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The Galaxy Game Paperback – January 6, 2015
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Praise for The Galaxy Game
“There is a weight and grace to [Karen Lord’s] prose that put me in mind of pewter jewelry.”—NPR
“This novel is a satisfying exercise in being off-balance, a visceral lesson in how to fall forward and catch yourself in an amazing new place.”—The Seattle Times
“A smart science fictional fable as inventive and involving as it is finally vital.”—Tor.com
About the Author
Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier, and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, won the Frank Collymore Literary Award, the William L. Crawford Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, while I was delighted to spend some time in this book with two of the main characters that provided a much-needed emotional anchor and character arc to the first book, I couldn't ever get a good grasp on the narrative or main characters of this sequel.
Nominally about Rafi, who is trying to find acceptance in a society afraid of his psionic ability to influence other humanoids, the narrative switches between third person Rafi-centric narrative and the first-person musings of one of his friends.
This framework is a bit loose. Long swathes of time are kind of summarized and skipped over. Just as the first book seemed more or less an excuse to travel around a particular planet and experience the author's imagination and socio-anthropological chops by seeing how a human and psionic human couple experience various tribes, this second book also mostly seems to be about Rafi experienceing different civilizations. The problem is, Rafi and his two friends (one of whom, Serendipity, provides the most emotional interest but who kind of disappears in the middle of the book) didn't provoke NEARLY as much character interest in me as the hero/heroine of the first book.
I couldn't really give this book only 3 stars because the ideas and the society and the angst of a home planet lost forever on its orphaned civilization are still here in this book. But I wouldn't really recommend reading it without having read the first book, and truthfully it didn't hold me like the first one. But if you want to find out what happens to Delarua and Dllenakh after book one, it's worth reading.
Ms Lord takes all kinds of shortcuts with physics, technology, society and politics and the whole is not internally consistent. I am certain that it is consistent in her mind, but not on the page. Some of the inconsistencies are quite damaging.
This is a shame because "The Galaxy Game" is good even as it stands. It might have been truly great (and I say this as a serious and long-time SF reader) with a bit more editorial attention and a slower push to market.
I received an advance review copy of "The Galaxy Game" by Karen Lord (Del Ray Spectra) through NetGalley.com.
As soon as he can, Rafi removes himself from the school—and from his planet. He travels with fellow classmate Ntenman to Purnatam, a planet where psi usage is common. There's something extraordinary taking place in the Academes of Punartam, and Rafi discovers that he has an unexpected role to play as tensions between the rival star-faring civilizations play out.
It seemed that it was taking me a long time to read The Galaxy Game. For much of the first part of the book I felt confused. I was 2/3 of the way into the book before I discovered that it was the second book in a series! I don't know if my disorientation was due to not having read the first book or not. I do know that as I read, I had to continually reevaluate everything. I found myself lost in the universe in which it takes place, lost as to who the characters were, and lost in the story itself.
But, as I read the final portion of The Galaxy Game things suddenly shifted into place. I did go back and read the prologue again and this time it made perfect sense—no confusion at all. I then returned to my place in the book and read eagerly to the end. From this experience, I think it is likely that my initial bewilderment was due to jumping into the series in the middle. I will be getting a copy of the first book, The Best of All Possible Worlds. I'm taken with the universe that Ms. Lord has envisioned and hope she continues to visit it in future books.
I initially debated between 3 and 4 stars when it came to rating this book. Since I don't want to penalize the book because I hadn't read the first in the series, I've decided to rank it as 4 stars—I really did like it, eventually. I think it's important to emphasize that this book does not stand alone well. To get the most out of it, I think it would be essential to read The Best of All Possible Worlds first.
I was fortunate to receive an Advance Reader Copy of The Galaxy Game from the publisher in return for an honest review.