April 2nd, 2012

book 1

Book 17

As always, links lead to the full review on my blog. Clicky if you want the details I cut out of the truncated version here.

Grave Mercy by RL LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-genre: Swords and sorcery

 So basically I heard "lady assassin" and that was the end of it. I loves me some stories about lady assassins. Assassins in general are pretty cool, but I'm especially fond of them in lady form, since a) they don't show up as often and b) I happen to be a lady.

I really, thoroughly enjoyed this book. This was a "it's two hours past my bedtime but just have to get through one more chapter" kind of book. Ismae is a great character, smart and capable, damaged but strong in spite of (or because of) that. Once she gets to the high court she's on her own for the first time in her life, and watching her struggle to realize the leaders she's respected and the lessons she's been given aren't infallible is fascinating.

The book is being marketed as YA, although there really isn't anything YA about it. Ismae is young, but considered a full adult by the culture and time period she lives in, and nothing about the tone would indicate it's primarily aimed at younger readers. Older teens may enjoy it, but I think some of the subtleties would be lost on younger teens. These subtleties are a big part of what made the book appeal to me so much, so it's not a criticism by any means.

So who is the ideal reader for Grave Mercy, if not the teen demographic? If you like strong romantic themes in your fantasy novels, if you like characters prone to thinking before they act, if you like political intrigue and assassins, this is a book you'll want to pick up. It is, of course, a no-brainer as to whether or not I'll be picking up the second in the series. There are more lady assassins to be had! I am so in!
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Interspersed with other activities yesterday, I got a chance to read through two ebooks.

First was Osprey Elite #77: British Colours & Standards 1747 - 1881 (1): Cavalry. As with other flag books, this has a point primarily for miniatures gamers who want to make realistic flags for their armies. It's mildly interesting historically, but otherwise I found the book boring.

Second was Osprey Men-at-Arms #43: Napoleon's German Allies (2): Nassau and Oldenburg. See, Napoleon was so powerful, at his height, that he could demand troops from many states in Europe to use in his conquests. Some, like the Poles, seemed happy with this. Others were less so. Again, this book was initially intended to help miniatures gamers who like the Napoleonic era to paint their figures accurately, so their units could look like individuals. Otherwise, this wasn't quite my cup of tea.

I have lots of these ebooks. Luckily, they are quick reads.
Reading - La Liseuse

Books #8 & #9 of 2012

8. Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead: A Continuing Story of Survival Horror, Book 7 (Issues #73-84), Illustrated by Charlie Adlard, 304 pages, Graphic Novel, Hardback, 2011.

Rick Grimes says he’s happy to no longer be the leader of his little band when they find another settlement of survivors willing to take them in. But his paranoia leads them to break the town’s rules. And when the undead show up en masse, Rick discovers that survival isn’t always at better odds with a smaller moving group. Too bad the cost of that epiphany is several lives, with one hanging in the balance.

9. Daryl Dawson, The Crawlspace: A Collection of Short Horror Stories, 152 pages, Horror Anthology, Paperback, 2010.

The book contains 17 pieces of short horror fiction, one as short as 2 pages long. It’s hard to do short fiction well, especially with horror, which requires some set-up to get the scares. I was highly impressed with this book! There are a wide variety of stories, all at least disturbing on some level with a few quite gruesome, and very well done.

Book #18: Starter for Ten by David Nicholls

I read this book after enjoying David Nicholls’ One Day; this book is set in 1985 and revolves around Brian, who aspires to go on University Challenge and sets out to audition for the team. A lot of the events in the book are guessable a mile off; for example, when he ends up as first reserve, you can guess right away that someone will have to drop out of the quiz team, allowing Brian to have a place, yet I found it to be a very compelling read, and very funny in places too. The story also focuses on Brian’s love life with a girl called Alice, who is also on the team, though it stops short of turning into a rom-com.

[Spoiler (click to open)]

I have noticed that both in this book and One Day, that there does not seem to be any such thing as “happy ever after” in David Nicholls’ books, and Brian ends up getting his heart broken. When Brian finally meets Bamber Gascoine and goes on University Challenge, it ends up as a disaster, and they end up getting disqualified because he cheats; I actually found this predictable to a clichéd story of him just going on the quiz show and winning, because the whole point of the story is about achieving your dreams, but also growing up and learning something.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and found it surprisingly quick to read, and the plot is very easy to follow and not too complex.

Next book: London Street Furniture by David Brandon & Alan Brooke