTL and humans have only encountered one other alien species that has not achieved advanced technological development Instead, human space has been explored mainly by the Qeng Ho, who have pursued interstellar trade throughout human space When a new alien species is discovered on a planet orbiting an oscillating On Off star, they immediately see this as an opportunity for potential new scientific discoveries, i.e profit However, a separate human civilization called the Emergents are also interested in the new alien species, so the two groups are set on a collision course.What distinguishes the Emergents is that they have taken a mindrot virus that plunged them into a Dark Age, and controlled it so that they can direct the mental activities of people and make them Focused, concentrating on just a single task with obsessive attention In a sense, they are human computers, something like the Mentats of Frank Herbert s Dune but far less independent Instead, they are used as specialized living tools to further the aim of the controllers, or pod leaders, and are treated as disposable equipment.Initially the Qeng Ho and Emergents form a fragile truce as they observe the aliens, whom they dub Spiders due to their arachnid appearance, but there are a number of plots brewing below the surface, and fairly soon there is a major betrayal that brings both sides into open conflict Though the Emergents gain the upper hand due to their ambush, both sides suffer major losses of life and their ships are heavily damaged This sets the stage for the bulk of the story in A Deepness in the Sky.The story alternates with another narrative that is initially very confusing We are introduced to an incongruous group of characters named Sherkaner Underhill, Victory Smith, Hrunkner Unnerby, Honored Pedure Initially they seem to be people living in a simple small town existence in an unnamed place not entirely unlike 20th century planet Earth It is only over time that we come to realize they are very different from what we expected It takes many hundreds of pages to understand why they were presented in this manner Once I understood why they were described in this way, the story made sense, but it s a major spoiler to say much , and even after the truth emerged, I wasn t really comfortable with how Vinge handled this part of the story Sure, it s an innovative approach, but it made these characters much conventional than they would normally be in a sci fi context After hundreds of pages it felt like an overused gimmick, and didn t really reveal anything of importance about perceptions that we don t already know.The scientific details of the arachnid world and its unusual sun are certainly interesting this is the hard sci fi I was expecting And the Spiders themselves have developed a unique society Vinge excels at thinking about primitive alien species, and much like the telepathic dog packs in A Fire Upon the Deep, he devotes lots of pages to describing their society in depth But unfortunately, just like the previous book, I found their societies somehow lacking in alienness or menace They were both difficult for me to take seriously this was also the case in C.J Cherryh s Downbelow Station I m struggling to put a finger on what bothers me, but somehow Vinge s aliens seem too anthropomorphized , for lack of a better term When I think about encounters with the alien, I am much inclined to believe in aliens that are truly inscrutable and terrifying, like those in Peter Watt s Blindsight, for example.The other main narrative in A Deepness in the Sky focuses on the dozens of Qeng Ho and Emergent characters as they are forced to work together to observe the Spiders as their society emerges from the darkness as their star enters the On period There is a huge amount of scheming, scientific meddling, and numerous discussions of the ethics of the Emergents use of Focused humans, contemptuously call zipheads by the Qeng Ho It is quite disturbing to see how they are treated like disposable wetware, while at the same time being relied on as sophisticated technicians in every conceivable aspect of Emergent life They actually reminded me a bit of the Scanners in the famous Cordwainer Smith story Scanners Live in Vain The final third of the book picks up the pace of events, as the two human factions start meddling heavily in the Spider s technological development for their own reasons, and the Spiders themselves struggle with differing political ideas and social conflict It s all quite complex and detailed, and I suspect I was at a disadvantage following it on audio Events build toward a climax similar to A Fire Upon the Deep, with numerous groups plots and sub plot converging in a complex ballet of space battles, nuclear weapons, and various individual betrayals and twists This was the best part of A Deepness in the Sky, but after 20 hours of slow moving story, I was a bit tired and hoping the story would end soon.That s why I think A Deepness in the Sky and its predecessor would both have been effective and exciting if they could drastically cut back on their overlong middle sections But it seems that major space operas often have to weigh in at 500 700 pages to be taken seriously by fans and award committees, judging by major works by Dan Simmons, Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, etc I myself prefer them in the 300 400 page range unless the story really justifies such length In any case, although there are plenty of unanswered questions Vinge