Like all the other Kate Griffin books i've read, this one is a fast, entertaining, wonderfully imaginative extravaganza. And it's a bit disappointing....moreLike all the other Kate Griffin books i've read, this one is a fast, entertaining, wonderfully imaginative extravaganza. And it's a bit disappointing. It's almost entirely, really, a sequence of action scenes. They're peppered with intense but tiny moments of characterization and story, glimpsed out of the corner of the narrative eye. I always wish - always expect, actually - that sooner or later the book must turn to them, that these are what it's all about! The problem is, what arrives instead is the end of the book. It gradually becomes doubtful that theres really any there there if we should look there, which makes me sad.
It's all done with such wit and charm and creativity that I can almost overlook it, but not quite, after five books in the series. This is almost a book about community, almost about the city, almost about growing up, almost about sacrifice, almost about loneliness. In other words, it's almost a book about people. Unfortunately, it's mostly a book about things blowing up. (less)
I liked this book, and the hell with the naysayers. It's not great literature, and it's not Harry Potter either, but it's just so goddamned honest abo...moreI liked this book, and the hell with the naysayers. It's not great literature, and it's not Harry Potter either, but it's just so goddamned honest about what it's trying to say that I couldn't help but like it. (It's also extremely well crafted and readable, but that's almost a given with Rowling.) She clearly utterly, totally, uncompromisingly loathes these people and their snobbishness, parochialism and racism and all the rest, (or whoever these fictional people are a stand in for,) and would really like to beat them all to death with a hammer. That, however, being illegal, she wrote this book instead. (less)
Not bad but a bit too much on the Sword & Sorcery, pulpy side for my tastes. The setting, which was something of the selling point, doesn't really...moreNot bad but a bit too much on the Sword & Sorcery, pulpy side for my tastes. The setting, which was something of the selling point, doesn't really work, unfortunately. It starts off well and theres the occasional arresting image (I liked the man with the robe that is never clean) but doesn't ever build up to a really solid sense of place. The older characters work well and give the book a bit of weary self reflection, but the young'uns are just annoying. The plot has a nice kind of retro D&D sillyness on at times - fighting the palace guard! secret passages! - but mostly it doesn't add up to much and theres only so much of that kind of thing one can take before it gets dull.
Important stuff comes a bit out of nowhere and while the brisk pace was one of the books redeeming features, it might have been a bit too brisk - the political players could have stood to get a little more development and nuance. Finally, this just barely avoided my ideologically-annoying tag for it's reflections on violence - theres definitely an attempt to examine it's influence and the rightness of the heroes, but it never goes far enough, never actually takes the step of making the heroes in the slightest at wrong to the reader, and so the ultimate effect, for me at least, was that self doubt is something that just needs to be gotten over.
This was quite fun, (terrible prose and all.) The conceit is rather thin - our villain protagonists soon prove themselves to have hearts of gold and a...moreThis was quite fun, (terrible prose and all.) The conceit is rather thin - our villain protagonists soon prove themselves to have hearts of gold and a good cause - and maybe a bit too long, but still perfectly enjoyable. Characterization which is not all together terrible and a really quick pace help, and theres the nostalgia crack factor. Ambiguous morally grey anti-villains far nicer than your run of the mill contemporary fantasy hero! Elves! Dark Elves! Running around the continent to collect bits of a mcGuffin! A quest! When was the last time you read a good quest? I miss quests. (less)
A bit too lightweight to be really enjoyable. The plot is paper thin and full of holes. None of the characters except the protagonist have any persona...moreA bit too lightweight to be really enjoyable. The plot is paper thin and full of holes. None of the characters except the protagonist have any personality at all, and she's a 19th century Russian aristocrat with improbably 21st century notions of proper identity-politics PC conduct. Even the setting doesn't have much going for it beyond mild geographic novelty - the alternative history is barely fleshed out, bits of English Victoriana show up nonsensically and the steampunk is halfhearted. Really, the only good bit is that theres lots of trains. (less)
Difficult for me not to compare with Ready Player One, though I suppose neither book really deserves it.
Predictably, I like Among Others much more. P...moreDifficult for me not to compare with Ready Player One, though I suppose neither book really deserves it.
