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January 2015 Reading Thread


AncalagonTheBlack

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The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky was a really strong read, as good as most of the previous ones in the series. My only problem was its very slow beginning, I was half convinced the whole book was going to suck until it picked up and then never let go. I thought a book without some of the characters I had loved so in the previous books wasn't going to be so interesting, but it was, it definitely was.



I made quick work of Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn. Fun non-challenging read, perfect for someone who's dealing with two sick twins and who's really sick herself. I'll start Kitty's House of Horrors next.


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Finished: The Bridges of Constantine by Ahlam Mosteghanemi.



Currently: Vellum by Hal Duncan. I had taken a break to read my book club book. I'm about 2/3 finished and I find the characters and their roles memorable, but I'm starting to get impatient with the repetition. Where it works for me, it's fascinating and beautiful, but where it doesn't work, I find myself wanting to skim ahead



Upcoming: La niña del mar by Ramon Villero. It didn't take long to find a country that didn't have easy to find translations in English, and that country was Andorra. So I found a book that was 63 pages long, and Kindle supports Spanish to English dictionaries. (It's already a translation from Catalan to Spanish). If I didn't want to read every word and just wanted to pick up the general meaning of each paragraph, I'd probably be fine with minimal translation, but I've been going for a literal translation pretty quickly so far. Every now and then I get lazy and stuff a whole paragraph in the translator, but mostly I try to read it in Spanish.


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I'm now half way through Gilman's Gears of the City. I think I'll stick with it to see how it ends but I'm bored by the trippy waffle. The prose is very, very good but there are too many books that rely on good prose without any real attempt at strong characters or characterisation, subtle thought development, plot coherence or any basic narrative interest. I prefer when good writers tell good or insightful stories, not just take a bunch of LSD and let fly.



Despite a rec to the contrary here, so far at least, this book continues what was wrong with the Thunderer, not correct upon it.


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Strange work hours have given me an absurd amount of reading time this month. As I sit back and realize I on my eighth book of the month, that is almost a book every two days. Yikes.



Half Bad by Sally Green -YA about a young man being used by a council to draw out his father. Unique style, dark themes.



Darkwalker and Master of Plagues by E L Tettensor - Investigator in a secondary world with a Victorian feel. Darkwalker especially was a bit better than they typical Holmes knockoff.



The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes - A start over for the series, dealing with the same characters as Sykes previous but written to act as a new starting point. Sykes does the humor mixed with violience thing, especially messing around with wordplay.



Laika in Lisan - Self published fantasy that could almost be described as having the same basic ideas as The Interview that has gotten so much buzz, but with a lot less sillyness and in a secondary world.



The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum - So much better than the first book of the series it ain't funny. Now I see why this series came to me so highly recommended.



Passion Play by Beth Bernobich - I read this because I liked her latest novel The Time Roads. Still trying to work out what I think of it.



And now I am reading A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall because I hate waiting when these opportunities present them self. I think it is the fist time I have seen an Abercrombie comparison that actually is semi-apt; the writing style is certainly similar. But a quarter in it is clear Marshall is about to start shaking things up; looks like this may twist around grimdark the same way Abercromie twisted around traditional tropes in his trilogy.


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The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum - So much better than the first book of the series it ain't funny. Now I see why this series came to me so highly recommended.

And now I am reading A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall because I hate waiting when these opportunities present them self. I think it is the fist time I have seen an Abercrombie comparison that actually is semi-apt; the writing style is certainly similar. But a quarter in it is clear Marshall is about to start shaking things up; looks like this may twist around grimdark the same way Abercromie twisted around traditional tropes in his trilogy.

I've been meaning to read the Downum series but keep pushing it back down my TBR list.So,it's good ? Worth a read ?

The Marshall debut is high up on my TBR list. :) In which way is he similar to Abercrombie ?

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I've been meaning to read the Downum series but keep pushing it back down my TBR list.So,it's good ? Worth a read ?

The Marshall debut is high up on my TBR list. :) In which way is he similar to Abercrombie ?

On Downum- Thought the first book was a buch of cool ideas but a hell of a slog. I only picked up book 2 because it jumped out at me in the library. And I loved it. I think a person could start with it and be better for it.

On Marshall- Same over the top characters. Early focus on violence mixed with 'this shouldn't be funny.' And even the style feels similar. But after the early set up he is breaking away from the familiar so I am excited to see where this goes.

Hell, maybe Joe is Alex Marshall. If he hadnt just put out two booms in a year I would be speculating.

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Just finished Queen of the Tearling, and with suspension of disbelief, I quite enjoyed it, the same way I enjoyed Eddings when I was just starting on the genre.



Not sure what to pick up next - Red Rising or City of Stairs.


