RedEyedGhost

What you're reading - July 2017

115 posts in this topic

Finished The Surgeon's Mate, vol. 7 of Aubrey & Maturin by O'Brian.  I really enjoyed it, assisted by a long break since the last volume so that the repetition in character arcs didn't weigh so heavy.  The prose style was excellent and peppered with some great humor.  As the series progresses, O'Brian trusts his readers more and more, letting the arcane nautical descriptions flow without explanation, trusting that the readers know enough by now to follow all. 

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9 hours ago, Starkess said:

I finished The Great Hunt. It's a good book, but a bit slower than the first and starts too feel strangely paced. A little less of Rand's constant denials of the obvious would have been nice. Still, an enjoyable read and I forgot a surprising amount considering I've read this 2-3 times before. Towards the end we get our first actual glimpse of the Seanchan. The damane stuff is really awful. They are all as infuriating as I remember. Interestingly, I used to intensely dislike Nynaeve, but this time around she's kind of grown on me. I suppose as I get older I relate a little differently with the characters. I've got The Dragon Reborn all loaded up and ready to go.

I  remember I liked Nynaeve in the early books, then found her increasingly irritating through the middle of the series before starting to like her again towards the end.

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Larry Brown's Fay. The characterization was excellent. Brown really sets the time and place for his reader. The pacing was quite slow but the tension really mounted with the last 100 or so pages. However, he probably could've cut a number of the mundane chapters from the book.

Now onto Tom Franklin's Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.

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Posted (edited)

I’m reading The Unholy Consult, my manhood arched like a Scylvendi bow against my tattered linen skirt. Death has come swirling down twice already.

Edited by Happy Ent

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After a short break, I went back to Max Gladstone's Craft sequence.  I'd been pretty disappointed with the second book (Two Serpents Rise), but the third book (Full Fathom Five) is much better.  The world-building feels a lot more coherent and none of the characters are as irritating as Two Serpents Rise's Caleb.  I enjoyed it quite a lot..

Thanks to the first five books' naming convention, I know the next two books take place chronologically before this one, but the sixth book seems to break this pattern.  Has it been announced when The Ruin of Angels is set in the time-line?

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Was looking up a fact in Words of Radiance and ended up immersed in a comfort re-read of the entire thing. Sometimes, if you know what's gonna happen, it's better than sticking your toes into the waters of a new book.

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I finished Mysteries of the Middle Ages by Thomas Cahill on Monday, I forgot a lot about the book from my first read of years back but then again it was only an "okay" book overall given how he undercut some of his own arguments.

I've started Cahill's Heretics and Heroes which is the sixth book of the Hinges of History and the only one I hadn't read before.  This one is focused on the "gift givers" of the Renaissance and the Reformation that shaped Western society.

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7 hours ago, Garett Hornwood said:

I finished Mysteries of the Middle Ages by Thomas Cahill on Monday, I forgot a lot about the book from my first read of years back but then again it was only an "okay" book overall given how he undercut some of his own arguments.

I've started Cahill's Heretics and Heroes which is the sixth book of the Hinges of History and the only one I hadn't read before.  This one is focused on the "gift givers" of the Renaissance and the Reformation that shaped Western society.

It was your rec that drew me into this series. I'm in the middle of #3 right now and still enjoying his style and insights very much, but tiring of the pervasive religiosity. 

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I finished Six Wakes by Mur Laferty several days ago.  It was good, and I really liked how the mysteries were revealed without ever shocking me with implausibility.  However, it didn't blow me away by any means.

After that I read The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch, a novella in his Peter Grant books.  Same kind of deal, I enjoyed it but I didn't love it.  I did like the development of

Abigail, and the introduction of Chess.  I do think I would have preferred another type supernatural entity being introduced rather than just another River Genus Loci.

Now I'm reading Nyphron Rising by Michael J Sullivan.  I read the first two books last year... or the year before, and was in the mood for more epic fantasy so it seemed like a good time to pick this series up again. 

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Still on my very long new release kick; will continue with this through the remainder of the summer and then maybe back off and do some rereading in my limited spare time when I go back to school.

