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Garett Hornwood

Third Quarter 2019 Reading

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Finished up the second and third books in Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus series, Cursed and Taken.  Really enjoying these books.  Loved Cinder's assessment of Alex near the end of book two

that he's a predator and has many more enemies in the ground than above it, and Alex's contemplation on in that book and the next

Now I'm deciding between going on to the next book in the series, or continuing my Abercrombie reread with The Heroes...

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I read Ben Aaronovitch's The October Man novella. One of the things I was wondering about going into the story was whether Aaronovitch would manage to make a new narrator feel different to Peter Grant after so many books in the series focusing on Peter. Tobias Winter's role does turn out to be literally a German Peter Grant (the Germans having decided that if the British are recruiting new magicians they should as well). There are times when he does sound a bit like Peter Grant as well, particularly when wryly commenting on the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy involved in his work. However, there are plenty of differences as well, he is less inclined to throwing in geeky references and there are fewer random digressions (perhaps because Tobias doesn't know Trier the same way Peter knows London). Something similar applies to the other characters, they may have some similarities to the supporting cast in the Rivers of London books but they do have different perspectives.

I think the shorter novella format can have some benefits for this type of story, it feels about the right length for the murder mystery plot, some of the novels in the series have got a bit distracted by subplots at times. I though the story did a good job of gradually revealing what actually happened, while at the same time expanding the background world-building of the series.

Overall, I thought it was an entertaining story and it was a successful attempt to expand the series away from its London setting.

Next up I think I'll read Adrian Tchaikovsky's Cage of Souls.

Edited by williamjm

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I haven't had too much time for reading so far this month but I finished Guy Gavriel Kay's Children of Earth and Sky which was overly melodramatic, meandering and generally lacking in much narrative drive. I enjoyed it quite a lot. It's been a while since I've read one of Kay's books but I think I'll read another one soon.

At the moment I'm reading Tiamat's Wrath.

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On 7/25/2019 at 8:16 PM, RedEyedGhost said:

Now I'm deciding between going on to the next book in the series, or continuing my Abercrombie reread with The Heroes...

After reading the synopsis for the former, I decided to keep to continue the Alex Verus series with Chosen.

 

5 hours ago, williamjm said:

Overall, I thought it was an entertaining story and it was a successful attempt to expand the series away from its London setting.

Nice.  I've had that for a month, but haven't gotten around to it.  Hadn't even read the synopsis to know that it was a different main character.

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I just discoverd that David Moody released two more books set in the Hater universe and I just started the first one "One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning". I'm looking forward to horrible violence. 

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On 7/23/2019 at 5:35 PM, polishgenius said:

I read The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, based on the author's description of it as "a book set in a dragon-having, bronze-age Africa ft. Black John Wick learning how to be John Wick, so he can hunt down & kill 3 super soldiers"


It's good. It's one of the many 'badass training academy' books we've had recently, but it's a good one with its hero and his nation let's say not typical in their place within the worldbuilding, and a vicious magic system. I'll be following this series.

Read this in a couple days, loved it, a bit annoyed at times with the lead character, but was engrossed in the story throughout, I thought it improved as it went along and the final third was a real page turner. I hope the second books comes out soon. 

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On 7/25/2019 at 7:10 PM, wolverine said:

Read Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, Volume 1) by Richard Nell and now reading the second book of the series.  I have really enjoyed both books thus far.  Some things are a little inexplicable for the characters and beyond belief but I am willing to overlook it because the books have been so much fun and the world has been very interesting.

I've decided to give this a try. So far, so good!

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My latest work commute audiobook was James D. Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno: The US Navy at Guadalcanal. I loved the author's The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. Loved this one as well. Great detailed, thoroughly researched narrative history. Love the personal accounts he includes, Really personalizes the events.

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In July,  I finished The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, the second book in the Daevabad trilogy, still loving the Arabian Night type setting with magic and djinn in a magical city.   Then read Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence, the second book in the Impossible Times series, time travel, paradox and a bit of D&D.    Then A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay, as good as ever,  seemed a quicker read than his last two.

Just started reading Elven Queen, the third book in Bernhard Hennen's Saga of the Elven, which is diving right into the troll war on Elves and men.  I guess this is the last of his books that has been translated into English so far. 

Next up are Thorns of a Black Rose by David Craig (aka Derfel Cadarn) and A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White.

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I finished Victory of Eagles. I had to listen to the audiobook because I was too impatient to wait for the ebook hold to come through. I don't love audiobooks and it was hard to follow at times, but I got through it and enjoyed the book in all!

I also read In the Hand of the Goddess. Enjoying my re-read of the Alanna series, and this one has some nice lovey-dovey moments as well which are fun. Makes me feel like a teenager again reading through these.

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I've been reading Glen Cook's Garrett P.I. series.  I'm up to book 7.  There is a sort of background meta-plot concerning the main character's country's nearly perpetual war with a rival that is woven into the story brilliantly, and causes the fortunes of the city to ebb and flow along with it, even though it's just in the background.  Amazingly well done. 

This series is pretty much Sam Spade in a Fantasy setting, and I can't help but think it influenced what we now call Urban Fantasy, especially in the tone and actions of its narrator. 

