alithea: (Rainbow River (made by hollycore))
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.

Goldenhand by Garth Nix.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 11: In the Shadow of Riverside by Tess Gratton. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 12: Smoke and Ashes by Mary Anne Mohanraj. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 13: Dissolution by Ellen Kushner. Kindle.

Huntress by Malindo Lo. Kindle.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Kindle. Highly recommended.

To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix. Short stories.

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers 2) by Becky Chambers. Kindle.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. Kindle.

Fables volume 2

Three Parts Dead (Craft sequence volume 1) by Max Gladstone.

Fables volume 3

Fables volume 4

Fables volume 5

Fables volume 6

Two Serpents Rise (Craft sequence volume 2) by Max Gladstone.

Sleeping with the enemy (Adventures in the Liaden Universe Book 22) by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Kindle.

Change Management (Adventures in the Liaden Universe Book 23) by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Kindle.

Folk'd by Laurence Donaghy

Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett

The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. Kindle.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. Kindle.

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor. Kindle.

Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. Kindle.

Currently reading:

Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence) By Max Gladstone. Kindle.
alithea: (Rainbow River (made by hollycore))
Tremontaine episode 10: Shadowroot by Joe Derfner & Ellen Kushner. I thought this guy was the weakest of the ensemble writers after his first couple of episodes but this one was much better actually. [kindle]

Tremontaine episode 11: Go And Tell The Morning Star by Alaya Dawn Johnson & Ellen Kushner. A secret is revealed and Kaab chooses between her family and her friends. Great stuff, a really good episode for seeing into the characters heads and hearts.[kindle]

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett. Random recommendation from a work colleague. Lost colony SF with some really lovely world building and interesting musings on how society develops when the tribe gets too big to stay one happy family.

Tremontaine episode 12: A Tale of Two Ladies by Malinda Lo & Ellen Kushner. Ooooh, cannot wait for the final part now, the battle of wits between Kaab and Diane is marvellous.[kindle]

The Wicked and the Divine: The Faust Act (volume 1) by Gillen, McKelvie, Wilson and Cowles. [re-read]

The Wicked and the Divine: Fandemonium (volume 2) by Gillen, McKelvie, Wilson and Cowles. Cliff-hanger!! Did not see that coming.

Tremontaine episode 13: Departures by Ellen Kushner. Season 1 finale. Great stuff![kindle]

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. I couldn't imagine this guy writing YA but the reviews are glowing so I thought I'd give it a go. Turns out there is less violence and no sex but it's still very much Abercrombie. I didn't see where it was going at all and rather enjoyed that but I think I'm more excited about the other two in the series which have female POV characters.

Ash by Malinda Lo. Charming retelling of Cinderella complete with inscrutable fairies and the heroine saving herself and finding belonging, perfect sickbed reading.[kindle]

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Great little graphic novel based on a web comic. I had a tear in my eye when I finished it, really lovely character piece.

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. A very grown up Vorkosigan book about mortality, duty and legacy. I sniffled a fair few times.

The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett. Lymond is sent to help the Knights of St John against the Turks, putting into the path of Graham Mallett, known as Gabriel, but who is the angel and who is the demon? As usual in Dunnett books, some people are very much not who they seem and secret agendas will only gradually be revealed.

The Wicked and the Divine volume 3: Commercial Suicide by Gillen, McKelvie, Wilson, Cowles et al. I'm really not sure where they're going with this and am slightly concerned they are going to end up with no characters I actually like left but it continues to be a thought-provoking read. Some of the guest artists are more successful than others.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Finally bought this at xmas having been planning to read it for years. Kind of sad I didn't read it as a teenager because teenage-me would have adored it. I did still really enjoy it, but I was aware, especially once she fell in love, that it would have meant so much more to me at that age.

Saga volume 2 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples. Mostly enjoying this although it still has points where it make me go 'hmmm'.

The Sandman Overture by Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart. Very good and very pretty. I want to re-read the rest of Sandman now, really must complete my collection!

The Traitor by Seth Dickinson. A griping read, I ended up staying up til 1am to finish it. The best sort of SF - a thought-provoking read (a commentary on Imperialism and colonialism in this case) combined with a great character story that takes you on an emotional journey. [Kindle]

Saga volume 3 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples. I just wish they would stop using misogynistic slurs. That aside, I'm rather enjoying it.

Rat Queens volume 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch. Gory, irreverent and very funny.

A long way to a small, angry planet by Becky Chambers. Character-driven space opera, not quite Bujold or the Liaden Universe but a satisfying read.[Kindle]

Runaways volume 1: Pride & Joy [Re-read]

Runaways volume 2: Teenage Wasteland [Re-read]

Phonogram: Rue Britannia by Gillen & McKelvie. Recognisably the same team as The Wicked and the Divine but I think their writing has come on since and my 'Unknown Armies' issues may not help its case. So, not really my thing.

False Colours by Georgette Heyer.

Rat Queens volume 2

Rat Queens volume 3

Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett. Well, that's a chess game I'm never going to forget.

Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie. A master class in writing fantasy short stories.

Trade Secret by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb. The story of how Wit magic came to be stigmatised in the Six Duchies. Unfortunately now I've started noticing how she treats her female characters, I keep being disappointed by it.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. Utterly charming, Victoriana magical realism. Quite lovely.

Saga volume 4 by Brian Vaughan & Fiona Staples. Sadly, I think I might give up on this here - I know it's intended to be offensive but really, the rest of it is creative, why do the trolls have to use such graphic sexist language?

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie. I would never have thought when I was struggling through 'The Blade Itself' that Abercrombie would become one of my favourite fantasy authors but he has - this is full of great female characters

Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. The main Korval storyline of the Liaden Universe continues - we get a bit of Daav but this is mostly The Dutiful Passage and the AIs, and happily no Theo ;)

Fables collected 1-10 "Legends in Exile" and "Animal Farm" by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and Craig Hamilton. Somehow I'd never got around to this before but it's definitely worth a read if exiled fairytale characters trying to make their way in New York sounds like your sort of thing.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. Fun alternate world fantasy set in a Victorian London full of vampires and fae.

Half a War by Joe Abercrombie.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 1: Convocation by Ellen Kushner. Kindle.

Rivers of London:Body of Work

Whitehall season 1 episode 1:Embarkations by Liz Duffy Adams and Delia Sherman. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 2: Old in Mischief by Tessa Gratton. kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 3: Fireworks by Mary Anne Mohanraj. kindle

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 4: All that glitters by Joe Derfner. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 5: Alive, and home here by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Kindle.

