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A Bunch of Books - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
A Bunch of Books
The Red Pavilions trilogy (Knight's Dawn, Wizard's Funeral, Scabbard's Song) by Kim Hunter
It's another trilogy in the "amnesiac knight among ravens" genre, though compared to the Scavenger trilogy, it's a heck of a lot fluffier. In fact, it has a sort of fairy tale lilt to it, that makes the fact that it's a trilogy rather than a solo book a little surprising. There are Quests, and Witches, and Wizards, and Magic Swords, all lightly and meanderingly strung together into an arc plot, but the arc (a wizard's war, an evil vizier, and an army war) isn't the important part. The charm comes from the standalone encounters: the underwater witch, the totally irrelevant but rather evocative wizard's funeral, the mad twins, and so on. The ending is quite abrupt, though perhaps that's in keeping with the fairy-taleness of the story. (Parenthetically, does anyone think they own these books? jdbakermn returned them to me, but it wasn't me he borrowed them from...) Two and a half somewhat puzzling stars.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (by Scott Lynch)
I really like the cover. The transparent, implausibly huge towers, dwarfing the rest of the city. Are they real? Illusions? Is the city dreaming that it's grander than it is?
(The answer is that they're the Elderglass towers of the Five Houses, which doesn't explain so much as lead to more interesting world bits, of which there are quite a few sprinkled around the book...). On the other hand, I don't like the title, because "Locke Lamora" refuses to sound like a person's name to me, and I keep wanting to parse it as a place. (Maybe because it rhymes with Glocca Morra...) Anyway, the story starts, after a bit of backstory, as a Sting-esque con job, and slowly (because it's a 700-page book, on thin paper so I didn't realize its length) adds more complications and tension and a bit of epicness with an underworld war. It's both well-written - the dialogue has a good snap to it, and goes a long way to fleshing out who the characters are - and well-crafted: the gun used in the third act is seen in passing in the first, and nearly all the loose ends are tied up, including a few that I worried were dropped on the floor. There is one oddity I didn't know what to make of - there's a character who is off screen the whole time, but frequently referred to and missed. It's a small hole near the center of everything, and it throws me. Anyway, this is another in the series of Books rifmeister Correctly Predicts Laura Will Like. This time he loaned me the book, though, so I have enough short term memory to not recommend it back to him. Instead, I'll just recommend it to other people, certainly anyone who I forced to read Death of the Necromancer and liked it. It's supposed to be the first book out of a projected seven, but it stands well enough on its own. (Yet more parenthetically, there seems to have been a big bloggy fuss about whether positive reviews of Lies of Locke Lamora were hype and puffery, or due to bribes! Well, I've already confessed that I was loaned the book rather than pay for it, but rif failed to instruct me that I was required to write a favorable review. I just liked it. Some of the bloggy-fuss reviews have valid objections to the plot, and some have things they thought were stupid, which I thought were in character, but an imaginary argument would get kind of silly.) Four and three quarters stars.

Out on Blue Six (by Ian McDonald)
Another rif-recommended book, but this one didn't grab me nearly as strongly. A little bit like Brazil, a little bit like Gulliver's Travels, and a lot bit surreal to the point of muddly. It was more of an "enh, not for me" feeling than a "this is a No Good Book", so I'm not going to particularly rant about it.

The Fourth Bear (by Jasper Fforde)
This is a fine sequel to the amusing The Big Over Easy. More nursery rhymes put in a blender with hard-boiled detective cliches and some surprisingly charming characterizations. Four stars, down from the four and a half of the first one, but it's not a bad slide for a sequel.

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Comments
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: October 16th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I certainly read it as "Loch Lamorra" until you said it was a person's name. :)
ricedog From: ricedog Date: October 16th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

compared to the Scavenger trilogy, it's a heck of a lot fluffier.


Not that that's hard. :)
mjperson From: mjperson Date: October 17th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
i definitely parsed it as a place...
visage From: visage Date: October 17th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, look, one I've actually read!

I found Lies of Locke Lamora a fine read, though it never occurred to me that his first name was pronounced as anything other than "Lock". :)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: October 17th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I think his first name is "Lock" too. "LockLa Mora" rhymes with Glocca Morra, is all. :)

(Or maybe it's Lock Lammera, which might be more of a name...
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