My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Review: House of Open Wounds

House of Open Wounds House of Open Wounds by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Tyrant Philosophers Series
Previous Review of City of Last Chances

Although this is the second of the series, it can easily stand alone; however, given the rich and detailed world-building on top of what we find in the first book, I would still recommend reading them in order. In addition, there are a couple of characters carried over … a former priest of God and God himself, a grouchy healing deity who constantly berates his former priest … who, having [partially] abrogated his religous vows, is suddenly is able to see all gods. This prompts him to try and smuggle what is left of them away from the Palleseen Sway and its army of logic and reason that is fighting to suppress all superstition and piety in its pursuit of perfection … only the be captured and pressed into service as a foreign auxiliary in an experimental field hospital for the Palleseen army. The nod to the TV show MASH is so obvious this comparison can be found in nearly every review for this book. Apparently the inexorable of reason and perfection was able to pause, at least momentarily, to the practicality of results from a misfit collection of divine healing, necromantic arts, demonic sorcerers, petty grifters … until “Maric Jack” bring his coterie of fading deities that he was trying to smuggle out and completely disrupts the “orderly” conduct of the army with his unpredictable healing god who demands complete pacificity from those graced with his healing power … something that is anathema to a soldier’s lot in life.

Okay … so … like the previous book, the dystopian world-building is some of the best that I have ever encountered and feels so real that you can easily place yourself in the story … which is fortunately, because the buildup is sooooo slooooow that the only thing that kept me coming back to pickup the book again and again for the first half of the story was this and the incredibly beautify prose (I really enjoy how Tchaikovsky plays with language here). There is just not a lot of action and the cast of characters were hard for me to like much … I didn’t hate them, but they just didn’t have anything I could easily identify with. It picks up nicely on the back nine though and I was able to push through that in just a few sittings and was able to better appreciate the long buildup (it was worth it) and I thought that the ending absolutely fantastic.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#HouseofOpenWounds #TheTyrantPhilosophers #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.