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Starkess

Reading in 2018: January Reads

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After three plus decades of dithering, I got around to James Clavell's Shogun.  I'd watched the miniseries, both when it came out and a couple more times over the years, but never picked up the novel.  Clavell does some nice things inside the heads of the Japanese characters and switches POVs frequently.  It's not quite as formal as ASOIAF's POV structure, but you definitely get inside the heads of the Japanese characters in a way the TV show did not.

In her own head, Mariko-san is MUCH more sarcastic and a more satisfying character, IMO.

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Reading Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan. I haven’t read anything else by Sullivan so was happy to see the authors note at the beginning saying this was its own book, but if readers enjoyed it there was a whole host of books set far in the future of his world to enjoy. 

I like it so far at about 35% complete. Things are moving at a nice pace. The characters aren’t all that interesting yet but some of them are fun and I’m hooked enough to want to read more.

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I recently finished Persepolis Rising I liked parts of it but some of it felt a bit forced. I wasn't too fussed about the time gap since the previous book which some people seem to not like but one of the new pov characters wasn't great and it felt like they had a paricular place they wanted to go with the next book and some of the storyline feels a bit forced to get there. Specifically

Spoiler

The Coalition/Transport Union side of the war are a bit too stupid with their strategy for the war to give the Laconians a decisive victory.

I borrowed Oathbringer from my brother so I'll probably read that next.

Edited by ljkeane

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Finished The Dread Wyrm of the Traitor Son Cycle.  Those books really tear along.   Still enjoyable battle-heavy fantasy.  It feels like a less out-there version of Malazan sometimes, but with far less sprawl.   

Now reading Under The Bright Lights by Daniel Woodrell.  This is crime fiction, the first of his Bayou trilogy.  Not quite as well written as his Winter’s Bone, but a very evocative setting all the same.  Worthwhile read so far if you like the genre.  

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Elmore Leonard's 52 Pickup was a page-turner. Quickly paced, tight plot, excellent dialogue and strong, believable characters.

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Well Beowulf did not take long, basically not counting translator Seamus Heaney's introduction it was a one-day read, but it was very good.

I've started Making Money by Terry Pratchett as part of my Discworld read-through.  It began rather slow, but I'm 42% into it now and Moist is beginning to do his thing.  I enjoyed Moist's first book and right now I'm enjoying this one, personally I like the character and wish Terry had begun writing him earlier because the quality of writing does seem lower.

This weekend I started reading the second book of Sam Campbell's Living Forest series, Too Much Salt and Pepper (they're porcupines).  I'm about halfway through and will finish it next weekend.

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Reading Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.  Only a 200 page book and about 1/2 way through it now.  So far I'm enjoying it.  It's a dystopian future setting where a group of volunteers are exploring a zone known as 'Area X'.  They are releasing a movie based on it later this year.

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Finished The House of The Spirits by Isabel Allende. Was my first Allende book and while I don't think it was bad it didn't really hook me. So it was only an average read for me. It also hasn't aged well which might have affected my enjoyment negatively. 

Now reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin which is fantastic so far and has a chance of becoming one of my favourite Fantasynovels if it continues this way. Previosly read her Inheritance trilogy which I think was good, but not superb. She has really improved as a writer. 

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52 minutes ago, Queen of Procrastination said:

Now reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin which is fantastic so far and has a chance of becoming one of my favourite Fantasynovels if it continues this way. Previosly read her Inheritance trilogy which I think was good, but not superb. She has really improved as a writer. 

I'm about halfway through this at the moment. I agree it's been very good so far and is become more interesting as it goes along. I wasn't expecting some of it to be written in second-person, but even that works.

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On 1/11/2018 at 11:01 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

Now reading Under The Bright Lights by Daniel Woodrell.  This is crime fiction, the first of his Bayou trilogy.  Not quite as well written as his Winter’s Bone, but a very evocative setting all the same.  Worthwhile read so far if you like the genre.  