has left after two books in his Zones of Thought series, the reviews of the third book Children of the Sky are fairly negative, so I ll try something promising instead. I honestly have no idea how to even rate this Objectively, it s a very solid book Vinge s prose is kind of dry and his habit of throwing a bunch of hints at you before really telling you what s going on is alternately effective and obnoxious.I found the first few hundred pages terribly hard to read, though It s not a pleasant story, and Vinge doesn t pull any punches If you re like me and triggered by deception, manipulation, and oh, rape with bonus memory erasure buyer beware Vinge also likes to do this thing where, not only is there dramatic irony because you know something the main characters don t, but he takes you inside the head of the villain I hate this Dramatic irony is hard enough for me, but something about seeing the innermost thoughts of the bad guy makes me feel complicit.If you can make it through those bits, it gets a little better as the story progresses view spoiler I thought the ending, after all that had happened, was a little too pat And I didn t really believe that, after all they had been through and suffered, Tomas Nau died and everyone was just magically OK again It seemed to me that of them should have been like Trixia and Anne, especially Qiwi For all that the story and world were complex and interesting, Vinge seems to have been unable or unwilling to contend with actual emotional complexity hide spoiler 4.5 stars First This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time, and, despite the fact that it doesn t quite earn a 5 star rating from me on that later , I would highly recommend the book to anyone who s remotely interested in science fiction It s a testament to the book that I managed to finish it while in the midst of an extraordinarily busy semester Vinge really hits the balance of science and fiction almost perfectly and, even though the book weighs in at a hefty 750 pages, it never feels too long or bogged down In fact, my most serious criticism of the book is that it should have been a bit longer Vinge never falls into the all too common trap of becoming lost in his own world of gobly gook highly theoretical science While I recognize that many genre fans live for that stuff, I get very tired of science fiction books that essentially become a platform for the author to share his really, it s usually his ideas on futuristic technology Still, the book is not fluffy, and he introduces his science subtly, building an entire system for the readers, without ever causing the book to lose its heart.In the end, this book is essentially a study on human nature, just set in a fantastic setting The characters are really quite fantastic, and, though they are a lot of them, Vinge makes them all stand out it s nearly impossible to confuse even the minor characters even after you haven t heard from them in 300 pages The premise is definitely fantastic, and I m not sure I ve ever read a book with such a wonderful set up Two space faring races of humans discover a unique physical anomaly a star that mysteriously turns on and off at regular intervals What s the star s lone planet has technologically lagging but highly intelligent sentient race, one like nothing either race of humans has ever encountered The two groups of humans are antithetical to one another, each group despises the very principles that the other stands for Both groups race toward the planet, to make the first contact with this alien species The first group to get there will likely gain extreme knowledge, wealth, fame, and the chance to discover the mysteries of this never before seen star The fate of the second group to arrive is unclear, but won t be pretty The groups arrive at about the same time and then things begin to get interesting To their horror, the civilization on the planet is much primitive than they had expected, and there are no resources, no way to refuel their ships, and no chance of returning home Unlike so many science fiction books, Vinge presents space travel as something difficult, expensive, and always teetering on the precipice of disaster There is no warp drive, and humans spend hundreds of years in coldsleep, waiting for their ships to reach their destination hoping that their pod won t fail, and hoping that when they wake up there will still be a ship to wake up to.In this setting, then, with two warring groups orbiting around a planet hundreds of years from any advanced civilization and running short on resources, somehow these groups will have to become allies To say anything would venture into spoiler territory, but I will leave it at the setting makes for some extraordinarily complicated relationships and motives, and leaves the reader with a very foreboding atmosphere Vinge hits this atmosphere perfectly As the reader you know something bad is happening, but damn it, you can t figure out what.For the entirety of the book, the viewpoint switches among the two human races in orbit, and the Spider race down below on the planet The book sets itself up for a fantastic climax seriously plan to read the last 150 pages or so in one sitting you have been warned , and, while the climax isn t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, it seemed a bit rushed The last two hundred pages could have easily stretched to be double that, and I think that I would have felt satisfied with the conclusion had it had a little detail