Different cover. Always been one of my favourite works in the Discworld series, and I decided to re-read at least a few of my favourites (can't quiteDifferent cover. Always been one of my favourite works in the Discworld series, and I decided to re-read at least a few of my favourites (can't quite get through 30+ in a week!) in the run-up to the release date of The Shepherd's Crown, which will sadly be the final instalment. Carpe Jugulum being one on the witches, and Tiffany being a witch, it felt appropriate to begin with this (though I do think I'm also going to be going through several of the Ankh-Morpork novels if I have time). 5 stars <3...more
It's pretty obvious that this is very early in Georgette Heyer's writing career, before she'd truly settled into writing romance and historicals; in fIt's pretty obvious that this is very early in Georgette Heyer's writing career, before she'd truly settled into writing romance and historicals; in fact, this piece is contemporary for her, set in the 1920s. Anyway, it's noticeably unpolished, very short even for a short story and extremely simplistic.
It also says more about the author's dislike of other women (this is known, so far as I'm aware) than she perhaps intended, and it's potentially triggering for topics relating to sexual assault - being a short story of its time it doesn't go very far with the topic, but far enough to be upsetting. Even the quality of the writing fails to come up to Heyer's usual standard.
Might be worth reading if you're a completist, but that's the only reason to do it. The text of the story can be found in one of the top reviews here. (I'll add a link to the details as librarian later, if it's permitted.) 1.5 stars rounded down to 1. (I really do wish GR did half-stars.)...more
Not a bad collection. Poorly edited and proof-read, however, which I've encountered in far too many books I've acquired via Kindle lately (and I stillNot a bad collection. Poorly edited and proof-read, however, which I've encountered in far too many books I've acquired via Kindle lately (and I still can't find Kaylin, dammit! Where IS my Kindle Keyboard? I can't have lost a second...I swear they evade me or something!).
I'll review individual tales in a little more detail when I read this for the second time; it's a habit with me. Definitely worth reading if you're an established Bujold fan, anyway....more
I've been captured by every story in the Five Gods (a.k.a. Chalion) universe on first reading, and Penric's Demon is no different: I thoroughly enjoyeI've been captured by every story in the Five Gods (a.k.a. Chalion) universe on first reading, and Penric's Demon is no different: I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and particularly its characters and subtext. My only disappointment in the tale was that it seemed to end slightly more abruptly than I might have otherwise preferred; but I do most sincerely hope to hear more regarding Penric, Desdemona and their further activities in the future. ...more
Ridiculous but brilliant. This novel is a lot of fun to read, and its characters and their situations did make me chuckle aloud a few times, which, whRidiculous but brilliant. This novel is a lot of fun to read, and its characters and their situations did make me chuckle aloud a few times, which, while I love Heyer's writings, isn't a common occurrence!
I admit, it can take a little getting used to as far as certain things are concerned. Mostly, the differences between class and era norms for naming: here, our lead characters are Gareth/Gary, Amanda, and Hester. While "Hester" has now largely gone out of fashion as a girl's name (I have never heard of a real Hester even in my parents' and grandparents' generations, and I'm nearly thirty), "Amanda" has become a very common name, though it had barely been invented in the 1820s (or so), and "Gary" carries very different class connotations than it did a couple of centuries ago. So there's that.
Otherwise though, this book is a cheerful romp, and while it may be tied up a little over-neatly (I think there are reasons Heyer had so much help from her husband when writing her mystery novels), it's done well and runs at a happy pace throughout, neither rushed nor dragging. 4.5 stars rounded down....more
Oh dear. The ebook version of this novel has been terribly edited. I can see why the two reviews on Google Play (where I eventually got my ebook) areOh dear. The ebook version of this novel has been terribly edited. I can see why the two reviews on Google Play (where I eventually got my ebook) are both one-star, though I'd still have given it a little bit more - 3 stars, as you see.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story itself and its characters, with only a couple of exceptions (Melody, Beth and the "summary" at the end, which takes all suspense out of future novels in the series if you read it!). The winding 'round of Regency romance with a fairly unusual system of magic has been done beautifully. I wouldn't compare the book to Jane Austen with magic, though - more, perhaps, to Georgette Heyer with magic. I've always felt Austen's works to be rather dull and dusty, and I don't feel that way about either Heyer or Mary Robinette Kowal.
For all that, I might give 5 stars. But what knocks it down to 3?
Well, the abysmal editing is a greater part of that. It isn't just that words are missed out and transposed, or that whoever did the editing couldn't seem to settle on whether to use British English (as the book is set in England) or American English (as the author's first language), but that the language used seems only to stick to its proclaimed era in dialogue, whereas in the narration there are frequent slips into twentieth-century American English.
Since the tale is supposed to be told largely from the viewpoint (albeit in third person) of a young, middle-class Englishwoman who has had neither cause to engage with American literature, nor to meet any American people... well, you see my point, do you not? I don't believe that Jane ought to be written as thinking in blatant Americanisms, given her established character history. It might have been different had she been born, for example, in the 1920s, and had she then perhaps had some experience of hearing American English from GIs as a young woman, but to find a young lady in the early part of the nineteenth century using such phrases throws me badly out of the story, as a reader. It's hard to separate it as an anachronism, but for all that, it qualifies.
