greek_amazon: (Default)
That I'd mirror everything here?
Hah ha!
I'll try to do it from now on.
greek_amazon: (Your Mom)
I WAS GOING TO MAKE A POST

but then I chatted instead. And now I'm tired.

GOOD NIGHT INTERNET
greek_amazon: (Book by candlight)


You know, whenever I'd watched movies where a politician dies and people start crying, I never really understood. I do now, because today Jack Layton died of cancer, and I am crying.
For those of you who don't know who Jack was, he was the leader of the NDP, Canada's official opposition.
He was a tremendous leader - he took the NDP, a party that was considered by many as not being a 'real party' and made it Canada's official opposition. He championed many causes, including the war on poverty, gay rights, women's rights and countless other social causes. He was intelligent, charismatic, friendly and compassionate.
He was a good man, and good politician.
He stood for so many things that I believe in, and he believed in his fellow human. He believed the future could be, would be better. He encouraged Canadians to work for that better future in his very last words to the Canadian people, released posthumously. I can only hope that we will rise to that call.
Goodbye, Jack.



greek_amazon: (Book by candlight)
I have stuff to do.
Instead, of course, I started a new tumblr devoted to my less-than-mild obsession with books.
http://bookish-bookfish.tumblr.com/

YEAAAAH.
greek_amazon: (POTO Illiterate)
Hey artists! Question time.

[Poll #1727197]

Could you also please explain your reasoning for whatever answer you've chosen? I am curious.
greek_amazon: (Library)
So, it's been a while since I've done one of these. It's not that I haven't been reading; of course I have. Keeps me sane. But it's been a while since I've felt comfortable putting in the time to write a review. I still kind of don't have the time, but there you go. I might end up doing a couple of these in quick succession, just because I want to. Then again, I might not.

Title(s): Dreams Made Flesh
Author: Anne Bishop
Publication Year(s): 2005
Was This Book Good?: Yes

How I came to read this: Well. I'd read the Black Jewels Trilogy a while ago (I think I wrote my last review on it, way back in July) and I enjoyed them. I'd always intended to read the rest of Bishop's books, but deliberately took a break from them for a while; I didn't want to run out of them too fast. Not to mention that, for whatever reason, I couldn't get this as a kobo-formatted book here in Canada. Finally I just sucked it up and bought a paper copy of it. It still grates my nerves when I own books from the same series in different formats; it's bad enough when one's hardcover and one's soft cover, it's even worse when one's in print and one's not.

Thoughts?: This book is a collection of short stories set in the world of the Black Jewels. These stories fill in some of the time gaps that exist in the trilogy and clarify a few other points. In this way, this is a really good book to step back into Bishop's world with, as it reminds you of the events that happened previously, without forcing them down your throat. It also, thus, prepares you to do more reading in this same universe.
I tend to be partial to these sort of extended universe stories; the short snippets that you won't always see if an author chooses to never revisit a world.

I was especially glad to see a few of the stories - more information on Marian was highly welcomed, as I felt that she was somewhat short-changed (and almost used as a plot-device and nothing more) in the original trilogy. Her story in this book allows us to get to know her, and, indeed, to become quite fond of her. Likewise, I was pleased to see a story about Saetan that did deal with him as a disturbingly powerful being; in the trilogy, he had been in control and when it was noted that he was feared, there was a tiny bit of a "Why...?" hanging over it.

Bishop's writing has also matured in the span between the trilogy and this book, and many of the things that I found very slightly annoying about her work have either vanished or become much less pronounced, and I am pleased by it; Lucivar's lazy, arrogant smile isn't cropping up every second page, and Janelle's midnight voice only makes a few brief appearances. It's not that I don't appreciate these 'titles', for as I mentioned last time, they do remind me of the Classical naming conventions, but I am very glad to see that they were not as over-used here.

I believe I made the right choice by waiting between reading the trilogy and reading this book, however, as the stories are a bit removed from, and a bit lighter than, the depth and darkness of the original trilogy. In this way, I feel that these stories would appeal to a wider audience than the original trilogy, and yet, I liked them less. A huge part of the appeal of the original trilogy, for me at least, was the indulgence in darkness that Bishop presented. There's less of that here; much less. The stories are, well, they're kind of... fluffy. This isn't bad, per se, but it does put the stories into a slightly different category for me.

I enjoyed the fluffy feel of most of these stories, particularly in the story with Marian. However, I found it more than somewhat jarring in the story with Saetan. That story was dark, was meant to be dark, but somehow, the darkness in it felt less fluid, less complete, less wholly indulgent than the darkness in the original trilogy felt, and I found myself wondering if Bishop simply hadn't been in the mood for it or had been too far removed from such writing when she penned this story. Again, it's not that it wasn't good; it was. It's not that the story wasn't dark; it was. But having read Bishop's original trilogy, I know that it could have been darker, could have been better - and I wonder why it wasn't.

But all in all, a good read. I enjoyed it, and appreciated it tremendously as a stepping stone back into the world of the Black Jewels. Which was especially useful since I obviously read more of those immediately after this one. Reviews forthcoming.
greek_amazon: (Malkar)
I really meant for this to be a review of only one book. But... then I read the whole trilogy, so I figured I might as well review that instead.

Title(s): Daughter of the Blood (Book I)
Heir to the Shadows (Book II)
Queen of the Darkness (Book III)
|The Black Jewels Trilogy|
Author: Anne Bishop
Publication Year(s): 1998, 1999, 2000
Were These Books Good?: Very

How I came to read these: I blame [livejournal.com profile] saehral and [livejournal.com profile] aymaera. It's interesting though, I'd been considering buying Ms. Bishop's work before either of them suggested this series - but only within the last year. I had thought the books were a lot more recent than they actually were; the publication years genuinely surprised me. I can't help but wonder how I never noticed or came across these books before, as they are delightful.

Thoughts?: Bishop's writing drew me into her work immediately, as did the characters that she wrote. I was so drawn in, in fact, that I had difficulty putting down the books to do necessary things like working. Or sleeping. (On a related note, this series has really made me appreciate the dangers of owning a kobo/ereader of any sort. See, normally I have to wait until I go out to a bookstore, so there's at least about an hour before I can grab the next one. But when I can finish a book at three am, boot up my computer, buy the next book in the series and have it in my hands in seconds? Oh god. I'm doomed.)

