4.5 to 5.0 stars Superb sequel to the excellent Crystal Rain by Tobias S Buckell Absolutely loved it Terrific characters Pepper is just great , outstanding world building and alien cultures and, best of all, a well written, really good story Highly recommended Nominee Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2008 Nominee Prometheus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2008 Best Books, Ragamuffin Author Tobias S Buckell This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Ragamuffin, Essay By Tobias S Buckell Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You When I read Crystal Rain in 2008, I thought it was one of the freshest science fiction novels I had read in a long time It was an exciting adventure story taking place in a well developed culture It explored the idea of what would happen if a human colony got cut off from all the other human colonies I liked it so much, that I did put Ragamuffin on my mental to look for list I finally checked a copy out of the library and sat down to read it Sadly, I was quite disappointed You know how a book sometimes keeps you up late because you only have 50 pages to go and you just have to finish it Well, I had 20 pages left of Ragamuffin at 10 00 last night and I put in my bookmark and closed the cover I just wasn t that interested Somehow, it felt like the book was rushed into production Could that feeling have come from the four glaring grammatical errors I noticed I m not talking about the poorly written dialect Or, could it have been because the two main story lines never meshed very well Part of what made Crystal Rain so wonderful is that it was a self contained story with terrific characters and a fabulously detailed setting Ragamuffin had none of those qualities It s a sequel to Crystal Rain, but you don t even get the connection until the second half I m so disappointed. I found myself wishing someone would make Ragamuffin into a movie Or rather, a mini series, because making it a movie would require remove about three quarters of the plot, but I think most of it could fit into a mini series It s got a very cinematic quality Nashara, the protagonist, does not indulge in a lot of introspection When faced with problems, she generally responds with the extremely precise application of violence, or perhaps accurately, forcefully applied kinetic energy.It could be a bit like the BSG mini series a cast of about a dozen, spanning several planets, rebellion, aliens with foreign agendas, humans with sketchy ethics, and the future of the human race in the balance.I don t usually read books and think someone should make this into a movie I once read, and google is unhelpful in determining the source, a quote the effect of Having one s book made into a movie is like having one s oxen made into bullion cubes This seems about right to me generally speaking, I like the book better than any movie made of it And anyway, movies are very limiting they have something like ninety minutes to capture 500 pages, and inevitably, much is lost All the quite bits, the bits that aren t really about plot, just about story, the slow building of characters, all that is sacrificed to get in a coherent plot squeezed into the timeframe Ragamuffin, however, is missing a lot of that in the first place at one point, Nashara locks herself in the cabin of a spaceship with a captain she mistrusts, and holds her at gunpoint for a week while they travel through space If I had written that scene, it would take three chapters, and be fraught with sublimated sexual tension even if they never said a word Buckell deals with the intervening week in a paragraph.That isn t necessarily a criticism, since obviously I didn t write the book, so I can t exactly complain that it s different than I would have done, but I prefer slightly in the way of exploring interpersonal dynamics of relationships But I think it would make a rip roaring offering on the SF channel.Of course, trying to put this book on screen would mutilate it beyond recognition since almost no characters in the book are white There s no way that would survive the transition Re the cover, it s actually a recognizable scene from the book, and Nashara is easily recognizable I do feel it was unnecessary to both portray her with D cups and leave her jumpsuit unzipped to the navel. Sequel to Crystal Rain, interesting but also less coherent than its predecessor Here the story zooms out from Nanagada to the wider universe, where humans live under the not so benevolent dictatorship of the Satrapy Nashara has been designed as the ultimate weapon against the Satrapy, and she s trying to join forces with the Ragamuffin, the space pirates who represent one of humanity s last independent forces A few problems first, the new characters introduced in part one and the older characters reintroduced in part two don t come together very neatly in part three Second, Pepper works much better as a supporting character than as a lead, and he dominates the second half of the narrative a bit too much Third, when I mentioned that I wanted female characters after Crystal Rain, I didn t want said female character to be a second generation clone of an existing male character That sort of takes away from her being a woman in some ways, you know Anyway, still lots of fun to