YouKneeK’s 2021 SF&F Overdose Part 2

Això és la continuació del tema YouKneeK’s 2021 SF&F Overdose Part 1.

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YouKneeK’s 2021 SF&F Overdose Part 2

1YouKneeK
feb. 27, 8:56pm

Welcome to part 2 of my 2021 thread! Here’s my usual introductory info:
  • I read mostly science fiction and fantasy, with a heavier emphasis on fantasy.
  • I tend to read slightly older books versus the newest releases.
  • I hate spoilers. Any spoilers in my reviews should be safely hidden behind spoiler tags.
  • I prefer to read a series after it’s complete, and I read all the books pretty close together.
  • I’m 45, female, and live in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA in the U.S where I work as a programmer.
  • My cat’s name is Ernest and he’s a freak.

This year I’ve been using some Milanote boards to present a few things that may be of occasional interest. Click here if you’re interested in any of the following things:
  • Tentative reading plans for the next several months. I’m checking books off here as I read them, and will update it as I make changes.
  • Audiobook plans. I’ve listed all the audiobooks currently on my list to try at some point and am checking off the ones I’ve listened to.
  • Reading stats. As of today, there are no stats posted for 2021 yet. I’ll update them at the end of each quarter.
  • Cross-stitch pictures. I’m posting updated pictures of my two current projects about once a week, usually on Sunday night. I also have a few pictures of some of my favorite previously-completed projects.

2YouKneeK
Editat: abr. 9, 6:36am

2021 Reading Index

Clicking on the Date Read will take you to the post containing the review.

   Date Read/
 # Review Link  Title                            Author(s)
1 2021-01-07   Kushiel's Mercy                  Jacqueline Carey
2 2021-01-10   The Best of All Possible Worlds  Karen Lord
3 2021-01-18   Naamah's Kiss                    Jacqueline Carey
4 2021-01-29   Naamah's Curse                   Jacqueline Carey
5 2021-02-03   Restoration                      Carol Berg
6 2021-02-06   Naamah's Blessing                Jacqueline Carey
7 2021-02-09   The Diary of a Young Girl        Anne Frank
8 2021-02-13   Rosewater                        Tade Thompson
9 2021-02-13   The Last Wish                    Andrzej Sapkowski
10 2021-02-20   The Sword-Edged Blonde           Alex Bledsoe
11 2021-02-21   The House of the Spirits         Isabel Allende
12 2021-02-27   Hounded                          Kevin Hearne
13 2021-03-01   Furies of Calderon               Jim Butcher
14 2021-03-05   We Are Legion (We are Bob)       Dennis E. Taylor
15 2021-03-12   Academ's Fury                    Jim Butcher
16 2021-03-20   Three Parts Dead                 Max Gladstone
17 2021-03-21   Cursor's Fury                    Jim Butcher
18 2021-04-01   Captain's Fury                   Jim Butcher
19 2021-04-03   Foreigner                        C. J. Cherryh
20 2021-04-08   Princeps' Fury                   Jim Butcher

3YouKneeK
Editat: feb. 27, 9:05pm

Audiobook Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne



Hounded is the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, an urban fantasy series. This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue this series in print someday.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Luke Daniels. He did a really good job, one of the better audio narrators I’ve listened to, although admittedly I haven’t listened to very many yet. His voice seemed perfect for the main character, Atticus. He also did the narration of Atticus’ dog, Oberon, very well. I felt like I was actually listening to a dog talk. He did well with other voices too, including female voices.

My one small complaint is that I had some trouble distinguishing between when Atticus was providing information to the reader and when he was providing information to another character. There were several times when I thought Atticus was giving information as an aside to the reader, and then another character would respond to what he had said and I’d realize he’d been speaking out loud after all.

Story
The main character, Atticus, is the last known Druid. He’s been alive for about 2100 years although he appears and pretends to be 21. In the distant past, he stole a magical sword from a god. Over the centuries, Atticus has been hunted (or “Hounded”, if you will) by that god and every now and then he is found and has to find a new place to hide. He’s been living in Tempe, Arizona for a while and now it looks like the god has caught up with him again.

I haven’t read a ton of urban fantasy, and my few experiences with it haven’t been that positive. I particularly hate it when tons of different beings/creatures showing up in name only for a paragraph or two without any context or depth, just to be in the story and show how much the author knows about mythology. Happily, this story wasn’t like that. There were several different creatures, but not an overwhelming variety and they all made sense and were developed well enough to justify their inclusion in the story. The plot was maybe a little simplistic, and I wonder if I might have been more bored with it if I’d been reading it in print, but simpler stories work better for me in audio because I don’t retain what I hear as well as I retain what I read. Also, my attention is partly on what I'm physically doing and not exclusively focused on the story.

There’s quite a lot of humor. It often made me laugh, but it did get to be a little too much at times. Atticus’ dog, Oberon, provides a good portion of the humor. Their relationship was sweet and their banter could be funny at times, but I’ll probably be in the minority for not being a huge fan of Oberon. He was just so… doglike. So obsessed with food. And French poodles. I don’t dislike dogs exactly, but in the real world I prefer to experience them in very small doses. They’re just so eager and needy. Give me a stuck-up, self-absorbed, but reluctantly affectionate cat. ;) I’ve enjoyed dogs in other books, so I’m not sure why Oberon didn’t appeal to me more. Maybe it’s partly because the audio increased his dogginess. I unreservedly liked the widow, though. The story needed more of her!

I had some trouble buying into Atticus’ youthful attitudes considering his age. On the other hand, he was probably more fun to read about than the more stereotypical world-weary, cynical character would have been. I’m not sure if I could take him (and the dog) in large doses, but he was fun for the length of a short book. I’m still not 100% sure if I want to follow up on this series in print someday. I’ve marked it as a “maybe”.

I’m rating this at 3.5 stars. I had a really, really hard time deciding whether to round up or down. I’ve been flip-flopping about it all the way up until writing this paragraph. I’ve decided to round up to 4. It doesn’t really feel like a book I would normally give 4 stars too, and I’ve given 4 stars to other books that I read in print and enjoyed quite a lot more, so I think I’m being overly generous. However, 3 stars feels unfairly low considering how much fun I mostly had listening to it.

Next Audiobook
We are Legion (We are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor. This was the March science fiction pick in the group I’m in on Goodreads. I normally wouldn’t have joined in on this one since it’s an incomplete series and it sounds like the author hopes to keep writing in the setting for a long time, but I thought I’d fit it in with my new audio strategy.

4Narilka
feb. 27, 10:27pm

>3 YouKneeK: Oberon's the best :)

I hope you enjoy the Bobiverse. The first three books read as a cohesive trilogy just fine if you're interested.

5-pilgrim-
feb. 28, 4:13am

>1 YouKneeK: Those Milanotes are a nice way of keeping an overview.

6YouKneeK
feb. 28, 7:22am

>4 Narilka: Thanks, that’s good to know about the first 3 books of the Bobiverse. I’ve been curious about this book for a while. The title appeals to me somehow.

>5 -pilgrim-: They are. At first it was just something to play around with that I didn’t think I would use over the long term, but they’re growing on me. They’re easy to set up, at least on a PC, and they’re especially easy to keep updated.

7fuzzi
feb. 28, 7:56am

>2 YouKneeK: impressive...

8BookstoogeLT
feb. 28, 1:06pm

>3 YouKneeK: Glad you at least enjoyed this. I made it to book 3 or 4 before dnf'ing the series and I kind of wish I'd done it right after book 1. Atticus and his millennial attitude only seemed to increase to me. I was blase about Oberon and didn't particularly care one or the other about him :-)

Good luck with Bobiverse. I dnf'd due to a particular bit of politics the author felt needed to be included but I've heard from others it was a one off thing and wasn't followed up or added to in the rest of the book/series. Hope it is fun for you.

9Karlstar
feb. 28, 1:21pm

>3 YouKneeK: Glad you enjoyed it! The next few books are just as good.

10YouKneeK
feb. 28, 1:42pm

>7 fuzzi: Several of those books are pretty short, and fitting in audiobooks has helped. I’ve been really happy with how well this audiobook thing is working out, especially considering my many past failed attempts.

>8 BookstoogeLT: I’m guessing you probably didn’t read the Iron Druid books back-to-back since that’s not normally your series-reading style? I think if I ever do read it in print, I’ll probably have to spread the books out a little more than I usually do.

I listened to the first hour of We Are Legion earlier today. This is going to be one of those annoying narrator books, although not as bad as The Last Wish was. I wasn’t too sure about the story when I first started listening, but it’s growing on me. I suspect this is going to turn into a (maybe not a spoiler if I’m completely wrong) robots take over the world from the perspective of the sentient robots story. But if so, I think it will be a unique take on the story.

>9 Karlstar: Thanks. I’ll probably teeter on the fence for a good long while about the Iron Druid series. At least now I know what it’s like. If I ever feel like it’s the exact thing I’m in the mood for, I’ll know where to go!

11BookstoogeLT
feb. 28, 1:51pm

>10 YouKneeK: I read the first 3 between September through december of '11 and then read the 4th mid-'12, which is when I abandoned the series. Maybe I would have liked it better if I'd spaced it out more but I really doubt it.

12clamairy
feb. 28, 4:00pm

>10 YouKneeK: What don't you like about the narrator? I thought he made the series work better for me.

13fuzzi
feb. 28, 4:20pm

>10 YouKneeK: actually I was impressed with your "spreadsheet"!

14YouKneeK
feb. 28, 5:36pm

>12 clamairy: I’m overly picky about narrators and often dislike narrators that the majority of people think are great. Neil Gaiman, for example, whose reading of Neverwhere made me want to stamp my feet and yell, "I'm not a child, stop reading to me like I am!" In this case, I’m being irritated by what my ears hear as excessively frequent dramatic pauses. It ceases to actually convey drama if it's used constantly. Sometimes it seems like there’s one every sentence, and sometimes in places where it doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense, as if he were using them so often that he forgot to stop doing it on the drama-free sentences. “He sat down at the… desk.” (I don’t think that actual sentence exists, but along those lines.) I was also driven a bit bonkers by the semi-singing for the early parts where Bob was learning to speak through the voice synthesizer, but I’m hoping I'm past the worst of that.

