Profile for Yiwei Sun > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Yiwei Sun
Top Reviewer Ranking: 475,611
Helpful Votes: 4

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Yiwei Sun

Page: 1 | 2
pixel
The Neutronium Alchemist: Part I - Consolidation
The Neutronium Alchemist: Part I - Consolidation
by Peter F. Hamilton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Space Opera with a twist, a reality dysfunction twist, Jan. 25 2003
I have the benefit, or the detriment, of reading this book without having access to the first two in the series. It was a benefit because I was right in the action and knew roughly what was going on from tidbits I picked up about the previous two books. So I was anxious to know what happened with Mzu and was curious about what the title meant.
This book is complex, even with my experience at untangling plot lines, this was a broad and deep galaxy to read about. The number of viewpoints are astounding. Every person has their own little short story that connects and then diverges. It brings to mind that of a fractal image. The one weakness I must point out is that it jumps view points so quickly and numerously, that sometimes you will become annoyed that it isn't more continuous. If you get can get over that hump, then the rest of the story should suit you fine.
The Neutronium Alchemist begins with Consolidation. The newly possessed argue among themselves about what they should do and how they should do it. While the Confederation strives to contain the "infection" and learn more about it. The two main protagonist and antagonist are the Confederation and Al Capone's "organization". Amidst this backdrop of conflict, there are numerous neutral and not so neutral characters and sub entities. The struggle for Valisk, the escape from Norfolk, and other viewpoints which seek to enlighten you about the every day life of the citizens of the Confederation.
The next part culminates in the use of the Alchemist as you might have guessed.

March to the Stars
March to the Stars
by David Weber
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from CDN$ 1.87

4.0 out of 5 stars The March Series, Jan. 8 2003
This review is from: March to the Stars (Hardcover)
There are reasons to read this book and then there are reasons not to read this book. If you, like me, thought the first two books of this series was some of the greatest sci-fi you have ever read, then you might be disappointed at reading this book. The March series, for now, is scheduled to be part of a 7 book series, which you no doubt knew roughly since Weber is given to writing a fuller universe than is present in March Upcountry. Given that knowledge, this book is more of a conclusion, a bitter conclusion, but still a conclusion to the battles fought on Marduk.
This novel serves the purpose of introducing the problems Roger will face when he tries to leave Marduk. Which was expected of course, just not the depth of those problems which came as a surprise for me. Rather a bitter, twangy, and sweet surprise. You will not see Roger "grow" as he grew in March Upcountry or March to the Sea. However, you will see Roger experience factors which will cause him to grow, because if he doesn't grow the consequences are rather unpleasant.
The sea voyage will be new and refreshing but after that things become more twisted. The land campaign is plagued with complexities of security and planning. Hard enough to fight natives who outnumber you, but add the spaceport to the mix and things start getting ugly.
So... If you want to continue this series or just want to know the end of the time spent on Marduk with an adequate sense of completion, then read the book. If you want to see Roger become more than he is at the moment, then you'll have to wait for the next book or books in the series. If you want to see Roger's romance develop into marriage, don't count on it buddy. Now that you know everything you need to know before reading the book, decide on whether it is worth it to you to read it.

In the Heart of Darkness
In the Heart of Darkness
by Eric Flint David Drake
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "Deadly with his mind is Belisarius", Jan. 6 2003
This book and its series is the achime of military sci-fi. It broadens the scope of battle beyond mere skirmishes and brings it into the full context of inter-continental warfare with a Roman era technological base that is further enhanced by a living intelligence from the future, with all the knowledge that represents. It is the mix of the old and the new, the profound and the pragmatic, and finally the just and the unjust. This is a book about evil men and their weaknesses just as it is about General Belisarius and his ability to command. This book and its series differentiate the exact facets of what makes your enemy tick and how you can use that knowledge to your advantage and your enemies' disadvantage. It logically and consistently combines such military maxims as "Peace through superior firepower", "Taking an enemy intact without a fight is the achime of battle", "The First rule of battle is that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy", and "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".
The battle with the Malwa have almost reached its head. This story features the conclusion of the Byzantine politics in Rome, for better or for worse. Every facets that Belisarius can gather is being readied for the war with Malwa. Belisarius has succeeded in his "Oblique Approach" and has set up the environment necessary to beat his enemy into obliteration. The next step will be taken by Malwa, in the "Destiny's Shield".