to it There is a huge twist that happens in this stretch of the book, and by huge I meanhugeIt s a good twist, it really is, but I couldn t help feeling robbed without reading the book again there s no way to be sure, but I don t think I could have pieced any of it together until it happened What s I m not convinced the surprise value was quite worth it Yes it was a good surprise, but I want to know how it happened, the history of it not just be presented with its occurrence at the end I can t help but wonder if the book would have been better without it, or with adding yet another viewpoint in addition to the two groups of humans and the Spiders throughout the book.There are essentially two reasons why the book doesn t quite earn 5 stars from me The first is the twist at the end, the second is the pacing This book is long and I don t exactly want to advocate adding another 200 pages to it, and yet the ending just seemed overly rushed Looking back on the book I question the relevance of a lot of the information Vinge gives the reader It s all fascinating there wasn t a singe character of the 20 or so viewpoints the reader is presented with that I din t want to read about or cringed whenever the viewpoint shifted to him or her But in retrospect, a lot of the personal histories, while interesting at the time, seemed to have no relevance later on One character in particular Pham while one of the most interesting characters, Vinge probably spent a good 60 or 70 pages over the course of the book fleshing out his backstory After finishing the book, I don t think this backstory had any relevance, at least none beyond what could have been shared in 10 or 20 pages Similarly, there are a lot of interesting parts of the book that just don t have much payoff I can t help but feel that the book would have been better if it couldn t have trimmed off 100 or 200 pages of this information throughout the book, and in its place spend time at the end Still though, all in all this book does catapult Vinge to be one of my favorite authors, and I can t wait to read the sequel written before this one A Fire Upon the Deep While the payoff in the end fell just a little short to me, the book is very well written, the premise is brilliant, and Vinge is a master of atmosphere The book never once drags in its 750 pages, and I was left at the end wanting So please, if you re interested in the genre, pick up this book it s definitely worth it I love science fiction stories that incorporate novel concepts, and this one introduces several intriguing concepts First, there is the variable sun that goes through a long on off cycle Second, there are the alien creatures living on a planet in the sun s system that have evolved to live through this cycle They are called spiders because they are short and have multiple limbs Then there are the Qeng Ho, a loosely organized human civilization whose culture is based on interstellar trading And finally, there are the emergents, a civilization of humans that have developed a technology named focus that enslaves individuals to do their bidding Yet another novel concept is the duration of space flights Now, probably appears in some other science fiction stories, but in this story it is a central feature People must go into hibernation in order to last the long durations of sub light speed space journeys So, there is always a clash between human lifetimes and the actual chronological time.What I thought was somewhat amusing was the psychology of the alien spiders While on the surface their appearance is so different from that of humans, from a psychological standpoint they are so similar The dialogues, the emotions, and the actions are so similar to humans Perhaps the only difference is their different attitude toward death, which seems to be imminent due to the dangers of the sun cycling down.This is a very long novel, and probably could have been somewhat shorter without losing much Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable science fiction thriller Certainly, if you are a fan of Vernor Vinge, you should read this book Actually, I didn t read this book I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Peter Larkin He does a good reading, with just enough inflections and accents to help recognize who is speaking. I was imagining a movie version while I was reading this one half of the movie would be animated and would feature adorable spider aliens love those aliens but I don t know what I d do with the other half, and the endless cycle of rape and mind control that happens to a particularly sympathetic character I don t think I d want that in my movie. I don t know about you, but I spend an inordinate amount of time meditating upon the far future of humanity I don t just worry about the future of my generation, or the future of the generation after mine, or the future of a couple of generations down the line I m talking one , ten , fifty thousand years into the future Will humanity still exist would we recognize it as humanity even if it does How many times between now and then will civilizations rise and fall Because if there s one constant across the depths of space and time, it s that nothing lasts forever Empires and republics alike crumble under the weight of corruption, stagnation, or the simple stress inherent in managing a civilization separated by light years If we don t find fancy physics or technology to cast off the shackles of the light speed barrier, we re looking at a very