Predictably, I like Among Others much more. Part is that it's more relevant to my experience - books and libraries rather than games and arcades, British rather than American - but part is the attitude towards all that stuff that you read and see as an adolescent geek. In RPO, its an escape, a retreat, a thing to hide from the world in. AO has that too, but it also about how reading - and reading genre, at that - is an engagement with the world. How books shape your intellectual landscape and become a tool for a more complex understanding of the real world.
This is a review with pictures in it. I see people doing this, and I want to as well. I can haz cats also, yes?
Anyway, this ye old secondary world fa...moreThis is a review with pictures in it. I see people doing this, and I want to as well. I can haz cats also, yes?
Anyway, this ye old secondary world fantasy, with maps and kingdoms princes and things and everything.
No, not like that, silly. It is Deep and Melancholy and Meaningful. Like this:
Do you SEE? It is FUZZY and PASTEL COLORED and there is BOOBS. That means it is PROFOUND.
Women in this book are not marginalized onto these pedestals replete with bizzaro stupid sexualization for no discernable reason (except BOOBS) like this
but for complex things about THEMES. IT IS LIKE FUCKING SHAKESPEARE, YO.
Doctor Who has Themes.
(Look, I believe in equal opportunity eye-candy, yes?)
This all the MORE DEEPER, because it is PURPLE.
There are also other themes, except BOOBS.
For example, there is FREEDOM and IDENTITY and NATION-THINGY-NESS.
This is INEFFABLE and SAD, because, you see, once there were SONGS, and now there are NO MORE SONGS. And there is MEMORY. SECRET MEMORY. And it is SAD.
BUT! Fear not, brave readers. Where there is PROFOUND SAD and BOOBS, there are...
No, unfortunately there are no X-Men.
But there are MEN.
But also not like that. Not ALL testoroney and nasty and things.
No, these real men SING.
And are NICE TO ANIMALS. And are NICE TO WIMMINZ. Whom they make CRY. But with JOY.
Well, SAD JOY. This is DEEP.
So, folk, it's ok - we can sit back and marvel at these men be men. Sometimes, they kill people or take people prisoner or are generally nasty and shit, but it's OK because IT HURTS THEM IN THEIR HEART.
The point is, a little bit of judicious forgivable killing is what forges the MANLY HEART.
Forged on the CRUCIBLE. Of WAR. Into MEN.
And it SAD. But with JOY, also.
(This book is very long.
All right, it is also very thick.)
So we have the MEN who weep INSIDE, and the WOMEN, who weep OUTSIDE, and the LAND that weeps to be REDEEMED.
Oh, the GLORY of the PAIN. And the RESOLVE. The STEELY resolve. Tempered by the CAMRADERIE. Of WAR. Of MEN.
BUT! I don't know if they win. Because I didn't finish the book. Because I was overwhelmed.
Yes, also because I swooned with all the TRAGIC MANLINESS,
but also because,
fuck the fascists.
Over and out.
Good god this takes forever.
Since I'm here anyway, hot-dude-spam, k? It's like a palette cleanser and makes me feel better after this book.
Sexy George Orwell. And he didn't even sing.
I would have stayed in tiny Paris garrets and drunk cheap red wine with you while getting tuberculosis anyday, Eric.
Commodity fetish, you say, Young Karl Marx?
Jaquen H'ghar is the sexiest ASOIAF character it is known shut up ok? (less)
Not as strong as the first book. Too many sub plots and minor characters get introduced but never go anywhere or get extremely short shrift, so theres...moreNot as strong as the first book. Too many sub plots and minor characters get introduced but never go anywhere or get extremely short shrift, so theres never any sense of tension with anything involving them. The main characters seem to have character developed backwards, and are shallower ad less layered than in the Cardinals Blades too. Still a fun adventure read, (Plots! Schemes! Treachery! Swordfights! Rooftop chases!) but feels rather distant and unengaging in terms of plot and character. (less)
For a rather twisted book, all about necromancy (and often graphic necrophilia) its also rather funny and ultimately life affirming, even happy. A few...moreFor a rather twisted book, all about necromancy (and often graphic necrophilia) its also rather funny and ultimately life affirming, even happy. A few of the minor characters could have stood to get a bit more development, and some rather important elements seemed to come out of nowhere, but those are somewhat minor quibbles for a largely fun book with some interesting, disquieting currents running through it. (less)