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Three and two halves books - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Three and two halves books
Crystal Rain (by Tobias Buckell)
Not compelling enough to finish, but not bad enough to finish so I can rant about it. I think this would have been an interesting book for someone not me.

The Devil You Know (by Mike Carey)
By the writer for the Lucifer comic. There's a failure a lot of mysteries fall into, where the answer to a question explains what happened, but doesn't justify why it happened that way. Locked-room mysteries are particularly prone to this - sometimes there's no good reason that the murderer arranged to shoot the victim with a gun that fell off the wall inside the locked room, as opposed to shooting them with a normal gun outside the room. There are a lot of places in this book that I worried were going there, but, happily, none of them did. Even when the answer to "Why did this happen?" is "Because it was in character for the person who did it to do it that odd way in particular", the characterization is solid and grounded. Interestingly simplified system for the traditional supernatural canon - pretty much everything (including weres) is based on ghostly possession with varying mechanics. Anyway, reasonably fun. Three and a half stars.

Rock of Ages (by Walter Jon Williams)
Another farce in the Drake Majistral series about the Approved Burglar. I liked the first one better, but this one is still fun. It nails down what the plural of the flying illusionary Elvis is - Elvii - which is important for a previous Conflux plot.

Lady of Mazes (by Karl Schroeder)
ricedog recommended this to me after I read Ventus, and it was a good recommendation. What the heck is it about? It's about people trying to save their world/worldview in the face of it being invaded/corrupted, and there's something of a Travel Quest. But it's more about what sorts of things make your life have meaning, and altered/assisted reality and what sorts of extra meaning (or fake meaning) the narrative of your life might have if the system was helping everyone interact to help it out... it's all fascinating, and I almost might have enjoyed it more if there had been no plot at all, just wandering through the several different sorts of worlds that were set up. (I also suspect that someone who occasionally wonders "Is there some meaning to my life?", which I mostly don't, would find the thought exercises even more compelling than I did). And we get to learn more about the Villainous 3340. Four and a half stars. And it made me realize that if enough monkeys on typewriters will eventually generate Hamlet, it's just as true that enough monkeys on typewriters means that there is another monkey out there writing the exact same book as you.

The Name of the Wind (by Patrick Rothfuss)
Okay, let me just say straight out that this is one of those books that those people who are buying books based on my recommendations[*] should GO BUY NOW. Unless you have an objection to not-yet-finished trilogies, in which case BUY LATER. Or, alternately, BORROW FROM ME. It has glowing quoties from everyone from Orson Scott Card to Ursula LeGuin to Robin Hobb to Anne McCaffrey, and sixteen million other reviewers before me also like it, so it's not like I'm brilliant for having discovered it first or anything. Anyway. There is a frame story around the telling of someone's life, with other little stories embedded in it like candied fruit. Except that it's just the first third of the story of his life, and despite 700+ pages there is not enough of it. More of it than not is at school, something between Oxford and Hogwarts; there is music and magic and feuds and murders and a few lies and all sorts of stuff. The author's style has a sort of lyrical grandiloquence (it took me a long time to think of a word for "pretentious, but in a good way!") that reminds me of the things I love about Guy Gavriel Kay. I was hooked in the first twenty pages and stayed hooked all the way through. And, for a frame story which takes up a very small percentage of the pages, it has an impressive density of humor and drama and sheer interestingness. Five stars.

*: I think this is just jdbakermn, but maybe I have more of a cult following! I can dream!

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Comments
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: June 26th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I would like to borrow Lady of Mazes if you're willing to lend it. (More not yet finished series ... yeah, not right now.)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: June 26th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure! Though I think the only time I see you is when you descend on our house with cookies. :)
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: June 26th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
It could be an excuse to do that. :)
mijven From: mijven Date: June 26th, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Following your recommendations sounds like one of the few cults I could get in on. :)
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: June 26th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally borrow books on your recommendation. Or put them on my list of books to get someday. :)
jdbakermn From: jdbakermn Date: June 27th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Sniff, no Kindle edition. I'll have to see if the airport has a copy tomorrow.
ricedog From: ricedog Date: June 27th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I bought a fair number of books based on your reviews, and considering that the Scavenger trilogy and The Lies of Locke Lamora were among them, I got an awesome deal. :)
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