Let us take a trip together down my last month of reading. While at one time (like last month) I prided myself on writing a review on everything I read I found that even I have a price. Like many people I found that my price was shockingly low; a good beer and several nights of Fallout Shelter was all it took for me to compromise on my morals.
And let me tell you it feels good. Expect this compromise to be made even more in the future.
But I have been reading, if not at the rate that I was once accustomed to. And this is a book blog. So I suppose I ought to talk about some books.
First let’s talk about Fables. Perhaps you have heard of it? I don’t do comics much. Not long ago I thought I was going to get into comics more but after reading the first issue of Suicide Squad I realized this still isn’t a medium that catches my eye much. Oh sure Watchmen is still a regular reread and Sandman holds a place in my heart. AND, I admit, Rat Queens is quite enjoyable though the second volume is not up to the quality of the first.
But I had never gotten to Fables despite it being right up my alley; fairy tale re-imagining should be old by now but to be fair Fables has been doing it for quite some time. Sure it turns out the author is kind of a jackass but that doesn’t take away from what has proven to be a semi-addiction. I have read the first seven volumes. I admit it peaked early on, once that adversary’s identity came out it has not held up as well but I don’t regret reading it. For now I will put it down though, I have more Pratchett books to read as my bedside table books.
Uprooted is a wonderful book by Naomi Novak that deserves a full review. Three attempts to write one later is what started myself down a slide of android video games. Uprooted feels like a fleshed out fairytale; a young girl goes to a scare place and grows into her own with a backdrop of an evil forest. I love it. It was never predictable and never let the reader know where it was going to go. Just when it looked like there was no end in sight for the conflict within the book the protagonist finally takes over and finishes things right. I admit, I hate neatly tied packages and believe it or not I am not a huge fan of happy endings. Uprooted ends on a melancholy yet hopeful note. And while there is a conclusion to the story not everything is tied up so neat that we know the whole story is over. This was a damn good book from an author that I have always respected but was tiring of from her previous never ending series.
Moving on to Dark Assension. I do believe I have made my feelings clear on the Fortitude Scott. I do so love it. I have criticized the covers on more than one occasion; I still think they make the books look like cheap TV show tie-ins. But you cannot fault what is between the pages. Now urban fantasy series often have a flaw built right into them and it is the same thing that makes them so damn marketable- they are ripe to become episodic and several times I have eaten up a series and realized that things are not really going anywhere book after book. I am pleased to report M.L. Brennen is not letting this happen to hers.
By the end of this forth book I came to the realization that the series could end today and I would be disappointed just fine. Not because I don’t want more, because believe me I do. But there was such a shake up of the status quo in this book that it could be read as an open ended conclusion. For three books we saw Fortitude meet a new fantasy creature, solve a new problem, and learn a little bit more about his vampire powers. At the end of the book he was still safely the baby of his family; his mother being the sweetest little lady mafia don in the world, his brother watching over him, and his sister the coolest enforcer of any large syndicate. Then BOOM. Dark Ascension hits. And now we have a whole new playground to build in. I love the lack of complacency and the unwillingness to stick to a winning formula just because one can. And as such this series will remain a must read for each new book.
Finally we come to The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard. This was a highly anticipated book for me as I loved her trilogy of Aztec based fantasy mysteries. This is one of those books I can objectively call very good; Urban Fantasy unlike anything else bearing the genre label. I enjoyed the fallen angel aspects, respected the way it tied its historical aspects with the fantastic. I can even call the characters more complex than the book’s page length suggests they could be. What I can’t do, sadly, is say I particularly enjoyed the book. It was a mystery that failed to catch my interest and a book I kept reading because I recognized that it should be good.
September is starting strong. Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore has been read and I am reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant and enjoying it very much. Hell, I may even review it.