What is the book about?
Abbadon's Gate continues the story of the Expanse (see Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War) and the story of James Holden and his crew. The story picks up some time after the events of Caliban's War when Holden is having visions of the agent Miller, who was infected with an alien proto-molecule and presumably died.
Cast of Characters:
In both Leviathan Wakes and Caliban's War, readers are introduced to new characters who play major roles in the story. This book is no different. While readers get characters they know in Holden, Naomi, Amos, Alex, and even Miller, we're also introduced to a host of new characters--furthermore many of the essential characters in Caliban's War do not make an appearance in this book.
The premise is one of exploration. A wormhole has been created by the proto-molecule that crash landed on venus and the different warring factions natural must go through this wormhole to find out what is on the other side. But this is just the beginning.
How does it do as the third book in a series?
It does fine. I felt the same way about this book as I did Caliban's War, it is about 200 pages too long, as it's over 500 in all. For the amount of distance the plot and characters move, it seems as though there are just too many pages. When I finished it I thought about the events that took place and there just wasn't that much. There's a lot of character development and stuff that is interesting, but it's mostly for new characters--ones I don't know if I'll see again.
Who will enjoy this book?
If you've enjoyed the previous two books you'll want to know what happens to Holden and his crew. The first in the series is still by far the best. I might go on to read book four but I need a break from the genre for a bit.
Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami is, on the surface, about a young boy who runs away from home to figure out his life. While he's gone his father is murdered by an old man. And that's when things get really weird.
Who are the characters?
Kafka Tamura is one of two protagonists, but there are a collection of other prominent characters, and as this book is written in the omniscient PoV, the narration swoops in and out of character's head often.
Kafka is 15, and has an alter-ego named Crow, or, "the boy named Crow." Kafka is actually the Czech word for crow--so there's a connection there.
Nakata is an old, 50s something guy who fell into a coma when he was young and lost his mind. He cannot read or write, doesn't understand past and future, and is just a really strange guy--he talks a lot in third person. Despite all this, he can, for some reason, talk to cats and has made extra money by finding stray cats.
Oshima is in his mid-20s and works at a famous library. He befriends Kafka, but I'll leave it at that, as he's one of the most interesting characters and I wouldn't want to deprive you of the joy of meeting him.
Kafka leaves home to figure out his life. Along the way he meets a young girl named Sakura. One day he wakes up covered in blood, but he can't recall why. At the same time, Nakata, the old man, searches for a cat which leads him to a man's how. The man is killing cats and shopping of their heads. Nakata kills this man--and this is just the beginning. Nakata then goes on a search to find his mind and identity, just as Kafka is doing, though not through a physical journey.
What is the deeper meaning of this book?
This book is an exploration and discovery of the self. It constantly asks characters and its readers, who are we? Why are we? and, why do we do the things we do? This book plumbs philosophy rarely seen within fiction, in an accessible way that expands the world. This book reaches down, underneath the reality we think we share and takes a look at our frail our individual minds truly are.
Who will like this book?
Anyone who's read A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, will like this book. Readers who enjoyed Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, as well. While it deals with similar concepts of morality and ethics, it approaches these concepts a little more head on.
Forest Mage by Robin Hobb is the second book in the Soldier Sun Trilogy. It deals with subjects rarely seen in the fantasy genre and for this it gets some extra points.
What Is The Book About?
Forest Mage continues the story of Navare Burvell, the second son of a New Nobel. The culture he is born into proclaims that the second son is a soldier proclaimed by the "Good God," and much of Navare's struggles are based in the destiny others, a culture and religion has set for him, rather than the one he sets for himself. The book dives into many contemporary issues such as fat shaming, eating disorders, self worth, and most of all, destiny/the lack thereof.
Who Are The Main Characters?
Navare is the narrator, and much of this book he spends alone. The reader gets a lot of ideas from Navare, about how the world works and his place in it, and other main characters are fleeting at times. However, Amnsell is a woman he meets along the road, and she illustrates the ways in which people will yearn for survival. Spink is back from the first book, as is Navare's precocious cousin, Epany. Some new characters are also added in, but revealing them would ruin the plot for many.
(Spoiler From First Book) Plot:
The first book in this series, Shaman's Crossing, ends when Navare and Epany save the academy and city from a Spek plague. The obvious place for the second book to go, would have been for Navare to continue his schooling at the academy to become a Cavala man. However, within the first couple chapters, Navare is expelled from the academy due to the fact that he has gained much weight. This is strange, as he had fallen sick with plauge and all other people who had, were wisps of their former selves, yet Navare gains wait with each day and becomes exceedingly fat. When he arrives home his father tries to imprison him and force him to loose weight, but the weight is a magic manifestation and will not go away. Navare eventually flees his father and seeks a life for himself.
Who Will Like This Book?
Anyone who wants a fantasy series that doesn't seem like a rehash of western Europe will find interest in this series. If you've read the first book, I'd say it's worth continuing the story, as it doesn't go the way you may think. If you like stories of the wild frontier, this is also a good book for you, but read the first in the series before this one.