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14 May 2012 @ 12:54 pm
Lotsa books  
I've recently finished up Wen Spencer's "Elfhome", Ellen Kushner's "Swordspoint", Eric Brown's "The Kings of Eternity", Ian M Banks "Inversions", marthawells's "The Serpent Sea" and seanan_mcguire's "One Salt Sea". Oh, and i think i haven't said anything about Robin Hobb's "City of Dragons" either. Oh, and of course i read Diana Wynne Jones' "Howl's Moving Castle", but there's already been quite a lot of discussion about that over in stormfeather's posts about it.

City of Dragons - This is the third book in Hobb's "Rain Wilds Chronicles" series, set in her Elderlings universe. I originally figured this was going to be a trilogy like all her other series, and i was getting pretty worried as i was rapidly approaching the end without any significant resolutions going on. Thankfully it turns out there are going ti be at least four books in the series. Quality-wise i'd place this up there with the "Liveship Traders" trilogy. I liked the original "Farseer" trilogy, but had a lot of issues with the protagonist. "Liveship Traders" had a much wider scope and multiple protagonists, none of whom were as annoying as Fitz. The "Tawny Man" trilogy featured Fitz again. He'd grown up a bit and was somewhat less annoying, but it was still a somewhat smaller scope. "Rain Wilds" goes back to the more interesting setting and wider assortment of characters.

Elfhome - This is the third book in the "Elfhome" series. If you haven't read any of the previous books, the series is generally about a girl genius/Wrench Wench living in a Philadelphia that is magically shifted back and forth to another universe on a monthly basis, a universe inhabited by elves and monsters.

The Kings of Eternity - This was an impulse purchase based on the description of it as a "scientific romance." One part of the book takes place in 1999, the other (mostly) in 1935. The 1935 parts do manage to do a fairly good job of feeling, well, not Victorian or Edwardian obviously. "Historical" i guess. Meanwhile for most of the book the 1999 part focuses mainly on character development, and did a reasonably good job of it in my opinion. I expect most people will see the plot "twist" coming a long way off though.

Inversions - I definitely liked this more than "use of Weapons", but not as much as "Player of Games". However it's rather limited in scope compared to all the other Culture novels i've read so far. Of course technically this book doesn't claim to be a Culture novel, but it hints at it pretty damn strongly. The story is told in two parts, from two different perspectives in two different countries on a planet that is towards the end(?) of its feudal era and seems like it's starting to see the first glimmerings of some kind of renaissance or industrial revolution. It does have a somewhat depressing ending, at least in part, but nothing like "Use of Weapons".

Swordspoint - Apparently Neil Gaiman really liked Swordspoint and decided to do an audiobook version through his own publishing company or something. Which is great, except he decided to add some theatrical elements. On the plus side, those theatrical elements (music, crowd noises, sound effects for swords) are reasonably well done and aren't especially overused, i'd still prefer to just listen to the book. I don't really want embellishments, the most that's sometimes worth doing is having multiple readers for multiple characters if it can be split up well, however even that isn't really necessary. So audio editing choices aside, it's still a great book. It's a gritty fantasy novel notable for for featuring a gay couple as the main protagonists. At least it was a couple years earlier than Lackey's Last Herald-Mage trilogy and i'm not aware of anything else from that time period. (Though admittedly it's not something i really go out of my way looking for =)

The Serpent Sea - The sequel to "The Cloud Roads" and second book in the "Raksura" series. (Quick! You still have time to catch up before the third book comes out in December! =) I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the sequel but i wasn't really expecting a fetch quest. It's a pretty well written fetch quest though, exploring new areas of the world and mixing in some politics. I'm still very much enamored of the subtle D/s relationship between Jade and Moon. And some interesting possibilities were introduced regarding Chime that i really hope are addressed in the next book.

One Salt Sea - This is... book five i think of the October Daye series. (Quick! You still have time to catch up before.... who am i kidding? She writes faster than most of us can read ;) October seems to be continuing to get better at her job (it's a good day when she's batting over 50%) and we seem to be getting more setup for some serious stuff going down later in the series. I did manage to predict the plot arc of her romantic interests for this book, and the ending was rather depressing. But that's kinda par for the course with Seanan's books =P

So to sum up, i think they're all worth reading. Of course i would especially recommend Seanan McGuire, Martha Wells, Robin Hobb and Wen Spencer's books, but clearly i may be a bit biased :)

Of course if anyone else has actually read any of these i'd be happy to get into a more in depth discussion in the comments or something.
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Thaisathaisa on May 16th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
How did you get Elfhome when Amazon says: This title will be released on July 3, 2012. Wah!
DonAithnendonaithnen on May 16th, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
I suppose i should have mentioned that. It's an eARC. Just go to Been's ebook store and you too can get the book a month and a half early.

Be warned though, it's very much an ARC. Unlike the ARC i got of "Cryoburn", which seemed like it could have been the "real" book to me, even i noticed a lot of typos and errors in the "Elfhome" ARC, which means it must be pretty bad.

Of course i didn't really mind the errors much since i was happy for the chance to read the book early, but i did notice them.