Kriti's (kgodey) 2015 reads
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I have a book blog that I perpetually need to update more often: Just a World Away.
Total books read: 128
1. The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley (Jan 4, 696 pages, review copy)
2. Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey (Jan 6, 356 pages)
3. The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke (Jan 7, 464 pages, review copy)
4. The Dagger's Path by Glenda Larke (Jan 9, 416 pages, review copy)
5. Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey (Jan 9, 424 pages)
6. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (Jan 10, 416 pages)
7. The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan (Jan 11, 577 pages, review copy)
8. And Then I Thought I Was A Fish by Peter Welch (Jan 11, 211 pages, off the shelf)
9. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (Jan 16, 502 pages, off the shelf)
10. The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke (Jan 17, 674 pages, review copy)
11. Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke (Jan 18, 665 pages, review copy)
12. Stormlord's Exile by Glenda Larke (Jan 19, 673 pages, review copy)
13. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (Jan 21, 456 pages)
14. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold (Jan 23, 470 pages)
15. The Martian by Andy Weir (Jan 24, 387 pages, review copy)
16. A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (Jan 25, 334 pages, review copy)
17. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (Jan 27, 258 pages, off the shelf)
18. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin (Jan 31, 182 pages, reread)
19. Poison Fruit by Jacqueline Carey (Feb 2, 437 pages, review copy)
20. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin (Feb 3, 180 pages, reread)
21. The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin (Feb 7, 197 pages, off the shelf)
22. Tehanu by Ursula K. LeGuin (Feb 8, 252 pages, off the shelf)
23. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (Feb 9, 186 pages, reread)
24. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (Feb 11, 229 pages, off the shelf)
25. The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander (Feb 11, 206 pages, off the shelf)
26. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings (Feb 12, 326 pages)
27. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Feb 13, 302 pages, reread)
28. Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal (Feb 14, 319 pages, review copy)
29. Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (Feb 14, 272 pages)
30. Without A Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal (Feb 15, 349 pages, review copy)
31. The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Feb 17, 302 pages)
32. Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal (Feb 20, 393 pages, review copy)
33. Inside Job by Connie Willis (Feb 20, 99 pages, e-book)
34. Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal (Feb 21, 557 pages, review copy)
35. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings (Feb 22, 305 pages)
36. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings (Feb 22, 373 pages)
37. The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang (Feb 23, 62 pages, e-book)
38. Enchanters' End Game by David Eddings (Feb 26, 372 pages)
39. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Feb 28, 414 pages, review copy)
40. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Feb 28, 452 pages, review copy)
41. Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (Mar 3, 350 pages, review copy)
42. Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Mar 5, 364 pages, review copy)
43. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Mar 7, 400 pages, review copy)
44. Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (Mar 8, 188 pages, off the shelf)
45. The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente (Mar 10, 235 pages)
46. What Katy Did by Susan M. Coolidge (Mar 11, 160 pages, reread)
47. The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord (Mar 13, 320 pages, review copy)
48. The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (Mar 13, 122 pages)
49. Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (Mar 14, 466 pages, review copy)
50. Fade to Black by Francis Knight (Mar 14, 347 pages, review copy, off the shelf)
51. The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay (Mar 16, 635 pages, off the shelf)
52. Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Mar 20, 303 pages, review copy)
53. The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold (Mar 25, 369 pages)
54. Galactic Empires edited by Gardner Dozois (Mar 27, 410 pages, off the shelf)
55. The Eye of the World, Volume One by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon (Mar 29, 229 pages, review copy, graphic novel)
56. The Eye of the World, Volume Two by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon (Mar 29, 167 pages, review copy, graphic novel)
57. The Eye of the World, Volume Three by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon (Mar 29, 167 pages, review copy, graphic novel)
58. The Eye of the World, Volume Four by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon (Mar 29, 167 pages, review copy, graphic novel)
59. The Eye of the World, Volume Five by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon (Mar 29, 169 pages, review copy, graphic novel)
60. The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett (Apr 2, 667 pages)
61. The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (Apr 5, 618 pages, review copy)
62. Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Apr 6, 71 pages, e-book)
63. The Eye of the World, Volume Six by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon (Apr 8, 167 pages, graphic novel)
64. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Apr 10, 382 pages)
65. Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (Apr 11, 649 pages, review copy)
66. Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan (Apr 12, 756 pages, review copy)
67. The Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan (Apr 12, 895 pages, review copy)
68. A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall (Apr 18, 646 pages, review copy)
69. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (Apr 24, 608 pages)
70. The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (Apr 26, 355 pages)
71. The Sharing Knife: Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold (Apr 27, 377 pages)
72. The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold (Apr 28, 437 pages)
73. The Sharing Knife: Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Apr 30, 453 pages)
74. Lockstep by Karl Schroeder (May 1, 351 pages, review copy)
75. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone (May 10, 333 pages, review copy)
76. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (May 15, 722 pages, reread)
77. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (May 17, 994 pages, reread)
78. My Real Children by Jo Walton (May 21, 317 pages, review copy)
79. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (May 25, 657 pages, reread)
80. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (May 29, 681 pages, reread)
81. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (May 31, 675 pages, reread)
82. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (Jun 3, 680 pages, reread)
83. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan (Jun 6, 683 pages, reread)
84. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan (Jun 13, 987 pages, reread)
85. A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan (Jun 16, 856 pages, reread)
86. The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan (Jun 20, 672 pages, reread)
87. Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan (June 22, 766 pages, reread)
88. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan (June 25, 680 pages, reread)
89. New Spring by Robert Jordan (June 29, 359 pages, reread)
No books read.
90. Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan (Aug 19, 761 pages, reread)
91. Updraft by Fran Wilde (Aug 26, 362 pages, review copy)
92. Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb (Sep 3, 754 pages)
93. The End of All Things by John Scalzi (Sep 9, 380 pages)
94. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Sep 11, 329 pages, review copy)
95. Among Others by Jo Walton (Sep 13, 302 pages)
96. The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton (Sep 13, 345 pages, review copy)
97. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (Sep 15, 399 pages, review copy)
98. Farthing by Jo Walton (Sep 16, 319 pages)
99. Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Sep 17, 109 pages, e-book)
100. Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Sep 19, 324 pages, e-book)
101. Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald (Sep 20, 392 pages, review copy)
102. Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer (Sep 21, 415 pages, review copy)
103. The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis (Sep 26, 440 pages, review copy)
104. Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 2, 326 pages)
105. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (Oct 8, 383 pages)
106. Carpe Diem by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 9. 292 pages)
107. Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 11, 334 pages)
108. I Dare by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 12, 467 pages)
109. Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 12, 528 pages, e-book)
110. Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 14, 325 pages)
111. Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 15, 328 pages)
112. Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 17, 373 pages)
113. Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 20, 328 pages)
114. Local Custom by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 22, 308 pages)
115. Scout's Progress by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 24, 307 pages)
116. Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 24, 354 pages)
117. Dragon In Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 25, 404 pages)
118. Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 27, 451 pages)
119. Trade Secret by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Oct 30, 356 pages)
120. Crystal Soldier by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Nov 2, 321 pages)
121. Crystal Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Nov 4, 359 pages)
122. Mystic by Jason Denzel (Nov 5, 315 pages, review copy)
123. A Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette (Nov 8, 302 pages)
124. The Tempering of Men by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette (Nov 10, 304 pages)
125. An Apprentice to Elves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette (Nov 12, 334 pages)
126. Anthology I by The Novel Fox (Dec 16, 229 pages, review copy)
127. Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen (Dec 25, 384 pages, review copy)
128. Armada by Ernest Cline (Dec 27, 345 pages)
3. Historical fantasy:
7. Originally written in a language other than English:
9. Pre-Tolkien fantasy:
10. From /r/Fantasy's official Underrated and Under-read List: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
11. Fairytale retelling:
12. Portal fantasy:
13. Free space:
14. Adapted to the screen (Movie/TV):
15. Published before 2000:
17. 2015 /r/Fantasy Best Of lists – novel or author:
18. Comic fantasy:
19. First heard of on /r/Fantasy:
20. Arthurian fantasy:
21. Hugo, Nebula, or World Fantasy Award winning:
23. Five fantasy short stories:
24. Any /r/Fantasy Goodreads group book of the month:
25. Urban fantasy (not Dresden Files):
Books read: 18
Pages read: 8,161
Review copies: 9
Acquired pre-2015: 3
Bought in 2015: 5
Graphic novels: 0
Male authors: 6 unique
Female authors: 12, 5 unique
Books read: 22
Pages read: 6.584
Review copies: 7
Acquired pre-2015: 4
Bought in 2015: 6 (8 if counting e-books)
Graphic novels: 0
Male authors: 11, 4 unique
Female authors: 11, 5 unique
Books read: 19
Pages read: 5,568
Review copies: 12
Acquired pre-2015: 4 (3 if not counting review copies)
Bought in 2015: 3
Graphic novels: 5
Male authors: 9, 5 unique, 1 all male anthology
Female authors: 10, 8 unique
Books read: 14
Pages read: 7,081
Review copies: 6
Acquired pre-2015: 0
Bought/received as a gift in 2015: 7 (8 if counting e-books)
Graphic novels: 1
Male authors: 10, 8 unique
Female authors: 4, 1 unique
Book 1 of 2015 is The Providence of Fire, by Brian Staveley. This is the sequel to The Emperor's Blades, which I read last year and enjoyed (and made a lot of "best debut"/"top 10 books of the year" lists). I liked this book too, mostly, but some of the things the protagonists did irritated me a lot, and there was a bit too much violence / death / convoluted plots and loyalties. I'm still pretty excited for the next book to come out, though.
Book 2: Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey. I don't usually read urban fantasy, but I like everything Jacqueline Carey writes (except the Naamah trilogy). This was a pretty fun book, there were a lot of urban fantasy tropes (starting with a murder) but it dealt with some pretty intense topics. I've already ordered the second book.
Book 3: The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke. This was pretty good – a religious spy investigating a new spice route realises that there's a larger darkness brewing (isn't there always?). This isn't a particularly innovative fantasy, but the characters are good, the intrigue is intriguing, and I already started the second book despite having a new Brandon Sanderson book, so it's pretty good.
I have a surfeit of sequels on my hands right now! There's The Dagger's Path, the sequel to the book above, Firefight by Brandon Sanderson. which I pre-ordered, The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan, which I got an advance copy of, and today I'm receiving Autumn Bones, the sequel to Dark Currents. I don't know what to read, I wish I could read them all at once!
Book 4: The Dagger's Path by Glenda Larke – review on my blog
Book 5: Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey – review on my blog
Book 6: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson – review on my blog
Book 7: The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan – review forthcoming
Book 8: And Then I Thought I Was A Fish by Peter Welch – this is a memoir of someone who had a psychotic break (he lost his hold on reality completely) and then recovered. It describes the process of going crazy in excruciating detail, which was fascinating and horrifying. The author is clearly a really smart guy, and I appreciated how he tried to make the process fathomable to people that have not had a similar experience. It wasn't really a fun read, but it was educational and fairly short. The one thing that made it a bit of a frustrating read was that the author still came across as a somewhat broken person – he seems sad and bitter and admits to never trusting anything ever.
Book 9: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold – I've had this for a while (I bought it after I devoured her Vorkosigan Saga last January) but somehow never got around to reading it. I wasn't sure if I would like Bujold as much in a fantasy setting, but I'd forgotten about her wonderful gift for characterization. Highly recommended!
This is also part of a larger project where we're planning to shelve our books by LC call number. That will probably take a year or so, since we have to catalogue everything, find the call number, print cards for all the books so that we can easily re-shelve the books...
Anyway, there's lots of book-related geekiness going on at our house lately, and I figured you guys were the only people that would appreciate it :)
Books 9-12 were the Watergivers/Stormlord series by Glenda Larke – The Last Stormlord, Stormlord Rising and Stormlord's Exile. These were competently plotted, and the characters and world were fairly interesting, so I finished the series, but I didn't think it was anything special. I probably shouldn't have read the series straight through – I had a bit of burn out by the end. There were far too many bad guys, and I don't really like how many viewpoints there are – sometimes Larke would just shift to someone's viewpoint for a few paragraphs and we'd never see things from their PoV again. It's interesting that we get the whole story, but I'd rather follow only a few narrators. I will probably never re-read this series.
Book 13 was Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, and I loved it. Ista is quite a different narrator than Cazaril from The Curse of Chalion, and it took some getting used to, but her story was great. Just like the Vorkosigan novels, I just finished this book and I already want to re-read it!
I'm reading the third Chalion book, The Hallowed Hunt now (although it's not really a Chalion book, it's just set in the same universe in a different time period), and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.
I really need to do a total Bujold reread soon.
I still need to read The Spirit Ring and the Sharing Knife series, but then I'd join you on a reread!
>35 Kassilem: Hopefully you'll be another Bujold convert!
I'd love to reread the Vorkosigan books in order. I read them completely out of order the first time round and I've reread favourites since, but reading the whole thing in chronological order would be great.
Which Vorkosigan books are your favourites? I think Memory was probably my favourite.
Book 14: I finished reading The Hallowed Hunt. I didn't like it as much as the other two, but it's a Bujold book so it's vastly better than most books anyway. :) Also, Bujold seems to really like precocious young woman / older man romances – The Curse of Chalion, The Hallowed Hunt and Falling Free from the Vorkosigan books all do this.
Book #15: The Martian by Andy Weir. Everyone on LT seems to have loved this book about an astronaut stranded on Mars, and you can add me to the list. It's fun, quick paced, the science is pretty cool, and it showcases the best of humanity. Highly recommended.
Book #16: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin – I believe this book actually comes out in May, but I received an ARC. The premise sounded interesting – a secret school where women that just don't fit into polite society are trained to be spies while their parents think they're being made into marriageable material. However, it didn't quite live up to its promise. There were two main problems – one, the main character is artificially put in a bunch of situations where she doesn't know what's going on – literally using the words "we'll explain later". This creates a lot of unnecessary conflict and made it hard to sympathize with anyone. The other problem is that this book takes place over a week or so, but the plot elements include the character creating an undetectable invisible ink that no one else could and falling in love – neither should be possible in that time.
The alternate history seems interesting though (what if Napolean returned to power after his exile?), so I will probably give the second book a shot, especially since it's from a different point of view character.
Book #17: Pawn of Prophecy – I've been meaning to read this classic series for a long time, but only just got around to it. I love that fantasy has so many subgenres now, but reading classic fantasy still makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, there's a farmboy ignorant of his destiny and an all powerful evil and the main plot is all about the farmboy discovering stuff we knew in the first five pages + a whole lot of traveling, but I really enjoyed it. Not much happens in this book – it seems to be mostly setup for all the characters, so I'm looking forward to the next one.