Between that and my annoyance with the quick-summary big-spoiler ending - if you want to read any of the rest of the series and keep the suspense in the tales, I suggest you avoid the last two pages of this book - I decided to rate this three stars in the end. I find it a fun read, but its issues bother me too much to give it four or five stars.
Also, I recommend avoiding the audiobook edition for now. The author decided to adopt an RP English accent to read it and, though she is extremely talented when reading in her own American accent, her attempt at RP English made me cringe so hard that even the sample put me off buying it. If you want a sample of MRK's voice acting or audiobook narration, try her readings of her own short stories or Seanan McGuire's fantasy/crime novels. Much better!...more
As I've said before: there's nothing quite like an author's own reading of their work. I will say so again, with emphasis, when discussing this particAs I've said before: there's nothing quite like an author's own reading of their work. I will say so again, with emphasis, when discussing this particular book in audio. Peter Beagle has done a brilliant job. Not flawless: among other things, he has a rather gravelly sort of voice that means he'd struggle to sound like a woman for more than a second or two, but to his credit, he doesn't affect the terrible falsetto I've heard from other male narrators when reading female characters. I think, however, that I'd take a good book read aloud by its own author over most other narrators, and this is undoubtedly that....more
Enjoyable as always, even though it had less of Nightingale than usual and than I'd have liked (he's probably my favourite character, though Peter runEnjoyable as always, even though it had less of Nightingale than usual and than I'd have liked (he's probably my favourite character, though Peter runs near). Unfortunately given how book 4 ended, if Peter was to be out of London that had to be a given in terms of the plot.
I did like the characters and twists built up around the area, back-story of both regular characters and new ones, and the families were all drawn well and as like "normal" people as possible without being 2.4 kids and two parents with zero complications. I also very much appreciate that the author did not use child abuse as a quick and nasty way to give the story an edge. Too many writers do that.
In addition to all that, I really love that Dominic is written as a normal, well-adjusted rural copper, neither particularly macho nor particularly camp, who just happens to be trying to decide whether or not to accept his long-term boyfriend's proposal of marriage. It's such a nice and normal way of dealing with an LGBTQ+ main character (even if he's just a main character for this book), without stereotyping.
One aspect that especially pleased me about the way they're treated in the story is that neither is given a label as far as their sexuality's concerned - far too many writers do that and thereby contribute to bisexual and pansexual invisibility in the media. These two could be gay, bi, pan or whatever else, but it doesn't matter, it's not made an issue of, the question isn't even asked - and that makes me really happy.
I do very much wish that casually queer characters were more common in fantasy and crime fiction, especially when written without the stereotypes too many people still seem to feel are legitimate, but in this instance, it's so nice to feel represented. Well done, Ben. :)
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration is excellent, as usual, and it's great to hear him working on some different British accents from the usual Londoner, Scotsman and whatever-the-heck Seawoll is (Yorkshire?); he's very good at it, regardless.
4.5 stars for this audiobook: 4 for the story, 5 for the narration. I look forward to the next (and hopefully, also more Nightingale!)....more
Adding to note the second read within a year of the same book, since GR only counts one per book toward annual challenges (which has thoroughly screweAdding to note the second read within a year of the same book, since GR only counts one per book toward annual challenges (which has thoroughly screwed up my past years' reading challenges listed here, as per bloody usual!)....more
Entertaining as always, though Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's American accent leaves quite a bit to be desired. It's almost a relief to find there's a voiceEntertaining as always, though Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's American accent leaves quite a bit to be desired. It's almost a relief to find there's a voice he can't do well, though! ;)...more
As usual, well read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who brings Peter to life with surprising ease. He's not always as good as he could be with female voicesAs usual, well read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who brings Peter to life with surprising ease. He's not always as good as he could be with female voices, but I don't fault him too much for that, given the depth of his natural voice.
The story, I think I've already said I really like, though the sex scenes made me cringe a bit. Still, that doesn't take away much from the overall quality of the book. It's a good sequel....more
One Salt Sea isn't in my top three of this series, but I still enjoy reading it, and like much of the series that winds up being on an annual basis. TOne Salt Sea isn't in my top three of this series, but I still enjoy reading it, and like much of the series that winds up being on an annual basis. The audio version, again narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal, is as excellently done as all the others, and has that extra little something that makes it simply fun to listen to no matter what else I'm doing. Not that I don't enjoy reading it, but 1SS isn't the most upbeat of books, so a little fun is a good addition, somehow. ...more
Hmm. Well... This is probably the one Toby book I do not re-read so regularly. Mostly because it's been known to give me a nightmare or two. It isn'tHmm. Well... This is probably the one Toby book I do not re-read so regularly. Mostly because it's been known to give me a nightmare or two. It isn't strictly triggering to me, but I can see how it could be. It's a necessary part of the series in certain ways - for the later references to Toby's lingering unease around candlelight, character building for Quentin and the Luidaeg, and several other reasons - but I think I'm going to stick to the audio version after this. I find it less troubling, somehow. Not strictly "better", but it bothers me less....more
I think I enjoy the audio version of this better than the paper one. Possibly because MRK brings Gordan and Jan to life a bit more. I don't know. I alI think I enjoy the audio version of this better than the paper one. Possibly because MRK brings Gordan and Jan to life a bit more. I don't know. I always enjoyed ALH, but it isn't one of the books in the series that I re-read (in audio or paper) on an annual basis like Late Eclipses & Ashes of Honor....more