Eldest, Christopher Paolini
Cyteen, C.J. Cherryh
So I ended up buying a copy of the 7th Harry Potter novel on Monday from Arundel Books - purely for research purposes, of course. You see, faintheart purchased the UK edition, and was going to lend it to me, but as I was passing Arundel on 1st Ave. I noticed they had a number of copies in the window, and were offering them at 20% off. So I seized the opportunity to support a local bookstore in the name of science, so we can compare the two editions and see if any extensive changes were made.
I finished reading it Tuesday morning at 3 a.m. I enjoyed it; it rounds out the series nicely. It struck me as a little rushed, and the battle scenes didn't really grab me, but that's an aspect of me, not the work. If it were my novel, I might have dropped the epilog, but I understand the reasons it is there - maybe even there in that particular form. Otherwise she hits her themes and characterizations remarkably well. (Almost too well for me, see below.)
My mom checked Eldest out of the library, and I have to confess that it caused me to do something I've never done before in my life, that I recall: skip to the end and skim around until I know how things end up, without actually finishing reading the entire book. I know it isn't an uncommon practice, but I usually just put my head down and bull on through. I couldn't do it here, though. It isn't a bad book, and again like its predecessor Eragon I really wanted to like it more than I did. Alas that it didn't work out.
Which brings me to a curmudgeonly conclusion that I've probably stated before, at least in part. My biggest problem with both Eldest and HP7 was in each case the protagonist acting exactly in character: being teenage boys, engaging in irritating and angst-ridden but utterly normal teenage behavior. I'm well aware it is a flaw in the reader not the material; I'm kind of sad at the moment to be so removed that I'm having trouble sympathizing with people going through young adulthood.
Cyteen was a re-read, actually a re-re-read (at minimum). If you have enough documentation on someone that you can raise a clone of them under circumstances that replicate as possible exactly the original person's formative years, how close to recreating the original personality can you come? Interesting exploration of that idea, plus the Union perspective of the Company wars. Not to mention an important bit of tie-in to 40,000 in Gehanna. Every time I've read Cyteen I've changed my mind about what actually happens in the core event that drives most of the action; it occurs 'off-screen' in a number of senses. I think this is my favorite Cherryh novel; I keep coming back to it.