 

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On 7/17/2019 at 7:02 PM, Starkess said:

I unabashedly love that series even though I can recognize it's not exactly high literature. Hope you enjoy!

I finished book 1 in literally 3 days! Can't wait to read the next one. It is very different from other fantasy series I've read in that it (at least so far) focuses less on world building and more on action driven story. Now, I do love deep worlds and in depth description in my fantasy as it helps really put me in the story, but it was actually really refreshing to have this story be such a page turner.

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Alright, since my last post I've completed three books.  The first was Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner which was a novel composed of seven short stories.  While two of those stories were okay to good, the rest just fell flat leaving me annoyed with Faulkner.  Two books by Faulkner and two essential duds, not bother with him until sometime in the middle of late 2020s.

The second book was the seventh Dirk Pitt book, Deep Six in which the titular hero seeks revenge on a multinational shipping company that just so happens to be aligned with the Soviet to kidnap U.S. leadership to mess with our form of government...ah, the Cold War backdrop of gawd awful subplots.  Overall an okay adventure story and nice filler read for half a week.

The third book was a reread Sea of Fire by Jeff Rovin, the tenth book of Tom Clancy's Op-Center series and the last of the original run I read at the time.  Main thrust of the book is modern-day pirates stumble onto a nuclear waste smuggling ring and Op-Center working with Australia and Singapore tracks things to a Australian billionaire.  Overall another okay-to-good story, not as good as the previous book in the series but books in the series have been really really bad and so this is in the top half quality wise.

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I normally don't post in this thread, as the decreasing number of books I have been able to read over the years is starting to depress me. Yesterday however, I read a book called Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. It was written by David Epstein and I was really impressed by it.

Range reminded me a lot of Daniel Kahneman's work, although its narrower focus and Epstein's journalistic style makes his book more easily readable I would say. I have been slowly digesting the book's content today and probably will make a sort of inspired by thread in general chatter, but I also wanted to just get the word out about this excellent work.

Now that I'm here, I can also list what I read over the past three months. I might have forgotten some of the lesser stuff, but from the top of my mind that list would include:

Seneca the Younger's De Constantia Sapientis 
Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Various authors' Bradt's travel guides for both Zambia and Rwanda (big love for Bradt)
Arturo Pérez-Reverte's Purity of Blood
Stefan Zweig's Chess story
John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men
V. S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River
Scholastique Mukasonga's Our Lady of the Nile 
Hiro Arikawa's The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Michelle Obama's Becoming

In general I'd say I was very lucky with the above list. Relatively few books that were just good, while most were outstanding. My policy of more rigorously checking reviews and abandoning books that I'm not getting attached to is paying dividends.  

Currently also working through Vasily Grossman's Stalingrad, Yuval Noah Harris' 21st Lessons for the 21st century and How to Keep your Cool by James Romm. All three seem to be shaping up rather nicely. I'm particularly impressed by Grossman. I had never read anything of his before, but I'm definitely reading Life and Fate as well if the quality of Stalingrad remains this high. 

Edited by Veltigar

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I'm re-reading Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway with my wife. Forgot how much I love this book. Still by far his best.

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On 7/30/2019 at 2:16 AM, Starkess said:

 

I also read In the Hand of the Goddess. Enjoying my re-read of the Alanna series, and this one has some nice lovey-dovey moments as well which are fun. Makes me feel like a teenager again reading through these.

 Bought the song of the lioness quartet for me about 6 years ago for a reread. I’m now really looking forward to my little girl reading them in a few years(4 now, or, as she likes to tell me 4 and 1/4).  Reckon ten might be a good age.

 

anyway, enjoy them.  I sure did on the reread.

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All done with Tim Winton's The Shepherd's Hut. This has everything that you would expect from a Winton novel: the beauty of the Australian bush set against jarring violence and conflict, a good rollicking plotline punctuated with some great tense moments and, of course, the somehow poetic vernacular of outback Australia. The real highlight of this novel though is the evolution of our troubled teenage protagonist, Jaxie, who we follow through an unlikely escape from his country town in Western Australia.

This would have been five stars but Winton didn't quite stick the landing. The novel felt slightly incomplete and has an abrupt ending (his earlier novel Breath suffers from a similar problem). 

Now on to Austen's Northanger Abbey. I'm a little sad to nearly be at the end of my Austen catalogue reading. Only Mansfield Park and Emma left after this one. 

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Just finished Joe Abercrombie's A Little Hatred. Second only to Best Served Cold, as far as I'm concerned, and as good as The Heroes, Red Country, and Last Argument of Kings.

You can read my review here.

Lord Grimdark is back!

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1 hour ago, Lord Patrek said:

Second only to Best Served Cold

So it's the second worst book?  That's terrible news.

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On 7/29/2019 at 10:43 PM, Leofric said:

Next up are Thorns of a Black Rose by David Craig (aka Derfel Cadarn) and A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White.

Thanks for the 4 stars on Goodreads :)

I enjoyed the last Greatcoats book, was quite dark in places and had a couple of twists.  

I’ll be finishing my Rigante re-read this week and either starting my Ketty Jay re-read or the lastest Expanse book. Also wanting to finish thr Three Musketeers.

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