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Book Chat #78 – Books By Carysa Locke, Kazuo Ishiguro, Blake Crouch, and John Scalzi

I've got another four recently read books for you today! I've really enjoyed getting a lot of reading done this year. I hope to continue this next year too.

Healer Heart by Carysa Locke (ebook)

Healer Heart is a part of the Pets in Space 7 anthology, but I read this prior to release since Carysa and I are pals. It was good to get back into her Telepathic Space Pirates universe and see some more of Nayla, the psychic healer, and her work with the planet of Killers. This is a dirty job but someone has to do it. Lol. I liked the adventure and mission of the story and how the action kept going to the end. The tension between Nayla and Sevan was electric, and I loved how the story resolved. Another great story from Locke!

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (hardback)

I wanted to love this book. I mean, what could go wrong, right? Ishiguro, writing another interesting dystopian world, this time from the perspective of a humanoid robot? I really expected a lot more. But, like Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro only hints at the world his characters live in. We are left wondering about a lot of the story's little plot points, why people are the way they are, why society is like this. The only thing he gives us is a glimpse at life from the perspective of an android who knows very little. He also leaves a lot of promises unfulfilled. There are a few plot points that come and go, just peter out without resolving, and they left me feeling meh and disappointed. I did read this all the way through to the end because I wanted to know what happens to Klara, the artificial friend. But I probably could have stopped a lot sooner since her life had no real resolution either. Beautiful writing, though. His books always make me appreciate how the English language can be sparse yet powerful.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch (ebook)

This was another solid story from Crouch set in a near-future world where gene editing has become the norm and then outlawed when it runs amok. I enjoyed this one as much as his earlier books, Dark Matter and Recursion. Sometimes the technical lingo of gene science made my eyes glaze over, but I quickly realized that none of it was important enough to understand the actual story. I especially liked the twists and turns, things I didn't see coming. And the book had a satisfying ending as well. It took me a little while to get through it because the middle dragged on a bit, but it didn't stop me from finishing. I'm looking forward to whatever he writes next!

Travel By Bullet by John Scalzi (audiobook, Audible exclusive)

I really love the Dispatcher series and this one was a good story that kept me listening on every walk. As usual, there's a mystery that involves Tony, the Dispatcher who seems to have more common sense than everyone around him. This story had a lot of newer tech in it like crypto so it felt very NOW, even if it is near-future. I didn't figure out the mystery before Tony did, always a plus in my eyes. And per usual, John Scalzi's wit and sarcasm made me laugh out loud several times. Zachary Quinto is such a great narrator. I really love his work.

And that's it for this Book Chat! I'll be back with more in a few weeks.

S. J. Pajonas