However, despite this immediate adoration for Bishop's style, it did take me a little while to warm to the actual story. I don't want to give the wrong impression here - I knew that I'd love the books, and that I was already really enjoying them. But I did have to work a little bit to accept some of the elements that appeared early in the first book, and indeed, remained a theme throughout the trilogy. Some of these elements included spoilers ) However, with a little acceptance that the world of the black jewels is not our world and a large helping of Bishop's amazing writing, these irksome things stopped irking me, and in fact, became well-established and well-used aspects of the plot.

The Black Jewels Trilogy is undeniably a dark story (or a series of dark stories) set in a dark world. It covers rape, child abuse, slavery, the crumbling and destruction of whole societies, war, genocide (of a sort) and insanity in its scope. There is almost certainly going to be something within these three books that will make you uncomfortable in some way - and that's sort of the point. Bishop tries to, and succeeds at, letting you know that this isn't the sort of dark world where only the pretty, attractive darkness exists (though it certainly does; Daemon Sadi, Lucivar and Saetan are proof of that). In the world of the Black Jewels, the darkness can be just as horrifying as it can be alluring.
In spite of the darkness of the world, however, the books retain a certain light-heartedness and a quirky sense of humour that balances out the darkness nicely, and that I appreciate greatly for it's strong subtlety - when a book makes you laugh aloud, it's always more appreciated if you have trouble explaining that same laughter to someone who hasn't read the rest of the book.

In fact, making the lightness and the darkness work together is not just the method that Bishop uses to write the books - it is a theme throughout them. The Witches, Warlords and other members of the Blood delve into the darkness to harness their power - the darkness is strong and it protects and defines them. Yet the darkest power of them all, Janelle, holds within her character more lightness than any other character in the books. It's fascinating.

These are brilliant books, absolutely worth the read... but with the caveat that they are not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I suspect that some of you would actually really hate these books. But a not-insignificant number of you would also love them - and perhaps love them more because Bishop isn't trying to please everybody.

I did find, as I said, that there were things that irked me, but Bishop often managed to write the story out of what I feared would become a story-destroying little hole. I was concerned, for example, that the second book would start by skipping over several years, not dealing in detail with the issues that arose at the very end of the first book - this was not the case, however. Bishop did deal with the issues she had created throughout her books, and she did so masterfully - for she never forgot them, even when they weren't at the fore. So in truth, I was not irked by what Bishop did or did not do, but by what she could have done. This series could have turned deeply stupid, or deeply insensitive, and every time I saw a chance for that to happen, I cringed. But the story would have only become foolish with a lesser author, and the fact that I was cringing without having to is a testament to Bishop's skill.
The one thing that might have bothered me was Bishop's habit of reusing certain phrases with regard to certain subjects. In the end, however, I came to appreciate it as a tip of the hat to classical storytelling*, except that instead of "Cloud-gathering Zeus" or "Fleet-footed Achilles", it's "Lucivar's lazy, arrogant smile" or "Janelle's midnight voice".

All in all, amazing books. I don't regret losing to sleep to them at all.

* - I don't know if it actually is. But it's how I'm choosing to think of it, and it makes me happy, dammit.
greek_amazon: (Books)
While this is not the first book I've read on my shiny new kobo, it's the first one I'll do a review of. (The others were classics; A Study in Scarlet and A Modest Proposal - okay, not really a book, as such - which I feel vaguely awkward about doing reviews of.)
I'll throw in a note here that the kobo reading experience is very, very nice, and I suggest it to anyone who's been considering it.

Title: The Stepsister Scheme
Author: Jim C. Hines
Publication Year: 2009
Was This Book Good?: Yes.

How I Came to Read it: I don't remember who on my friends' list first mentioned this book, but I do remember that it was mentioned as being lighter, somewhat silly fantasy, and somehow, the description stuck with me as something fun that I might like to read at some point. Sometime after that, Sarah Monette posted this entry which made me more curious to read the books in the series, since when authors do good things, I generally become more interested in their works. Then during this year's Keycon, I got a pretty bookmark promoting the book. Still, I never bought it, because the "sillier" books rarely go to the top of my priority list. When I got my kobo, it seemed like the perfect sort of book to buy for it - that is, one that I would enjoy, but wouldn't necessarily be distraught without a hard copy of. So I bought it.

Thoughts?: This book was a hell of a lot of fun. I loved it. If I was the sort of person to have guilty pleasures (as opposed to being the sort of person who sits there with a dopey grin on her face and declares "This. Is. AWESOME.") this would be a guilty pleasure, because for all its awesomeness, this book is, indeed, kinda silly. But don't worry, that's part of its charm.
As I was reading The Stepsister Scheme I frequently found myself wishing that this book had been around when I was about 13. Because even though I adored this book as I read it now, as a 25-year old, I don't think I could even express the glee that my 13-year old self would have experienced at finding a book like this. (On a related note, I'm pleased to see that Mr. Hines has a fanart section on his website because this is the sort of book that I think deserves an active fanbase.)
The official description of this book indicates that the book is a combination of the darker versions of fair tales, Disney princesses and Charlie's Angels and I honestly cannot think of a more accurate description. In The Stepsister Scheme, Hines follows three ass-kicking princesses; Cinderella (Danielle), Snow White (Snow) and Sleeping Beauty (Talia) during their efforts to rescue Cinderella's prince charming from her evil stepsisters. Hines' characterizations of the princesses are just wonderful (I totally have a crush on Talia) and the book is just unabashed 'girl power' without being so in your face about it that it damages the narrative.
The book has many strengths, but the one that most impresses me is that it is fun all the way through, and yet it manages to touch upon extremely unpleasant issues, such as child abuse and rape in a sensitive way. This is one of many demonstrations of what an impressive author Jim Hines is. His writing is pleasant, quick to read, and still descriptive.
This book is well worth the read - you may find yourself grinning stupidly as you read it, though. It is so very cute.

