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Maester Llama

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  1. The North American publication date is today, the 27th; the UK edition releases on the 29th.
  2. Maester Llama

    Book of the Ancestor trilogy by Mark Lawrence {spoiler thread}

    I am astonished, bewildered, terrified, disheartened. Might read Red Sister now though.
  3. I'm unfamiliar with a lot of the names on that BBC spitball list -- Dhawan, Ayoade -- and it would be cool to get someone relatively "unknown" in the role. Of those I am familiar with, plus a couple other options: Ben Whishaw: Solid option, would be great. I tend to go mostly off of vocal delivery, and Whishaw strikes me as slightly Smith-like. A wonderful actor, but a very safe choice for Who. James Norton: Oh god the fandom would love him. They would melt the fuck down. Another wonderful option, but again very safe. Also kinda busy it seems. David Harewood: This is a cool idea. There are a number of white guy actors in the "likely" column whose work I like a lot and I am sure the one of them who is eventually cast will do a great job, but I admit I am very partial to the idea of using this moment to get someone who is not a white guy in the role. Harewood is a commanding but also likable presence. Regular on Supergirl right now, which could pose some small difficulty. Emma Watson: Great idea. Probably too high profile to actually happen. The Beeb does not have this kind of money. See also Eva Green, whose haunted steely Vanessa Ives moves would bring a new energy to Who, but who seems too big deal to me, though perhaps not quite so far as Watson. Hayley Atwell: Great goddamn idea, and they should hire her tomorrow. She can do the fun swashbuckling action material while also keeping the show thoroughly relatable. She would be my choice. Sarah Lancashire: An older first woman doctor could also be great and Lancashire is straight up amazing in Happy Valley. A left field interesting choice. For absolute maximum fun pair Lancashire with Atwell's doctor as a companion, perhaps. Benedict Wong: I saw Chiwitel Ejiofor namechecked as a good doctor option somewhere -- he would indeed be stellar, but is like Watson too high profile I think -- and he called to mind Wong, who was in Doctor Strange with him. Great at deadpan funny. There are of course an absolute ton of good options available to them and many of them would bring wonderful things to the role. Atwell is my choice, I think, but I'm pretty confident whoever they ultimately cast will bring something cool. I note that ... I forget dude's name, Rob Stark, the King in the North, who was widely rumoured at one stage as I recall, seems to have faded.
  4. Maester Llama

    Young Adult Books: Discuss!

    The ya thing I read last year that I'm the highest on and that hasn't been mentioned yet here is Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree. Nineteenth century feminist parlour espionage / mystery about the unappreciated brilliant daughter of a British fossil hunter who gets in over his head with some shit. Speculative elements. Sneaks up on you, but once it gets going wow god damn. A highlight of the year in perceptive ya that I think cuts deep and I'll be reading more of Hardinge's stuff -- she is very well thought-of in children's lit review circles, I understand. I got a lot out of Maggie Stiefvater's first two Raven Cycle books. Drenched in atmosphere and character and magic that feels genuinely weird. I'm surprised how well these have done given how firmly they often flip the bird at conventionally-paced plots and how obtuse they're willing to be -- and I do admit that I occasionally wouldn't mind being shown the money a little more, but I love how completely they blaze their own way and wouldn't want them to stop doing it. My favourite thing of hers I've read so far might still be The Scorpio Races, which I remember as an all-timer. All praise to Leigh Bardugo and Six of Crows / Crooked Kingdom. Some of the purest fun I had reading last year, but also with some real crunch to them. Need to read the second book in Kate Elliott's Court of Fives series; I found the first one excellent. Ditto the sequel to Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes; I thought the first one took a maybe slightly less thoughtful and more actiony, but still often compelling, approach to a cultural conflict very broadly similar to the one in Elliott's Court of Fives and that it had one breakout character -- not either of the characters in the main couple, who are very ... couple-y.
  5. Maester Llama

    The Paul Kearney Thread: Monarchies of God,Sea Beggars,The Macht etc.

    Brief thread revivification to say that I'm just over a third of the way through The Wolf in the Attic, entirely understand what people were excited about, and am pretty baffled as to why this hasn't become [or at least doesn't seem to have become] a bigger deal. Very rich in atmosphere; very mysterious and numinous; beautifully written so far.
  6. Maester Llama

    The Books That Have Just Come Out: New Release Thread

    Public service announcement: Max Gladstone's latest Craft Sequence novel Four Roads Cross comes out today. Gargoyles, necromancy, sorcerers as lawyers, the economy of faith and the exchange value of the soul. One of my very favourite current secondary world fantasy series. This is the good shit and a new one should be a big deal. The books are standalone, though they do form a larger arc, and a glance at the sample chapters for Four Roads suggest that it might be pretty helpful to have read Three Parts Dead first.
  7. Maester Llama

    Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance v. 3.0

    I forget whether I mentioned this book in this thread and I don't think I did; apologies if this is repetition: I finished Mishell Baker's Borderline a little while ago and I thought it was pretty good. It's about an organization set up to police the borders between Earth and the world of the fae, with most of the people who work for this organization -- including the protagonist, who has borderline personality disorder -- being in some way mentally non-normative in a way that makes them well-suited for this work even as the rest of society trusts them less. It's set in Hollywood and deeply steeped in the culture of the film industry. The protagonist is well-crafted, with a distinctive voice, snappy and spikey and sometimes self-destructive in ways that can be frustrating but always feel real, and ultimately kind of likeable in her way, I think. It's a really interesting spin on uf, often such a physical genre, to follow a character whose both neurologically and physically [she uses a wheelchair] challenged in ways this genre's leads usually aren't. The plot moves briskly once it gets its feet under it, the world gets a lot of cool mileage out of its one central conceit, and the secondary cast comes into its own later on even though at first it feels a little sparse. There's only the first book right now, but it does sound like it's going to be a series; the sequel's scheduled for next March. I'd also recommend giving Daniel Jose Older's Bone Street Rumba books a try. Ghost / undead based uf set in Brooklyn. First book's decent, with a somewhat loose and shaggy plot and pace. Second book really sings, building on the series' strengths and minimizing its weaknesses. The voice and humour is really great, and the series is developing one of the strongest ensemble cast benches I've seen recently in this kind of stuff. Neither of these are that heavy on the romance elements -- though Older's Bone Street Rumba does certainly contain a romance and it's important. Oh, Legend Has It is gonna be the last Pax book? That's too bad. Still, yeah, better that this is known going in, to avoid a Generation V type situation -- I'm still majorly grumpy about that.
  8. Maester Llama

    Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance v. 3.0

    The only reason I think the triangle plot sometimes makes Sig look bad, which to be clear I think it does only rarely, is, I suspect, down to the narrative's construction of the asshole rather than the characterization of Sig herself, in that we're never really shown any reason, however fleeting, for Sig -- or indeed any sane human -- to like this man, or more to the point to have liked him in the past. He is so bad. He is the worst. And he is the worst with astonishing consistency. And yes, we're given to understand that he is reaching new lows here, but ... I mean, ... wow. Like dude can't even be borderline civil. I wonder if just one or two good things about him might have made the whole thing feel more real. I entirely agree that we're told things about Sig's past and her own issues, which seem to me to be portrayed well and with nuanced respect, that make it clear why she stays around him, but I found it tough to gut-feel those things, because we don't really glimpse much of them in action; we're just told about them. Sig's great: flawed but self-aware, and treated wonderfully by the narrative. It's the asshole's characterization that stumbles, for me. It's a minor narrative-positioning / balancing complaint; I agree that for the most part the story's blissfully free of triangle bullshit. And ... and this is so appealing, ... for the most part they talk their issues through like adults. That is just so cool. But yes, it is moot by the end of the book! So wonderfully, beautifully moot... Onwards and upwards! I flipped to the excerpt for book 2 in the back and had to fight impulses to buy it immediately. I think these books are winners -- and, haunted by the cancelations of uf series past, hope plenty more people think so too.
  9. Maester Llama

    Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance v. 3.0

    I have finished the first Pax Arcana novel. I mostly really dig it! The plot's zippy, the world-building combines mysticism and practicality in a way that I like a lot even if it does sometimes feel a bit haphazard to me in this first one, and the prose just reads itself; it's very appealing. Most of all, though, and of course this is key for these urban fantasy things, I really like most of the characters -- the leads, for sure, but also a couple of their monster-hunting sidekick buddies. The humour's pretty all over the place, but I'd say more hits for me than doesn't by a pretty wide margin. There's more men competing over a woman than I'd like and I found some of those sections pretty uncomfortable, in part just because of the male posturing, but particularly since the hero's rival / the heroine's current boyfriend is so clearly and unambiguously the absolute worst that it occasionally makes the heroine look bad. I feel like the book makes the tastiest lemonade possible under the circumstances out of these plot lemons and ends up in a good place, and it certainly does an excellent job of portraying the heroine as a powerful person with her own agency the vast majority of the time without making it feel like a "see? she does stuff too!" figleaf -- she really is the catalysing force of the story in many ways. But there are moments of awkward. I will read more of these! Thanks for the solid recommendation, oh board!
  10. Maester Llama

    Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance v. 3.0

    Okay, I'm trusting y'all: My local library has never bought any of the Pax Arcana books, so I went ahead and ordered the first one. I hope it works out for me. Thanks to all those who recommended the series! I'm half-way through Mishell Baker's Borderline, the first book in a new uf series about an amputee woman with borderline personality disorder who gets involved with monitoring the fay community in Hollywood. It's compelling me quite a bit so far: it's got sometimes frustratingly but also enjoyably and truthfully spikey characters, an interestingly-evoked world that builds slowly based on just a couple fantastical conceits, and thus far no reliance on anything creepy that is not clearly intended to be so. Also recently finished Midnight Taxi Tango, the second book in Daniel Jose Older's Bone Street Rumba about a Brooklyn full of ghosts 'n shit, a major step up for the series and an absolute delight. Plot's mostly a fun delivery mechanism and the bad guys are just dicks who give the protagonists something to point at, mostly, but the characters and the dialogue and the tone are all just wonderful, and the world gets more fully fleshed out in this one. Older's writing is, and I'd say this is an important point of recommendation for this series, also damn funny. I'm notching this series up to definite recommend territory now based on the strength of this second one. Oooh right Paul Cornell's third one happened; thanks for reminding me and I'm glad to hear it's good!
  11. Maester Llama

    The Paul Kearney Thread: Monarchies of God,Sea Beggars,The Macht etc.