The Ringed Castle by Dorothy Dunnett.

The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London 6) by Ben Aaronovitch.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 6: Blood and Silk by Mary Anne Mohanraj. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 7: The Duchess Gambit by Joe Derfner. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 8: A Rushing of wings by Paul Witcover and Racheline Maltese. Kindle.

The Mazarinette and the Musketeer by Heather Rose Jones. (short story) Kindle.

Mother of Souls by Heather Rose Jones. I do love this series but the problem with trying to continue the two existing storylines plus add another one and two new narrators is that this ends up feeling very bitty indeed in places, like she's shoved odd bits of a different book into it because the events are all on the same timeline. Kindle

Tremontaine season 2 episode 9: The Heart a Liability by Tessa Gratton. Kindle.

Tremontaine season 2 episode 10: The Coming Night by Joel Derfner. Kindle.

Currently reading:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.

To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix.

Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman
alithea: (Windswept Francine)
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy. Entertaining adventure story which is about as close to the TV adaptations I remember as Disney's Three Musketeers is to the original, I wasn't expected it to be narrated by his wife for a start. It does however, rely on classic case of telling rather than showing - we're told she's regarded as the cleverest woman in Europe but she spends most of the book being remarkably dense!

Foxglove Summer (Rivers of London book 5) by Ben Aaronovitch. Yet another thoroughly entertaining instalment. I love how these books manage to be both really funny and yet also feature quite dark urban fantasy that never resorts to popular stereotypes [Kindle]

A Liaden Universe Constellation 1 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Short story collection. Some gems here, especially the story of how Ren Zel comes to be dead and flying with the Dutiful Passage, and the one about the scout stranded on the world that is killing him at the end, which made me teary.

A Liaden Universe Constellation 2 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Another short story collection, mostly Plan B and Surebleak era stuff this time although also Miri backstory, which I enjoyed.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Yeah, I see why this won so many awards, and it's so nice not to have to qualify that with anything problematic (Wind-up Girl this is not, in a good way).

Zero by J.S Collyer. Space opera by a friend of the Boy's. This went somewhere I really wasn't expecting half way through but was a pretty good space action/thriller story. My only complaint would be that she cut too much of the character stuff - several of the background characters end up being names and jobs, and the characterisation of the two main characters suffers somewhat from having relationships with characters that are not explored in quite enough depth for you to really get the emotional impact of everything that happens to them. Oh, and I was somewhat annoyed by one of the three female characters disappearing half way through too. Overall, it read a bit too much like she'd cut half of the interpersonal stuff out. [Kindle]

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie. I think I actually enjoyed this more than the first one in the end. She continues to build on and explore her setting and while the plot becomes arguably less sweeping, I liked the more personal edge and focus on the characters as Breq develops from single-mindedly pursuing a goal she assumes will kill her to working out how she can make a difference to the lives of the ordinary people caught up in the machinations of those so distant from them. Maybe less radical in terms of ideas than the first book (although I'm not sure how she could have avoided that really) but more engaging character-wise for me.

Goddess by Kelly Gardiner. When I found out someone had written a novel in English about Julie D'Aubigny, La Maupin, the 17th Century swashbuckling bisexual opera singer, I knew I had to read it, especially as I've been vaguely contemplating doing similarly (as an exercise at least, I doubt it would ever have seen the light of day!). Unfortunately, it's rather disappointing as the author has obviously done her research but her decision to structure the novel with every other chapter being Julie monologuing from her deathbed makes the entire thing a tragedy, from the abused child to the grief-stricken lover left behind when the love of her life dies, the love of her life who only features in last few chapters. Some of the third person chapters are quite entertaining once she gets going and there's no doubt that it's readable but her characterisation of Julie tends more towards the pathetic than the sympathetic (understandably really given she's dying but it seems an odd choice of style for someone who apparently wants to celebrate her life). Plus the narrative style means none of the other characters are very well realised and we are mostly told the relationships rather than seeing them in a light where they make much sense. This is particularly glaring at the start because although the same sex and mixed sex relationships get more equal treatment later in the story, we are supposed to believe that Clara and Julie are so obviously enamoured of each other that one of them gets banished to a convent without them speaking to each other(!), but then they apparently can't manage to invent lesbian sex between them, and that all they do is gaze into each other eyes and hold hands, and daydream about what would happen if Julie woke up as a man, and only kiss once *because it scares them too much*. All in all, what I wanted to read was the version of La Maupin's life Ellen Kushner might write and this is very much not it.[Kindle]

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. Rather entertaining comedy of errors involving a bunch of mostly bumbling historians time travelling back to Victorian Oxford in pursuit of what turns out to be a hideous urn which disappeared when Coventry Cathedral was destroyed during WW2. Laugh out loud funny in places and the time travel is delightfully twisty - can our heroes fix the time line so events unfold as they are supposed to, and who really broke things in the first place?

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. After reading the House of Niccolo books, I am firmly of the opinion that there is no pleasure quite like a Dunnett novel and this did not disappoint. Lymond seems to be a charismatic villain but of course, nothing is as it seems and gradually his plotting and other people's is revealed for what it really is. As usual, her historical backdrop is rich in detail (mid 16th Century Scotland at war with England) but the real joy of the book is the character studies and the way her masterful use of point of view gradually reveals their plotting and scheming and who we can really trust. I laughed and cried and was gripped to the end - what more can you ask for?

Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. In which we meet some hidden inhabitants of Surebleak. I love Lee & Miller's world building, the little glimpses of where the Bedel have come from and how their society has evolved are wonderful. Entertaining as ever.

Queens' Play by Dorothy Dunnett. Politicking and politicking and yet more politicking, I see why some reviewers suggest you read this twice! The examination of the personal responsibility of leaders is fascinating.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan. A watery dystopia that reads like a fairy tale. Very atmospheric.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman.

Ms Marvel: No Normal

The Wicked and the Divine, volume 1

Saga, volume 1

Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb.

