Monday, March 31, 2008

Winter Reading 2008

I just remembered that I keep forgetting to post a recently-read entry, so here goes. I don't think I've been reading as many books, though I have been writing more poetry and catching up on piles of magazines, so I guess the time I spend on those pursuits is finite.

Since October I've read:

Water Logic
by Laurie J. Marks
fantasy, third in the Elemental Logic series
This book was a little work, but oh, so worth it. It picks up where the previous story left off, with many of the main characters finding themselves in new positions, with new challenges, some seemingly unrelated to things they were good at before. This is also a book about "after." After a war, after one side loses and the other wins, after injury. And then an unexpected loss and a mystical connection tie practically everything together. If you haven't read Laurie Marks, please do, but don't start with this one. This was so much more satisfying having read the first two books.

Smoke and Ashes
by Tanya Huff
fantasy, in the Smoke series
In the first couple of books in this series I wanted to like Tony, the main character, and I was mostly giving him a chance because I like Tanya Huff's other novels so much. In this 3rd one I'm finally starting to really like him on his own merits. It was a relief, though, to have a character in this one to tell him he was being stupid in a way that seemed to finally sink in. It was about time.

Light Music
by Kathleen Ann Goonan
science fiction, one of a series
This series started with Mississippi Blues, then Queen City Jazz, and then Crescent City Rhapsody. There was a long time between my reading each one, partly to digest the ideas and partly because I was never sure I really liked the characters. Goonan has such a long, large arc to her story in these novels that the characters are new in each one - it is only the premise and situation that continues over time. Each book tells the stories of multiple characters, each getting separate chapters and occasionally overlapping or meeting some of the others. It is quite orchestral in some ways, each voice is there for a reason, but you may not see how it all fits together until it is all over. But Goonan knew. I give her that. I was satisfied with the last one, and I'm thinking it is the last one in the series, although I suppose she could surprise me. But if so I won't be ready to read it for another couple of years.

The Down Home Zombie Blues
by Linnea Sinclair
romance in a science fiction wrapper
The story is outrageously far-fetched, but the characters were likable enough, though dense in a way typical of romantic fluff. You know: the man is divorced and dives into his work as a homicide detective; the woman is all career military (and a good alien from outer space) and is all about the work. Chemistry ensues while they hunt down bad aliens called zombies without tipping off the unsuspecting inhabitants of a small Florida town. OK for fluff, but it goes directly on the give-away stack at work.

Magic Bites
by Ilona Andrews
I think this is the author's first novel and it definitely kept me interested. This is an alternate-near-future book, set in Atlanta, Georgia. What makes this an alternate future is that waves of magic make technology stop working, but when the waves fade, magic-driven things stop working. The main character is a woman with a secret past, but she is all about the "now" and "next". I appreciate that she is smart. I'll look for more by this author in the future.

Iron Kissed
by Patricia Briggs
fantasy, a Mercy Thompson Novel
The continuing travails of Mercy Thompson, mechanic and part-time coyote, as she gets caught in the middle of a big magical mess. The metal-working fae who used to be her mechanical mentor asks her to use her coyote nose to snoop around some murder sites. But it always ends up more complicated than anyone could imagine. She is also forced to come to a decision about the two guys who love her (finally!)

The Cipher
by Diana Pharaoh Francis
The description sounded good. I liked the author's previous books well enough. And then I started reading this and was sure I was going to hate it. I couldn't stand the main character! Eventually she won me over enough that I cared what happened to her. And by the end I was definitely cheering for her. But I think this book needed some heavier-handed editing. There were several places where I just wanted the story to MOVE FORWARD ALREADY. I'm guessing the end set us up for a sequel but I don't know if I'll try another in this series or if I'll give it a pass. Now if I only remember that I wrote this down, next time I'm browsing for books!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J.K. Rowling
Yes, I know. This is not the last book. It is book 6 and there is one more to go. Number 7 is sitting on a stool in the bedroom. You see, Chelle and I have read the other Harry Potter books aloud to each other and we see no reason to change tactics now. But we haven't been very efficient at it, so please don't spoil the ending for us, OK?

That's the bottom of the stack. Now to start reading the next one.


Janet said...

What did you think of The Half-Blood Prince? Being mostly about Snape, of course, it was my favorite :-)

Maria said...

God, skip ahead and read the Harry books PLEASE.

I read one chapter a night to my daughter and it was the best time we ever had together.

sister AE said...

Hi, Janet.
It took us forever to get through the book, but that was due to our schedules, not the book itself. I think we read the first chapter 3 times! before we finally got going.

I have really enjoyed all the Harry Potter books, and I put that down partly to Rowling's characters. All the main characters (and many of the others) seem fully-formed to me and that makes me appreciate them. And this book seemed to help Harry grow, having to assimilate and interpret the various viewpoint from the pensieve travels.

Hi, Maria. As soon as we can manage, but I doubt we'll start it until after our Passover Seder later this month.