>13 fuzzi: Aaah, now I understand! It’s mostly the use of the <pre> </pre> tags surrounding the entire table to get a monospace font so that spacing can be used in each row to line up the columns.

15-pilgrim-
feb. 28, 5:46pm

>14 YouKneeK: That tip is worthy of adding to the "How to do clever things .." thread.

16YouKneeK
feb. 28, 9:12pm

>15 -pilgrim-: Thanks, I just added a post there about it in case anybody finds it useful, with more detail than I provided above.

17Storeetllr
Editat: març 1, 7:02pm

Interesting thread. Great table! I wish I had the drive to create one for myownself.

I really enjoyed the first 3 Bobiverse books. I DNFd the fourth one.

I love Gaiman's narration, but I can see how it might grate on someone's last nerve. The reader I can't stand is Scott Brick's rendition of The Passage. Almost every sentence was read with a lot of tension, as if it were highly significant. Like, "He went to the store to buy BREAD and MILK." (That sentence isn't exactly a quote from the book, but it's similar.) Anyway, I may have inadvertently listened to him narrate something, but I actively avoid any audiobook I know he's read.

As for the Iron Druid series, I read them all, and yes, they were a bit annoying at times but mostly light entertainment. I must admit to hating the last one, and not just because it was the end of the series.

18YouKneeK
març 1, 8:23pm

>17 Storeetllr: Thanks!

LOL, it sounds like the Scott Brick narration would likely have driven me nuts too. I read The Passage in print and remember it being a pretty long book. Did you manage to make it through the entire audiobook like that? I seem to have a low threshold for deciding something is too melodramatic. It’s not that I want the narrator to read in a monotone, but I prefer a more understated, matter-of-fact narration style, with more drama added only at the really big moments so that it has some actual impact. It's like the difference between somebody who curses at every little thing, so that you soon learn to pay them no attention when they do it, versus the person who rarely curses so that everybody stops and takes notice when they do.

I find myself kind of missing Atticus, and maybe even Oberon a little, while I’m listening to We Are Legion. Or maybe it’s the narrator I miss. :) Probably a little of both.

19YouKneeK
març 1, 10:37pm

Review: Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher



Furies of Calderon is the first book in the six-book Codex of Alera epic fantasy series. I enjoyed it quite a bit and am happy to sink my teeth into another epic fantasy world.

The story is told in third-person from a few different perspectives. The main plot has some factions in Alera secretly moving against their High Lord, so there is political intrigue as well as plenty of action. There’s also a lot of magic, and most humans in the story have control of one or two “furies” which are elemental-type creatures like earth, water, etc.

The story is told well, although it does have quite a few standard epic fantasy tropes and there isn’t much that’s particularly twisty or surprising. It’s just a fun, solid epic fantasy story. Although I didn’t predict everything that happened very far in advance, I did usually predict it at least a little bit before it was revealed. The one exception was in the beginning when Fidelias turned out to be a traitor. As soon as the characters were introduced, I was thinking, “Ah, the beloved mentor figure. He’s not long for this world. The only question is whether he’ll be killed off at the beginning or the end. So when he was apparently killed off straight away, I nodded sagely and thought that was that. I was caught entirely off guard when he not only turned out to still be alive but also to be a traitor.

With the exception of one character from the opposing side who doesn’t get much POV time, I liked all the POV characters. Tavi, the fifteen-year-old boy, did take longer to grow on me, because the story starts off with him being irresponsible and dishonest, two things I have very little patience for. I enjoyed the story too. Even though it has familiar tropes, they had their own unique spin, and the magic system was different in my experience. It did get a little ridiculous though how many people nearly died but managed to be saved in the nick of time either by their own cleverness or somebody else’s intervention, or were severely wounded but managed to survive long enough to be healed.

Although I liked the concept of the elemental furies quite a lot, I wasn’t really sold on its implementation. It wasn’t very clearly defined; it was just used for stuff that kinda/sorta seemed related to the elemental being used. The water crafters in particular had abilities I wasn’t convinced made any sense. They could heal even very serious injuries, and could sense emotions. It felt more like the author needed those abilities for his story, so he assigned it to the elemental that seemed the least unrealistic of the bunch. But lots of fantasy books have magic that isn’t clearly-defined, so it isn’t usually a deal-breaker for me. Maybe it will gain more depth as the series progresses.

So in summary, the story isn’t perfect, but there was a lot I liked about it and it was a satisfying read to me as an epic fantasy fan. Although the main plot isn’t resolved by the end, the main events from this book do get wrapped up and it doesn’t end on a cliff hanger. I look forward to seeing how the series develops.

Next Book
Academ’s Fury, the next book in this series.

20BookstoogeLT
març 2, 5:24am

>19 YouKneeK: Glad to see you gave this 4stars. As for the magic system, blame the Pokemon franchise...

21YouKneeK
març 2, 7:02am

>20 BookstoogeLT: It wasn’t until after I finished posting my own review and started reading others that I learned Pokémon was one of the inspirations for the series. I know absolutely nothing about Pokémon though, so all that went over my head while I was reading it and still doesn't mean anything substantial to me.

22reading_fox
març 2, 7:02am

>19 YouKneeK: "Maybe it will gain more depth as the series progresses." Don't hold your breath.

Maybe one day I should re-read this and see if I really dislike the rest as much as I remember.... but on the other hand there's so many new books that are probably better.

23YouKneeK
març 2, 7:04am

>22 reading_fox: Ha, ok, I’ll try to avoid expecting too much from the magic system then!

24BookstoogeLT
març 2, 7:07am

>21 YouKneeK: Basically, pokemon comes down to "Because....". Not a slam on the game or franchise (it's aimed at kids after all) but just a fact.

25Karlstar
març 2, 12:38pm

>23 YouKneeK: >24 BookstoogeLT: I blamed Sanderson for the magic system, not Pokemon, but maybe Pokemon inspired Sanderson too? Come to think of it, Week's system in the Lightbringer series isn't much different. Will + substance = whatever I want!

26BookstoogeLT
març 2, 12:58pm

>25 Karlstar: Kind of hard to blame Sanderson as he hadn't even published Elantris yet ;-)

27Narilka
març 2, 1:33pm

Between your and BookstoogeLT's positive reviews, plus the fact that I already enjoy Butcher's writing, I am going to have to give this series a go.

28BookstoogeLT
març 2, 1:42pm

>27 Narilka: You a Dresden fan?

29jjwilson61
març 2, 2:17pm

I'll just point out that in Avatar: The Last Airbender healing was linked to water bending.

30Narilka
març 2, 3:39pm

31BookstoogeLT
març 2, 3:42pm

>30 Narilka: Well, I'd be careful of Alera then. My "studies" have shown that most fans of either franchise don't care nearly as much for the other, with a very small percentage in the middle liking both and then outlyers who hate both ;-)

32quondame
març 2, 3:51pm

>21 YouKneeK: I never even thought of Pokémon in connection with The Furies of Calderon, and as the mother of a person who watched the show constantly, I cannot claim ignorance.

33YouKneeK
març 2, 5:17pm

>27 Narilka: I hope you enjoy it too if you give it a try! I’d be interested to read what you think about it either way.

>25 Karlstar:, >32 quondame: Apparently the use of Pokémon in the Codex Alera series was the result of a challenge in a writer’s workshop. More details are near the top of this interview with Jim Butcher here.

34Karlstar
març 2, 5:42pm

>33 YouKneeK: That sounds like the 'have to stick Roman stuff in there too.' challenge.

35fuzzi
març 2, 6:01pm

>22 reading_fox: hear! Hear!

36Karlstar
març 2, 10:22pm

>26 BookstoogeLT: Rats, there you go, using actual facts from the timeline against my weak arguments.

>33 YouKneeK: I'm glad you enjoyed it.

37BookstoogeLT
març 3, 5:52am

>36 Karlstar: Don't worry, I only use actual facts when helps me. All other times, I ignore them ;-)

38-pilgrim-
març 3, 7:37am

>27 Narilka: I have a sale copy of Codex Alera waiting on my Kindle.

39YouKneeK
març 3, 9:54am

>38 -pilgrim-: The whole series or just the first book? In the US, the first book goes on sale pretty often for Kindle, but I haven’t seen the whole series on sale. I look forward to reading your thoughts if you try it!

By the way, I hope the 460 page count in my review header won’t mislead anybody. It looks like they used the hardcover page #’s to line up with the Kindle edition for its real page numbers. The paperback copy shows it has 688 pages, and that’s more along the lines of what I would expect based on the time it took me to read it. I just keep my life simple by using whatever the page count says for the edition I purchased or borrowed – sometimes I believe that’s being understated, but sometimes I’m pretty sure it’s overstated, so I figure it all evens out. I don’t want to waste time trying to decide what page count to record for maximum accuracy; I have better things to do.

40BookstoogeLT
Editat: març 3, 5:11pm

>39 YouKneeK: If you care about accuracy, Kobo.com does a pretty good job of listing the page and word count for books. Not as accurate as using the page/word count plugin in Calibre, but good enough ;-)

41Maddz
març 3, 6:38pm

>40 BookstoogeLT: I'd be wary of relying on that plug-in, because if there's a huge amount of 'also by' along with whole chapter previews then the counts are going to be artificially inflated.

I basically use it as a guide whether to assign a work as a full-length novel or a short form.

42BookstoogeLT
Editat: març 3, 6:56pm

>41 Maddz: I edit my books for just that exact reason :-D

On that note though, would you NOT count those pages in a paper book? The fluff factor is still a factor even for paper books.

43YouKneeK
març 3, 8:13pm

>40 BookstoogeLT: Thanks, I’ll remember that if I ever think Amazon’s page count for an e-book has no relation to any edition whatsoever, or if the page count isn't reported. That has occasionally happened and my solution was to look at the editions page on GR and go with whichever page count seemed most typical.

