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The Phantom in the Deep (Rooks Song Book 1)

Maybe it is intentional, but it certainly does the book no favours. The politics that abound through much of the book mean that a similarly sized portion of the novel is given over to endless info spurts, and exposition is spread liberally all over the page. This is rarely the greatest foundation on which to build a book, and it certainly feels at times that Rook Song has been padded out with a great deal of unnecessary political posturing to hammer home the fact that its characters exist in a highly volatile situation.

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A perfect example of this comes when an emergency diplomatic meeting is called:. It goes on like this, the whole chapter devoted to info dumps, and the novel's first two hundred or so pages suffering from a bit of Phantom Menace -itis. A case in point is the Asar chapters.

A deafblind "seer" who, while pivotal in the story itself, brings nothing to the story in his own voice, one of Asar's chapters is almost comical, with its words shaped into a penis, or "big hard finger" as Asar calls it, for no apparent reason at all. Again, these are chapters that could have easily been lopped off for a much less disjointed read: Thankfully, the action picks up once Astra is let out of the compound and starts searching for her estranged father.

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The most interesting thread in the book, however, is the slow building tension between the Is-land military, particularly the sec-gens—the generation that did receive the security shots—and the Non-land rebels, the Youth Action Collective led by a young beat poet called Enki Arrakia. In a sharp contrast to the gentleness found in the first book and the slow build of Rook Song 's first third, the events that unfold between the sec-gens and the rebel group are horrific, with Foyle refusing to sugar-coat any of the war scenes.

In fact, thanks to the sec-gens berserker gene, they actually become capable of actions which tip things over the edge into horror porn. Towards the end of the book they have an orgy while devouring a member of the rebel group:. How dare it insult them? Who bit the thing first? He didn't know but someone squeezed its tit, clamped a mouth round the rocketing nipple, tore back, mouth black with blood. The thing was gone, nothing but a few scraps strewn all over the soil.

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This can only be included as an amplified metaphor for the horrors of war and how young people are brainwashed into following a government's manifesto no matter what; and it certainly hits all the right shock buttons to make you sit up and take notice. One of the main themes that runs through both books is sex, and in the case of the sec-gens it is used to show them reverting to their animal state—although they see it as simply taking their society's free-thinking attitudes to sex to extremes.

In the third book of the series, The Blood of the Hoopoe , however, the theme of sex becomes even more sinister for the sec-gens, particularly in the case of Astra's shelter brother Peat, who falls under the thrall of his commanding officer, Clay Odinson, who can seem horribly out of place.

Whereas other characters are subtle, for Odinson Foyle seems to have broken out the big, thick neon pens and written: Such is the junior officer's enforced loyalty at this point that he accepts this humiliation, wants it, and will do anything to get it. In Astra's story, however, sex remains pure: Astra gets caught up in the war elsewhere when she makes friends with Uttu, one of her workmates in the laundry. She goes and visits her family, then later returns to find the sec-gens have ransacked the house and killed Astra's friend and captured most of the family, leaving only Muzi: As her relationship with Muzi develops, the sex they indulge in, although Astra at first sees it as a natural but ultimately common thing due to her upbringing in Is-Land, becomes a more intimate experience than she expects.

Perhaps this renewed focus results from a reduction in the number of relevant characters in Hoopoe: Astra and Muzi are the main focus, with Peat and Enki being the principal secondary characters. This reduction makes for a much smoother read, which is not to say Foyle ceases to challenge.

Strange Horizons - Rook Song and The Blood of the Hoopoe by Naomi Foyle By Mark Granger

What continues to make the novel ever more horrific, but reflects what must go through some soldiers' heads, is the normality with which the sec-gens and the rebels talk about the things they see and do. When a sec-gen refers to the murder of Muzi's grandmother they are reassured that it was normal, and, when the rebels manage to decapitate some of the sec-gens, the man who does so is held up as a hero and the heads are held hostage, displayed on spikes. In Hoopoe , however, Foyle changes the emphasis and focuses more on the characters' relationships.

The main thread of the book is her search for her father, as she makes contact with her shelter sister, Lilutu, for clues and ultimately sets out on her journey with Muzi at the end of the book, a journey we rejoin and follow in Hoopoe. The refocusing of Hoopoe transitions this slightly stalled story into a much more engaging format, and the characters once more take the limelight, becoming infinitely more interesting than the political background.

