A quieter story than Written in Red, with a series of crises that get resolved before the next one comes, instead of one huge climax at the end. I lik...moreA quieter story than Written in Red, with a series of crises that get resolved before the next one comes, instead of one huge climax at the end. I liked it that way a lot, especially as it shows how Meg is learning to use her talent to help her friends without things needing to get waaaay out of hand (although that's happening elsewhere in the world).
Another excellent book by Anne Bishop. My only problem is that I wait and wait for the next book, devour it in a few days and then have to wait another year for the next one. I have such a hard life. :)(less)
This book is a collection of essays published by Jo Walton on the Tor.com website between July 2008 and February 2010. The are almost all about SF (an...moreThis book is a collection of essays published by Jo Walton on the Tor.com website between July 2008 and February 2010. The are almost all about SF (and occasionally fantasy) books she's reread. Walton reads at a pace that leaves me breathless with jealousy and manages to read her way through both rereads of old favourites and new reads as well and a very steady pace.
I read pretty much all of these on the website when they were posted, but that didn't stop me from pre-ordering the book and starting to read it as soon as it hit my Kindle, abandoning the book I had just started for the duration of this one. And I enjoyed it all over again. She reads a depth into books that I rarely manage and occasionally I get a bit left behind, but that's okay.
I've read some of the books she covers in this book, but I admit most I haven't. Walton seems to have a liking for complicated books of many layers and older books, and while I love the idea, I struggle to read such things and have been even more since my ME developed. Since that happened when I was 21 (and 23 years ago; I don't mind if you feel the need to calculate my age), I missed out on some very fertile reading years. But that's okay too, I love the books I read and I get as much out of them as I get out of them.
It didn't matter if I hadn't read the book she was discussing in any particular essay. It was still a most interesting read. Most of the books I still don't feel a surging desire to read even now, but it's always nice to know a bit more about books that are well known in the genre. I have bookmarked some essays to either go back and check out the original blog posts (they're all still online) and see what the commenters had to say, or to consider the book for myself.
I think the books that tempt me the most after these essays are the Steven Brust books. So I stopped half way through the essay for the first one and skipped forward until we reached another author. Will I read them? I don't know. There's the time and the money and all the other books I want to read to consider. But I'm going to avoid spoilers to give myself the option. As Jo Walton says a few times in this book, you can get all sorts of things out a a reread but you can only ever read a book for the first time once.
She also has a few essays that aren't about particular books, but about issues that come up in the SFF genre conversion. There are things like how SF fans read compared to how mainstream readers read - and her discussion of this makes me realise why literary fiction just doesn't work for me. I read too much like an SFF reader and so I put emphasis on the wrong parts of the story. As, Walton says, mainstream authors often do the same when they try to write SFF.
She also talks about rereading series, different kinds of series, readers who gulp and readers who sip, the concept of skimming and that scary creature who can get into books you loved years ago and ruin them, the Suck Fairy (a term I've been using as I discuss rereading myself).
This is kind of an odd book, as it talks in detail about books that the reader may not have read. This reader often hadn't, and this reader loved the book all the same. It won't be for everyone, but give it a try if you think it sounds interesting. You could even try one or two of the columns on Tor.com and then come back and buy the book so Jo gets a royalty and you have her essays forever.
I also find it kind of ironic that my first new read for 2014 (White Nights by Ann Cleeves was started in 2013 so it only half counts), the year my only goal is to get in some rereads, is a book all about rereading.(less)
REREAD #1: 13 January 2014 - 14 January 2014 (9/10)
I'm not quite sure why this was suddenly the book I wanted to reread. I've haven't been feeling lik...moreREREAD #1: 13 January 2014 - 14 January 2014 (9/10)
I'm not quite sure why this was suddenly the book I wanted to reread. I've haven't been feeling like reading paranormal romance for the last year or so (which is kind of annoying as I have series I still like and want to read that I'm getting further behind with). This series is fantasy romance rather than paranormal, but there's definitely a genre-style romance within the fantasy story.
I saw a notice somewhere (Facebook?) that Wilson's new book (a standalone fantasy romance called The Winter King) is now available for preorder and part of me was interested in buying it, but I felt I shouldn't when I'd never actually managed to finish this series. (I have all five books of it in ebook and the first four in paper, so I've put some money into it.) And over the following days I wanted to read this one again more and more.