I must express my dismay that an ebook of book two in the series, The Mermaid's Madness does not yet appear to be available in Canada. I was really hoping to be able to start reading it today.
(Bah, that was a poorly done review. Sorry. It's a great book, though.)
greek_amazon: (Books)
One of the things about suddenly having free time after previously having very little, is that it sometimes takes me a little while to remember how free time actually works. Books are an excellent example of this. As soon as I have free time, I start reading about twenty of them at once. It usually takes a bit before I settle down and pick one to read through to the end.
And that one is usually not any of the twenty that I had initially started.
So it was with this book.

Title: Flesh and Spirit
Author: Carol Berg
Published: 2007
Was This Book Good?: Yes

How I Came to Read It: This book eluded me for a long time. You see, one of the bookstores that I frequent consistently has the second book of this series in stock. The second book looks very good. It also consistently does NOT have the first book (i.e.; Flesh and Spirit.) I spent... half a year? Looking for this book in every bookstore I visited (which is quite a few) with no luck. Yes, I know I could have ordered it online. I do like to support local booksellers, though, and I don't need to get into the habit of "want book? Okay, intarwebs." I would be so very broke if I did that. During the midterm season, I finally found it at a local Chapters, and bought it because looking for it had been so frustrating. I wasn't able to read it right then, of course, and so it sat, sadly, until I picked it up about a week ago.

Thoughts?: I enjoyed this book. A quick glance at this book would show that it features a story common to many a fantasy novel; that of the king (or in this case, magician) who has abandoned his duty but is required to return to it for reasons related to the plot of the novel. Of course, there's much more to the story the story than that - including a protagonist that's battling with addiction, otherworldly entities, politics that remind me a lot of the Hellenistic Greek world and secret societies akin to the 'Illuminati' so commonly found in stories that take place at any point from the 1800s to the present, yet are rarely present in fantasy novels such as this one. (Also different in that the secret society actually does something other than be secret.)
I truly enjoy Berg's descriptions - she has a gift for rich, luscious ones that make the world feel real in a very tactile sort of way. This was particularly evident towards the end of the book when one character was killed in an especially gruesome manner; it turned my stomach a bit. And understand that I am not of the sort that is easily physically disturbed. (If my lack of reaction to gory movies isn't proof, the fact that I study forensics, perform dissections with enjoyment and am the sort of person looks closer at, not away from, dead things ought to be.) Of course it helps that you can get attached to Berg's characters very easily, and so when they come to an ignoble death you feel as offended and sickened as any of their friends might. I do find, however, that the extensive descriptions mean I can't read the book too quickly, for since each sentence is so packed with information, it also cannot be ignored without missing out. This is especially noticeable in action or especially climatic scenes, which I do think are one of Berg's weaknesses - I often found it difficult to keep the train of what was happening at these times, the descriptions sometimes overpowering the thread of the events. I had to reread at least a few scenes in the book because of it, which was a bit of a disappointment. It was even more of a disappointment when compared with some of Berg's other action/climatic scenes which were not clouded by description and were some of the most powerful scenes in the book - knowing that the other scenes could have been (and were likely meant to be) just as strong made me as a reader kind of sad.
The world that Berg created in Flesh and Spirit is a very interesting one, with rules and traditions that kind of make me wish I could study the culture as an anthropologist. The role of the Purebloods in particular is fascinating, and I hope to learn more about it in the second book. I also like the attitudes towards sexuality in the book, and I really, REALLY like the way that Berg has Valen (the main character) think about sexuality - that is, at the fore of his mind in certain situations (dancing with a woman at a tavern, or being propositioned by some prostitutes in an alleyway, for example) but rarely worthy of consideration otherwise. Plus there's something about the way that Berg writes these brief romantic ('romantic'?) encounters that is just fun and allows the reader to really understand whatever attraction it is that Valen is feeling.
The plot is refreshing as well. Though it has a few tropes common to fantasy, the story that Berg tells is not really similar to anything else that I've read, and Berg's cast of characters is a delightful bunch. Another great thing about it is the fact that Valen is forced to consider and accept that he might have been wrong, very wrong, about things and people that, prior to this, have defined his whole life. Valen learns and changes a lot during the course of the book, and unlike many other books, this learning curve does not feel forced or unnatural.
In the way of problems, however, Berg has a habit of... I don't quite know how to word this. Valen is a smart character, and he considers a wide range of possibilities about everything around him. But sometimes, Berg will have him initially suspect something very strongly and then, if it is... accurate she seems to just purge the thought from his mind (I guess so that the reader isn't immediately led to the correct conclusion or isn't left thinking "golly, isn't it bad that Valen always knows everything!") but it ends up feeling very fake sometimes and can actually detract from the spell that the story otherwise casts. (Not to mention that it ends up having the opposite effect, in that if Valen promptly forgets something that he felt strongly about, the reader can assume with a fair bit of certainty that that thing he forgot? Is true.)
Despite this, however, the book is an extremely good read. Berg is an extremely talented author and I will absolutely be seeking out more of her work, starting with the second part of this series and including probably everything else I can find by her.

I'd also like to add that while I was initially skeptical of the first duology that I read, I am really starting to enjoy them. They are neither forcibly compressed to fit one book, nor unnaturally expanded to make a trilogy (which I think was often done because of dear old Tolkien's influence on fantasy novels). I like duologies. So far, the ones I've read have been pretty great.

Sorry for any typos, I'm falling asleep here.
greek_amazon: (Book by candlight)
I sort of stopped doing those reviews, didn't I? That's school for you, I guess. So, we've missed a couple of the books I've read, and there's a few that I might give reviews for, but at this point I think it's best just to do them as I go along.

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Published: 2009
Was This Book Good? Yes.

