reading_fox reads more about foxes in 2017
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Well maybe I'll read more about foxes. I've managed Hawks, badgers and Otters in the last couple of years, so maybe there's a Fox somewhere to come. Meanwhile I'll post my abbreviated comments here. There will be (mostly) full reviews on each work within a day or two of me finishing them.
The year started with murder of Crows one of several books by that name, this one being the 2nd of the Others series of urban fantasies. Our clairvoyant Meg is settled in her Others' courtyard but starts to get premonition about the deaths of some of the Crows (got the pun yet?) and discovers that War is brewing. Never a good option when humans are so badly out powered by the Others.
>1 reading_fox: I have been meaning to try this series and just haven't gotten around to it yet. Are you liking it?
>2 Narilka: yes, so far. The author hasn't quite got the distinction between a werewolf, a dog and a human, all sorted out, especially in the first book, but it is well written, has good characters and is generally an enjoyable read. The other failing is the concept that humans can establish nearly all of the technology we're used to by using only a tiny fraction of the resources we've had available... it's not a major problem but it does jolt the disbelief suspension sometimes.
Happy new year! I hope it brings you some great reading!
>2 Narilka:, >4 reading_fox: I'm really enjoying this series too, though with the same caveats as reading_fox. I love the characters especially all the different Others that Meg gets to know. The villains aren't very nuanced but their motivations ring true.
And then a quick read of Neverwhere - Thanks Sanatathing!
I've never really read much of Gaiman, he verges a bit too much into graphic novels for my taste. Neverwhere is his first novel and it teeters on a tricky balance between YA and full fantasy, never really quite landing in either. This is thin and fast paced, a journey of exploration of London Below. Fun and inventive, but I need more than just passing wonders to fully enjoy a book.
A long way to a small angry planet because several other people here kept mentioning it. It's good, and I'd heartily recommend it to everyone else. Character driven SF as a small crew make a long voyage and have some encounters along the way - testing all of their abilities
>8 reading_fox: All the talk about that lately is making me think I should reread it sometime soon.
Behind the throne Another bullet from here somewhere. Enjoyed this, although I'm not sure creating a matriarchy made any difference it still came across very one sided, and lacking much femininity - although maybe that was the point.
kindness goes unpunished - the third Walt Longmore. I appear to have skipped the 2nd one. Walt goes to a big city, but is better off in the countryside. His daughter's involved.
The Immortals' War Another ER title from Leah. I should just buy all her books. Fun, fast chinese urban fantasy with cool motorbike couriers. We all have to face the consequences of choices between family, tradition, life and romance.
ETA - And it contains foxes, well Kitsume which are traditionally fox-like spirits, not the first appearance in Cutter's works.
The other ER title White death was just rubbish, an unbelievable arctic murder story, with bonus beasties and poor writing.
Bashed through a natural history of dragons probably not doing proper justice to it. Great fun, even though I normally detest faux-victoria. A young girl grows up into an improper informal scientists and takes her first expedition abroad, but becomes entangled in the local politics. Really well written and enjoyable.
>13 reading_fox: This is on my tbr pile, so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.
The girl with all the gifts. One of the better zombie books out there for those who like dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction. I found it quite creepy in many places. Good choice form Santathing!
>15 reading_fox: I read that one about a year ago and liked it pretty well too. I thought it had a lot of unique aspects which made it more fun as compared to the typical monster-apocalypse type story. I’m normally not terribly crazy for those types of stories. I did think it got a bit tedious in the middle, but I thought the beginning was great and the ending was pretty good.
>15 reading_fox: Hi r_f and happy reading this year! Cheerily and reassuringly, I guess, you and I continue to have predictably varying responses to the same books. But we agree on CJC!
>15 reading_fox: I definitely liked this one a lot. Reading it before too much hype had spread and not knowing a lot about the plot was a good thing for me. The film adaptation that's just come out is not bad either but then again Mike Carey did the screenplay for it so he was familiar with the source material ;)
>15 reading_fox:, >16 Narilka: & >17 YouKneeK:
I read The Girl With all the Gifts and thought it an entertaining read but I had one gripe with it.
