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Narilka reads in 2019

This is a continuation of the topic Narilka reads in 2018 - Part 3.

This topic was continued by Narilka reads in 2019 - Vol 2.

The Green Dragon

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1Narilka
Edited: Apr 9, 7:20pm Top

Happy New Year! 2018 was a fantastic year of reading. I'm participating in 3 challenges this year, details are below. I review every book I read and love hearing what others thought of the same book. There is nothing worse than finishing a great book and having no one to chat with about it!

An IT project manager by day and an avid fantasy and scifi reader by night, with other genres thrown in on occasion for variety. I primarily read for enjoyment so rate my books that way.

My Rating System
- Absolutely horrible, don't bother

- Meh, I finished the book somehow but would not recommend it

- An entertaining read

- Highly enjoyable, I would probably recommend this book

- Excellent! The book may not be perfect but it was perfect for me. Possibly a new favorite.

A star is given for a book that falls between those categories.

Currently Reading
 

Listening To

2Narilka
Edited: Apr 15, 8:13pm Top

Books Read in 2019
0. The Christmas Hirelings by M. E. Braddon
1. Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb
2. Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb
3. Paradox Bound by Peter Clines
4. The Odyssey by Homer
5. Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
6. Sabriel by Garth Nix
7. Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell
8. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
9. Lirael by Garth Nix
10. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
11. Sightwitch by Susan Dennard
12. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
13. Abhorsen by Garth Nix
14. Mouth Care Comes Clean by Ellie Phillps, DDS
15. Dead Moon by Peter Clines
16. Awaken Online: Retribution by Travis Bagwell
17. Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell
18. And on that Bombshell by Richard Porter
19. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
20. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
21. The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
22. Bound by Mark Lawrence
23. Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
24. Awaken Online: Apathy by Travis Bagwell

Fun Stats
Books Read: 24
Total Pages Read: 7262
Audio Book Hours: 81h 7m
Rereads: 3
TBR Challenge: 3/12
Book Cover Challenge: 10/29

2019 Series Stats
In progress: 16
Up to date: 10
Completed: 4
Abandoned: 0

3Narilka
Edited: Apr 5, 4:56pm Top

TBR Challenge
Another year, another TBR Challenge. Pick 12 books that I've been meaning to read and add them to the list. Try to finish one a month. I've done Primary and Secondary lists in case something in the Primary list just isn't working for me. This year's primary list is a random mash of items from Mt. TBR. The secondary list will be all the books I didn't get to from 2018's challenge.

3/12

Primary
1. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
2. Daughter of the Empire by Feist & Wurtz (The Empire Trilogy 1 of 3) Completed 1/25/19
3. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (Discworld 33 of 41ish) Completed 3/30/19
4. Circe by Madeline Miller
5. Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard
6. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
7. Never Grow Up by Jackie Chan
8. The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
9. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
10. The Odyssey by Homer Completed 1/18/19
11. Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle
12. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files 6 of 15)

Carryover from 2018
1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Red Rising 1 of 3)
2. Wool by Hugh Howey (Silo 1 of 3)
3. Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (Foreigner 1 of 19)
4. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
5. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
6. Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
7. Hunter by Mercedes Lackey (Hunter 1 of 3)
8. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards 3 of 7 planned)
9. The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
10. A Cat Named Darwin by William Jordan
11. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (The Dark Tower 1 of 8)
12. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik (Temeraire 2 of 9)

4Narilka
Edited: Apr 14, 4:50pm Top

My Personal Incomplete Series Challenge
I always knew I juggle a lot of series, primarily so I don't suffer series burnout and also partly because shiny new books keep being published :D I decided it was time to make it "official" and actually track all the series I have in progress for the year. The list is frightening! Maybe this will give me some incentive to finish a few more series off before I start even more new ones. Maybe ;)

Series Stats Summary
In progress: 16
Up to date: 10
Completed: 4
Abandoned: 0

In Progress
Discworld: Rincewind - 5/8
Discworld: City Watch - 5/8
Discworld: Tiffany Aching - 1/5
Discworld: Overall - 27/41
Kate Daniels - 6/10
Iron Druid Chronicles - 5/9
The Shadow - 1/4
The Gentleman Bastards - 2/3, 7 planned?
The Dresden Files - 5/15, 17 planned?
Temeraire - 1/9
The Girl with All the Gifts - 1/2
Frontlines - 1/6
The Empire Trilogy - 1/3
The Legend of Eli Monpress - 1/5
Cats in Trouble - 6/8
Jane Avery Mysteries - 1/2

Up to date and waiting
Inkeeper Chronicles - 3/3 - #4 TBD
The Hidden Legacy - 3/3 - #4 expected 2019
Awaken Online - 3/3 - #4 TBD
The Band - 2/2 - #3 TBD
West of West - 2/2 - #3 expected Sept 2019
DFZ 1/1 - #2 expected 2019
Skyward 1/1 - #2 expected Nov 2019
King of Scars 1/1 - #2 TBD
The Witchlands - 3.5/3.5 - #4 TBD
Threshold - 3/3 - #4 expected late 2019

