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Three Books - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Three Books
(My audiobook consumption has ramped up with the ~hour of biking a day. These are harder to loan out, but if someone really wants to borrow one, I'll see what I can do. )
The Lightning Thief (by Rick Riordan)
mjperson made me read this one, after seeing the movie. Thus, I must come up with some (hopefully) amusing gripes (spoilers ahead):
  • "Drop Significant Hints about the Greek Gods" does not seem the best way to get someone to realize they're a demigod.
  • When some of the party is mind-controlled, you don't have to reach a full consensus before acting.
  • There are many valid (or unavoidable) reasons for splitting the party when you think monsters are around. "The elevator is crowded, I'll wait for the next one" is not one of them.
  • I disapprove strongly of murdering your abusive husband rather than leaving him, especially if the reason for the choice is that you don't have enough courage to leave. I know this happens in real life, but post-traumatic stress is not the same as admirable.
Anyway, it was a fun popcorn book, I read it in a day, and I'll note that many of the things I thought were stupid in the movie were not so stupid in the book. (As an aside, at the begining of the movie, I thought it was remarkable that it had two named characters with disabilities, one in leg braces and one in a wheelchair. Hah, foolish me, not really.)

Kitty and the Midnight Hour (by Carrie Vaughn, via audiobook)
One of those urban fantasies with the back of a woman in skimpy clothes, on the cover. Mostly, it's a pilot episode, but it has some interesting bits. The werewolf pack dynamics are very much like an abusive relationship. The radio call-in show sounds like real people (and well done by the narrator). The fight scenes impressed me less - bloody and actiony, but who was winning seemed to be very random at any given moment. Three air-popped stars with butter.

The Madness of Angels (by Kate Griffin)
The back cover calls it "A Neverwhere for the digital age," which is in some sense right - the society of magic twined in and below London, and a big focus on the Underground. But... the characters in Neverwhere were likeable, in different ways. The characters here are... hmm, it's not that they are unpleasant (well, some are...), it's that their personalities are not what the author seems to be interested in. There are several master/apprentice relationships which are clearly meant to be strong emotional bonds - but the details, the nature of the emotion, are nearly all left to be inferred. There's a scene where someone dies, and another character is shattered by it - but were they lovers? Or was it more parent/child? Close friends? I don't know. Anyway, this somewhat tangential approach to the interior life of the characters is clearly a stylistic one, it's just one I didn't totally appreciate. The other stylistic choice, the beautiful lyrical language used to describe the magic of the city - that, I appreciated. The description of the initial monster, the litterbug (ha!) is too long too quote entirely, but here is a bit:
Then it turned its head, and its eyes glowed with the dying embers of two cigarette stubs. When it exhaled, its nose, the broken end of a car exhaust pipe, gouted smoke; when it raised one arm off the wall it clung to, its paw came away with the suction sound of well-chewed gum sticking, and its claws gleamed with the shattered razor-edges of old Coke cans and soup tins.
Go see more here. It's gorgeous language, and the plot works; I just wish I had been able to bond more with the characters. Three and a half stars. If someone wants to borrow this one, let me know reasonably soon.

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