March 20th, 2010

Dead Dog Cat

#18

I finished an anthology by Allen Steele, yesterday, called Rude Astronauts, which was a collection of both essays and short stories. It wasn't fantasy, nor was it way-out SF, but based on the world as we know it. It was a pretty solid set of stories which reminded me in a way of Heinlein without being at all like his work.
Kinrissword

Starting This Thing - #1

Hi! My name is Fiammetta, this is my first post here, I'm 18, and in my first year of college, and I don't think I read enough, so I'm going to try to read more this year.

1. Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

This is the first book in The Dresden Files, one of the many popular fantasy series I'm supposed to have read already. So I'm starting them, starting with this one. I liked it, I thought it was really interesting and it held my attention. I think I read the last half of it in one day (that was a couple of weeks ago, I admit. I should have a) posted about it when I finished it and b) read more since then. I haven't really, so... I fail. ^_^;)

The next one has a werewolf, or so the back cover says. This... makes me reluctant to read that one next, since werewolves aren't my thing. At all. But I'll try.
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Dying Bruja

El león, la bruja, y el ropero, by C. S. Lewis (reread in a different language)
I figured it'd be easy to read one of my favorite books in the whole world in Spanish, but actually it was rather challenging. I will say that having the story so close to memorized really helped when I got stuck on a word though:). It was odd rereading this in a different language, because I noticed entirely different things. Also found myself flashing back to various scenes in the first two Narnia movies - they got a lot wrong, but some of the imagery they used was perfect.
(51/200)

Dying for Heaven, by Ariel Glucklich
I was going to write a scathing review of this, ripping the frequently-weak logic and false claims to being "scientific" to shreds. But then I really really liked the last chapter, about the theatricality of martyrdom, and I lost heart for expressing just how frustrated the previous chapters made me. I do enjoy reading books that make me think about why I don't like them, but I would rather this whole book had been as good as that last chapter.
(52/200)
anemone
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Book 20 for 2010

Small Favour * by Jim Butcher 437 pages

It's getting to be really hard to say anything meaningful about these books without giving massive spoilers for the earlier parts of the series, so I'm not even going to try.

Suffice it to say that it's another splendidly frenetic chunk of Harry Dresden's exceptionally eventful life in which he has to cope with multiple people (and other things) who want him dead (or worse) and to stop Bad Things Happening to himself, his friends and the world at large.

Excellent. Looking forward very much to the next one.

(*that's how it's spelt on the cover of my copy)
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Renegade's Magic - Robin Hobb

Nevare spent the majority of  Forest Mage living on the edges of Gernian society, a man made outcast by his extreme obesity, an easy target for the raging impulses of the mob.  That same rabble drove Nevare from the edges of Gernian society into the wilderness beyond, where he has no choice but to seek sanctuary with the Specks.  This is the last thing he wants to do, as it was Speck magic that lay at the core of his misery.  But Nevare is given little choice in the matter.  Soldier's Boy, the portion of his soul originally stolen by the Tree Woman, reemerges and takes over Nevare's body.  The remainder of the book follows Nevare as he rides in his own body, a sort of detached and desperate observer, as Soldier's Boy leads the Specks in war against the Gernians.

The odd melding of first person and third person omniscient that comes out of Nevare's situation makes for interesting reading in its own right.  Fortunately, Hobb does not rely on a gimmick alone to carry the day.  Nevare, in the previous books, had felt unsatisfying as a character, as if he were somehow incomplete.  In this book, Nevare becomes truly three dimensional, while simultaneously being thoroughly split.  It is Jeckyll and Hyde blended with Sybll in an utterly original fashion.

And what Hobb does to him through the course of the book is even more interesting, but that would spoil the surprises.

One thing I can say without unwelcome spoilers is that Hobb has achieved one virtually impossible task.  She has created two completely believable, yet radically different, societies.  It's a more difficult thing than one would expect.  When an author creates multiple societies, they are either so similar as to be effectively indistinguishable or they are utterly different but one ends up being almost stereotypically exotic, to the point where it feels more than a little unreal.  Hobb manages to create two societies that are at complete variance while simultaneously being complete and real and coherent in all of their details.

Finally, there is the manner in which Hobb deals with the moral dilemmas woven into the story.  It would have been all too easy for her to default to an "evil colonialists / noble savages" systems with pat answers to every question, but Hobb never seems to take the easy route.  There are no easy answers, no white hats or black hats.  Hobb's world is refreshingly full of shades of gray.

All in all, it is a wonderfully well-written work with three-dimensional and challenging characters that does not shy away from difficult questions.  Overall, a very satisfying read.

Books Read:  5 / 50

Pages Read:  2,720 / 15,000

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BOOKS 8-10



BOOK 8; The House Of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (drama)
I enjoyed this book, Isabel writes in a very engaging way.



BOOK 9 : Ines of my Soul by Isabel Allende (True Life)
I probably shouldn't have read two of her books in a row as both stories have similarities. However this is the "true" story of historical figures.



BOOK 10: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (classic)
It's about time I read this all time classic. I enjoyed it very much.
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