Deliberately On Hold
Waiting for future publication date(s) before continuing. Some authors have a bad habit of taking too long between books (yeah, I'm looking at you GRRM). I want the series completed before continuing my reading.
Lighbringer - 1/5
A Song of Ice and Fire - 3/7?
Murderbot Diaries - 1/4 - hoping they go on sale, they're expensive for novellas

Completed in 2019
The Fitz and the Fool - 3/3
Abhorsen Trilogy - 3/3
Greatcoats - 4/4
The Book of the Ancestor - 3/3

Abandoned in 2019

5Narilka
Edited: Apr 14, 4:51pm Top

Book Cover Challenge
This is a challenge I'm participating with a group on GoodReads. Using the list below, fill in your book information as you read titles that match the categories.

Progress: 10/29


Red cover Going Postal
Orange cover
Yellow cover King of Scars
Green cover
Blue cover Mouth Care Comes Clean
Purple cover Holy Sister


Pink cover
White cover Bound
Black cover - Paradox Bound
Metallic cover
Rainbow cover

Cover with the author’s name in the biggest font
Cover with the title in the biggest font

Cover with a tower
Cover with a cityscape
Cover with a boat/ship
Cover with a house


Cover with a tree
Cover with a mountain
Cover with a night sky Dead Moon


Cover with a man Bloodwitch
Cover with a woman Daughter of the Empire
Cover with a dragon
Cover with a bird
Cover with a magical creature


Cover with a weapon
Cover with a crown
Cover with a cloak Tyrant's Throne
Cover with a mask

6Narilka
Jan 1, 1:31pm Top

Saved just because ;)

7YouKneeK
Jan 1, 2:08pm Top

>3 Narilka: You have a lot of books on this list that I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on. I really liked Uprooted. I also liked Tigana a lot when I read it, but the story hasn’t stuck with me well. Some people over on GR have been doing a buddy read of it and I’ve been skimming their posts and thinking to myself, “I don’t remember that…” for at least half of them.

I’ll also be curious about your reaction to The Boy on the Bridge. I liked The Girl on the Gifts pretty well, mostly the beginning and the ending, but I remember the middle as having a lot of tedious parts and I ended up deciding against reading The Boy.

>5 Narilka: The cover challenge sounds entertaining. :)

8h-mb
Edited: Jan 1, 3:44pm Top

>3 Narilka: Hello, I have very good memories of Tigana, Daughhter of the empire and the Odyssey. I liked Uprooted and Foreigners.
Waiting for your thoughts on them.
>4 Narilka: I would despair if I were to list the series I began...

9Narilka
Jan 1, 3:38pm Top

>8 h-mb: I can understand that :) That's why I challenged myself to actually start completing series.

10Narilka
Jan 1, 3:54pm Top

0. The Christmas Hirelings by M. E. Braddon



Sir John Penlyon is spending Christmas with his niece, Adela, and his good friend, Tom Danby. Over dinner Adela mentions how the holiday would be better if there were children around and Sir John, while not entirely liking it, allows himself to be talked into bringing some children into his home for a few days. Mr. Danby knows just the right children to hire so everyone's Christmas will be more enjoyable.

This was a short and sweet Victorian Christmas story. I wasn't sure at first with that premise how I would feel but the story charmed me as did the children that are invited to Penlyon manor. There is even a surprising twist to ending that is heartwarming. The style of the story reminded me a lot of Dickens.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Richard Armitage. He gives an amazing performance and even does the children's voices very well. I will be looking for more books narrated by him in the future.

Rating:

------------
Technically I finished this one late last night before midnight so it's counting as book 0 for the new year ;) My old thread is dedicated to ongoing discussion of The Fitz and the Fool so I put the review here.

11majkia
Jan 1, 4:00pm Top

Hah. Wondered about Book 0.

I have so many series ongoing, I'd be afraid to just list them all in my thread Sigh. Hoping to get a few finished this year, and try not to start too many new ones!

Good luck with your reading, and happy new year.

12quondame
Jan 1, 4:22pm Top

>3 Narilka: Of the ones on your lists I've read (or remember having read) there is only one complete dud Wool and even it has one clever bit in its sea of derivative (it is too small for an ocean of derivative)

13Busifer
Jan 2, 5:26am Top

>3 Narilka: Tigana is really good. I had never really read any Guy G Kay before, but we did a group read of it here in the pub, ages ago. I'm not big on fantasy as a whole but he quickly became one of my favourite authors.

14Sakerfalcon
Jan 2, 6:14am Top

Happy new year! I'm looking forward to following your reading again.

15littlegeek
Jan 2, 11:41am Top

>12 quondame: Very apt description of Wool.

16Narilka
Jan 2, 8:08pm Top

>12 quondame: & >15 littlegeek: Oh boy. Well at least that will be a potential abandoned series lol

>13 Busifer: This will be my first GGK :) I'm very much looking forward to it.