I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it and I'm very glad I decided to do so. Yes, there's some romance tropes in here - and that's fine, I'm perfectly okay with romance tropes if I know I'm reading a romance and can expect them - and I was less engaged with those that I was with the slowly building fantasy story, but they were perfectly fine all the same.
I'm writing this review after finishing the second book as well and being a couple of chapters into the third book, so there's a little hindsight here. This first book is more of a genre romance than the others. I think a lot of that is because the romance plot can be jumped into immediately. Soul bond forms and we immediately have a couple. They have to build a relationship, but they've had a head start. On the other hand, the fantasy world and the growing issues, plots and conflicts are built up more slowly. By the end of the book we getting a much clearer idea of what's going on and, for myself as a fantasy reader more than a romance reader, the series (rather than the individual book) is coming into its own as I can begin to see the story that attracts me more.
As I said in my earlier review (below), one of the things I like very much about the relationship between Ellie and Rain is that the soul bond immediately links them, but they have to learn to know each other, love each other and trust each other. Even by the end of the book, when (not really a spoiler) Ellie has figured out she loves Rain, she doesn't know him well enough or trust him enough to complete the soul bond. That's going to take time. I like that. I like it a lot.
Just let me address one more point. For some readers, Ellie is going to a major Mary-Sue character. She doesn't think she's pretty, but she is; she's innocent and loving and thinks she's cowardly but she's not; she has a mysterious heritage and, guess what, she turns out to have magical powers; the Fey warriors all think she's wonderful and would die for her etc. You get the idea. I can see all that, but I can fall into the story and let it work for me, so I don't care. But if that's going to drive you bat-shit crazy this is probably not be the book for you.
It's weird, as intellectually I can totally see all that and that it's not the best way to write a story. But if everything around it is done right, it sweeps me away and I don't care. If the author pushes the right buttons with me, I'll happily let them get away with it and just enjoy the book. I guess I dreamed of being a special princess when I was a girl, too.
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least a couple of other series where this same thing happens. Rhapsody from Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages series gets away with it from me too, while the whole of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's Keltia books get a pass because while really, the whole society is too perfect and the books are wish-fulfillment, the fulfill my wishes, so I enjoy them. (I didn't enjoy the last two so much, but that was a totally different issue I don't feel the need to go into here.)
Okay, that's enough rambling from me. As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this book and went straight on to the next one and have started the one after that.
ORIGINAL READ: 2 November 2011 - 7 November 2011 (8/10)
This fantasy-romance debut features faerie king Rain Tairen Soul, a man tormented by age-old grief: a thousand years ago, the woman he loved was slain in battle, and in his rage he laid waste to half the world. Now his people are dying out and the evil mages of Eld are rising again. When Rain hears the call of his lost soul mate, Ellysetta, he journeys to the neighbouring kingdom to find her; when he claims a woodcarver's daughter as his mate, he scandalizes the nobility of her country and rouses the interest of Eld's wicked wizards, who come seeking her in order to get at Rain.
There's been a lot of buzz around the romance blogsphere about this book and its sequel, Lady of Light and Shadows (which is the second half of the story and I have on reserve from the library).
I was both interested to read it and a bit sceptical at the same time. On one level a lot of it sounded very same-old/same-old. There were shapechangers, an innocent girl with unexpected backbone, soul mates, magic and evil mages. None of it sounded new and unexpected. But after seeing good reviews I decided to see if my library had it. It didn't. But a friend pointed out to me that you could request that they buy certain books and she was going to do it with this one and its sequel. Inspired by this idea, I did the same (as we live in different regions of Auckland that have their own local government and therefore library systems).
I'm glad I did so as I enjoyed the book. It is different after all, and many of the differences are in the execution rather than the basic idea. First off, this book is slow. Not agonising and annoyingly slow, but delicately slow. Instead of rushing into a wild adventure, it slowly lets us get to know the characters as they get to know each other. This is a book about set up and I assume we'll get more plot in Lady of Light and Shadows which has just been published this month. I found the pace a little surprising as I'm so used to books that pack as much as they can into the pages, and often into just a few days of story time, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Instead of rushing into each other's arms as soul-mated lovers are wont to do (even if they are yelling about how much they hate it as they do it), Rain and Elly slowly get to know each other as Rain officially courts her and it is beautifully done. Wilson's concept of the soul-bond here is not as demanding and ruthless as they often are in novels of the kind. It's being demanding to Rain because he's already accepted it, but Elly has to take her time until she is ready to accept it - and that isn't choosing to say yes (or fall into bed), it's a gut-deep acceptance that she can't force. One that it is understood will only happen when it happens and no sooner. And she can choose to deny it if she wishes - although I'm sure she won't do that or it would all be a bit of a waste of story.
