Feb. 10th, 2016

starlady: Korra looks out over Republic City (legend of korra)
What I'm Reading
Seanan McGuire, A Red-Rose Chain (2015) - The ninth and newest Toby Daye book. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, though at this point I feel like there isn't a lot to say about individual books except in terms of the overall series. At least, after the heavy revelations of The Winter Long, this book is less about heavy personal revelations and more about straight-up terrible things and Toby doing her hero thing, even in some very trying circumstances, viz. Portland.

What I've Read
Alaya Dawn Johnson, Wicked City (2012) - I said from the beginning that Zephyr Hollis was in denial about who she was, and I felt vindicated that Zephyr herself came to explicitly agree with that statement, but by the end of this book I was really irritated with her as a character; at some point in the middle, Zephyr's denial tips over into hypocrisy, and she treats her djinni boyfriend rather horribly throughout the course of the novel in a way that doesn't go unremarked in the text, but which does go unapologized for on Zephyr's part. The elements of the plot around Zephyr and Amir were engaging, and I would totally read a third book if Johnson wrote one based on the revelations in the last few pages, but Zephyr herself was just a bit too self-righteous, without the ethical chops to back it up, for me to enjoy this book as much as I did the first one.

Jeff VanderMeer, Shriek (2006) - I loved this book, if not uncritically, then quite a lot, and having come to VanderMeer's earlier work from the Southern Reach books, it's interesting to pick up the threads of thematic continuity that run back from those books into this one: the question of humans' place in an ecosystem, the idea of places as systems that exert a subtle influence, if not contamination, on their inhabitants; other ideas about decay. I appreciated the sibling dynamic of Duncan Shriek making marginal comments on his sister Janice's (posthumous? there's no way to know) manuscript, and I found myself disagreeing with Abigail Nussbaum's assessment that Janice is shriekingly ordinary but wholly ignorant of that fact and therefore boring. To my mind, Duncan, Janice, and Mary are all bad historians and unreliable narrators, but each in recognizably different ways. The mismatch between their approaches to their own stories is what makes the book go, along with some truly inventive worldbuilding and imagery. I need to read Finch.

Catherynne Valente, The Folded World (2011) - Prester John number two, with the third book on hold perhaps indefinitely. I enjoyed this book; I enjoy Valente's writing, though I suspect that were she to write this book now it would be a tauter manuscript--but I like her language so much that I don't mind the meandering in the tale here, and the fact that it ends with the world smashed but the shape of its shattering wholly unclear. Brother Hiob and company are still decidedly 16thC, not 18th. I need to read Radiance, and the other Valente books I've piled up in the TBR stack.

C.S. Pacat, Kings Rising (2016) - YES I READ THE FINAL ONE FIRST, WHATEVER, IT'S HOW I ROLL. I suspect everyone here knows what this book is about, but as someone who was recced the series for about six solid years before I finally tipped over into reading it, I want to record for posterity the fact that I think Pacat is commenting quite shrewdly not only on tropes of mainstream media but also of fandom in some interesting ways, and that all her choices together push the book firmly into romance territory, which may not be immediately obvious when people start throwing around the term "slave fic." The book was amazing, I think I might be dead, I need to read the first two, and, let me be clear: all of you were right.

What I'll Read Next
Hopefully The Steerswoman and other books!

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