How I Came to Read it: Yesterday I went shopping with my brother. We had only intended to buy tea, but dad wanted us to get something specific which tossed us a bit out of our way. In turn, I took advantage of having a paycheck, and bought a lot of stuff. (Including the Robin of Sherwood soundtrack, which was randomly at the used CD store)
We stopped at McNally Robinson, where I decided that some comic books were in order. (I bought Runaways volumes 8&9, and something which will either be horrific or awesome but should be amusing either way called Demons of Sherwood.) While I was browsing, I decided to head on up the tree to the children and young adults' section, hoping to remember the name of the series that [livejournal.com profile] laser_rabbits had told me I should look at. (I've forgotten it, if you want to help me out here, Laura.) Needless to say, I didn't find those books, or any re-released Animorphs that my brother had suggested might be there.
On my first sweep through the section, my eye caught on Ash because of its pretty cover, but I passed it by, looking for the other books. On my second sweep through, I had not seen the books I was looking for, and my mind compelled me to stop at Ash, reminding me that it was somehow familiar.
You read a review of this book my brain told me. I picked it up and read the inside cover to see if it was the book I thought it was - and indeed, it was.
See, I don't read many reviews. I read them only if they show up here on my f-list, and truth be told, few of them stick with me.
But this one did, because first of all, it was a young adult book with a girl that was in love with another girl, second of all, it was fantasy, and third of all, despite being geared towards teens and also having a queer main character, it in no way involved persecution of the girl for being in love with another girl, or suicide attempts, or some best friend freaking out at her when she finds out that *gasp!* she's gay. Which, in case you've missed out on queer lit for teens, is basically every book that I've ever come across. And let me tell you, it gets old FAST, especially since it presupposes that every queer person will have to face their friends betraying them for something as trivial as what they like in their lover's pants. And sorry, I know that those stories have their place, and some people need them, but some of us have friends who are wonderful and worthwhile having, and don't need every story telling you that YOU WILL BE PERSECUTED BY THOSE YOU THOUGHT LOVED YOU for being gay. It's enough to make someone paranoid!
*Sigh*
Of course, that's a matter for another day.
My point, roundabout as it is, is that this book promised to be young adult queer lit of a different sort all together. And moreover, it sounded like just the sort of book I was looking for.
How convenient!

And It's About...? On of the things that I forgot from the review when I bought the book, was that Ash is a retelling of "Cinderella". The blurb on the inside cover doesn't mention it either, except in the title text which I glossed over. I'm glad I forgot/missed this, because I probably wouldn't have picked it up.
And though the Cinderella influence is VERY clear as you read the story, it's kind of not the point. It's an influence, not a direct retelling. All the elements are there: Cinderella, the Evil Stepmother and sister(s), the Fairy Godmother, the Prince, the Ball... but it's not the same story, and that's important, because by not following the conventions, the story is allowed to be what it wants instead of what it's "supposed" to be. (According to Malinda Lo's website, the original version of Ash DID follow the Cinderella template more precisely, and apparently, it was much more boring that way. ...I believe it.)

The world of Ash is a fairy tale world that has the benefit of being given a history. The old religion is dying out, and with it is dying the connection to fairy kind. But it is not yet dead, and Lo's portrayal of the fairy realm and fairy kind is hauntingly lovely. The mortal world is no less wonderous, with traditions that are both familiar and different to traditions of which we have heard.

Ash, the main character, is immediately likable and realistic. Though she spoilers )
I find myself wanting to talk about the subtleties of Ash's relationships with Kaisa and Sidhean, but to do so would offer more spoilers than I am comfortable putting in a review. Suffice to say, these relationships are fascinating and pull the reader in. Sidhean, in particular, is an excellent antagonist, for he is not a traditional antagonist. Ash's relationship with Kaisa is very true, and though somewhat understated, feels like the fabled True Love that belongs in so many fairy tales and yet often feels so jarringly false within them.

And best of all, the story, despite being at its core, about love, is not a romance story. It is a Fairy Tale, with all the magic and beauty and trials and wonderousness that belongs in one. Reading the last few chapters was difficult for no other reason than that I didn't want to leave the world that Lo had created so soon. I will almost certainly reread this book and thus revisit the world. I can only hope that you would visit it too.
greek_amazon: (Gar Rain)
Number Nine

Just Finished?
Awakened Mage by Karen Miller (Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? The ending of Innocent Mage demanded that I read the second book in the series immediately. Goddamned cliffhangers. But it's a duology, so at least it wrapped up.

Was it Good? Once again, yes. It's not going to be one of my favourite books, but it's certainly a good, fun read. As I said in the review of Innocent Mage Miller's writing improves as the book moves along - this remains true in Awakened Mage. I think this might be because these books were written as a single, very long book. [At least, that's how it seems. That this isn't really two books, it's one that's been divided.]

Why? It's good for all the reasons that I gave in the last review, and good again for the fact that the plot is advanced, and there is more of Morg and his highly amusing sections of the text.
It won't be one of my favourite books for a few reasons. First, I'm not especially fond of the fantasy trope where someone is "the chosen one." Fantasy is chock full of it, of course, and it can be done quite well, as it is here, but even when it's done well, I find it... distracting, somehow.
Secondly, it sometimes seemed as though this book was... lacking scenes that should have been there. It's not that I want to sound like a bloodthirsty sex-maniac, but Miller "fades to black" quickly enough that it's slightly jarring, both in terms of sexual situations and scenes of torture. Not in terms of scenes of extreme violence though, which is interesting.
Third, Miller uses made up words a lot more in this book than in the first one - to replace actual words that exist, I mean. "Futtering" instead of "fucking" for example. While I applaud this sort of playing with words on fantasy and sci-fi TV to get around censors, there's no need to do this in books for adults, and so to me it just seems annoying.
And fourth (and fifth) MAJOR spoilers. I am not kidding. )

What's it about? See the review for the last book - it's still about the same things, except that this time it is also about the resolutions to those issues.

Who's your favourite character? Gar remains my favourite character, and in fact, I learn to like him even more. Asher drops a bit in my esteem in this second book, though. (I find him to be a little more unreasonable.)

Favourite secondary character? By the second book it's Morg, for sure. Not cause he's a stellar person or anything, but because the snippets of the book written from his POV were just so amusing.

Would you recommend this book to others? Certainly. I'd also suggest that if you're reading the first book and decide that you like it, to pick up this book before you finish that one so you can just jump into it without a long break.

Anything Else? I still don't like Conroyd as a person, but he turned around and surprised me as a delightful character. I appreciated that. Also, I'd avoid reading the dedication in this book until you're finished. I found it to be a bit of a spoiler.

I love books that stuff in little snippets of the author's other works. Makes me happy. Gives me an idea about their other books. Not sure if I'm interested in the one advertised though - Empress: Book 1 of the Godspeaker Trilogy it seems kind of... um, over the top? Has anyone read this? Does anyone know if it's worth picking up?