(Warning for other random passers-by: The below spoiler is not just for The Girl with All the Gifts but also for another older book with a similar ending. And I can't tell you which book because, if you've read The Girl with all the Gifts, then telling you which book it is would spoil the ending of that book since I just said they have similar endings... So click at your own risk!)
>23 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks! That's more optimistic than I would have expected. But not necessarily any less creepy.
>15 reading_fox: I'm glad you enjoyed it. It thought it was okay, and I think I'd like to give the film version a shot at some point.
>28 clamairy: I was delighted by the film version - the casting worked really well, and as the book started as a film script then got fleshed out (err, no pun intended), the two feel the same even where they diverge in the details.
Unwrapped sky - a chance buy, that I subsequently found was already on my wishlist! Kind of fun in a NewWeird way, but like many of that subgenre, it needed more development and less showing off the admittedly inventive imagination. And more minators. They're a surprisingly tiny amount of the story given the prominence on the cover and blurb.
A year of the flood - another surprise find for me on my ereader. I didn't think I'd like Atwood's writing, or that I owned any, but there it was. Mid series, I think, but stands well on it's own. It has a zombie feel to it, although there aren't any! What else should I read by her?
An Artificial night Toby Day3. Enjoyed this, toby's getting much more established as a character and the world building is going well, a nice balance between human and faerie. But the old enemy inflation is already starting to rise.
Thanks I'll try Oryx, and maybe Handmaid's which is her famous one I think.
WHile I was writing my reviews, I speed through The last wish as I've found the rest of the series. It's a collection of short incidents recalled as flashbacks while the Witcher - monster hunter - Geralt, recovers in a temple and contemplates Fate and Destiny. The videoGame captures the feel of the book very well!
>38 reading_fox: I really want to read that series. I played the original Witcher game several years ago and loved it. The last time I checked, I believe the last book was scheduled to be translated to English in mid-March, at which point it will land on my higher-priority TBR list. I still won’t likely get to it for a while, though.
blood road an ER title - alternate history pseudo Roman low fantasy. Not really my favourite sub-genre, and not the best offering either. competently written, but suffering from the author knowing the details of what/why stuff happens and forgetting to show the reader.
War for the oaks - 5*
Go read it! (full review - https://www.librarything.com/work/2498178/reviews/139084157
I've been wanting to for many years, ever since Janny first mentioned it, Penguin have finally released an ebook version. It's one of the very first Urban Fantasies before there was such a thing. A modern take on celtic legends, it's not aged brilliantly, but anyone who was alive pre-mobile phones will enjoy it. Very powerful writing, excellent characters and just great fun.
>41 reading_fox: I'm sure I'm not the only one who just took a BB from your review. Thanks!
?41 War for the Oaks has been on my wishlist for a while (also probably from Janny) and I really should get around to picking it up. Thanks for the nudge.
Time of Contempt and Baptism of Fire
Continuations of the series. BoF didn't really work for me, although it has it's high points. Very much mid-series slump where time has to pass for certain characters to age, politics to occur, and people move into the right position. But in terms of Over-arching back story, the fulfilment of prophecy, etc, very little progress is made. The Game has certainly mashed together a lot of the elements, and feel is that of mid-level grinding to get to where you need to be.
The Tropic of serpents Isobella goes to africa in search of more dragons and finds some plus some stereotypical african tribespeople. Fun though, nice mix of politics, pseudo-natural history and faux-victorian attitudes. I normally detest that style of writing but it actually works very well now. Isobella is starting her adult life already widowed and pretty much anything goes.
Interpreter of Maladies for the big Libraything One LT one Book read. Meh. Pretty short storis of Indian immigration, but nothing happens to anyone, so who cares. Maybe this is why I don't read much 'literature' its frequently boring.
Some good ER YA fantasy titles:
Heir to the lamp and solomon's bell I do like that World Weaver Press will send the first book of the series in addition the the ER title that's the 2nd. Bonus marks for them. Fun YA, a 13yr old girl finds out that she's 1/2 genie, has the ability to make wishes, and is in danger of being used by nefarious organisations. ... Needs some more limits on the magic, and more creative mis-directing of the power, but otherwise quite enjoyable.
