Jump to content
Garett Hornwood

Third Quarter 2019 Reading

Recommended Posts

Just finished The Rise And Fall Of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson, a non-fiction history spanning from circa 4500 BCE to Cleopatra in the first century, and an epilogue of history since.  It was a long read, not least because I find myself giving less reading time to books like this than to character-driven fiction, but very interesting.  At times it did focus too much on reciting the pharaonic succession and the respective temples and tombs built (basically leaning too much into the available archeological evidence) but it did manage to spend enough time looking at the cultural, social, religious, political, economic, military and international developments and context.  I would have preferred even more of the latter, but overall it was a quality exploration of history and Egyptology.  Well written, well structured, thoughtful, and skeptical of pharonic propaganda.

I’m looking forward to returning now to fiction.  

And I just bought a copy of Thorns Of A Black Rose, so thanks to other boarders for drawing attention to it.  I’m surprised this departs so radically from the Resurrection Men setting, but I look forward to reading. 

Edited by Iskaral Pust

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

And I just bought a copy of Thorns Of A Black Rose, so thanks to other boarders for drawing attention to it.  I’m surprised this departs so radically from the Resurrection Men setting, but I look forward to reading. 

Thanks, hope you enjoy it!

It is very different to Resurrection Men.

@HelenaExMachina Thanks, reviews are appreciated.

It’s hard for me to judge my own books, though Resurrection Men is probably my favourite of the two. I spent far longer writing it (first novel I ever finished writing, albeit 1st draft was awful).  Thorns by comparison took 2 years on and off, starting as a novella.  It was easier to write, not least due having fewer characters and POV’s.

The follow-up to Thorns was started first and is a third done. It will be finished after Sooty Feathers book 2. It’s more ambitious than Thorns and will be longer. It will have a larger cast.

 

I’m currently reading The Black Lung Captain by Wooding - have to admire a book that starts with the protagonists robbing an orphanage!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Thanks for review.  I wasn’t sure whether to stick with the series but I’ll probably luck this up. 

I'm about 3/4 of the way through Dark Age and it's on track to be my favorite one yet.  Iron Gold was a bit of an awkward transition into multi-POV, but Dark Age pulls off the epic feel much better.  All of the storylines in Iron Gold feel very small time in comparison to Dark Age.

I've seen a lot of comparisons to Golden Son, which I don't really get other than that they're both book 2.  In Golden Son, Darrow pretty much kept succeeding until the very end.  Dark Age is bleak as fuck...nothing is going right for the good guys, but IMO that just makes the rise that much more satisfying.

Dark Age seems to be the most divisive book so far, with people saying it's either their favorite or least favorite.  The main complaint I've seen from the latter are that it's too bleak, so your mileage may vary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, End of Disc One said:

I'm about 3/4 of the way through Dark Age and it's on track to be my favorite one yet.  Iron Gold was a bit of an awkward transition into multi-POV, but Dark Age pulls off the epic feel much better.  All of the storylines in Iron Gold feel very small time in comparison to Dark Age.

I've seen a lot of comparisons to Golden Son, which I don't really get other than that they're both book 2.  In Golden Son, Darrow pretty much kept succeeding until the very end.  Dark Age is bleak as fuck...nothing is going right for the good guys, but IMO that just makes the rise that much more satisfying.

Dark Age seems to be the most divisive book so far, with people saying it's either their favorite or least favorite.  The main complaint I've seen from the latter are that it's too bleak, so your mileage may vary.

I think the comparison to Golden Son is more in the epic feel of it. Golden Son expanded the universe and while you're right, Darrow seemed to succeed, there was an element of things getting bigger, which is similar to what Dark Ages did to Iron Gold.

I tend to feel most of the books are on the same level with Iron Gold and Red Rising a step below. The last book in this trilogy is going to be nuts given the way Dark Ages went.

Edited by Mexal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/25/2019 at 7:24 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

Just finished The Rise And Fall Of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson, a non-fiction history spanning from circa 4500 BCE to Cleopatra in the first century, and an epilogue of history since.  It was a long read, not least because I find myself giving less reading time to books like this than to character-driven fiction, but very interesting.  At times it did focus too much on reciting the pharaonic succession and the respective temples and tombs built (basically leaning too much into the available archeological evidence) but it did manage to spend enough time looking at the cultural, social, religious, political, economic, military and international developments and context.  I would have preferred even more of the latter, but overall it was a quality exploration of history and Egyptology.  Well written, well structured, thoughtful, and skeptical of pharonic propaganda.

 

Been keeping m,y eye out for this one in Half Price Books, mainly because my knowledge of Ancient Egypt is lacking.

Finished another audiobook during my commute, Tom Clavin's Dodge City, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West. Focuses primarily on Wyatt and Bat, but the structure is fairly loose, following most of the Earps, Mastersons, fellow lawmen, entertainers, gamblers, buffalo hunters, outlaws and the events surrounding them. Perfect for fans of the Old West.

I picked up the audiobook of Jon Waters's Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes America for my commute.

Also reading Dark Invasion 1915: Germany's Secret War & the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America. It reads like a spy thriller. Engrossing so far.

Edited by Astromech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/20/2019 at 4:00 AM, RedEyedGhost said:

Glad you enjoyed it.  The series does really grow similarly to The Dresden Files.  I'm so ready to read book 5, just after I finish rereading The Heroes.

