I love a science fiction, but I find that it is often not executed really well. This book did not fall prey to that! I enjoyed the attention to detail when it came to explaining the biological elements. I can't really say much more without spoiling it, but there is a heist involved, which I always love as a plot element.
"The House of Styx" by Derek Künsken is an exhilarating dive into the clouded depths of Venus. Künsken masterfully crafts a tale of exploration, political intrigue, and family dynamics against an otherworldly backdrop. With vivid descriptions and complex characters, the narrative unveils the secrets of the planet in breathtaking detail. Merging hard science fiction with human emotion, "The House of Styx" offers readers a riveting exploration of life's tenacity in the harshest conditions. A mesmerizing journey.
Due to a sudden, unexpected passing in the family a few years ago and another more recently and my subsequent (mental) health issues stemming from that, I was unable to download this book in time to review it before it was archived as I did not visit this site for several years after the bereavements. This meant I didn't read or venture onto netgalley for years as not only did it remind me of that person as they shared my passion for reading, but I also struggled to maintain interest in anything due to overwhelming depression. I was therefore unable to download this title in time and so I couldn't give a review as it wasn't successfully acquired before it was archived. The second issue that has happened with some of my other books is that I had them downloaded to one particular device and said device is now defunct, so I have no access to those books anymore, sadly.
This means I can't leave an accurate reflection of my feelings towards the book as I am unable to read it now and so I am leaving a message of explanation instead. I am now back to reading and reviewing full time as once considerable time had passed I have found that books have been helping me significantly in terms of my mindset and mental health - this was after having no interest in anything for quite a number of years after the passings. Anything requested and approved will be read and a review written and posted to Amazon (where I am a Hall of Famer & Top Reviewer), Goodreads (where I have several thousand friends and the same amount who follow my reviews) and Waterstones (or Barnes & Noble if the publisher is American based). Thank you for the opportunity and apologies for the inconvenience.
"The House of Styx" is an intriguing science fiction novel that explores the future of humanity on Venus. Künsken creates a vivid and detailed world that is full of interesting characters and political intrigue. The concept of humans living in floating cities in the Venusian atmosphere is fascinating, and Künsken does a great job of describing the technology and science behind it.
However, I found the pacing of the novel to be slow at times, and some of the plot points felt predictable. While the characters were well-developed, I didn't feel a strong emotional connection to any of them, which made it difficult to fully invest in the story.
Overall, "The House of Styx" is a solid science fiction novel that is worth reading for its world-building and unique setting. However, it falls short in terms of pacing and emotional depth, which may leave some readers feeling unsatisfied. I would recommend this book to fans of hard science fiction who are looking for a new and inventive setting to explore.
Thank you so much to net galley for sending me a copy of this book! I was really looking forward to this because the plot and story. The book instead was very clunky.
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book had an amazing plot, but I felt the characters had no depth to them.
Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.
Although the premise of this novel is intriguing and different, I just didn't feel intrigued by story. The beginning sounded absolutely great, but I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought by the end. Unfortunately, it just wasn't a book for me, but I am not giving up on the series. I am still just a little bit curious about what will happen next, so I might try the next volume when it is released.
Such a great book! I enjoyed reading this one so much! I highly recommend this book. Side note: the cover!!!!
This book was a depressing slog. It became less of a science fiction read and more of a tale of the have and the have nots, which I feel like we have enough of in real life. I might just not have been in the right frame of mind to be able to read and enjoy this.
I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2022 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at <a href="https://rusaupdate.org/2022/01/readers-advisory-announce-2022-reading-list-years-best-in-genre-fiction-for-adult-readers/">
I was very excited about this title, due to that the synopsis really intrigued me. But I had problem with the pacing of the story, sometimes it felt like it was way too much happening and then for another scene that nothing really was done to make the story move forward. I did enjoy it, and I liked the characters, but I got a little disappointed.
The House Of Styx by Derek Künsken is the first novel in the Venus Ascendant sci-fi series set in the churning clouds of Venus. Künsken creates a story of survival and family values. The atmospheric and visually detailed setting for this story is the highlight of this story. The harsh environment and unrelenting acidic rain in the atmosphere of Venus make for a challenging living environment for its inhabitants. While the rest of the world has taken over other planets in the solar system, the Québécois descendants have managed to inhabit Venus and make a new home.
We follow the story of the D’Aquillon family, who lives in the lower levels of the atmosphere in their bio-engineered trawlers. Life at the lower levels is harsher, and they have been making their way through life on their own by scavenging, farming, mining, and then selling their supplies in the black market. The D’Aquillon patriarch George-Étienne holds onto his family and refuses to yield to the elites who rule over them. His decisions and discord with the governing parties have made them pariahs in their own society. Now, it is up to the family to come together and solve the issues that threaten the fragile stability they had established over the years.
The House Of Styx is an exciting story that showcases the author’s sheer talent of excellent world-building and keen attention to detail on the technological and technical aspects. It is a must-read for any sci-fi fans out there. It is unique and innovative and I had a great time reading the story. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for the rest of the series. The possibilities are endless. I gave the book 4 stars and I highly recommend everyone to check this book out.
This was a bold science fiction story. This story takes place on Venus (more accurately the atmosphere). This book has a bit of family drama, drug use and more.
This was a greatly written book you won't put down. The creativity and details will keep you turning pages.
