Crystal Rain

Crystal Rain

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Crystal Rain is the much-anticipated debut novel by Tobias S. Buckell, one of science fiction's newest and most promising talents.

Long ago, so the stories say, the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a worm's hole in the sky. Looking for a new world to call their own, they brought with them a rich mélange of cultures, religions, and dialects from a far-off planet called Earth. Mighty were the old-fathers, with the power to shape the world to their liking—but that was many generations ago, and what was once known has long been lost. Steamboats and gas-filled blimps now traverse the planet, where people once looked up to see great silver cities in the sky. Like his world, John deBrun has forgotten more than he remembers. Twenty-seven years ago, he washed up onto the shore of Nanagada with no memory of his past. Although he has made a new life for himself among the peaceful islanders, his soul remains haunted by unanswered questions about his own identity. These mysteries take on new urgency when the fearsome Azteca storm over the Wicked High Mountains in search of fresh blood and hearts to feed their cruel, inhuman gods. Nanagada's only hope lies in a mythical artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, said to be hidden somewhere in the frozen north. And only John deBrun knows the device's secrets, even if he can't remember why or how!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781522665908
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Series: Xenowealth Series

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Crystal Rain 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
temporus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been on a massive fantasy bender recently. It was about time that I took on a little something different, and I'd heard enough good things about this book to give it a whirl. What a nice jump back into science fiction. A very interesting world, with a back story that hits you at just the right pace--no long boring info-dumps, yet always enough information so that the story and action are credible. It bookended the month interestingly, where both this novel, and Lion's Blood, had "Aztecs" as the opposing force. As well, the heroes are of African descent in both works. That is about where the similarities end. Nanagada feels like an island itself, a world stranded among the stars. Though there has been a regression of technology, a sort of post cataclysmic (not apocalyptic) world, we see the mostly Caribbean descended culture in a phase of rebirth, when the feared enemy the Azteca are thrust upon the scene and life is no longer idyllic. I enjoyed seeing the layers involved in the war, and characters who are not easily broken down into white hats and black hats. Sure, there's no question in the end for whom a reader should be rooting, but there are no perfectly clean hands here. The war takes its toll, and the resolution felt all the more real for it.
geordicalrissian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good read! The first 50 pages or so, I was fairly confused. Was this a scifi story? But, as the main character progresses towards regaining his memory, Buckell slowly makes it all the more clear. I loved the mix of language and cultures. It is not often that you find stories with Caribbean-background peoples as the main character. Good show!
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great start to a new science fiction series. It melds military science fiction with Aztec mythology. One can see some space opera coming down the road. It's all fast-paced and done well and, in these days when most science fiction is extremely derivative and formulaic, a breath of fresh air.
jprutter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ah, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to picking up the rest of the series. I was a little put off by the blimp on the cover because I don't enjoy many alternate histories. This isn't an alternate history though. Instead it is about a society that has regressed from an interstellar society to an ~1930s society. There are still remnants of high technology around and an alien race that form the central conflict. This book was just the right mix of high tech, low tech, and ancient for me. Recommended for any spec fic fan.
jes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent, very engaging read - I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. I loved the world-building & the culture-building, and the technology, both pre-apocalyptic and what happens with it post-apocalypse. There's lots of interesting ideas packed into the book - it would easily hold up under another more leisurely read or three. & I adored that this was a book where the heroes were of Caribbean origin, where the whole reason their people are on the planet is because two guys decided to help their communities get off Earth (yes, profit motivated them too, but not exclusively). The world needs more well-written sf/f about people of color, and this one is a welcome addition to my library.My one complaint is that it's all about men. There's one awesome female leader, and she is indeed awesome, but there's one of her and a slew of awesome male characters. What's up with that? I have the sequel, and I'm hoping it does better on this front.
bzedan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Aztecs and Rasta and who knows what else washed up on a planet and trying to re-learn the technology that brought them there and what the hells is going on. Aztec Gods that live in creepy-ass glory! Airship battles! Enjoyable island dialect that sounds natural, glory be!I sound snarky, but it was a breath of fresh air to read about science instad of magic in a Tor download.