read, if flawed will definitely read next book in this series when it comes out. Just as fast paced and exciting as book 1 However, if you re expecting the story to pick up anywhere near where Crystal Rain left off, you re in for a shock The story starts in a completely different place literally and introduces us to the much larger universe Then about one third of the way through it takes a sharp left turn and brings us back to familiar characters and locations And it all works better than I thought it would The cover art is fantastic, as is the scene it depicts.The story is pretty bleak overall, which I don t personally prefer Also, I have the same issues here that I ve had with Buckell s other work, namely world building and character decision making His writing style and I just don t get along. Please give my review a helpful vote Space Opera.I thoroughly enjoyed Crystal Rain, the first installment of Tobias Buckell s Xenowealth series That book introduced us to John deBrun and Pepper Pepper was presented as the most dangerous man in existence deBrun was presented as extremely competent The pair are shipwrecked on the fallen and lost human colony world of Nanagada Buckell bases Nanagada culture on the culture of the Caribean Nanagada shares a continent with Aztlan which is based on the Aztecs.Crystal Rain follows the pair as they deal with the consequences of an invasion of Nanagada by Aztlan The Aztlan are beholden to their gods , an alien race known as the Teotl Nanagada s voodoo culture has its gods in the Loa who are a different race of aliens The book is filled with plots and counterplots, action and adventure, as the two attempt to reach the Ma Wi Jung.Ragamuffin opens up with a galactic perspective We discover that humanity is a bit player in the galaxy, and has occasionally been reduced to the status of pets, by aliens Humanity has only recently been emancipated but the controllers of the political system, known as the Benevolent Satrapy, are in the process of reversing that decision A human liberation movement is engaging in acts of terrorism and has hired Nashara to perform an assassination Nashara turns out to be every bit as competent in the ways of killing as Pepper and we follow her as she performs her task, flees, avoids traps and stays one step ahead of everyone The Natasha sequence makes for engrossing action adventure Buckell s world building is also satisfying We get glimpses of the human diaspora, alien cultures, and the future history that has brought mankind to its status We are introduced to the Hunggao, a human mercantile enterprise turned military enforcement for the Satrapy Nashara, we discover, is a tool devised on the lost human planet of Chimson, which was sealed off with Nanagada, by the Satrapy out of fear that human technological innovation might overturn the Satrapy Nashara wants to return to Chimson, so she sets out in search of the Ragamuffins, the surviving military arm of Nanagada and Chimson on the wrong side of the sealed off wormholes Most of the story involves the adventures of Nashara However, a substantial component of the story involves Pepper and deBrun on Nanangada as their world is overturned by the return of the Teotl who have found a way to unseal the wormholes.The two strands of the story come together in the end in a life and death showdown between Hunggao, Ragamuffins, Human liberation forces, Teotl and Pepper, all scheming for their own ends I found this to be a terrific story I enjoyed the Jamaican cultural elements that dominate the side of the good guys Any culture that can name a warship the Starfunk Ayatollah is going to be one that can keep a reader s attention.PSB This is the 2nd book in the Xenowealth Series by Tobias S Buckell In most series the 1st book is the best and they go down hill from there In this case the 2nd book, Ragamuffin, is much better than the 1st book, Crystal Rain I m not saying that Crystal Rain was a bad read because it was in fact a good read This book is just much better In this one while the humans trapped on the planet New Anegada a.k.a Nanagada are dealing with their new found freedom from the alien Teotl the rest of humanity is dealing with another alien race, the Satrapy The Satrapy consider the humans a lesser race and forbid them their own technology and use mind control to keep them a subject race The Ragamuffins are the warriors of the human race and they fight a gorilla war against the Satrarpy Meanwhile the Teotl return to Anegada but this time they are seeking help from the humans to escape another advanced race that is trying to destroy them With the help of the Old Fathers, humans who have lived for hundreds of years, they reopen the wormhole and escape to human space When they do they are confronted with a major battle between the Ragamuffins and the Starapy This book is action packed with a very interesting plot twist or two I recommend it. As I mentioned in my review of Crystal Rain , I enjoyed reading Tobias Buckell s debut novel, but I enjoyed reading the sequel, Ragamuffin Tor, 2008 , even This may be because Buckell has grown as a writer or it may be because Ragamuffin is a traditional galaxy spanning space opera, one of my favorite subgenres But another reason is that there are prominent libertarian themes in Ragamuffin than there