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Iskaral Pust

March 2018 reads: share your latest books read

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Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu. Very enjoyable so far

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Just finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  Excellent YA book.  Grab a hankie and read this one.  Loved it.  On to Mur Lafferty's Six Wakes.  Still trying to read everything from last year (and failing nerds, and failing).

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17 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

I agree, but keep going.  The Stone Sky was incredible.  

Just finished Kameron Hurley's The Stars are Legion.  There is some HORRIBLE and DISGUSTING imagery in that book.  Mil-Sci and borderline horror.    Really liked it.

The Stone Sky is already on my TBR pile. I just have to read some stuff I borrowed from the library before my loan expires. Can't wait to see how the series is gonna end :)

Read The Stars are Legion last year and I liked it es well. Definetely want to read more of Kameron Hurley's work, 

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Posted (edited)

A couple sci-fi fantasy books I've read recently:

First up was Abbadon's Gate, book 3 of The Expanse by James Corey (aka Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham). I really want to like this series.  The concept is great, the world seems fascinating, I love Daniel Abraham's other works, and I thought the second book was an improvement on the first. But this one had all the flaws of the first two books with very few of the positives. 

Spoiler

An interesting plot involving alien civilizations, Miller-who-is-not-Miller and the protomolecule is squandered so that we can get a lot of shootouts involving a one dimensional incompetent (crazy?) space captain. All four POV characters are flat or unconvincing, and the backup crew of the Rocinante is still completely underdeveloped. And the prose went from serviceable to bad: one scene that stood out was Naomi learning about the death of her friend Sam, a scene with barely any emotion in it and which is skimmed over so we can get to the next shootout and dumb Holden heroics.

So, I think I'm giving up on the book series, which is a shame, because it had so much potential. But for what it's worth, I'm really enjoying Season 2 of the show, which has more effectively developed the characters and done more with the worldbuilding.

Next, a re-read of The Silmarillion by Tolkien. I read this one a lot as a teenager, but probably haven't looked at it in ten years. The beginning is still slow, as I remembered, but it really holds up as this beautiful, mythic, awe-inspiring work, with phenomenal worldbuilding and a great sense of historic tragedy. I think I appreciate this more now than I did when I was younger.

Finally, I just finished Senlin Ascends, the first book of Bancroft's Tower of Babel series. This one came highly recommended by the internet. It didn't quite live up to the praise for me, and there were a couple aspects of it I found disappointing, such as the character of Marya and her function in the plot,  along with the last one hundred pages, when it became a more traditional heroic fantasy. But overall I really enjoyed this novel, and there are some great concepts, characters, and beautifully written sections in here (and, being a first novel, some more clunky ones). I'm looking forward to the sequels, and am glad two of them are already written!

Next up I'm finally going to try Mark Lawrence.

Edited by Caligula_K3

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I have been meaning to join Inigma's annual thread for setting goals for reading books, and I see there isn't one for 2018. Have these threads replaced it?

I was going to ask if anyone else was interested, but maybe I'll just go ahead and start one anyway. Better late than never, right?

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7 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

I have been meaning to join Inigma's annual thread for setting goals for reading books, and I see there isn't one for 2018. Have these threads replaced it?

I was going to ask if anyone else was interested, but maybe I'll just go ahead and start one anyway. Better late than never, right?

I'll join!  Never tried a reading challenge.  Set it up and I'll review what I've got from this year and pick some goals.  :)

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Went on a quick Mieville bender:  I'd read the Scar and the first half of Iron Council a while ago, then I misplaced the book.  Last week I read Perdido Street Station and then figured I'd reread the Scar and finished Iron Council.  Love Bas-Lag, really enjoyable.  

 

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I started off the month with I Shall Wear Midnight finishing it on Sunday, really loved it and was glad Pratchett kept the point-of-view focus narrow compared to previous books.

On Saturday I finished the fifth book of Sam Campbell's Living Forest series, On Wings of Cheer, another pleasant nature book filled with animal tales and misadventures.

I'm currently rereading Games of State, the third book in the Op-Center series from the 90s and early 00s.

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Recently I've read Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, which was a little more downbeat than I was expecting and Django Wexler's The Infernal Battalion which was pretty good.

At the moment I'm reading The Mixer by Michael Cox of Zonal Marking on the evolution of tactics in the Premier League. I'm enjoying it but it's probably a bit of a niche subject. If you like his football articles you'll probably like the book.

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5 hours ago, ljkeane said:

 Django Wexler's The Infernal Battalion which was pretty good.

Do you know how many books that series is supposed to be? I'm really interested in reading it, but I want to wait until I know the end is in sight.

