Friday, July 13, 2018

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Last book of a trilogy.  I reviewed Ancillary Sword here, but I don't think I posted a review of Ancillary Justice, at least not here.

I both like and didn't much enjoy this series.  That is, I admire it a lot, how it throws ideas like gender and language and what is human around so lightly without letting them drop.  The sort of vagueness of it, the sensation that I know but don't know what's going on, that is kind of appealing.  I like Leckie's command of language and her ideas.

I can't say I really dislike a lot so much as don't have much feeling at all.  The books all end ambiguously, on purpose, with that idea that endings are just arbitrary and there's a day after the ending for someone.  That's fine, that's a good point.  The story isn't really over, it's just that the teller is done telling.  But it does let a little of the steam pressure out.  I understand why an author wants to disrupt the usual contract between writer and reader -- it's a very literary fiction thing to do -- but it's still a disruption and uncomfortable.

Then again, it's supposed to be.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Making Choices

As I tend always to do, I make wishlists of books that look interesting.  I keep a little notebook listing them with me, another on my e-reader, and even more in my Librarything. 

So, I'm looking at a long list of new and new-to-me books, trying to decide what would be best to add to my giant mountain of books To Be Read.  Here's what I'm currently considering -- recommendations are welcome.  Tell me why I should read these books.

Theft of Swords - Michael J. Sullivan
The Beautiful Ones - Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Power - Naomi Alderman
The Tiger's Daughter - K. Arsenault Rivera
Blackwing - Ed McDonald
The Bloodprint - Ausma Zehanat Khan
Summerland - Hannu Rajaniemi
The Queens of Innis Lear - Tessa Gratton
Torn - Rowenna Miller
Good Guys - Steven Brust
The Warrior Within - Angus McIntyre
Melokai - Rosalyn Kelly
The Dragon's Legacy - Deborah A. Wolf
Godblind - Anna Stephens
Time Was - Ian McDonald
The City of Lost Fortunes - Bryan Camp
Witchmark - C.L. Polk
The Grey Bastards - Jonathan French
The Last Sun - K.D. Edwards
Afterwar - Lilith Saintcrow
The Poppy War - R.F. Kuang
Medusa Uploaded - Emily Devenport
The Tea Master and the Detective -- Aliette de Bodard
The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu
Lion's Blood - Steven Barnes
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach - Kelly Robson
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss

See why I am having problems making choices?  Ah well, I need to get back to reading the books already on my current list!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Book Review: Johannes Cabal, The Detective

Johannes Cabal, The Detective by Jonathan L. Howard

I read the first book in this series with great delight and not a little sadness when my favorite character died in it.  But I hold out hope (feh, I know he comes back in subsequent books, for which I am glad).  Horst is a necessary leven to Johannes Cabal, and I felt his absence in this second book of the series.

It took me an abysmally long time to read this relatively short book, and part of that was, despite the dark humor and interesting observations that were sprinkled in, the central concept of the novel was a sort of Christie mystery -- passengers on a ship when one is mysteriously discovered to have committed suicide -- or maybe not.  The ship board mystery portion of the book was a bit draggy and lost my interest.

But Howard is a capable author, so when I resolved to finish this book before embarking on the next, I had hope things would get more interesting.  And, they did!  A little chemistry, a little necromancy, a lot of skulking around, and another glimpse into the distant event that set Cabal upon his path to conquer death.  So, it was worth reading, even if it seems to be a divergence from the overall arc set up in the first book.

I also read a short story by an author who interests me

Waiting on a Bright Moon by J.Y. Yang

SF/F stories by people of color, people with roots in non-Western cultures, and queer people are still a bit of a rarity (I think that's just beginning to change, and yay!) which makes finding good ones a real treat.  All of that comes together in this story, set in an unfamiliar universe based on assumptions and tropes that weren't terribly familiar to me.  Revolution, the risks of being "different", the throwing off of social expectations, and the dangers of love, are all mixed into some 33 pages.    I have this author's other books on my wish list.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Book Review: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire


Something else NOT on my summer reading list (of course).  This novella is in the same world as Sparrow Hill Road, but stands alone, and takes us farther.

It isn't the story so much that  is special, although it is interesting, or the characters, who are well drawn but familiar types.  It is the world and the little things making it up that hook into my head and draw me in.  This is a one sitting read.  It compels you to complete it.

Jenna is, yes, a ghost, and she has a sad event and a goal that keep her in this world, but she'd looking to earn her way into the next.  It's not her story that kept me reading, but her experience of the world and how it was conveyed until I was hip deep in the water and getting ready to duck under.

I'm now eagerly awaiting the (pre-ordered) next book in the Ghost Roads series.