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Bitter Angels Mass Market Paperback – August 25, 2009


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine; Original edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553592173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553592177
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,267,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Bitter Angels is a great edge-of-the-seat interstellar intrigue and a riveting space opera—espionage hybrid with a shattering denouement. This one was tough to put down.”—David J. Williams, author of The Burning Skies

About the Author

C.L. Anderson has been known to tell people she lives in a stately Victorian home on a windswept island in Lake Superior with her three sisters and their pet wolf Manfred.  She has also been known to tell people she is a science fiction writer living near Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, son and cat.  What is known is that this is her first novel and she’s very much looking forward to many more.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mayfayre VINE VOICE on November 20, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me damn this first with faint praise: it's not a bad debut novel. Care was taken to create multiple characters, and sufficient world-building was done to give a good context to the story.

The problem I found with this book was that I could find no reason to empathize with most of the characters. This made actually getting into the book slow going. The lead character, Terese, was the worst - I found her unlikable and her motivations illogical. I never truly understood either why she would leave her husband and children after being out of active duty for 30 years (not to mention having left the service due to being held hostage and tortured), and why, at the beginning of the story, she was the ONLY one who could solve the problem. The person ordering her out simply didn't have all the information necessary to come to that conclusion, and the pieces that had to fall into place for her to BECOME that person verged on the ridiculous. Another problem I had with the character was that she never asked the obvious follow-up questions. When told by Siri, with heavy dramatic import, that Terese didn't KNOW what Bianca had done for her, Terese doesn't simply ask, "What?". She also managed to come to correct conclusions without seeming to do any of the investigational footwork necessry to reach those conclusions.

The remaining characters were just as sketchy. Oh, we were eventually told enough to explain their actions, but I never found it enough to vest any emotional interest in them. Amerand just seemed like a cautious guy who kept his head down. Even though we were told of the sacrifices that were made on his behalf, there was an emotional disconnect in the telling. I was never made to really work up any outrage on his behalf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 22, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Terese Drajeske, a former guardian of the saints, is called back to active duty. The saints do good works on the planets comprising the United World Government. The guardians endeavor to keep the peace without killing anyone (usually by gluing people to walls). Drajeske goes to the Erasmus System to circumvent an attack upon certain of its planets. She brings along Siri (who hooks into a communications network) and Vijay, who works undercover. Other principles are a cop on Erasmus, Amerand, who is working to find his enslaved mother (he arranged for his enslaved father to work for him), and a doctor, Emiliya.

Bitter Angels tells its story from shifting points of view. That technique can be difficult to execute but Anderson handled it nicely, merging the different perspectives into a seamless storyline. The concept of a guardian force that keeps peace without killing is a nice departure from plots that rely on violence as for an easy (if unimaginative) injection of excitement. The twisty plot, while a bit Byzantine, builds suspense with a mix of political intrigue and fast action.

Terese is a fully developed example of the reluctant hero--and for that reason is a more interesting character than is standard fare in fast-action sf novels. If C.L. Anderson (the pen name of Sara Zettel) writes a sequel to Bitter Angels, I'll buy it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steven Saus on February 2, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
[Disclaimer: I received this book for a twitter RT contest run by the publisher. There was no expectation of any kind associated with it.]

Bitter Angels is based on an interesting twist: What if an entire society was based around keeping the peace? Not through oppression, not through violence (or at least, lethal violence), but through a combination of technology, diplomacy, and sheer dedication. What would that society look like?

It's an intriguing twist to a sci-fi spy novel, and it works rather well. The plot is complex and multilayered, but Anderson takes care to make sure we're no more confused than her protagonist Terese. Characters speak and think differently and are well differentiated. Things that first appear as tropes or sloppy thinking reveal themselves to be anything but, as the story really rollercoasters its way to a satisfying finish.

The one annoyance I had with the novel directly grew out of its strengths. In the first hundred pages, Anderson makes sure that we know the background and history of both the complex world and the complex characters. For someone extremely familiar with sfnal works, those chunks seem a little like overexplaining.

At the same time, those expositional passages would work wonderfully for someone who was just starting to get into science fiction - especially given Anderson's strong portrayal of both male and female characters as equals. Lord knows I've confused members of my writing group before with allusions to sf standards they've never heard before.

So if you're new to sf, this book is friendly to you. And if you're not new to sf, the exposition isn't particularly onerous - and it disappears entirely once Anderson's set the world up around you (about 50-odd pages in). The rest of the book definitely makes it worth it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. McKenzie on August 29, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading an interview with the author on John Scalzi's blog, and really enjoyed the book. There was a saying by . . . I forget who, exactly, Heinlein, maybe, that in order for the bulk of us to enjoy peace, there have to be a group of people willing to do violence. "Team America" explored the same idea, and came to the same conclusion. Anderson agrees, it seems, but takes things down a different than expected path, which is always good for science fiction. It's not hard SF, but it's good, and does take some of our current technology to a future extreme. It was well written, with a number of interesting and well put together metaphors and similes, if you like that sort of thing, but the prose never got in the way of the story. I'd be interested in reading more about the universe she's created, and those who enforce/create the peace.
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