44Maddz
març 4, 2:02am

>42 BookstoogeLT: I've never bothered with page counts in the past because I don't track my reading stats. The fluff factor seems to have got worse with epublishing; I think people were seeing it as a way to (legitimately) inflate their page count.

I also don't bother editing my books beyond ePubSplit and (occasionally) ePubMerge. I routinely format shift (azw to ePub), and sometimes run an ePub to ePub conversion (Tor.com, I'm looking at your short fiction newsletter).

45BookstoogeLT
març 4, 4:55am

>43 YouKneeK: Another resource is https://www.readinglength.com/
They take an audio book and use their little algorithm based on the time of the audio to guestimate the page count. But for me, kobo almost always has the book and so has the data.

>44 Maddz: Gotcha. That did remind me of the Star Wars expanded universe. When those came out in ebooks they'd include like 3 chapters of whatever the new book coming out was and so you'd be merrily reading along, glance down and see you're at 90% and then boom, the story ends. That was when I began editing my books :-D
I format shift to azw3 and use the page/word count plugin (and the de-drm one obviously) and then use the editor to just glance through it.

46Maddz
març 4, 6:40am

>45 BookstoogeLT: Or worse a sample (or chapter) of all the author's previously published works or sample chapters of everything the publisher was publishing next quarter. I recall the latter from print days as well. Sometimes that was more than 10% of the page count!

I've got no objections to forewords, afterwords, glossaries, notes on the world-building, dramatis personae etc, or a couple of pages to avoid blank leaves on a sheet. It's gratuitous puffery I object to.

47fuzzi
març 4, 12:13pm

>46 Maddz: aha, so is that why I keep seeing full chapters of the author's previous books added to the end of my reads? Not just trying to sell the books? I was wondering why if I'm reading book #2 in a series, why would the publisher push book #1 at the end of the book?

48Maddz
març 4, 12:35pm

>47 fuzzi: Exactly, I'm guessing it's a form of Kindle Unlimited optimisation to (sort of) legitimately bump up the page count in a completed book...

I don't know if that practice got dropped once Amazon banned the worst KU abusers (you recall, the self-pubbed romance crowd).

49YouKneeK
març 5, 3:54pm

Audiobook Review: We are Legion (We are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor



We are Legion is the first book in the Bobiverse, an ongoing science fiction series. This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Ray Porter. This is another case where I seem to differ from the majority on audio narrators. On Audible, over 80,000 people have rated him with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. As I’ve said in other reviews, I’m an excessively picky audio listener. To my ear, he was too melodramatic. There were a lot of dramatic pauses and a lot of words with heavier emphasis placed on them. It was done so frequently that it failed to create any impact. Sometimes it seemed like the narrator had gotten into a pattern of using these techniques so regularly that he forgot to pay attention to whether it actually was relevant for the wording and just threw it in out of habit.

There was also a section maybe an hour into the story where Bob was first learning how to use the voice synthesizer. The narrator was half singing all his lines instead of, say, speaking with a jerky/scratchy voice. That seemed like an odd choice that wasn’t supported by the text, unless I missed something, and it drove me a little nuts. Fortunately it didn’t last too long.

I noticed the melodrama less the longer I listened, so either he toned it down after a while or else I just got used to it. I would have chosen to hear the characters differently though if I’d been reading it on my own, and there was something tiring for me about listening to it. I had that feeling I get when I’m sitting in a meeting with people who tend to be over-loud and over-boisterous, and turning off the audiobook created a similar relief to what I feel when I leave a meeting like that.

Story
Shortly after the story starts, Bob signs a contract to have his head frozen after he dies. He’s told that at some future date when technology has advanced far enough, he’ll be revived to live again in a new body. From there, the story didn’t go quite in the direction I expected. The book blurb gives more specifics, but it spoils a large portion of the first several chapters. I’m glad I hadn’t read it before reading the book because I really enjoyed the beginning parts and would have been bored right off the bat if I already knew what would happen.

I suspect this wasn’t a great story for me to listen to rather than reading it for myself. There were parts I found really dull to listen to, that I think I might have enjoyed more in print. I was very interested in the beginning up until Bob went off into space. After that, things started to feel more tedious. Of the storylines that had significant time spent on them, my favorite was the planet original Bob found, with the sentient Deltans. There wasn’t anything particularly original there, and the aliens’ behavior was too human-like, but the story somehow appealed to me anyway. My least favorite storyline was Riker’s part back at Earth, with all the stupid arguments.

The end doesn’t have any dramatic cliffhangers, but there are a lot of loose plot threads and I didn’t feel like there was any closure at the end of the book. I’m giving it 3.5 stars and rounding down to 3 on Goodreads. It’s a “maybe” for whether or not I’ll read it in print in the future. I do think I would have enjoyed and absorbed some parts of the story better in print. I also think if I’d heard the character voices in my head in a more understated manner, with a subtler dry humor as opposed to an in-your-face “I’m being FUNNY now, you’d better appreciate it!” manner, I would have appreciated the characters and the humor more.

Next Audiobook
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. This narrator, Claudia Alick, has a rating of 3.7 out of 5 on Audible. (Only 501 ratings though.) Considering that some of the narrators that have bugged me have been more highly-rated, I might be in for a new level of torture with this one. If so, I’m hopeful the same tactic will work here – keep listening until I get used to it.

50clamairy
març 6, 2:57pm

>49 YouKneeK: Sorry you only sort of enjoyed it. This series has been a lot of fun for me, but I am also a picky listener, so I understand completely.

51YouKneeK
març 6, 5:37pm

>50 clamairy: Thanks, it would be interesting to read the book in print a few years down the road and see if my opinions are different. I'm glad the series has worked better for you! I can see a lot of reasons to enjoy it if I had connected with it better.

While I’m here, I also just have to take a moment to comment on my current audiobook, Three Parts Dead. The narrator reads with a very brisk, peppy tone, more suited for Mary Poppins maybe. The story, from what I’ve listened to so far, features things like necromancy, witchcraft, and murder. This is maybe not the best voice for this book. On the other hand, it does add a new layer of disturbing when the description of a gruesomely murdered body is read in such a gleefully cheerful voice…

52Narilka
març 6, 10:18pm

>49 YouKneeK: Too bad Ray Porter didn't work for you. Good to find out though for future audio books. It will be interesting to see if you fare better with a print copy.

53YouKneeK
març 7, 7:10am

>52 Narilka: Yes, if nothing else, I’m learning a lot about which narrators I like and dislike, as well as which types of stories are more likely to work for me in audio.

54YouKneeK
març 7, 8:30pm

I finished the second square in my “normal” cross-stitch project earlier today, so I wanted to post a picture. This is square 2 of 6. At the top of the picture, you can see the bottom of the first square that I posted a while back. All 6 squares will chain together vertically like that. The design is by Teresa Wentzler, "Floral Bellpull".

I’m really enjoying the second Codex Alera book, but I hardly read it this weekend because I was so close to being done with this square and knew I wouldn’t get another chance to work on it until next weekend, so most of my spare time went to this. Now I’m logging off to try to squeeze in some reading before bed!

55clamairy
març 7, 9:02pm

That's lovely! Well done...

56Narilka
març 7, 9:25pm

Pretty!

57YouKneeK
març 8, 6:31am

58Sakerfalcon
març 8, 7:01am

>54 YouKneeK: That's lovely!

I hope you enjoy Three parts dead. As you say, the narrator's style sounds like an odd match with the content!

59Storeetllr
març 8, 5:46pm

>54 YouKneeK: Beautiful!

Narrators of audiobooks can really make or break a book. Some types of narrators I can't abide are the ones who sound like they're speaking through a mouthful of mashed potatoes, and the ones who sound like doddering old coots when the character who is speaking is young. And ones who speak with a nasal tone (Rene Aberjonois' reading of some of the Pendergast thrillers, for example.) (I did manage to finish The Passage, but it was torture.)

60YouKneeK
març 8, 6:46pm

>58 Sakerfalcon:, >59 Storeetllr: Thanks!

>58 Sakerfalcon: I’m kind of on the fence about it so far, setting aside the narration issues. I think I'm a little over 3 hours in and I like it more now than when I first started, so maybe it will keep growing on me.

>59 Storeetllr: Haha, yes, I would agree with all of those I think, although I haven’t encountered them all for myself yet since I don’t have many audiobooks under my belt. I have so many more annoyances yet to be discovered! It’s good to have things to look forward to. ;)

61YouKneeK
març 8, 9:23pm

Maddz made a comment on Storeetllr’s thread that reminded me of something I put together back when I first traveled to England in September 2009. I did this shortly after my trip as a way of sharing some photos and stories from my trip with family and friends, and also to help save the memories for myself.

I’ve almost posted this here a couple times in the past, thinking maybe some people here might find it amusing to read what a clueless American thought about her first trip to England, but some of the writing is pretty embarrassing so I said, "Well... maybe later" and then forgot about it for a while. I was youngish (33), it was my first overseas trip as an adult, and I was writing it for people who knew me well, so I was sillier than I might have been if I’d been imagining random (or not so random) people on the internet might read it someday.

Here’s the link.

62Maddz
març 9, 2:17am

>61 YouKneeK: I've taken worse pictures, so you've nothing to be embarrassed about! I come from Southern England (Poole on the south coast), so it was interesting to see it from another's perspective. I went to university in Bristol (the sea port near Bath), and we'd often make a day trip to Bath.

Stonehenge was a day trip from home, but that area of the country is littered with archaeology. As children, my sister and I would gallop up and down Badbury Rings - a small hillfort near Poole. Salisbury Plain is notoriously cold and windy - I remember going back to university after Christmas and driving across the Plain in a blizzard. Mum and I were planning to collect a family friend from her brother near Malvern, but chickened out because of the weather that day - my Hall was able to let her have the guest room, and she went on next day. I missed out on a lunch.

The Tower of London is something of a jumble - some of it dates back to Roman England (that's where Vespasian comes in! He served in the Claudian Invasion.) There are several castles in England which have Roman sections, apart from the Tower, there's Portchester in Hampshire, and Colchester in Essex (pictures of the latter in my gallery).

