Adventure, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction

Review: The Philosopher’s War (The Philosopher Series #2)

The Philosopher's WarThe Philosopher’s War by Tom Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read the second book of Tom Miller’s Philosophers series, The Philosopher’s War in which Robert Weekes, after having proven many doubters wrong by showing the female-dominated world of Philosophy that males could, in fact, fly fast and well has joined R&E and is sent to Europe to rescue the injured on the battlefields of World War I.
I had some issues with the first novel, The Philosopher’s Flight pertaining to the characterization of the female philosophers and, I’ll admit, I had the same issues with this book but that has more to do with my personal experience than with the writing. Despite this being the second of the series, a lot of explanation is still required of the rules of this world especially of the missions and the special equipment that the flyers and other branches of philosophy use and those passages tended to get tedious to me. Also, I’m not much of a war story fan and, as it is set in France at the end of WWI, there are several passages with detailed descriptions of casualties and dangerous missions. However, the action sequences did read more quickly than most of the rest of the book. What Miller does especially well is to delve into Robert’s evolution from excited/nervous young man ready to prove himself in the war to the battle-tested and battle-scarred man torn between two loyalties.
The Philosopher’s War is yet another book with an interesting and unique concept that explores pertinent ideas it just wasn’t necessarily for me.

If The Philosopher’s War is for you, definitely read The Philosopher’s Flight first to get a better understanding of the rules and branches of philosophy.

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For the Love of Books

New Year, New Look, New Books

I’m hoping that 2019 brings new and exciting things to my life as well as yours.  We may not know what’s in store for us but one thing I know for sure is that there will be great books to read.  Some of my favorite writers have new books coming out this year.  While I may not get to them all (because of all of the new and exciting things 2019 has in store for me, of course!), these are the upcoming releases I’m most excited about:

  • I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella – While her popular Shopaholic series may have gotten stale, Kinsella redeemed herself a couple of years ago with the wonderful My Not So Perfect Life, which is why I’m so looking forward to I Owe You One (expected publication:  February 5, 2019)
  • The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion – Reading The Best of Adam Sharp last year may have been a huge disappointment but Simsion’s return to Don and Rosie has me excited to read him all over again. (expected publication:  February 5, 2019)
  • The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms – Though it has only been a year and a half since I read Kelly Harms’s The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane and The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay, I’ve been waiting rather impatiently for her to release another. (expected publication:  May 1, 2019)
  • The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay – I’ve only read two of Reay’s novels but I’ve enjoyed their heart and humor, especially in Lizzy and Jane.  I always look forward to more of her novels to read. (expected publication:  May 14, 2019)
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – Whether it is the unexpected humor of The Garden of Small Beginnings or the sharp-tongued wit of Other People’s Houses, Abbi Waxman’s writing always makes me laugh.  I can’t wait to meet Nina Hill and learn about her bookish life. (expected publication:  July 9, 2019)
  • The Philosopher’s War by Tom Miller – Tom Miller’s thought-provoking fantasy/historical fiction, The Philosopher’s Flight may not have made my top reads from last year but the story is so unique and timely that I must know what happens next. (expected publication:  July 16, 2019)
  • The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal – Stradal’s first novel, Kitchens of the Greater Midwest, is one of those novels that I feel it might take multiple readings to fully appreciate.  It is the author’s unique voice and view of the people and their lives in the middle of our country that has me anxious for more of his writing.  (expected publication:  July 23, 2019)
  • Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier – I am only halfway through the Sevenwaters series so I won’t be getting to Harp of Kings any time soon but any new fantasy series by Juliet Marillier is a reason to get excited. (expected publication:  September 3, 2019)
  • Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart – Yes!  Another Kopp Sisters novel is on the way and you can bet that I will be putting in my request at my local library as soon as I can.  I am especially anxious for the next chapter thanks to the all the questions at the end of Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit.  (expected publication:  September 17, 2019)

 

My source for publication dates is Goodreads.com and may be subject to change.  Happy reading!

Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Reviews, Science Fiction

Review: The Philosopher’s Flight

The Philosopher's FlightThe Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

We’ll call this a 3.5 stars because any book that makes the reader think about how they see the world gets extra points. In truth, I’m still trying to decide exactly how I feel about Tom Miller’s debut, The Philosopher’s Flight, an ARC of which I received through Goodreads.com. Miller’s unique world is intriguing but, in what I imagine is only the first book of a series, it requires a lot of explication so it reads rather slowly for the first 100 pages or so.
The Philosopher’s Flight is an interesting look at a man trying to break into what is essentially a female-dominated section of society during what we now know as World War I. Miller explores themes that are very much relevant today – sexism, war and the arms race, and religious mania. The reversal of roles as the male student is increasingly discriminated against as he proves quite capable in the traditionally female-dominated field of philosophy (not what you think), specifically hovering (they can fly!) certainly makes one take a long look at the forms of discrimination we still find in the world today but, I must admit, his take on it didn’t always sit well with me. I can’t say for sure why but some of the women’s reactions to Robert’s presence and success didn’t always ring true. Specifically, the crude and destructive ways the women act to get Robert to give up his area in the locker room. While I’m certain college-age men would stoop that low but I’m sure young women would. Then again maybe they would and I just haven’t come across one that would.
If it turns out that this is just the start of a series, and though there is a somewhat satisfying end to The Philosopher’s Flight, I really believe there will be, I would probably read subsequent books.

A combination of fantasy, history, science fiction, and coming-of-age genres, The Philosopher’s Flight is difficult to categorize and therefore it is difficult for me come up with a similar book to recommend.  If you enjoy Miller’s unique, alternate history world that truly makes you think, I recommend Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.  If you like Miller’s strong women set in a period of history when women weren’t expected to be anything let alone fighters and leaders, you might enjoy Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate.  I wouldn’t say that either of these series are very much like The Philosopher’s Flight but they’re the closest I’ve yet read.

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