This is the first of Elizabeth Bear's books that I have read, but I will be looking out for more. I like Bear's writing, though it borders on the cryp...moreThis is the first of Elizabeth Bear's books that I have read, but I will be looking out for more. I like Bear's writing, though it borders on the cryptic at times. But the story was engrossing and the characters vibrant, flawed and well-drawn.
There's a lot of sex, but not gratuitous. Bear writes sex as a fundamental part of life, which it is, tying the act up with power and life and grief.
Don't read this book if you're looking for a quick, entertaining read. It's a powerful book, dark, but ultimately satisfying. Worth spending time on.(less)
I was actually more than a little disappointed by this book. Cornish has built a wonderful world, full of fascinating people and places. Unfortunately...moreI was actually more than a little disappointed by this book. Cornish has built a wonderful world, full of fascinating people and places. Unfortunately he felt the need to share every detail with the reader. This book was not so much a novel as a prologue, and for two-thirds of the book, the main character Rossamund just wanders around, having things happen to him.
When he finally gets a little gumption and the story starts moving, the novel ends. And the last 120 pages are glossaries.
I can see this appealing to a younger person who enjoys spending time with an interesting world. But there certainly wasn't enough story to make me want to read the next book, or want to know more about Rossamund. I wish Cornish had spent more time on the character and less time explaining the world. (less)
I haven't read Mieville's novels, but he is a master of the short story format. I enjoyed all of the stories in this book, because they made me think...moreI haven't read Mieville's novels, but he is a master of the short story format. I enjoyed all of the stories in this book, because they made me think and fear and wonder at all the hidden things behind the world that we see.
A fascinating mix. I enjoyed The Tain (the novella) and Reports of Certain Events in London the best, but there was no story where I felt disappointed.(less)
**spoiler alert** Cinders is an interesting take on life after fairytale. Argyle has created an in-depth backstory to the mythology of the tale, compl...more**spoiler alert** Cinders is an interesting take on life after fairytale. Argyle has created an in-depth backstory to the mythology of the tale, complete with elves, love magic, sprites and an evil castle.
While the concept is intriguing and different, I have to say that this tale was not my cup of tea. I did not connect with Cinders, and had a great deal of sympathy for the victims of her numerous bad decisions, and that coloured my enjoyment of the story.
Argyle's writing style is easy to read and the story flows well. Fans of traditional fantasy will find something in this tale.
Sharon Shinn has a reputation for writing light SF and fantasy-romance, and Summers at Castle Auburn is a perfect example of her style. Don’t go into...moreSharon Shinn has a reputation for writing light SF and fantasy-romance, and Summers at Castle Auburn is a perfect example of her style. Don’t go into this book expecting a complex political situation and devious plotting. This is a character story.
Coriel is a bastard daughter of house Halsing, and also the daughter of a witch. Her sister Elisandra is betrothed to the wild and wicked Prince Bryan of Auburn, daring hero of all the courtly ladies’ dreams. Coriel, too, is being groomed for an advantageous marriage, but is more headstrong and less pliant than her beloved sister. She is bound to spend 3 months a year – summer – at Castle Auburn with her sister, and the rest of her year with her witchy grandmother, in the village where she was born.
The story follows Coriel’s last 3 years at Castle Auburn, and her gradual awakening to the truth of her and her sister’s lives. Her beloved uncle, the beautiful prince, her friends and even her sister all change in her eyes as she grows and becomes aware of the darkness lying beneath their perfect existence.
Coriel herself is very likeable, and anyone who has grown up with a bit of a tomboy bent will smile at some of her decisions and actions. Her growth and development are what moves the novel along so well. While there is no great drama in the novel, Coriel’s story is engaging and well told. There’s a light romantic thread throughout the book which is delightfully resolved.
The setting is medieval, but leans towards the fantasy side, rather than historical. While the world isn’t particularly deep, it fits the story and gives a nice frame for the events.
If you love a gentle read with interesting and well-developed characters and a satisfying ending, this is a book you might enjoy.(less)
I don't know what to say about this book. I know it got rave reviews and won a Locus.
But I found the first two thirds of the book so dull and plodding...moreI don't know what to say about this book. I know it got rave reviews and won a Locus.
