Books

May. 23rd, 2009 09:24 am
greek_amazon: (Hedgehogs know a thing)
[personal profile] greek_amazon
So I've decided to start posting about the books I read. Mostly because, um, I want to. I'm just going to start where I am at the moment, which means, unfortunately, that I won't be talking about some of the fabulous books that I've read recently, like Corambis or Midnight Never Come. Anyway. I don't want to structure these like reviews, cause then I'll never keep doing them. Instead, meme-format is how I'll do them.

Just Finished?
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. (Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? It's the second book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence, following The Lies of Locke Lamora which was one of the most incredible books that I've read recently. Not reading the this book would have been a crime after enjoying Lies so much.

Was it Good? Fuck yes.

Why? These books are clever. They're not just pretending to be clever, either, which is a bad habit in books that (I suspect) occurs when the author isn't nearly as bright as the people he/she is writing for, these ones actually ARE clever. Red Seas has likable, well-written characters, who live in a beautifully developed world. It's got layers upon layers of things happening, and, much like real life, have scenes that are gut-wrenching, as well as scenes that are so hilarious one cannot help but laugh aloud. Plus the characters are my type of characters.

What's it about? It's about thieves - Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen again, as well as others that join the cast for this book. Thieves, pirates and politicians, really. It starts off with one of Jean and Locke's fabulous schemes, the pair of them trying to move on after the disasters in Lies. Eventually, there are pirates.
If you ever watch the bonus features on the Road to El Dorado DVD, one of the people describes that story as being like picking the characters Rozencrantz and Gildenstern and giving them their own story, rather than making them side characters. Something about them being more interesting than most main characters. Lies and Red Seas are like that, but instead of Rozencrantz and Gildenstern, it's Fagin, Dodger, and their little gang of mischief.

Who's your favourite character? Locke, who I also like to think of as the "main" character, even though Jean is just as "main".

Favourite secondary character Requin! Holy crap that guy is attractive.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. I think that quite a few people would enjoy Lies and Red Seas. That said, these books are not for people who do not fantasy - though, if you only like it sometimes, this would probably be on of the times that you do.
Maybe more importantly, these books are not for people who don't like to read. If you rarely read books longer than 200 pages and/or your idea of a complicated plot involves Hugh-Grant-movie-style love triangles, don't bother. These books are fairly hefty, and the plot can be twisty-turny: I suspect you'd lose the basic thread of it if you weren't paying full attention to the book. (Fortunately, Lynch makes it difficult NOT to pay full attention to the book.)

Anything Else? I find myself cackling at a lot of the interactions between Locke and Jean. Also, I adore the concept of the Crooked Warden. This book sees Jean gain a love interest, a love interest that, Gods above, I'd go for (good job Mr. Lynch! Love interests are often so... dull or annoying.) During this, we see Locke feeling, well, a little put off, even if he's also happy for Jean. I'm sure this is meant to be generally negative, but I found myself relating to Locke in those scenes more than I've directly related to a character in as long as I can remember. That maaaaaay make me a bad person.
Red Seas is one of several books that I've read recently - Corambis and Midnight Never Come to name a few, not mention a slew of books on the history of London - that have made me think of cities and places as characters in their own right. Not every book does this, of course, and I think I would be disturbed and put off were that the case. But when it's done well, as it is in Red Seas, I love the 'City as character' concept. Winnipeg (my city) I don't believe is the type of city that acts as a character, which may be why the concept is something fairly new to me. I've certainly been to cities that do fall into that category, however: Athens, Naplion, Ottawa, Victoria (and I'm led to believe that London and Los Angeles fit the bill as well. Thinking about the character of cities themselves is very interesting.




Up Next?
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. (Fantasy)

Why? Because I've been reading Sarah Monette's Livejournal. She often praises this book, and cites the character Alec as being being an early 'ancestor' of her character Felix Harrowgate. Further, she notes that this book was the first one she read that showed her that hetero-normativity need not occur in every made-up world.
I've been curious about it for some time, and so I ordered it off Amazon (for less than $3! @_@). Additionally, it's fairly short (only 319 pages), and, while it is part of a series, I don't *own* the next book(s) in the series, unlike some of the books of planning to read in the near future. That can make it a nice little "break" book.

Hopes? High, but not as high as they were going into Red Seas.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes please! And what you thought, if you want.

Date: 2009-05-24 01:05 am (UTC)
avictoriangirl: (talimenios)
From: [personal profile] avictoriangirl
I've had "Swordspoint" on my wish list for awhile now. Looking forward to reading your review. :)

Date: 2009-05-24 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greek-amazon.livejournal.com
I'm hoping it's good; have you ever read anything by Ellen Kushner before?

Date: 2009-05-24 02:00 pm (UTC)
avictoriangirl: (victorian lady in white)
From: [personal profile] avictoriangirl
No, I have not. That's probably why it's still sitting on my wish list. Well, that and the fact that I have have about 30 or 40 books that I still need to read before I buy anything else! XD

Date: 2009-05-24 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greek-amazon.livejournal.com
Oh man, I know the feeling. Of course, what did I do yesterday? Certainly not buy three more books.

Of course not.

Date: 2009-05-24 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catatonic-cats.livejournal.com
I adore Ellen Kushner, Swordspoint is pretty much the precursor for alot of victorianesque(?) fantasy you see nowadays, also non-hetero protagonists. It's not a full novel but novellas and tidbits of life slices but you really end up wanting more, hence the 'series' which is not a series, but i can't recommend Kushner enough. Sadly I have tried Monette's Melusine but I couldn't get through it, is it really worth reading? :O

Date: 2009-05-24 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greek-amazon.livejournal.com
In my opinion, Mélusine is so worth reading that it isn't even funny. But I know it's not for everyone. A lot of the things that I love about it will probably turn other people off - the psychological darkness of it, the fact that it's more about the characters and what they choose to do than any sort of quest/mission (not that it doesn't HAVE those, but...) and the classical nerdery tossed about for a classical scholar to appreciate.

I actually wrote a "review" of it, once upon a time. I sound like a wanker in it, and might write a better one one day, but if you want a little more of my thoughts on the book: http://greekamazon.wordpress.com/2007/05/27/returning-and-with-a-review-at-that/ I've reread it a few times since I wrote that, and I keep finding more things to like about it.

But it's not for everyone as I say, and that's fine. (I myself dislike the Wheel of time series.)

Date: 2009-06-02 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catatonic-cats.livejournal.com
Haha, i really ought to try cracking Melusine again. I never got around the whole bit of Felix(?) whimpering in corners going 'my eggplant sandwich burns purple'. a little bit of that is fine, but whole chapters dedicated to it, made me skip almost all of his chapters and then when I got to the other parts, i had no idea what was happening XD

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