Edited to add: Apparently the Belgariad is full of tropes on purpose – it sprung from a writing assignment idea of making a book as cliched as possible but still interesting and engaging. Here's David Eddings talking about it.
The story itself is fairly elemental - Good vs. Evil, Nice Guys vs. Nasty Guys (or Them vs. Us). It has the usual Quest, the Magic (or Holy) Thingamajig, the Mighty Sorcerer, the Innocent Hero, and the Not Quite So Innocent Heroine — along with a widely varied group of Mighty Warriors with assorted character faults. It wanders around for five books until it finally climaxes with the traditional duel between “Our Hero” and the “Bad Guy.” (Would it spoil anything for you if I tell you that our side wins?)
I was in the mood for some more classic fantasy, and while I was waiting for the rest of the Belgariad to arrive, I read A Wizard of Earthsea. I first read it when I was younger, and I didn't quite get it – Ged wasn't the swashbuckling hero-type that I was used to then. I really enjoyed it this time around, though – as an adult, I actually understand why humility is an important thing to have. :) I love LeGuin's spare writing style too.
I also read Poison Fruit, the conclusion to Jacqueline Carey's Agent of Hel series. It was great, but I want more!
Right now, I'm rereading The Tombs of Atuan. I'm also getting a lot more out of it this time around. Also, the IKEA bookshelves arrive today. I took some pictures of the room for a "before and after" comparison, I'll post them later.
Book #20 is The Tombs of Atuan, which was ostensibly a reread, but I didn't really remember much of it. I'm too excited about our new bookshelves to review it properly, but it's good.
We're still working on replacing them all, but here's a comparison after we built one:
>50 scaifea: Thanks Amber! I'm glad you like the room. One of the chairs in the set broke recently, so we'll have to get a new dining set soon. Hopefully we can find a good Mission-style set (we lucked out with this one on Craigslist).
>51 rosylibrarian: Thanks Marie! Yeah, that is a telescope that one of my friends surprised me with on my birthday last month. I'm really excited to try it out, I haven't had the opportunity to since it's been really snowy and cold since then.
I can't take a picture of the full room yet because all the bookshelves are currently blocked by the old bookshelves which we still need to move out, and there are also four more of the new shelves built and waiting to be moved to the office.
>40 kgodey: The Martian! One of my best books of 2014!
>41 kgodey: This sounds like a similar premise to Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, except she handles it with snark and wit and no premature romance.
>42 kgodey: Ah, the Belgariad! I didn't discover this until the entire first 5-book series was out, fortunately, because I whipped through them in record time. It is rather fashionable in SF circles to sneer at this series because of its "classic" structure--I did NOT know that bit of trivia about it being so deliberate and I love it!--but I've always really, really enjoyed this series and its world-building. Granted, the Mallorean sequel, which deliberately echoes the first, got a little long and unwieldy, but there are some absolutely delicious moments in it. And I even enjoyed the books from Belgarath's and Polgara's points of view telling the whole story over again two more times. I love these characters! Unfortunately, nothing else Eddings ever wrote came even close for me--dead, flat characters. So strange.
Ah, yes, The Wizard of Earthsea series certainly stands up to rereading. Definitely one of my comfort rereads over the years. Glad they work for you tool
Great job on the bookcases, Kriti. That's a major project and a half, but so much fun to get all your books properly organized and housed!
So I came here first thing this morning so I would definitely have time to write out a thorough response! Done.
I really liked Ista a lot too – she has all the no-nonsense attitude and competence of Cordelia Naismih, but in a world that doesn't really appreciate it. She's such an unusual protagonist, and her character arc is brilliant.
Re: The Martian, I requested a review copy from Crown because both you and Jim loved it. It's such a great book!
I'm waiting for the rest of the Belgariad to arrive so I can continue ripping through them in record time too! I had Pawn of Prophecy from some used book sale. I've received the fifth book, Enchanter's End Game (I'm not sure why whenever I order whole series' online, I get the last book first. I also ordered the Sharing Knife series by Bujold, and I received book 4 first). I love the characters from what I've seen so far. The world-building seems pretty generic so far, but Garion is still in the "no one tells me anything and I don't know much" phase, so I'm sure that will improve. I'm looking forward to the Belgarath and Polgara books too, their perspectives should be interesting!
I had only read A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan before, although I do own The Farthest Shore (which I just finished!) and Tehanu. It definitely speaks a lot more to me now that when I was younger and used to more spectacle from books.
Re: the bookcases, thank you! I still don't have a lot of space left for fiction, unfortunately – I'll probably run out this year, so I'll have to pack some books away until we move somewhere larger. But at least the shelves won't sag (our previous shelves were from Walmart and cost $28 each and it showed) and we still have a lot more room than we did before.
Book #21 is The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin. This one is not a reread.
I don't have much to say about this one either, it's more of a traditional "the world as we know it is ending" fantasy story, but it's still as restrained as the rest of the books. I like that we see Ged only at the turning points of his wizarding career – his coming of age, restoring peace to Earthsea, bringing magic and order back to Earthsea (the subject of this book), and we have to fill in the blanks for most of his more adventurous deeds.
So many things to put on my TBR list. I was just thinking this morning that I should get started on A Wizard of Earthsea - I've been meaning to read it for some time.
I highly recommend the Earthsea Cycle. They're very minimalist, but also very good.
>58 Kassilem: Thanks Melissa! I buy most of my hardcovers used on Amazon for $4 (including shipping). It's somewhat hidden, but you can choose which edition to buy. I also get some as review copies for my blog.
My kids are just now looking up jokes on the internet and I thought this one was appropriate - My friend got crushed by all of his books; he has no one to blame but his shelf.
>63 foggidawn: Yeah, they are definitely much, much better quality than the Walmart cheap shelves (that's what we replaced). We ordered these online – the shipping is somewhat expensive but it stays pretty much the same regardless of how much you order (since they use freight services rather than a parcel service like UPS) so we ordered eleven shelves + eleven height extensions + a lot of magazine files to make it worth it. (We don't have a car, and the nearest IKEA is 2+ hours away, anyway).
Their support is atrocious, though – one of the shelves was damaged, and we had to be on the phone for a collective hour and a half to get them to ship us a new one. We're even supposed to pack the damaged one back up neatly for the freight service to pick up when they drop the new one off.
>64 rretzler: I'm glad to have even more endorsements for the Billy! That joke is groan-worthy but hilarious :)
Book #22 is Tehanu by Ursula K. LeGuin. This is the fourth Earthsea book, and I didn't like it as much as the rest. It was great to hear from Tenar again, and all the parts of the book that didn't have anything to do with the main conflict were great – Tenar's musings on the place of women, Ged figuring out what to do with himself since he lost his powers, etc. Therru's story, the main villain, and the way that all ended up getting resolved seemed to come from absolutely nowhere, though.
Book #24 is The Black Cauldron. Taran is getting a bit restless washing pigs and weeding after his last adventure, but he's chosen to take part in a new offensive on Arawn's kingdom of Annuvin. In the first book, there are a lot of near-misses and accidents, but everything turns out fine. Things are more complicated in this book, and Taran gets a glimpse into the murky world of adulthood.
I'm starting on The Castle of Llyr today and have ordered the next two books in the series, too. The Castle of Llyr seems like it might deal with Taran's puberty (the blurb is all about Eilonwy) so I'm excited.