Rebel Flight High fantasy, but still YA. Interesting premise but a bit short to find out where the author's going with it. Children sacrifice their holy pet at age 12 to honour the transition into adulthood. The blessed creatures have been removing their sins over the years, allowing the adults to grow up honest and true. But if you love your pet rather than seeing it as a repository for your sins you might rebel and flee the only village you've known. A troop of travelling players provides sanctuary for a time, if no-one asks too many questions.
After the crown thoroughly enjoyed sequel to the GD favourite behind the throne. Just have to wait for the conclusion. It's fairly obvious what is going to happen, but I'd still want to read it!
>51 reading_fox: took a book bullet on both of those. I just put holds on them from the library.
>53 Sakerfalcon: - thanks! that's straight on the wishlist for next time I'm buying books. very appropriate.
The black jewels trilogy
Urgh, not anywhere near as much fun as written in red. Makes even less sense too. Sort of demons divide into almost good and really bad, have lots of forced sex, and then die. With magic jewels. Don't forget the dragon. Jannelle remains an innocent demon (what how?) and is the only enjoyable character apart from the fluffies.
Arrival - The Story of your life and Others. A superb collection of SF short story/novellas by a master. Read it enjoy and marvel. They all twist your viewpoint somehow. Very very clever, but also well written enjoyable quirky and fun. And he gets the details right without beating you over the head with them. Some of the best I've read.
A Kaz set:
Cat's pawn and Cat's gambit from ER featuring Cats against the insectoid Kaz. Pride of chanur is better if you want that sort of space opera, but this wasn't a bad attempt.
Six of crows from a few people here, with Kaz brekker in it. Off coincidence. Fun heist fantasy. Wraith was my favourite character but I can see others having different tastes. Worldbuilding didn't quite work, but the characters and the heist were fun. looking forward to the sequel.
And whilst I was writing those reviews I was reading uprooted which is Superb. true Fantasy, single person focus, enthralling magic, terrific terror, complex politics and then a subtle twist as to where it all comes from. I really wouldn't class this as YA, it's not grimdark fantasy, but it's certainly more complex than your average YA. Just gripping. One of the very few books that made me late for work reading just till the end of the chapter over breakfast. I'm sure I'd have missed my stop if I'd have been reading it on public transport.
>56 reading_fox: I enjoyed the collection and am rereading The Story of Your Life before I watch Arrival.
While I thought Chaing's ideas were great I felt he was at a loss as to how to end some of his stoeies. Divide by Zero was one of my favourites.
As I read through "The Story of Your Life" I must say it is not striking me as familiar. I obviously did not think it was one of the stand-out stories in the collection. I clearly remember "Tower of Babylon"; "Understand"; "Division by Zero"; "Hells is the Absence of God"; "Seventy-two Letters".
Late eclipses Toby Daye urban fantasy bridiging novel, extending the series by setting up the backdrop a bit. I'm not keen on the muting of key characters to make them less clever, it makes the plots boring.
night school almost the same criticism for a very different book. Jack does very little.
>62 pgmcc: I agree they were some of the highlights.
ninefox gambit Ambitious space opera mathematically twisting reality into your consensus form has trouble with rebellions. Fun.
Midnight never come To explore some of Marie's other writing. I liked a short story set in this universe I thought, but it seems very different! This is historical faerie fantasy set in Queen Elizabeth's reign, the Queen's have made a bargain, but no-one know's what it is.
Oryx and Crake the start of the 'series'. I much preferred Flood. Which is unusual in that this is the single person POV I normally much enjoy. However it's just Jimmy on his own which is dull.
Every heart a doorway free novella. Intriguingly dark. I think I'd prefer the full novel. Was this the basis for a recent film? It feels like I've seen trailers for it?
I actually preferred Oryx and Crake, because I liked that lone-survivor-who-may-or-may-not-be-going-crazy tone. I also thought it gave me good background information for the other books. I wonder if there's any correlation between which one people read first and which one they like better,
>66 SylviaC: - you could well be right, although the different narrators does make some difference.
Crooked kingdom Conclusion to the heist, Good fun, if improbable at times. Wraith remains my fav.