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones. Regency-esque lesbian romance set in a fictional European country and filled with inheritance-related intrigue and mystic ritual. Thoroughly enjoyable, my only complaint is that the romance is treated with too light a touch in places - I wasn't expecting erotica from the reviews but the scene where they finally confess their feelings falls a little flat because she cuts scene without even allowing them a passionate embrace on screen.[Kindle]

The Mystic Marriage by Heather Rose Jones. The blurb for this only refers to the romance storyline between two of the background characters from the first book but actually this also picks up Barbara and Margerit's story 2 or 3 years later. The intrigue plot is engaging and she's a bit braver with showing the romance on screen this time, very enjoyable if you're into regency-esque society intrigue and romance, I'd happily read another one if she writes more in this setting. [Kindle]

Ms Marvel volume 2

Ms Marvel volume 3

A Liaden Universe Constellation 3 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie.

Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. A mixed bag as these things usually are but some very enjoyable stories in amongst the selection.[Kindle]

Lucia's Progress by E.F. Benson. Lucia invests in the Stock market and uses the profits to buy her way into the affections of the town, having failed in her attempt to get elected to the council. Delightful social backstabbing. [Kindle]

Tremontaine, episodes 1-3 by Ellen Kushner et al. Prequel to Swordspoint being published via Serial Box in weekly instalments but also available via Amazon for Kindle. Diane, Duchess Tremontaine is playing a dangerous game with her family's fortune, will the chocolate traders be her allies or part of her downfall? Meanwhile, her husband has started an affair with a tempestuous student who wants to start his own school for commoners and a farm girl is discovering the wonders of mathematics. Great stuff, I eagerly await the next instalment![Kindle]

The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal. Very well done short story about the choices we face especially as we get old. Recommend having tissue or two handy. [Kindle]

Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler. I see why this won so many awards, it packs a real punch for such a short piece.[Kindle]

Tremontaine, episode 4-6 [Kindle]

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. [Kindle - free from Project Gutenburg]

Tremontaine episode 7 [Kindle]

Trouble for Lucia by E.F. Benson. [Kindle]

Tremontaine episode 8 & 9 [Kindle]

Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. [RE-READ]
alithea: (Books)
Minette by Melanie Clegg. Story of Charles II youngest sister growing up in exile in Paris and her Cinderella-style rise to a match with the Sun King's younger brother. Charming, slightly YA in tone as the narrator is only 13 when it starts but does still have touching emotional depths.(Kindle)

A Trail of Fire by Diana Gabaldon. 4 short stories/novellas. The Lord John one set in the West Indies was my favourite but mostly this suffered from me having forgotten an awful lot of what happened in the Outlander series. Don't know if the title of the story about Roger's father is a nod to Firefly but it would be nice to think so.(Kindle)

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb. Eminently readable fantasy, looking forward to the next book.

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer. More of a mystery than I was expecting. Entertaining enough but not a favourite.

Broken Homes (Rivers of London 4) by Ben Aaronovitch. Another entertaining instalment in this well characterised series with lovely world building and attention to detail. (Kindle)

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer. Entertaining Georgian melodrama.

Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson. 1920s social one-upmanship comedy, had me roaring with laughter in places. (Kindle)

Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson. More hilarious social escapades, think this was funnier than the first one.

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Lucia in London by E.F. Benson

Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson. Just a tad far-fetched but entertainingly so!

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Slightly frustrating but entertaining over all, and I approve of his assumption of sexual equality in his world and kick-ass women pirates even if some muppets think it's feminist overkill and unjustified because sexism is human nature (I'm sure you can imagine what I think of that nonsense!).

The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman. I did really enjoy this, he's definitely found his novel writing voice these days, it was a bit Graveyard Book, a bit 'Book of Lost Things', and very much it's own magical realist thing. But my reaction to it was much based on my current mental state I think, so I'm not sure I could put my finger on its general appeal other than the fact that the Hempstock family are marvellous and work in a way the gods in American Gods just didn't quite for me somehow.

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie continues to confound me, I find the violence and torture in his books decidedly uncomfortable but on the other hand, it's always written to be so and he's an equal opportunity torturer who isn't obsessed with raping his female characters to prove how harsh the world is. And there is no denying the man can write engaging characters. I enjoyed this one more than the 1st Law trilogy, mostly because the characters don't spend the entire book being manipulated by the world's most infuriating magician.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. By turns utterly beautiful and utterly horrific, highly recommended if you haven't read it - wonderful characters and well-thought out alien society (you can tell she's an academic), hard to put down.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. 1st book in one of the Boy's favourite childhood series. Charming but childish, I'm assured that like the 'Dark is Rising' series, they improve after this!

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. Further write-up on my journal.

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. His latest is a take on a Western and another good read with redemption being a strong theme.

The Bee Keeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. I've been jokily referring to this as Sherlock Holmes fanfic but that isn't really fair because it's its own thing which happens to feature an aged Holmes, Watson and Mycroft. Rather enjoyable.

The Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb. Gah, I can't really say anything about this without spoiling anyone, can't wait for the next installment though, Fitz and the Fool again is like being reunited with old friends.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. Thoroughly enjoyable fantasy yarn, I particularly enjoyed the 7th Sea (RPG) influence here, subtle as it was.

Clariel by Garth Nix. Abhorsen series prequel. About the choices you make and the ones you don't and Fate. Another great addition to the series.

Kraken by China Mieville. Incredibly imaginative, deeply, deeply bizarre and occasionally horrific and deeply creepy. Gritty London gang warfare where the gangs are mages and cultists, and the war is over the end of the world. Mostly I enjoyed it but as his other stuff I've read, it's an ideas book not a character book. I am not going to read the new Rivers of London book straight after this because I think it would break my brain!

Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill. A redemption story set up as ghost story. Not my usual fare but the Boy assured me I'd enjoy the character journey and he was right although I did have to get over the fact it includes hideous cruelty to dogs.

Let Down Your Hair by Fiona Price [Kindle]

The Scarlett Pimpernel by Emma Orczy.

Currently reading:

From Whitechapel: A Novel of Jack the Ripper by Melanie Clegg. [Kindle]

Given up on:

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. Oh dear, I'm struggling with this. It isn't graphic the way that 'The Windup Girl' is but the plot does revolve around sexual abuse and I've kind of had it with struggling through uncomfortable things for the sake of it this year :(

By Light Alone by Adam Roberts. The development of photosynthetic hair sounds like an interesting idea but all he's done with it by the middle of the book is to parade a bunch of awful rich people who hate the poor and make clear that removing hunger doesn't solve anything on its own. Apparently it becomes a totally different book later on but I'm past caring. If this is 'worthy' SF, I'll stick with my space opera thanks!