63YouKneeK
març 9, 6:48am

>62 Maddz: I was really impressed with the sights I saw on that trip, especially realizing just how very old so many of the structures were and how much history they had seen. I think it was one of the first times I’d wished I’d paid more attention to history classes in school.

As cold as I was at Stonehenge in September, I can only imagine what it would be like during a blizzard! Especially trying to drive. My budget was tighter back then, and I think one of the reasons I chose to travel in September was for cheaper prices. If I ever go back, I’d probably aim for a warmer month.

About a year after that trip, I moved to Atlanta and took a job that involved quite a lot of business travel. I got lucky enough to land in the department right around the time we were doing some European projects. My very first day on the job involved flying out to France, and I was practically beside myself with excitement. :) Never mind that my furniture and boxes had only just arrived at my new home and I was completely unsettled, that could wait! In May 2011, one of my business trips landed me back in England, around the Lichfield area. I didn’t get to see much since we were busy with work, but I still really enjoyed the experience. The drive from the Manchester airport, where we flew in, was beautiful, although I had some trouble keeping my eyes open since I'd just gotten off yet another overnight flight that I failed to get much sleep on.

64Sakerfalcon
març 9, 6:55am

>61 YouKneeK: I am loving the details of your trip to England! It is so much fun to see things through someone else's eyes, especially things that we take for granted.

Re: the view of the large gathering of people that you saw from the London Eye and were wondering about - this patch of ground is often used for festivals and I would guess that you saw one of these. It looks like there are food stalls along the edge, and Barclaycard would be a sponsor. (Barclays is one of the big British banks and Barclaycard is its credit card. Fun fact - friends of mine named their bulldog puppy Barclay because they bought him with money they were supposed to be paying into the bank!)
And savoury pancakes make delicious street food!

65YouKneeK
març 9, 7:14am

>64 Sakerfalcon: Aaah, thank you, you’ve solved a 12-year-old mystery! LOL, I love the idea of naming a puppy Barclay for that reason.

66Maddz
març 9, 7:27am

>63 YouKneeK: About the last major family trip we did to France was in 1979. I'd just graduated, and my sister was doing the reciprocal exchange visit with a girl in Western France. So we all piled into the car, and decanted my sister at the other family.

Mum and I (my dad was no longer in the picture by then - he was living with his mistress near Grasse) spent the summer doing the Atlantic Coast - we based ourselves at a pension in a seaside village south of La Rochelle, and did the obligatory genealogical research as that was where my grandmother was born. We actually found the house she lived in!

I think we were there for at least 6 weeks touring around, doing many of the chateaux along the Loire Valley. We didn't get as far north as Brittany (my sister took my Mum there one half-term with her kids several years ago), and we didn't go any further south than Bordeaux.

That's one of the advantages of living on the South Coast - ferry connections to France and (at that point) being in the EU. (I recall one of the first votes when I turned 18 was the first EU referendum when the country voted to remain.)

67Sakerfalcon
març 9, 8:04am

>65 YouKneeK: I've just finished reading about the rest of your trip! What a lot of great things you managed to fit in! Reading it during lockdown is really making me want to get out and explore. I don't need to go abroad, but to be able to (re)visit parts of my own country would be wonderful! Let us know if you are ever back on this side of the Atlantic ... I'm sure that more than a few of us would be up for a GD meet-up!

68fuzzi
març 9, 8:54am

>61 YouKneeK: I enjoyed your travelogue!

69hfglen
Editat: març 9, 10:52am

>61 YouKneeK: Fun memories from your travelogue. I made a few notes, to comment if I may on everything at once.

Better Half and I spent a weekend in Bath in 1981. Back then one of the parts of the Royal Crescent was run as a hotel, which had, a few weeks previously, won a prize as the best hotel in England. It was very good, and very comfortable, but priced accordingly.

Did you not get to see Lacock Abbey? It's where William Henry Fox Talbot invented one of the first practical forms of photography. (For years one of the prize exhibits in the Bensusan Museum of Photography in Johannesburg was one of Fox Talbot's first half-dozen paper negatives. When we went there I tried to re-take Fox Talbot's pictures as b/w slides. Which necessitated processing them myself -- no digital photography back then! -- which must have delayed the revival of life in the Thames significantly.)

Are your cows perhaps Ankole cattle, originally from Uganda?

ETA link to page (with picture) about Ankole cattle.

70-pilgrim-
març 9, 10:26am

>61 YouKneeK: I looked at that photo of your hotel room and thought "Wow, that 's the largest London hotel room I have ever seen!"

Then I read what you wrote about it.

:-D

71Storeetllr
març 9, 6:08pm

>61 YouKneeK: That was the most enjoyable travelogue I've ever read! Thank you for sharing. One of my favorite pics is the first. I love Neverwhere, and seeing that sign made me hear Gaiman's voice in my head: "Mind. The. Gap." I agree with Sakerfalcon - reading your adventures makes me want to get out and see stuff too. (I wish I could get to England, or maybe Italy or Greece or Egypt - all places I have read about and dreamed about someday seeing. Well, except I did get to see Italy, and it was wondrous.) I wonder if you'd mind if I tried to paint the giraffe's head? That is such a fun image!

72YouKneeK
març 9, 7:11pm

>66 Maddz: That sounds like great fun! One thing I am truly envious of is the way it seems so much more common in the UK and other parts of the world for people to take multi-week vacations and travel around. Not to mention there are so many different cool countries to visit all within a comparatively short distance. It’s difficult in my experience to get more than a week off work at a time. In my current department I could probably manage to get two weeks once in a while. I work with a lot of Indian employees who need to occasionally take two weeks to visit India because of how long it takes just to get there and back. Because of that, the idea of somebody being out for two whole weeks isn’t quite as incomprehensible to our managers. :) But 6 weeks?! I can't imagine!

>67 Sakerfalcon: I had a similar reaction looking back over it– it made me want to travel. :) I would love to make it back to the UK and explore the many, many things I missed. I was really burnt out on travel for a while as I was doing a lot of it for work for a few years, not so much to fun places like Europe, but to lots of boring places, week after week, here in the US. My travel has been lighter the last few years, and of course there wasn’t any in 2020, so travel is starting to sound fun again.

>68 fuzzi: Thanks!

>69 hfglen: Oh, staying at the Royal Crescent would have been fun! Haha, no, I missed Lacock Abbey. But you have to miss some things so you have an excuse to go back, right? ;) Aaah, and I think you solved the mystery of the “English” cows on the safari, thank you! If the tour guide told us anything about them, I must have missed it, because I never had any idea why there were cows there or if they were even supposed to be part of the safari. They do look very much like the Ankole cattle from your link.

>70 -pilgrim-: LOL! :) It really wasn’t too tiny, just smaller than what I was used to. I was always exhausted by the time I made it back to the room anyway, so all I really needed was a bed. I would definitely stay there again for the bed. It was so awesome, the exact perfect level of firmness whereas U.S. hotel beds usually feel too soft to me.

>71 Storeetllr: Thank you so much! :) I would love to see you do a painting of the giraffe’s head! None of my family or friends appreciated the Neverwhere reference, so I’m glad that at least here there are people who will understand it. I bet seeing Italy was great. I’ve never had the chance to go there but I would love to. There are so many countries, including the ones you’ve mentioned, that I would love to visit someday.

73quondame
març 9, 10:29pm

>64 Sakerfalcon: I had an account at the US Barclays and would use their traveler's checks and card when I traveled, but I think that was closed down, and I don't have any more travel plans.

74Maddz
març 10, 3:09am

>72 YouKneeK: 1 week is the usual holiday length in the UK - there's a traditional holiday period in the summer called Wakes Week (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakes_week). Originally religious, it became a secular holiday when many industries literally closed shop to allow their workers a break.

My Mum always used to say that a 2 week holiday was best - you needed to spend a week to relax, then you could spend a week sight-seeing. I myself prefer a 2 week holiday, but Paul is accustomed to 1 week holidays. When we went to Greece a couple of years ago, we compromised on 10 days.

That summer was exceptional though - I had just graduated and was yet to start a job, and my sister was invited to spend les vacances with the exchange family. Of course, the French have the habit of closing up shop for the entire month of August which is why we spent so long away. (Never, ever go to Paris in August...)

75hfglen
març 10, 5:09am

>71 Storeetllr: >72 YouKneeK: You may be interested to know that those were female giraffes (the way they just stood there, and that they have hair at the tips of their horns.

76Sakerfalcon
Editat: març 11, 8:58am

>71 Storeetllr:, >72 YouKneeK: This is the true story of why one London Underground platform has a different Mind the Gap announcement to all the others. It may bring a tear to your eye as you read.

77-pilgrim-
març 10, 6:28am

>76 Sakerfalcon: Your link simply takes me to the top of this thread...

78YouKneeK
març 10, 6:42am

>74 Maddz: Ah, ok, I’d had the impression that longer holidays were common in the UK. I agree with you and your mum about two weeks being better, although I think I would flip it – a week sight-seeing and then a week relaxing. Or a week and a half sight-seeing and half a week relaxing. I’d prefer to do the relaxing at the end because I usually have plenty of energy at the start but it can be a little difficult to spend a week constantly on the go, trying to see as much as I can fit in, and then have to go straight back to work when I'm still a bit worn out.

>75 hfglen: That is interesting, thank you. Although if just standing there is indicative of being a female giraffe, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a male giraffe. Not that I’ve seen a lot of giraffes to begin with, and I can’t remember what their horns looked like.

79hfglen
Editat: març 10, 8:32am

>78 YouKneeK: The males have bony tips to their horns, and if there are two that close they may (typical males) start a fight, in which they use their necks and heads as heavy maces to beat each other up.

ETA: I have put a real and a "pseudo" Fox Talbot image of Lacock Abbey in my thread, for your enjoyment.

80Storeetllr
març 10, 2:35pm

>72 YouKneeK: Thank you! If I do use your girl giraffe picture as inspiration for one of my watercolors or painted rocks, I'll post a picture on your thread.

