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Three More Books - Qualified Perceptions
Three More Books
The Assassins of Tamurin (S.D. Tower)
It was okay. I would probably have liked it better had I not kept comparing it to one of the subplots in Tigana, because really, I think Guy Gavriel Kay is often one of the best writers in the world, and S. D. Tower is simply quite competent. Too much black-and-white of the good guys and the bad guys, though the fact that the good guys and bad guys aren't the same at the beginning and the end, was interesting. Too much "Had I but known, then!" foreshadowing (okay, Kay does that too, both more lyrically and more smugly...) Learning to be a ninja seemed a little too easy. Anyway, I now find out this is the author's first book, so I'm more forgiving of the flaws. A fine first novel. Three stars.
All of an Instant (Richard Garfinkle)
I had had Celestial Matters recommended, but the MITSFS didn't have that, so I checked this out instead. Wow. A very well-done conceptual piece, with alien yet understandable protagonists. The introduction leads you into the premise, that being that there's a way to get into meta-time, from whence you can swim around and alter the "real" space-time continuum, and thus it's actually this meta-time which is real and the real world completely changeable. The way everything works holds together; I wouldn't ever have thought of it, but I can follow along and it's clear. I adore the random names of the tribes-of-the-timestream, like the Eternal Warriors of the Vatican Hegemony and Son of the Sun's Featherless Falcons. And there's a particular set that only have the sense of sight, so they talk in katya-speak, which I found very amusing. At its heart, there's the quest-of-unlikely-allies and bonding-through-peril, but in a setting like none I've ever read before. I am very impressed. Five stars of five.
Solitaire (Kelley Eskridge)
Another first novel, and really quite good. One way of looking at it, the book takes a hundred and fifty pages in the setup to the main plot; another way of looking at it, there's one story, and then the story that comes after, and then the story that comes after. I thought of it more as the latter, and found the first and third stories very compelling. Story the first is about, essentially, the heir to corporate power learning management skills. It sounds boring, but I really wanted to know what happened next in the corporate plot. Then it all goes Horribly Awry, and then things recover some. That means the arc is sort of uneven; it almost seems like it could be the setup for a longer series, but I don't think it is. Four and a half stars, and I'm putting Kelley Eskridge on my list of authors to watch for.

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