Last of the Amazons by Steven Pressfield. I get that he made a conscious decision to reflect the style of ancient sagas, and it's very well done because it totally reminds me of translating The Iliad, but when it comes down to it, I want to read the characters' stories and not pages and pages of description of battles including entire paragraphs of lists of the tribes involved!
alithea: (Books)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Okay, so I'll confess that I did enjoy this, although the pacing was rather slow and then everything happening at once, and the heroine was annoyingly wet and too perfect to live. I was very amused by how every single person we met turned out to be connected to the plot - Dickens really didn't believe in coincidences, did he?

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch. This very British urban fantasy mystery series continues to be entertaining, this one even featured magic pottery which amused me, especially as the area I grew up in got a name check :)

Local Custom by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Having devoured all but the most recent Vorkosigan book, I've moved on to the next SF adventure romance series I was recommended by people around here. Of course, the problem with that is comparisons are a little hard to avoid and while I enjoyed this, my favourite character wasn't central to the story and the main romance didn't capture me like Cordelia and Aral did. A good solid introduction though.

Scout's Progress by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Ah now, this is more like it - Daav as a central character and more plot. Really enjoyed this, will be ordering the sequel.

Runaways: Dead Wrong by Terry Moore & (artist). Hmmm, Runaways has never returned to the heights of its first
couple of runs, I still miss Gert :( I know TM can write good interpersonal relationships but this has too much crammed into it to let them shine and I don't like the new art work.

Caprice and Rondo (House of Niccolo Book 7) by Dorothy Dunnett. The revelations are building, am torn between being desperate to read Gemini and wanting to wait because once it's done there is no more (canon) Niccolo...

Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. I did enjoy this but I can understand why people coming to it having already read the books either side felt a little disappointed, it jumps in time rather randomly and the last section definitely feels like filler and set up for later stories.

A Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. I was very relieved to thoroughly enjoy this despite the fact we have now skipped to the next generation. More lovely character driven storytelling plus a good bit of action and adventure and I enjoyed seeing more of the varied cultures in the Liaden universe for the first time.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It's amazing how much emotion you can convey with simple B&W drawings and captions - a moving memoir about growing up in Iran and the real people behind the veils. This is exactly why I have no time for people who think comics aren't proper literature.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe. I can't remember if I read this as a kid or not, I certainly read a bunch of her books, but either way, we picked up a lovely Folio edition in our local Oxfam bookshop the other week and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Carpe Diem by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Plan B by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

I Dare by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. The fact I read all 4 of the books in this story arc in quick succession probably tells you all you need to know about how good these are. If you are a fan of space adventure novels with romance, great characters, engaging world building and gripping plots, and you haven't read these already, you are in for a treat!

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.

A Curse for Gracie Daylittle by Amber Fisher.

Crystal Soldier by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Crystal Dragon by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

The Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Fledging by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Saltation by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie.

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie. Clever, well-written and engaging, but when it comes down to it, I prefer my fantasy a little less bleak.

Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer. Marvellous fun, thoroughly enjoyable.

Gemini (House of Niccolo book 8) by Dorothy Dunnett. Utterly brilliant, see more in this post on my journal.

The Lies of Locke Lamorra by Scott Lynch. Thoroughly enjoyable fantasy. A little graphic for some in places I suspect but much more satisfying than the 3rd Law Trilogy. My only niggle is it could have done with a couple more female characters really.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. Marvellous fun, I laughed out loud a good few times.

Dragon ship by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. The problem with this is that it's a Theo Waitley book when what I want is another main Korval plotline book. So enjoyable but frustrating!

The Wind Through the Keyhole (Dark Tower) by Stephen King. Another Dark Tower book that fits between 4 and 5 and is Roland telling more tales from his younger life. High hopes for this because 4 and 5 are my favourite of the previous volumes. Actually more like two novellas but good anyway.

Heavy Ice by Ankaret Wells. A Requite novel set 200 years after the original ones. The Founders find Requite again and neither of them will ever be the same again - great stuff, see the longer review in a separate post.

The Maker's Mask by Ankaret Wells. Re-read as I was suffering Requite withdrawal after running out of Heavy Ice to read!

The Hawkwood War by Ankaret Wells. Re-read as above.
alithea: (Books)
Because there is more to life than books, but not much more )
Witch Light by Susan Fletcher. More 17th Century, this time set in Scotland. A witch witnesses a massacre but will her knowledge save her? Love the description of what it means to be a witch at the beginning, chimes very true with me. Further comment here on my LJ

The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner (RE-READ). Perfect comfort reading - swashbuckling, intrigue, angst, sexual awakening and a happy ending!

Purity of Blood (Captain Alatriste book 2) by Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte. No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Swords of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter hijinx - good fun if you can manage to judge its treatment of the female characters by the time it was written in. Slightly bizarre pacing.

Jack Cloudie by Stephen Hunt. Another madcap steampunk novel, shame about the new covers which don't match my existing collection!

The City & The City by China Mieville. Intriguing SF thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed - the plot is tight and gripping, and the setting is fascinating. I started off thinking maybe only the characters let it down a bit but by the end I was emotionally engaged too.

Firebrand by Ankaret Wells. Wonderful steampunk romance with great characters and intriguing world-building. Can't wait for the xmas freebie story set in the same world on

Currently reading:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. A classic for the holidays, A Christmas Carol would have been a step too far!

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow. Urban fantasy short story collection
alithea: (Books)
Because there is more to life than books, but not much more )

Race of Scorpions (House of Niccolo book 3) by Dorothy Dunnett. Niccolo gets dragged into the war over Cyprus with a range of expected and unexpected consequences, some of them very tragic indeed. Thoroughly enjoyed this although I slightly wish they were more romantic - she's killed off 2 heroines so far and I'm spotting a theme!

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Jonathan Strange meets Neverwhere very British urban fantasy detective novel. Good fun especially if yu are sick of shagging werewolves and sexy vampires but like a good supernatural murder mystery.

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. Moving account of one slave's journey from abused child in what became to Haiti to free woman in Louisiana. Fascinating and heartbreaking history combined with moving family saga, and the only book I've read with voodoo in it that hasn't given me nightmares.

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. Another enjoyable UF murder mystery.

The Sword of Albion by Mark Chadbourn. England's greatest spy is engaged in a more secret war against the Unseelie Court - Elizabethan plots and intrigue with scary, proper True Fae. If you like your historical fantasy adventure-filled but with a decidedly dark and twisted bent where the lines between good and evil are as murky as in the real world, you should enjoy this.

