jmc_bks: (flaming june)
Today's SBD:  A Game of Thrones.  High fantasy.  

In case you've missed it, HBO is currently airing a miniseries based on George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.  I haven't been watching, but I have seen all of the chatter on the InterTubes about the series, as well as screen caps of favorite actors and characters.  So I picked up a copy of the book -- due to the miniseries, there were no used copies to be found, but plenty of reissues at B&N.

It's 800 pages.  Which would be fine if it told the whole story.  But no.  The series (originally envisioned as a trilogy) is going to be seven books, of which only four are currently published.  In fact, the last book is actually half of one book, split because it was deemed too large.  Apparently Martin fans have been unhappy with him because he keeps pushing the publication date back.  

I get that a lot of people love this series; it's won awards.  But I am not joining the legions of fans.  I trudged through the 800 pages and all could think for the vast majority of them was FFS, drop the puck, Martin. And become less enthralled with your own voice. Too many POVs, too slow yet simultaneously too busy.  One note characters for the most part.  By the end of the first installment, I wanted everyone except Arya Stark and Jon Snow to just die already.  Not prepared to invest any more time in the series, or even to watch it on HBO, despite the pretty pretty eye candy.
jmc_bks: (Book on table)
Title:  Island of Icarus  

Author:  Christine Danse (new to me)

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date:  November 29, 2010

Source:  Net Galley

Field Journal of Jonathan Orms, 1893

En route to polite exile in the Galapagos Islands (field work, to quote the dean of my university), I have found myself marooned on a deserted tropical paradise. Deserted, that is, except for my savior, a mysterious American called Marcus. He is an inventor—and the proof of his greatness is the marvelous new clockwork arm he has created to replace the unsightly one that was ruined in my shipboard mishap.

Marcus has a truly brilliant mind and the gentlest hands, which cause me to quiver in an unfamiliar but rather pleasant way. Surely it is only my craving for human companionship that draws me to this man, nothing more? He says a ship will pass this way in a few months, but I am welcome to stay as long as I like. The thought of leaving Marcus becomes more untenable with each passing day, though staying would be fatal to my career...


Why this book?  I was browsing at Net Galley by publisher and ran across this one.  I've had good luck with the Carina Press books I've read so far, so it's one of the publishers I make sure to check periodically.  The "steampunk" subject also caught my eye -- I'm new to steampunk romance but have enjoyed the little I've read so far.  Make it m/m steampunk romance and I'm sold!

What did I think of the book?  On the whole, I enjoyed it.  Was predisposed to doing so, given the category.

The story opens with our narrator, a biologist at an English university who has recently lost both his fiancee and an arm, being sent off on sabbatical to the Galapagos Islands.  At the end of an unremarkable journey, a storm blows up; venturing above decks unwisely, Jonathan is washed overboard and wakes on an island north of the Galapagos.  His rescuer, Marcus, is an American surgeon and engineer.  Once the survivor of a shipwreck, Marcus is now the lone occupant of the island by choice.  Marcus's specialty is prosthetics (how serendipitous!) and he is able to repair and improve Jonathan's prosthetic arm, which had been damaged at sea. Marcus's obsession is flight -- so many things can be mechanized, why not human flight?  Surely if he can design proper wings and the proper engine, he'll be able to fly.  Jonathan is anxious to be rescued by a passing ship -- they call in periodically and Marcus trades with them -- but also intrigued by Marcus's experiments.  

Since this is a romance novel, you can probably imagine what happens as they live together on the island with only each other as company.  The relationship development is slightly complicated by the fact that they are men:  part of Marcus's self-imposed exile is his frustration with societal attitudes about homosexuality, while Jonathan has never really acknowledged that he is gay or at least bisexual.  In fact, one of the most irritating lines of the book is one of his musings that he "was a ruined man, destroyed by [his] affections for a woman."  Readers later learn that he lost his arm because he was distracted by his fiancee's desertion and got caught in a "library difference engine", which might explain that comment.  But it smacks of self-pity and blame-shifting since Jonathan later admits that he neglected her, avoided her presence and hurt her, and that leaving him was the only thing she could do.   