Esmeraldus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked Crystal Rain. I read it on my own after I was assigned to review Ragamuffin for the SFRA Review. The reviews I usually write are meant to be balanced, and very heavy on context. That¿s my philosophical position on the purpose of most reviews, so it works for me. Context is everything. But since I¿m not writing for any particular publication at the moment, I don¿t have to be balanced unless it pleases me to be so, and it does not.I¿ve been looking for some good SF to take up the slack left by the lack of new Heinlein novels. He surprised me by posthumously producing For Us, The Living, but I don¿t think there are any more. I think that Buckell¿s kick-ass characters have some resonance with Heinlein¿s characters, and I like that. One good thing about having written a reputable review of Ragamuffin is that I can quote it:¿one or two solitary, quasi-immortal characters who are technologically enhanced, augmented human beings hundreds of years old¿very much like the characters in Wil McCarthy¿s To Crush the Moon, or Heinlein¿s Friday. Sometimes the action highlights the separateness of these superhuman people, each of whom is capable of taking out entire squadrons of trained soldiers alone. But the two we meet, Nashara and Pepper, are both part of something larger.Some of the specific things I liked about Crystal Rain were the vividness of the main characters¿ culture, the combat, and the sustained tension of the siege situations.There is some beautiful stuff in there balancing the threat of something dangerous inside against something dangerous outside. I¿m thinking of the journey on the ice, which uses the trope of a dangerous presence in a confined location in a hostile environment to excellent effect¿that pays homage to Alien, The Thing, and many others.And it may just be a matter of taste, but I really love how Buckell constructs almost unkillable protagonists, and then he almost kills them. He made me believe that one of the main characters might die, even though I¿d already read the second book and knew he hadn¿t. That plot definitely wasn¿t on rails, because I knew where it ended up, but I couldn¿t plot every move the author was going to make to get there.Secret underwater cave? Oh, yeah. I want one of those.
MaryRobinetteKowal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The world in Crystal Rain manages to seamlessly blend steam-punk with fantasy and high-tech sf. It's a pretty impressive feat. I kept having trouble sleeping because I was staying up waaaay too late to find out what happens next. Tobias S. Buckell has written a ripping page-turner, for sure.
elizabeth_s on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this, though it¿s not the sort of thing I usually read. Once I got into it, I kept going to find out how the world had gotten into the state it was in, rather than to find out what would happen to it or to the characters.The world was quite refreshing: it¿s not a white American based setting, and it felt very real.As with most multi-POV books, there were some I didn¿t enjoy as much as the others. I didn¿t really get into the book at all until I hit the first ¿repeat¿ chapter (the first time there was a POV who had already had a chapter). I enjoyed deBrun and Oaxyctl (esp. the way O.¿s plotline ended). The scenes with Dihana, the government¿s leader, seemed important to the plot, or at least the background, but I didn¿t enjoy reading them. The son¿s chapters could have been left out entirely, in my opinion.I am curious to get another peek at the world in about 50 years.
pstotts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Uniqueness can be a difficult thing to find in fantasy literature, as most novels follow the general archetypes. The medieval English setting established in the Sir Thomas Malory¿s classic ¿Le Morte d¿Arthur¿ has been grossly overused in the genre. So it is immensely refreshing to discover a fantasy/sci-fi novel that revolves around a Caribbean/South American type of setting. Creativity is a wonderful thing.¿Crystal Rain¿, the strong debut novel by Tobias S. Buckell, is a unique hybrid that attempts to be something special. And in making such an ambitious attempt, the novel distinguishes itself. You likely will not forget a novel that is a hybrid of fantasy and science fiction elements, where the characters talk like Caribbean islanders, alien gods patrol the land, and the Azteca are the invading force. (And if you do forget it, I want your reading list.) Buckell is to be commended for not playing it safe, and rehashing the same tired fantasy genre clichés.The novel is set in the Caribbean-styled Nanagada, a peninsula protected by a mountain range, the Wicked Highs, on the landed side. Almost immediately, the brutal Azteca have invaded Nanagada, seeking blood and human sacrifice to satiate their gods. John deBrun lives with his wife Shanta and son Jerome outside of the town of Brungstun in the shadow of the Wicked Highs. Soon they find themselves caught in the battle with the Azteca, becoming separated from each other in the confusion. John, who has no memory of his life prior to arriving in Nanagada twenty-seven years earlier, is saved from being a sacrifical lamb by the Aztecan mongoose man, Oaxyctl. Together they travel to Capitol City, the governmental and major population center of Nanagada, meager