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Best fantasy novel I've read all year. Highly recommended to any fan of plotty, character based, low fantasy epics.

Currently reading

Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey.

The Inheritance by Robin Hobb/Megan Lindeholm. Short story collection.

Maggie the Mechanic (A Love & Rockets book) by Jaime Hernandez. Madcap comic collection featuring punks, retired wrestlers, robots, space ships, the odd dinosaur, and a woman who wants to be a superhero.

Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales
alithea: (Books)
Because there is more to life than books, but not much more )

The Maker's Mask: Book 1 of Requite by Ankaret Wells. Highly entertaining SF adventure/romance. Such a shame that publishers like books which fit neatly into genre categories because this definitely deserves a wider audience. Buy it here from Lulu

The Hawkwood War: Book 2 of Requite by Ankaret Well. Very satisfying conclusion to the story, complete with deaths, marriages, intrigue, and much politicking. I love the characters so much!

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. A masterpiece about faith and love, I'm so pleased I finally got around to reading it!

The Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Utterly mad 1920s Sci-fi. Once you get past the sexism (the female protagonist is always in need of rescue despite being pretty damn competent and the hero wins her love by doing so despite pretending to be someone else for most of the book), this is a thoroughly entertaining adventure story.

Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold. Second compendium volume of the Vorkosigan saga consisting of The Warrior's Apprentice, The Vor Game and the novella "The Mountains of Mourning". Great stuff - high adventure space opera SF that makes you laugh out loud but also has the depth and characterisation to move you to tears.

Miles, Mystery and Mayhem (Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos and "Labyrinth") by Lois McMaster Bujold. Labyrinth was probably my favourite of the collection as it is both moving and laugh-out-loud funny in places, but I enjoyed all 3.

Dracula by Bram Stoker. A classic to finish the year.
alithea: (Books)
This is my reading list from 2009; I managed 29 novels, 5 trade paperback collections of comics and the entire of Strangers in Paradise (I'm not sure how many that counts as, it's about 150 comics all said and told I think!). Not bad going really.

My stand-outs for the year were definitely The Dark Tower series by Stephen King and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. The first being the kind of archetypal story that haunts you forevermore once you've read it; I see Roland and his quest everywhere these days. And the second being the first novel I've ever read that makes me wish I could write. I don't really know why that is, I've loved a lot of novels over the years but usually I'm most content to admire from afar in a 'that's fantastic but not something I could ever do' way. Whereas reading this book made me wonder if actually maybe I do believe in that old adage that everyone has at least one novel in them. It spoke to my soul in a way which made me wish that I could tell a similar story about my history...

in which I witter like a crazy person about having an idea for a novel. Which is crazy because I don't write fiction )And the last thing I need at the moment is another creative obsession with no hope of paying the bills...

In other book-related news, my copy of An Echo in the Bone (Diana Gabaldon's latest time-travelling historical romance about Claire and Jamie) arrived yesterday and I'm currently reading the first Lucifer Box book as I bought the set for the Boy for xmas and he's already finished all 3. Also on my reading list for the next little while are the 3 trades of Love and Rockets by Jaime Hernandez, which make up the Las Locas storyline about Maggie and Hopey, which the Boy bought for me. Better start my 2010 book list I guess.
alithea: (Books)
because there is more to life than books, but not much more )
The Rise of the Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt. His third madcap steampunk extravaganza. The Kingdom of Jackals is underthreat again and our old friends Molly, Oliver, Coppertracks and Commodore Black are joined by an escapee from the Royal Breeding house and a mysterious 'foreigner' in the fight to save all they hold dear. Great stuff, wins points for female characters in leadership roles on top of being thoroughly entertaining. Definitely recommended if steampunk adventure stories are your thing!

Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong. More werewolf fun and games, this time with added snow.

Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs. Temperance Brennan novels, book 2 - enjoyed this rather more than the last one I read, the crazy cultists plot was sufficiently odd ball for the grimness to not seem too real.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. A moving Coming of Age story about courage, artfully interwoven with a story about the power of stories. It took me a little while to get into this but when I did, I really enjoyed it.

Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer. Elizabethan swashbuckling and romance, just the thing for a snowy Christmas Eve afternoon!

Currently reading:
The Equivoque Principle by Darren Craske. Random find in the Borders closing down sale, a Victorian murder mystery featuring a band of travelling circus performers.
alithea: (Books)
1.Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner - Subtitled 'A Melodrama of Manners', this is a rather gripping tale of intrigue and murder, both courtly and underworldly. Love, loyalty, politicking, and swords play, and some wonderfully complex (and queer) relationships. Richard is the best swordsman in the City, which makes him a favourite tool of the aristocracy, who like to do their politicking via an intermediary or two, but who really holds the power in the relationship? And just who is his mad lover really, and can he save him when someone breaks the rules and it all spirals out of control? Great stuff.

2.Vampire Diaries vol. 2 - The Struggle by L.J. Smith. More high school angst and supernatural goings-on, in the vain of Buffy.

3.Vampire diaries vol. 3 - The Fury by L.J. Smith. Events come to a head between Elena and the two vampire brothers. The Other Power is finally revealed but can it be defeated and at what cost? Now i understand why a friend told me not to read volume 4 (unfortunately after I'd bought it), as this book ties everything up nicely.

4.The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. Set 20 years after Swordspoint, and into the City comes Katherine, whose mad uncle wants her to become a swordsman, in a world where her female contemporaries are mostly concerned with their dresses and future husbands... A fantastic and thought-provoking (particularly for its feminism) coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of social intrigue and old enmities. Thoroughly good read, although I wished it were longer!

5.The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt. This was a random purchase with Xmas vouchers, that was recommended by Waterstones to fans of Philip Pullman and someone else i like. Plot-wise, it's a Victoriana adventure of murder and mystery, orphans, rogues and strange goings-on. The setting however, is utterly fantastical - there are flying machines, steam powered robots, mages (worldsingers), and mutants who have been exposed to the Feymist and have to wear suicide torcs, and the Kingdom of the Jackals is some kind of bizarre parody of post-civil war England, with a parliament of Guardians and a king in an iron mask with his arms cut off so he can never raise them against his people. It's reminding me of some kind of bizarre anime series at the moment, with influences from all over the place! Overall, a good read, albeit a little demented in places, but the characterisation suffered a bit in comparison to the detailed setting and plot.

