The first 200 pages were not written well. I was bored and felt growing discomfort with the mangled Middle Eastern culture this fantasy book was premised on. At least the next 150 odd pages picked up a little in terms of plot and also storytelling, so I didn’t end up thoroughly hating Rebel of the Sands. Still, this book has so many problems, I’m relieved I didn’t order the sequels before finishing this one first.
As a standalone sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit did well to outline the setting. I think new readers would be able to understand things just fine. At the same time, it further expanded the world building for those who’ve read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The characters remained central to the plot of A Closed and Common Orbit as well, thereby justifying the slow pacing.
Home means so many different things to different people, and I’ll Be Home For Christmas definitely captured that through the various short stories. Although, anthologies usually leave me with mixed feelings. I’ll Be Home For Christmas was no different. While I adored most short stories and the poem at the beginning, there were a few that I didn’t enjoy, and a couple of which that even left me confused.