Up Next?
Not sure. I think I want to read something that isn't very good. Remind myself of how spoiled I am when I read nothing but good books one after another after another. Maybe Dragon's Blood by Patricia Briggs, I remember not really liking it the first time I tried to get through it. (Mind, I did pick it up right after I read Mélusine, after which, I'm pretty sure that almost everything would seem terrible. What with it being one of my favourite books ever. So the book might actually be good.) Then again, I might not read it. I think it might be a sequel, so maybe not.

Why? I can't really say why I get the urge to read/watch/listen to things that aren't very good, just that I do. Maybe it's that to me good = intelligent and I need something to turn off my brain to and snark at. I don't know. Not good fantasy is my favourite because it has exciting things like dragons ans sword fights, so it's still fun. It's not like not good literature, which is typically trying to be cool and post-modern and though provoking but is generally just failing at it and being as dry as possible.

Hopes? I hope it sucks, but is hilarious!

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes. Yes, I would like to know if it sucks.
greek_amazon: (Gar Rain)
Number Eight

Just Finished?
Innocent Mage by Karen Miller (Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? I've been eyeing this book since it came out because, quite frankly, I really like the cover. For at least a year, I would pick up the book in the store, read the back cover, think about getting it, but ultimately find something else I wanted just a little bit more or decide to save my money. It's just that the blurb on the back doesn't make the book seem terribly compelling. It almost cancels out how compelling the image on the front of the book is. [Thank god I didn't notice the tagline on the front cover until I'd already started reading it. "They dreamed him - And he came"? Seriously? Yeah, that would have turned me right off.] I also hadn't heard anything about it, good or bad. But it kicked around in the fantasy section for so long, and so consistently that I thought there must be something to it, and so I kept considering it.
Then [livejournal.com profile] mirre put in a good word for it, and I thought "Well, why not?"
And then I asked for, and received, AWAKENED Mage, the second book in the series, for my birthday. Because I'm a moron.
Anyway. When I ordered my textbooks from Amazon, I just tossed in this book.
It sat on my shelf and looked pretty whilst I read Dead Until Dawn and when that was done, well. Here we are.

Was it Good? Yeah, it was. And it got stronger as it went along, so what began as something that was fairly amusing came to be something that I was quite emotionally invested in by the end, the strongest emotional reaction I had being to the scene that I made my new icon out of. *points up*

Why? There are a couple of reasons, but first and foremost, it's the characters. They're very much the sort that you can involve yourself with. There are characters that you can love (like Asher, Gar, Borne, Matt) characters you can hate or love to hate (like Willer, Fane, Zeth) and characters that annoy the piss out of you because you can't decide whether to love 'em or hate 'em (like Dathne, Darran), and you really do get drawn into their stories, their motives, sometimes despite yourself. I appreciate authors who can actually make me care about the characters.
The story also, in a fantastical way, of course, deals with issues of race and class, which is interesting, though-provoking, and the sort of thing that I tend to be glad that people are thinking about and being encouraged to think about. I'm not sure I always agree with how the author presents things, though without a reread I couldn't tell you why, but for the most part it's a very enjoyable read.

What's it about? It's about a fisherman and a prince and their unlikely friendship and the trials, small and large, that they undertake. It's about a prophecy that is en route to being fulfilled. It is about destiny. It is about friendship and sacrifice. It is about duty vs. love, and it is about big bad storybook villains vs. the forces of good.

Who's your favourite character? Gar. Mercurial as he might be (and I do love that trait in characters if not real people) he's the sort of person that is good in a way that I find terribly appealing.
My second favourite character is Asher, because he is highly entertaining. He's kind of a little shit, and I love that about him, since he's a damn smart little shit.

Favourite secondary character? It's hard to say. At different points in the book, it was Matt, Borne, or Morg, and all for very different reasons. Not sure I could pick one for certain.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. Absolutely. It's fun, it's interesting, the characters are great, and the world that they all live in is... kind of neat.

Anything Else? Karen Miller is a horrible person who goes all out with her cliffhangers. Damn her. I was going to sleep, but now I need to start Awakened Mage because the end of this book made me go "AUGH NO WHAT THE HELL" in a way that I haven't done since I was little and Dad read us Hardy Boys books one chapter at a time (In case you are unfamiliar, I swear that every chapter ends with a cliffhanger of epic proportions.)
I'll be honest, though - for all that I enjoyed this book quite a bit, I found some of the story surrounding the prophecy aspect of it to be... frustrating.
And I don't always enjoy reading accents, but I found Asher's to be charming.




Up Next?
Well, it's gonna have to be Awakened Mage, ain't it?

Why? Because Karen Miller is mean.

Hopes? That the cliffhanger bit is resolved somewhat swiftly so I can get to sleep at some point tonight.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Sure. I'm enjoying the duology, so I'd love to chat about it. Also, has anyone read any of Miller's other stuff?
greek_amazon: (Open your eyes)
Number Seven

Just Finished?
Dead Until Dawn by Charlaine Harris (Fantasy; Vampires)

Reason for Reading? I waffled with the idea of reading any of the books in the Sookie Stackhouse series for a while - I like the show True Blood and sometimes reading the books associated with a TV series can alter your opinions, either that the show isn't doing it right or that the original books were so wretched that it changes how you perceive the show, etc. I'd heard both good and bad things about the books, but [livejournal.com profile] greenhoodloxley tilted the scales by saying that she quite enjoyed both the show AND the books despite them branching off in very different directions.

Was it Good? Yes, it was. At times I had trouble keeping my interest up because this first book is very, very, very similar to the first season of True Blood, but that's not a knock; It's just that I've seen it fairly recently.

Why? It's vampire romance, right? It has almost all the clichés of the genre, but at the same time, it takes them and turns them on their head, just slightly, making it newer and fresher. Also, the idea of vampires "coming out of the coffin" is... cute, or something. (Can you tell this isn't going to be my most intelligent review?) The characters are well-written, and believable. A lot, an awful lot of books, especially ones featuring vampire romances I find, have these misunderstandings and such that pop up, and people separating and getting back together, and so on and so forth, but the misunderstandings are fairly idiotic. And so, though the angst is interesting and might keep you reading, you're aware of how dumb the whole thing is. These characters, well, the same sorts of things happen, but the reasons actually make sense. Wow. I could understand the characters, I could believe their actions, even if I personally could not often relate.