Science fiction is my utmost favourite genre to read. So you can guess I was a little hesitant to go into this! But alas, it turned out to be a great book, just as good as if not better than The Quantum Magician! I loved reading about the various colonies on Venus and the routine activities that made for a nice change from the continuous action found in sci-fi nowadays! I REALLY LIKED IT!
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is AMAZING, such a good story. I can’t put it down.
I highly recommend it
An excellent read. Derek introduces us to humans living on Venus...his world building is excellent, and I was able to visualise his world easily. What a world it is as well....cruel....Derek describes Venus as a female, not wanting life on her and trying her best to remove humans, but humans as ever prevailing......
The storyline is wonderful, the characters are well thought out and we spent time with them all to understand exactly who they were and why they behaved as they did.
It’s an exciting book, and a wonderful world. I can’t wait to return to see what on Earth...well...Venus is going to happen next!
My thanks to Netgalley and Rebellion for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review
I *really* wanted to like this book. The dystopian elements had potential - banks in control and punishing people for choices directly? Ok. You've got my attention.
There are some really interesting narrative choices in this book - but none of it seems to quite hit the payoff I was hoping for. The worldbuilding *IS* excellent and evocative, but, some of it was definitely because it looked like the author wanted the schtick of say, swearing in a certain language, so the colony of 4000 was pulled from a very small pool in that specific linguistic area (French - Canadian). It rubs me the wrong way because if it'd been, say, Scottish, no one would be comfortable saying 'the 4000 people were from Edinburgh and Glasgow' because...they're not the representative of that nation? It bugged me.
Characterisation, other than some OTT (I felt) linguistic quirks, just for the sake of having them, was fine. The book was paced in a way that meant I didn't give in easily, but it wasn't a book that I felt that I needed to finish.
Really good hard sci-fi is something I relish - but, I'm sorry to say that despite loving Quantum Magician, which is a prior book from this author, there was something just not quite...right about this one.
It's not a bad book. It's just not as exciting or gripping - to me - as I'd like from my hard sci-fi, and I'm a huge sci-fi aficionado.
Worth reading if you like sci-fi, but it's not the trailblazing book the blurb suggests, not to me. It's not a bad effort, but it's really not up to the hype. Which is a shame, because it does come close in places.
As a personal note, I think part of what bothered me is Venus isn't related to the Styx. Pluto is. It's one of it's moons, and my brain just didn't like the missed allusions that could have been used there. It's probably a really poor reason to not settle into a book, but when sci-fi is built on believing and investing in a world, the one 'mistake' of a misnamed house (because the river Styx is death, and I assume that's going to become more relevant and overt as the books continue) in my opinion really made the book hard to just relax and enjoy. The bold and imaginative that I was so desperately trying to keep hooked into got nagged down by 'this isn't the right planet for that name'. Which I agree, isn't a reason to dock another star, but was a niggle.
Thanks to Netgalley, Solaris, and the author for an advance copy.
One of the things I look for when deciding which book I'm going to read next is its holistic themes and genres. I don't just mean fiction or non-fiction, science fiction, or action/adventure, but rather all of those things together that as a whole make up how a novel feels. You can have a book that places you center stage in the shoes of one protagonist, and the events that unfold are seen entirely through that one set of experiences. You can also have a novel that, while still full of action and dynamic events, takes a more detached, analytical view of unfolding events. Both are good novels in their own right, they just differ in presentation, and as a result, in flavour, for lack of a better term.
So when I picked up Derek's newest novel I was expecting (based on my prior experiences with <i>The Quantum Magician</i> to read a tale with fully realized characters (and accompanying backgrounds) which have a defined fit in the world they inhabit and can consequently affect changes on that world as a result of their position and drives - and a lot of accompanying explosions. And I got that with this novel. But I also got an exploration of the effects and consequences of colonialism, of class privilege (and warfare), self discovery and personal perseverance and, yes, an overriding conspiracy/mystery, a welcome callback to the same overall theme the author explored previously.
The result is a very fun novel, and a very layered one. While this was present in his first novel, I felt that it was somewhat in the background and took a backseat to the overall story. It's on full display here, and melded with the ongoing narrative to such a degree that it actually makes for a much more fulfilling experience. One of my problems with <i>The Quantum Magician</i> was actually that sometimes the background descriptions and character introductions caused a bit of a speedbump in the overall flow of the story, and I'm more than happy to say that this entry does not have the same problem.
And you actually don't have to read any of Derek's prior work to get into this one, so that's a plus. (Although I do recommend that if this strikes your fancy, you check out the author's other works as well)
[3.5 rounded to 4 stars]
This was an enjoyable read although it was quite slow-paced in parts. I really did like the characters in this book, they were quite likeable. Each character had something to them, no-one faded into the background as the author did well to diverse characters in sexualities, personalities etc. Some of the newer books I have read both in 2020/2019 feel like they just stick lgbtq+ characters in for the hell of it, but the author was really considerate and was able to provide a solid queer representation. The author used humour really well and was able to create an exciting and diverse science-fiction future.
So what held me back from giving this full stars: one reason I would say the wording. I always try my best to accustom myself to the way authors write but this was one of those times where I found it pretty hard to stay focused. Nothing negative about how it was written more so the author liked to go in-depth in some of his detail and description to the point my poor brain decided to check out. For that reason I didn’t get through the book as fast as I would have liked, but it did not diminish my overall enjoyment.
If you are looking for a strong character driven book, then this is one for you.