Yearly Reading Challenges

This blog contains my book reviews for my yearly reading challenges. See all my reviews at

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TBR and SFR Reading Challenges 2012

Girl Gone Nova by Pauline Baird Jones

4/5 stars

TBR Reading Challenge 2012: Personal challenge-- This book was originally added to my to-read list June 10, 2010.

SFR Reading Challenge 2012: book 10 of 15 for Moon Challenge

Girl Gone Nova is quite a roller-coaster ride! What stands out for me, both now and as I read it, was what you don't know about what is going on. The catch is that you know you don't know the what and why. It's like walking on a familiar path but in the fog. You feel both sure and unsure of where you're going and it keeps you alert.

Pauline Baird Jones has written a complex puzzle of a plot, mixing time and space travel, advanced technology such as nanoagents, and good old-fashion military space opera. This book is the second of a series, and reading the first book, The Key, is recommended for complete understanding of some major plot points. It's not absolutely necessary, but some things the reader is assumed to know and understand, so it's helpful to have read it.

The plotting is masterful. I enjoyed trying to guess what was actually going on and how the author was going to resolve it all. When time-travel is thrown in the mix, things can get complicated quickly and making a coherent story out of it can be a challenge. For the most part, Ms. Jones succeeds, although the ending got a bit muddled. The resolution was more complicated than necessary and ended up detracting from the story overall for me. One less trip through time would have been better. The last trip was confusing and oddly unsatisfying, bringing up more questions than it answered.

Doc and Hel were both unique, and Ms. Jones succeeds in developing their characters slowly and satisfyingly throughout the book. Her secondary characters were also interesting and often well-defined.

My only other caveat is that the book dragged in places due to too much internal musing by the characters. Granted, the musing was usually entertaining and even enlightening, but just because something is good doesn't mean it adds to the story. The internal musing too often came in the middle of key scenes and slowed down the action. Removing some paragraphs, or even removing some sentences from some paragraphs could have tightened up the flow of the book.

Overall recommended for SFR lovers. I've already downloaded the next two books in the series and look forward to reading them.

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