17Narilka
Jan 3, 9:52am Top

1. Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb



"I found myself speaking softly as if I were telling an old tale to a young child. And giving it a happy ending, when all know that tales never end, and the happy ending is but a moment to catch one’s breath before the next disaster."

Fool's Quest is the second book in The Fitz and the Fool trilogy and 15th in the overall Realm of the Elderlings series. Events pick up immediately following Fool's Assassin and given how that ended there is no way to write a summary without spoilers so I'm not even going to try. The plot is so intricate and detailed, dealing as it does with hearbreaking events, that it is quite a page turner. I absolutely could not put the book down, always needing to know what happens next.

I love being immersed in these character's lives, even as they make mistakes and do dumb things. It's what makes them feel real. Fair warning though, if you are one of those people who hates it when misunderstandings between characters is what moves the plot along, you may find this book frustrating. Fitz's ingrained need to keep secrets makes me want to shake sense into him so many times. If he could just learn to trust his friends. It's not like they haven't been through hell and back together! That is not to say that Fitz hasn't grown as a character. He's no longer the headstrong boy he used to be, running through Buckkeep Castle with a bared sword in reaction to any event. Fitz has finally learned the value having patience, learning all you can of a situation and being prepared. It is great to see him slowly and confidently put his plans together before setting off. Fitz is and will always be Fitz so you can be sure he still makes some blockheaded decisions.

And poor Fool. My heart really goes out to him. It was hard to read about this broken version of the Fool, his confidence and body shattered by what's happened to him between series. Even harder to read was his explanation of exactly what happened to him during that time. I was impressed that Hobb gave us so much of his story. The impact this has had on his psyche is profound.

What's great is all the characters who had minor roles in the first installment make a bigger impact in this book. Chade, Kettricken, Nettle, Riddle, Thick, Dutiful and even Elliania get more page time. I loved spending time with Fitz's extended family.

My only irritation with the book had to do with Bee's story. Dear god what that poor little girl has to endure and she's not given near enough page time. Her chapters are few and far between as she waits for time to pass. I really missed her point of view as I came to love it in Fool's Assassin.

A quick note about the whole Realm of the Elderlings in general. Hobb has started layering in ties to all 14 prior books with this penultimate installment. While you can probably get away without having read Live Ships or Rain Wilds as the important information you need as it relates to the current story is given to you but I wouldn't recommend it. Having read all the prior books has deepened my enjoyment of reading this one.

Yet again, Hobb gives us a double cliffhanger of an ending. I'm very glad that I can continue straight on to book 3.

Rating:

18ronincats
Jan 3, 11:23am Top

Dropping off my star, Gale!

19Peace2
Jan 3, 5:31pm Top

Happy New Year - I wish you plenty of time to read some great books and shall be watching your thread with interest as I see a few books in your planned reading that are also on my personal TBR pile.

20mattries37315
Jan 3, 5:56pm Top

You've got a lot of challenges going, wish you luck on getting to all those books. I'll be interested to see what you think of Going Postal, The Odyssey, and Red Rising.

21Narilka
Jan 3, 8:37pm Top

>18 ronincats:, 19 & >20 mattries37315: - Thanks for stopping by!

I have The Odyssey going on audio already. So far I'm still in the introduction - it's 2 hours! We will see.

22YouKneeK
Jan 4, 8:08pm Top

>17 Narilka: Great review! I especially agree with your note near the end about how all the earlier books tie together with these last ones. There are so many references and cameos to appreciate and make everything feel more connected.

23clamairy
Jan 9, 8:46pm Top

Happy New Year!
I ran through the end of your last thread with my eyes mostly covered because I'm stalled 1/2 through Assassin's Quest. I'll go back when I finish it. :o)

24humouress
Edited: Jan 10, 1:37am Top

Happy New Year Gale! And happy new thread!



Wishing you and your family the best for 2019.

>23 clamairy: Same here :0)

25Narilka
Jan 10, 4:08pm Top

>23 clamairy: & >24 humouress: Happy to have you along, thanks for stopping by!

>23 clamairy: I hope you go back some day. If you do feel free to comment over there and join in :)

26Karlstar
Jan 12, 2:55pm Top

>3 Narilka: Very much looking forward to your thoughts on Red Rising and Foreigner! Its been quite a few years since I read Foreigner, it might be worth a re-read. Otherwise your lists look daunting. :)

27Narilka
Jan 12, 7:03pm Top

2. Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb



"This is our last hunt, old wolf. And as we have always done, we go to it together."