distorted, relativistic existence indeed It s this sort of realistic, hard science fiction that promises us no easy answers and makes me wonder if humans are really meant to live in space With A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge convinces me that he s a perfect example of that ethos.I liked A Fire Upon the Deep Taken together with this prequel, its title always reminds me of Smoke on the Water Fire in the sky As much as I liked A Fire Upon the Deep, its hard science fiction tropes never quite cohere, and the story and characterization suffer as a result In contrast, A Deepness in the Sky unifies some of the same tropes as well as new ones to create a compelling story and pathos for the plights of the characters.The ideological struggle between the remnants of the Qeng Ho and Emergent fleets is a ripe ground for observations on human society and attitudes toward power Tomas Nau is in many ways a moustache twirling villain, complete with the sadistic right hand minion Ritser Brughel and the indispensable trusted lieutenant Anne Reynolt He likes to be in control, to use people, like Qiwi Lisolet, and has no compunctions about lying or coercing when necessary However, he has depth than your ordinary Snidely Whiplash He doesn t think of himself as being evil, just as doing what s necessary to survive He is a product of Emergent society and its values, was raised from birth to be a ruthless and cunning Podmaster Vinge manages to make Tomas a believable antagonist, one whose defeat comes not from his own incompetence but from a combination of betrayal and skillful planning on the part of the protagonists.Speaking of protagonists, I like this Pham Nuwen much better than his clone in A Fire Upon the Deep Just as Tomas is a multi dimensional character, Pham isn t a paragon of goodliness Since Pham is in the fleet under an assumed name, Vinge milks the irony cow for all it s worth by having Tomas confess his admiration for the historical exploits of Pham Nuwen Indeed, as we learn from flashbacks and Pham s heavy ruminations, he has done things of which he is not proud And for Pham, the Emergent slavery known as Focus is a nigh irresistible lure, a promise that could fulfil Pham s dreams of a true Qeng Ho empire So Pham has his flaws, and he s lucky that he has an idealist like Ezr Vinh to keep him on the straight and narrow Because that s the difference between Pham Nuwen and Tomas Nau, despite Tomas own comparisons to the Pham Nuwen of Qeng Ho legend Pham knows when to give up his dreams and embrace something new.In between these two major characters are all sorts of minor allies and enemies and people of uncertain loyalty These are the fuel for a truly tense, suspenseful conflict The Qeng Ho, stuck under the thumb of Nau s Emergent control, do what they do best they slowly, inexorably wear down the stringent Emergent psyche, corrupting it with an underground market Thanks to an Emergent sneak attack early in the novel, both fleets have been crippled, and they need to work together to survive until the Spiders achieve the technological level necessary to repair their ships Humans are complex entities, however even though working together is a rational response to the crisis, it s not going to be easy Ezr, in particular, is incensed by the idea of Focus and chafes under the Emergent yoke.Focus is a tamed virus that increases the neurological connections in its victims brains, causing them to become very competent in one area, like linguistics, at the expense of most of their social and interpersonal skills It s a form of literal intellectual slavery, a substitute for the lack of high performance computing that s the legacy of living in the Slow Zone of the galaxy, where no artificial intelligence is possible Focus allows people to achieve remarkable breakthroughs, whether it s in translation or biomechanics however, as the name suggests, it results in a narrow minded expert obsessed with a single field of study This breaks the heart of Qiwi and Ezr, who have Focused loved ones, even as it fires up Pham s mind with the possibilities of what one could achieve, if one is willing to pay the price.Focus is just one of the medley of technological and social nova that Vinge introduces Often he is explicit in the consequences for society for example, the localizers offer the ability to achieve efficient distributed computing, but they might also result in a surveillance society Nevertheless, like other good science fiction authors, he still develops the society in an organic, natural manner We see the Qeng Ho and Emergents interact with their technology and draw our own conclusions about how it shapes their lives and s Even something like Focus can be controversial and subjective I ve been calling it slavery, but like Pham or Tomas, maybe another person might not see it that way There are always compromises when new technology pervades society, and that s one of the reasons science fiction is so useful and compelling.Vinge parallels this problem in the development of Spider society Their world is the sole planet in orbit of OnOff, a brown dwarf that enjoys 35 years of life giving brightness before dimming for 215 years hence its name So they have 35 year generations, each followed by the Dark, through which they hibernate in deepnesses As the Emergents and Qeng Ho arrive, that is about to change A brilliant scientist, Sherkaner Underhill, spurs a scientific renaissance that culminates in the Spiders staying awake through