There'll be a two week gap or so between next updates. I won't have stopped reading, but I'll be on honeymoon, so I'm unlikely to be visiting here very much. I know you're all awaiting the next review with bated breath.
>67 reading_fox: You mean you aren't taking us all along?! ;)
Congratulations, and have a lovely one.
Congratulations! I hope you have a lovely wedding and honeymoon, and a wonderful future!
>67 reading_fox: Crongatulations and best wishes for your future happiness together.
I managed to read:
The riddlemaster of hed trilogy
marked in flesh
vision in silver
I'm not sure I'll get around to reviewing them though. Didn't the GD have a riddlemaster discussion somewhere... I'll see if I can add to it.
Slow bullets is a short novella, looking at the possibilities new technologies have on revenge, and the consequences of accidents. classic Reynolds.
Marked in Flesh is very much the conclusions of the initial series of Others. Consequences have been coming for a while, and now they're due. Powerful.
>74 clamairy: thanks.
Another man's moccasins meh. Walt flashbacks to Vietnam. Sort of works ish, but certainly not the strongest in the series.
Avians Superb ER title, one of the best I've read out of all the ER books I've received over many years. It's YA, so not the best book ever, but certainly a contender for the year. Young girls become trained as glider pilots on a backwood colony world. Really fun. Good characters, great worldbuilding, a little technology, and a dash of action in the right places. Clever, well paced and enjoyable all the way through.
howl's moving castle meh semi-humerous at best, UF crossover portal fantasy without any worldbuilding.
Foxes unearthed I'm sure this was recommended to me, but I can't see/remeber who by. Non-fiction about foxes, and how they've interacted with humanity in the UK, mostly dispells myths, and is anti-hunt, so I agreed with her opinions, could have done with more foxes.
A closed and common orbit the delightful sequel. Well worth reading. I understand she's not writing further wayfarers, but something else in the same universe. Joyful reading.
I should update htis more frequently it would make it much easier. A mixed bag!
Armageddon Rag one of Martin's early works that are a lot less demanding that the full Thrones. This is 70s music scene - if you can remember playing vinyl backwards to hear the hidden message, this is for you. Even his early books are very well written, although simpler with smaller casts.
the grisha trilogy because Six of Crows was such fun. This is the preceeding trilogy of how Stormhound came to be what he was. I'd rather more about the Shu, but it's interesting, and too short.
Leviathan wakes everybody apart from me had heard of the Expanse ages ago, I've just got around to reading it. It's not Reynolds, but it's not that far away from being as good.
Wow, nearly a month without an update. Partly because
the craft sequence appeared on my ereader as one long book of 1700 pages. I'm unconvinced that the published order makes more sense than the internal chronology. It's a fun world though with necromatic lawyers, and resurrected gods battling for control of the cities destroyed in their last war. this time it will be settled in the courtroom.
Two ER titles
Cottingley a novella set shortly after the 1800s (faked) pictures. The cover art is the best thing about it although it's not bad as such.
entropic angel a collection of short and very short SF. mostly set in Wales which makes it more unusual location than most.
fool's run - retelling of an ancient greek story with added aliens. More serious and less fun than you might expect. Good though - better than Riddlemaster.
Two of Marie's short stories Mad maudlin and daughter of necessity She's a skilled author, I was impressed.
I love the Craft books, and have been reading them as they are published. I will go back and read them chronologically at some point.
Another long gap caused by the glasswright's series Meh. A bit too rushed and Mary Sue for me. I like more worldbuilding and less everything just falls into place.
Even Revenger felt a bit light in places. Fun though. Pirates in space, with hard SF rules, and a lot of alien loot. I hope he's setting up something more serious, as it's a clever universe.
Winter Rose is the opposite just a bit too dreamy fantasy with no rules, or explanations, but it's classic Mckinley.
Catching up on last weekend's long train ride reading - severla short novels not quite novellas in turn.
A not bad ER title wings of fire - how many books by that name are there! - mixing various water spirit legends together. Quite fun.
