Book Reviews 2004 (17-18)

This time I am going to be talking about John Barnes’ A PRINCESS OF THE AERIE, and a book given to me (and reviewed) by Ginger, 1688: A GLOBAL HISTORY, by John E. Willis Jr.


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A Princess of the Aerie, by John Barnes

This is the second book in the Jak Jinnaka series, revolving around a 36th century teenager who winds up in matters mercenary and espionage. Knowledge of the first book is helpful but not necessary, as Barnes plunges us right into the action.
Like I suggested when I reviewed The Duke of Uranium, this reads a lot like a modern Heinlein juvenile. It’s a lot more prurient, though, but a rollicking good read. You should read Duke, first, before plunging into Princess. It helps explain why the villain is so dangerous to Jak, and helps show how the relationships Jak has with Sesh/Shyf, Dujuv and Shadow got to the point that we find them in this book.
Recommended.



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1688: A Global History, by John Willis

I basically concur with much that Ginger mentions in her own review. Its a tasty stew for the dabbler in history but it does suffer from being a little too abrupt and in too-small portions.
Still, the breadth in space of the scenes and locales, as well as their diversity makes for fine reading, ranging from the Glorious Revolution to French explorers…in Texas. I learned quite a bit from this tome, and loved the connections I could make to stuff I already knew–like the story of Jesuits in China tied into my reading The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci a while back.
Recommended.