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Seven books - Qualified Perceptions
Seven books
I've been traveling, which means a lot of reading, and a lot of knitting. Project photos soon. I also heard about half of an audiobook about Lyndon Johnson, which I can't review because I'm not done with it yet, but harrock continues to lure me into history not being nearly as boring as it was in school.

Caliban's War (by James S. A. Corey)
This is the sequel to Leviathan Wakes, and I think I liked it just as much as the first. (Alas, it did not come with The King's Blood hidden at the end, but I had already bought that anyway). There is a brilliant bit midway through that reminded me of nothing so much as an adventuring party taking stock and saying "Okay, we spent the first year and a half of the campaign running from the things jumping us. Now we have a moment to sit down and wonder what we should actually be doing as a party. Do we have an agenda? A party leader?" (Of course, everyone who isn't the party leader pretty much says "Duh, the party leader is you".) Like in the first book, there's good clear different characterization, and nuanced character growth. Five stars.

Witch Watch (by Shamus Young)
This was the second book by a video game blogger about a non-evil reanimated zombie protagonist that I've read recently. Odd niche, that. It's a self-published book, so there are a couple of places where the lack of a copy editor showed, but it was generally pretty enjoyable (except for one one somewhat odd side quest). I figured out the Nefarious Evil Plan just before the clues started ramping up, which makes me feel clever, which I always appreciate in a book. Three stars.

Spider Light (by Sarah Rayne)
This author came to my attention in a post by ursulav - thrillers in which pretty much everyone is a murderer! Sure enough, pretty much everyone in this book has either killed someone (most often by locking them in this one deathtrap room in the old mill), or had a loved one killed, or both. (I guess in most "cozies", everyone has had a loved one killed...). Oh, and the rapes, a high fraction of them lesbian; in a normal book I might have gotten skeeved by misogyny, but oddly, it seemed more like just that it's a book which is 1) full of terrible people, which 2) I think fails the reverse Bechdel test, so 3) most of the terrible people are women. I did enjoy it, but I am a little hesitant to *recommend* it. :)

Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War (by Ian Tregillis)
These are the first two of a trilogy with Nazi people-with-powers and British Lovecraftian supernatural entities. The first book is very dark, playing around in territory of "defense against evil with blood sacrifice", and the second book gets even darker - probably too dark for me except that by the end there's a "just before the dawn" of hope in a nicely aesthetic (and well foreshadowed) way. That part reminded me a bit of the finale for Oath - crank up the bitterness to 11 so that you can get through it as an obstacle - and so I am particularly fond of it. The oracle is the creepiest oracle ever. Anyway, I really liked these, and want to see how the story turns out in Book Three. (Apparently the author encountered some Horrible Awryage with his editor and publisher, and the books are much delayed. I guess I'm glad to have picked them up with book two, rather than start with book one and hit the delay then, but I hope we get to book three soon!). Five stars, but they're all creepy stars like Aldebaran and Fomalhault. Let's call this series the Official Recommendation for this post, for those of you waiting on tenterhooks to be told to read something. :)

Poison Study (by Maria V Snyder)
Girl to be executed, gets reprieve as poison taster instead. I didn't like this one as much as the glowing reviews on Amazon - I thought it felt overly simplified for something that was being compared to Game of Thrones (though I guess everyone in fantasy now has to be compared to Martin, the way once everyone was the new Tolkien). The bad guys were mostly moustache-twirling and the good guys were brave and clever; there just wasn't enough depth. But there were nice details and plotlets here and there, so it wasn't bad, just not as good as I would have liked. Two and three quarters stars - I am deducting half a star for the teeth-grindingly irritating mis-spelling of (consistently) calling the wooden staff weapon a "bow".

The Kingdom of Gods (by N. K. Jemisin)
The third in the Inheritance Trilogy. The books are very disparate, but fit together as a series surprisingly well, like three different objects in a still life. The gods in this series continue to be... alien, yet understandable? Unpredictable, but never uncharacteristic? I don't quite know how to describe it, but I like the effect. I can believe in them, and they're terrifying and awesome, but not particularly benevolent, except when they are. Each of the books ends with a proper ending, but this one also ends the trilogy with an Ending, so it works out. Four and a half stars, but by now you're either already reading N K Jemisin or ignoring me. :)


4 comments or Leave a comment
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: August 13th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is Caliban's War a physical book (and if so borrowable?)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: August 13th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alas, none of these are physical books, which I forgot to mark. I could loan it to you in electronic form if that would do.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: August 13th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was my suspicion since you were traveling.

No thank you. I find that I do not enjoy reading longform e-fiction yet.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: August 26th, 2012 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Bitter Seeds. Right. Got it.

I just finished the 5 Wools. Those were awesome.
4 comments or Leave a comment