Italy was amazing! So much antiquities, art, fabulous architecture! I was there in April and May 2003 for a month (which, frankly, was about a week too long as I was emotionally, mentally AND physically exhausted by the time I returned). I traveled from Milan south to Paestum and back again via Casteggio (where I stayed a couple of days with a friend), Florence with a day trip to Pisa, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast (where I visited Pompeii and Herculaneum), then back to Rome for a few more days, then Florence again for a day on my way to Siena where I rented a car and took day trips to Montapulciano, Orvieto, Assisi, and Pienza, then to Venice and Lido de Jasalo where I spent a couple of days on the beach decompressing (eating gelato, drinking wine, and crying - not from sadness but just because it had all been so overwhelming), and then back to Milan for my trip home. I'd love to go back, but it probably won't happen, so I look at pictures and remember.

81YouKneeK
març 10, 7:35pm

>79 hfglen: Ok, I had to Google giraffes fighting because I’ve only ever seen calm giraffes. That's pretty impressive! Here’s a link to the video I found if anybody else wants to see. I'm not too sure if this video has a happy ending, it looked like a giraffe might have been really hurt at the end, I couldn't tell. Up until that point, it looked kind of silly and I was laughing at it. Especially at first when I couldn't even tell they were mad at each other and then suddenly they started swinging.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLPL1qRhn8

>80 Storeetllr: That sounds great and wow, an entire month! I think that probably would have been too long for me too, but it also would be so nice to have time to really see things more leisurely and in more detail. And you managed to go to SO many places! It’s nice to at least have the pictures to remember it by.

82Karlstar
març 10, 10:16pm

>61 YouKneeK: That was a great writeup, you got some great pictures.

>80 Storeetllr: My daughter and I did a very busy 10 day school trip to Italy, that's about as long as I could possibly stand to be away, but it was worth it, every day. We went in April and the weather was terrible, but it was still a fantastic trip. We recently watched the discover+ show Bobby and Giada in Italy and it was great to see some of the same areas.

83YouKneeK
març 11, 6:20am

84Sakerfalcon
març 11, 8:59am

>77 -pilgrim-: Oops! Typo. Thanks for spotting it. The link should work now.

85fuzzi
març 11, 9:10am

>81 YouKneeK: I think the giraffe overswung his neck and lost his balance at the end. I don't think he was badly hurt.

86YouKneeK
març 11, 6:12pm

>84 Sakerfalcon: That’s a great story, and very sad too, thank you for sharing it!

>85 fuzzi: I hope not! It didn’t look like the other giraffe hit him before he fell, but I was worried he got hurt by the fall itself, especially since they cut off the video instead of showing him getting back up. Maybe they were just trying to be dramatic.

87Storeetllr
Editat: març 12, 3:46pm

>84 Sakerfalcon: That's a sweet story. I understand how the woman felt: I still have some voicemail messages left by my mother-in-law and my daughter's mother-in law, both of whom have passed. I don't listen to them often, but once in a great while... I only wish the article had published a recording of the voice.

>81 YouKneeK: I'll try to dig up some of those pics and post them, but I'm afraid a day-by-day isn't going to happen. Yes, I did keep track, sort of, but I never put it all together when I returned from the trip. I had to go back to work the very next next day, and I just never got around to it when it was all fresh in my memory.

>82 Karlstar: I was in Italy mid-April thru mid-May, and went from north to south and back again, so I had a LOT of different weather, from cold and rainy to hot, sunny and steamy. It's hard for me to watch films about Italy because I seem to end up sobbing out of longing to go back. It's been a few years since I tried to watch anything like that, tho (Under the Tuscan Sun was the last, I think), and in that time I've come to understand I'll likely never get back, so it might not be so painful now.

88-pilgrim-
març 12, 5:08pm

>87 Storeetllr: One of the things that hurt most when my husband left me was his taking the answering machine with the recordings of my late mother's voice.

89Storeetllr
març 12, 5:22pm

>88 -pilgrim-: Oh, that's terrible! I'm so sorry that happened.

90fuzzi
març 12, 6:29pm

>87 Storeetllr: there was a news story linked in that article in which they interviewed the widow, and played her late husband's "Mind the gap" recording.

Here it is: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-21719848

91YouKneeK
març 12, 7:03pm

>87 Storeetllr: That’s understandable. If I hadn’t done the day-by-day write up so shortly after the trip, I never would have remembered as many details. By the same token, having that travelogue has helped me remember the trip much more vividly than I think I would have otherwise.

>88 -pilgrim-: Oh no, that would have been a difficult loss.

>90 fuzzi: Ah, thanks for that, I was curious to hear it too!

92Storeetllr
març 12, 9:19pm

>90 fuzzi: Thanks! I looked but apparently missed it.

>91 YouKneeK: Yes. I am annoyed with myself for not having done it, but 18 years later, not much I can do about it. I did find some photos tho and will post them on my thread. They certainly brought back memories.

93YouKneeK
març 13, 8:38am

Review: Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher



Academ’s Fury is the second book in Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Although I enjoyed the first book, I enjoyed this one significantly more. The only reason it took me so long to read was due to time constraints. Whenever I picked it up, I never wanted to put it back down. There’s a lot of action in this book. For me it was the exciting, edge-of-my-seat sort and not the boring, repetitive kind.

After having a rough start with Tavi in the first book, I’m a big fan of him now. I did sometimes get exasperated when a new chapter switched away from Tavi’s POV in the middle of some tense action, because his storyline was the one I was the most interested in. It didn’t take me long to get back into the POV that the new chapter had switched to, though.

I don’t have too many more comments, but the ones I have will need to go in spoiler tags:
The Vord were a great enemy. They aren’t terribly unique maybe; they reminded me of a fantasy version of the Borg. The Borg always worked for me as a creepy enemy though, and the Vord did the same. I also liked it because it ensured this book wasn’t just more of the same from the first book. While it followed and expanded on many of the same plot threads, it also told a different sort of story in a different way and I really enjoyed it. It looks like we haven’t seen the last of them.

I was worried that I was in for a ton of romantic angst between Amara and Bernard. There was more than I wanted, but fortunately not too much time was spent on it.

From the title, Academ’s Fury, I kind of thought Tavi might find and develop fury crafting in this book. He was, after all, obviously the Academ from the title, but I guess the “Fury” part wasn’t that literal. So I’ve revised my interpretation of the titles and am guessing they all refer to Tavi’s position throughout the series. So by the end of it he’ll be, not very surprisingly, the… well, either you know the title to the last book or you don’t, in which case you might not want it spoiled. Assuming I’m even correct, but I’m feeling pretty confident!


Next Book
Cursor’s Fury, the third book in this series. I also wanted to note that I’ve made very little progress on my audiobook, Three Parts Dead. This week was busy at work, and I didn’t find much time for either cross-stitching (which is when I listen to audiobooks) or reading. I hope to make some further progress this weekend, although I’ll have to work for at least a small part of it and I need to catch up on some of the personal responsibilities I couldn’t fit in over the week.

94-pilgrim-
març 13, 12:06pm

>89 Storeetllr: & >91 YouKneeK: Than you both. Yes, some things can never be replaced.

95BookstoogeLT
març 13, 12:15pm

>93 YouKneeK: Yep, you pretty much nailed the title naming convention :-)
Glad to see this was so enjoyable for you. I hope the rest of the series can stay as strong for you. I loved the series (as evidenced by my 3 read throughs of the series :-) ) and it is what saved Butcher from being dismissed as "oh, that Dresden guy"....

96Karlstar
març 13, 12:25pm

>93 YouKneeK: Glad you liked it, though I'm surprised at the 5 star rating. I liked it, just not quite that much, that would put it in Tolkien territory for me.

I'd completely missed the Borg analogy, that's a good one. I think I thought of the Formians from Ender's Game.

97YouKneeK
març 13, 8:01pm

>95 BookstoogeLT: Thanks, I hope so too! It’s working really well for me so far, although I’m admittedly much more easily pleased with epic fantasy than with other subgenres. I’m getting more curious about his Dresden Files books now, but keeping my expectations low since I’m not a big urban fantasy fan.

>96 Karlstar: My 5-star ratings are almost completely subjective, based on how much I enjoyed a book at the time I was reading it. I don’t save them for the best of the best, just for the books where the story thoroughly grabbed my attention while I was reading it and made me care about the characters without having any significant annoyances. As it is, there aren't all that many books I give that rating to anyway. I'm more likely to give 4.5 stars to a book I really liked due to some occasional slowness and/or niggling annoyances, but Academ's Fury didn't have any of that for me.

Besides, I’m a bad fantasy fan because I gave The Lord of the Rings a mere 3 stars. It had things I liked, but I read it later in life, after I’d already seen the movies at least twice and read several more modern fantasy series, and it just wasn’t what I’d been hoping for.

98YouKneeK
març 20, 3:54pm

Audiobook Review: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone



Three Parts Dead is the first book in the Craft Sequence series. This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday. Unlike some of my previous listens that had resulted in a waffling “maybe”, this one is a firm “NO”.

Audio Narration
The narrator was Claudia Alick and she really didn’t work for me. For the first few hours, it wasn’t horrible exactly, it just seemed like the wrong tone for the story. My first impression was that the narrator would be better suited to “Mary Poppins” because she read with such a brisk, cheerful tone. This is a story about witchcraft, necromancy, and dead gods. There’s something very discordant about hearing those topics read about with such gleeful cheerfulness. Maybe that was the intent – to give an extra weird vibe to a weird story. If so, then I guess it succeeded?

As the audiobook went on and more characters became more heavily involved in the story, the narrator didn’t seem to voice them consistently. Sometimes I had trouble keeping track of who was speaking, even when there was only back-and-forth dialogue between two characters. Sometimes I would think a different character had shown up because she seemed to be voicing somebody else instead. Abelard’s voice in particular seemed to crop up everywhere even when he wasn’t speaking. Even the non-dialogue parts were off sometimes. There were a few spots where it felt like every other sentence was read with one tone, and the alternate sentences were read with a slightly different tone. It would switch back and forth in rapid succession until I felt like I was trapped in a bad dream sequence on a TV show.

Story
The story starts with Tara getting thrown out of school. Literally. She's tossed out the window of a school floating around in the sky where people are taught “craft”, manages to survive the fall thanks to her skill with the aforementioned craft, causes some mayhem at home using that craft, then gets hired to investigate the death of a god which is what becomes the main plot.

