September 30th, 2013


Book #51: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

Number of pages: 281

Discworld is a world and a mirror of worlds.
This is not a book about Australia. No, it's about somewhere entirely different which just happens to be, here and there, a bit ... Australian.
Still ... no worries, right?

The first page of this book sends up its tone quite neatly, and sets out the fact that it unashamedly parodies everything Australian, largely through cultural stereotypes and pop-culture references.

The next part of the review contains spoilers for both this book and the previous book in which Rincewind the Wizard appeared.

[Spoiler (click to open)]

The last time Rincewind appeared was in Interesting Times, which ended with him stranded in an unfamiliar place that sounded suspiciously like Australia. Picking up where that left off, this book sees him trekking across the "Last Continent", the place in the Discworld that was created last, on a quest that involves sorting out some issue with the space-time continuum that he has apparently caused, assisted along the way by various characters involving a talking kangaroo.

Meanwhile, at Unseen University, the librarian (who is also an orang utan) has contracted some mysterious disease that causes him to morph into random objects. The wizards start suggesting that they should find Rincewind, who is the only person apparently who was present when the librarian got changed into an orang-utan (in The Light Fantastic), and therefore will know the one thing that has eluded everyone ... the librarian's name; this seems to be all in an effort to make him human again, although previous books have established that the librarian does not want to be changed back.

This leads to the discovery of a window that is some sort of magical portal connecting Unseen University to a beach, which forms a part of the Last Continent. The wizards initially go onto the beach to see if some fresh air will cure the librarian; however, they end up stranded after someone carelessly shuts the window.

The wizards' attempts to get back involve them meeting an "evolution god", and a lot of the plotline involves the theory of creation and evolution, and it eventually transpires that they are also several thousand years in the past. The story largely involves rock paintings that come alive, culminating in a large drawing Rincewind does that somehow brings the other wizards back into the present.

While some parts of the book were a bit too bizarre to fully understand, this makes for an enjoyable story, which largely involves Rincewind getting into various scrapes and running away, so not surprisingly I found this to be very enjoyable and also hilarious.

Overall, I would say that this is one of the best books in the Discworld series and would definitely recommend it to others.

Next book: Setting Hearts on Fire (John Chapman)
plot bunny hunter

September 2013 reading

September 2013 Reading:

36. Cursor's Fury, by Jim Butcher (442 pages)
Another great book, closing some circles, opening more. Butcher weaves a complex world with even more complex characters. Love it.

37. Captain's Fury, by Jim Butcher (512 pages)
I like being able to view the races Alerans consider animal more in depth, which is something Butcher gives us in this novel. Careful weaving, and revelation.

38. Princep's Fury, by Jim Butcher (627 pages)
More is revealed and enemies shift. I liked learning more about the Icemen. I may be addicted to this series.

39. First Lord's Fury, by Jim Butcher (465 pages)
I wish there were more written in this world. It has grabbed my imagination and kept me riveted. I honestly could not stop reading, kept picking up the next book as soon as I had finished the first. I find myself hoping to follow Tavi and Kitai's journey as he works to build a complex society ready to fight the Vord when they eventually come, and to follow their son. At the same time, I'm content with the conclusion of this series; while it brings up more possibilities, it leaves me satisfied. Bravo, Butcher. I haven't read a series this voraciously in ages!

40. Chimes at Midnight, by Seanan McGuire (346 pages)
Toby somehow manages to get herself into even worse trouble than she normally manages, and if she doesn't learn to depend upon her allies, this time none of them might survive. This book is fairly fast-paced and provides even more insight into the world of the Faerie.

41. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving (80 pages)
I've been meaning to read this for ages, and with the new TV series coming out, I thought this was the best time. One thing I like is that the author doesn't really come down on a "side" between Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane. Both have their flaws and their virtues. I also like that there's an air of mystery regarding whether the event happened. The descriptions of people, place, and time period are fantastic as well. Great piece of classic literature.

September pages: 2,472

Pages to date: 13,055

Progress: 41/50

September 2013 Comics/Manga Reading:

259. Arata The Legend: Volume 14, by Yuu Watase (192 pages)
260. Bunny Drop: Volume 9, by Yumi Unita (224 pages)
261. Pandora Hearts: Volume 17, by Jun Mochizuki (208 pages)
262. Jack of Fables: Volume 6, by Bill Willingham (128 pages)
263. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 29, by Yoko Kamio (192 pages)
264. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 30, by Yoko Kamio (192 pages)
265. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 31, by Yoko Kamio (164 pages)
266. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 32, by Yoko Kamio (210 pages)
267. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 33, by Yoko Kamio (210 pages)
268. Fables: Volume 16, by Bill Willingham (160 pages)
269. Fables: Volume 17, by Bill Willingham (144 pages)
270. Fables: Volume 18, by Bill Willingham (192 pages)
271. Cinderella: Volume 2, by Chris Roberson (154 pages)
272. Nana: Volume 16, by Ai Yazawa (264 pages)
273. Bunny Drop: Volume 8, by Yumi Unita (224 pages)
274. Doonesbury: And That's My Final Offer!, by G.B. Trudeau (128 pages)
275. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 34, by Yoko Kamio (184 pages)
276. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 35, by Yoko Kamio (192 pages)
277. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 36, by Yoko Kamio (200 pages)
278. Boys Over Flowers: Jewelry Box, by Yoko Kamio (176 pages)
279. Natsume's Book of Friends: Volume 14, by Yuki Midorikawa (192 pages)
280. The Walking Dead: Volume 18, by Robert Kirkman (136 pages)
281. Nana: Volume 17, by Ai Yazawa (200 pages)

