The Last Song of Orpheus was kind of a Cliff's Notes version of a whole lot of mythology surrounding the demigod musician Orpheus. Not that it was dry...moreThe Last Song of Orpheus was kind of a Cliff's Notes version of a whole lot of mythology surrounding the demigod musician Orpheus. Not that it was dry (like Cliff's Notes,) just that it was... succinct - kind of a "here's what really happened."
I particularly liked the interpretation of the Golden Fleece saga. My current addiction is mythology, legend and fairy tale, and Last Song scratched the itch. (less)
The Executioness is a side-by-side novella paired with The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi. In the forward, much is made of the idea that the Heroine is...moreThe Executioness is a side-by-side novella paired with The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi. In the forward, much is made of the idea that the Heroine is "different," because she's an older woman. I'm really glad they pointed it out, because there really wasn't anything in the story to establish that by her character, except that she had chidren already, and her father was old. Well, really, those two points don't exactly convince me that Tana is an older woman.
So while I really liked this story, I was distracted for the entire novella, watching for character building that really showed that she wasn't just another young warrior woman. I liked the story, I thought it worked just fine as is, and would have worked exactly the same if the stated intent had been to have a young heroine. But supposedly she was "older." I just never saw it. I think if you make a big deal about how your character is supposed to be a certain thing, she should be written so that she has to be that thing, and couldn't possibly be another thing (like 20 years old.)
Hrrrmph! Okay, so in spite of that rant, I really liked Tana. I loved that she didn't become the Noble Heroine that everyone was trying to make her out to be. She was a good and brave warrior, but she still let her pain and emotion guide her; she was still a mother. It would be a shame to read one book, and not the other. But unlike The Alchemist, which left me a little sad to turn the last page, this one felt like there really was no more story to tell, the end. (less)
Okay, that's it, I'm offically a fan-girl for Paolo. The Alchemist is one of a pair of novellas (the other by Tobias Buckell,) set in the same fantasy...moreOkay, that's it, I'm offically a fan-girl for Paolo. The Alchemist is one of a pair of novellas (the other by Tobias Buckell,) set in the same fantasy world, where magic is destroying the Kingdoms by fueling the growth of a magical and deadly bramble.
The titular character devotes his life to finding a way to defeat the bramble and restore the ability and right for all to use magic. Unfortunately, he runs afoul of those in power who use the threat to carry out their own bloody agenda.
It all follows a classic storyline: good man does good things at great sacrifice, is discovered, becomes a pawn for those who do bad things... I don't know about anybody else, but I read genre fiction because I want the classic stories. What I'm looking for is prose that pulls me into the world, makes me care about the people drawn therein, and makes me feel what they are feeling.
On all counts, The Alchemist delivers. My only complaint, as with all good stories, is that it ended too soon. (less)
I have utterly no idea how to rate this one, because (in my current migraining state,) I'm not sure if this little volume is absolutely brilliant, but...moreI have utterly no idea how to rate this one, because (in my current migraining state,) I'm not sure if this little volume is absolutely brilliant, but I just don't quite get the joke, or if it's the dumbest thing I've ever read and I'm standing in the street shouting: “You guys! Nekkid Emporer dudes!”
I'm not entirely clear on plot, except that it's some paper from some dead guy, and there are onions. And a sturgeon. Reading this felt a little bit like going for a drink with a co-worker and running into one of his frat brothers. For a few minutes you think it's going to be three people chatting at a bar, but then they start ordering PBR and shots of Jack, and suddenly you're sitting in between two drunk, old, former football players who are laughing and wheezing uncontrollably and saying things like: “Remember that girl? After the... you know, with the THING?!” “F*CK ME, the THING!” “And remember when you, that time, you know!” “HAHAHAHA I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE TIME!!! Dude, why aren't you laughing, this is some funny SHIT!” Whereupon I reply: “Oh yeah, of course, the time, with the thing, at that place... yeah. Haha. Funny shit.”