The worldbuilding is well done and the history of the world thought out and important to the plot. Wilson uses the device of having both a long-lived race and a short-lived one (and a couple of others that were mentioned in passing and may or may not turn up in later books) which allows for the conflict that grows between the Fey who cannot forget the war that raged 1000 years ago and the mortals who consider it ancient history and essentially irrelevant to today. Of course, it's going to be the Fey who are right as evil is rising again.
Which brings me to the villains, the main place where the book failed a bit for me. Really, the main villains of the piece, the Eld mages, are bog-standard fantasy fare. They seem to be evil for no real reason other than the fact that they're evil. They use forbidden, black, blood magic and are fundamentally nasty. Not only that but Rain and the other Fey are pretty much essentially unable to see there is any chance to them being any other way, a prejudice that we have been given hints is going to be tested. I didn't find the Eld to be particularly original or convincing villains and I didn't find myself greatly fearing the consequences of their actions.
On the other hand, Wilson includes a couple of minor villains who really creeped me out. Both are mortal and the reasons behind their actions are small, human and decidedly petty. They scared me a whole lot more than the mages and as they planned out their next steps I found myself really worrying about Elly (the focus of their plans in each case) and what might happen. While the mages failed for me, these two characters succeeded in a brilliant way because their evil was small and nasty and very real. They really worried me.
Be aware that Lord of the Fading Lands is not really a complete book on its own. The story pauses at a suitable place, but it is only a pause and the next book is required to finish the story of Rain and Elly's courtship. I suspect the bigger issue of the return of the mages will take even more books as I know another pair are being released (again in consecutive months) at the end of next year. But I liked that. I liked the slow development of their relationship, which felt so much more real than many romance books where everything thing happens so fast. It took me a couple of years to be sure enough of my feeling for and relationship with my now-husband to say yes, so I find the quick, quick pace of many books a little unrealistic. This was a lovely change for me.
All in all, this was a very satisfying novel, with two main downsides. One, as said above, was the mages. The other is that this is really only half a book. Part of what made it a satisfactory read was knowing that I'll be able to read Lady of Light and Shadows before too much time goes by. So I recommend this book to anyone who likes a nice, even balance of fantasy and romance, but make sure you'll have access to the next book to finish the story.
Wilson has said that there will be another two books late next year (again with lovely titles, King of Sword and Sky and Queen of Song and Souls) which I'm guessing may start dealing with the Eld mages once Rain and Elly are joined together. I have no idea if there will be more books after that or not. In a way, I hope not. I like the focus and slow pace of the relationship building and I don't want this to become a series where every character and his (or her) dog ends up getting a book of their own. I want this to be a concise and bordered tale with a clear beginning and end rather than something that goes on and on and on. Of course, what Wilson chooses to do has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Lord of the Fading Lands Tairen Soul, Book 1 C. L. Wilson 8/10 followed by: Lady of Light and Shadows (Nov '07) King of Sword and Sky (Oct '08) Queen of Song and Souls (Nov '08)(less)
This is a book I remember getting from the library in my childhood. Many years later, a friend gave me a second hand ex-library copy and I was delight...moreThis is a book I remember getting from the library in my childhood. Many years later, a friend gave me a second hand ex-library copy and I was delighted to have my own copy, even if I never quite got to reading it again. The Baen released it in ebook as an omnibus with Android at Arms (which I admit I have no desire to read at all) and I bought it. Of course, then it sat on my Kindle for a while.
Now that I've made the decision I'm going for rereading old favourites this year, my "Rereads" collection on the Kindle is where I start looking each time I'm choosing a new book and this is the one I decided to pick.
I'm delighted to discover that this is another book that stands the test of time (maybe I'll track down some more Andre Norton as I read many of her books as a child, although this one is written for a slightly older audience). The strange set up remained mysterious, even though I'd read the book before. Of course, the fact I could remember next to nothing about the plot (contemporary - for 1976 - woman seems to be drawn back in time to ancient Egypt but it's an alternate reality was about as far as it went) probably helped there.
