Monday, 20 February 2017

The Skill of Our Hands - Steven Brust and Skyler White - The Incrementalist Book 2

The Skill of Our Hands 
The Incrementalist Book 2
Steven Brust and Skyler White
ISBN 9780765382887
eISBN 9781466889736

I have been a fan of Brust's writing since I first started buying my own books. One of the things I love most about reading Steven Brust is you never know where he might take a story. And this one began in a way I really did not expect. Having love the first book The Incrementalists and both of the short stories set in this world, I can state I did not expect such a shakeup, or change in format. For The Incrementalists was told in alternating first person chapters. 

One thing that remains consistent through the majority of Brust's works is that he moves fast, throw curves at the readers, and is always willing to upturn the table. And he does all of that in the first few paragraphs of this book.

The Incrementalists, a secret society of around 200 people worldwide, have found a way to cheat death. They have found a way to transfer their memories into a recipient, and to remember their pervious lives. And they hope and try to use that skill and that experience to try and make things better. Now better is a nebulous word, and sometimes the group does not always have the same ideas of which way they should try and shape or influence things. 

This story begins with Phil being shot, actually being shot three times in the back. As his body is dying he is trying to save some memories in the garden for the other Incrementalists to use and to save his last memories. And soon the core leadership team of the Incrementalists are gathering in Arizona to find a replacement for Phil and get a handle on what he was working on. For they have realized that he was working on something to do with immigration, vigilante's and a militarized police force. (Sound familiar?)

This book was a race from the first page until I had finished it. It was a little hard getting comfortable with the new format. I really like the alternating chapters told in Phil and Ren's voice from book one. It also made it harder to know who wrote which parts of the book Brust of White. There is a saying that the sins of the father will visit the sons, in this book we must determine if Phil's sins of the past are being repeated now. And it comes down to a question of is it ok to kill?

 This book deals with a number of very serious issues the world faces today. But it does do in a fictional story that helps you to look at some of the issues from different angles. Yet with that being said it is a still a great piece of fiction. And really leaves the readers wondering where White and Brust will go next if there is a book three. If you are into speculative fiction this book and series will be great reads so give them a try.

Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:
Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust
Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on tor.com (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on tor.com (2013)

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