Book #25 is The Castle of Llyr. This was good, but needed way more Eilonwy! The plot revolves around her, and she's barely in it.
I'm picking back up with the Belgariad with Queen of Sorcery. Garion and his companions go through a few more countries, trying to warn the kings of the upcoming threat and chasing after the Orb of Aldur, and picking up some more companions along the way. I was annoyed by a couple of inconsistencies (Belgarath and Polgara spend the entirety of the first book saying that they cannot name their enemy, but use his name freely in this one with no explanation), and I really wish Garion knew who he was, but other than that, I enjoyed the book a lot.
Books 4 & 5 have arrived, but I'm still waiting on Book 3, so I can't continue with the series yet.
I finished Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal last night. This is technically a reread, but the first time I read it was the first time I'd ever had a migraine, before I realized that the only thing I could do was lie down in a dark room – so I was in pain, nauseous, and this book just made me mad that people just didn't tell each other how they felt, never mind the times/propriety. :P
I was in a much better frame of mind when I read it this time, and I quite enjoyed it. I like the idea of people getting married based on shared work/interests – something that the nobility lacks usually. It was a nice Austen-esque story without using too many of the same tropes.
I have the next four books on my bookshelves (thanks, Tor!), and I'm pretty excited to see where Jane and Vincent's adventures lead them - while romance is okay, I'm pretty excited that each of the next books is a different style of novel entirely.
Three more books read since my last update. Glamour in Glass and Without A Summer from the Glamourist Histories series – these have much more political/adventure aspects than the very Austen-esque Shades of Milk and Honey. Full reviews are on my blog: Glamour in Glass, Without A Summer.
I also read Taran Wanderer. which I loved. Taran really grows up in this one and realizes what he actually values.
>78 ronincats: I'm looking forward to the next Kowal book. I also have an ARC of the fifth book, which seems pretty interesting too.
Book #31 is the last book in the Chronicles of Prydain, The High King. Arawn is making his last stand, and all of Prydain rises up to oppose him. This was a pretty bittersweet book, in the vein of how Lord of the Rings ended – everything is saved, but it takes its toll on all the characters. It was a good end to the series, though.
I've read three more books – I've finished up the Glamourist Histories series with Valour and Vanity and Of Noble Family, both of which were excellent. My full review of Valour and Vanity is here: http://justaworldaway.com/2015/02/21/valour-and-vanity-by-mary-robinette-kowal/ – Regency Venice, pirates and a heist!
The third book I read was an ebook – Inside Job by Connie Willis. A debunker encounters someone that seems to be channeling the spirit of H.L. Mencken... for real. I really like Connie Willis, and I enjoyed this one a lot. This was from the Humble ebook bundle this week, which consists entirely of Subterranean Press books: https://www.humblebundle.com/books. It's pay-what-you-want for a whole bunch of books by great SFF authors – John Scalzi, Connie Willis, Cherie Priest, Peter V. Brett, etc.
Magician's Gambit is book #35 – I can't believe I've read that much already this year.
This is the third book of the Belgariad, and the series continues to be a comfort fantasy read. We see even more kingdoms, and stuff pertinent to the quest actually happens! The characters are as endearing as ever, I especially love Polgara. Garion still doesn't know who he is, though – hopefully that happens next book.
Book #36 is Castle of Wizardry. Finally, Garion is told all the things we knew in the prologue of Book 1, and Ce'Nedra grows up a bit! Both things I've been waiting for. The plot moves along a bit, but it's largely setup.
Two more books!
#37: The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang – another ebook from the Humble Subterranean Press Bundle – I'm counting it as a book even though it's actually a novelette. It's a charming Arabian Nights style story-within-a-story, with time travel. I've liked previous short fiction by Ted Chiang, and this one was no exception.
#38: Enchanters' End Game by David Eddings – this is the last book of the Belgariad, and things pretty much turn out as expected. The quest is over, and pretty much everyone gets a happy ending, but the Mrin Codex's prophecies haven't been fulfilled yet.
I liked the Belgariad but I was sometimes frustrated with the dialogue – everyone blithely gets straight to the heart of the matter. I know that's tongue in cheek, just like how the whole story is cliched on purpose, but it kept me from getting fully engaged with the books sometimes. I still enjoyed them, though, and I will read the Mallorean, but I don't think my usual practice of reading a series straight through works as well.
This concludes the three five book series' that I've been reading – The Chronicles of Prydain, Glamourist Histories, and the Belgariad. I'm pretty excited to get to some standalones now.
In other tangentially book related news, I've finally figured out how to do something I've been wanting to do for years on my blog – display information about the book(s) reviewed in a blog post in a uniform format at the end and also use that data to automatically populate my "Review Index" page. I still have to figure out a good design for it, but I've worked out all the technical details – PHP, the programming language that Wordpress uses has very different paradigms than what I'm used to (I use mainly Python for my job). Anyway, I'm pretty excited about that, hopefully I can figure out a design and create all the necessary data to revamp my blog in the next couple of weeks. (My blog is http://justaworldaway.com).
Just finished The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. This has been getting rave reviews, and I loved it too. It's a great antidote to all the "grimdark" fantasy that seems to be trending now – Maia, the forgotten and woefully unprepared fourth son of the royal house suddenly finds himself Emperor after the rest of his family dies in an accident. He's a fundamentally good person, though, and he slowly wins over the court and the people.
I hope that there's a sequel to this – the worldbuilding was really elaborate (the naming system took a while to get used to) and I would like to read more books set in this world.
Two more books:
#40: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett – I was expecting a wholly different kind of book (reviews kept calling it an "epic fantasy", which it wasn't) so it took me a little bit of getting used to, but I enjoyed it a lot once I got into it. A spy is investigating the murder of a famous historian in one of her country's colonies – a formerly powerful city whose gods they have killed. She finds that the gods may not have been as dead as everyone thought. It reminded me a bit of The City & The City by China Miéville, although that might just be the weird city/murder mashup – it was a lot less weird/cold that Miéville usually is.
#41: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear – another book that has been getting really good reviews. It's an adventure set in a Klondike Gold Rush era steampunk Seattle/Portland/Vancouver-ish city starring a lesbian prostitute. I liked it a lot – Karen has a very distinctive narrative style that's a lot of fun, and her being a prostitute is just incidental – here's Bear talking about it (link to full post):
And the thing is, for Karen and her colleagues, prostitution is a job. It’s how they make a living, not how they identify themselves. The protagonists of most urban fantasy novels seem to work waiting tables or as private investigators, if they’re not starving artists. Either their job is the adventure, or it’s something that provides a gateway to the adventure, but we’re never supposed to care too much about the job qua job itself!
So Karen’s job gives her an entry into her adventure—but it certainly doesn’t define her. And to me, the adventure is the interesting thing. She’s not having adventures or being a good person in spite of being a prostitute. She’s a prostitute, and she also gets to have adventures.
Also, both these books had (Asian) Indians in it – the Saypuri from City of Stairs were clearly somewhat inspired by India, and Karen's love interest in Karen Memory is Indian (I didn't even know there were any Indians in the U.S. around then!) I'm used to seeing Chinese/Japanese influence in fantasy, but not Indian – that's pretty interesting.
#42 is Vicious by V.E. Schwab – a dark superhero revenge story – Victor and Eli were close friends in college, but after an experiment goes horribly wrong, they become deadly enemies. Victor has just been released from prison, and now neither will rest until the other is gone forever.