The steampunk elements in the book were limited primarily to Jonathan's prosthetic arm and Marcus's inventions.  The library difference engine and Langley's aerodrome are also mentioned, however it's not clear that whatever industrial or mechanical or social changes that are usually inherent with steampunk exist in this setting.  There's the Panama Canal (real); Darwin's journey on The Beagle (real); shadowgraph (which sounds like an x-ray in context, also real).  Is that standard?  [The little steampunk I've read to date has taken a culture or society and completely changed it via the steampunk elements, which is why I'm wondering.]

Would I read this author again?  Certainly.

Keep or pass on?  This was an eARC from NetGalley, so I can't do either.  But if I'd purchased a copy, I certainly would keep it.

Related only generally, take a look here for some gorgeous steampunk cakes.
jmc_bks: (jediowl's LMB bafflement)
My reading plans were abruptly interrupted when my copy of Cryoburn arrived.  Tore through it in one night and am ready to go back for a re-read to appreciate all the things I rushed over in my haste.  And I would like to write a review.  But I can't even imagine how to do so right now without giving away monumental spoilers.

Maybe my favorite lines are Miles' musings early on

Only five days on this beknighted world, and already total strangers wanted to kill me.  Sadly, it wasn't even a record. 
jmc_bks: (title2)
So, I read two books this weekend, and I'll share my impressions for SBD:

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre

It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.

Sirantha Jax isn’t known for diplomatic finesse. As a “Jumper” who navigates ships through grimspace, she’s used to kicking ass first and taking names later—much later. Not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.

And Ithiss-Tor council meetings aren’t the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully. Her lover, March, is frozen in permanent “kill” mode, and his hair-trigger threatens to sabotage the talks—not to mention their relationship.

But Jax won’t give up on the man or the mission. With the Outskirts beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and the flesh-eating Morgut, an
alliance with Ithiss-Tor may be humanity’s only hope. Which has Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…
 

The Sirantha Jax series is a scifi fantasy series published by Ace, the most recent release is the third of the series so far.  I'm feeling rather ambivalent about the series, have from the start, and have a hard time figuring out just why.  I love Ms. Aguirre's writing; her Corine Solomon series is an autobuy for me now after only one book.  But I'm just not warming to Sirantha Jax.  My notes in LibraryThing for the second book of the series (Wanderlust) read, This series works much better for me as straight SFF; it works least when the narrative is focused on the relationship between Jax and March, which I just don’t buy.

I could say the same thing about this third book.  The world building is complex and layered.  The conflict is believable on the large and small scale.  I love that all of the inhabitants on this universe are NOT humanoid.  I just don't care about Sirantha Jax, which is problematic since she's the narrator.  When she stuck to the politcal things, to observations about what was going on in the negotiations, I was fine.  But I just didn't care about her relationship with March.  It's a trainwreck waiting to happen.  She walked away once, so I don't believe her as she vows not to walk away again.  More than that, I thought the way she handled homicidal March was TSTL, and wouldn't have mourned if he'd killed her when he had the chance. 

Much more interesting to me was the political maneuvering and the entire construct of the Ithiss-Tor world and culture.  Vel, a secondary character whose importance to the series seem to grow with each book, was in the spotlight, and I found him *much* more intriguing than March.  The sidetrack in the end to rescue March? Eh.

B- from me.

Thank You, Mrs. M. by Kate Rothwell
 

“You want honesty. An hour’s worth a day of normal speech, nothing prepared is necessary. Yeah, okay. But I’m pretty certain I’m not supposed to talk normally. No fucking way, because every other fucking word is fuck… I’ll tone it down for you, okay? I assume you’re an old lady with some style. For you, I can stop.”

I just wanted that effing college education and you said you’d pay for it…along with just about everything else. The cost—my effing life’s story jabbered into a digital recorder just for you. How screwed is that? The thing is, I wasn’t the only one telling a story. You tried to hide from me. Too bad I’m smart, Mrs. Moneybags, and I got you figured. But know what? I can keep your secrets. You and me—we made it work.

Note: A reverse take on the classic story Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster.