Tallahasse is a great heroine and I like the way she manages to maintain her own identity and yet also merge parts of Ashake into herself as required. By the end, she is mostly Tally, but not quite the same as before. She has found a place where she fits, perhaps better than before, and that's a good and satisfying place to end. The only thing I found dated in the text was the way she keeps getting referred to by the author as "the girl" when she was a young woman and I felt should have been named as such.
I do find it rather sad that the hates-women-with-agency-and-authority male villain could fit in a book today was easily as it did almost 40 years ago. Clearly, society still has a long way to go.
The action and adventure of the plot is also fun as Tally tries to understand this world she's fallen into and work out which bits of it match her reality, which bits don't and which bits don't fit either Earth or Amun.
All in all, another good reread and the Suck Fairy so far remains at bay. Long may it continue.(less)
I finished my first major reread of an old but favourite series today. And I loved it all over again. It can be such a dangerous feeling, going back t...moreI finished my first major reread of an old but favourite series today. And I loved it all over again. It can be such a dangerous feeling, going back to books you loved 25-30 years ago. Will they hold up? Will you get that same sense of wonder? Has the (as Jo Walton calls it in her blogs on Tor.com) "suck fairy" visited?
As I said in my review for A Dream of Kinship, I've been collecting up as ebooks my old favourites from my "hey day" of reading, which was my late teens and early twenties (also know as the mid-80s to mid-90s) as they are published as ebooks, sometimes as a self-published book by the author, sometimes as part of a publisher's backlist and sometimes as a first electronic release from a new publisher. I'm building up a lovely collection of favourite authors including such names as M.K. Wren, Kate Elliott, Greg Bear, Katharine Kerr, Melissa Scott and Barbara Hambly. And I'm going to try to make 2014 I really dig into that collection and get on with some rereading.
I will face down the suck fairy and hopefully it will retreat defeated.
This series totally did retain the wonder and I'm so glad I have indeed reread it. I don't know if I realised when I first read it (I was a lot younger then), that the trilogy as a whole is a study of how religions develop, struggle to survive and, if they do survive, codify into tradition that may or may not be a true and correct vision of the original revelation. It took me until this third book for me to realise it even this time, but once I did, I was more impressed than ever before. I immediately had to go back to the prologue of the first book, so see how what it said needed to be reinterpreted in light of the end of the third book. That must surely be the sign of something with some meat and depth to it.
One thing I find extremely fascinating is that, given the above reading of the theme of the trilogy, I find myself left to wonder what effect the new "revelation" at the end of this book will have on the world within it and if, as the epilogue suggests, that effect is major, does it simply start the cycle over again.
Of course, that is a question for the reader to ponder, not one for the author to give away. I doubt he ever had an answer (and it is too late to ask him as he died in 2002) and instead left this rhetorical question on purpose. After all, good books should make us think.
This trilogy is a lovely blend of a fantasy tale with references both to the past and the future of the world within the books. The "prologue" and "epilogue" help to expand the middle part of the tale into something much bigger than simply the adventures of the characters. It might be 30 years old, but it still packs a punch. The only reason this volume didn't get 10/10 is that I struggled with Tom's metaphysical/otherworldly journey. I got the point, but the prose was a bit of a struggle.
Just be aware that the Gollancz ebook edition of this is pretty terrible. It's full of scanning errors and the first page of the end matter of the book is inserted before the very end of the story, making the Kindle think I was finished and asking me to rate the book. I was okay because I'd read it before, but I was still heard to mutter "but that isn't the end!" in a disgruntled voice. I paged forward and suddenly the text returned to finish of the tale before going back to the rest of the end matter. The first two books in the trilogy had a few scanning errors here and there, but many old works do and I could live with them. The problems with this one were much worse to the degree that I feel I need to point it out. I had read it before and had my old paperback for reference, so I was fine. If you're coming to this cold, it might just cause confusion. As always, this doesn't alter my rating in any way, as that isn't fair on the story or the author, but poor work, Gollancz.(less)
I read the first "Shetland" book by Ann Cleeves, Raven Black, during a mystery reading binge in 2013. I picked it more because my mother's family orig...moreI read the first "Shetland" book by Ann Cleeves, Raven Black, during a mystery reading binge in 2013. I picked it more because my mother's family originally came from Shetland and she and my father visited there a couple of years ago to try to track that family, rather than because I picked that book in particular. I enjoyed it a lot and planned to read more in the series eventually.