September pages: 4,266

Pages to date: 55,439

Progress: 281/350
  • cat63

Books 83-87 for 2013

83. Ruth Fielding of the Red Mill by "Alice B. Emerson". 125 pages.

I put the author's name in quotes here because it's a pseudonym, used by several people. Judging by comparison with the Betty Gordon book I read recently, written under the same alias, I concluded that this one was written by a different, rather better author and Wikipedia says I'm right - this one is by W. Bert Foster and the Betty Gordon by Josephine Lawrence.

The starting points for the two stories are broadly similar - a recently orphaned girl sent to live in the country at an establishment run by a miser - but while Betty has rather more resources than Ruth, being only a temporary visitor, Ruth's miser is less flint of skin than Betty's so it all rather balances out :)

There are even more of these available as free ebooks than the Betty Gordon series, so i shall probably be delving further into Ruth's adventures.

84. End of Term by Antonia Forest. 252 pages.

Another of Antonia Forest's books about the Marlow family, kindly lent to my by hooloovoo42.

I was surprised to find that there's a fairly deep (for a children's book) look at religion incorporated in the story here. But it's done with conversations between the characters which seem quite natural for the people they are and not something the author has crowbarred in to suit a particular hobbyhorse of her own.

I liked this one rather better than Autumn term, possibly because of being better acquainted with the characters after reading that one.

85. D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton. 193 pages.

Book 4 of the Kinsey Milhone series. Kinsey is hired to find someone and deliver a cheque to them. But her client's cheque to her bounces and before she can track him down and question him about it, he's found dead.

I liked this one rather better than the previous ones as Kinsey seems to open up rather more and seems a bit more human and likeable, although the ending seemed rather abrupt.

86. The Ready-Made Family by Antonia Forest. 194 pages

Another of the Marlow books, this time set at their home in the countryside rather than at Kingscote school.

Karen Marlow comes home to tell her family that she's getting married to a much older widower with three children. Hilarity ensues. Or not.

The more I read of these the more I like them.

87. The Attic Murder by S. Fowler Wright. 142 pages

Oddly constructed tale of a man falsely convicted of fraud, who goes on the run and finds himself on the scene of a gruesome murder which brings him back into the clutches of the police.

The author wavers between points of view rather more than I find helpful - the plot could have been quite decent had it been written better.
  • maribou

Awkward Dragon Tricks; Morgain's Divergent Companion

Awkward: A Detour, by Mary Cappello
Well. It *was* awkward. And that worked wonderfully - incandescently - in some sections, but in other sections it left me cold. The amazing partsas made the dull parts worth pushing through for me, but YMMV.

Tricks of the Trade and Dragon Justice, by Laura Anne Gilman
CSI for magic users, more or less, though I find these characters more appealing than the CSI ones. And it was neat to get to the part where this series caught up to the series it spun off from, because the friendship between this protagonist and the protagonist of the main series is one of my favorite things about that series. About this one too. The edgy romance subplot is more foregrounded in this one than in the other, and I was kind of bummed by the way the main character's polyamory just kind of gets shoved out of the way as irrelevant (endearingly enough, the main character seemed kind of irritated by that too) ... but that's what I get for reading a Harlequin imprint, ennit? Tasty tasty, nonetheless. Gilman is one of my favorite popcorn reads - and I suppose she is a crunch'n'munch read, really, there's lots more to chew on than in the PURE fluff I read sometimes :D.
(147, 148)

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
I liked this YA dystopia so much I was all set to read the next one immediately, but I didn't have much to say about it and I was planning to review both of them at once. AND THEN SOMEONE CHECKED OUT OUR COPY OF INSURGENT BEFORE I COULD. *shakes tiny fist* I decided to read this book because I saw the author at ALA and she said (roughly) that most dystopias indict society, but that after rereading her own trilogy, she realized she was indicting herself. If you are as intrigued by that as I was, you will probably like these books! Or, at least, the first one! *pines for the second one*

Grail Quest: Morgain's Revenge and Grail Quest: The Shadow Companion, by Laura Anne Gilman
I never get tired of twists on the King Arthur mythos. That said, I've read a lot of them, so you really have to knock it out of the park to impress me. These are not those. BUT, as middle grade fiction goes, they are nonetheless top notch, and they were really good company while I was sick. Endearing characters, humor, exciting plot, etc.
(150, 151)
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    KMRB is gracing me with the Cranberries, "Linger," for reasons unknown