Assassin's Fate is the final book in both The Fitz and the Fool trilogy and the Realm of the Elderlings as a whole. And what an end! I finished this book a couple days ago and that ending still has me conflicted. It is bitter and it is sweet. If you've read the prior books then you know approximately what to expect. Amazing characters, real feeling relationships, a slow pace, beautiful prose and an author that is brutal the characters we love until it's all brought together in one epic climax of story lines. The reason I rated this one at 4 stars instead of 5 is there are some serious pacing issues where the middle slowed down so much I almost set the book aside, a lot of repetition in one story line in particular and I'm still a little mad at the end. After talking about it with a friend (thank you YouKneek!) I do think that the ending itself, with Fitz carving his wolf-dragon and then melting into it, was very appropriate. What has upset me is the events leading up and the timing. I almost wish he'd have died in the tunnel explosion as that had so much emotional impact for me. After miraculously saving himself and dragging himself half way around the world to get home, I feel slightly robbed that Fitz's ultimate end was given as Bee's POV as it wasn't as impactful as I was wanting. I wish Hobb had written just a paragraph or two of his feelings as he's rejoined by Nighteyes and the Fool as they all end in the wolf-dragon together. That would've had me crying my eyes out and given me the closure I was looking for.

My gripe aside, this series is fantastic. It's epic fantasy of the highest caliber. I look forward to rereading the whole thing at some point in the future.

Rating:

28quondame
Jan 12, 7:10pm Top

>27 Narilka: Good summary! Now, if you haven't already read the Crown of Stars 7 book series, next time you and YouKneeK want to dive deeply into another world......

29Narilka
Jan 12, 7:14pm Top

>28 quondame: Thanks! Is that the Kate Elliott series? I think I'm epic fantasy'd out for a while but I'll add it to my wish list to go check out later :)

30YouKneeK
Jan 12, 7:24pm Top

>27 Narilka: You and me both on the re-reading. Although it will be a pretty distant future for me, I think! :)

>28 quondame: Have you read much other work by Kate Elliott? I’ve so far had a mixed reaction to her. I read her Crossroads trilogy maybe a decade ago. I had a lot less fantasy under my belt then, although I wasn’t completely new to it, and I liked it a lot. Then I read her Spiritwalker trilogy a couple years ago. I didn’t dislike that exactly, I gave each book 3.5 stars, but I had a lot of complaints about it. It made me wonder a bit if I enjoyed Crossroads so much because I was younger and less experienced with fantasy, or if it was really as good as I remembered and Spiritwalker was just written in a very different style.

31quondame
Edited: Jan 12, 8:06pm Top

>30 YouKneeK: I really liked Crossroads, but in someways my favorite so far is Spirtwalker. It must be the spunky girl thing, but I love that alternate history. I've read almost all of what she's written, though I never finished The Golden Key which may be why I ignored her work for over a decade until I read the first Crossroads Trilogy. Which was excellent, really, if different from the more romanticized Spiritwalker. Crown of Stars is a sprawling epic based in a more Germanic pseudo history, with all sorts of bizarreness thrown into the mix.

32YouKneeK
Jan 12, 9:18pm Top

>31 quondame: Good info, thanks! Part of my issues with Spiritwalker might have been expectations, as it was so different from how I remembered Crossroads in its writing style, with a younger and more straight-forward feel whereas I’d remembered Crossroads as feeling more adult and complex. I don’t necessarily mind younger books, but there were also some things about the writing that particularly grated on me such as an overuse of “As you know, Bob” and some particularly silly (in my opinion) romance tropes.

I’d like to try her writing again at some point, though. Either something new, or to re-read Crossroads and re-evaluate it with my current tastes. I doubt I’ll get to her this year, but maybe someday.

33quondame
Jan 12, 11:07pm Top

>32 YouKneeK: I'd suggest reading the Crossroads sequel The Black Wolves if you haven't, but it doesn't seem the second in that trilogy Dead Empire is anywhere near publication. The Jaran and Highroads series are more like Spiritwalker though SF. Since you seemed to tolerate Gene Wolfe (I purely love his books), I don't think King's Dragon in the Crown of Stars series would bother you.

34YouKneeK
Jan 13, 5:20am Top

35reading_fox
Jan 13, 1:44pm Top

I enjoyed the finale of Crossroads more than the preceding two, and equally wasn't that taken by the spirit gate books.

36humouress
Jan 14, 11:55pm Top

>28 quondame: >29 Narilka: I read the first in the Crown of Stars series and loved it but they’re pretty solid books, so I’ve put them aside to read ... sometime. If you think you’ll read them, I’ll join you.

I’m about to start The Liveship Traders trilogy and I didn’t want to leaf back through the spoilers for the rest of the Elderlings series; did you read those, too? If so, I’ll go back and look at them to see what you thought when I get there.

37Narilka
Jan 15, 3:09pm Top

>36 humouress: We only did the final trilogy, The Fitz and The Fool.

38Narilka
Jan 17, 7:22pm Top

Someone made a definitive family tree of all things Tolkien. It is pure awesome:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/aglsi9/the_definitive_family_tree_of_t...

39YouKneeK
Jan 18, 6:52am Top

>38 Narilka: That is very cool!

40MrsLee
Jan 18, 9:12am Top

>38 Narilka: Wow! Wish I had a poster of it for my den wall. Not that there is any room for another poster on my den wall.

