I like chicken. Put a nice juicy cut of poultry before me and I will be your best friend for life. The thing is, even though I love chicken, I can't eat it by itself. Although I love it, I have rules, restrictions, certain ways things have to be done for me to willingly eat the chicken. It needs certain spices, or I need a dipping sauce, or it needs to be served with certain other things.
But one type of chicken defies all of my poultry-oriented rules and gets away with it. Beer battered chicken.
I can eat the stuff plain, with no sauce or anything to go with it. I can eat it hot, I can eat it cold. It's like the messiah of chicken.
And if sci-fi is like chicken (for me it is) then this book is beer battered chicken.
Nenia has been one of my go-to reviewers for months now. If I'm going to read a book, her review can either seal the deal, or make sure I never go near the thing, even with a ten foot pole. So naturally, I really wanted to like this. And I had high expectations.
Now, like I said, Sci-fi is like chicken for me. Whereas I like my chicken with barbecue or ranch sauce, I like my sci-fi to be served up a certain way as well. I like my main characters to be human, or at least partially human. And I typically like a certain type of science to be used. I really really like giant robots.
(This book delivered on that bit, actually. With a wonderfully enraged giant metal dragon. That scene was amazeballs.)
But the thing is, for the most part, this book is not the type of sci-fi that I like. New, alien races? Cool from the outside, but using an alien as the narrator? Not my thing, really. Using names I find hard to pronounce and presenting me with new cultures that could be hard to grasp? No thanks.
But this book slapped me in the face and said Look, ignorant human! Look at what you're missing out on!
Something about the first story reeled me in, and made me keep reading, and by then I couldn't stop. The idea of not finishing wasn't even being entertained. This book was beer battered chicken. And I knew it.
So here't the deal: Nenia can write humor really well. So I was laughing at some of the awkwardness in the first story between the two characters present, because they were so strange and foreign to me--and, I could tell--to each other. It was cute, it was awkward. It was fun. Which is why I never expected the carnage that would come later. Because it turns out Nenia isn't just funny: she's merciless.
It's a really good thing I grew up on horror flicks, so I'm mostly desensitized to things like this, or I might be scarred for life. And the only book that's ever managed to truly scar me for life is American Psycho. Granted, that was also a horribly written piece of shit that wasn't worth it in the first place, but this book is. The gore was balanced with great storytelling a humor, and it was fun realizing what fairy-tales I was reading.
If you like sci-fi, picking this up should be a no-brainer. If you are, however, a picky, reluctant twerp such as myself, I'll tell you right now that you need to throw away your reservations and read Wishing Stars.
Also, can I just say: B A S T I O N.
I don't care if he is an Alien, he's at least humanoid, and I would marry him in a heartbeat. He made me laugh every few seconds, and when he pinned the aliens tongue down with a fork, I was ready to cry with laughter. I literally was clutching my sides. Also, Bastion's back story with his past loves made me sad.
So, yeah. I'm a pretty emotionally detached reader, but this gave me a whole slew of emotions to deal with. I'm definitely reading more from Nenia in the future.
And now for something extra:
I swear, I'll never forget what was possibly my favorite part of the book, but was also the part that made me cringe and go "ughhhawww" and jump off the bed to pace around the room nervously--what happened to the sun queen.
No I am not one to get nauseous easily, but the moment you start talking bout muscles and tendons is the moment I throw up. Still, it was great for dramatic affect. Also I made myself laugh imagined her zombie-self going in for a manicure. "Oh darling don't worry about it, just prop my hand up with that wooden block! Don't mind my exposed tendon just give me the regular buff and polish!"
Wow. Review to come, if I don't faint from the gore of the last story first.