Okay, just to be compliant with the new FTC rule (which I guess applies to me?), I won a free copy of this ebook in a contest at Kate Rothwell's blog.  And some M&M's.  I'll share my opinion of the book, but not the M&M's 'cause I'm selfish when it comes to chocolate.  Especially since according to Jonathan Ross, the Achocolypse is upon us.

I've never read the story Daddy Long Legs, so I had no idea what to expect from this book.  Which was fine, because I selected it at random from the PDFs that Kate sent me.

TYMM is a year in the life of Ben, a slightly older student who is raising his sister and brother.  He's very rough around the edges.  He narrates a year of his life plus some of his history in one hour increments for Mrs. Moneybags, who is funding his education in exchange for his time and voice. 

I loved observing the changes in Ben as the year progressed and things changed in his life.  Changing neighborhoods, changing crowds (even though he held on to some of his old friends), changing his outlook from the the past to the future. 

The ending came too soon, because I wanted to stay a voyeur, reading Ben's monologues about his past and his present, and I wasn't ready for the wrap up.  I guessed who Mrs. M was early on, but am still confused about how/why she did what she did: random chance?  altruism?  If I take a step back and think about it, it makes me vaguely uncomfortable and I'm not entirely sure why.  Maybe because it reminds me of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle?

There is a sweet thread of romance in the book, but it is not a traditional genre romance.  Maybe in a larger sense it is a love story?  I'm not sure.  If pressed, I would say that it was closer to lad lit than romance.

B+ from me.

Off to read more.
 

jmc_bks: (title2)
It's Monday.  Thus, verily, 'tis time for the SBD

I've been trying for more than a week to write about Bujold's The Sharing Knife Volume 4: Horizon.  Everytime I set pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, all tha comes out is a gush of Bujold-love.  [I can get a prescription to fix that C says.  Haha, so funny.  Not.] 

Even if I could get it together enough to write a thoughtful review, I would necessarily have to give spoilers for the first three volumes of the series.  While a reader could pick up Horizon and muddle through it, the book is best read after reading books one, two and three.  Or volume three at the very least.

Background:  this is fantasy, but not "high" fantasy with courts and mages in European-like lands with castles.  Instead, the world is a wilderness rather like the Ohio River valley of the 17th or 18th century.  Lakewalkers hunt malices, earth-born mages who steal ground, or life-force.  Their weapons:  sharing knives, made of the bones of their loved ones, carrying in turn their own mortality, which when stabbed into a malice teaches it how to die.  Farmers are settlers without any defense against malices.  Gradually moving northward to clear fresh ground, they are fertile fodder for malices but at the same time are suspicious of the mysterious and "cannibalistic" Lakewalkers, who hold themselves apart and who the Farmers believe just don't want to share the bounty of the unsettled land.

Book One (Beguilement): Farmer Fawn meets Lakewalker Dag and slays a malice.  The two fall in love and marry, after gaining the approval of Fawn's Farmer family.

Book Two (Legacy):  Fawn and Dag travel to Dag's home camp, hoping that their marriage will be accepted.  Dag returns to patrolling for malices, and what his patrol encounters demonstrates what can happen when Farmers aren't warmed or don't believe in malices -- it has serious consequences for both Farmers and Lakewalkers.

Book Three (Passage):  Dag and Fawn are back on the road.  Or rather, the river.  Dag is troubled by the malice outbreak that occured in the last book, and they use this wedding trip down the Grace and Grey Rivers to the sea to seek answers about how the problem can be solved.

Book Four (Horizon):  Picks up immediately after Book Three, with Dag and Fawn struggling to find a way to bend the two worlds together.

While the series is not genre romance, it is romantic fantasy.   The two of them are looking for a place to belong together.  At the same time, Dag is looking to remake himself.  Fawn remakes herself as well, but the transformation seems...I don't want to say less violent, because it was, but her transformation, after the first book, is a much more tradition one, one of growing into herself.  Dag's is rather like a snow globe -- everything had settled, but then someone (Fawn) came along and shook everything to the foundation, and when things settled again eventually, they were utterly different.  And as the two travel, they pick up and build what is really a family of sorts -- others who have been abandoned, cast out, or who are seekign something else themselves, even if they don't know exactly what.