I got this because I remembered that Marie gave it a good review last year, and it was good. It doesn't really have any good vs. evil characters, but it does explore a lot of the ways that people deal with being different. The pacing is excellent – it has short chapters, but they build up pretty quickly.
The only complaint I have (and it's a minor one) was that maybe the book could have pushed the envelope a bit further with the whole "no one is good" thing – it's very clear who we should be rooting for by the end.
I can go back to writing reviews now (I told myself I wouldn't until I was done with this) – I have a whole bunch of books I need to talk about.
Book #43 is A Darker Shade of Magic: This was a pretty fun book, although not stellar. Kell is one of the last people that can travel between the four known parallel versions of London. He occasionally smuggles things illegally between worlds, and one of these goes horribly wrong. While trying to fix the mess he's made, he runs into Lila, a thief who has had a pretty rough life, and she gets caught up in it too.
This is similar to urban fantasy (I'm not sure if it qualifies since it seems to be set in ~1815), and the worldbuilding is pretty cool. Kell is an okay character, although somewhat naive, but Lila irritated me (she's killed a bunch of people, but also wants to be a pirate?) There wasn't a lot of character growth either (this was totally fine in Vicious because that wasn't the type of story to demand character growth) and it was hard to be invested in the characters. The most interesting ones were the villains.
Schwab does do pacing really well, though – A Darker Shade of Magic has the same short chapters and action-filled build up that Vicious does, and if you're looking for that, this is a great read.
Book #44 is a short book inspired by African folklore, Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord. I absolutely loved The Best of All Possible Worlds by the same author, so I had an inkling that I would like this one too. My full review is here: http://justaworldaway.com/2015/03/08/mini-review-redemption-in-indigo-by-karen-l...
#45 The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente. The fourth in the Fairyland series, this continues September's story, but with a different protagonist – we follow Hawthorn, a troll changeling who has been swapped for a human boy and grows up in Chicago. This has all the whimsical prose and fantastic ideas of the rest of the series, but I really missed September, Saturday and A through L. They do show up, but not enough.
#46: What Katy Did by Susan M. Coolidge – reread, this was one of my favourite books when I was young. It holds up okay, although it is really, really moralistic and seems to be aimed to encourage girls to look pretty, be quiet and kind, and manage their household well (at one point, a twelve year old is described as a "born housewife" as a compliment). However, the antics of the Carr family are still pretty fun to read about.
#47: The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord – I was really looking forward to this book because I've loved the author's two previous books – Redemption in Indigo and The Best of All Possible Worlds, and this one is a sequel to the latter. It was a disappointment, though – there were a whole bunch of problems:
(1) the protagonists weren't really that interesting
(2) there were three protagonists in a 300 page book, and that didn't seem to add much to the story
(3) the protagonists are too much on the sidelines to be good points of view for the galaxy-wide changes happening – mostly people just tell them things, and they react.
(4) there were a lot of characters from the previous book shoehorned into the story, and while it's nice to get glimpses into their life, they're a distraction from an already pretty unfocused book
(5) The sport-turned-transit system that was a major part of the book just didn't make any sense to me. I mean I like cool/ridiculous sci-fi ideas, but I really couldn't visualize what was going on. Also, I don't really understand the main protagonist's progression in the game, he doesn't seem to have spent that much time on it.
(6) I've said this before, but there were so many things that seemed to come out of nowhere, or that were talked about a lot but didn't seem to matter at all – Ntenman's parentage, for one.
(7) Also, the prologue and epilogue (set a bunch of years after the main story) are a giant cliffhanger. Argh.
Lord's previous two books were pretty intimate – they were mostly focused on one or two people and the consequences to their own life, and she's good at that type of narrative. I think this was supposed to be a coming of age story set in a time of galactic turmoil, but it doesn't really work.
Also, this isn't really a problem with the book, but many of the economies run on social credit – the more people you know and favours you can do them, the better off you are. As an introvert and staunch individualist, this idea deeply disturbs me, and I don't really understand how a society could work like that. From what I remember from the previous book, the people seemed a lot more relatable/normal.
#48 was a quick read, The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, short stories in the Prydain world telling stories of a bunch of side characters – Dallben, Doli, Fflewddur Fflam, Arawn and the stealing of the crafts of Prydain, King Rhitta and Dyrnwyn, Eilonwy's mother Angharad, Medwyn, Coll and Hen Wen. I enjoyed seeing old friends again, and it went by too quickly. There are always rereads, though :)
#49: My first Kim Stanley Robinson book, Aurora (I need to read more sci-fi classics!) – one of Earth's first generation ships arrives at its destination, and faces a whole bunch of difficulties. The portrayal of humanity isn't very flattering, but I still liked this book a lot – it explored themes of free will and the nature of consciousness, and learning to live with the hand you're dealt, even when you hate it. Lots of hard science too, which was fun – I always forget how much I actually like hard science fiction.
#50: Fade to Black by Francis Knight. This one is off the shelf – a fantasy novel set in an industrial era featuring a lovable bounty hunter mage. It was a lot of fun, the protagonist is a pretty typical rogue-out-for-himself who discovers his inner heroism, but he's got a great first-person voice, and besides, who doesn't love rogues. I've always liked city-states and magic systems with costs, and this does both well. I'm looking forward to the next two books
I am so glad you've started reading Robinson. I cannot recommend the Mars trilogy more highly. Of course, face it that you will get NOTHING done once you begin, so choose your time wisely!
Fun too, to look through your recent reads. I didn't know about the tropes exercise -- I tried Eddings for awhile, but eventually I did get bored!
I'm a huge Bujold fan as well!
I haven't looked to see if you have gotten into Robin Hobb?
#51: The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. Okay, so I didn't see what all the fuss was about Kay after reading the first Fionavar Tapestry book, but consider my mind changed. This was the epic, intense, poignant story of two incredible men pulled along by the inexorable pressures of the world around them. The world and history are fairly similar to Moorish Spain, but with different countries and religions.
I'm barely restraining myself from buying his entire bibliography right now. I probably wouldn't want to read such intense books all in a row, but still!
I read Eddings kind of like I did The Princess Bride – loving satire, but still a good story.
Robin Hobb is one of my favourite authors! I wouldn't want the life of one of her characters, but she is incredible. I'm waiting for Fool's Quest to come out this fall.
Bujold is incredible. I read the Vorkosigan books last year and the Chalion books earlier this year. I have the Sharing Knife and Spirit Ring too, but I don't want to run out of Bujold, so I'm saving them. I'm already anticipating a Vorkosigan reread before the new one comes out.
>110 souloftherose: I'm so excited, Heather! Especially since it's a Cordelia viewpoint.
Glad to have another vote for the Mars trilogy :)
>114 rosylibrarian: I've always heard that the best one to start with is Tigana, I just happened to have The Lions of Al-Rassan on my shelves from some past book-buying spree. Most of his books are standalone, though, so I don't think it matters.
>115 Kassilem: I'm looking forward to see what you think of Tigana! Have you read other Kay before?
I'm thinking about posting links here every time I post a new review, let me know if that gets annoying.
#52: Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman – Far future sci-fi story about an expedition that's exploring the first planet found with an indigenous ecosystem, in an area with constant gravitational anomalies. A crewmember with somewhat-psychic abilities finds something incredible, but finds it hard to explain it to her crewmates.