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I remember trying sample chapters from Downum's The Drowning City and finding they didn't draw me in, so later I was familiar with the lead character and some of the world setup, but hadn't read much really. Then I dismissed the series until I started seeing ecstatic reviews for The Bone Palace. I decided I'd try the second novel on the strength of those reviews. It was fucking ace. An enormous leap over the quality of those early sample chapters [which, to be clear, weren't bad necessarily, just not hugely attention-grabbing.] I think the third novel, The Kingdoms of Dust, continues the goodness; I don't personally love it to quite the degree I love The Bone Palace, but it's very good. I agree that not having read the first book won't matter too much -- I didn't and I was fine. It matters slightly more for Kingdoms of Dust, which contains more characters from Drowning City, but again I got along fine.



Very interested to hear more about the Marshall. Thanks for your thoughts so far, SkynnJay!



Finished The Memory Garden, by Mary Rickart, a quiet, emotive fantasy novel about family and friendship -- especially between women -- and growing old and parenting and regret and ghosts. It took me a little while to settle into how the book worked, because the people in it talk a little more like real people than I'm used to, which is to say they talk around and across things, and abruptly change conversational tack, throw in nonsequitors and so on. Once I got the rhythm a bit, though, and started to realize that while it feels like a slow, contemplative book it actually worked better for me to read it in longish bursts, because of the profusion of details that make up the characters' memories and emotional lives, which matter and are often not repeated, I found it a powerful and thought-provoking book. It's got a lot to say about western society's depictions of / hangups about older women, and there's magic and ghosts and lots of food and intense conversations. Powerful, slow-burn effective rural fantasy.



And now I am in my new happy place, just over half-way through M. L. Brennan's Tainted Blood. If anything this installment's increasing my enthusiasm for the series. The mystery plot's pretty straightforward thus far, albeit very fun, but the book's using it as a framework for a number of very, very good character scenes that are really building Brennan's supernatural New England into a memorable urban fantasy setting, and are also leaning into the grimmer, darker sides of the characters even more than previously. For instance, there's a long scene in which the protagonist learns how his vampire family feeds, and how he will feed himself sooner or later, that I think powers well past the "fluff" space we usually box urban fantasy in and into the domain of really top shelf speculative horror. This is good shit, people.


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I had to pause my Narnia-marathon-reading cause my english course starts on monday so I felt it was about time to start reading some of the course literature. I started with Things fall apart, by Chinua Achebe, because the paperback version I got had such a nice-looking cover that lured me in, and then revealing an incredibly boring read about an idiot in an african village where everybody seems to like to beat their wives and believe in stupid gods. It feels like some old kliché of african tribes, "Oga boga, pray to gods! Oga boga, beat wife! Oga boga, some lame metaphor that's relating to nature and the animal world (the lion does not tread heavily on the grass before he jumps at the zebra, or something else equally lame and nonsens-like)."


The main character Okonkwo is such an asshole/douchebag and I really hope that karma will have its way with him before this worthless book is over.



I apologize if bad english may occur, am swedish and didn't have time to google-correct.


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I decided I'd try the second novel on the strength of those reviews. It was fucking ace. An enormous leap over the quality of those early sample chapters [which, to be clear, weren't bad necessarily, just not hugely attention-grabbing.] I think the third novel, The Kingdoms of Dust, continues the goodness

And now I am in my new happy place, just over half-way through M. L. Brennan's Tainted Blood.

Well that's decided then! Downum for my next read . :read:

Speaking of Brennan/Urban Fantasy,have you read Daniel José Older's Half-Resurrection Blues ? It's gotten some great praise by Nalo Hopkinson and others - http://www.amazon.com/Half-Resurrection-Blues-Street-Rumba-Novel-ebook/dp/B00KWG5UIE/

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Currently since yesterday I just started reading the paperback edition of Dune: Children of Dune. then whenever I get done that, its off to read Dune Book 4 and then either one of the newer Star Wars books or re-read the Song of Ice and Fire books before getting into Dance with Dragons


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Just finished Golden Son, the sequel to Red Rising, in about a day. It's even more breakneck speed, violent and unrelenting than it's predecessor. I found it impossible to put down and the ending makes it impossible to wait for the 3rd book. It's really amazing how horrific and engrossing those books are at the same time


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Finished Wildflower Hill. It was pretty much what I expected--I think the last book I read for this book club was The Thornbirds, which even had the same setting and time jumping--but it was also pretty good. Some of it is just painful to read, not because it's poorly written but because the racism and sexism of the time period is so upsetting. But it also makes for more compelling literature, and confronting uncomfortable parts of history is one of the pros of historical fiction, IMO.



Not sure what is up next. I think I'll read a writing book (Self-Editing for Fiction Writers) and maybe The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which I got for Christmas from my brother.


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Just finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I really liked it a lot. It's the first book I've read of his. I love all of the graphic novels by him that I've read, so I'm not suprised I enjoyed it so much. I will have to check out some of his other books.

Not sure what I'm going to start next. I'm thinking about NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.

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Just finished Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley and loved it!! Typically the second book of a trilogy has a filler problem but not this one - it was fun and action packed from the start to finish.


Now I'm going to reread the Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan to get in the mood for the Autumn Republic in February


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