|Jun. 30th, 2014 @ 11:08 pm books from June|
|Kate de Goldi, The ACB with Honora Lee. I have no idea why this was shelved YA. It’s about a nine-year-old and has very little plot, even of the books-we-read-in-third-grade kind. The illustrations worked very well with it, though, and I enjoyed reading it.|
Sarah Rees Brennan, The Demon’s Surrender. Yes, Evil Rachel, I finally read it. I’m glad I did. I’ve checked that book out about seven times now. It wasn’t as wrenching as the previous one, which beat me up and spit on me, and I think some of that is that Sin is... well, Sin is awesome, but she’s also an observer for most of the plot and she knows it. The Alan-and-Nick-and-Mae-and-Jamie show is pretty good even when there's no place for Sin the Bystander.
Laurie R King, A Grave Talent. I’m out of Mary Russell and these exist, so. This had a surprise... well, there was a lot of pronoun game, enough that my not-in-1993 brain started wondering if perhaps gender-ambiguous Lee might be gender-ambiguous in more than prose. Sadly, no, but then, it’s rare enough to find lesbians in 1993 not-about-ladies fiction. I’d love for this series to have more of an emphasis on the tension between private and public, since that’s a major part of this book, and for King to stop playing coy with information.
To Play the Fool. I’m just going to spoil the hell out of this for you.
FOOL: I know things and won’t tell you no matter what!
COPS: Look, this is really annoying.
FOOL: La la la!
COPS: This is really, really important.
FOOL: I can quote things!
COPS: No, seriously, really, really important. Like dead bodies important.
FOOL: Oh, sorry. *tells everything, solves mystery*
With Child. I think that King shines with Russell because Russell is awesome and I’d read about her rescuing pansies from dirt if she felt it necessary. Kate is not so, and I think that in writing Kate, King... missed. Plus none of the stories have enough ending or consequences, which I am beginning to realize is just something I’ll have to cope with in mysteries.
Julie James, Something About You. A reread. I like these characters.
Kenneth Oppel, Boundless. I would be so much more okay with the ending of this book-- and it is the ending that I quibble with, for the most part-- if the final disposition of the main character had been foreshadowed at all. He has one ambition, one new sort of ambition, and he ends up going with a third that neither develops his talents nor enriches the world. It's just the kind of thing kids are supposed to want.
I’m glad I read it, though. It’s a fun, solid book with creepy ecology around the edges.
Laurie R King, Night Work. Unsatisfying, possibly because... you know, I’m not sure why. I think the lack of ending is getting to me. I want to know more of how things wrap up.
A Darker Place. DENOUEMENT. PEOPLE. I need some RESOLUTION.
Julie James, Practice Makes Perfect. Reread, and glad for it. Light! Charming! Stands up even when I know what’s going to happen! Features Pride and Prejudice!
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I feel like I’ve read this before. Because I have. And then it was a memoir. Much of the memoir talked about the confusion between Real Life and What Happened In This Book because they are similar... and yet I feel that this book is also a treatment of something more interesting. Little details were thrown out, like Jeanette preaching at church, and never shown, never given weight. I want to read the book this is a reaction to. Like if Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? is the meta of Oranges, I want what Oranges is the meta of.
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld. Not the book I was expecting. I had expected (had read about?) a book featuring the particularly strange science of Discworld itself, the slow light, the chelonium, et cetera, and this is a book about our world with a frame story of Discworld. I started counting female names when it became apparent that in the first two hundred pages, I’d get two and some ambiguous ones, but that’s as much the fault of historical and current science as it is the fault of the researchers. The book also... well, I didn’t understand some of the things I do understand. So.
Also, do all books about general science, starting from atoms and going to animals, end with possibilities for the end of the world and/or averting it? Because that’s depressing as hell.
Sarah Beth Durst,The Lost. I would have gotten into this better if anyone had explained anything at all to the narrator. Ever. I mean, drop me into a supernatural creepy town with its own rules and I’m finding the printer someone lost and putting out a Guide for the Newcomer including local customs, rules, survival tips, and folklore.
Plus a minor bit of dissatisfaction at the end.
Courtney Milan, Proof by Seduction. The first Milan novel I’ve reread, and it stands up. I wasn’t worried... but I was also terribly, terribly worried.
It also answers a concern I’d had about the sequel: we do not see Ned, who I adore, Down in his book. We see him thus here. I like that. A lot of his emotional arc takes place in this book instead of his own-- his crisis, but not his coping strategies. And I love Ned.
Trial by Desire. Ned, oh Ned, I love how this book is so much about you discovering that your coping strategies, which totally work, are not optimal. They do what they need to, in that you are still alive and functioning as a responsible adult, but this book is all about getting from 'surviving' to 'thriving'. Plus Ned.
Julie James, It Happened One Wedding. I'm not sure why the publisher decided to rebrand James' covers, but I really want those shoes in a form I would wear.
In other news, still Julie James, still lots of fun, nothing sticks out at me from a few days later.
Laurie R King, The Art of Detection. We are getting... okay, so the line between Fiction and Not Fiction is blurry with the Russell books. Now it is blurry with the Kate books as well. I am not strictly okay with this.
Also interesting, and surprising to me, was that this book takes place something like ten years after the previous one. The private/public tension I liked in the first book was never followed up on. The relationship tension of With Child was never followed up on. The mistrust from Night Work. All the conveniently dead killers, all the emotional fallout, never brought up again.
I don't know if I want to read enough mysteries to evaluate if this is an accepted genre trope or not.
Kelley Armstrong, The Sea of Shadows. Why doesn’t this say GREAT NEW TRILOGY or something? Because then I wouldn’t have picked it up. I want standalones. Or at least a standalone.
Also, the setting is a Japanesque fantasy world. The heroines are both white with red hair. Yes, it’s meant to reflect that it’s a multicultural empire rather than a monoculture, but... white with red hair.
Mary Robinette Kowal, Valour and Vanity. I love it when a book is exactly what I want and expect. Kowal comes through with that and I know I can depend on her. I kept pausing and telling Angela what was going on-- “Nuns!” “Right now the main problem is poverty, and they’re being so cute about it,” and, “Pissed off nuns!”-- because I was so delighted.
And that’s the word for this book. It is delightful.
Holly Black, Doll Bones. It’s not The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but it isn’t trying to be. I can’t help but be weirded out a bit-- I’ve read Black’s YA but not her middle-grade. So a book that isn’t so-dangerous-it’s-sexy, a book that doesn’t have scars and blood in the backstory, a book that is about adolescence’s beginning rather than its end, is... weird? Refreshing? Either way, it’s a good book, creepy in many of the right places, even if it does miss what I thought was going to happen at the end.
Deborah Coates, Strange Country. What I learned in this book: the Badlands are a small place, compared to many places. We went there when I was eight or nine. In my head, the Badlands go on forever, like the Southwest. They are not something one drives through on the way to someplace else.
Coates’ voice is strong throughout the book; I think it would be great in audio, possibly better than in text. I found myself frustrated at a few points, wanting to snarl, “Why are you writing like that?” but it’s dialect and voice all the way down. I do not speak Big Empty Place. I speak Town with Sidewalks and Schools Surrounded by Corn and Dairy Cows. Big Empty Place is a little hardcore for me, especially given how many people there end up dead.
Alice Hoffman, The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Definitely by Alice Hoffman. She’s really good at writing the books she writes. Someday I will find more people who write like she does, and then I’ll have a lot of books to read.