An Oblique Approach (Belisarius)
An Oblique Approach (Belisarius)
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "Deadly with a sword is Belisarius", Jan. 6 2003
I first came upon this book when I saw it featured in the free library at the Baen website along with its sister books, "Heart of Darkness" and "Destiny's Shield". Since it was free I took a gander and was immediately hooked. The first book effectively introduces a mystery of grand proportions. In the world of 6th century Rome, Belisarius is a character that is not what we would expect of a Roman general. We expect ruthlessness and atrocities and looting, all the characteristics of a barbaric time in our history. However, what I saw was something which I could truly admire and respect. Belisarius has a fiendish mind for strategy and tactics, combined with that gift is a high code of honor and ethics. He will not stand helplessly and watch evil being committed in his world. He will not "compromise" with his lessors. And he definitly will not be defeated by a bunch of "savages" from India. Read the book based upon Belisarius' character alone. Fortunatly that's not all the reasons why you should read it.
The story is set in authentic historical context in the time of Justinia, Emperor of Rome. However, future is melded into the past. A device of unfathomable complexity and intelligence is sent from the future to protect history. It chooses Belisarius as its sole avatar. Belisarius will see the future and the possible future that will be, if he does not act. That future results in a world aflame with agony, and Belisarius will do whatever in his power to prevent that future to exist. Whatever it takes, he will do, and he will do it with the same standards of decency, honor, and ruthlessness as he has defeated all his enemies with. Belisarius will bring into being weapons powered by gunpowder, rockets and grenades that shatter human flesh. Technologies of the future will be retrofitted to fit with the technological base of Rome. The enemy, indeed the enemy of all civilization, the barbarians will meet their match. The barbarians have numerical superiority but their ethics allow them only to use numbers and not elite troops like the Roman's cataphracts. Eric Flint brings his own wry humor into the mix, that is also a reason to read the book. The enemy will be brought down by brilliantly described combat but the dialogue of the characters will show wit, humor, and intelligence to the reader. Absolutely one of the most enjoyable series I have ever read. The series will span the war with the Malwa barbarians, this book will feature the beginnings of that war.

MARCH TO THE SEA
MARCH TO THE SEA
by DAVID WEBER
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.69
66 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I hope I can stay on this vocation planet forever!, Jan. 1 2003
The above statement is not something that Roger and company would be glad to hear. In fact they might just tear your head off for saying it in their presence. Marduk is hell. The temperature goes from really hot (110F) to really cold. It is filled with four-armed Mardukans who are savages and Mardukans who are at least slightly civilized. Then there are the savages who pretend they are civilized. All in all, not a world that Prince Roger Heir Tertiary to the Empire of Man would have preferred to be stuck on. This is the second book of the series and continues where the first left off. Roger and his steadily dwindling marine bodyguards have crossed the mountains in the middle of the continent. Now they must journey "to the sea". As they get close to their objective, they meet with increased hostility and increased level of technology. This will test Roger's leadership ability as he trains the Mardukans themselves to fight for their cities.
Roger and his bodyguards are in a race against time, entropy, and casualties. Their vitamin and protein supplements are dwindling, their ammo is almost used up, and little by little Roger loses the friends he has made in his Company.
The final battles will be faught for something we all are familiar with, freedom. Freedom of expression and freedom of the pursuit of individual happiness. Except it will not be humans who will carry the fight, rather it will be the Mardukans themselves. Yes, the mucus covered savages have something similar to the United States and if they don't fight those barbarians off, Roger will be unable to cross the Great Sea and will eventually starve.
Roger continues to exemplify his leadership skills and continues to learn. Once this book ends, the journey will have one more leg to travel before Prince Roger is sent into the stars from which he was born and dazzles all who thought they knew him.

