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Third Quarter 2020 Reading is a Joy

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3 hours ago, hauberk said:

Forgive me if I've been being dense, but does that mean that you are that Paedar?  I'm looking forward to reading more of Badb... a genuinely terrifying character of a scale with Ti Malice.  

I am indeed and thank you for your kind words! :) Badb has a rather large part to play in Three Kings.

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This month I read WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks.  I’m not much for zombies but enjoyed this book as it was formatted as interviews with many different people involved in various ways with the zombies. 

It starts with the discovery of the sickness and how it’s spread, and then the realization that the zombie virus kills its host and then reanimates the body.

It was like COVID, came outa China, denial all around, development and use of a useless vaccine ... it was all there. 

Pretty good yarn, I enjoyed it.  The concentration on the stories of the survivors instead of the zombies worked for me. 
 

 

Edited by LongRider

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I also read just over half of THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett.  It’s described as an historical novel, but I found very little history, it takes place in 12th Century England, and a lot more soap opera. 

I finally decided I had enough of that and returned it to the library.  It’s a 3 book series but I won’t be back. 
 

 

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I finished Andrzej Sapkowski's The Last Wish. I picked this up after having seen the Witcher TV series and while the series may have made a number of changes to various plots I think overall it did a good job of capturing the feel of the stories. One difference is that rather than the switching between timelines in the series the book has a simpler structure with a framing story interspersed between flashbacks to the individual stories in the collection. I thought that was effective at making them feel like a single narrative that is gradually filling in details of Geralt's backstory and the world he lives in. I feel that I've read a lot of stories in recent years that are revisionist versions of traditional fairy tales so I wonder if the book might have felt a bit fresher if I'd read it closer to when it originally came out, but I think it does have some interesting retellings of various myths. I think the Beauty and the Beast-inspired tale and The Lesser Evil were probably the best of the stories.

There are times when the writing might have lost something in translation and feels a bit clunky. There's a line in The Last Wish where Geralt looks into Yennifer's eyes and realises she has the eyes of a hunchback which felt particularly silly.

Overall, I'd say I have read better stories based on updating mythology such as Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver or Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns, but I still liked this and will probably pick up the next book at some point.

I've now started Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane which has been excellent so far.

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Yup, a lot of soap in pillars of the Earth:) I still like getting historyfiction with more freedom for characters. I stuck with it. I liked Edward Rutherford s Soap books like London or Sarum. It gives a good feeling of how families prosper or fall over time.

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Just finished Ship of Magic, by Robin Hobb. The first of the Liveship Trader trilogy.

I won't say it was precisely a slog, but it's definitely a long book. I'm glad I'm finished up with it so that I can move on with the next book, as this was technically a re-read. As much as I like Robin Hobb, she is never in a hurry to finish the story. Which usually I wouldn't necessarily hate, but to be honest I did find the chapters with most characters kind of frustrating. Plus, it's kind of just a grim book, you know? Book 1, Gandalf and Boromir die, Fellowship split up, everything goes tits up and that. Bound to happen.

Anyway, I suppose it was kind of weird that the roles have flipped and now I am looking forward to taking a break from fantasy with something shorter and more serious. Not that I didn't like this book. But I only kinda did.

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I finished the 3rd wild cards book a few days ago (Joker's Wild).  I think I liked the second book best.  This 3rd one had waaaaay too much Fortunato for me.  He wasn't in the 2nd book (Aces High) very much, but where he was he was pretty manageable (apart from homophobic slurs tossed around like they are nothing).  I enjoyed his chapter about Eileen in that book & think that actually gave some extra dimensions to the character.  In the 3rd book it seems like he's returned to form as some 2-dimensional Penthouse Letters idea of a super hero.

Spoiler

Thankfully it seems like we've seen the last of Fortunato!

Roulette also didn't do much for me.  There was a lot of potential there with her.  I liked the conflict in her about whether she should complete her mission or not.  But there was an awful lot of it.  I suppose it was meant to be a bit suspenseful, but it got repetitive after a while.  I continue not to be a big fan of Tachyon, he just seems so weepy and his infatuation with Roulette seemed hard to understand - at least the intensity of it - what is it about her that attracted him so much?

Spoiler

He loves her after one day?  And during that day she tried to kill him at least once?  I don't get it.

On the good side, I liked the Hiram chapters a whole lot.  I really like that character and feel like he was maybe the most relatable in the book.  An ace, but not really a superhero like most of the others.  I would take a whole book of Hiram obliquely interacting with aces and jokers & occasionally getting into jams.

I also really liked Demise's chapters.  I thought his motivations were realistic - he's definitely a bad guy, but very interesting to read, especially since he hates the other bad guys so much.  Not sure how much this kind of thing is thanks to GRRM, but it's the thing I love most about his books.  The bad guys don't always get along with each other and the good guys don't always get along with each other.  Sometimes the bad guys are the good guys and vice versa.

I liked ghost girl too, but wish Yeoman had a little more characterization in this book.  Yeoman was one of my favorites from book 1 and 2, but he got a bit of the short end of the stick here, I think.

I actually didn't mind the Sewer Jack / Bagabond chapters until the very end.  Although the whole plot about Rosemary and the mafia seemed like a complete 180 from where that character was in the previous books.  The thing that really and truly irked me about Sewer Jack / Bagabond was

Spoiler

When Bagabond finally found out that Sewer Jack was gay, of course he helps her shop for her big date.  Because gay guys love clothes and shopping.  Where did this come from?  At no point in any of the other books or even this one were these kind of stereotypical gay qualities hinted at.  For a guy that lives in the sewers to love shopping and fancy clothes? give me a break!  I know this is not super fair to a 30+ year old book which was probably pretty progressive at the time, but it really grated on me, a lot like Fortunato did in book 1.

Bottom line is I'm interested enough to continue with the series, but I'm sort of hot and cold on it depending on the characters.  Hopefully as I get into the more contemporary books some of the anachronistic qualities will fade away and it will be less jarring for me.

Spoiler

Oh and I forgot to mention I thought the death of Kid Dinosaur was brilliant.  Horrible but brilliant & excellently written.  It showed that even kids don't have plot armor in this series.  Anyone can go at any time.

 

Edited by mushroomshirt
to add the last bit

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On 9/16/2020 at 6:38 PM, LongRider said:

The concentration on the stories of the survivors instead of the zombies worked for me. 

Great book. 

Spoiler

The dachshunds made me cry.

 

I have begun Firstborn as I continue my West re-read.

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