November 3, 2014 by rachelcmann
Read! (PS – I really want to spell this “Red”)
Sparrow Hill Road – Seanan McGuire – I got hooked on McGuire’s InCryptid series a while back and so when I see this author’s name I tend to snap them up. (I’ve also read the October Daye series but I didn’t love it as much). This book is more like a collection of short stories around a central theme. And frankly, the book is much darker then her other books. While the mythology is always fun and unique, this ghost story is pretty haunting.
The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker – I kept hearing about this book from the booktubers and so I picked it up without really knowing what it was about. It’s a quick read in which the world stops turning (literally) and how humanity deals (not super fantastically). Told from the point of an adult survivor the book does something narratively that I’ve seen before (and I honestly don’t know how I feel about) where they reference “x happened but everyone knows about that already” but then never explain “x” and we have to fill it in. I’m all for using my imagination, but I feel like I’ve missed part of the story and like it’s a little bit of a cheat on the author’s part. By setting it up that way they get to skip the telling of a huge part of the story which ay or may not be a good thing. I recommend this book, it’s very interesting and thought provoking even if it left me feeling a little dissatisfied.
The Serpent’s Shadow – Mercedes Lackey – I honestly thought I’d read all the Lackey series there were to be read, but I kept seeing this “Elemental Masters” thing and realized I had missed one! The first book of the series was impossible to find so I started with Book 2 (I was assured that the order was not essential to the story telling and according to Amazon this is the first one). Set in the early 1900s in London, a talented Indian/British female doctor has to fight sexism, racism and a mystical enemy and keep her head up. It’s a how-to-be-a-lady handbook, personally I would have gone on a killing rampage if I’d had to deal with the crap she puts up with in this book.
The Gates of Sleep – Mercedes Lackey – Book 3 of the Elemental Masters series and it has almost no connection to the second book except some casual mentions of characters from the previous. This is essentially the story of Sleeping Beauty with some very minor tweaks to make the magic fit and because of that it lacked the usual luster. Lackey has such a crazy good imagination and writes such strong women that I was disappointed to read something that seemed sort of…half assed (doubly true as she has a whole other series retelling fairy tales though I believe those came later). I have the fourth book in the series waiting to be read so we’ll see where that leads us.
Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black – This tale starts off sounding like a lot of teen angst vampire books. And let’s not pretend that it doesn’t have a good healthy dose of that, but this is a pretty new take on an old worn out story. Vamps go public, humans freak out – try to contain them, girl meets mysterious vamp, falls for him. People die and/or become undead. There’s a big rescue/action scene. You’ve read/seen it all before. But something about this feels fresh, like a new young chef’s take on meatloaf. It’s familiar and maybe a little ‘been there done that’ but it’s still delicious.
A Confusion of Princes – Garth Nix – This is kind of a weird book. It reminded me a lot of the Company series by Kage Baker that I got sucked into a while back where there are robotically modified humans who don’t really die and are somehow controlling humanity. I can’t even begin to describe it actually, so we’ll say this. It’s definitely space scifi with an unusual twist. A bit dark but ends on a high note (I guess that depends on your point of view though) and after you get through some of the lengthier explanations at the beginning it really charges right through.
Ghost in the Flames – Jonathan Moeller This is actually the second book, the first one being Child of the Ghosts which I got for free from BookBub. And let’s be clear, these are pretty dark and violent. In the first book a young woman living in the traditional we-have-magic-so-we-never-invented-electricity age has her beloved father killed by her psycho stepmom and gets taken to be a slowly tortured virgin sacrifice by some blood mages. She escapes/gets rescued and her rescuers turn out to be secret spy assassins who decide to turn her into one of them. In this second book she is sent on a solo mission to a weird town that’s really into fire and pyramids where people are straight up bursting into flames. Caina is a compelling heroine for me, yes, her circumstances were thrust upon her but she has chosen well and will eventually (I assume) overcome her bitterness. Plus she kicks a lot of ass. PS – I just learned there are like 10 books in the series and something that looks like a spin off series!
Sabriel – Garth Nix – Second Garth Nix in as many weeks! And I’m not sure this book could be more different then the previous. Again, with crazy new mythology, this is essentially necromancers in a world where part of the world has stayed in “magic=no electricity” land and another part has shunned magic and is progressing normally. (PS – this is why I like modern day paranormals, especially ones with technowizards) And there’s a big bad evil and our unsuspecting heroine collects unlikely allies and eventually wins the day. It’s not surprising in it’s telling but it is a nice twist and moves along at a rapid clip.
After the Golden Age – Carrie Vaughn – I just love the idea of superhero story told from the point of view of the normal people who have to live with them. It has a little bit of slow start and the heroine is a bit whiney, but overall it’s a pretty fun little read once it gets going. It has a nice moral ending to the story and would be a decent read for a younger crowd.
Phoenix and Ashes – Mercedes Lackey – The third (or is it fourth?) book in the Elemental Masters series and again, Lackey takes a page from fairy tales, this time Cinderella. But I gotta say, this retelling is far superior to the Sleeping Beauty tale I read previously. The heroine is much more…actively involved in her own rescue and if the whole book of trials and tribulations wraps up in less then a chapter well, I’ve come to expect that. I’m back on board!
The Denver Cereal – Claudia Hall Christian – This woman writes the most page turning can’t stop reading books ever. Her “Alex the Fey” series has completely ruined several nights sleep for me and this other series (which is very tangentially related through some shared characters) is no different. There are so many twists and turns that it borders on absurd but somehow never quite tips over into the “Shonda Rhimes this is too ridiculous” spectrum. This series is essentially about two families whose lives become super intertwined and has a fair amount of romance to boot.
Night Film – Marisha Pessl – This title kept appearing on lists of things to read so I picked it up (Note- this book is weirdly heavy). It has kind of a spooky vibe so it feels appropriate for the week of Halloween and although thrillers/horror aren’t my genre of choice in anything, I can usually handle it in book form. I gotta say this book is hard to put down. I had to force myself to stop, go to sleep and get it out of my brain for a little bit. Very spooky, very compelling and a very good read!
A Curious Man – Neal Thompson – I am a very curious person. So a biography about Ripley (of Ripley’s Believe It or Not) sounded right up my alley, even if I was steeling myself against some tales of less-then-humane treatment of people and animals and cultures. But right off the bat I learned things about him that I didn’t know, granted I knew next to nothing, but I was surprised to learn that Ripley was an acclaimed journalist. And then I totally lost interest.
Surrender – Pamela Clare – I don’t read a ton of steamy romance novels…but when I do I want them to be paranormal or historical. So this bodice ripper about early 20th century Scots seemed right up alley. I put it down after less then 5 pages. I think I’m going to stick with paranormal romances.