41Narilka
Jan 18, 11:41am Top

>40 MrsLee: I agree. I would love a poster of that.

42Narilka
Jan 18, 3:23pm Top

3. Paradox Bound by Peter Clines



"Get in the car, Mr. Teague. The road beckons."

Paradox Bound is a fun, timey-wimey adventure novel through American history blended with a road trip. I don't want to say too much about the plot as I think this is one of those books that it's best to go into as blind as possible. I was getting National Treasure and Back to the Future vibes with a hint of The Matrix throughout my reading.

This book has so many great ideas in it. The Faceless men were suitably creepy, though the mask thing was hard to take seriously. The fact that they are gifted with "certainty" in a 300 feet radius was a brilliant way to make them potentially deadly though it wasn't used as much as I thought it would be. I loved the idea of "slick spots" that allow people to slide through history. It's also interesting that these spots are bound to events that have happened in that general location so you can only slide through to certain dates and have to find other slick spots to travel farther forward or back. I've also never seen the American Dream used as an actual thing before, something that can used to influence a nation.

With all those neat ideas Paradox Bound does not acheive the greatness of The Fold or 14, which was too bad. It was a much more lighthearted than I was expecting given my past experience with Clines work. That said, it was highly entertaining and fun. I'm glad I read it.

Rating:

43Narilka
Jan 18, 3:54pm Top

4. The Odyssey by Homer, Translated by Emily Wilson, Narrated by Claire Danes



I had attempted to read The Odyssey once before and failed miserably. Since then I've learned just how important the translator is when choosing to read ancient classics. I'm happy that I found a different translation to try which made this a much more enjoyable and engaging read. Given that the story comes from a time of oral tradition I decided to try out the audio book, which I think was the right idea but the wrong narrator for me. More on that below.

For anyone who doesn't know, The Odyssey was written by Homer somewhere around 800 BC. The epic poem relates the story of Odysseus and his trials on his return journey home after the Trojan war. For such a simple premise, the scope is vast. It has a little bit of everything (magic, monsters, gods, suitors, shipwrecks, action) and touches on so many themes (violence and the aftermath of war, poverty, wealth, marriage and family, betrayal, yearning for ones home, hospitality) that is is easy to see why this poem is so important and how it has inspired many stories to this day.

One of the best and worst parts about this version was the introduction to the poem. The intro goes into great detail about the controversies about the poem's origins and dives deeply into the poem's many themes. This was great for someone who already knows the story and wants to learn more before getting into Odysseus's tale. For those that don't like spoilers, it's best if you skip the introduction and read/listen to it after you're done with the poem. Fair warning for audio book listeners - the introduction is roughly 3.5 hours long and I was definitely getting impatient to hear the poem long before it was done.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Claire Danes. This has really driven home that I need to listen to a sample of the narrator before choosing my audio books. Claire does an adequate job when reading the descriptive paragraphs but just didn't work for me when it came to dialog. All her characters, male and female, sounded the same and were a bit over done so it was a challenge to keep who was speaking apart. She is going on my avoid list for future audio books.

Rating:

44YouKneeK
Jan 18, 7:20pm Top

>43 Narilka: I’m glad you fared better with The Odyssey this time around, despite a not-so-great narrator. I’m looking forward to giving it a try. It sounds like a more interesting story to me than The Iliad.

3.5 hours is a long introduction! I remember The Iliad having quite a long introduction in the version I read. It seems like the introduction writers for nearly every classic book I’ve ever read (which admittedly isn’t very many) assume that the reader either already knows the whole story, or doesn’t mind being told not only the whole story but also what they should think about the story before they ever actually read it for themselves. They do usually have interesting info in them, but I almost always wait to read them at the end as you suggest.

45Narilka
Jan 18, 10:17pm Top

>44 YouKneeK: It's definitely a good idea. If I'd read this in a print form instead of audio I probably would have done just that - skipped to the poem and then gone back to the intro afterwards. It was great information, just too much at once :)

46Karlstar
Jan 20, 1:01pm Top

>38 Narilka: That's really something, thanks!

47clamairy
Jan 21, 7:24pm Top

>43 Narilka: Hmm, I've been meaning to listen to this, and the timing is right since I just finished reading CIRCE. But now I wonder how many other audio versions are readily available...

(I'm another one who saves most introductions for the end. I've had a few classics I knew little about ruined for me over the years.)

48pgmcc
Jan 22, 5:26am Top

>44 YouKneeK:

It seems like the introduction writers for nearly every classic book I’ve ever read (which admittedly isn’t very many) assume that the reader either already knows the whole story, or doesn’t mind being told not only the whole story but also what they should think about the story before they ever actually read it for themselves.

I avoid introductions for the very same reason and, like you, read them after I have read the book, if I read them at all. There is a lecturer in Trinity College, Darrel Jones, who has published books of Gothic and ghost stories and he has won my admiration as he starts his introductions with the advice that you should read the stories before reading the introduction.

