Book 1: Ann Leckie’s Provenance.
An award-winning author, and glowing reviews for the book. But I’m 116 pages in and nothing much has happened, nothing interesting has been said, no interesting places have been described, and there are no signs that the next chapter will be any better.

Worst of all, the main character is neither interesting nor believable. She’s supposed to be the adopted child of a brilliant, powerful politician – her mother’s competent helper, experienced in organizing events and knowledgeable in politics. She is supposed to be coming up with something clever to gain her mother’s attention and approval. And yet she is as naive and gullible as an adult can possibly be. She believes everything that others tell her, and tells them nearly all she thinks. Which isn’t much. She never thinks two steps ahead, barely one in fact. She dithers and hesitates, then acts impulsively; she cannot control her emotions and starts crying in public. She is annoying and not the least bit impressive.

Book 2: Sylvain Neuvel’s Waking Gods.
This is part two of a trilogy that was kicked off by Sleeping Giants.

Sleeping Giants was pretty good. It had an interesting premise – a giant metal hand is found, buried underground, and then more body parts, and they were clearly not made by humans. The story was told in an interesting way, mostly as transcripts of meetings, interviews, radio traffic etc.

On the surface, the second book is similar, but somehow it’s lacking something. Maybe the novelty of the transcript format wore off. Perhaps it’s because we hear less of and about the key characters, whom I quite enjoyed. Perhaps it’s because the story delivers much more death and much less discovery.