6.Dreams Underfoot by Charles De Lint. A collection of Newford short stories. Very nicely put together collection which gradually introduces you to the magic, characters and darker side of life in Newford. Stories ranged from heart warming to utterly devastating (In the house of my enemy had me in floods of tears) and really drew me in by the end.

7.The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland. Hmmm, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for this really. I mean I did enjoy it, and I see what he is trying to say about the magic of the little things, and how even the most broken people can still manage to see them, but it didn't really move me, so I was a bit disappointed.

8.The Vampire Diaries vol 4 - The Reunion by LJ Smith. Okay, now I really see why I was told not to read this! Plot is basically a quick rehash of previous with a different Big Bad and the ending takes unlikely resurrections to a whole new level. Complete tat.

9.Runaways: Pride and Joy (Pocketbook volume 1) by Brian K. Vaughan. Issues 1-6 of the Marvel comic about a group of teenagers who discover their parents are supervillains and go on the run hoping to find justice. Great stuff.

10.Runaways: Teenage Wasteland (Pocketbook volume 2) by Brian K. Vaughan. The gang meet what seems to be a kindred spirit and the police set Cloak and Dagger on their trail. The plot thickens.

11.Runaways: The Good Die Young (Pocketbook volume 3) by Brian K. Vaughan.
The gang decide on a strategy to defeat their parents and head off to save the day, but the secret mole has other ideas. Dramatic conclusion to the introductory storyline - thoroughly entertaining.

12.Otherland volume 2 - The River of Blue Fire by Tad Williams. It's nearly a year since I read volume 1 but fortunately it has a handy plot recap at the beginning! Great stuff - endlessly inventive and great characters too.

13.Runaways (hardback volume 2) by Brian K. Vaughan. The first 12 issues of the second run with the original author, plus a bonus (very silly) X-men cross-over comic. Got a little silly in places when they were in New York with other Marvel characters but still good stuff.

14.Runaways (hardback volume 3) by Brian K. Vaughan. Issues 13-24, concluding Brian's run. Things take a darker turn and tragedy ensues - great stuff.

15.Otherland volume 3 - The Mountain of Black Glass by Tad Williams.
Things come to a head as revelations about the nature of the operating system emerge and the Brotherhood enact their final ceremony. Great stuff!

16.Otherland volume 4 - The Sea of Silver Light by Tad Williams. Stunning conclusion to the epic series - the true nature of the Other is revealed and the characters face their destiny. Highly recommended!

17.Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Urban fantasy at its wackiest - warring werewolf clans clash with conniving, fashion obsessed Fire Elementals, and magic and mayhem ensue! Great fun.

18.The Foundling by Georgette Heyer. Regency comedy adventure/romance - Gilly is still treated like a child by his guardian and employees, despite being a Duke and nearly 24, but when he decides to assert his authority by disappearing on a secret mission to free his cousin from blackmail, he ends up in the midst of something of a comedy of errors. Highly entertaining.

19.The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Haunting and beautifully written tale of a family and the loves that destroy them. Great read, very cleverly structured.

20.Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner. The story of the bard who went to Faery, as told by himself and three of the people closest to him. Great portrayal of Faery and its inhabitants.

21.Market Forces by Richard Morgan. In a dystopic near future, coporate employees vie for contracts by running each other off the road, while the other half live in abject poverty without much hope of a brighter future. Bleak and thought provoking.

22.Forest Mage by Robin Hobb. The 2nd of her latest trilogy, and still not reaching the highs of the Farseer books - the plot is intriguing but the characters just don't win you over the same way. I'll read the 3rd one if I find a 2nd hand copy but I'm not holding out much hope that it will be a favourite.

23.Lud-in-the-mist by Hope Mirrlees. A 1920s fairy tale republished as part of the Fanasty Masterworks series, which I picked up on a whim because the title caught my eye and it had a shiny cover with a strong endorsement from Neil Gaiman on it. Rather fine indeed, written in a very particular style that kinda reminds me of Susanna Clarke, but is more poetic and less... dry, i guess. A lovely little novel about the need for balance between the mundane and the fantastic.

24. The Rock of Tanios by Amin Maalouf. The story of a boy who grows up in the Lebanon in the 1800s and how his fate is entangled with the fate of his community - divided loyalties, love and loss, against a backdrop of imperialist jockeying. A tale about power, and our complex relationship with it.

25. After Dark by Huruki Murakami. From the viewpoint of a watching camera, we meet two teenagers connecting in a cafe late at night, and watch as their story unfurls and they cross paths with the night denizens of their city. Surreal and creepy, and very evocative of that strange shadow world in the dead of night.

26. Dune by Frank Herbert. Sadly, this is not a reread, my forays into classic Sci-fi have only made it past Asimov once and that was for a solitary Heinlein. Better late than never, though. Thoroughly enjoyed it and can see its classic status is wholeheartedly deserved. The appendix about religion was fascinating too.

27. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. Yes, I'm hooked!

28. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert. I think this one might be my favourite so far, they seem to be getting less incomprehensible and Duncan Idaho is my favourite character.

29. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert. I eventually managed to trawl my way through this; for such a wordy book, not a lot happens. And I don't like what he's done to Duncan, even though he's not really Duncan, and all in all, I didn't get it and mostly it annoyed me. I think I'll give up now.

30. Why shoot a butler? by Georgette Heyer. 1920s country house murder mystery. Entertaining little tale of intrigue, money and murder.

31. The Nightingale's Nest by Sarah Harrison. Random purchase in a charity shop - the story of a young widow who goes to work for a rather unconventional couple in London in the 1920s. Not the sort of thing I usually read but I found it surprisingly engaging and touching. It's all about learning who you really are and finding your own happiness, which is real and not someone else's fantasy of what should make you fulfilled in life.

32. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (RE-READ). The first of the Farseer trilogy, which is quite possibly my favourite fantasy series of all time - I *heart* Fitz and the Fool!

33. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (RE-READ). We get to meet Nighteyes, the Fool becomes more mysterious and Regal reveals just how far he will go to get the crown. Great stuff.

34. Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb (RE-READ). The final Farseer book, a classic tale of seeking magic to defeat great evil, but with the emotional depth that really sets this series apart from run of the mill fantasy.
alithea: (Books)
Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire - This is a funny old book. It took me a while to get into it because none of the characters are very sympathic to begin with but when I did, i did enjoy it, although the pacing is very odd. A thought provoking tale about the nature of evil and truth, dictorship, terrorism, oppression, racism, destiny, but just not as satisfying as it could have been.