But I found the first two thirds of the book so dull and plodding that I almost put it down several times. It was only the last third that picked up and had a bit of oomph to it.
Whether that is a result of the protagonist (genius smart, picks up anything, solves all his problems in a chapter) or the whole biography style (this is the story of my life, blah blah blah) but I really didn't find myself falling into the story.
That said, it's not badly written, and it has enough conflict for 10 stories. I'm still undecided on whether to read book 2. On the one hand, I would like to know more about the Chandrian. On the other hand, do I want to slog through another 500 pages of Kvothe's life?(less)
Yeine Darr is a barbarian halfblood, summoned from her kingdom in the north to her grandfather's side in the city of Sky. Sky is a magical city, held...moreYeine Darr is a barbarian halfblood, summoned from her kingdom in the north to her grandfather's side in the city of Sky. Sky is a magical city, held up by the power of four gods, chained to mortal form in punishment.
On arrival Yeine is named as an heir, with her two cousins. But the power struggle between the mortals pales in comparison to the struggles of the gods to regain their immortality, of which Yeine becomes an unknowing pawn.
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I gave it 4 stars on the quality of the writing and the story. THTK is well written, gripping and unusual. The idea is interesting, and the Amn race are a fascinating, if slightly revolting culture. However I never felt really anchored in the world. It all becomes a rather pale backdrop to the characters.
The characters are at the forefront of the book. This is, in essence, a story about one woman's journey of discovery, about her mother, her past, her self and the enslaved gods who share her world. Yeine is a strong character, well-drawn and interesting. I was invested in her struggles, however I wasn't invested in her. There are, in fact, no sympathetic characters in the book except for Yeine, and she is too hard and too cold. I don't say that as a criticism; she is who she is. But it meant that I enjoyed the book on an intellectual, rather than an emotional level.
I found the book satisfying, but not enjoyable. I'm not interested in reading the rest of the trilogy, however I would read more of this author in a different story.(less)
Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three, which means she will be the first to fail on any quest to seek her fortune. So when her beautiful younger sister...moreSophie Hatter is the eldest of three, which means she will be the first to fail on any quest to seek her fortune. So when her beautiful younger sisters are sent away, Sophie settles down to work in her father’s hat shop, expecting nothing more from life.
Then the Witch of the Waste comes to town. She curses Sophie and turns her into an old woman. Sophie flees into the hills, and runs into the famous wizard Howl and his magical moving castle. Howl is not all that he seems, and with his apprentice Michael and fire demon Calcifer, Howl and Sophie must both face the Witch of the Wastes – and their own fates.
The world of Ingary where the story is set, is a place where magical things like cloaks of disguise and seven-league boots are real. It’s a place of magic, of witches and wizards, of curses and of heroes. Sophie’s quest is a journey of discovery which leads the reader to discover wondrous people and far-away places, some not so far as others.
Sophie is a delightfully strong-willed and competent heroine. The story is fast-paced and entertaining, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. If you’ve seen the movie, never fear. While the movie had a lot of elements of the book, the two stories are different enough that you can read the book without knowing what’s going to happen next.
A very entertaining read. While it’s aimed at middle grade, I certainly didn’t find it childish or dull.(less)
One Good Knight is, quite frankly, fluff, but it was entertaining fluff.
Princess Andromeda (Andie) is a studious bookworm, struggling to fit into cour...moreOne Good Knight is, quite frankly, fluff, but it was entertaining fluff.
Princess Andromeda (Andie) is a studious bookworm, struggling to fit into courtly life and obtain her mother's approval. Queen Cassiopeia is voluptuous, sensual and unimpressed with her skinny, quiet daughter.
But Andie's life takes a frightening turn when a dragon appears over the kingdom. The traditional virgin sacrifices are initiated, and the kingdom calls for a Champion to come to their aid.
Lackey uses the traditional fairytale tropes (godmothers, princesses and rescuers, witches in the woods) and builds a world from them, and it is a fun concept. There's a good dash of romance in the books (as you would expect from the Luna imprint) and the plot is a little light, but that doesn't detract from the story.
I enjoyed this novel, I think in part because it was a break from the more serious fantasy I had been reading previously. As long as you go into the book expecting a light, fun read, you won't be disappointed.(less)