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Myshkin

April 2010 Reads

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I have finally picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It's fantastic so far.

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I grabbed Company of Liars by Karen Maitland while at the library the other day. Anyone read it yet? Want to know whether I should keep it where it is in my reading queue or move it up the list.

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I finished up Kraken by China Mieville - as expected, it was great (full review).

Next up is Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor.

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*deep breath*

Okay. I've started Tolstoy's War and Peace. This book is big. 1400 pages big. It's reputation is even bigger. I've heard good and bad stuff about it, but I've never actually read any of the Russian greats yet. That said, it's kicking ass so far.

War and Peace at least, in the very beginning, is interesting. Tolstoy's a far superior writer than most others I've read so it's good in that respect, but I must admit, I'm relieved it's not one of those malleable, surrealistic classics like 100 Years (which bored me to tears).

Pierre is a great character so far, but I think in the first 50 pages my favorite would have to be Prince André Bolkonsky, I guess I relate to him the most.

I was frustrated by the end of W&P because I was shipping characters and the ones I wanted didn't end up together. Which means that Tolstoy succeeded in making me care about people. I preferred AK though.

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I finished Peter V. Brett's The Warded Man today, and I really, really liked this book. It's pretty predictable and a lot of the characters are extremely clichéd, but it is such a fun ride that I didn't care about these flaws. The magic was interesting, the prose is of good quality, and other than the first POV transitions the pacing was excellent. The ending was a bit anticlimactic, but for the first book in a trilogy I guess it wasn't too bad. The only real complaint that I have is some of Leesha's character development in the beginning of part IV. I'm very excited about the next book.

9/10

I've started T.A. Pratt's Blood Engines.

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I was frustrated by the end of W&P because I was shipping characters and the ones I wanted didn't end up together. Which means that Tolstoy succeeded in making me care about people. I preferred AK though.

Hopefully I'll be similarly affected. As long as there's a distinction between disappointment in the book and emotional attachment.

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Finished Nyphron rising by Michael j Sullivan last night.

Can't wait for the other three books in the series.

I don't really know what to read next, so I probably will finish some books I started a while ago.

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Though I found it a touch tough in parts, War and Peace was definitely a worthwhile read.

Last night I finished Return of the Crimson Guard. Up until page 1000 or so, my opinion of it kept growing. And then:

Mallik Rel kills Laseen? What the fuck? She turns out to be ten steps ahead of everyone, is plotting to turn one group of traitors against the Guard, is doing all of these brilliant moves, and she dies to him? He seemed like a pushover the whole series, are we really expected to believe that Laseen's reason for not having him executed back in House of Chains (or perhaps Bonehunters, not totally sure which) was...well, nothing really? That her whole plan for the most obvious traitor in the series was to just get stabbed in the back? And why is some random city assassin's daughter better than half-god's who've been killing people for a hundred years and are the equivalent of a battalion or two? Ugh.

Kinda ruined the book for me.

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Last night I finished Return of the Crimson Guard. Up until page 1000 or so, my opinion of it kept growing. And then:

And why is some random city assassin's daughter better than half-god's who've been killing people for a hundred years and are the equivalent of a battalion or two? Ugh.

Kinda ruined the book for me.

It was a bit of an odd way to end Laseen's plot, I agree it felt a bit anticlimatic. To be fair, the thing about Vorcan's daughter being so good makes about as much sense as most Malazan things, it is certainly plausible that Vorcan herself would be the equal of any of the Crimson Guard assassins given that (if I remember correctly) she is centuries old herself and a High Mage, so it doesn't seem to unreasonable that her daughter would be powerful as well. She's also not human so could be more powerful than even the enhanced humans of the CG

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Huh. I think I need to reread Gardens of the Moon, at some point, then, seeing as I don't remember Vorcan being superhuman. Still, though, if she really is an assassin better than Laseen/Cowl/Possum, why is she not world (in)famous (the mother, not the daughter) and just the leader of the guild in a single city? Why wasn't Kalam's reaction to her one of total awe?

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Huh. I think I need to reread Gardens of the Moon, at some point, then, seeing as I don't remember Vorcan being superhuman. Still, though, if she really is an assassin better than Laseen/Cowl/Possum, why is she not world (in)famous (the mother, not the daughter) and just the leader of the guild in a single city? Why wasn't Kalam's reaction to her one of total awe?

The various member of the T'orrud Cabal in Darujhstan do seem to like to keep a low profile, they don't advertise the fact that they really rule the city. Vorcan may well be the most powerful of them (and it is implied that the rest are powerful mages) since she assassinates several of her fellow cabal members in GotM.