49YouKneeK
Jan 22, 6:38am Top

>48 pgmcc: That is a better way of doing it. At least it steers people in the right direction, if they haven’t already learned the hard way.

50Narilka
Jan 26, 9:01pm Top

5. Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts



As the only daughter of Lord of the Acoma, Mara was expected to marry and bear children to continue the Acoma line and bring honor to her house. Instead, Mara has chosen a life of chastity and service of Lashmina, the Lady, Goddess of Inner Light. In the temple of Lashima seventeen-year-old Mara is about to take her oaths and join the Order of Lashima. Before the last gongs can sound there is a commotion in the temple as a warrior breaks through with news. Mara's father and brother are dead to treachery of a rival house. Mara must return home and take up her inheritance as Ruling Lady of the Acoma lest her house fall into ruin. Untried and untested Mara now must lead her people in her society's complex game of honor among the great houses if the Acoma are to have a future. Let the Game of the Council begin!

Daughter of the Empire is the first in the Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. Overlapping the timeline of the Riftwar, we get a look into the life and world on the other side of the Rift in the empire of Tsuranuanni. It has been many years since I read the Riftwar quartet so I was a little concerned going in that I would be missing out on something as I don't remember many details at this point. Turns out that this book only has a couple mentions of the war and the context for what you need to know are given in the book. I would say you can probably read these first though I imagine you'll have a deeper experience if you read the series in publishing order and closer together than I did.

The Empire of Tsuranuanni has a lot of Asian influences with touches of Mayan/Incan cultures. The society is based on Great Houses and heavily caste based with a highly complicated and strict system of honor. The people of the world hold their cod of honor so high they will often choose death over dishonor. It also makes navigating society an interesting game, the Game of the Council as it's called, as the slightest change in expression or wording can take people from being the best of friends to the most hated of enemies. While the rules are not well explained I felt like I understood it well enough to follow along with Mara's decision making in her society's context.

The story is told from Mara's point of view. She is the type of heroine I love in fantasy. She meets her challenges head on and proves she's up to the task. Highly intelligent, she constantly proves that people underestimate her abilities at political intrigue. She tackles her problems logically and it's with her rigid political structure in mind that she's able to manipulate events to turn in her favor. She goes on quite a character arc that by the end of the book most of Tusarni society knows that Mara of the Acoma is a force to be reckoned with.

Overall this was an intriguing read. There were some great moments though it is a slow burn in general as the story takes a lot of setup for each situation to come to fruition. It made for some uneven pacing as I blew through some parts and the book was easy to set aside others. There were also a couple other minor annoyances that I won't get into save to note they are there. I enjoyed the book enough I will definitely be continuing on to the second.

Rating:

51Karlstar
Jan 26, 10:00pm Top

>5 Narilka: So glad you liked it! Good write-up too. I really enjoyed those books. I thought the society was very well done and the characters were great.

52YouKneeK
Jan 27, 7:38am Top

>50 Narilka: Great review, it helped me remember a little better what this series was about. At this point, about 20 years later, all I could remember was that I liked it along with a few very vague impressions.

53Narilka
Jan 27, 12:25pm Top

>51 Karlstar:, >52 YouKneeK: Thanks! I'm really hoping that the rest of the series has more of the Great Ones and the cho-ja. Both were quite interesting and not given near enough page time. YouKneeK, I look forward to your reread of the series, and the whole saga, later this year.

54reading_fox
Jan 28, 11:16am Top

>54 reading_fox: Yes the Great Ones feature quite bit. Not much more on the Cho-Ja as characters although they continue to be important

It's been a while since I've read these but they're great and very different compared to the main series.

55Jim53
Jan 28, 8:00pm Top

>38 Narilka: Wow! I could spend a lot of time on that.

56Narilka
Jan 29, 8:02pm Top

6. Sabriel by Garth Nix



This is a reread. Well, relisten. I needed an audio book with a narrator I love to reset after Claire Danes! Sabriel is narrated by Tim Curry and he is phenomenal. This listen really hit the spot, great story and great narration :) I wasn't originally intending to reread the whole trilogy but I think I will. Review from 2016 below.

--------------

Sabriel was sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young girl. As she is about to graduate Sabriel hears news that her father, the Abhorsen, has gone missing. Sensing that something isn't right, Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. Having little experience with Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead, Sabriel sets off on an adventure that will pit her against the forces of life and death and brings her face-to-face with her own destiny.

Sabriel by Garth Nix is the first book in The Abhorson trilogy. The story opens fairly ominously with the death of a woman and child. The series of events that unfolds in the prologue grabs the attention and sets the stage nicely. We are introduced to two of the world's types of magic, given a little foreshadowing for what's to come and a slightly eerie tone is set. Once the story starts, we're gradually introduced to the world. Ancelstierre has a feeling of 1940's England while the Old Kingdom feels distinctly like medieval Europe where Free Magics and creatures that go bump in the night now reign. The two kingdoms are separated by a wall and crossing the border is like taking a portal to another world where even the weather is different. And, quite naturally, that wall is failing.