MARCH UPCOUNTRY
MARCH UPCOUNTRY
by David Weber
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.56
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars More than the sum of its authors., Jan. 1 2003
I checked out this book solely based upon name recognition, Weber's name specifically. In retrospect, I would consider my choice a good one. The basic concepts that I looked forward from Weber, e.g. character development, integrity, honor, courage, ethics, determination, and emotion, were present in the protagonists. The military maxims used in this book are the same as the ones used in Weber and Ringo's books. This book, and consequently the future series, combines the strengths of both authors to create a work that none alone could have achieved.
This book can be categorized as an "adventure with sci-fi themes". Which means that the heroes will be enmeshed in local politics with no way to get home and have to use the "Peace through superior firepower maxim" through powered armor and energy weapons vs black powder firearms. The main character, Prince Roger, is a rather complex singularity in himself. This dude, is Heir Tertiary to the Empire of Man, which I can only guess at is one of a few galactic empires. The politics resemble The People's Republic of Haven, e.g. backstabbing, power plays, uprisings, chaotic controls, etc. Roger however is not cut out of the same cloth as the Empress. He is more accurately compared to those liberal aristocrats that get in the way of the military, the same military that is protecting everyone in the Empire. He acts like a spoiled child who wants attention. Out of this rough diamond stone, is a potential for greatness. Whether he survives the process remains to be seen.
The first part of the story highlights Weber's distinct touch. It classifies the rules of space combat in that particular universe. Something happens on Roger's assault transport and they have to fight off some enemies. The engagement is very reminiscent of skirmishes in Honor Harrington. This is opposite that of John Ringo's works. He only obliquely describes military naval engagements in his "6 billion Humans vs 6 trillion X 10 to the power 5 aliens" universe. Ringo's strength is that he has lived the life of an infrantry grunt. Therefore his writing reflects his ground pounder history. He has a flare for writing about power armor and plasma weapons. His theme is high quality, low quantity, superior mind vs low quality, high quantity, inferior mind. Which is similar to Weber's numerically superior Peeps vs the technologically superior Manticorans. The ideologies of the two writers fit together to create a series which features the Marine side and the Navy side. Once they get off the planet in Book 3, the politics of Weber starts.

Mantle of Kendis-Dai
Mantle of Kendis-Dai
by Margaret Weis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A grand tale of power, betrayal, and ancient legends, Dec 30 2002
This book opens up a new universe in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. It begins a series that seeks to combine the best tenets of science and technology with the absolute power of sorcery and magic. It paints a picture of a dynamic universe, a universe that is not filled with the same "stuff" as we would like to believe. The story begins with one of the main protagonists of the story, a strong woman character of the Omnet.
This book tells of her life as she sought to correct mistakes told in the first chapters of the book. In enters the second of the two protagonists, Jeremy Griffiths. A replacement astronaut for the first FTL space voyage that humanity has sent to the stars. They were hopeful to just collect "bacterial samples". Obviously they took a bigger bite than they intended since plutonium isn't radioactive in one of the areas they passed through. You will have a grand time as Griffiths is faced with the command of the mission and his ascendance to something more than he bargained for. Because at the end, their voyage will lead to the Mantel of Kendis-dai, a long ago legendary artifact of the greatest Empire in the galaxy, an empire headed by a human Emperor with 3 absolutely powerful artifacts. The Mantle to give wisdom and knowledge, the Nightsword to shape the universe to the user's will, and the Starshield to create peace throughout the galaxy. These sound like mere artifacts, but this is the new galaxy we are talking about. And in the new galaxy, where magic and technology exist side by side and layer on layer, legends are real.