One character at the heart of Hoopoe , however, does not help. This is Gaia herself, or more specifically the animals that Astra encounters on her journey—with which she finds herself able to communicate, and which warn her of the dangers the human race are hurtling towards. They lay out Astra's mission, as the embodiment of Istar, and it is here that Hoopoe does lose its way a little, or maybe takes its first turn towards what the actual destination of the Gaia Chronicles is to be. It is the first major tonal shift that the series takes, away from the coming-of-age story in the first book, the political machinations of Rook Song, even the complex relationship stories that flow through much of Hoopoe.

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It might be too high-level for English as a second language readers, or readers of generally easier texts. Where I felt the book was let down was: The slower start this was always going to be difficult, especially when there is only one character in the depths of space on his own 2. The long instances of inner reflection of both Rook and the Cerebs 3. Despite these points, I enjoyed the story. It was rather unique and I can certainly appreciate the level of research and time that would have gone into creating a more accurate representation of the science within this sci-fi story.

The ending, well that certainly was worth the wait. Where the beginning was a little slow and, dare I say it, boring… the ending was anything but. It provided a creative and exciting closure to a complex story, but also allowing for a continuation for book 2. Very difficult, but well handled. This would have gotten 3. A few things I noticed: Oct 22, Daniel Clark rated it it was amazing.

Huskins did a great job with this post-apocalyptic world, the whole book occurring in space. It's a great underdog story. Also, he somehow was able to soundtrack the book, by including songs here and there which were very appropriate in their lyrics and tone if you know the songs, you start the playback in your head as you read.

Reading a great book like this, which is also Huskins did a great job with this post-apocalyptic world, the whole book occurring in space. Reading a great book like this, which is also little-known, makes me think: I keep trying to find good classics which by definition means they're also popular , but every once in a while I stumble upon a great work that is definitely not in the canon of classics, as this one isn't yet!

PG for some violence and some swearing Jul 09, Norm Hamilton rated it really liked it. This book was reminiscent of , A Space Odyssey for me Chad Huskins has created a future world that is believable and palpable. The reader gets into the psyche of the characters and empathizes with those the reader feels most alignment with. His story reflects much of what many of us fear will be our future and has prose and dialogue that takes us from page to page; ever seeking the next piece of information and excitement.

I highly recommend this book.


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Aug 06, Brooks rated it really liked it. I rate this PG or maybe just barely PG13 due to violence and swearing. There are swear words, mostly the d word, a few h words, one b word, and one a word. It is somewhat violent, but I have seen more violent pg shows. It is somewhat morbid in a few instances. There is no sensuality at all.

If you enjoy chess, it will help you enjoy the book a lot more. It is told from a very unique perspective. Jun 07, Richard Doss rated it it was amazing. Ghosts The story starts out slowly. It is told from the viewpoint of ghosts that survey the characters and their lives and how they function. The story picks up the pace about halfway through and keeps accelerating to the climax. I now want to dust off the old chess board and start playing again. No telling when it will come in handy. Jun 11, Norma Reasor rated it it was amazing.

Good Even though I don't particularly like this style of writing, this is a good, solid science fiction novel. It is written in present tense as by a narrator leading an invisible tour group, as in ghosts. There is only one human left alive in all of space, and he will die in order to defeat his enemy. Jun 28, Al rated it really liked it. I liked the action and the self-talk. The writing was suspenseful. At times there were errors in past tense of words, and some eliminated words made for an odd flow of reading.

Maybe find a better proof reader! Jun 10, Bill rated it it was amazing. Music for the mind. I wasn't sure about this book to start with.

It soon flowered and became a beautiful construct of heroic writing. I enjoyed it and look forward to more. Jun 02, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: I enjoyed this book and I hope that rook finds some other survivors. Babette rated it it was amazing Dec 07, Michael Wampole rated it really liked it Dec 23, Nikhil Reddy rated it it was amazing May 13, Oren rated it liked it Aug 01, Daniel Fernandez rated it it was amazing Jul 20, Jeff Sittler rated it really liked it Apr 21, Alex rated it liked it Aug 20, Bob Robins rated it it was amazing Jan 04, Roy rated it it was amazing Jul 12,