This was a pretty good book, but I wasn't so sure about the "see beyond science to unlock a whole new dimension of truth" thing. I mean, the plot was about how all of the protagonist's scientific colleague can't see past their prejudices, and how the world can be incomprehensible and how observation and classification taints all knowledge, and I like those philosophies, but what ended up happening just wasn't... believable I'll have to think more on it to figure out whether that makes it extra-good or not.
Review of The Lions of Al-Rassan on my blog: http://justaworldaway.com/2015/03/21/the-lions-of-al-rassan-by-guy-gavriel-kay/
After dithering for a while about which review copy I should read next (I've been making such good progress on them lately!), I figured out that I wanted to read something that I actually wanted to read (not just checking off a list), so I picked up The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold. I love Bujold, I love the Renaissance, and I love folktale inspired stories, so I loved it.
#54: Galactic Empires edited by Gardner Dozois – six space opera novellas all featuring some sort of galactic empire by Peter F. Hamilton, Neil Asher, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter and Ian McDonald. A pretty strong collection – the only one I didn't really enjoy was Stephen Baxter's (the ideas were cool, but it wasn't a very engaging story, especially since I'm not familiar with his Xeelee universe).
#55 and #56 are first two volumes in the graphic novel version of The Eye of the World – The Eye of the World Volume One and The Eye of the World Volume Two. These are pretty quick reads, but it's nice to see them visualized. I don't know enough about graphic novels to tell how they compare, but they certainly pull me into the story, and I think the adaptation from the novel was well done. I have three more volumes, so I'm probably going to power through them today.
As expected, #57, #58, and #59 are The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Three, The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Four and The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Five. This is actually a really good adaptation of the book, I wish I had the rest of the series! (unfortunately, this is all that has been published other than New Spring: The Graphic Novel.)
You don't have to commit to the whole series at once – you can take it one book at a time and stop reading at any point. You should probably read the first three, though – the first one especially will not give you a full sense of the books – it seems extremely derivative of Lord of the Rings (except without elves and dwarves) but that's because Jordan wanted to start you in a familiar place before going totally off-script for fantasy :)
>137 sibylline: Hi Lucy! I ordered a copy of Tigana, it should arrive within the week. I'm looking forward to reading it. The Carolyn Ives Gilman book comes out in July, I will be running a giveaway of it on my blog.
Wheel of Time has a very soft spot in my heart, I think I will probably end up rereading it every year or two, so I can't give you an unbiased opinion. :)
#61: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. I like Ken Liu's short stories – he's won the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award for Paper Menagerie, so I was looking forward to reading his first novel. (Side note: It's one of the first books published by Simon & Schuster's new SFF imprint, Saga Press – I'm pretty excited that a new major publisher is launching an SFF imprint.)
This was a good book – it's written in a kind of omniscient folktale-y style, simple but poetic. It's about a corrupt empire and the rebellion that overthrows it, and seems heavily influenced by ancient China. It shares some thematic elements with The Lions of Al-Rassan (two larger than life men that cannot really exist in the same world), but the characters are not as likable and there's a lot more actual war. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next book goes.
#62 and #63 hardly count as full books, but that's okay. #62 was Brandon Sanderson's new sci fi virtual reality novella, Perfect State. It was very Sanderson-y; I enjoyed it, but it didn't engage me very much.
#63 was the last graphic novel volume of The Eye of the World – The Eye of the World, Volume Six. It was pretty good, I'm sad that they aren't continuing with the series at this time.
#64: Red Rising by Pierce Brown – everyone seems to love this series, and I got it in the Reddit Books 2015 secret Santa exchange. I thought it was YA, but it's apparently an adult book (not that those distinctions really matter), but it features a teenage protagonist and a dystopian society and lots of Capitalized Nouns social classes (and other things). It also features a very violent "game" (just like The Hunger Games) and a lowborn protagonist that somehow beats everyone. It's not great literature, but I was hooked by the end – kind of like a catchy pop song.
#65: Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan – this is actually a two book omnibus, and it was a lot of fun. It's a light adventure type story – almost D&D-esque, each story seemed standalone but also fit into a larger narrative. The characters are fun – it's nice to read a stories where the protagonists are having fun and the stakes aren't particularly high. One minor complaint – these were originally self published, and you can tell – some parts could really use an editor (clunky exposition!), but it's not so bad that it draws you out of the story.
#66: Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan – books three and four of the Riyria Revelations. I started this one immediately after Theft of Swords, since I wanted to see what Royce and Hadrian were up to. I'm continuing to enjoy this series a lot, it doesn't take itself too seriously and it's a lot of fun.
>145 rosylibrarian: Both are good, but I liked the Riyria books better than Red Rising because they had far more heart.
I forgot to record the third book in the Riyria omnibus series, Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan. A great end to the series.
Good luck on your Bingo challenge!
>148 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. Yeah, I never do well with challenges, but I read so much fantasy anyway that I'm hoping I will accidentally end up filling most of the spots :) And thanks!
#67 is A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall. A retired general is goaded out of hiding when her entire village is massacred by the powers that be. It started off very much reminiscent of Joe Abercrombie's work, but towards the end, it seemed to trend towards a more traditional fantasy plot. I like the world. I wish it has been a bit tighter focused, but it wasn't bad.
I've had a pretty stressful week, so I haven't been reading very much. I am about 30 pages into Tigana, though.
I got a bunch of new books recently! Lucy (@sibyx) sent me some books she was getting rid of:
The Computer Connection by Alfred Bester
Sundiver by David Brin
Tales of Neveryon by Samuel Delaney
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (the only non-classic SF)
...and I went to the used bookstore in town yesterday and picked up...
Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov (I apparently already owned this, but I got a hardcover, so that's okay)
The Nebula Awards, No. 18 edited by Robert Silverberg
The Gorgon and Other Beastly Tales by Tanith Lee
Foxy and the Badgers by John Montgomery (this is a kids' book, but my favourite stuffed animal is named Foxy, so I get anything that features a fox named "Foxy" on sight)
#69: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. I liked this book a lot, but not as much as The Lions of Al-Rassan. I'll post a full review later (probably on my blog). I'm definitely going to go through Kay's bibliography pretty quickly.
#70: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold. I love Bujold, but this was a bit too romance-y for my tastes – also, why does Bujold pair teenage girls with way older men so often? I liked the characters and world, and I'm hoping the next book will explore those more.
Downbelow Station drove me nuts with its multiple viewpoints and of course the disasters of war--but I persevered and Cherryh pulled it all together at the end, which I had thought well nigh impossible! None of this is a spoiler--it's all pretty well evident on the cover blurbs. Also, had I been more familiar with the Alliance universe as I am now, I might have found it easier going. Definitely worthwhile and key to this series!
The only Cherryh I've read is The Pride of Chanur, which I enjoyed a lot. I'm looking forward to Downbelow Station.
>153 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel, and thanks!
>154 ronincats: Hi Roni! I've read the whole series now, and I ended up liking it a lot. I liked book 2 even though it still focused mainly on the personal stuff, I identified with a lot of the culture clash, and books 3 & 4 were fantastic too.
I think the Chanur books are part of the Alliance-Union universe, but I don't know much about it. I'm looking forward to exploring it more, though.
As mentioned in my reply to Roni above, books 71-73 were the rest of the Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold – Legacy, Passage and Horizon. I enjoyed them a lot – this series is much more focused on the characters and their life with each other rather than a traditional fantasy plot (although there's definitely some of that too). My only complaint is that I have read all of Bujold's work now :(
#74 was Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, a YA sci-fi novel. It had some pretty cool ideas – a society that survives on low-resource planets by hibernating for thirty years for every month they spend awake – also compensates for the fact that they have no FTL travel. The plot came together a bit too quickly at the end; I would've liked more complexity. Still a fun read, though.