Nightsword: A Starshield Novel
Nightsword: A Starshield Novel
by Margaret Weis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A unique gem of unknown number of facets, Dec 30 2002
The first Starshield novel introduced us to a galaxy that was beyond our wildest imaginations, literally. Fantasy stories that have come close to integrating technology into the story line is such stories as the Darkover novels. But, even Darkover used psionics and crystal lattice technology. This new "Starshield" universe is one that starts out with a bang that is followed by the sonic boom in its wake. It integrates the principles of "mysticism" and "technology" to create a universe that is at once both magical and technological. In this world, you can have the technologically savy spy and also have the great sorcerer in the same person. Combining the aspects of fantasy adventure with the grand space fleets of space opera. This is a collaborative book and somehow I think that the authors used everything they learned from their previous 9 book series, "The Death Gate Cycle", to improve upon their new series.
Explaining how such a "universe" composed of both magic and technology is difficult, but not impossible. This book certainly requires a new level of belief, that the fantasy or sci-fi genre has already created.
The second book of the Starshield series starts off with a prologue of events 53 years before the end of the first book. Then it continues immediately after the first book in the Chapters of Alpha. The Mantle of Kendis-dai is real and therefore logically the Nightsword and the Starshield are real also. This is a story of the mad and somewhat enigmatic quest of 6 factions striving to retrieve the Nightsword in its last resting place. Along the journey, the book recounts various tales and legends which fill in the gaps left out in the history of the first book. Various questions about the "quantum wave fronts" are answered like how exactly does one travel from one quantum wave to another with several types of engines? The story is along the same lines as a treasure hunt, with secret maps with the X that marks the spot, to various betrayals for the treasure. Except this is a treasure that everyone wants, the power to shape reality itself. This book also explains why Griffiths, one of the protagonists of the story, has met only humans among the stars so far. The hands of various contributors are seen in this story, in addition to the authors. The people at the Starshield website has helped add their own views to the story, thereby enriching it. Many subtle mysteries are in this story, which replaces the gap caused by the rather lack luster plot line as compared to the first book.
A fine sequel to "The Mantle of Kendis-dai".

SHIVA OPTION
SHIVA OPTION
by DAVID WEBER
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.21
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Space Opera, Dec 26 2002
This review is from: SHIVA OPTION (Hardcover)
Definitely a book that satisfies the palate and the mind. It concludes the story of the war with the arachnoids started in In Death Ground. A war of righteousness and of survival. In which the Orions and the Terrans fight for their very survival, together, as they were meant to. New leaders of the Navy, of both races, will take up the fight and rise to the challenge. New alliances will be sought, after all the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The conclusion will feature several battles that lead the way to victory. We will find out more about this mysterious enemy of the Terrans and how to eradicate them once and for all. The map which contains the space lanes will be your guide, your map, and your game board. It will show the movements of friend and foe alike, as they grope through the darkness. I found myself rather attached to that mind, looking at it and seeing how close the enemy was to a specific star system. Certainly it makes logistical sense.
This book is fine space opera, featuring the battle of humanity vs the aliens combined with Weber's military sci-fi prowess.

EXCALIBUR ALTERNATIVE
EXCALIBUR ALTERNATIVE
by DAVID WEBER
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.61
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.43

5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of justice and honor, Dec 24 2002
This review is from: EXCALIBUR ALTERNATIVE (Hardcover)
The story begins on Earth, with a ragged band of Englishmen sailing the high seas toward battle. Battered by storms, some of the ships were lost. Soon all of the ships were to be lost, along with the families of the soldiers onboard. Then they are plucked from the earth by hands in the heavens, toward a cause that was not their own.
Sir George Wincaster is a noble who deserves the title of his nobility. He is well educated, and upholds the integrity of those in leadership positions. His potential was great, he unlocked it during his voyage among the stars. Wincaster was thrown into servitude as a gladiator, except he didn't fight for the master's amusement, he fought to claim territory instead. The Galactic Federation had laws preventing the systematic strip mining of habitable planets except with the inhabitant's permission. There are loopholes in every law. Those who wanted the planet couldn't use technology to coerce the inhabitants, so they got their own "barbarians".
This is a story of how highly advanced civilizations have become dependent on their high technology, using it as a crutch. It tells the story of one George Wincaster, his family, and the people under his care.
Of how Wincaster overcame his rudimentary knowledge of technology to save himself and all those he valued.
Of the difference between stagnation and growth through hard work.
Of the injustices commited against Wincaster and how he righted them all.
Of how Earth is to be obliterated, not because humans are strong, but because they weren't strong enough.
It is, finally, a story of the tale of Excalibur. It will come to the aide of humanity in its darkest hour.

Page: 1 | 2