were in Crystal Rain, enough that it was a finalist for the 2008 Prometheus Award.Where Crystal Rain was set on a lost colony planet mostly devoid of advanced technology, Ragamuffin opens on an advanced planet ruled by an alien race called the Gahe, who are themselves a client race under the rule of the secretive Satraps Human beings are officially free in the benevolent Satrapy, but in fact are forced to live on the margins of society on space stations in the middle of nowhere, on interdicted planets cut off from the rest of the galaxy by collapsed wormholes including Earth itself , or on reservations On the Gahe planet, Astragalai, humans who don t want to serve in the role of intelligent pet for a Gahe master must live on a reservation, which they can only leave when granted a temperary human safety pass Woe to the human who does not return to his reservation before his temporary pass expires the penalty is death or enslavement.We are first introduced to the protagonist of the novel, Nashara, on one such reservation called Pitt s Cross Fans of Pepper and John from Crystal Rain will be increasingly disappointed not to see them at the outset, so I think it is best to go into this novel with the foreknowledge that characters from Crystal Rain do not make an appearance until about halfway through Still, Nashara does quickly grow on you and you will get to see Pepper open a big ol can o whoop ass eventually, so hang in there And if it s Pepper style whoop ass you re after, Nashara will not disappoint.So, anyway, Nashara escapes Pitt s Cross and rides on an orbital skyhook and transport pod up to a space station to meet up with a group, the revolutionary League of Human Affairs, for whom she had just completed a dangerous job The League wants to overthrow the Satrapy and achieve real freedom for humanity But Nashara s loyalties lie elsewhere and she has a greater mission to accomplish Things don t go as planned, but Nashara manages to hitch a ride on a spaceship and proceeds to be hunted in a race across the galaxy by agents of the Satrapy.The way in which the Satraps keep humans and other races in line and under heel is illustrative of our own governments policies, if only people would make the connection Earth was discovered by the Gahe and another alien race called the Nesaru, and presumably conquered and enslaved, dragged into the Satrapy involuntarily But humans are an ornery, uppity, rebellious lot They rebelled But the rebellion apparently didn t go very well The Earth rebels settled for a deal with Satraps to cut Earth off from the rest of the galaxy by collapsing its wormhole The human occupied colony planet of Chimson was also cut off for declaring independence.Aside from these cut off planets and the lost colony planet of New Anegada, the bulk of humanity freed by the Emancipation live on Satrap space habitats or on reservations on alien worlds, while only 30 million or so live relatively free scattered around the galaxy Relatively The Satraps hinder and monitor human communications They control human movement by prohibiting human ships from using the wormhole routes and fueling up without licenses.The Satraps also prohibit certain technologies, to prevent the subject races from growing powerful enough to challenge them Humans are prohibited from making carbon fiber, for example The Satraps cleverly turn humans on each other by tempting them with power, wealth, and advanced technology In a good metaphor for how intellectual property stifles progress, innovation, and civilization, the Satraps use the Hongguo as enforcers against human technological progress The Hongguo, formerly a merchant company, first attempt to buy patents for technological innovations that are too advanced for the Satraps s comfort, but will resort to killing or reconditioning any humans who refuse to give up their overly advanced tech.In Crystal Rain there was a local defense force of rangers called the Raga, short for Ragamuffins But not all the Raga were trapped on New Anegada Those who remained on the other side of the collapsed wormhole were branded pirates by the Satrapy The Satraps put up with them for a while, but now the Hongguo have been tasked with eliminating them.On the other side of a collapsed wormhole in New Anegada, or Nanagada as the natives call it, we re reunited with familiar characters from Crystal Rain some 10 20 years after the last events in the novel John s son, Jerome, is a young man now There is peace between the Azteca and the other Nanagadans But then the rest of the Teotl show up in a mothership and all hell breaks loose In the process, we learn about the origin of the Teotl and the Loa.The momentum of events propel the central cast of characters on both sides of New Anegada s Nanagada s collapsed wormhole into a collision course, some great action, and a big reveal about Nashara s mission But I ll leave the details of the story and the conclusion up to your reading please Read the full review. Entertaining sci fi novel Nothing too crazy or unique but what it does it does well It has some interesting concepts I read it while travelling and it s a good, short novel for that.
Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author He currently lives in Ohio.
- 316 pages
- Tobias S. Buckell
- 14 February 2017 Tobias S. Buckell