RaveTor.comI was so completely wrapped up in what was happening to everyone that I was only looking up to grunt ... This is a terrific book ... One of Martin’s real strengths...is getting inside the heads of characters and making them seem real ... There’s death and betrayal and dragons and duty and history and complications and pride. These are things nobody does as well as Martin—things I think of as Shakespearean. Council scenes that set up huge complicated betrayals and battles. Heroism and treachery. And you see so much of it from inside people’s heads that it all feels absolutely real and grounded, even the most melodramatic moments ... if you’ve enjoyed the series so far and you’ve been waiting for this volume, then I feel confident in saying that you’re going to love it.
Kim Stanley Robinson
PositiveTorThe book isn’t really a novel, it’s a series of linked shorter pieces, some of which I love, some of which I like, and one of which I can’t stand ... It’s probably the book of [Robinson\'s] I’ve re-read most frequently, because I keep trying to decide what I think of it. I like the earlier part of it so much more than the later part of it, and that makes it hard to be fair to it when I’ve just finished it. Whenever I start re-reading it I love it, and whenever I finish it I’m ambivalent again ... If you’re looking for science fiction with non-white characters, or fantasy with non-European mythology, or something with a huge span of time that’s aware Earth is a planet, or just something very different from anything else you’re likely to read, then do give this a try.
Suzette Haden Elgin
PositiveTor.com... what makes this book compelling is the way it’s written—it’s a mosaic novel, giving points of view from all over, female Linguists, male Linguists, people who hate Linguists, each tile adding up to a broad picture of the world which feels absolutely solid. Lots of it is ridiculous if you examine it, but the book discourages such examination—such is the power of the images and the strength of the characters that when you are reading it you don’t want to stop to carp ... The simple way to read Native Tongue is as dystopian SF, but I think it’s better considered as fantasy in which the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is not just true but a law of nature—language changes possibility, not only what you can think but the way the world is ... about female oppression as much as it is about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and it may be easier to read if you naturally identify with the nice oppressed women rather than the horrible rough oppressors. But it’s certainly worth reading.
RaveTor.comThe way the story is written, with diary entries intercut with newspaper cuttings, fragments from Charlotte’s stories, and vignettes of the interior lives of other characters, leads you forward over an abyss you don’t know is there. It’s moving, it’s effective, and it would be a very good book even without that ... I wouldn’t have thought it possible to take such a cliched legend, tall tale, and make of it something as dignified and as real as the people Charlotte meets ... Gloss is very good at evoking place and context, and the wilderness here is both large enough to get lost in and never be seen again and also conspicuously dwindling ... This is a book with charming moments, with tense ones, and with a very strong sense of both place and time—not just the Pacific Northwest during the logging boom of the turn of the twentieth century but also that time in Charlotte’s life ... It’s an amazing book ... Rush out and buy it while you can.
RaveTorI think Chiang is one of the great science fiction short story writers of all time ... I generally try not to simply burble incoherently that things are brilliant and you have to read them, but faced with stories this awesome, that’s pretty much all I can do.