As for Kalam's reaction, there are so many superhumans wandering around the Malazan World he's probably a bit blasé about it by now - he doesn't seem too intimidated when talking to genuine Gods in a later book.

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Huh. I think I need to reread Gardens of the Moon, at some point, then, seeing as I don't remember Vorcan being superhuman. Still, though, if she really is an assassin better than Laseen/Cowl/Possum, why is she not world (in)famous (the mother, not the daughter) and just the leader of the guild in a single city? Why wasn't Kalam's reaction to her one of total awe?

I am not sure if it is mentioned in Gardens of the Moon at all, but it has been a long time since I read it. I believe this is explained in Toll the Hounds.

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Ah. I still haven't read TTH (up next when I get back to Malazan), and I guess I shouldn't let that ruin the whole book for me. Still infuriating, though...

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Between reading scads of journals and magazine stories, I've been continuing my re-read/review projects involving the original six Dune novels and the WoT series. Just finished Chapterhouse: Dune yesterday and I'll be writing a review of it in the morning. Currently a little over halfway into the sixth WoT book, Lord of Chaos (I haven't read any of the first 9 books in 10 years, so my commentaries are as much about how my perceptions of each book has changed) and it's a dull slog. Next book in the series (to be alternated with the WoT books) is Martin's SOIAF series. Read the first 4-5 PoV chapters so far. Will post commentaries about that and the other three books over the next 10-14 days or so, then it'll be Bakker's 4 epic fantasies to be alternated (after WoT finishes) with Erikson's series. Then I'll conclude with Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos and C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy before I consider adding any other books, standalone or series, to the re-read/review mix.

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Take the Malazan talk elsewhere please :).

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Started The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry yesterday morning and I've about sixty pages left before I finish it. Good enough to keep me reading every chance I get and it is a quick read at that. Now all I have to worry about is what to read after.

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Finally finished James Joyce's Ulysses. Probably the most difficult novel I've read (though Gravity's Rainbow comes close), it took me a lot of effort to finish. Since I read this for one of my college classes, I only progressed at the pace of one or two chapters a week. To me, this pace was ideal. With a novel as dense as Ulysses, reading it in a shorter time would only have served for me to grow bored with it (or possibly mad). As it was, the slow pace allowed me to really appreciate and enjoy the separate chapters. Note that this is not some elitist "I enjoyed Ulysses now I must look smart" thing. As a matter of fact, I didn't enjoy all of it. Due to the very different writing styles in each chapter, I liked some parts a lot more than others. It took a lot of time and effort, but in the end I'm glad I read the book.

Now reading Vonnegut's Player Piano. Only one chapter in, so no thoughts yet.

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I read Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle earlier this week. Like my girlfriends upthread, I found it absolutely emotionally compelling from the first page. It did seem to lose a little steam and direction towards the end, and some of the story interludes worked better than others, but still a fantastic read.

I also read Sputnik Sweetheart which is imo minor Murakami, with elements from his other books but not as well woven together.

I'm skimming through C J Cherryh's Regenesis at present.

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Finished The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry. I enjoyed the novel, it was fast paced, entertaining, and featured a good bit of weirdness, but I wasn't blown away. Oddly enough, I felt that the best prose in the book was in the brief excerpts of the main character's final reports. Had the entire novel been written in the same manner, I don't think I would have been able to put it down.

I started reading The Dream of Perpetual Movement by Dexter Palmer earlier this evening. I was not sure what to expect when I picked this up, in fact I skipped over it at the library when I saw it last week because of that, but there was something about the narrative voice that really caught hold right from the beginning. I am intrigued.

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Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere

Dan Simmons - Fall of Hyperion

Robin Hobb - Ship of Destiny

Ian C. Esslemont - Return of the Crimson Guard

Bulgakov - The Master and the Margarita

Peter F. Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction

Sam Sykes - Tome of the Undergates

By far my most accurate prediction yet (I bolded the ones I actually got to). In addition, I read Margaret Edson's Wit, Peter Haswell's Pog Climbs Mount Everest (uh...yeah, it's as, um, sophisticated as you're thinking), Moore's Watchmen, and Powers's Anubis Gates. More details on all of them here.

Right now I'm reading the New Weird anthology and I'm loving it. It feels like someone just gave me a treasure map, and I can tell I'm going to get a ton of great new reads out of this...albeit at a huge cost, as the few I've already looked up from the rec lists were all out of print and expensive as hell.

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