Lost in a good book by Jasper Fforde - the 2nd Thursday Next novel, this time we meet the fictional characters who make up Jurisfiction, including Mrs Havisham from Great Expectations, and the Union Authority of Warrington Cat (formerly known as the Cheshire Cat), can Thursday save the world and undo Landen being eradicted from existance by the dastardly Goliath corporation??? Great stuff!

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman - his new short fictions collection. Even if you have read some of his novels and not particularly enjoyed them, you should try his shorts collections, as IMHO this is his best format as he's a storyteller at heart. I didn't enjoy this collection quite as much as Smoke and Mirrors because it's more horror/ghost stories and less fairy tale-related stuff, but it's still very good and there are some real gems. My favourites are probably the Mapmaker and How to talk to girls at parties.

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde - 3rd Thursday Next novel. Hmmm, I think he's got a bit carried away with his setting and random cleverness, he needs to remember about the plot and not just in the final quarter of the book. Still enjoyable though.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories by Susanna Clarke. A short story collection of Regency and Victorian set tales of magic and proper fairies. Very fine indeed and lovely Charles Vess illustrations.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I had never actually read this before, despite watching the definitive BBC version many times (my flatmates as an undergrad were big Colin Firth-as-Darcy fans and used to watch the infamous 'getting out of the lake' scene at least once a month to cheer themselves up - interestingly, that is the only scene I noticed that isn't in the book). Very entertaining though, I was gripped even though I know the story off by heart.

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde - 4th (and presumably final) Thursday Next book. I'm glad i stuck with these because this one is really good, up there with The Eyre Affair, and ties everything together nicely.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (RE-READ)- I wanted to re-read this and 6 before the final book comes out, as I've re-read all the earlier ones at least once. Fine stuff, I think I enjoyed it more this time round, and the bits with Dumbledore admitting his mistakes are definately more touching in light of the events in 6. Looking forward to the film, although Lord knows how they are going to fit it all in...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (RE-READ) - And they just keep getting darker! This is my joint favourite with 3, I can't wait for July!

Zorro by Isabel Allende - The back story of the legendary hero from how his parents met onwards. History, romance, Native Americans, pirates, adventure, swashbuckling - what more could you want? Highly recommended!

Otherland: City of Golden Shadow Bk 1 by Tad Williams - raided this from my Dad's bookshelf as I ran out of reading matter down at the parental abode. It's the future and everyone's in cyberspace but some people aren't coming back.... Virtual reality, conspiracy, adventure, creepiness - very good indeed, now i just need to track down book 2!

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson - Took me a while to get into this 'cos I haven't read any cyberpunky type stuff for a while and i stopped in the middle to read a pile of comics, but I did enjoy it in the end. Modern day thriller, very media related, interesting...

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman - I'd only read His Dark Materials previously and having seen this on the TV and got the impression there was rather more to the story, I've borrowed the whole Sally Lockhart set. A tale of Victorian crime and intrigue with very appealing characters, I really enjoyed this.

The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman - The 2nd Sally Lockhart book set about 6 years later. Sally is a financial consultant determined to make her own way in a world where women are still treated as property, and Jim and Fred are running a detective agency. Spiritualism, psychometry, and the darker side of the great industrial advances of the age, with added tragedy. Great stuff.

The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman - book 3, very Sally focussed and probably my favourite of the set. A mysterious enemy is trying to ruin Sally, can she work out their plot in time to defeat them before she loses everything? This one takes a bit longer to get going, being about twice the length of the previous two but is a real page tuner once it does. Politics, socialism and the persecution of the Jews are clevery combined, with a great cast of characters, including some deeply unpleasant and twisted figures.

The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman - book 4, and this time it's Jim turn to take centre stage along with another returning character. Politics on a European scale as Austria and Germany line up along the borders of a tiny monarchy, rich in natural resources. Can our heroes save the day with plots lining up against them, from a mad woman to all too rational politicians, or was their ruin planned all too well long therefore they even arrived... A great set of books, highly recommended to any Victoriana and adventure story fans - a great writer who does a really good job of keeping the balance between the darkness and the potential for advancement in this fascinating period of history.

Watchmen by Alan Moore et al - Hmmm, a bit of a love-hate reaction to this. I loved the deep and profound bits with Dr. Manhattan about the nature of the universe and life, and I'm impressed by the clever structure and story, but it was *grim*; I think the Black Freighter (or whatever it was) extracts were possiblity the most disgusting thing I have ever read. Also, it disturbs me that by the end I could see why Rorschach has such a following; scary, scary man that he is, his simple world is kind of appealing in contrast to a world where people get away with things like that in the name of the greater good. I think Halo Jones is still my favourite Alan Moore though...

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. Short stories and poems, some rather more mythic forest than Green Man per se. I really enjoyed this, even the Tanith Lee story (no blood, i was shocked!), and I really must track down some Charles De Lint, and quite possibly, the rest of these adult fairytale collections! Overall, my favourite was probably The Pagodas of Ciboure by M. Shayne Bell, but I also loved The Green Word by Jeffrey Ford and several others, and they were all pretty entertaining.

Re-Gifters by Mike Carey et al. Fun little graphic novel about a Korean American girl at High School, martial arts and crushes.

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg. Fantastic graphic novel about our responses to fear and art. Made me want to become a guerilla street artist in a girl gang too!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Mixed bag, not as good as I hoped it would be but did have some lovely touches. Not my favourite of the series, reminded me too much that she really is writing them for children.

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. The first Nursery Crime book - very entertaining and more plot-based than the middle Thursday Next books, although the action did become rather frantic towards the end. Solidly good fun.

The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt. Werewolf story set in 8th century Rome. Her writing is lyrical without being annoying like her sister, Ann Rice, whose books I have always abandonned by about chapter 3. This was a very good example of the genre - sensual, evocative, well paced, exciting. Other than a couple of the male characters being a bit inconsistantly drawn in comparison with the women, i really couldn't fault it; if you like this sort of thing, you will enjoy it.

The Vampire Genevieve by Jack Yeovil/Kim Newman - collection of four novels set in the Warhammer RPG world. Highly readable dark fantasy with some well drawn characters and definately aimed at adults rather than their current market of young teenage boys (these were mostly orginally published in the 80s). I particularly enjoyed the Phantom of the Opera rip-off with a bit of Jekyll and Hyde for good measure - an interesting piece on the nature of monsters. And I liked the way it fitted together as a whole collection, going back to various characters and weaving the web between them.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon - book 6 of the Outlander series. The War of Independence gets under way and the family drama continues, thoroughly good read for fans of the series.

