Schwab seems to be making a compellingly readable career out of remixing familiar elements to strong effect, this time having the other London of NeveSchwab seems to be making a compellingly readable career out of remixing familiar elements to strong effect, this time having the other London of Neverwhere collide with Narnia's White Witch. There are 4 Londons, back to back like pages in a book, with only a rare few magicians able to walk between them. Some worlds are full of magic, others ashes and pain, "all have some way to suffer," and each has their own allure. There's a quasi-prince owned like a hunting falcon by the crown, a street rat quick with a blade, a dead-eyed killer, and a plot backed by evil magic. The end nicely ties up the increasingly high stakes while leaving plenty open for a sequel, which I'm quite looking forward to. ...more
Exactly like my experience with the first book of this trilogy, I'm not really sure that I would have been interested in2nd verse, same as the first!
Exactly like my experience with the first book of this trilogy, I'm not really sure that I would have been interested in reading it rather than listening to it. It takes a solid one-third of this story for a plot to develop, though the historical background and the colorful cast of supporting characters are more than enough to anchor my attention on my routine everyday commute to work. It's easy to tell that the author is the historian, and her details about Elizabethan England's queens, kings, and courtiers of the era all shine through brightly. On the other hand, by the time the end of the book rolled around and one character was promising vengeance regarding the death about another, and I couldn't remember that person dying, it's impossible to know whether the story just glossed over it or I skipped a CD....more
once upon a time, someone was enraptured by Plato's Republic: men and women should be treated equally, the goal of arranging a society is to maximizeonce upon a time, someone was enraptured by Plato's Republic: men and women should be treated equally, the goal of arranging a society is to maximize excellence for all, philosophers should rule by rational debate rather than inherited privilege. and so she prayed to Athene that such a thing could really happen. and Athene answered her, along with a few hundred others...
The Just City is a thought experiment about a thought experiment - how would a society of flawed, individual humans, products of their own flawed times, go about building Utopia? how would free will and individual desire be altered in a world where you'd been assigned your place because you'd earned it? this is absolutely a character study and "what if" exploration rather than a plot-driven potboiler, the sort of thing that Jo Walton does so very deftly. it's charming and funny (Sokrates being amazed at the invention of zero) and also uneasy and a little dark (most of the sex is dispassionately practical, sometimes to the point of being icky), and very very human....more
Few people turn a phrase as sharp as Cat Valente, and this dark and richly off - beat fairy tale retelling is no exception. Taking its rhythm and chapFew people turn a phrase as sharp as Cat Valente, and this dark and richly off - beat fairy tale retelling is no exception. Taking its rhythm and chapter headings from Native American trickster stories, this Snow White is full of unexpected turns, welding a pearl-handled revolver....more
even though it feels a whole lot like an endless name-drop, Gaiman's 1602 is a fun re-imagining of the laundry list of all of Marvel's major charactereven though it feels a whole lot like an endless name-drop, Gaiman's 1602 is a fun re-imagining of the laundry list of all of Marvel's major characters. instead of battling for NYC, everyone's fighting for the preservation of the English crown, having been transposed to Elizabeth's Britain. Costumes are subtly recognizable while being doublets & hose; names are tweaked to a 17th century ear. the plot isn't quite as fantastic as the setup, being over and done with in a great hurry (so much so that this feels like a series opener rather than a whole book), but well worth a look....more
A delightfully charming adventure story that takes plenty of old tropes into fun new places, Leviathan is the sort of book that has me checking out thA delightfully charming adventure story that takes plenty of old tropes into fun new places, Leviathan is the sort of book that has me checking out the sequel ASAP. We have a girl dressing as a boy to run away with the military, a deposed prince in hiding, a pair of crusty old advisors, Alp crossings, and pugnacious Germans, all setting the scene for a steampunk take on the dawn of WWI. The rollicking adventure tale that ensues is plenty of fun, marred only by the abrupt ending and some really odd lingo choices....more
after a pair of somewhat lighter historical-fantasy-romances (albeit, ones with a darker undercurrent in the form of nasty villains), the series divesafter a pair of somewhat lighter historical-fantasy-romances (albeit, ones with a darker undercurrent in the form of nasty villains), the series dives much more deeply into that dark tone with the 3rd installment. Hobson has apparently completed the tale of the delightfully-named Dreadnought Stanton and his dirt-witch bride, moving on to tell the story of the couples' youngest son here. from the get-go, the main character is a pretty gawd-awful jerk (his willful carelessness likely killed his elder brother's favorite horse), but again, the interesting little twists on both the world Hobson has built for these interesting people to walk through and their own personal foibles keeps being engaging. there's a lot going on here (Tesla and his super secretive factory, the remains of the magic rock system, a whackadoo preacher, some "cursed" children), and with the book ending on an almost-cliffhanger, we're left wondering how much of it is red herrings or real plot anchors....more
right from the beginning of this book, the 2 literary hooks being set are fairly obvious: this is utterly a Jane Austen pastiche + a gentle touch of mright from the beginning of this book, the 2 literary hooks being set are fairly obvious: this is utterly a Jane Austen pastiche + a gentle touch of magic, and there's a talented but homely heroine lovingly supporting everyone else while assuming no possibility of love for her own non-pretty self. i happened to be perfectly in the mood for both of these things, and so 'Shades of Milk and Honey' was an utterly charming read, quite firmly in the camp of comfort food.
Jane and her sister are very minor gentry out in the country (the family isn't called the Bennets, but you get the idea), where their father is working on putting aside a small dowry/living for each of them. Jane is very plain, but has natural talent weaving the sort of household glamour that a well brought-up lady would use to enrich her home. her sister Melody is the pretty one that of course relies on her face rather than any aptitude in a vocation to catch a suitor. a wacky mom, a host of possible suitors in the neighborhood, some balls and parties, a pending scandal of epic proportions, and a bright sparkle of everyday magic all end up in the mix. though the story about this family's escapades is complete in this volume, the writing is plenty enough to have me checking out the second in the series....more
volume 1 is the prologue of the story - a plucky university student that hasn't at all come into her own as a mechanical inventor has a mysteriously-alluded to past, and the set up for a potentially conflicted future. the art has bucketloads of fun little flourishes hidden off to the edges, but it's also more than a little cutesy for my taste. totally diving right on into vol.2....more
3.5 stars, better than the previous but still not the powerhouse of the first.
Temeraire and Laurence have left the court intrigues of China, but rath3.5 stars, better than the previous but still not the powerhouse of the first.
Temeraire and Laurence have left the court intrigues of China, but rather than a peaceful journey home, they rush into a dangerous overland journey to retrieve Turkish dragon eggs promised to Britain. This is wartime, so nothing goes as planned, with a long-game grudge match started that appears to be trailing then for books to come. Though this entry seems more like a bridge in the series than new ground, it's still a good story - the overt classism of the Napoleonic era as critically dismantled by a newly thinking dragon makes for a charming counterpoint to the relentless necessities of war. Combine that with a quick plot and plenty of die straits, and I'm ready to dive right into the next one....more
'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasa'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasantness at home (being drug through the gossip rags, abandonment, murder attempts, etc), and therefore neatly avoiding her idiot husband. it's a fun romp through one wacky cliffhanger escape after another, and you don't even realize that nothing actually happened until the end. ...more