Cannonball Read Square: Star
I received this book as a gift for the Cannonball Read Book Exchange last year, so that alone bumped it up my to-read pile. I’ve gotten more into science fiction in the past few years, and I’m always excited to read from non-American viewpoints, so it was an obvious choice for me. I’m a sucker for award winners, and this book won the Hugo Award and Liu Cixin is the nine time (!) winner of China’s Galaxy Award and Ken Liu is the most prolific and popular science fiction writer right now in China. I went in with sky-high expectations, and they were met as this is an amazing story; however, his book was too science-tastic for my English major brain; it was a real struggle to complete.
From page one, I was out of my depth as this novel is set against the backdrop of China’s cultural revolution, which I knew nothing about. When I had to reread the first page a few times, I knew I was already in trouble. Rather than try to fill the gaps in my scientific knowledge, I just skimmed over parts that didn’t make sense buuuut the number of those parts grew and I never quite found my footing. If, like me, you approached the book “The Three Body Problem” having no previous knowledge of what the three-body problem is in physics and classical mechanics, buckle up. This was definitely a “taking my medicine” sort of read, but I’m glad to have read it.
I don’t want to spoil the plot so I’ll just say that the reveal and story development in the back half was amazing, it just took so long to get there that my attention waned as I limped along. My experience with this book is very reminiscent of my experience with Tolkien in that I’m blown away by the creativity and world-building that the author managed to create, and I think it’s a good book, a great book even, but it’s not my taste.
This is the first in a trilogy, and because I like the ending so well, I’m tempted to see where the story goes, but I’m going to need to mentally steel myself for another go.