Well-paced, well-plotted, with adventure and humor and some sadness as well, this book is the best book of the year so far for me. 

I would LOVE to read more set in this world, and hope that eventually Bujold returns to it, either to write about future generations of Lakewalkers and Farmers, or perhaps to write about the civilization that preceded them and is hinted at in Lakewalker legends.


In a world where malices—remnants of ancient magic—can erupt with life-destroying power, only soldier-sorcerer Lakewalkers have mastered the ability to kill them. But Lakewalkers keep their uncanny secrets—and themselves—from the farmers they protect, so when patroller Dag Redwing Hickory rescued farmer girl Fawn Bluefield, neither expected to fall in love, join their lives in marriage, or defy both their kin to seek new solutions to the perilous split between their peoples.

As Dag's maker abilities have grown, so has his concern about who—or what—he is becoming. At the end of a great river journey, Dag is offered an apprenticeship to a master groundsetter in a southern Lakewalker camp. But as his understanding of his powers deepens, so does his frustration with the camp's rigid mores with respect to farmers. At last, he and Fawn decide to travel a very different road—and find that along it, their disparate but hopeful company increases.

Fawn and Dag see that their world is changing, and the traditional Lakewalker practices cannot hold every malice at bay forever. Yet for all the customs that the couple has challenged thus far, they will soon be confronted by a crisis exceeding their worst imaginings, one that threatens their Lakewalker and farmer followers alike. Now the pair must answer in earnest the question they've grappled with since they killed their first malice together: When the old traditions fail disastrously, can their untried new ways stand against their world's deadliest foe?Available in hardcopy and ebook. 
 

Available in hardcopy and ebook.  Excerpt of the first several chapters here

Also, the book pimp has struck again.  I got a colleague who does not like fantasy to read the excerpt of TSK: Volume One, and she immediately downloaded a copy to her Kindle.  Hah!  But I have to ask -- why does Amazon have the first and third volumes available for Kindle, but not the second and fourth?
jmc_bks: (meninas)
Check out this interview with SF Revu, in which Bujold mentions the possibility of future books set in the Sharing Knife world.  Not a promise, mind you, just a mention of general ideas that could be addressed. 
jmc_bks: (LJ Ase's LMB flowers)

I read Linnea Sinclair's An Accidental Goddess for the TBR Challenge.

(c)  2005, Bantam Spectra

Why this author?  Because I want to like her...so much.  I really enjoyed Gabriel's Ghost and Finders Keepers, but the other Sinclair books I've tried haven't really hit the spot for me.

What did I think of the cover art?  Well, the newer art (here) is much prettier than the older art (here) IMO.  I like the style of the new/reissued covers, although the posing couples aren't my favorite thing.

Blurb:
 

Raheiran Special Forces captain Gillaine Davré has just woken up in some unknown space way station, wondering where the last three hundred years have gone. The last thing she remembers is her ship being attacked. Now it seems that while she was time-traveling, she was ordained a goddess…. Gillaine’s only hope of survival rests with dangerously seductive Admiral Mack Makarian, who suspects her of being a smuggler—or worse. But he can’t begin to imagine the full extent of it. For Gillaine is now Lady Kiasidira, holy icon to countless believers, including Mack—a man who inspires feelings in her that are far from saintly…feelings she knows are mutual. But when their flirtation is interrupted by a treacherous enemy from the past, Gillaine’s secret—and secret desires—could destroy them both….
 

What did I think of the book?  Well, it worked more as science fiction/fantasy than a romance for me.  The romance was just...too abrupt.  And the heroine lied to the hero about who/what she was for most of the book, which is a Deal Breaker for me. 


Will I read this author again?  Absolutely.  Gabriel's Ghost is a keeper, and I'm looking forward to her Hope's Folly.

jmc_bks: (Default)
Release date: July 8, 2008
First hard back of the series
Fifth book of the series (His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory)



Warning: there will be spoilers because I couldn't figure out how to write about this book without them.

It is a grim time for the dragon Temeraire. On the heels of his mission to Africa, seeking the cure for a deadly contagion, he has been removed from military service–and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason.

For Britain, conditions are grimmer still: Napoleon’s resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon’s prime objective: the occupation of London.

Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon’s forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war and to aid the resistance against the invasion before Napoleon’s foothold on England’s shores can become a stranglehold.

If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain’s scattered forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before–for king and country, and for their own liberty. But can the French aggressors be well and truly routed, or will a treacherous alliance deliver Britain into the hands of her would-be conquerors?


More after the cut. )

Just a reminder -- if you want to win a FREE copy of Temeraire, leave a comment in yesterday's post before Friday COB.
jmc_bks: (seagull)
An American football player, a bestselling novelist and a dragon walk into a bar and...

Firstly:

Dear Brett Favre,

Make up your mind. It isn’t fair to Aaron Rodgers to hint about coming back. It isn’t fair to the Packers team. It isn’t fair to fans, who get excited, however unreasonably. And frankly, it makes you look indecisive and goofy, which diminishes your legend.

Thx,
GBP Fan


Next: La Nora's Tribute is available at Borders for 40% off if you have Borders Reward card (free membership). The copy I picked up was autographed. *pouts* If I had realized that she was doing a signing near work recently, I'd've attended.

And last: my need for immediate gratification has struck again. I had to have a copy of Victory of Eagles TODAY. Forgetting that it was pre-ordered, I used a coupon and my Borders cash to buy a copy. [Hah! Two brand new hardbacks for only $20! Bargain!] Only to return and find a notice that the copy that I pre-ordered (oops!) had shipped. So I'll have an extra copy that I need to share. Have I given away any copies of Novik's other books? I've certainly recommended them and shared my own copies among offline friends.

ETA: Ryland Blackington and Alex Suarez, how much pot had you smoked when you wrote the music and lyrics to your self-titled album (This Is Ivy League)? It sounds vey 70s and psychedelic to me. Kind of Mamas and Papas-ish.

ETA also: Amazon - WTH? The editorial review posted for The Cab's Whisper War is for Death Cab for Cutie's album. Completely. Different. Music. Please to be fixing, thx.
jmc_bks: (Imperfect 2 by LJ Ase)
There's a helpful review of Passage that includes an interview with Lois McMaster Bujold posted over at Fantasy Book Critic.

TBR day

Apr. 16th, 2008 09:54 am
jmc_bks: (TDS)
Whereas today is the third Wednesday of the month,

And whereas I am participating in Keishon's TBR challenge,

It is encumbent upon me to post about the books I dug out of the TBR pile.

Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light )

Beyond Breathless )

P.S. I'm borrowing the format for Angie's older TBR challenge, because it is easy to use and I'm lazy.
jmc_bks: (blue)

Hurog means dragon.

What is Hurog? It is the name of a place and a people born from Patricia Briggs’ imagination and described in her books Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood. Once dragons lived in the Northlands and the Empire ruled. Hurog was where dragons flew, slaves found refuge, and dwarvenkind came to trade. But the Empire fell, leaving behind only scattered holdings, and the dwarves sickened. Dragons are long gone by the time of Wardwick of Hurog. The half-witted son of the Lord of Hurog, Ward becomes the Hurogmeten, Guardian of Dragons (only a traditional title now), upon his father’s death. He inherits a dying holding set in the mountains, peopled by the fragments of his family – demented mother, runaway brother, mute sister, troublemaking cousins, perhaps powerhungry uncle – and the family ghost, Oreg. A heavy burden for an idiot.

Despite the poverty of the holding, the ancient keep holds some secrets that make it desirable...and powerful, in the right hands. But the keep isn’t the only thing hiding secrets; Ward is, too – he isn’t as stupid as everyone thinks. The treasure hidden in the keep and the power hidden in both Ward and Oreg are the flash points for political, military and magical intrigue.

Briggs does a fabulous job with this duology. I was totally sucked in, from the first page. I finished Dragon Bones and had to immediately purchase a copy of Dragon Blood to see what happened next. Each book stands on its own – no cliffhanger endings – I was just impatient to know what was next in the future of Ward and Oreg. Objectively speaking, there were some anachronisms and a couple of small continuity problems, but the world building and the characters were so well-drawn that I can overlook the small flaws. Ward is a fantastic hero – he’s smart and brave, but also pragmatic and political. He takes his job as Hurogmeten seriously – he’s tied to the land but he is also the caretaker of its people, and he shows it in lots of little ways and big ways. Oreg is a fascinating character, one who I’d like to see more of – I’d especially like to get his POV, but Briggs sticks mostly to Ward’s, with a small scattering of others. Dragon Blood has a sweet romance as a secondary part of the story – the main focus is always the adventure, though.