I feel like I should have liked this better than I did. I’ve never read anything quite like it. The world is unique and the story sounds on the surface like something I might find interesting. I’m sure the narration contributed to my issues, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much more in print. The story didn’t hold my interest and I didn’t care much about the characters.

The magic was one of those poorly-defined “systems” that does whatever is convenient at the time it’s needed to take the plot in a certain direction, and there were a lot of coincidental happenings that the reader seemed to be expected to believe were clever machinations by characters who never could have actually manipulated the combination of circumstances to occur the way they did. Sure, they didn’t plan events to go exactly they way they did, but they knew x would lead to some sort of y and a would lead to some sort of b, and c would lead to some sort of d, and then the combination of the unpredictable results of y, b, and d would somehow manage to bring about the desired outcome. I couldn’t buy into it. Probably another issue I had was that a lot of events are more metaphorical than anything and I like things to be more concrete. I guess it just comes down to a writing style that didn’t work for me.

I’m rating this at 2.5 stars and rounding down to 2 on Goodreads. I don’t plan to revisit the series in the future. It wasn’t all bad, and there were times when I was interested in the story. I suspect if not for the audio narration I might have chosen to round up to 3 instead, but I’m still confident I wouldn’t have enjoyed it enough to continue the series.

Next Audiobook
Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh. I’ve seen Cherryh referred to often, but I’ve never read anything by her before. I’ve wanted to try this series for a while but it’s enormous and ongoing, so it hasn’t been a high priority. This makes it a good candidate for me to sample via audio.

99Narilka
març 20, 4:26pm

>98 YouKneeK: Thanks for the review. That one is available in the Audible Plus catalog for members. I think I'd have problems with that kind of narrator for a story like that so I can give it a pass in that medium.

I'm interested in your thoughts on Foreigner. It's been in my TBR forever. Maybe your next review will be what I need to finally read the darn thing :)

100reading_fox
març 20, 4:52pm

>98 YouKneeK: there's a GD thread discussing Foreigner. I've no idea how it will work as an audiobook, or even if the rest of the series is available. Enjoy! It does take a little while to get going.

101YouKneeK
març 20, 5:09pm

>99 Narilka: Three Parts Dead being free on Audible Plus was actually one of the reasons I picked it. I haven’t been a member of Audible very long and I didn’t know how often the Audible Plus selections change, if ever, so I figured I should listen while it was free since it was already on my list. Here’s hoping I enjoy Foreigner enough that I praise it enough to make you want to read it too. ;)

>100 reading_fox: Thanks, I’ve made myself a note to seek out the thread once I finish listening to the book. I’m not likely to listen to more than the first book as an audiobook. Not even if I wholeheartedly love it and there are more books available in audio. If I like this first one, I’ll plan to revisit it in print someday, probably re-reading the first book as well as the subsequent books since I get more out of books in print than in audio. The audiobook listening is just a series sampling method that allows me to make better use of my cross-stitching time. I get to knock some books off my list and also decide whether each series is worth devoting some of my precious reading time toward in the future.

102Maddz
març 20, 7:24pm

>98 YouKneeK: I wouldn't rate the Foreigner series as high as the Chanur series. In my opinion, her earlier works were more accessible than later works - her writing style went all stream of consciousness and mildly experimental although she pulled back a bit by Foreigner.

The good thing about Chanur is that it's only 5 books! And is complete...

103Narilka
març 20, 7:32pm

>101 YouKneeK: I know the Audible Plus catalog changes. I'm not sure of the frequency. It's probably a good idea to grab something when it's available just in case.

104YouKneeK
març 20, 7:56pm

>102 Maddz: Thanks, I’ll keep that one in mind if I decide to try reading her in print. A shorter series that’s complete would definitely be more likely to make it on my reading scheduler sooner.

>103 Narilka: That’s very helpful to know, thank you!

I’ve listened to the first half hour of Foreigner. I didn't listen to more because I'd already crammed the final 2.5 hours of Three Parts Dead into my ears today to get it over with. I'd reached my audio capacity for the day, but I was curious to see what I was in for with the next one. It’s way too soon to make any judgments, but so far my opinion is that the story is interesting and I look forward to seeing where it goes, and that the audio narrator is a glorious relief from the last one. :) He has a nice, quiet, unobtrusive style that allows me to almost ignore the fact that I’m being read to and just focus on the words. There hasn’t been much dialogue yet, so I’ll have to see how that goes, but in general I think this will be much more pleasant to listen to.

105Karlstar
març 21, 10:00am

>98 YouKneeK: How is it possible you've never read any C. J. Cherryh!?? I think you'll enjoy Foreigner, but I agree with >102 Maddz:, for me my favorite has always been the Chanur series. It is a little easier to get into.

106YouKneeK
març 21, 12:00pm

>105 Karlstar: There are many well-known SF&F authors that I haven’t tried yet, but I’m working hard to whittle down that list! ;)

107YouKneeK
març 21, 2:40pm

Review: Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher



Cursor’s Fury is the third book in the six-book Codex Alera series. I thought this book was nearly as good as the previous one. The enemy wasn’t as exciting to me, but the characters and the story and all the action still held my interest well.

I really don’t have much to say that I haven’t said already about the previous books, but I do have one other comment that belongs behind spoiler tags:

As much as I’m enjoying the series, one thing it really doesn’t have going for it is a lot of surprises. The various “revelations” are telegraphed well in advance so that the reader is probably already going to know or at least suspect them by the time they’re revealed. Until the end of this book, the only other real time I remember being surprised was at the beginning of the first book when Fidelias turned out to be a traitor.

So maybe it isn’t surprising that my second big surprise, near the end of this third book, was also related to Fidelias. I never even considered that Marcus might be somebody else in disguise, much less Fidelias, even though there were a few hints that something might be up with Marcus and there had been indications in the previous book that Fidelias was having second thoughts about his choices. There was even a fairly blatant hint shortly before the revelation when Amara was wondering where Fidelias had been, but I didn't make the connection. I did catch the moment when he recognized Tavi for who he was, but didn't read any more into it. I must be slipping!


Next Book
Captain’s Fury, the fourth book in this series. I had originally scheduled a standalone book as a break now that I’m halfway through the series, but I don’t want a break and nobody can make me take one. :p So I’ve dumped my next planned standalone down to the end of my list and I’ll hopefully get to it eventually. I could shift all my planned standalones down by one position instead, but that would mess up my plan to read science fiction standalones while I’m reading a fantasy series and vice versa.

108fuzzi
març 21, 3:16pm

>105 Karlstar: "Chanur! Chanur! Chanur!"

😁

109YouKneeK
març 21, 8:07pm

>108 fuzzi: I can tell that nobody in this group much cares for the Chanur series. ;)

110YouKneeK
març 21, 8:10pm

I only listened to another hour of Foreigner, so I’m about 90 minutes in now, but I’m still finding it interesting and haven't had any trouble getting into it, unless it slows down later.

I would kill for (well, maybe not kill for, but possibly do minor damage for) some name flash cards to show up in the Audible app when a character's name is mentioned though, so I can actually see and grasp the names better. Maybe I'm backwards, but I'd rather see a name written and have no idea how to properly pronounce it than hear a name spoken and have no idea how to properly spell it or even be entirely clear on what name was spoken. I spent the entire Three Parts Dead audiobook thinking a character's name was Avelard, only to discover it was Abelard when I was writing my review and looked it up to double-check the spelling.

111BookstoogeLT
març 21, 8:12pm

>107 YouKneeK: Yes! Glad to see another high mark for this series. I totally agree with you that the "surprises" are totally telegraphed. Honestly, I actually enjoyed that because I wanted something easy and familiar and literary'illy digestible.

And good for you for breaking your own rules. If you can't break your own, who else will? :-D

112YouKneeK
març 21, 8:17pm

>111 BookstoogeLT: In general I prefer surprises, as long as they make sense after they’re revealed like the one in my spoiler tag, but sometimes it’s nice to have that satisfaction of feeling like you’re on top of things. Throughout the reading of the first 3 books, I might possibly have shouted (or moderately raised my voice to exclaim) “I knew it!” a time or two.

113ScoLgo
març 21, 11:52pm

>110 YouKneeK: By coincidence, I'm reading the Foreigner series this year, (currently on book 7, Explorer). At the very back of the hardcover print editions, the first two volumes include a Pronunciation Guide and a separate Glossary. Here is an excerpt:
A=ah after most sounds; =ay after j, e=eh or ay; i varies between ee(hh) (nearly a hiss) if final and ee if not; o=oh and u=oo. Choose what sounds best.

-J is a sound between ch and zh; -ch=tch as in itch; -t should be almost indistinguishable from -d and vice versa. G as in go. -H after a consonant is a palatal (tongue on roof of mouth). as; paidhi=pait'-(h)ee.

The symbol ' indicates a stop. a'e is thus two separate syllables, ah-ay; but ai is not; ai=English long i; ei=ay.

The word accent falls on the second syllable from the last if the vowel in the syllable is long or is followed by two consonants; third from end if otherwise. Ba'nichi (ch is a single letter in atevi script and does not count as two consonants); Tabi'ni (long by nature)--all words ending in -ini are -i'ni; Brominan'di (-nd=two consonants); mechei'ti because two vowels sounded as one vowel) count as a long vowel.


There's more but I don't feel like typing it all out, (sorry). I find the hanging right parenthesis after mechei'ti confusing but that's how it is in the book. Typos in a pronunciation guide...? tsk, tsk... ;)

Anyway, I hope your narrator is following these guidelines. Let me know if there are any specific pronunciations that you have questions about and I'll be happy to check the guide for you.

Incidentally, when I first met the Jago character, my natural inclination was to sound her name out as "jah-go". Reading the pronunciation guide helped me to use the intended "czhay-go" instead.

Hope this helps.

114YouKneeK
març 22, 7:04am

>113 ScoLgo: Thank you very much for taking the time to share all that! I’ll have to see if I can reverse engineer what I’m hearing.