steps ahead of the advancing Azteca army. Meanwhile, John¿s son Jerome is saved by the mysterious Pepper, a dreadlocked badass who is searching for John, claiming to be an old friend. Pepper oozes more violence and menace than the evening news. On reaching Capitol City, John discovers he is an instrumental part in the plan to stop the Azteca invasion. Somewhere within John¿s forgotten memories, he has knowledge of the Ma Wi Jung, an artifact that may save the Nanagadans. Can John regain his lost memories and save the Nanagadans? And who is Pepper and what is his interest in John? What is Oaxyctl¿s real agenda?The pacing of ¿Crystal Rain¿ is swift with the majority of the chapters only being a few pages long. The story mainly evolves through action, drawing the reader quickly through novel. The biggest negative to this lightning-fast pace is a lack of more extensive cultural information about the world; the world-building is unfortunately minimal other than a moderate amount of physical description of Nanagada. There are so many interesting cultural and religious aspects about the Nanagadans and the Azteca that could have been further explored by Buckell. But he misses the opportunity. This is a fantasy setting that screams for a more extensive examination. Sacrificing the pace for a more complete Nanagada would have been worth it. Considering the novel¿s pacing, the characters are well-drawn. Pepper really jumps off the page; the mystery surround him being one of the most intriguing aspects of ¿Crystal Rain¿. He was the one character I most wanted to read about, not only in this book but in future books. The uniqueness of ¿Crystal Rain¿ makes it a strong debut for Buckell, but it could have been special if the pacing had been sacrificed for more world-building. When you create a setting this amazing, it is natural for the to want to explore it more thoroughly. And it is in wanting more from this novel that makes ¿Crystal Rain¿ an overall success.Last Word:¿Crystal Rain¿ is a worthy read, filled with a unique setting and fresh creativity. Fast paced action and short chapters will have the reader ripping through the story, but a lack of in-depth world-building keeps the book from achieving more. Ultimately, ¿Crystal Rain¿ is ooz
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While this isn't the best first novel I've ever read, it is a pretty good adventure story, as a castaway on a lost colony world is called back into service to fight Aztec-inspired hordes fielded by long-lived aliens.What I'm mostly marking this novel down for is falling on the wrong side of the line between spare and sparse, as this book could have been a little longer (allowing for more character and social development). At the very least one of the secondary characters, an Azteca double-agent, is much more interesting then the protagonist. I'm still looking forward to more work by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted spaceopera steampunk pirates and thats pretty much what I got.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first and will be the last book that I read by this author. The pacing was poor, the characters were underdeveloped and the storyline was not very believable or developed. A waste of money, there are much better books out there.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
CRYSTAL RAIN is non-stop in action, but doesn't sacrifice character along the way. The multiple POVs and dialects engaged me. The Caribbean setting was absorbing. TOBIAS BUCKELL gave us a great steam punk story here within a unique culture.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Wicked High Mountains prevented the Aztecas from conquering the peaceful Nanagadans, a colony of Caribbean refugees because there is no way an army can pass through the only small pass. The Aztecas worship their gods the Teotl and the Nanagadans serve their gods the Laoas not realizing the ¿gods¿ are really aliens who use the humans to war against each other because Loasas and the Teotl want to destroy one another.------ For over a century the Aztecas have dug a tunnel under the mountains and are poised to invade Nanagada. Only one man can stop them John deBrun but he has suffered from amnesia for twenty seven years and has made a new life for himself with his wife and son. Many people are looking for John including Oaxcytl, who was ordered by a Teotl to get the coordinates of the Ma Wi Jung and his comrade Pepper who has been stranded on this backwater planet for three centuries and wants John to use the Ma Wi Jung to help them go home. On an expedition to the frozen North John is almost killed while the Azteca prepares to break through to the city. Only John can save them if his memories return in time to devise a plan that will force the Aztecs to retreat.------ Tobias F. Buckell is a fantastic world builder exploring the cultures of the various people living in Nanagada. Through Oaxyctl, readers get a glimpse into the Azteca culture that is much like the Aztec civilization on old Earth complete with blood sacrifices and slavery. John is a stranger in a strange land but he loves his adopted world and is willing to fight to keep her safe. CRYSTAL RAIN is an exciting work of science fiction filled with lush descriptions, a fast paced action oriented plot and characters that are complex and realistically drawn.----- Harriet Klausner