Briggs has mentioned on her blog that there’s a third Hurog book lurking in her imagination, and I’d love to read it. But I’m guessing that the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega books are taking priority for the time being. 

jmc_bks: (title)
It's Monday, and the call for the SBD has been issued.  So it's time to gush or snark or whatever verb you like about romance.   

My topic today isn't about romance so much.  Over the weekend I read a fantasy novel that I loved.  I loved it so much that I want to hug it close and call it Precioussss.  Okay, maybe not because that's a little creepy.  But I really ought to write down what I loved so much, like a review.  Duh.   Except I can't really think of anything coherent to say, other than:  Go.  Buy.  Now.   I really enjoy Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, but I think maybe her Hurog duology is better.

And my weekend long squee about Hurog got me thinking -- why don't I read more straight fantasy?  I mean, I love Bujold's Chalion and Sharing Knife series.  And Novik's Temeraire series.  So why I don't I read it more?  Well, because a lot of the classic fantasy I read as a teenager didn't thrill me.  (Sorry, couldn't finish Tolkein's LotR series.)  And the fantasy that I tried in the past either wasn't so good or didn't really speak to me.  Frankly, until I started getting recs online, fantasy really felt  like it was all about a Boy and His Dragon.  And I mean that literally, "dragon" is not a euphemism for a body part or a wank or an orgasm.  Although, now that I think about it, I  like the idea of "dragon" as the code word for orgasm.  Can you imagine a heroine in an erotic romance gasping that the dragon was almost there?  *snorts*  I know, too much, right?  

Back to the Boy and His Dragon -- until relatively recently, all the fantasy I'd read seemed really male-centric; the women were pretty interchangable and disposable.  Not very interesting to me, frankly.  But I'm sure there's more good stuff out there.  Anybody got recommendations for me?

Juliet Marillier is on the TBR list, as is Charles de Lint.  I like Catherine Asaro and Jim Butcher.  I loved War for the Oaks.  I don't care for Mercedes Lackey or Marion Zimmer Bradley.
jmc_bks: (seagull)
I just finished reading CL Wilson's Lord of the Fading Lands. To be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn't have picked it up if it hadn't been for Jane's review. Why wouldn't I have bought it on my own? Well, because the cover wouldn't've enticed me. While it matches the contents, the design and artwork are not to my taste. And I'm shallow -- how a book looks is the first thing that grabs my attention, especially when I browsing randomly. But for Jane's recommendation, I wouldn't even have picked this one up.

The spine of this book reads Paranormal Romance. Now, having read it, I disagree with that classification. To me, a paranormal romance is one set on Earth -- maybe today, maybe not -- peopled by supernatural or superhuman characters who live along side of humans. LotFL -- not so much. It is a Fantasy Romance -- a book or story set in an entirely different world, with different historical development and an established magical society and all its constructs.

The book itself? I'm giving it an I for Incomplete. Because the damn book just stopped. I was warned, so it didn't disturb me (much), but without the warning? I'd've been pissed, because in no way is LotFL a complete work as a genre romance (which is what it is being marketed as). Lots of stuff is left up in the air and the suspense plot is really just gaining momentum. (IMO, the first 100 pages were slower than molasses in January and could've used some editing. I had to read the beginning three times before I made it through.) 


jmc_bks: (Forward momentum)
Check it out here. The interview includes some interesting information on LMB's survey of romance and why/how she came to write a book/series in which the romance was central rather than secondary. (Courtesy of LMB's myspace feed).

Check out the News page of Dendarii.com, which links to a smaller blurb on the romance/sff tension and the different perspectives of habitual genre readers.
jmc_bks: (Default)
I don't think I wrote a review or an opinion of Beguilement when it was released, although I listed it among the Best of 2006 reads. And I think I voted for Dag as the Best Hero over at AAR's annual poll. Now that I've read Legacy, there are a few things that have crystalized and some more things swirling about in my brain.