I’m not good at distinguishing what I’m hearing in the first place if it’s a completely unfamiliar word/name. If I can see it in print before/while hearing it, then I can anchor that with the spelling and retain it better, even if the pronunciation is different than I would have expected based on the spelling. If I only see it in print and don’t hear it, then I can still at least retain it even if my pronunciation is completely wrong because there are tangible letters I can remember. If I only hear it, I’m too unsure what I heard to even try to repeat it immediately after hearing it, and I can’t remember it. Oddly, even with completely familiar names, I’m far more likely to remember somebody’s name after I meet them if I’ve seen it in print (like on a meeting invite or a business card) and didn’t only hear it.

After hearing the names enough times in the audiobook I’m sure they’ll eventually stick with me in some manner, it will just take longer. The next time I listen to the audiobook, I might try looking at the list of characters in Common Knowledge here on LT while I listen and see if I can find matches. Right now when I look at that list of names, I couldn’t even say if I’ve met any of those characters yet.

115fuzzi
març 22, 8:41am

>109 YouKneeK: obviously. ;)

I've loved CJ Cherryh's books for a looong time, and am excited when I find people who also enjoy them. Aside from the Foreigner series I've read almost all of her works. I fell behind in the Foreigner series about book 4 (real life intervened), but have purchased the upcoming installments as part of a plan to finally CATCH UP!

116YouKneeK
març 22, 7:39pm

>114 YouKneeK: Well, at least now I know why the character names I was seeing in Common Knowledge looked completely unfamiliar. They didn’t show up until book 3 and I hadn’t gotten there yet. :) I thought I was just that bad at remembering names.

117reading_fox
març 24, 6:32am

>107 YouKneeK: I think fidelious was one of my biggest disappointments - in the first book he's this really interesting grey-line walking characters, doing the best for the empire and making hard choices at an individual level to do so, always a fascinating theme. And then he just becomes another generic bad guy out for himself. Such a waste.

118YouKneeK
març 24, 7:20am

>117 reading_fox: I can’t reconcile what you’ve said with the books I’ve read so far. Was that a reference to what happens later on in the series rather than only up through book 3? My assumption was that your spoiler tag would be related to the book in the post you’re replying to. I’m very interested in your thoughts, but I really don’t want to be spoiled.

Spoiler for beginnings of book 4: I’m finding Fidelias to be a more interesting character in this book, trying to balance his new goal of supporting Tavi while being pulled in the opposite direction due to his self-created ties with Lady Aquitaine and her conspirators. Unless you’re telling me he goes darkside yet again, which would be pretty frustrating, I don’t see how he meets your description of a “generic bad guy out for himself” right now. If anything, I thought that description fit him better in the first book. His POV in the first book was the least interesting part of that book to me because, regardless of his stated goals, he was doing generic bad guy stuff.

I think his actions in the third book and what I've read so far of the fourth book in fact prove that he really was trying to do what he believed was best for the empire and is willing to change course when he learns there's a better option. He would have been more generic to me if he'd stayed locked into the course of action he'd set for himself and didn't consider other possibilities. I also wouldn't have been impressed if he'd remained bad up to the end then had your typical "redeeming moment" at the very end of the series, which was what I thought was going to happen when he started having second thoughts about his choices in book 2.

119YouKneeK
abr. 1, 7:01am

My quarter end stats are below. The “pages read” actually includes audiobooks I’ve listened to. Up until this year, audiobooks were a miniscule and mostly non-existent part of my reading consumption, so my stats aren’t set up to break them out. I haven’t really decided how I want to handle that yet. I kind of prefer the simplicity of just thinking of it all in pages. For those who care about the distinction more than I do, about 25% of my reading was audio. It was the equivalent of 2,052 pages and 72 hours of listening.

I’ve been happy with the audio experiment. I can’t say it hasn’t occasionally been torturous, but I’ve learned that I can for the most part get past my difficulties with a narrator if I stick it out long enough. Eventually the annoyances become less glaring. I still get frustrated by not being able to see the words and refer back to them as needed, but I'm getting used to it. It helps that I'm going into these audio reads with the attitude that, if I really like them, someday I'll read them again in print and follow that up with the rest of the series. I’ve been happy with the chance to sample various series that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to for years. I also like being able to kill two birds with one stone – the cross-stitch bird and the book bird, that is. I don’t consider either activity to be that productive in the long-term, grand scheme of things, but doing both of them at once somehow makes me feel a little more productive. I expect I’ll continue doing things this way for quite some time.

Both my print reading and my audio listening have been slower the last couple weeks, mostly because work has been busy and I’ve had less time. I’m getting pretty close to the end of my print book and have about 6.5 hours left on my audiobook. I’m enjoying both of them a lot, when I have time for them!

In other non-book news, I had my first vaccine shot (Moderna) Tuesday morning. My U.S. state (Georgia) opened vaccinations up to all adults last Thursday, prior to which I hadn’t been eligible. It took a couple days to find an appointment, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. It just took a little persistence. The first shot was pretty non-eventful. There was definitely soreness in my arm if I moved it around much or tried to lift anything, and I was very tired and a little achy by that same evening. I went to bed early and those symptoms were mostly gone the next morning, just a little bit of remaining soreness in my arm. I did wake up with a slight headache. I managed to ignore it for a few hours, but it grew worse and I was trying to work so I took a pain reliever. I don’t get headaches that often normally, and it’s one of the common side effects, so I expect mine was from the shot and not something else. I’ve felt perfectly fine ever since the pain reliever kicked in, and the headache didn't come back this morning. I guess I can expect the second shot next month to be a little more dramatic, but I look forward to having it done.









120fuzzi
abr. 1, 8:30am

>119 YouKneeK:
I
AM
IN
AWE.

Love your graphs.

121Karlstar
abr. 1, 2:34pm

Congrats on getting your first shot!

122YouKneeK
abr. 1, 5:05pm

>120 fuzzi: Haha, thanks! :)

>121 Karlstar: Thanks!

123BookstoogeLT
abr. 1, 6:20pm

>119 YouKneeK: Here's to hoping you don't grow a third eye or something from the vaxx :-D

124YouKneeK
abr. 1, 7:33pm

>123 BookstoogeLT: Depends on how well it can see. It might be useful! ;)

125clamairy
Editat: abr. 1, 10:18pm

Love the graphs, as always!

Congrats on the shot. I got the Moderna as well, and will be glad when I've gotten the second one. Though I expect to feel like crap afterwards. It's still so much better than the alternative.

>124 YouKneeK: & >125 clamairy: That could come in very handy!

126YouKneeK
abr. 2, 5:50am

>125 clamairy: Thanks, and congrats on being half way through the process yourself!

127YouKneeK
abr. 2, 6:26am

Review: Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher



Captain’s Fury is the fourth out of six books in the Codex Alera series. This may be one of my shortest reviews ever because I don’t have anything new to say about it that I haven’t already said about the previous books, but I continue to really enjoy this series.

As I’ve said in other reviews, the progression of the main character and the story in general is somewhat predictable and not particularly twisty. However, I also really, really like the main character, as well as many of the secondary characters, I like the direction the story is going in, and I think it’s written well. It has a lot of the elements I tend to enjoy most in epic fantasy.

Next Book
Princep’s Fury, the 5th book in this series.

128Karlstar
abr. 2, 10:55am

>125 clamairy: I've heard that some people react more to the first shot, some more to the 2nd shot. I've also heard that females have more of a reaction, but I'm not sure any of those observations are actually scientific.

129Maddz
abr. 2, 12:33pm

Both of us had Oxford/Astra-Zeneca, and we both had a bit of a reaction. I felt achy and fluey for most of the week, just wanted to sleep all the time (although I kept working). Paul had his shot Tuesday, and spent Wednesday sleeping. He seems OK now.

130YouKneeK
abr. 2, 5:00pm

>129 Maddz: Is that a single-dose vaccine? What little I’ve heard about that one over here has been heavily focused on its fluctuating approval status in various countries and I can’t remember if they mentioned the dosing schedule.

131clamairy
abr. 2, 5:05pm

>128 Karlstar: Yes, I heard about the gender difference in reactions as well and they were chalking it up at least partially to the fact that everyone gets the same size dose.

>129 Maddz: Sorry you felt like crap for so long. :o/

132tardis
abr. 2, 5:07pm

>130 YouKneeK: AZ is a two dose vaccine. I got my first shot of it a couple of weeks ago. I had almost no reaction, but I've heard that some people get a stronger reaction to the second shot. I guess I'll find out when I get shot #2, which won't be for a few months.

133YouKneeK
abr. 2, 5:12pm

>132 tardis: Ah, ok, thanks. I hope your second shot proves not to be too bad!

134BookstoogeLT
abr. 2, 5:17pm

>127 YouKneeK: Excellent! When you just don't have much to say in a review, and it's 4 1/2 star, well, that is just good. I know that feeling exactly :-D

and thanks for the thumbs up :-)

135YouKneeK
abr. 2, 5:29pm

>134 BookstoogeLT: I could have sworn there were things I’d thought I wanted to talk about in my review while I was still reading, but I neglected to make notes or highlight anything in my Kindle, and I couldn’t think of anything this morning. At least I was able to write it up quickly! And the fact that I didn't bother to even highlight anything is probably a sign of how much I was enjoying it. :)

136-pilgrim-
abr. 3, 1:28pm

>132 tardis: I had my first dose in February, so I guess my second will be soon. Given how crap I felt after the first one, I am not looking forward to it.

137YouKneeK
abr. 3, 4:42pm

>136 -pilgrim-: It’s different vaccines and different situations of course, but my aunt felt very bad after her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine but didn’t seem to have much reaction at all to the second dose, even though it's usually the other way around for people who get the Pfizer vaccine too. I hope something similar happens for you, with the first shot having been the worst of it.

138YouKneeK
abr. 3, 10:15pm

Audiobook Review: Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh



This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday. It was also my first time reading anything by C. J. Cherryh, whom I’ve often seen mentioned favorably.