    As someone who hasn't read Kearney previously and so hasn't been following along closely this may be a dumb question, but: I recall that Solaris delayed The Wolf in the Attic significantly, and that the reason given was that they felt that they had a big thing on their hands with this novel, and that they wanted to prepare a big marketing push and try to do as well as possible by it. So, ... um, ... what's the deal with that? Because, apart from Wert's excellent review [and the arc that made it possible, which I understand is no longer usual], I've encountered very little online material meant to remind people that the book's coming out and that it's good, excerpts and interviews and the like. It seems to be in danger of slipping back under the radar, as has often happened to Kearney's stuff. So where's that there marketing push? Where's the momentum? Am I simply looking in the wrong places? Or has Solaris not quite done what they implied they would do here?
  12. Maester Llama

    The Books That Have Just Come Out: New Release Thread

    I was kind of wondering whether The Immortal Throne would be published in North America at all, as I'm not sure The City did that well here, so this actually counts as sorta-kinda good news for me, since we now know that it is at least happening, even if not as soon as might be hoped. I've got Snakewood on hold at the library, so I'll definitely be trying it and saying stuff about it around here, but probably not until after a consensus has been reached, as the library is wonderful, but slow. I agree that based on reactions thus far it's looking like the year's first wipeout, but maybe it'll work really well for some people? The year seems to be amply supplied with debut epic fantasy, particularly in the summer, including a resurgence of dragon stuff, so we'll see if Snakewood retains its dud crown. Elizabeth Bonesteel's The Cold Between is picking up some solid reviews as an enjoyable debut space opera that shows great promise. I've read the beginning and am definitely interested. It's gonna give the people who see romance and go eeew coodies shattering heart attacks, but for the rest of us it has great potential in terms of mapping out an interestingly tense post-scarcity-but-still-tension-ridden interstellar society, I think.
  13. Maester Llama

    Guy Gavriel Kay

    Yep. I'm not positive I have a favourite, but if I do then Sarantine is definitely in the running. Tigana has some strong points, and may be more well known, but there's some stuff in it that I don't think has aged very well at all, and some other stuff that irrespective of whether it has aged well or not is just a bit shit. Whereas I recall most of Sarantine being ace. Very, very strong books.
  14. Maester Llama

    The Books That Have Just Come Out: New Release Thread

    Whether you take author blurbs at all seriously as a form of endorsement / hype or not, the shere number of quotes Novik's Uprooted has gotten, and the names tied to those blurbs, is amazing and kind of hilarious. On its amazon page the book has blurbs from: Gregory Maguire, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maggie Stiefvater, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Kelly Link, Rachel Hartman, Ellen Kushner, Lev Grossman, Jacqueline Carey, Cassandra Clare, Tamora Pierce, Kevin Hearn, Christopher Golden, and Todd McCaffrey. Le Guin, Hobb, Rothfuss, Stiefvater, Hartman, Grossman, and Link all think this book is good. And grounded fairy tales are brain candy for me. And I find Novik's writing deeply absorbing. Yeah, ... yeah, sure, ... I'll ... I'll read this. Yep.
  15. Maester Llama

    The Books That Have Just Come Out: New Release Thread

    There are two books that have come out in the last two weeks that look quite interesting to me and seem to be flying somewhat under the radar. Both are by authors whose stuff I've read before and enjoyed pretty well. Both are standalone: Corsair, by James L. Cambias: Near-future sf thriller about space pirates. I only see online marketing in the course of browsing around so I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing but based on my limited exposure Tor doesn't seem to be pushing this much at all, which is weird since Cambias' quite good A Darkling Sea seemed to have at least a bit of an impact last year. Came out last week and I haven't yet seen any pro reviews. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Science-James-L-Cambias/dp/0765379104/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431533037&sr=1-1&keywords=corsair Dreams of Shreds and Tatters, by Amanda Downum: Lovecraftian horror set in Vancouver, featuring the Yellow King mythology that's originally from the writings of Robert Chambers and most recently showed up in True Detective. Downum's first novels were the Necromancer Chronicles gothy secondary world fantasies, the first of which seems to have gotten a resounding "meh" from the interwebs [i haven't read it] but the last two of which are very good. This is her first novel-length contemporary fantasy / horror work. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Shreds-Tatters-Amanda-Downum/dp/1781083274/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431534676&sr=1-1&keywords=dreams+of+shreds+and+tatters