Currently Reading: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

As I have a dead tree version, I thought I’d take occasional notes on the references made in the story to various things. Hmmm, I’ve made a lot of notes! I’m about a third of the way through and it is settling down and the [plot]:[classical/enlightenment/pre-twentieth century] has increased sufficiently that I’m not stopping every page for a post-it note. Nice to see some of my early ‘this is possibly a reference to…’ be confirmed by later parts of the text.

I’ll do a few posts just of the notes I think. Not sure how it all ties together yet.


9 responses to “Currently Reading: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer”

  1. Spooky, I started it an hour ago!

    Well, actually I tried to start it earlier in the afternoon, went “wut?” after ten pages, and put it down again until I had a nice quiet time to concentrate on it – this clearly isn’t a casual read!


    • I’m still not sure – i.e. my personal jury is out on whether the elaborations (which primarily from Mycroft Canner’s own inaftuation with Voltaire) are a. mainly decorative or b. central to the story.
      The two main story threads so far (1.Bridger and 2. high level shenanigans) are interesting but not super deep SF future-society stories but early days yet.

      I think I’ve ended up reading it in an odd way as a consequence of making notes as I went along.


  2. I’m at just over halfway and it’s felt like I’m wrestling with this damn book at times. It demands a remarkable amount without giving much back. I’m going to finish it but right now I’m not feeling very charitable towards it.


    • There are some shocks, twists and turns to come. Also, I’m having to make fewer notes! (I’m on Chapter 25)

      I still don’t know what to make of it though. I’m suspicious of it and the gathering sense of things-aren’t-what-they-seem is growing which could be good or bad.


    • Oh, thank the gods, Mark, I feel much better now. 🙂

      Camestros, I’m really enjoying your dissection of the book. It does help me to better understand what the author is attempting to do with the parts where my education is lacking (notably Philosophy and the Enlightenment).


      • I’m glad it is helping but I can’t say I’m sure what she is trying to do.

        Current half-baked theories:
        Ada Palmer is secretly J K Rowling
        There is a significance to ‘Palmer’ as a name as it parallels several names in the book (e.g. ‘Bridger’, ‘Sniper’)
        It’s not actually about the Enlightenment but actually about Norse mythology (this has some legs so far)
        Something blossoms something – there’s so many references to blossoms


      • I’d like to say I’ve finished, but it’s more that I’ve just run out of book.
        I honestly don’t know where to start with it. It’s such an infuriating book. There’s things of real interest in there, but the book demands a great deal from you while being utterly self-indulgent in return. I mean, for example, there’s an interesting political plot/mystery/conspiracy to get into, but there must be twenty primary characters involved, with different names at various times, with maybe ten factions of various sorts! Plus elements that keep on getting added in abruptly, with the excuse that our unreliable narrator is deceiving us. I’m all for being challenged but this book has no intention of letting a reader get the measure of it, whether by fair means or foul.
        Anyway, I’m going to read Camestros’ later comments now, and maybe some reviews, and also go order a paper copy so I can throw it against the wall.


        • Finished it and…well I still don’t know what to make of it. It’s half a book – and OK lots of books are half a book, the Fifth Season is a third of a book and I knew what to make of that, but this really thinks like the first half of a book not book 1 in a pair. Too many things up in the air for me to know whether this is a good book or just an ambitious book.


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