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Phil's Rambling Rants

August 12th, 2008

August 12th, 2008
09:29 pm


Book review: Dragon and Liberator
Today's book review is Dragon and Liberator by Timothy Zahn.

This is the sixth and final book in the Dragonback series.  It relies heavily on background from the previous books; if you're going to read this series, start with book 1 (Dragon and Thief) and go in order.

This is a very fast-moving, action filled book and the plot has more twists than a bowl of rotini.  Through the series, I've come to care a fair bit about the protagonists, and I like how they've developed and where they end up.  In a straightforward YA adventure, if it's any good, you hope to be wondering how the good guys are going to get out of the latest mess, but it's rare to really wonder if they'll get out of it, and we do achieve that much tension.  On the minus side, more than one of the plot twists have a definite whiff of deus ex machina.  The earlier books in the series have some really nasty cliffhangers, and we come into this book with some very unimportant questions unanswered.  They are answered, and if there are a couple of places that strain the sense of disbelief, well, we need to remember just how nutty the Macguffin of the whole series is.

Anyone who's enjoyed the earlier books will definitely want to finish the series; it's probably the best, and it does tie up those nagging loose ends.  For anyone who hasn't started the series, as long as you're willing to swallow a seriously improbable premise for the sake of a good romp, it's recommended.  The moral messages that are a bit heavy handed at the start are more subtle, though still there.

8 out of 10.

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09:50 pm


Jim Sanderson interview
If you're at all interested in a fascinating look at field research on critically endangered species, or if you'd like to read about the most amazing scientist I've ever actually met face to face, go check out this interview with Dr. Jim Sanderson.  If you're willing to read a long article, skip the first couple of screens and start at the heading "AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. JIM SANDERSON"; the first page is highlight quotes from the longer part.

Jim does field research in literally the remotest places on the planet on several species of small wild felines that were so overlooked by science that nothing was known about their ecology until he went and discovered it.

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