Finished that, an OK read.  The setting and atmosphere were very good but the plot and characters felt a bit run of the mill.  Since Amazon did a good job of selling me the entire trilogy as a bundle, I’ll eventually feel compelled to read further.

I have now returned to medieval fantasy with #4 of the Traitor Son Cycle (actual name escapes me just now).  Still good but I hope this series concludes soon.  Every victory by the protagonists so far has resulted in the antagonist bouncing back with a bigger army and more toxic dark magic.  It’s starting to feel like a repetitive leveling up.  I want the story to go somewhere, not feel like a treadmill.  Miles Cameron has done a very good job with this series but he needs to stick the landing soon. 

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I read Iron Council by Mieville.   Liked it and thought the train was an interesting idea.  In the past year I've read Kraken, The Scar, Perdido Street Station, The City and The City and now Iron Council.  That's enough Mieville in a year for anybody.  

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10 hours ago, Nasty LongRider said:

I read Iron Council by Mieville.   Liked it and thought the train was an interesting idea.  In the past year I've read Kraken, The Scar, Perdido Street Station, The City and The City and now Iron Council.  That's enough Mieville in a year for anybody.  

Favorite one so far?

In the past year I read King Rat and Perdido Street Station.  I thought PSS was fantastic.

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Picked up The Bear and the Nightingale.  Still need to read Autonomous, got a hard paper copy of it and I can't remember where I put it.  

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On 15.1.2018 at 10:33 PM, williamjm said:

I'm about halfway through this at the moment. I agree it's been very good so far and is become more interesting as it goes along. I wasn't expecting some of it to be written in second-person, but even that works.

Agreed. I didn't expect to like second person, but it works very well so far.

I have 100 pages left now and it might well be the best Fantasynovel I've read since I first read ASOIAF. I need to get my hands on the sequels soon. 

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9 hours ago, Queen of Procrastination said:

Agreed. I didn't expect to like second person, but it works very well so far.

I have 100 pages left now and it might well be the best Fantasynovel I've read since I first read ASOIAF. I need to get my hands on the sequels soon. 

She really deserves all of the critical acclaim and awards she has received for this series. That’s it came so quick on the heels of the Sad Puppy bullshit she had to put up with was icing on the cake.

I read the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms after Broken Earth and while I enjoyed both and imo the style makes it obvious that it’s the same author, you can really tell how much she has grown and improved her work from then

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Finished A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. Very good book. Re-defines my taste in science fiction or at least makes me want to branch out beyond my usual foray within the genre. My review (copy and pasted from the Space opera thread) is below.

Next up either a quick re-read of Altered Carbon before the Netflix series is out or A Fire Upon the Deep.

 

A Deepness in the Sky reception:

I finished A Deepness in the Sky. Have to thank everyone that recommended this. Not sure I've read anything like this but my sci-fi lit genre is limited. I've either delved into cyberpunk (Altered Carbon) or military sci-fi / shallower space opera (Old Man's War, Forever War etc) and this was not that. 

Overall, I'm still not sure what to make of the novel though the ending was grand and page turning enough for me to really appreciate it now that I've put the book down. There were tedious parts in the middle where the vocabulary and science bogged me down because I'm not a PhD student in physics, astrophysics or some form of spatial engineering. Ramscoops and localizers don't mean much to me.. but after googling they were real things or at least realistic scientific proposals of space and electronics. Combine that with some of the concepts of time, space, neurobiology (which I'm more familiar with), the architecture of the starfaring vessels and the way people moved through them .. I ended up googling the author and I'm not surprised he was a professor of mathematics and CompSci. Sometimes the book felt like a science or engineering lesson and something intended for a master's / graduate level science background audience. The opera and scale of warfare and politics felt like it was on a more serious level compared to the Old Man War's series which I had immediately transitioned from. And it was deeper or more serious in it's content at all levels...orbital mechanics, economics and the economies of scale of industries in space and politics.  Given the book was written in 1999, I wonder what science concepts Vernor Vinge would change or improve upon what the technology of today. It certainly left an impression on me.

 

Edited by WarGalley

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