And I pointed out in Lucy's thread that you don't really need to save The Mallorean since you can revisit the entire saga two more times from the POVs of Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress after that.
Also, you got me, the real reason that I haven't gotten the Mallorean yet is because I'm trying to get through my massive TBR pile. It never seems to dip below 500 books unread (mostly because of review copies). I'm not complaining at all – free books are amazing – but sometimes I end up feeling like I don't actually read what I want to read.
>157 sibylline: Yeah, I need to get back to Cherryh, especially after so many recommendations!
Our main project this week has been getting our third floor apartment ready for listing on Airbnb (a short term rental site). That's finally done, here's the link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5927615.
We've been planning this for a while, but finally got around to it because Oberlin's Commencement / Reunion weekend is coming up, and Michelle Obama is speaking, so we figured there would be demand (and the place got booked within 12 hours of us putting it up!). Hopefully there will continue to be demand, though.
My reading has slowed down a bit, I've only finished one book. But it's #75, and this is definitely the earliest that I've reached 75, so yay!
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone – this is a weird secondary world urban fantasy, where magic and contract law are heavily intertwined. Tara Abernathy, and her boss, a senior partner at one of the great firms, are hired to resuscitate a dead god who contracted out too much of his own power out, and literally went into the red. The book was pretty fun, although it wasn't exactly what I was in the mood for. It reminded me a lot of China Miéville, the ideas were fantastic but the characters seemed somewhat cold in the same way that his do. That's not a bad thing, though.
I'm also working my way through a reread of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
I started Three Parts Dead on my Kindle a few months ago, but petered out just as the pair above are arriving at the city of the dead god. It was a slow start for me, but I want to get back to it as I keep seeing good reviews of this and the following books in the series.
The apartment looks nice. Hope you have good luck with renters.
I hope we'll be able to find renters after Commencement – the summer is always slow.
>160 scaifea: Thanks Amber! Oberlin only has one big Parents Weekend, but parents do visit at other times, plus there are lots of parents bringing their high school kids to see if they want to go to Oberlin. We're also going to register with the college in case they want to put up people visiting for lectures, concerts, etc. – we have a lot of those, especially with the Conservatory of Music.
>161 drneutron: Thanks Jim!
>162 Kassilem: Thanks Melissa!
Books #76 and #77 are rereads of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I have been really busy at work, so I've been more in the mood for rereads, since those tend to be a bit more relaxing. This was my first reread of the Kingkiller Chronicles, and I picked up on a lot more stuff this time around. I also discovered Jo Walton's ridiculously detailed reread over on Tor.com, which I found even more illuminating.
Now I really want the third book, but it's not going to be released this year, apparently.
#78 is My Real Children by Jo Walton, which Tor sent me unexpectedly and I devoured immedlately. Patricia Cowan has lived two very different lives – one in which she had three children with her loving partner, Bee, and the other, where she had four children in her abusive marriage to Mark. In one, the world is peaceful, and in the other, there have been several nuclear strikes during her lifetime, and the world seems like it's falling apart.
Jo Walton is really good at writing believable characters, and this book was excellent. We get to know two very different people – Pat and Trish, all hinging on one decision that Patricia made, and it's very moving – especially the things that remain the same, like Patricia's Alzheimer's.
My reading has slowed down, and I think it's because I'm not really in the mood to read a lot of the stuff on my shelves. So I just ordered two Jo Walton books and two Guy Gavriel Kay books that I'm pretty excited about.
I will go look at Walton's write-up when I have time for something 'ridiculously detailed' (a description I love, btw).
The "ridiculously detailed" description comes straight from Walton – she also calls it "obsessively detailed", "intensively close", "excessively detailed" and a few other things of that vein.
I have succumbed to what's becoming an annual tradition – a Wheel of Time reread! I've completed The Eye of the World and am now reading The Great Hunt.
I'm done with The Great Hunt and quite a ways into The Dragon Reborn. I like The Eye of the World okay, but The Great Hunt is always what pulls me into the story, and soon it's going to get to the point where I can't really moderate myself anymore.
I am getting Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay today; maybe I'll take a break from Wheel of Time at some point to read that.
Last book of May: The Dragon Reborn. Should I even bother to update until I'm done with the series? :)
The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan – this book was slower than I remembered. It doesn't have the same "everyone ends up at the same place in the end" storyline of the first three books, so I've always liked it for deepening the scope of the series. We have barely any Mat, though, despite one of his pivotal story moments occurring here – I guess his awesomeness begins with the next book.
P.S. We have several signed first editions of his books at the library I work at. He went to school here under a different name.
That's pretty awesome about the signed editions! Yeah his real name was James Rigney Jr. He was a Vietnam vet too, and apparently soldiers find the battle scenes in The Wheel of Time really realistic.
I finished The Fires of Heaven yesterday. This is where things start getting really awesome, and a lot of the characters come into their own (Mat!). Each of the three boys has one book that skips their story, and this is Perrin's turn (I always forget which books skip which characters), but I didn't really miss him because there was so much going on. Also, in this book, Nynaeve starts realizing how insufferable she can be sometimes, which is always great to read.
I'm still in the Wheel of Time rabbit hole, books #84 through #88 are Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart and Crossroads of Twilight.
Lord of Chaos – one of the very best climaxes, but far too much Rand. I mean, I like Rand, but he is no fun to read about, especially because he has both PTSD and slowly creeping-in insanity. Still, the ending makes this worth it.
A Crown of Swords – I really enjoyed the Ebou Dar plotline with the exception of a certain controversial part of Mat's storyline, and this is the book where he finally gets his well deserved apology (Sammael and Illian and such are finally taken care of, too, but the apology to Mat is still my favourite part.)
The Path of Daggers a.k.a. The One Without Mat. It was still pretty fun, though, as was Winter's Heart. Crossroads of Twilight was a bit more boring than I remembered (except for the parts with Mat), especially because I'm reading slower than usual.
I'm reading New Spring now, it's the first time I've read it in its publication order. It's nice to take a break from all the current characters and go back to Moiraine and Lan (who everyone loves), I was getting distinctly frustrated with Perrin, Elayne and Egwene's plotlines. The series picks up the pace a lot with Knife of Dreams, so I'm looking forward to that.
I finished my reread of Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan earlier this week.
>183 rosylibrarian: Thanks Marie!
#91: Updraft by Fran Wilde – I was excited about this book because it had a cool setting - a city of towers where everyone flies to get around. I found it a bit too serious and young adult dystopia-y, though. Here's my full review: http://justaworldaway.com/2015/08/29/updraft-by-fran-wilde/
Book-wise, I'm in the middle of Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb so far, and it is very good, although the plot is moving excruciating slowly.
Really cool that you were part of the "Mind Meld" series.
>187 rretzler: Thanks Robin! I played my way through Portal, Portal 2, and Assassin's Creed (the first one), all on PS3. I'm currently playing through Assassin's Creed 2, although my progress has considerably slowed after my vacation ended last week. What games have you been playing?
#92: Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb – this is one of my favourite series' of all the time, and it didn't disappoint. There was one thing that happened that made me really, really happy, but as usual, Hobb puts her characters through the wringer. My only complaint is that I have to wait for book 3, but at least Hobb gets a book out every year :)
#93: The End of All Things by John Scalzi – I like the Old Man's War universe, and I like the "series of connected novellas" format. I also liked how the story progressed, especially after the depressing note that The Human Division ended on.