the Dark.We get a front row seat to the ensuing turmoil in the fractured Spider society The natural cycle of Brightness and Dark has had a profound effect on everything the Spiders do Children are conceived at the end of the cycle the Waning Years and grow to adulthood during the next Brightness Defying this custom results in oophase or out of phase children, who are ostracized and subject to pejorative stereotypes But now that the Spiders can live during the Dark, that, like a myriad other things, will have to change This results in a lengthy and tense conflict between the liberal Accord kingdom and the traditionalist Kindred, and this conflict culminates with mushroom clouds.The Spider characters mostly Underhill s brood, although Hrunkner Unnerby is a lovable old curmudgeon as well are quite entertaining The chapters presented from the Spider point of view make them seem so human, despite the references to eating hands and baby welts and paternal fur We watch Underhill s children, notorious for being oophase, grow up and mature One of them dies during a harrowing kidnapping, and it changes their dynamic forever Suddenly, they can t afford to be precocious innocents any They are soldiers, even if they aren t enlisted in the army yet, and they have to be prepared Underhill s family is at the centre of the same kind of social and political turmoil we ve seen so often in human society, particularly in this past century Technological advances allow us to do , whether it s in vitro fertilization or putting weapons in space There are always reactionary groups who want to stuff the technology back into its box, suppress it, get rid of it somehow But you can t Underhill summarizes this sentiment rather nicely when he talks about wanting to make invention the mother of necessity rather than the other way around innovations require social change And sometimes that hurts.There s a lot of hurt here Some of the characters, like Ezr or Qiwi, are probably safely labelled as good guys, but no one is squeaky clean A Deepness in the Sky is an utterly fascinating, sometimes chilling, always poignant book It has characters you can care about, conflicts that end in messy and flawed resolutions, and a sense of futility regarding the longevity of human societies tempered by the reassurance that, regardless of era, humans are as wonderful and surprising as they are selfish and destructive I don t know if we ll be Qeng Ho, or Emergents, or something completely different In all probability, if we last that long, we ll have experienced a little of everything No matter how much I try, I can t quite comprehend the time scales involved or the numbers of people who will live and die between my lifetime and Pham Nuwen s With Vernor Vinge and A Deepness in the Sky, however, I can come close And that s ultimately what great books do not only do they show us worlds we can imagine they show us worlds we can t. Vernor Vinge has hit a home run twice in a row A Deepness in the Sky had all the fantastic alienness mixed with human drama and far future sci fi awesomeness that made A Fire Upon the Deep one of my favorite SF novels ever I ve become a lot pickier about my sci fi, but A Deepness in the Sky has held up even better than the first book in the twelve years since it was written.At its heart is a conflict between two starfaring cultures the Qeng Ho, a culture of interstellar traders who take the long view and regard planetary civilizations as customers, and the Emergents, a tyrannical empire powered by the secret of Focus, a virus that turns people into super intelligent, docile slave minds The Qeng Ho and the Emergents arrive simultaneously at a strange star that flares into brilliance for a few decades and then goes dormant for centuries in a perfectly regular cycle.On the single planet orbiting the OnOff star is a race of spider like aliens who have evolved to live on this planet that is only inhabitable for a few decades out of every couple of centuries When the Qeng Ho and the Emergents arrive, the Spiders are dormant, frozen in their deepnesses, but when the star flares to life, they are poised to enter a modern technological age in the next generation.This three way contest, with Qeng Ho and Emergents fighting a bitter war with each other full of treachery and dashed hopes, while the fate of the Spiders hangs in the balance, makes for a compelling story all the way through to the end Vinge didn t drop the ball once, and he even made the Spiders relatable and interesting characters, so that the shift between human and Spider POV never annoyed me the way some books do when a interesting character s story is left hanging to shift to a less interesting one There is a whole raft of characters and you root or hiss for all of them The book was epic and fully self contained and one of the harder space operas out there, meaning it s mostly believable Vinge does not rely much on hand wavium to make his technology and plots work.Just plain awesome I give my highest recommendation for both this book and A Fire Upon the Deep. I had, it must be admitted, a hard time getting into this one I d pick it up and read a bit, but not make much real headway Partly it s because other books that people had on hold at the library came in, or I needed to blast something through to be ready for my book club These external factors, however, weren t all of it Once I finally did get into the book, I really enjoyed it.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook