Let's Talk Books

First Impressions Friday Monday: THE CALCULATING STARS

Yes, yes I know, it’s Monday, but in my defence, I only started reading this novel Saturday evening. So here I am, offering up my First Impressions on a Monday!

“On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.”

First impressions are crucial, as are opening chapters for an author. They have one chance to catch readers, one chance to make an impression and say hey, this is what my book is all about. And, for us, hopefully, that’s true. But sometimes, just sometimes, authors fail to make a great impression with opening chapters. Nonetheless, we can still read a book and, by the end, go wow, okay that was a really good read. It’s like a bad cover, on a great book, and a brilliant cover on a bad book. Everything isn’t always as it seems.

In other words, some times, like THE CALCULATING STARS, the opening couple of chapters are absolutely no indication of what the rest of the book is going to be about. The author, Mary Robinette Kowal, has written an outstanding opening that had me on the edge of my seat, sucking in breath, flicking pages, as a meteorite slams into the East Coast of America, and changes everything!

And then? It was all downhill from there.

I won’t say more as I’ll save the rest for my review later this week. What I will say is that my first impression based on those opening chapters I would have given this book a 9.5 rating. As it stands, with just about 100 pages left to read, I’m looking at maybe a 6.5 rating.

Stay tuned for more.

4 Comments

    • Thanks, Christina. I hope to have the review written and scheduled for Wednesday. So not long to wait. 😀

  1. Ah, that’s so disappointing! I had similar experiences, where i thought the book started out really well, but couldn’t hold the same level till the end :/

    • Yeah, it’s a little disappointing because the author can write. It’s obvious she put a great deal of effort into this one, and the prose is great. It’s just all the rest … but then, you already know what I mean.

Comments are closed.