starlady: Galadriel in Caras Galadhon, with an ornate letter "G" (galadriel is a G)
What I'm Reading
A.S. King, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - Still, yes. I'm increasingly annoyed that the horrible future Glory sees is just an update of The Handmaid's Tale for the 2010s, and increasingly irritated at people who write first person narratives that are horribly undescriptive of everything in the book including the characters. John Green, who blurbed this book, is clearly a pernicious idiot.

Natsume Soseki, Kokoro - "Everyone loves Kokoro," my advisor told me. "Except maybe you." My expectations are low.

What I've Read
C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince and Prince's Gambit - These books are so good, and Pacat subverts so many tropes, I love them so much, you should read them, the end.

Megan Whalen Turner, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings - Someone on tumblr remarked that these books are similar to Pacat's, and I devoured three of them on my plane back from Japan, and that tumblr person was right. I'm not sure I'll be able to take it if there's never a fifth one. If you haven't read them, you should read them, but start with the first one, The Thief, and don't read the backs of any of them. They are amazing.

Fran Wilde, Updraft - All the reviews say the worldbuilding is interesting but the plot and characters are predictable and paper-thin, respectively. All the reviews are right. I don't plan to read any of Wilde's future books; I for one didn't find the worldbuilding interesting so much as frustrating. They live in bone towers! Cool! BONE TOWERS OF WHAT?? NO ONE KNOWS OR CARES. ARGH.

Marie Rutkoski, The Winner's Kiss - Yes, this is the third book in a trilogy, no, I haven't read the first two. I liked Rutkoski's Cabinet of Wonders books quite a lot, and while this story seems more ambitious I'm not sure I was sold on it. On the other hand I stayed up til 2am and read it in four hours, so.

What I'll Read Next
Hopefully something I actually enjoy.
starlady: Toby from the West Wing with a sign that says, "Obama is the President."  (go vote bitches)
What I'm Reading
A.S. King, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - A Sirens book, and while I'm enjoying it so far, it's very much that sort of contemporary YA voice which I can take or leave, and in this book in particular the narrative voice is thin enough that it's easy to lose a sense of the protagonist as a corporeal being. I was comparing the book to Court of Fives in my mind and actually forgot that Court of Fives is in first-person, not third, because of how much better Elliott is at conveying sensory details through the narration.

C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince - So I started reading the first book finally and on the very first page I had to stop for like 15 minutes because things on the very first page of the first book are matched beautifully on the very last page of the last book, I can't, that sort of shit is just irresistible to me. Anyway, it's amazing.

What I've Read
Seanan McGuire, A Red-Rose Chain - All caught up on Toby! Toby's adventures are only getting more serious! I continue to love these books and I can't really deal with the idea that it's going to be 15 years or so until we get the last of them.

Nova Ren Suma, The Walls Around Us - Another Sirens book, contemporary YA, first person, with a stronger voice than Glory O'Brien, and it very much earns the "Orange is the New Black Swan" description, but even in a very taut story there's a lot of there there. I liked it a lot.

Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows - Sirens again, and I liked this one quite a lot. It's Ocean's Eleven, but only six people, and it's a YA, so they're all extremely damaged teenagers, and it's set in and around a fantastical alt-Amsterdam that is much more interesting than actual Amsterdam. I gather that this book takes place in the same world as Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, which I have been universally assured is not worth reading, but this book was great and I can't wait for the follow-up, of which there is only one, due later this year.

N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season - Another stunning Jemisin book, another insta-Hugo nomination. I thought the book was amazing, both in terms of craft and in terms of concepts, and I really liked it, but I did think that Foz Meadows' very spoilery post on the book had some good points, and in general, I continue to think that all my quibbles with Jemisin's character arcs would be solved if she just gave the queer characters romance endings. At this point, though, it seems like that really isn't her project, which is unfortunate.

Kate Elliott, The Labyrinth Gate - Elliott's first book, published nearly 30 years ago, and you know? It totally holds up. The first chapter has some slightly awkward dialogue, but after that it's a fun, interesting romp through an interesting alt-Regency that is almost outright matriarchal, through the eyes of a pair of our-world protagonists who bring their own talents to the political struggles of the world they find themselves in. Badass old ladies! People of color! Thinky thoughts about political and social development! Awesome matriarchal tarot! You should read this book.

Caitlin R. Kiernan, The Dry Salvages - (Note, after Eliot, rhymes with 'assuages') I found an ARC of this novella in my stack when I unpacked my boxes of books, and frankly…I was totally underwhelmed. The narrator, Audrey, is an old woman narrating her part in an ill-fated exoplanetary expedition in post-climate change Paris, but the story makes Prometheus look like a genius work of fiction by comparison. There's not enough payoff in the vague 'I want to be spooky' hints, and all of Audrey's colleagues are assholes. Hell, Eliot is a better version of the book than the book is. I'm selling it at HPB.

What I'll Read Next
I don't know, but I do know that the lack of movement in my stacks of physical books is driving me batty. MUST READ.
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!


starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

August 2017

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