Across the Wall: A Tale of Abhorsen and other stories by Garth Nix. A novella sequel to Abhorsen which I had already read as it was released as The Creature in the Case for World Book Day and a collection of short fiction from across his career. Aside from the novella, definately saves the best for last, I really loved The Three Roses and Endings. The Arthuriana stories were very good too.

The Vampire Diaries Book 1: The Awakening by Lisa J. Smith. The literary equivalent of Buffy season 1; American High school drama of crushes, a several hundred year old vampire with angst and a taste for beautiful school girls, a witch in the making... ahhh the joys of indulging your romanticized teenage vampire fetish - great stuff!

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. Fantastic tale of intrigue, murder, magic and love. Highly recommended!

The Talking Parcel by Gerald Durrell (RE-READ). 3 children on a quest to help Parrot, the Keeper of Words, save the land of Mythologia from the evil cockatrices. Marvellously eloquent tale for young and old.

The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar. Madcap tale of banished Scottish thistle fairies and their adventures with the poor and eccentric denizens of New York, including a bag lady who thinks she's a general from ancient Greece and the ghost of the guitarist from the New York Dolls. Great fun!

The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula Le Guin. Having been put off classic fantasy in my early teens by some inadvisable forays into the likes of Piers Anthony, I've never actually read these! I was sceptical to start with because while they are described as classics of the genre, I've heard Raymond E Feist's Magician series described as such too and I think his characterisation is crap, but I'm enjoying it now it's got going. 3/4 read so far

Kind of abandonned:
The Night of the Wolf by Alice Borchardt. Prequel to The Silver Wolf about the early years of one of the major characters, set in Gaul as the Romans take over. Not as gripping as the first book, not helped by you knowing how it ends.
alithea: (Books)
Affinity by Sarah Waters - Victorian lesbians and Spiritualism, beautifully written as usual but ends rather abruptly and unsatisfactorily.

A Private Performance by Helen Halstead - A sequel to Pride and Prejudice, entertaining and very readable, historical chick lit.

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murukami - one of his more bizarre books, entertaining and utterly baffling. Most notable for its random cast of very strange people.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd - An anarchist dressed as Guy Fawkes sets out to free England from its fascist government. Very fine indeed.

A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin - he needs a better editor.

Kafka on the shore by Haruki Murukami - another utterly bizarre tale, quite possibly my second favourite of his books, after Hardboiled Wonderland....

Dr. Who: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards - entertaining fluff, featuring Christopher Eccleston's Doctor and Rose in 1920s London.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Very glad I decided to read this as I thoroughly enjoyed it! I see why it's a classic - particularly loved the apparently very famous bit where Catherine talks about Heathcliffe being part of her soul. Very gothic and atmospheric.

Dr. Who: Only Human by Gareth Roberts - incredibly silly (even the tardis translating is pushing it to explain how the 'cave people' talk) but entertaining provided you can ignore the fact that the author obviously did absolutely no research on prehistoric Earth.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Took some getting into but was indeed worth the effort. Quite unlike anything else I have ever read.

The Monarch of the Glen by Neil Giaman from the Legends II anthology - a Shadow story set in the Highlands. Strange and entertaining.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters - sad and touching tale of four interconnecting lives and loves, written backwards. Excellant.

When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Penman - historical fiction about England and Norman empire mostly after the death of Henry I, during the reign of Stephen I. Good mix of historical accuracy and entertaining storytelling.

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min - historical tale about the last empress of China in the mid 19th Century, much courtly intrigue, a poignant good read.

JPod by Douglas Coupland - geekily-hip, funny, and highly entertaining. 'Microserfs for the Google Age' is a pretty accurate summary.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - an old favourite, if you haven't read it, you really should! (RE-READ)

Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine - a recently divorced woman goes on a Nile cruise following in the footsteps of her great grandmother, who went there in the 1860s to paint watercolours after her husband died. The two womens' stories enfold, centred around a haunted bottle guarded by two priests from 3 thousand years ago. Romance, intrigue, murder, Eyptian mysticism both ancient and modern, and an evil 19th century occultist, this book has everything except a proper ending.

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres - the story of a community torn apart by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, told through the eyes of it's (former) inhabitants. Love, religion and the costs of war.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - wacky, wacky fun. People unstuck in time, alternate history, literary characters stepping into the real world and Japanese tourists inside Jane Eyre... mad, mad, mad, mad, mad. And very entertaining.

Sabriel by Garth Nix - First of the Old Kingdom series, nominally written for children but much darker than the first few Harry Potter books. Great characters, great story and the most original magic system I've ever come across. (RE-READ)

Lirael by Garth Nix - Book two of the Old Kingdom series. I think this one is my favourite, a great story about finding your own path and place in the universe. (RE-READ)

Abhorsen by Garth Nix - concluding the storyline from Lirael, revealing details from the Beginning of Old Kingdom and a dramatic finale of world-saving. Great stuff (Re-READ).

The Creature in the Case by Garth Nix - short story set about 6 months after the end of Abhorsen. Now available as part of a larger volume with other stories, called Across the Wall which i must buy! (RE-READ).

Hiding from the Light by Barbara Erskine - the ghosts of witches past and a cruel Witchfinder return to haunt the inhabitants of a sleepy English village and exact their bloody revenge. My enjoyment of this was rather tainted by not being a lay person where such subject matter is concerned. While she had obviously done her research (into both Wicca and the history of Witchcraft and the nonsense about the 'Burning Times'), I kept getting distracted by the odd inconsistances in the modern witch's idealogy and wanted to know more about the 'evil fog'/mystical corrupting energy, which she seemed to be suggesting was something to do with the Norse Gods, and the local Cunning man, who was a very under-used character. spoilers ) Interesting but a bit creepy for my bedtime reading and the joy of reading about modern pagan characters was rather out-weighed by disappointment.

And I ended the year by starting Wicked by Gregory Maguire, which is good and rather strange, but i'm getting into it now.

So 22 novels/graphic novels and 2 short stories, plus a very short Kafka story that i forgot about, The Judgement which was very strange indeed! Hmmm, must do better in 2007, although to be fair, several of them were huge.

April 2017

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