The characters we get to know are also excellent. Sabriel is a great fantasy heroine. She's a smart, clear headed, strong and a well balanced character. She looks at problems logically to make informed decisions and isn't afraid to take action. Touchstone starts off fairly annoying. It's obvious that he's more than just a guardsman and his servile attitude at first is grating. I'm glad the character out grows this habit as the story progresses. Nix had a lot of fun with Mogget. Mogget is the perfect magical entity in the form of a feline that both says and does things I can imagine a cat would.

The story is well paced. The action and suspense is superb. The final climax had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. I love the eerie/creepy undertone that is carried throughout the book. It's exactly what you'd expect when dealing with the dead that don't want to stay dead. Nix has a refreshing take on necromantic magic that was quite fun to read. There is even an understated romance plot that is quite sweet and not at all like today's YA stories of instant love.

I listened to the audio book of this narrated by Tim Curry. I think I could listen to Tim Curry read from the dictionary! He is especially fun at narrating villains and magical creatures. That said, his depiction of a young girl's voice at the beginning of the story is so bad I laughed out loud.

Rating:

57YouKneeK
Jan 29, 8:28pm Top

>56 Narilka: This sounds like something I might like. The series is actually on the list of books I usually choose from, but it’s never made it into my actual reading plans because I’ve never been quite clear if it’s totally complete. I saw there was a 4th book published in 2016, and a prequel not long before that in 2014. It does look like the author has been writing unrelated things since then, though.

I see you’ve read the 4th book, Goldenhand, and from your review it doesn’t sound like it left any major loose ends? I think I’ve seen Sabriel on sale a few times and passed it up, but maybe I’ll go ahead and grab it the next time I see it on sale.

58Narilka
Jan 29, 8:52pm Top

>57 YouKneeK: You can read the original trilogy, Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen just fine as a complete series and Sabriel works very well as a stand alone. Book 4 is a prequel of sorts, in that it's set several hundred years before the trilogy and only tangentially related. Book 5 does pick up after the trilogy though, featuring a new threat, a new protagonist and several familiar faces. It wasn't on part as the originals IMO and I haven't looked to see if Nix is done with this world or not. FWIW, I do not have plans to reread books 4 or 5 ever.

59YouKneeK
Jan 29, 9:05pm Top

>58 Narilka: That's helpful, thanks!

60Marissa_Doyle
Jan 29, 11:05pm Top

>56 Narilka: We had the audiobook of the first Lemony Snicket/Series of Unfortunate Events book read by Tim Curry, and he was wonderful.

61Karlstar
Jan 30, 7:44pm Top

>56 Narilka: Thank you for the review. I've read a couple of Garth Nix stories in short story collections recently, though those were Mister Fitz stories, but I wanted to read more Nix.

62Narilka
Jan 31, 7:52pm Top

>60 Marissa_Doyle: I might have to try those just for Curry's narration :)

>61 Karlstar: I look forward to your reviews if you decide to give them a try.

63Narilka
Feb 3, 9:27pm Top

7. Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell



Falcio, Kest and Brasti continue their quest to secure Aline's throne and bring peace to Tristia in Saint's Blood, the third book of the Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell. This time around actual Saints are added to the mix as the body count rises - how does someone manage to kill a Saint anyway and for what purpose?

One of my biggest complaints from the previous novels were the uneven pacing. I am happy to say that de Castell has finally found his stride. The story picks up a few months after the previous book and things get off to a slowish start. It doesn't take long for the pace to pick up and stay there. The balance was exactly perfect between grim, funny, action and poignant which made for a much more enjoyable read this time around. The character banter continues to be one of my favorite parts of the books.

The world is being fleshed out more. We learn a lot more about Saints and Gods. It's not a new concept since they're the living personifications of an abstract concept (like mercy) formed out of their worshiper's emotions and prayers, but I like having the framework in place to round out my understanding of this world. It also adds a sad note and points out how Tristia is truly a screwed up country when the newest God that is created is a God of Fear. We're also introduced to two new groups of people, Cogneri and Inlaudati. I like the extra flavor they add to the world, though they kinda come out of nowhere.

The story continues to be told exclusively from Falcio's point of view. While the others do have their moments, this is definitely Falcio's hero journey, if he could just get out of his own way long enough to do things right the first time! He does get there eventually though. It should be noted that the best parts of the book are when things are going to utter sh*t for our heroes and they have to overcome overwhelming odds to win.

The book still has its flaws. There's still quite a bit of randomness where things feel like they're thrown in just because they're cool and not really planned. Magic is still unexplained and used as a convenience. We still don't have deeper backgrounds for Kest and Brasti, which is a shame. The bad guy comes out of nowhere with a motivation that would fit just about anyone living in this horrible country and is so over powered it's ridiculous. Of course our plucky heroes still win the day. With one book left I've decided to accept these things as I doubt they're going to change.