#94: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie – loved it, it's more along the lines of the slow-burning Ancillary Sword than the breakneck pace of Ancillary Justice. It's fascinating to see Breq's journey into understanding humans better, and becoming more human herself. The plot is wrapped up well too, although I want more of the world and these characters.
#95: Among Others by Jo Walton – I loved this book as well, and personally identified with it a lot (the book is about a lonely teenager who is set apart from her peers because of a bad leg, and finds solace in SFF books. She even talks about wanting to go to the US for college to be able to study whatever she wants, which is exactly reason that I did the same thing!) And of course, it's impeccably written, and the juxtaposition of fairies and science fiction is really great.
#96: The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton – the sequel to The Just City, which I loved when I read it last year. It's a very different book (set 30 years later, starts with the death of my favourite character) but it's still very good. I wasn't happy about the death, but the book explores grief so well that it made up for it. And the ending blew my mind a little bit – I can't wait for the final book.
#97: The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – I think this book was just released, but I was really excited about the premise so I had to read it. It's about a woman who takes on an unstoppable empire by trying to rise to power within it and changing it from the inside – mainly through financial policies. I enjoyed it a lot (although I'm a sucker for political intrigue) – there's a lot of "power corrupts" type stuff in here, but also a surprising amount of heart. It's a pretty impressive debut novel.
#98: Farthing by Jo Walton – I didn't like this one as much as her other books, but I still liked it. It's a pretty depressing story of an increasingly fascist alternate Britain after they signed a peace treaty with the Nazis. It also seems like an homage to Agatha Christie-esque books, which I enjoyed, but it also meant the characters were a bit more remote than Walton's other work, which I didn't enjoy.
#99: Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold – this is a novella set in the World of the Five Gods, about a young man who accidentally acquires a demon. Bujold can do no wrong, and the only problem I had with this story was that it was much too short. I would really like more novels set in this world!
#100: Agent of Change by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller – I started this because of the Liaden group read, and it's free on Kindle! I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it (although maybe I will in retrospect once I get to know the characters a bit better?) Val Con and Miri were fun, but I felt like they trusted each other a bit too quickly.
#101: Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald – I like Ian McDonald's books, although his characters tend to be a little cold and not really the kind of people I want to know too well. He portrays the moon in an age of cutthroat and lawless development, where the great industrial families dress in 3D-printed 1950's fashion and plot each others' demise. It's a pretty good book, and it's also been optioned by CBS to make into a TV show.
#102: Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer – According to early reviews on Goodreads, everyone seems to love this book, but I didn't enjoy it very much. It's about a few people working together to bring back enchantment to their land. I found the characters inauthentic and hard to relate to, and the plot was mostly driven by hearsay (the protagonists make life changing decisions based on the word of someone that's famous but they've never met). It was well-written, though.
>194 ronincats: Hi Roni! Thanks for dropping by!
#103: The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis – this was a pretty good steampunk alternate history robot uprising novel. In an alternate 17th century, Christian Huygens invented clockwork robots that are enslaved by alchemical geasa, and a couple of centuries later, the Dutch rule the world, opposed only by a weak New France based out of Quebec. Jax is a common servitor Clakker who longs to be free of his geasa, but his life becomes much more complicated when his wish comes true. Berenice, the spymistress for New France, wants to take any advantage that she can get over a seemingly insurmountable enemy, but her life is pretty complicated too. The world was interesting, and the characters and plot were solid. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
#104: Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – Continuing the Liaden shared read. I found Shan and Priscilla's story more fun than Agent of Change, and I'm pretty excited to see the two stories meet up in Carpe Diem.
I'm starting to get drawn into the universe, and I've ordered the rest of the Liaden series all at once (except the latest book and the short story collections). I haven't bought myself any books in a few months, and I know I'll want to own the rest of the series eventually, so I figured I'd just get it out of the way now rather than buying them one by one and having to wait as I get more and more impatient to see what happens next.
#105: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson – this was a pre-order, and I was really excited to read it. Brandon Sanderson never disappoints, and this is a great continuation of the Mistborn series, with exciting plot twists and stellar worldbuilding. My only complaint was that the banter seemed a bit forced at times.
#106: Carpe Diem by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – The stories of Val Con/Miri and Shan/Priscilla intersect! I liked this "backwards world" setting of this one a lot, and warmed up to Val Con and Miri a bit more.
#107: Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – This book was more of a war novel, and I found it a bit boring. Most of Erob didn't seem to have much personality (or maybe Korval has so much personality that they paled in comparison) which I found odd since the action is mostly set in Erob's house. The Yxtrang also seemed like one-dimensional enemies.
#108: I Dare by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – I enjoyed I Dare a lot, it was nice to get a bit more insight into Pat Rin, and I was glad to finally see the (presumably) last of the Department of the Interior. It was nice to see all of Korval finally together too. Also, I can't quite believe that lifemates are rare in Liaden society, there seem to be nothing but lifemates (this book had Pat Rin and Anthora lifemate).
#109: Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – Probably my favourite of the Liaden books so far, because Theo is adorable. This is more YA/coming of age, but it was really well done, and it was nice to have a bit of a break from all the propriety that is Liaden society. Delgado has its own proprieties, but Theo and her father are both pretty irreverent, and I enjoyed that.
#110-#121 – The rest of the Liaden novels. Saltation, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship, Necessity's Child, Local Custom, Scout's Progress, Mouse and Dragon, Dragon in Exile, Balance of Trade, Trade Secret, Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, in that order. I enjoyed these (some books more than others), but not as much as I thought I would. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for them, though – I'll reread them again someday.
#122: Mystic by Jason Denzel – this was a really uncomplicated but sweet fantasy and I enjoyed it a lot.
#123-125: A Companion to Wolves, The Tempering of Men, and An Apprentice to Elves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear – I really loved this series. Monette's characters and Bear's worldbuilding combined is pretty incredible. They also do a great job of exploring the harsh realities of what it would be like to be bonded to wolves, without losing any of the beauty or magic of it.
Not much reading to report, unfortunately. I've been slowly reading Middletown, which is a pretty interesting sociological study done on a midwestern American town in the 1920's – it's written in a way that you would describe an alien culture, emphasizing a lot of details that would normally be left out as well-known. It's pretty interesting.
I'm also most of my way through Anthology I, a SFF anthology by a new publishing company.
For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!
I haven't been on LT very much for the past week because I've been sick, and we've had friends visiting (so you can blame andrewreads). I did finish two books, though:
127. Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard – this was a pretty fun far-future book with where humans are no longer present and all sentient life is just "uplifted" animals. The premise took me a little while to get into (anthropomorphic animals!) but once I did, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
128. Armada by Ernest Cline – this has been getting terrible reviews, and I understand why – it's not a very good book. It's pure wish-fulfillment, the plot is utterly nonsensical, and it doesn't have a lot of the heart that Ready Player One does. However, it was a very easy read for where I was sick and drugged up and couldn't really focus on anything.
I also started reading Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente, which is really good so far, but it was too poetic/dense for me to read when I was feeling unfocused, so I haven't finished it yet.
Also, my SantaThing books arrived! I got Messenger's Legacy, Never Let Me Go, Castle in the Air and A Visit from the Goon Squad! I'm excited about all of them!
I keep missing the 75 books Secret Santa sign up deadline, I would have loved to participate in that too.