What's it about? Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress from smalltown USA meets her first vampire after they've come out of the coffin, right about the same time that a bunch of unfortunate murders start happening around town.

Who's your favourite character? Bill, I think. Which is interesting, because its different than the TV show (where my favourites range between Eric, Lafayette, Sam, Godric, and Mariann[sp?])

Favourite secondary character Sam, I think.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. I'd also recommend the show, which I think I like a liiiiiittle bit better, but I'm not sure whether I'd suggest you read before you watch, or watch before you read.

Anything Else? I'll admit I sometimes found the writing a little bit ...casual? I didn't always find the prose compelling, basically - but the story is good, the characters are good, and it's easy to read.
I also felt that this book, somehow more than the show, brought more to the front the feeling of small town living; which is a mark of good writing, not bad, but still makes me uncomfortable in what I am certain is an unintentional way. Ditto on the "I do not feel that Sookie is an unrealistic portrayal of a female character at all, but at the same time, she's not my sort of female character either" feeling.
It's somewhat interesting, because I consider the show based around these books to be 'more serious' television, yet I would say the books are more, um, fluffy in comparison to other books. Like, True Blood might be one of my favourite television shows for a long while, but the books will never rank among my favourite books. They're light reading, is all.




Up Next?
Not sure. I'm still part way through Her Kind by Jane Cahill, but there are a few other novels (rather than short story collections) sitting on my shelf and tempting me right now, including Dragon Mage by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe, The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips, The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker, Innocent Mage by Karen Miller and The Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth.

Why? Because they're in my room and [with one exception] have not been read by me.

Hopes? That I will enjoy whatever I choose to read.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes. If anyone has suggestions on which of these books to read next, or wants to know what I think of one or whatever, let me know. Any help in the decision-making process would be good.
greek_amazon: (Alec - It's three)
Number Five & Six

Just Finished?
Grim Tuesday - Book Two of the Keys to the Kingdom series and Drowned Wednesday - Book Three of the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. (Fantasy; Young Adult)

Reason for Reading? Well, I'd enjoyed Mister Monday, the first book, so, uh, why not?

Was it Good? Yes, they both were, though I enjoyed Wednesday a little bit more.

Why? All the reasons that I gave in my review of Monday, as well as the fact that Nix is developing his world further - moreso I would say with Wednesday. In some ways, Tuesday was very similar to Monday which made it feel a little bit repetitive. (It didn't help that I'd already read Tuesday and just forgotten for some reason.) By Wednesday it seems as if Nix has accepted that the story needs to take a major twist, that the world has been clearly established, and that each book has to be very different from each other.

What's it about? Arthur continues in his mission, if you will, to gain the Keys to the House. Which sounds awfully terrible when I word it like that.

Who's your favourite character? Arthur remains my favourite character.

Favourite secondary character The Mariner (Or Grim Tuesday's Left Eyebrow) in book 2, and the Raised Rats (as a group) in book 3.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes, and if you're iffy about the series, I'd suggest you don't decide to stop reading at book 2, wait to read book 3.

Anything Else? this review is short, not cause they're not good, but because I finished the books a while ago and just didn't feel like writing this one. So it's short and lame, but... hey.




Up Next?
Her Kind by Jane Cahill

Why? I mentioned it in my discussion of the Perseus comic, and I thought "Why not"?

Hopes? High, but reasonable. I mean, I'm reading it more as an academic than as a fiction reader.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Has anyone else on my F-list read this? I picked it up caused it was a 'suggested' course text.
greek_amazon: (happy fat!)
Number Four

Just Finished?
Mister Monday - Book One of the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. (Fantasy; Young Adult)

Reason for Reading? After not really enjoying Jim Butcher's work, I wanted to read something that was both light and that I knew I'd enjoy. I knew this book fit the criteria. Also, I read this book almost five years ago now, in my first year of university. I have not, however, read the following books in the series, despite the fact that books two and three have been sitting neglected on my bookshelf for almost the same length of time. I decided it was time to get back to them, and I thought that it might be a good plan to refresh my memory of the first book before I moved on to the later ones.

Was it Good? Yes, of course it was. If it wasn't, I wouldn't care about rereading it or reading any of the later books in the series.

Why? These books appeal to me in the same way that the Harry Potter books do - that is, fantasy for young adults that doesn't assume that all children are idiots, all adults are idiots, OR that all children are just eagerly waiting around to encounter their first true love. (All these are things that cropped up frequently enough in the young adult books that I encountered when I was young adult that I pretty much wrote off that whole section of bookstores until I was an adult and I was willing to give another shot. In fact, prior to the Harry Potter books, the only young adult books I can remember reading and enjoying were the Animorphs books.) Whoa, there's a tangent for ya.
Getting back on track, I like these books because they are intelligent fantasy for young people. Nix has clearly done historical and mythological research for this work, but is in no way trapped by it. There are references to several different mythologies; some obvious, some considerably more subtle. This (of course) appeals to the nerd in me.
The characters are interesting and (the human characters at least) are people you can relate to. The best part of this book in my opinion, however, is the world that Nix sets up. It is both sensible and nonsensical in a way that is rarely found in adult fantasy books. I find it to be crisp and imaginative, and for all that Nix writers darker young adult works than most young adult authors, still pleasantly innocent.
I would go into greater detail about the world, but I think that to do so when give more spoilers than I am comfortable giving, even with a spoiler warning.

In short, this book is NEAT. I find myself wondering about what sorts of natural laws would apply to the universe within the book, if any.

What's it about? It's about a boy named Arthur, who, like the vast majority of main characters in young adult fantasy, finds himself drawn into a greater destiny than he had thought he would have. In this case, he is named heir in another (sorta) world by a Will, and he must venture to this world to claim his, er, inheritance. It's had to describe without spoilers, but suffice to say he confronts plagues, bureaucracy, frogs in the throat, and creatures of Nothing. It is quite fantastical, in the truest sense of the word.

Who's your favourite character? Probably Arthur, the main character, actually. It's rare that I like the main character best, but there it is.