Then I got the chance to watch the pilot 2 episodes of the BBC TV series, "Shetland", based by the third book in this series, Red Bones. I liked it very much and decided I would watch more of the show once it screens. I also though I might read the book it was based on. Of course, being me, I have to read the books in order, so I went and bought the Kindle edition of this book and read that first.
Again, I enjoyed it a lot.
Cleeves sets up a good mystery and gives it an unexpected solution that makes perfect sense. She did the same in the first book and, assuming the TV series didn't stray too far from the source material (and even from reading just one book I could tell it strayed some), then she also did it in the second book.
These are character based books, focused on the main protagonist Jimmy Perez, although we also get sections of the book from other points of view. It's all very cleverly done and allows the author to drop information from one person that is absolutely correct, but takes on a different shape when seen by someone else or later on when the reader knows more.
I will be reading the rest of the series, but I may give it a little time before I read Red Bones so that the TV version isn't quite to close in my mind to avoid having the changes made for visual storytelling completely confuse me (something that could easily happen).
I don't want to spoil the story itself at all, so these are rather general comments, but if you like a solid character-based mystery that has a touch of police procedural without going into great detail, this is a series to try. The setting of a small but spread out community where it is barely light in winter and never quite dark in summer makes for something a little strange and different, but never too different for the reader to relate to the people that live there.(less)
Another very fun addition to the Meg Langslow series.
It's Christmas and there's a prankster about, causing trouble in the local churches. Meg is calle...moreAnother very fun addition to the Meg Langslow series.
It's Christmas and there's a prankster about, causing trouble in the local churches. Meg is called on the reschedule everyone's Christmas events around the available spaces while others are cleaned and repaired. But things get serious when a body is found.
It's typical, crazy fun and everything gets terribly complicated and nothing seems to go right. Meg's family are their usual, whacky selves and Meg is trying desperately not to accumulate any more animals.
I bought this when it came out back a few months ago, but decided I wanted to save it up until Christmas to read. Of course, I then forgot about it. A text from a friend, who was reading a copy from the library reminded me and I started reading it that day. I can usually read on of these in about 24 hours and that was my plan. Read about half and finish it the next day. However, I just kept reading and reading and reading, until it was getting too close to midnight for comfort and I'd finished. It totally messed up my sleeping plans, but it was an awful lot of fun.(less)
I really rather enjoyed this in the end. It kept me turning the pages, although I had a pause towards the end because I knew things were going to get...moreI really rather enjoyed this in the end. It kept me turning the pages, although I had a pause towards the end because I knew things were going to get bad before they got better. That's the main downside to a book like this, that is a retelling of another well known book. It means I know when things are going to go wrong.
The setting is very clever and interesting - especially that it is in the same world as For Darkness Shows the Stars and yet is quite different. The characters are well drawn and interesting (and I definitely want to know more about them). However, because the parallels to the source (The Scarlet Pimpernel) are so clear, I stopped reading for couple of days before getting up the courage to read the end. Peterfreund didn't disappoint me and the books was very well done.
I get worried about things like the fate of made up people.
It was lovely to see some of the characters from the previous book and I really hope there will be another one that gives us some details of what happens next to all these people rather than jumping off to another part of this world and giving us another retelling. That would be okay - I'm sure I'd fall for those new characters too - but there's a lot of "we've set up a good future, but what is it actually going to be" to this book, meaning there's a lot more to tell.
I guess I'll just have to wait and see what the author decides.
As an aside, I do wish whoever publishes these would do a non-US ebook version. If that existed I would have paid money and bought the book. Instead, I was going to leave it and not read it until I happened to see it on display in the library and grabbed it. I don't understand why I don't get the opportunity to throw money at the author and publishing house (especially when I can get the prequel freebies easily). I wish someone would explain it to me one day. Not the how of geo-restrictions, which I understand, but the WHY. I doesn't make sense.