Audio Narration
The narrator was Daniel Thomas May and he’s now on my list as one of the good ones! His narration style is very much the style I prefer. It’s a more understated and unobtrusive reading. He didn’t overly dramatize or exaggerate the characters or the story and he sort of faded into the background while I just focused on the story and almost forgot I was being read to. That is exactly what I like best. He also did a good job of differentiating character voices, and I can’t think of a single aspect of his narration that ever annoyed me.

There are a lot of unfamiliar sorts of names and terms and that was a little more overwhelming to me in audio at first than it would have been in print. A word feels more solid and memorable to me if I see it in print than it does if I only hear it, and I’m somehow much less frustrated by not knowing how a word is properly pronounced than I am by not knowing how it’s spelled. Once the story settled into its rhythm, I was less bothered by it and didn’t have any significant confusion that impacted my ability to follow the story.

Story
The story is a little misleading at first. It’s broken up into three “books”, although the first two books are very short. The second book was sort of like a prologue, and the first book was sort of like a prologue to that prologue. I enjoyed both books, but they gave an impression that the story was going to be something different than it was. Fortunately I enjoyed the third book also, which is when the real story starts.

Because of this structure, it’s hard to give a brief, spoiler-free taste of what this book is about for anybody reading this review who’s curious. If you know the state of affairs at the beginning of the third book, then it spoils the preliminary details from the first and second book. Yet the first and second books really don’t describe the story at all. So I’ll put a brief explanation of how book three starts in spoiler tags, and people can read it or not as they choose. The story focuses on a human ambassador to an alien people on an alien planet where some humans became stranded 200 years ago. At the beginning of his story, somebody tries to assassinate him.

The main character, Bren, is the type of character I don’t always like reading about, so it’s a little surprising to me that I was so invested in his story. He can be a bit whiny, and he often came across as not being very competent at or even well-suited for his job. Nevertheless, I cared about what happened to him, and I did like some elements of his personality, and I very much liked the other characters that we saw through his eyes.

I wasn’t always engrossed in the story, but it generally held my interest. With audiobooks, I usually have trouble listening for much more than an hour at a time. Even if I want to keep cross-stitching, I turn off the audiobook to give my ears a rest. I easily surpassed that a few times listening to this book. The ending wasn’t terribly satisfying. The most immediate issue was sort of resolved, but this is clearly just the first part of a larger story. There were also hints of interesting backstories that I wanted to learn more about. No doubt all of this would be better satisfied by continuing the series.

I’m marking this one as a “yes” regarding whether or not I want to revisit it in print someday and read further into the series. I would very much like to continue the story at some point. I also think I would enjoy re-reading this first book in print because I sometimes felt like there were nuances to the story that I would have grasped better that way.

Next Audiobook
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, known as Rivers of London outside the US. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I plan to listen to Theft of Swords soon, but I’d like to finish the epic fantasy series I’m currently reading in print before I start an epic fantasy audio. Midnight Riot is urban fantasy I assume, since I believe it’s set in London, but other than that I don’t know anything about it.

139fuzzi
Editat: abr. 3, 10:28pm

I'm glad you enjoyed Foreigner, I'm overdue for a re-read!

140Maddz
Editat: abr. 4, 1:18am

>138 YouKneeK: Enjoy Rivers of London!

Anything that puzzles you about UK life, feel free to ask. There's a handy glossary over on https://www.benaaronovitch.com/ which is worth dipping into - the print editions have footnotes, not sure how they manage that on an audio book.

141-pilgrim-
Editat: abr. 4, 5:26am

I second Maddz' comments. Rivers of London is one of the rare fantasy books, out of all those that claim to be set in London, that have a genuine feel for that city. The police procedural aspects are pretty accurate too, I believe. (Aaronovitch took advice from serving officers.)

>140 Maddz: Footnotes? I have the 2011 Gollancz paperback, and there are no footnotes at all there.

142YouKneeK
abr. 4, 6:50am

>139 fuzzi: Thanks! It seemed like a book with enough depth to make for a worthwhile re-read.

>140 Maddz:, >141 -pilgrim-: Thanks, that’s great to go into it knowing I can consider its representation of London to be pretty accurate. I’ll listen with especial interest knowing that. And thanks >140 Maddz: for the glossary link; that may prove helpful and is something I would have missed out on in the audio.

143Maddz
abr. 4, 8:25am

>141 -pilgrim-: Haven't got the paperback any more (went in a clear out a while back). (Checks my Kindle app) - you're right, I must have misremembered or I'm thinking of another book.

144ScoLgo
abr. 5, 3:10pm

>138 YouKneeK: Happy to see you liked the first Foreigner book! As I am reading through the entire 21-book series this year, I find that each trilogy within the larger series tells a relatively complete story. At the conclusion of each three-book set, most immediate threads are resolved with the larger arc clearly about to continue. I'm therefore taking breaks between trilogies. This 'pallet cleanser' approach allows the story to percolate in my subconscious for a few days while also letting me quickly pick up the thread as a new adventure begins.

I hope you decide to continue. In my experience, the books just keep getting better as the larger story arc develops.

145Narilka
abr. 5, 4:16pm

>138 YouKneeK: Thanks for the review. I'm going to have to rearrange my TBR soon.

146YouKneeK
abr. 5, 5:58pm

>144 ScoLgo: Thanks, that’s really helpful to know about the trilogies within the series. I think I would get exasperated reading a series that long that didn’t have some occasional closure, and taking breaks between trilogies sounds like a good plan. I usually read an unrelated standalone every few books when I tackle a very long series, and it helps when there’s a natural breaking point. It will likely be at least a couple years before I come back to it, but I do plan to.

>145 Narilka: I look forward to learning what you think about it! I was reading various discussion threads about it after posting my review, and I saw a few complaints that it has a lot of run-on sentences and uncommonly heavy comma usage. I didn’t really notice it while listening to the audio, but it might be useful to be prepared for it if you’re planning to read it in print. Sometimes that sort of thing will drive me nuts, but I’ll get used to it if I’m otherwise enjoying the story.

147YouKneeK
abr. 9, 6:35am

Review: Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher



Princeps’ Fury is the 5th out of 6 books in Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series.

I enjoyed this one as much as the previous books. Some of the things I’d anticipated would happen as the series approached the end happened in this book, such as the return of the Vord as an active threat and the death of the First Lord.

This was the shortest book in the series, and I think the next book is the longest. In some ways this one felt like a transition book as the story is clearly working its way toward the final climactic events, but it did tell a complete and interesting segment of the story and didn’t end on a cliff hanger or anything. As always, there was a lot of action and all the viewpoints held my interest.

I’m really looking forward to reading the final book!

Next Book
First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher, the last book in this series.

148Karlstar
abr. 9, 12:40pm

>147 YouKneeK: So have you figured out what's coming in book 6?

149BookstoogeLT
abr. 9, 3:30pm

>147 YouKneeK: Hurray! I am glad this keeps on going strong for you. My wish for this series was a continuation, but obviously that will never happen considering how long it's been since Butcher wrote this series.

150YouKneeK
abr. 9, 5:37pm

>149 BookstoogeLT: I would definitely be interested in reading more epic fantasy from him, whether it’s this series or something else. It remains to be seen how I’ll feel about the Dresden Files. :)

>148 Karlstar: Just the obvious stuff, I think. I haven’t had a chance to start it yet, so this is based on my thoughts at the end of book 5:

Tavi will become the First Lord for sure, I guess technically he already is, the only question is how much drama there will be before everybody acknowledges that. At the end of book 5 it seemed like Aquitaine admitted Tavi would be what the people really needed to successfully defeat the Vord, so maybe not as much drama as I was originally expecting. I expect there to be at least some trouble with it though.

I expect the Vord to be the primary threat throughout the book. I guess the ones on the Canim continent won’t rest on their laurels now that they mostly have the place conquered and will find a way to follow soon after Tavi to add their numbers to the fight.

I’m not quite clear who the being who calls herself Alera is, but she showed up to introduce herself to Tavi at the very end of book 5. Either she seeks out a relationship with whoever the First Lord is, or that’s what Gaius Sextus had asked her to do when we saw him making some unknown request of her. Either way, I assume she’ll have some sort of aid to give and obligations to place on him. Maybe she’s some sort of autonomous fury.

Tavi will probably finally manifest a fury (maybe several of them) in this book, since that seems to be the main thing he hasn’t accomplished yet. Since people can bequeath their furies to people, I guess Tavi will get Gaius Sextus’ furies, if nothing else.

I kind of expect at least one main character or an important secondary character to be given a dramatic death, although the author has been very nice to his main characters so far, so maybe not. He did kill off Gaius Sextus of course, but that was obviously coming ever since the first book so it doesn’t count. If Max gets killed off I’ll be annoyed, which means he’s the most likely choice I guess. :p Or maybe Ehren as the close friend of Tavi who the reader is likely to be a little less attached to and therefore more forgiving of losing. If not one of them, then maybe Fidelias or Doroga. I’d be happy if they all survive, though.


That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. :)

151Karlstar
abr. 9, 9:56pm

>150 YouKneeK: Very good guesses. Sort of - I don't want to spoil the book. :). These were a fun read and I kind of wish there were one or two more.

152Storeetllr
abr. 13, 3:47pm

>150 YouKneeK: >151 Karlstar: Okay, now I want to reread the Calderon books.

153NorthernStar
abr. 13, 4:47pm

>147 YouKneeK: Glad you are enjoying this series. I revisited it recently through listening to the audiobooks, which I enjoyed. They are really long, though, averaging over 20 hours each.

154YouKneeK
abr. 13, 6:04pm

>152 Storeetllr:, >153 NorthernStar: I could see where this would be a fun series to reread/listen. BookstoogeLT has read it, what, 3 times now? I think if I ever start adding rereads into my schedule, epic fantasy series would be my most common choice.

While I’m here, I should probably note that I’m going to be really slow to finish this last book, and maybe my current audiobook too. Work is consuming most of my time right now, including weekends. I’m hoping it will get better in a couple weeks.

155BookstoogeLT
Ahir, 5:52pm

>154 YouKneeK: Yep, 3 times. I suspect it has one more re-read in it before I let it lie. We'll see in 10 years or so though :-)