Favourite secondary character This is interesting. You see, the first time I read this book, it was easily, EASILY, Monday's Noon. But on the rereading, I find myself more fond of Monday's Dusk, the Will and Suzy. I also quite like the Old One, but there wasn't enough of him to say he's one of my favourites. I'm not quite sure why this has changed, but I *still* love the fact that Noon has (literally) a silver tongue.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. Yes, absolutely. I would also recommend this book to a really wide range of people. Young and old, long time fantasy fans and people who've never read fantasy before in their lives.
I would especially recommend this book to people who have been feeling a little melancholy without any new Harry Potter books to read.

Anything Else? As you may have gathered from my frequent comparisons to the Harry Potter series, I think this series is woefully unknown in comparison, and deserves the same sort of exuberant attention that JKR's books got. I know that I would eagerly attend a release party for these books. (I have to admit, the only thing that ever made me sort of wish that I could stomach the Twilight books was seeing the line-up for the release of Breaking Dawn. I'll be honest - I really miss those midnight lineups. And the movie lineups just aren't the same.)
I think the imagery in this book is Phenomenal. I can see everything in this book so clearly in a way that most books don't grant. It makes me want to draw boat loads of fanart for it, which frankly, is rare. I thought that this desire might have diminished on the second reading, but it has not. I may, in fact, have to draw fanart for this, just to quiet my brain some. I haven't yet only because I'm unsure I can do it justice.





Up Next?
Grim Tuesday - Book Two of the Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix.

Why? It's next, isn't it? Honestly, as soon as I put down Mister Monday, I grabbed this off the shelf. I got through a few chapters before I remembered that I should
1. Be writing this review
2. Do some work on a bunch of things before I glue my nose into another book.

Hopes? High. Looking for fun and adventure. So far, it's delivering.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes, at least partially because I want to know if other people are as enamoured by this series as I am.

Storm Front

Jun. 9th, 2009 12:13 pm
greek_amazon: (Ow my head)
Number three!

Just Finished?
Storm Front [Book One of the Dresden Files] by Jim Butcher. (Urban Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? Cause I was sure it was gonna be light reading/fluff, and I got it for free.

Was it Good? Eeeehhhhhnnnnnnn......... *Makes a 'so-so' motion with her hand*

Why? It's got a lot of the problems I associate with urban fantasy (like clichéd characters, over-use of one-liners and the feeling that the author is writing in a modern setting in order to avoid doing research rather than because they have a story to tell that can ONLY be told in a modern setting) combined with the fact that the author needs to constantly remind you that his main character is a MAN even if he does less fighting and more Latin than the typical MAN, as though a name like "Harry" would have us thinking anything else. If I thought it was just the character reminding us, I'd be more forgiving, but I get the impression that this is a result of what the author feels he has to point out. [Frankly, after reading this book, I feel like I've learned more about the AUTHOR and his preferences/insecurities than I did about any of the CHARACTERS. This happens now and again, most frequently with fanfiction, and it always makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable while I'm reading.]
Also, the character isn't just a MAN, he's an ANTIHERO - all caps because it feels like the author is driving the point home with a railroad spike to the skull. Likewise, the women in his books are WOMEN (italicized to indicate feminine grace!) even the tough female cop, who is, indeed, a TOUGH FEMALE COP. Personally, I find it frustrating when people write "male" and "female" characters as opposed to just "people." But that's me.
I also felt as though this book was thoroughly under-researched, and I found myself dwelling on incredibly minor things that are so minor as to be useless, but BECAUSE they were such minor things that would take no time to learn about, bothered me even more. (For example, there are companies that clean up after messy crime scenes, and anyone working with the cops would bloody well know that.)

So I basically found this book annoying. But I found it the sort of annoying that I could complain about in an animated fashion, and that, in its own way, is worth the frustration of actually reading the book.
And, as I suspected, the book is light and fluffy, the sort that you can read in the background - you needn't focus all (or even most) of your attention on it.

What's it about? It is about a wizard private investigator who is in the yellow pages and sometimes consults for the police. He is called in on a murder case, one that seems to have magical origins. Inevitably, he becomes involved in the case as more than just an investigator, and HIS LIFE IS ON THE LINE. Oh, and don't forget, he's in the yellow pages. Under "wizard".

Who's your favourite character? Uh, the mob boss, Johnny Marcone. He's the only one that I was even remotely interested in learning about.

Favourite secondary character Johnny Marcone *is* a secondary character.

Would you recommend this book to others? Not really? Maybe if you're looking for fluff, or you're just really bored.

Anything Else? This book is written in first person, and is the sort of book that explains why first person writing tends to have such a bad rap. In the last four pages I felt like I was watching an after school special narrated by a teenager who's learned a valuable lesson about drugs. (Which hey, Harry kind of did!)
I may read more of the books later, because I'm curious to see if they get any better. Likewise, I'm kind of curious about the TV show based on the books - I wonder if it's any better as well. I hope it is.

This certainly isn't the worst book I've ever read (That dubious honour belongs to Projection which was so bad that I made a bunch of my friends read it.) But it's certainly not one of the best books I've read, either.





Up Next?
Not sure. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens maybe, though something by Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, or the Witches of Eilean (sp?) series is probably more likely.

Why? Well, originally Oliver Twist was next on my list, but after book one of the Dresden Files, I feel like I need to read some good urban fantasy (Like Gaiman's Neverwhere) or at least a work/author I know I'll enjoy more than Butcher's work. (I leave you to make your own puns at that.) I can't always count on that with 'classic' stories. There are some I could read a million times over (The Odyssey, The Phantom of the Opera, White Fang to name a few) but there are an equal number that put me to sleep or piss me off.

Hopes? Gotta be better than what I just read.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Nope, since I've listed several books. But if anyone has a preference as to what I should read either because they liked/didn't like it, or because they want to know whether the books is worth picking up (in my illustrious opinion, of course) I'd be happy to hear suggestions. :D
greek_amazon: (Alec - It's three)
Installment two of my book review meme-things!

