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Thread: Reading in September 2008
September 15th, 2008, 06:24 AM #46
Finished The Steel Remains. The plot is classic hardboiled noir. Ringil is asked to find a missing woman, his cousin who has fallen foul of the seamier side of society. However, this quickly gives to a more typical fantasy plot concerning ancient races, formidable sorceries, age-old wars, and threats against humanity. What distinguishes this novel is an emphasis on sexual relationships and the use of sex to advance the plot and the self-destructive qualities of the lead characters. The Great War, which is so often the focus in more epic fantasy stories, has already been fought, and though there are many small and bloody skirmishes in the book, these are juxtaposed with personal, internal battles. Another distinguishing feature is that the book discards the usual medieval setting common in fantasy and adopts a science fantasy setting, harking back to Michael Moorcock, who Morgan acknowledges as an influence. The lead characters are all outsiders within society. Ringil is a war hero but also an outsider living in self-imposed exile because of his sexuality. Egar is a barbarian chieftain struggling to fit back into the traditional ways of his clan after years in the more civilised Empire. And Archeth is a half-breed Kiriath, the last person of alien stock left on Earth. Even though each of these people are flawed, they are all essentially moral people, at various stages of the novel each helps a weaker person in need of assistance. For example, Ringil helps a war veteran beat back police that are harassing him in a scene obviously inspired by the Vietnam experience. Ringil is perhaps the least sympathetic. He is emotional, quick to anger, violent, and has committed at least one unforgivable atrocity in his troubled past. He is also the character we are asked to spend the most amount of time with. So perhaps there was some emotional distance in the book for me. With mixed success Morgan attempts to balance exaggerated emotion and an emphasis on plot and action with an attention characterization and twists of black humour. At points the novel feels emotionally overwrought and I think would have benefited from a lighter touch. In contrast, there is his usual unsentimental portrayal of violence and sex. Gritty realism is smeared over the melodrama which is becoming the middle ground in the fantasy market post-Martin. Morgan does this better than, say, Joe Abercrombie. I also liked the fact the book was mercifully lean compared to most the fantasy market. Ultimately, I thought this was a polished and stylish story drawing on a rich heritage of science fantasy. However, despite the strong characterisation, there’s a frustrating lack of emotional subtlety that did prevent me from truly engaging in the story.
Last edited by Luke_B; September 15th, 2008 at 06:50 AM.
September 16th, 2008, 05:20 AM #47
- Join Date
- May 2008
I finished "Bitterwood" by James Maxey. Depsite its flaws and the fact that I would have liked the world-building to be more developed, the novel is pretty interesting and it's an entertaining read. I posted my full review of the novel on my blog.
September 16th, 2008, 05:48 AM #48
Finished Winter Warriors by David Gemmel. i picked it up mostly based on the renewed interest manifested in a recent thread, and it was an easy read and a well told story. I still have the same feeling I got after Legend - that I would have greatly enjoyed his writing as a teenager, but I have different needs now. I will probably read other books by him from time to time, but they are relegated to the beach bag or commuting bag - the ones to be read for relaxation between other, more serious projects.
Now I picked up Hart's Hope by Orson Scott Card, again based on a recommendation here for standalones. It's too early to form an opinion, but the mythical / poetical style is catchy.
September 16th, 2008, 10:21 PM #49
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Finished the Prince of Nothing trilogy. Liked it but wasn't blown away. Way too much inner dialogue for my taste, especially Esme....I get it, you like Kellhus, he is great, he is all that....
Grabbed Toll and decided that I was so lost with Erikson's world that a re-read was in order, but how far back to go? I picked up Gardens and am absolutely enthralled with this re-read. So much is clear now. I feel this is my favourite of his books now. Love the story.
September 16th, 2008, 11:14 PM #50
Finished Before They Are Hanged and started Last Argument of Kings. (I'm gonna check the book and make sure all the pages are there.)
September 17th, 2008, 02:05 PM #51
I finished up Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory. I found the book to be good and even better in retrospect as I was thinking out my review. All in all it's an impressive debut.
Next up is probably Multireal by David Louis Edelmen (my first blurb is in this book)
September 18th, 2008, 03:42 PM #52
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
eBook "War for the Oaks" by Emma Bull
In case you haven't noticed it yet. TOR is giving away two more eBooks, you just need to register with them, if you haven't already.
So what's special in this case? I think it's War for the Oaks by Emma Bull.
I haven't read it but people say it's canon of Urban Fantasy.
Hurry up, it's limited offer.
Edit: stupid me, I've forgotten the link, ah well: here it comes:
September 19th, 2008, 02:26 AM #53
Hmm, its been awhile since I have read books, but i killed a few the past two months, so I will just post them here.
Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. Not a completed series yet, but I am defintely looking forward to more. Odd Hours, the most recent one, is pretty much a must-read. Very well-written, and super-intense by the end. I was stunned after I finished reading becuase of how intense it had gotten. SO I really want another Odd Thomas book...
Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. I re-read all of them except for the most recent three or four (becuase they are still fresh). Really good series. Really like how it is apparent how the author is becoming a better writer as you read the books chronologically (publishing year wise, since the series is not linear). Not a completed series yet so you can wait for more (joy).
What else? Ah,
Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. An unexpected gem. I did not expect it to be something I would like a lot, but it hit all the right buttons with me (except all the "handsome men" damn girly ****) and I enjoyed it. I liked the characters (which is rare for me), and I highly enjoyed the interactions between characters. I know this sounds weird but I would totally go for the heroine if she was real, so I cheer one of the guys to "Get this *#$@@!". The first book was good, but the second is better. My only complaint with the second book was that it was pretty short. . Not a completed series yet.
Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson series was also an unexpected read for me. The first book was pretty darn trite, not that well written...BUT it amused me and I enjoyed it. So I read the second book. Which I enjoyed more than the first. While still not excellent it was quite improved over the first, and went and read the third. Not the best series but if you enjoy the first, then you can happily read the next ones knowing them better than the previous. And again, I have the complaint about women authors, because of their damn tendency to create "handsome men", why not also reflect on the assets of the women in the story too, for guys? Damn it.
Last edited by Apathy; September 19th, 2008 at 02:29 AM.
September 19th, 2008, 12:32 PM #54
finished "Hart's Hope" by Orson Scott Card. I was only familiar with his Ender books [in my SF top five] and I wasn't disappointed in his fantasy efforts. I especially liked the tone of the novel - a real fairy tale with the proper language and the wicked witch, the magicked heroes, the doomed lovers and all that jazz. It shows I can get a little tired of the fashionable gritty epics of the new stars [Lynch, Erikson, Ruckley] and going back to the basics helps me recharge my batteries for the genre.
I don't feel like trying a so-and-so new fantasy or tackling Toll of Hounds immediately after Card, so I picked up something safe and non-genre : "A Town like Alice" by Nevil Shute.
September 19th, 2008, 01:21 PM #55
Just started Toll the Hounds, after that I have Return of the Crimson Guard. Earlier this month I read The Ten Thousand - thought it was a good book, but it did not meet my expectations. Not much depth, but highly entertaining. I also finished The Last Argument of Kings , A Shadow in Summer, and Elantris
September 19th, 2008, 03:58 PM #56
September 19th, 2008, 04:40 PM #57
Seems I forgot to include some others books I blew through.
Charlie Parker Mysteries series by John Connoly. The books were entertaining, but it is not one of my favorite series. I found it odd how the series gets less gruesome as the books progress. Every Dead Thing is far more gruesome than the third, and this trend continues through the books. The author can definitely write, and he improves as time goes on. The Reapers, the most recent addition to the Charlie Parker series, really shows how his writing has improved (but the book was boring, almost no action at ALL, &*&*). His books include a little comedy here and there, and quite a bit of action, which is good. I am looking forward to his next installment, which I believe is The Lovers.
The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy. I have to laugh about this book. It possibly the most girly freaking thing I have ever read, but while it is girly the author says things that made my ears burn. I just picked it up, because of the title (you know were-wolves, blood, possiblities of explosions. I like that ), and I was going to put it down after a page, but I gave it another chance, and I was glad I did. The main character is this woman who is obsessed about color-wheels (before this I had no idea people even tried to match colors, why bother?) and she is extremely intense about it, which I found highly amusing. The book is a comedy/action/romance thing and if you want a laugh you should give it a try.
Ah, I almost forgot a gem.
The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari. The book is extremely good, but I found the part when the protagonist was a teenage nerd difficult to read. Everything else was good, esp liked how the author portrayed the devil.
Innocent Mage by Karen Miller. I know I was duped after reading a bit of this book. I thought it would be a nice enjoyable read, because the start was light-hearted and funny. By the end of the first book you have no more comedy, no more light-heartedness. All that left is the author exploring pain and loss. If I did not accidentally rip the book, and bleed on it(my cat scratched me) I would have returned it. NOT enjoyable. Stay away.
September 19th, 2008, 05:53 PM #58
A Shadow in Summer was a bit to get into. Great world building but it is a slow moving book. However, once you get into the story its a very good read. There is no action, like battles or magic, but rather a lot of politics. Abraham is very talented in making you understand his characters and the world. His characters really come to life and are easy to empathize and sympathize with. I'm really looking forward to read the next book in this series.
I actually read Sanderson's the first two Mistborn books before Elantris. I loved the first two Mistborn books. The characterization and world building are superb, his action sequences however, get a bit repetitive though. I figured I should read Elantris and I was a little disappointed. I can see the same writing style, characterization, and world building, but the plot left something lacking. It was a bit too predictable. Although, I hope he does revisit the world. The world itself was very interesting and he did leave the book an opening for a second look.
September 20th, 2008, 12:09 AM #59
'...' I need to read the Mistborn books. I got the first one, but the hell if I know where it is. Maybe I will go to my local library...
I got some other books I read previously, so I will post these as well. Keep remembering more books I have read recently.
Simon R. Green's "The Man with the Golden Torc" was a very enjoyable read as was its sequel "Daemons are Forever". I was completely expecting to hate these books, becuase I truely hate his space opera series (whatever its name is). This is amusing at points and is just cool.
Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series is really excellent dark urban fantasy. Really like the characters. I chuckle a lot at the interaction between the older brother and the younger. Very good series. Another oddity for me because I just picked it up based on reading the first few pages in teh bookstore, and it turned out to be very good. The books are Nightlife, Moonshine, and Madhouse and each is better than the previous.
Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (all the recent ones so far at least) are good books. The most recent one, Victory of Eagles is a very good book, the previous ones were pretty good, but nothing on a shortlist. If you like dragons then this is a book for you.
September 20th, 2008, 05:00 AM #60
I gave up on The Name of the Rose today. Cannot read all this theological gibberish.
Cannot decide what to read now. Catch-22 or A Sundial in the Grave: 1610