Unless you're not bothered by spoilers, do not read this until you've finished Cursed

  Reveal hidden contents

I think Jacka was feeling the same way about Starbreeze, which is why he effectively wrote her out (it also helped show how Alex cares about his friends, and was willing to sacrifice her very valuable help in the future to know that she was safe from becoming what 13 was).

 

I finished Cursed (Alex Verus series, book #2) a couple of days ago and have jumped directly into book #3, Taken

@RedEyedGhost Yes, that was a well-written scene.  I hope she gets a cameo sometime before the end of the series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Astromech said:

Been keeping m,y eye out for this one in Half Price Books, mainly because my knowledge of Ancient Egypt is lacking.

I bought a deeply discounted copy on Kindle, although that does limit the resolution and color of photographs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FInished my reread of The Heroes last night.  Didn't like it as much as I did way back in 2011, but it's still one of my favorites of Joe's.  

 

2 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

I finished Cursed (Alex Verus series, book #2) a couple of days ago and have jumped directly into book #3, Taken

@RedEyedGhost Yes, that was a well-written scene.  I hope she gets a cameo sometime before the end of the series.

Just started book 5 myself, very happy to get back to this series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quickly read through Kenneth Grahame's beloved The Wind in the Willows. This was a glaring omission from my childhood reading catalogue as I had only seen the various TV and movie adaptations previously. I didn't realise that it would read more as a short story collection than a novel, but it still made for some fantastic reading. The best stories were the ones that featured Mole or Rat just living their riverside lives; Toad's adventures were funny but not nearly as well written. There is a quintessential "Englishness" about the Mole/Rat/Badger stories that is very charming and nourishing. I only wish I had read it during winter, curled up in an armchair by a fire!

Now on to Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, which for memory starts off well and then declines into angst-arama. 

Edited by Paxter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence, the second in his series about a 1980s D&D-playing teenager caught up in a time travel paradox.  Pretty good, although I enjoyed it less than the first.  The first person POV spends too much time feeling sorry for himself, even if that is entirely justified by his leukemia.  

I pre-ordered the third volume too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Making my way through Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries. Currently on the 3rd one. Funny stuff, kinda wish they were longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished Lois McMaster Bujold's The Orphans of Raspay, which was another entertaining story in the Penric and Desdemona series.

I'm just about to start Becky Chambers' new novella To Be Taught If Fortunate. I heard her do a reading from it at WorldCon a couple of weeks ago and it did sound like an interesting premise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Started Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novak (#6 in the Temeraire series). Kind of fun that this one is set in Australia and I am visiting there right now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished my listen of John Waters's Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America. Hilarious. It probably wouldn't have been as funny had Waters not narrated it. Not only a memoir of his hitchhiking trip,  but also two novellas imagining good rides and bad rides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just getting through A Short History of England, by Simon Jenkins. It's not terrible. It is quite nice to read through the history that I've always been vaguely aware of (and consign it back to the mists of the half-forgotten). I do have very little patience for authors inserting certain bits of rhetoric into otherwise non-fiction works, so while the book is by and large problem free, there is the occasional line that really stands out as unnecessary and even obnoxious. One particular complaint about the English flag in the introduction struck me in that way. 

I'm hoping this will improve my chances at any and all future pub quizzes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Less, which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It follows writer, Arthur Less, who embarks on a worldwide literary tour to escape the impending wedding of his former lover, Freddie and celebrates his 50th birthday along the way. Author Andrew Sean Greer said, "the only way to write about [being gay and aging] is to make it a funny story. And I found that by making fun of myself, I could actually get closer to real emotion – closer to what I wanted in my more serious books." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently I've read Tiamat's Wrath which I enjoyed but maybe not as much as people seemed to in the dedicated thread. My main issues with it were that certain events felt a little too convenient and it's getting a bit far fetched how much of a significant role in various major events the main continue to play. I've also read Christian Cameron's Rage of Ares, it was ok but it did feel a bit like more of the same from the rest of the series. I do like his books but his historical fiction series in particular do have a bit of a tendency to peter out after starting strong.

At the moment I'm reading Pierce Brown's Dark Age which is more explodey fun in a similar vein to his earlier books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ljkeane said:

Recently I've read Tiamat's Wrath which I enjoyed but maybe not as much as people seemed to in the dedicated thread. My main issues with it were that certain events felt a little too convenient and it's getting a bit far fetched how much of a significant role in various major events the main continue to play.

I think the implausibility of every major event revolving around the crew of the Rocinante is something that's been around since at least the fifth book, and I think it got more obvious after the time jump.

I just finished reading Becky Chambers' novella To Be Taught, If Fortunate, which I thought was a good story. I think perhaps the novella format suits her writing style since at novel length her plots do tend to meander a bit and this was a bit more focused. It's split into four parts corresponding to the four exoplanets the crew visit on a search for alien life and I thought it did a good job of showing how the four very different environments had an impact on the characters and how they feel about their mission. It had some good characterisation and some interesting thoughts about the purpose of space exploration.

I've now started N.K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon. I thought her Broken Earth series was excellent, so I thought I'd give her earlier fantasy series a try. It's too early to give much of an opinion on it yet but the Egyptian-inspired setting is intriguing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished The King’s Justice by E.M. Powell, a detective novel set in 12th century England, so also a historical fiction to represent that era.  It appears to be the first in a series.  I enjoyed it as a diverting variation in my sequence of reading, but not so compelling that I’ll seek more in this series. 

It does take a close look at the early formulation of a standardized legal system, including trial by ordeal (persisted until 1215), as well as the social structure of villeins, freemen, aristocracy, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×