First and foremost is how much these Sharing Knife books and their world building remind me of American Westerns in Romance. I know a lot of readers would say that Bujold is writing fantasy with a romance thread but not romance. And I'll agree there, primarily because although I hope Dag and Fawn will have a permanent HEA, I don't think that's necessarily going to be the climax of the series (it may accompany whatever action occurs then, though). But I still think the comparison is apt. The Lakewalkers are like Native Americans in genre romance: the forbidden, the unknown, the mysterious; the Farmers are the settlers who keep pushing forward without really understanding the impact they are having on the environment. And the relationship between Dag & Fawn, and the rejection they face from their own people, is very much in keeping with genre romance (and real life, I'm sure). One significant difference between AWR and TSK being not just conflict about ownership of land and a way of life but about supernatural threats that hide within the earth in certain places. (Can you imagine what a malice and its mud-men would've done to Manifest Destiny?)

Second thought: while Dag is still heroic in Legacy, I found him less admirable. He made a hard choice in the end, and he saved people from the Big Bad, but his woodenness and unwillingness to confront his family frustrated me very much.

I'm wondering what role, if any, his ghost hand is going to play going forward. I want to know more (much more) about the old lords, and about making. I also want to know if the magic/ground-handling is the reason that Lakewalkers have such long lives and age slowly in comparison to Farmer Folk.
jmc_bks: (Book on table)
I've read a bunch of books in the past week or so, some good, some not so much.  The slump, I think she is over!

Balticon?

Mar. 29th, 2007 12:23 pm
jmc_bks: (daffs)
Who knew that there was such a thing? Don't answer, because I'm sure lots of people did, I've just been missing out. After doing some blog hopping and clicking on various links, I learned that Naomi Novik (author of the Temeraire books) will be at Balticon in May, as will Maria V. Snyder, author of Poison Study. Hmmm, I've never attended a SF/F conference. Maybe it's time to expand my horizons?
jmc_bks: (blue)
As I drove home last night, I took a slightly different route.  Instead of Light Street through the neighborhood, I took Charles Street, which runs parallel one block west.   The Rowan Tree has a rainbow flag hanging outside now, which I'm taking as the usual signal.  The Rowan Tree has been there on the corner for at least a year if not longer, but I don't remember seeing that flag out before.  I'm a little surprised, but not in a bad way.  My neighborhood is slowly gentrifying, but it is still more than half old South Baltimore.   By that, I mean people who lived there before rowhouses were renovated and deck-top roofs were de rigeur, who roll their eyes at the newcomers (like me), go to the neighborhood church (and there are at least 6 churches that I know of in an 8 block radius) and drink at the corner bar...which often is a converted rowhouse with just a neon sign reading BAR in the front window.  Gay-friendly is good and I don't mean to imply that South Baltimore wasn't before...it's just that most overt expressions of gay-friendliness can be found in Mount Vernon and Canton, not down below Fort Avenue.

Tangent:  I just finished Stephanie Vaughan's Off World, which I liked.  Thanks again to Rosario.  The only knocks that I have are the hasty wrap up of the plot, which I felt was given short shrift, and a lack of world building.  It was a futuristic e-book, and I thought some more back ground about the social setting would've helped develop the plot more.  :shrug:  But maybe I'm bringing my S/F/F reading hat to the table when I should take it off.   Liked the characters a lot.  

When I first started reading it, I had to keep "erasing" a mental image.  One of the heroes is named Sarhaan.  But I kept reading Sarlaac, and thinking of the Pit of Sarlaac from The Return of the Jedi.  Am I dating myself with that image?
jmc_bks: (Default)
Ick. I read an ebook today that seemed kinda cool at first, if brief. But then it veered into Lora Leigh territory: the hero is human with animal traits, including -- you guessed it -- a barbed penis. My theory for reading and for sex generally is "whatever floats your boat", 'cause yanno, we all have different hot buttons and ticks...but the animal cock just squicks me out.

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December 2011

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