Red hot steele urban crime fantasy, although there's no requirement for a random insertion of the different races, as otherwise it'd be straight steampunk, and probably better for it.
elfhame short and needing more details. Pig-girl (maid) opens door to dark-elf land and marries prince.
wheels within wheels: the making of a traveller auto-biography of Dervla Murphy whom I should read more of - growing up in 1930s ireland before she cycled to India. A very interesting woman!
More elven stories from StoryBundle
Dimmingwood Meh. robin hood with elves. But less good. Probably needed not to be told in these short episodes, but the longer version condensed into three better books. There's something going on with Drow in there too, but couldn't be bothered with the rest of the series to find out.
bloodlines - elf saga Even more Meh. But different. Mix of myths amongst a female team all looking out for their families in different ways. Technically the middle of a series, but who cares. They loot the long lost city of the dead. Just didn't work or balance. Tried too hard, especially to be funny. and wasn't.
Miss Ellerby was however delightful. Also mid series, but stands alone well. Victorian England mixed up with faerie. great fun, slightly eclectic romance, prim english families and wild fairy. Very enjoyable, and I'd recommend to anyone who loved A natural history of dragons although they're different plots, the feel is somewhat similar.
Miss Ellerby sounds wonderful and exactly up my street...but I think I'll start with the first book.
Two long ones - a short story anthology fiction river: fantasy bundle being three editions of fiction river, from Kristine Rusch and Dean W Smith. starts out better but overall not bad selection of short stories covering most of the fantasy bases. DWS's Poker boy stories are probably the least good.
digital sea trilogy - reasonable good SF, lots of interaction between global climate/population crisis vs a more immediate family touch. Set in an VR world, where everybody sees only what they wish to project, unless you can hack their systems. Unseen power lies in the hands of those who control the software.
the diving series Another storybundle collection. Deep time SF, an explorer dives into wrecks of abandoned spacecraft to sea what remnants of history she can find. One contains an active power source that sings to her strangely reminiscent of her childhood experience. Quite fun, not as dark or compelling as some space opera, but an interesting universe.
>87 reading_fox: That's an interesting concept, but the series looks awfully complex. Are the books closely linked, or can they each stand on their own?
I know this is on the late side, but I just read of your honeymoon (and I assume marriage!) and wanted to send best wishes!
And I enjoyed the Ted Chiang short story collection too --
>90 stellarexplorer: thank you Star!
Nevertheless she persisted - ER anthology from BVC, short stories based on the meme. But it didn't really work for me, too much motherhood and not enough wider persistence. Some of the stories I'd read before and some were good, but overall could be better.
chaos awakens Storybundle - poor. Very much tell instead of show. Civilised orc which was a nice touch, but otherwise clunky.
Two more storybundle offerings. Both somewhat better than the others
Past is prologue, phaedra far too many titles by that name! About elves brothers and prophecy. Quite fun. Her UF has had poor reviews but this seemed quite reasonable.
Gryphonpike chronicles a set of linked novellas published as one ebook, works quite well. Again elves, this time almost godlike in power, but cursed down to mortal levels. ADnD feel as they campaign. Unusual in that the heroine cannot communicate in any way. Not even a nod. Makes for some complicated situations, usually resolved by her just walking away and killing something. The pet Mist-Lynx is my new favourite fantasy pet.
>93 Sakerfalcon: - Maybe I'lll try that because it was fun. The Twentysided gets some poor reviews on here though, so I haven't investigated further.
the science officer omnibus a clever idea that in the end doesn't quite work through. A likeable rogue is recruited by some buccaneers to assist them in their endevours.
of caves and caving non-fiction! A series of snapshots in the caving life of the author, whom I may have met but don't recognise - he started a couple of decades before me, but our paths have probably crossed in a pub somewhere. Nothing special in the trips, but a fun read of places I've been. There's too few caving books detailing this sort of thing, so it was nice to stumble across this.
Really haven't been finding time to write reviews for a while - the longer versions are on all the book pages.
Unregistered ER title, dystopia, Big Brother society, an unregistered artist stumbles across the resistance.
The washington witches Storybundle trilogy. You know when you read a book that's just totally unsuitable for you - This is chiclit urban fantasy at it's best (or worst) and really not normally the sort of thing I'd read - much as I enjoy UF a bit more grit is generally my thing. Still surprisingly fun though! Shallow and fast paced, no world building, a succession of desirable men, women concerned about clothes and cocktails, and little bit of UF as backdrop.
