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Six books - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Six books
His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War (by Naomi Novik)
Fun. "She's done for the Napoleonic Wars what Anne McCaffrey did for science-fiction." -David Weber. And really, that's pretty spot on, even if the snide paraphrase is "stuffed it full of dragons!" You've got the Master and Commander thing going, with everyone being addressed as Mister Granby and Mister Riley, except instead of running about on boats, they're running about on dragons. The dragons usually being quite large, they have crews rather than single riders. Anyhow, the first book is definitely the purest of the genre. The second heads off to China, and the dragon starts being played by desireearmfeldt ("Hey, why aren't things more egalitarian, rather than the way things have always been done?"). Still, it's not a throwaway silly plot - it was quite well done, to spend the first book building up the way things work with dragons, and then to spend the second book saying "but wait! China does it all differently!" and then watching the characters waver as they're torn between loyalty to the status quo and a sense of fairness. Book three was the weakest by just a bit, as it's split between two very separate plots, and it ends on something of a downer, as Napoleon is romping all over the place and there's still a villain at large causing havoc. Four and a half stars for the first two books; four for the third.

Doppelganger and Witch and Warrior by Marie Brennan
Pretty good. Witch and Warrior is a very nice Assassin game, with mysterious deaths and plots and treachery and clashing subplots; Doppelganger is a decent setup for it, and a bit more of a standard Coming Of Age Through Peril story. I like the Hunter stuff better than the Witch stuff, and the boss Witches have a tendency to be blithely stupid in the first book ("Go and kill your doppelganger. We won't mention that she's super-strong and super-fast, or give you any practical advice; we'll just assume that because you're the PC, you'll do fine.") Three stars for Doppelganger; three and a half for Witch and Warrior.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Whoo! This was fun. mijven told me to read this, well, technically, she told me to read Mistborn, but this is the one that arrived from paperbackswap first. Good characters, good drama, an unusual not-quite-villain (who gets my favorite line), interesting (and timely) interplay between faith for faith's sake and faith as a political tool, a mystery that plays fair with the clues, a fascinating clash between two plots both trying to do good things, and Everything Ties Together In The End. Maybe a little more so than it actually needed to, and one (small) plot was a little jarring, but still, very neatly done. Four and a half stars; I've deducted half a star for some amount of coincidencery in the finale.
These are all borrowable, though I may eventually decide to send the two Doppelganger books off to paperbackswap, and if you want to borrow them before I get back, you'll have to get tirinian to figure out how to work the book catalog. :)

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desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: January 2nd, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
May I borrow the dragon books? (I don't need to beat tirniain to get them, I'm not in a rush. :) )

Also, I'm amused that the last review talks exclusively about the book's quality, while not mentioning the content at all.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 4th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sure, you can borrow. :)

(The content is about dragons in the Napoleonic war! But, okay, plot summary is basically "messing around in an Eastern city, and then messing around in the war again.")
(Deleted comment)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 4th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Though it seems like the standard sort of emotional-manipulation-in-fiction to try to get you to root for the main characters...?
(Deleted comment)
mijven From: mijven Date: January 2nd, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, the tying all together was a bit too convenient, but I still love how the romance plot was set up. What was your favorite line?

And clearly one of my resolutions this year has to be to join paperbackbookswap. :)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 4th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
(paraphrased)
"Surely you know by now that *nothing* I do is just for show."
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