This frustration however, doesn't affect my enjoyment of the book or my rating. I'm not going to punish the author for something I'm fairly sure she has no control over.(less)
This was a lovely read about a favourite children's author. If you, or your child, has ever loved a Judith Kerr book, give this a read.
For some reason...moreThis was a lovely read about a favourite children's author. If you, or your child, has ever loved a Judith Kerr book, give this a read.
For some reason, the thing that surprised me was that she was married to Nigel Kneale (the creator and author of Quatermass among other things). As a SF fan, I knew about him. As a child reader and then mother I knew about her. I was completely unaware there was that connection between them. I certainly wasn't expecting to see a photo of the alien from Quatermass And The Pit showing up in a book all about Judith Kerr.
The book is filled with examples of Kerr's art, not just the children's illustration I had seen before, but also her drawings from childhood (that her mother brought with her when they fled Nazi Germany in 1933) and early career.
A lovely book.
(The copy I got from the library had some sections bound in the wrong order, which was rather confusing, but I managed to work it out. All the same, be aware that if this copy had that problem, others may as well.)(less)
I have thoroughly enjoyed the second book in my reread of Richard Cowper's White Bird of Kinship series. I don't seem to have anything deep or meaning...moreI have thoroughly enjoyed the second book in my reread of Richard Cowper's White Bird of Kinship series. I don't seem to have anything deep or meaningful (or critical for that matter) to say about it.
It is surprising compelling and when I sit down to read some, I find it hard to stop. I've made it through the first two books very quickly and I'm looking forward to starting the third, A Tapestry Of Time in the next few days.
I know I haven't raved about this in a "you must read this book" kind of way, but I really, really do recommend that you give the books a try. They're worth it.
I've enjoyed rereading (or at least collecting) old favourites from the 1980s as their authors assert that electronic rights and publish them as ebooks. I keep telling myself I need to share out rereading my old favourites with the new ones, but I'm seriously considering making 2014 my year of old favourites and just throw in the new reads when I feel like it or an auto-read author comes out with a new book. I'm not going to make it an absolute goal as such things don't work for me, but I'm certainly considering it as a strong guideline.(less)
I read this series back in the 1980s. Going on the sense memory of one passage and the room I feel I was in, I can figure it was when I was at univers...moreI read this series back in the 1980s. Going on the sense memory of one passage and the room I feel I was in, I can figure it was when I was at university, probably about 1987 or 1988. I know I enjoyed them and when I saw they were no available as ebooks, I was delighted to buy them and plan a reread. It's taken me a few years to decide this is the moment, but I'm really glad I did.
I had thought they were published in the 80s too, but a look at the copyright dates (I went and found my paper copies for that - much easier) show that the two halves of this book were both first published in the mid-1970s. I was already impressed that an author of that time had chosen a rise is sea level as his apocalypse, but I find it more so now I see when the stories were written. Nuclear war was a much more common apocalypse at the time.
I really enjoy this book all over again. I don't think it's dated much (except for the "current day" sections had a bit too much smoking and "taping" things) and the future world still works well for me.
I finished this and went straight on to the next book in the series (A Dream of Kinship). I'm hoping to read all three over Christmas.
(After reading this, I also find myself with a hankering to read Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series, but after reading the first four, I promised myself I'd wait until it was finished before I went back to it. There's still one book to go. What a dilemma!)(less)
I've been really enjoying reading some science fiction lately and after finishing the current James S A Corey books and Ancillary Justice, I was looki...moreI've been really enjoying reading some science fiction lately and after finishing the current James S A Corey books and Ancillary Justice, I was looking for something that would give me a similar feeling. I've really enjoyed Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict books, so I decided to give this one - the first in his other series - a go.
It was a good and enjoyable read. I love his mixing of SF and archeological mysteries and this series offers the same, but in a different universe. I'd thought I was out of Jack McDevitt when he said he wasn't planning any more Alex Benedict books any time soon, so I'm glad to discover I like this series too and I was wrong.(less)
This was a surprisingly good story - it was promoted as YA urban fantasy (which I'm not convinced it really is) and I wasn't sure how McKinley would m...moreThis was a surprisingly good story - it was promoted as YA urban fantasy (which I'm not convinced it really is) and I wasn't sure how McKinley would manage that.
But I really enjoyed it and won't complain if she writes more about this world (not that I'm holding my breath).