 

Read Jane Harper's debut thriller The Dry, about a tripple murder of a family in a drout-stricken Australian farming community. Very compelling -- I read it in about a day -- and managed to mostly avoid the feeling of initially satisfying but ultimately empty callories I sometimes get from this kind of dark crime fiction. The characters aren't ocean-deep or anything, but they're an interesting group of players in the who-dun-it sketched with economic skill and some measured but not over-sweetened compassion, their actions make sense, and I think the mystery, while it does have a twist, plays very fair -- there is one piece of vital information that gets held off till pretty late and I think it'd be tough to get the "right answer" to the book's central mystery without it if you're that kinda mystery reader, but there are one or two hints. I also appreciated that, while the A-mystery has a twist, and a twist that I liked, the B-mystery, which concerns trauma from the town's past, has, stepping around spoilers, a slightly more "if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck" sort of solution -- this one is just straight up hidden until very late in the game, but I found that that ended up being okay. The whole thing feels pretty solid, which is impressive given how easy it is to fluff this sort of mystery plot with many motivations colliding. One of my more enjoyable and less regretted occasional binge-ventures into crime fic.

 

Then I read Robin Bennis' debut military airship steampunk novel The Guns Above. This is fun stuff! Very rompy and comedic -- there are some legit, if dry and dark, jokes in here -- without sacrificing military grit or the horrors of war, which the book takes an unflinching approach to -- sometimes it feels like this is played straight, but sometimes it's part of the black humour. Fun airship action, a strong central duo with some entertaining but less memorable secondary characters around them, and some fun with military bureaucracy all in a narrative voice I found infectious. World quite lightly sketched. Would read more anytime -- no sequel is immediately required by the ending, but it's definitely a series and does feel like one.

 

On to Theodora Goss' Victorian literary monsters redo The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter.

 

Re the timeline placement of Gladstone's upcoming sixth Craft novel: Ruin of Angels advances the series timeline; it takes place after the events of Full Fathom Five and one of that book's leads is in it. I seem to remember that its working title was Six Feet Over, before Gladstone decided to leave the numeric naming structure behind because he wanted to signal that the world was starting to move on.

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It was a fun, quick read but nothing I'd ever go back to, analyze deeply, or could recommend as anything other than a quick thrill ride. It's all about a guy who gets caught up in jumping between possible lives based on decision point branching. It was a little fresher than some others in the same genre but none of the characters are super likable and I didn't feel emotionally invested in the story. It does have a surprisingly good twist towards the end but it left me a little unsatisfied. If you're going to develop a clever twist, you need to follow it up with a kick ass ending that wraps things up and this really didn't.  It's a "get from the library" not a "buy" book.

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Tom Franklin's Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was a great read. Moody, atmospheric. Great characterization. None of the reveals were surprising, but I loved the journey and felt the repercussions of the events. I couldn't help but feel for Larry Ott and Silas Jones. Sad story, but very good.

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I finished The Dragon Reborn. Good, but an over-abundance of thumb-twiddling in the first 90% of the book that leads to a very satisfying last 10% but makes one feel that the structure could have used a little work. Lots of Mat in this one (yay), but this is also the introduction of Faile (ugh) and Perrin goes from being interesting in the previous books to being rather lackluster here. Also: needs more Rand. Still strains the credulity that the Amyrlin Seat would send a trio of Accepted into such an obvious trap (and their excuse being--we know it's a trap so it's not a trap--but then they immediately fall into the trap, surprise surprise). Egwene is what, 18? Maybe 19 by now? It's interesting to read this portion of the series now knowing that 

Spoiler

Verin is Black Ajah

and trying to see how that fits into place. All in all, a good read.

I don't really like to break up series, so I'll think I'll be charging on to The Shadow Rising next.

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I am still working through The Culture on audio and Player of Games was very, very good.  Next is Use of Weapons which was actually the first Culture but i remember almost nothing so looking foward to seeing it with more background.

I also started The Court of Broken Knives.  Hoping it lives up to the debut hype machine.

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Posted (edited)

Just read "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" in the first week of July. Fascinating read and well researched by the author. Turned a lot of Western myths and my entire viewpoint surrounding Genghis Khan upside down. 

 

Additionally, it made me think GRRM used the Mongols as a basis point for many aspects in ASOIAF.

Edited by A Prince of Dorne

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A palate cleanser after all the Bakker books: Iain Banks's The Quarry

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7 hours ago, Damelon said:

A palate cleanser after all the Bakker books: Iain Banks's The Quarry



What kind of palate do you have that The Quarry is a cleanser?

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6 minutes ago, polishgenius said:



What kind of palate do you have that The Quarry is a cleanser?

Well, the change in language for starters. The change in arena, characters and topic, for seconds. And the humor for dessert...?

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Zoe's Story by John Scalzi.  The YA dialogue is atrocious at times but I'm trying to finish it regardless.

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