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Four Stars: Beggars and Choosers by Nancy Kress

Beggars and Choosers by Nancy Kress is a stand along sequel to Beggars in Spain; the books have a classic sci-fi feel with multiple view points and heavy amounts of scientifically inspired plot developments in a futuristic world

After reading Beggars in Spain I had to get my hands on the second book because the first was so awesome. It took me a little bit longer to get to it than I’d hoped since I was trying to finish other books, and it took a bit longer to get through than Beggars in Spain, but over all I’m very glad I continued with Beggars and Choosers and will likely pick up the last in the trilogy soon!

Goodreads
Title:
 Beggars and Choosers
Author: Nancy Kress
Pages: 316 (hardcover)
Genre-ish: Classic Sci-fi, apocalyptic
Rating: ★★★★ – Compelling plot, just not quite as awesome as the first book
Setting: Beggars and Choosers is set in the 2100’s after the first book. Gene modification of everything from appearance to intelligence to unnatural limbs etc has created multiple classes of people, including Livers (the majority who live on very generous welfare and have no gene modifications), donkeys (the gene modified higher class who run everything) and Sleepless and SuperSleepless.
Premise: America has been relying on cheap energy patents to dominate the foreign energy market for decades, but as those patents run out, so does the money to support over half the population. At the same time a rebellion is stirring with violent tendency that is causing a break down of all American society. The only people smart enough (and caring enough) to save America from itself are the 27 SuperSleepless, who have had their intelligence so modified that most don’t consider them even close to human anymore.

Strengths:

  • Beggars and Choosers has a very interesting premise, especially in this time of economic uncertainty in the modern day. Thankfully we don’t have quite the problems they do ;-)
  • Kress has a very compelling writing style. In Beggars and Choosers there are several main characters who’s perspective the story is written from, and Kress conveys their dialects very well.
  • Wonderful character development along with the plot.

Weaknesses:

  • The story is just not quite as driving as it was in Beggars in Spain, even though the premise seems much more pressing when I think about it. For some reason I just didn’t feel quite as compelled to keep reading this time.
  • I didn’t connect very well with any of the characters :(. This might be a partial explanation for the previous point: if I don’t care about the characters, I care less about what happens to them.
  • I just really wish the plot had focused more on different characters, but maybe those characters (Miranda :D) will come back into the focus in the third book!

Summary:

Beggars and Choosers is an interesting and entertaining continuation of the Sleepless books, but it falls into the problem many sequels do: it just couldn’t rock out as much as the first ;-). If you loved Beggars in Spain as much as I did, you should definitely continue with Beggars and Choosers, just understand it struggles a little bit. Here’s hoping the third book (Beggars Ride) rocks out to a five star level again!

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-A
Anya from On Starships and DragonwingsSimilar Stories Reviewed:
Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling – Another tale of apocalyptic times with a slightly slower pacing

© 2012 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. After the Fall. . . was my first Nancy Kress and I quite enjoyed it. Beggars in Spain sounds like something right up my alley, this one sounds good as well.

    • Oo, I might have to read After the Fall next! I really am enjoying the Sleepless books, Kress has such a great writing style!

  2. I need to read Nancy Kress sometime soon. I keep hearing such wonderful things about her. “Beggars in Spain” is the best place to start, right?

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