I just wish McKinley's book were available as ebooks outside the US as I found reading the library hardcover to be quite difficult. This really slowed my reading progress and there were times I found myself looking at the book and not wanting to pick it up - not because of the story but because managing the physical item was hard work.
All the same, it's a good story. Give it a read.(less)
I followed Neil's blog pretty much from the beginning and so buying and reading this was pretty much a no brainer. I really enjoyed it and I'm lined u...moreI followed Neil's blog pretty much from the beginning and so buying and reading this was pretty much a no brainer. I really enjoyed it and I'm lined up for Adventures with the Wife and Blake in 2014.(less)
A really fascinating look at women's needlework in the 1930s to 1950s.
I admit, I bought it to look at the pictures and I ended up reading the whole bo...moreA really fascinating look at women's needlework in the 1930s to 1950s.
I admit, I bought it to look at the pictures and I ended up reading the whole book as I found it really, really interesting. It's not just about needlework, it's a social history of ordinary women in New Zealand in that time period and how what they made fitted into that.
Highly recommended even if you're not an embroidery kind of person but are interested in women's lives.(less)
This was another enjoyable book in the Expanse series, that offered more of the same kind of thing as the 2 previous books and then steadily and relia...moreThis was another enjoyable book in the Expanse series, that offered more of the same kind of thing as the 2 previous books and then steadily and reliably delivered.
If you liked the previous books, you'll like this one too. I did have a point where I slowed down and couldn't keep reading because I knew someone was going to do something awful and blame someone else for it. I hate reading that kind of stuff. But one I got past it, things started coming back together again and I did enjoy the book, although I did think all the peripheral characters ended up suffering a lot. Still, on reflection, they did in the previous two books as well.
As might be expected in a book in a series like this, we got to the end to find we had answers to a lot of our main questions, but now we have a whole lot even more momentous questions we couldn't imagine before and a whole lot of new options for screwing up.
Guess what - there's another book coming out next year. Guess what else - I rather suspect I'll be buying it when it does.(less)
I've got a bit mixed up on what I have and haven't been reading, but I started this one after I finished Fated (I think). I have a bit of a love/hate...moreI've got a bit mixed up on what I have and haven't been reading, but I started this one after I finished Fated (I think). I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book; I love a lot of the ideas and I first read it years ago because a friend said it was her very favourite Mary Stewart book, but I remember finding it hard going. I don't know why now, although I suspect the level of suspense got to me - proving, really, that it is indeed a good book that has achieved its aim.
So after a first chapter, I chickened out and decided to read something else and come back to it. With only one chapter reread, I've really only covered the stuff I remember from the previous time I read the book, so I can let it sit for a bit longer before I need to go back to it.
I WILL read it, as I'm reading through the Mary Stewart books in order and if I want to get to any of the later ones, I have to read this one first.(less)
I read this many, many, many years ago, probably when I still fitted its intended audience in the children's section of the library.
I had completely f...moreI read this many, many, many years ago, probably when I still fitted its intended audience in the children's section of the library.
I had completely forgotten about it until I saw it mentioned on a blog and thought it would be nice to read again. I checked my local library, expecting it to be long gone from the catalogue, but it turned out that they had a copy in the stacks.
It's from a different library to the one where I lived as a child, so it isn't the same book, but it's definitely the same edition as the one I remember reading with this rather lovely, stylised cover.
I did enjoy the story on a reread; and the issues I had with it were adult issues - why wasn't what happened to Erin and Irun actually explained; what happened to Irun's family at the end. As an adult I look forward from the words on the page to the consequences, that's part of my "job description" as a responsible adult. But a child doesn't need to do that and the story remains enjoyable and satisfying. I certainly have no memory of thinking it needed more to it.
And the last line, remains a joy.
Thank you library, for keeping an old and probably fairly unknown book (especially here in New Zealand) in the stacks for this reader to revisit some 30 or 35 years later.(less)
Another good read in this series. An interesting take on the mystery as we knew both who and why right from the beginning and the book was about track...moreAnother good read in this series. An interesting take on the mystery as we knew both who and why right from the beginning and the book was about tracking down and catching someone who was more lucky than clever, rather than figuring out "whodunnit".
I would have liked a bit more of all the friends and family over for thanksgiving, but I'm okay with it not being there. This is a mystery series after all and I enjoy each book in its own way.
I'm already looking forward to the next one in February.(less)