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1 hour ago, RedEyedGhost said:

Do you know how many books that series is supposed to be? I'm really interested in reading it, but I want to wait until I know the end is in sight.

This is the last one apparently. The ending does leave some room for him to go back to it in the future though.

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Just finished Mark Lawrence's Grey Sister. It's one of my favorite Lawrence books, second only to The Liar's Key.

You can read my review here.

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26 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

This is the last one apparently. The ending does leave some room for him to go back to it in the future though.

Sweet.  I've been dying to get back into a fantasy series, so I'll probably get to it soon.  Thanks. :thumbsup:

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I've been reading The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers, a historical novel about coin clippers. I think. Early days.

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

I was enjoying it until it got to that part where Odie was blathering on about Asgard needing to build a wall tof keep the bad guys out.

Methinks I'll be skipping that part.

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Finished The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin, the first in his Erast Fandorin detective series, which the blurb assured me is enormously popular in Russia.  This is described as the Russian counterpart to Sherlock Holmes because it is set in the Victorian era, but instead of the world-weary, bipolar, melancholic, all-knowing Holmes we have a young, naive, impressionable apprentice detective who only gradually and in steps deduces what’s going on.  The tone is light and almost jaunty, until a bizarrely abrupt change on the very last page.  It feels more like a novel about a Russian Tintin set in the Victorian era.  It’s possible this is just the origin tale and the character matures significantly in subsequent volumes.  It was a pleasant enough read but I doubt I’ll go any further in this series. 

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I finished Games of State on Friday, it was a good idea poorly executed.

I began the sixth installment of Sam Campbell's Living Forest series, Moose Country, on Friday and got halfway through by Saturday.  I'll finish the book next weekend.

And I began The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Basham, this a history of the Indian subcontinent until the coming of the Muslims in roughly the 15th century.

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Posted (edited)

Six years later, I finally read Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I've got nothing against grimdark or evil protagonists. I love me some Joe Abercrombie, after all. But this was... a very silly book. This was pretty apparent from the prose in chapter 1, which included this line:  “Old enough to slit you open like a fat purse,” I said, getting angry now. I don’t like to get angry. It makes me angry." But this got sillier and sillier as it went along.

Spoiler

Jorg is such an unconvincing character, a fourteen year old who leads a band of ruthless killers who took over the band when he was ten who learned martial arts by reading a Japanese book who sounds like a really edgy teenager who routinely solves problems on the fly by tackling people or running into people or jumping on horses or eating necromancer hearts unexpectedly. He's both insanely evil and insanely ridiculous, and is therefore not at all compelling. Now, of course there is the really predictable twist that he's been controlled by a wizard this whole time who's been making him better at everything and more evil, and this reveal could have led Jorg in interesting directions... But it doesn't really. By the end of the book he's still insanely evil (no regrets about using a nuclear bomb, cool) and insanely ridiculous and now is just blabbering on about how he wants to be emperor instead of king.

Still, some credit: it was fast paced and parts of it were fun enough that I could turn off my brain and enjoy them. But another problem for me was that I've pretty much read this book before. This isn't fair to Lawrence, because he published his first, but Half a King by Abercrombie is a very similar book. But it has characters who develop in interesting ways, its protagonist is more plausible and compelling, it has humour, and it delivers some unexpected plot-twists. So pretty much the entire time I was reading this book I was thinking about Half a King and how much I'd rather re-read that, or maybe The Prince of Nothing trilogy if I wanted an evil ubermensch, or maybe The Book of the New Sun if I wanted a first person narrative about becoming a king... 

I know Lawrence is pretty well regarded around here- is it worth reading another book of his? I can't imagine reading the rest of this trilogy, but I'm willing to give him another try- I don't want to judge an author by their first book. 

Edited by Caligula_K3

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Posted (edited)

I finished Peader's The Invasion, which I thought was a great follow-up to The Call and brought the story to a satisfying conclusion.

 

I liked the way the ending didn't feel the need to tie everything up, we get a brief summary of what happens in Ireland afterwards but a lot is left ambiguous, such as what exactly Nessa and Anto get up to in the Grey Land. Presumably Ireland hasn't necessarily seen the last of the Sidhe, the connections with the Grey Land may have been cut but not permanently, although I guess since it apparently took them millennia to reappear the first time it might be a very long time until they return again. That said, I probably wouldn't be hanging around in Ireland afterwards just in case.

Being Scottish, I was amused by the line at the end about the 'most beautiful thing they'd ever seen' turning out to be Scotland.

Next up I think I'll go back to N.K. Jemisin with The Stone Sky.

Edited by williamjm

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