Feyguard the 2nd trilogy of a gaming/faerie mash-up. It is as clever as it sounds, full of fun characters and inventive technology. I really need to read the 1st set of three books which introduce the world!
Uncollected anthology the contradiction of the title doesn't make the stories any better, although they aren't bad. Mostly unmemorable.
ER title - spectre of war steampunk with robots and police. Doesn't work.
Twin Genius another edition in the remarkable family crime series. Just fun throughout - it's set at Christmas time in New York, so maybe best read in month's time. But great fun nonetheless.
One of the twin'#s is missing, and Ana finally has a chance to untie her entire extended family into a home. She just has to find the twin, resolve the gun running politics, and persuade Graham to donate the house back to her.
Two great long books
Initiate's trial and the new destiny's conflict IT is perhaps my least favourite of the series, there's quite jump from the preceding books, and a few new characters and places introduced. DC is back into full out wring everyone to the last drop of their endurance, before the final gripping conclusion. The last few chapters are proper cannot put it down stuff.
And after all the compelling and enthralling wonder of DC it's perhaps always going to be the case that the next books don't seem that great, even after a break.
Two ER titles: Dawn of skye and attribution the latter being particularly poor, it could have been a thrilling ride as a journalist uncovers government corruption (always unlikely) around a world wide green power scheme. Instead it clumps heavily about failing to show anything and mostly tripping over it's own feet. DoS is a little better - a lord of the flies style story with mixed group of children. But equally lacking in world craft, history or skill.
It does show just how much more skilled some authors are than others, even if it's hard to point to a sentence or paragraph and say why one is so much better than the other.
summer faerie bundle and fates trilogy both Storybundle titles. I didn't know until (literally) now having looked at the touchstone, that they were the same author.
The summer faerie is a short story anthology, where Ms Rusch's title was the best. Mostly classic flower fairy, with several faerie tales, and a few real oddities that generally didn't work so well.
Fates is almost pure romance urban fantasy. Kind of fun to start with but drags when the romance takes over. If you're a believer in love at first sight without having to work at it, then this might be for you.
Three Book View Cafe titles, because I don't just get them free on ER.
Dwarven wars, tainted harvest - conclusion of two trilogies I started in ER. Good, but with much of Leah's work, the first book is the best as her imagination runs riot, and the latter tidying up of loose ends is not quite so special.
blood of the kindred - vampire eleven romance. Really much better than it sounds, I was very impressed. Two tribes of elves, one 'dark' and cursed (or ill it's not clear yet) to a vampiric existence, but still fighting to uphold such honour as they have, and the 'normal' elves unsuspecting of the uprising that is coming. The romance is between two normal elves and it's clear that they'll play a heroic part in the war to come. Great writing, innovative world and magic, and generally just a good fantasy. I'm looking forward to finding the rest of the trilogy.
beyond aquila rift A collection of his short(er) stories. I'd read some before from other collections, but many were new. All good, some great. ALl hard sf, deep time aliens etc, A few from the same universe as his novels, and some just ideas that he hasn't yet expanded. A good introduction to this writing if you've not tried him before
king's justice gambit Two novellas. Both fantasy, both with similar protagonists, in quite different settings. The Auger's Gambit is particularly unusual. Neither are as dark as some of his writing (in general is short stories aren't).
>102 reading_fox: I really want to read the Reynolds collection. Glad you thought it was so good.
Two ER titles - both short cry your way home weird horror ish short stories, didn't really work for me, but some were quite good.
Martian job I've liked Fenn's work, and this is somewhat typical, but novella is an odd length. Heist SF.
finishing off the year with the hanging tree being the 6th of the Peter Grant stories, not bad, a return to the london scene, but a bit thrown together, there's no sense of long term plot
and The Quiet War recommended on here somewhere. Clever but a bit too ponderous in places maybe. Hard SF war within the solar system, around Saturn's rings, fighting for resources and the direction humanity will take.
That's it for this year:
Exactly 100 books, not much non-fiction plenty of short stories, and a few longer series.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.