Just Finished?
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. (Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? As I said before, it's all Sarah Monette's fault. There's a bit more to it than what I suggested last time, though. Yes, Alec as a 'relation' to Felix Harrowgate was a draw, as was the fact that this was a story that did not rely on hetero-normativity. Also, however, was the fact that this was a book of some importance to at least one of my favourite authors (Monette) and that it was read and enjoyed by several other authors that I like. In the course of reading it and exploring how it was related to Kushner's other books, I came to realize that I'd been hearing about the series (which isn't really a series, I gather?) to some degree for at least ten years from a number of different fantasy fans: I just didn't realize it until I was part way through. So it's well-read and well-liked - I'm not sure if it can be considered a fantasy classic, but I would say that it's well on its way to being there.
Oh hell, I'm getting side-tracked, aren't I?
I was talking about why I was reading this. Okay then, here's another thing: I love fantasy as a genre, and for all that I read Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was quite young (elementary school, I think) and watched truly obscene amounts of 80s fantasy films (Yeaaaaaah that explains a few things, doesn't it?) I didn't really get in to READING fantasy in a big way until about about... 2000? A few things here and there before that, but not a terrible lot, however much I may have postured to the contrary.
And of course, when I finally did get into the genre, I typically read stories that were fairly recent. (Some of the works of Mercedes Lackey are the only exceptions I can think of off the top of my head.)

So basically, from the 1950s to the start of this millennium is a great big blank in terms of what I know about the fantasy genre. And if there's one thing I've learned at university (especially in this past year at Trent) it's how important and moreover how interesting it is to track the development of, well, stories. The Lord of the Rings, for example, is better if you've read viking sagas. I've become really quite cognizant of how much I'm missing by not reading good books from years past. I've got a lot of the really (REALLY) old stuff under my belt, but the stuff from my parents' day? Or my grandparents'? Or theirs?
Published in 1987, Swordspoint is only two years younger than I am, so there's no way that I was reading this when it was new.

Was it Good? Yes, though I'll admit that I found it to be a little slow to get into.

Why? Why. It's hard to describe, this one. Why do I like it? Plot, characters, pleasant writing style are all there, certainly. But I'm not absolutely enamoured with the characters, and the plot isn't so wildly different from other works of fantasy that I've read or seen that it is singularly captivating. Likewise, the world that it takes place in is rich and real, but I can't feel it in the way that I can some of my other favourite imaginary places.
And yet, this is a good book. A REALLY good book. As I said, if it's not a fantasy classic yet, it's probably going to become one. Certainly it will hold that role in my heart and mind.
And that, I know, is related to why I like it. It's distinctive. A lot (a LOT) of fantasy novels are crap that blend into each other. This one isn't. This one is... special. And yet I can't quite put my finger on why, except that it is.

What's it about? It is about a swordfighter, in a society which practices dueling. It's ultimately about the lifestyle, and how the lifestyle can and does lead to trouble. In some ways, it is very similar to courtly romances, but it's not too similar, or else I wouldn't like it. But it's an almost-courtly romance in a world where courtly could romances exist, and where they are almost certainly read by the characters of the story.
That sounds stupid.
I'm sure someone out there has said it better than me - I think I'm far too literal.

Who's your favourite character? I really cannot decide between Richard and Alec.

Favourite secondary character The Duchess.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. I recommend it to readers of fantasy in the same way that I recommend The Odyssey to anyone who reads books - enthusiastically.

Anything Else? There are three short stories set in the world of Swordspoint at the end of my copy of the book. My favourite of these is easily The Death of the Duke though I found The Swordsman whose Name was not Death to be especially charming. I also thought it sounded like a set-up for a story I would love to read (And since I believe that it IS a set-up for The Privilege of the Sword), I foresee more of Kushner's books in my library.
On that note, I can't decide which book in this series I should be reading next - Privilege which was written later but takes place sooner, or The Fall of Kings which was written earlier, but takes place later! Any advice?
Also, it took me a little while to get used to the writing style at first - ultimately, though, that same style served to enhance the world of the book, so I didn't mind. However, if you pick this up and you are having trouble getting into it, give yourself time to get into it.

Since the lack of hetero-normativity was part of the reason that I picked this book up, I should probably say something on it, huh? I liked how 'bisexual as the norm' was portrayed - it was so well integrated into the book, and so similar to my own concept of sexuality that I almost forgot to mention it.

Also, I made an icon out of my favorite line in the whole book! *Points up* It's Alec saying that, of course. Feel free to use it, if you'd like.





Up Next?
Storm Front (Book one of the Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
OR
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, I haven't decided yet.

Why? Oliver Twist partly for that literary roots thing I was talking about, and partly because I feel bad loving the musical but never having read the book. Storm Front because dad's friend gave us his used copies of the series, and they're ones that I've considered buying on and off for a while now. Also, I think it'd be a quick read?

Hopes? For Storm Front - I suspect that I'll like it, enjoy reading it, but that it's ultimately fluff that I will just walk away from when I'm done.
For Oliver Twist - Lower, sadly, than I would like. Apparently the scenes with Fagin are terribly anti-Semitic, which will probably make me sad and confused. (Especially since Fagin is my favourite character in the musical version.)

Want to know who's read this book before you? Sure! Especially regarding Storm Front, as I know nothing about it, except what's written on the back cover.

Books

May. 23rd, 2009 09:24 am
greek_amazon: (Hedgehogs know a thing)
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? Spoilers, partly for 'Red Seas' but more for 'Lies', as it does build from the end of that book. )
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. Spoilers for 'Red Seas.' )
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.
greek_amazon: (Taurus Smile)
Hey guys. As soon as I'm out of here, I'm going to really start on Intus and Faerie Tale in a big way. I have pages of each, and more plotted and scripted.
So to kind of kick this off, ask me questions about them. Anything you've been curious about, or even a basic "Sooooo.... what are these stories about?" kind of thing. OR anything related to Maureen's creative process or... whatever.

Comments are screened here, I'll make a new post to answer the questions. :D Hopefully this will be entertaining for all of us.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, character/info pages are here (Only Badri, Kain, Taurus and Maetis have pages up here) and here, though that last one is... old and crappy. It also means that things have changed since I wrote some of those descriptions. Also: Intus Art and Faerie Tale Art

Please ask a question! Even if you think it's embarrassing, or if you think you know 'too much' compared to other people about my characters: When I do the answer post, your name won't be put by the question.
greek_amazon: (Default)
As ever, free for use. But please don't hotlink. Credit me, if you're so inclined. All from the Episode The Sheriff of Nottingham again. I guess I should take caps from another episode, or something... Cut to avoid polluting the F-list )
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