Even with it's flaws, the story was a lot more fun and enjoyable than the previous two books. The grimdark is still there but has been tempered, which I appreciate, and the story has ends with a bit of hope. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how this all ends.

Rating:

64-pilgrim-
Edited: Feb 4, 8:56am Top

>63 Narilka: Thank you for this review. Traitor's Blade was one of my better fantasy reads of 2018, and you have encouraged me to continue with the series.

65Narilka
Feb 4, 7:58pm Top

>64 -pilgrim-: I'll be reading the final book in about a month. I'm optimistic :)

66Narilka
Feb 10, 10:03am Top

8. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo



I never expected to feel conflicted about this book. Having enjoyed the Grisha trilogy and seriously loved the Six of Crows duology, I was sure the first in Nikolai's duology, King of Scars was going to be a win. Leigh Bardugo is a great writer and I especially love her character interactions and dialogue. In that respect, this book is in line with the others. Where this book has problems is with serious pacing issues. The book dragged so bad that what should have taken maybe 3-4 days to read ended up taking a week. The plot meanders and felt unfocused. It wasn't until the last 10% of the story where I felt really grabbed by events.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. Through much hard work Ravka has enjoyed a short period of relative peace and stability. Now that peace is being threatened as enemies gather at Ravka's borders. As if that's not enough, Nikolai is also battling the darkness inside himself as it tries to re-emerge, posing a danger to the kingdom, it's people and Nikolai's soul. Meanwhile, Nina has returned to Fjerda on a mission to rescue as many Grisha as she can and recruit them to Ravka's cause.

The story is told primarily from three alternating points of view: Nikolai, Zoya and Nina's. While all three are interesting, and I truly felt bad for Nikolai's dilemma, it is Zoya who ended up as my favorite. Her character gains so much depth that she ends up easily outshining the other two characters. I found it hard to connect with Nina's mission. At this point it's about waiting to see how it will all link back with what I assume is the main story line as it feels disconnected currently. As to Nikolai, I can't say much without spoilers. Needless to say he's as charming as ever and now had a pretty big problem to solve if he wants to keep himself and the kingdom together.

The story ends on a rather big, if annoying, bombshell. I think a lot of her fans will be excited but it just annoyed me to no end. Sometimes the dead need to stay dead.

This is not a bad book. I love these characters, especially Zoya. And I will be reading the second half once it releases, though with lowered expectations.

Rating:

67Narilka
Feb 15, 8:27pm Top

9. Lirael by Garth Nix



I am still loving my re-listen of the series. I can't say enough good things about Tim Curry's narration. Original review from 2016 below. Mogget and the Dog continue to be my favorites :)

----------

Lirael is a Daughter of the Clayr, a group of women who have the gift of Sight, the ability to see into possible futures. Abandoned by her mother at a young age, her father unknown, with dark hair and pale skin, Lirael doesn't look like the rest of the Clayr. Nor has the Sight awoken in her. To take her mind of her troubles Lirael has decided to become a librarian. The Great Library of the Clayr is not without it's dangers. The books themselves can be trouble and there are monsters hidden in the Library's depths. Joined by a magical dog Lirael begins to explore the Library, even the lower levels where no one has gone for years, discovering many secrets.

Prince Sameth, son of King Touchstone and Queen-Abhorsen Sabriel, is the new Abhorsen-in-waiting and is completely terrified by what this means. In order to avoid his duties for as long as possible, Sameth sets out on a journey to locate his friend from school who has decided to visit the Old Kingdom for the first time. Little does Sameth know there are Necromancers stirring up trouble, making travel dangerous, and the dead are no longer staying dead. An evil scheme is afoot. What is Sameth heading into?

Lirael by Garth Nix is the second book in The Abhorson trilogy. The story picks up 14 years after the events in Sabriel. We are introduced immediately to Lirael and life on the Clayr's glacier. The world building in this section is fantastic! I love the idea of a whole society living inside a glacier that's part of a mountain and really wish I could make a trip to their Library. Then the story jumps ahead a few years to introduce Sameth. He has been going to school in Ancelestierre and is on his way home to the Old Kingdom. We are treated to a view of royal life and some of the responsibilities expected of the royal family.

Lirael is another highly capable and likable heroine. Just like any teen aged girl she suffers the angst of wanting to fit in. While she may have doubts about herself being a true Clayr because she does not yet have the Sight, she has no doubts about her skills as a Charter mage. This is quite useful during her explorations of the Library. This first section was so much fun to read that switching characters felt rather abrupt. Sameth is almost the exact opposite of Lirael. He's a young, sniveling boy that just wants to make toys all day. He doesn't want to have anything to do with any of his family's responsibilities and literally runs away from his problems at the first opportunity. Nix doesn't pull any punches with his characters though so you can imagine just how well his lack of good sense goes for Sameth.

The story has good pacing. There is plenty of action, excitement and humor throughout to balance the darker, scary parts. The interactions between the Disreputable Dog and Mogget are some of my favorite scenes. Such great banter between the two creatures. Unlike the first book, which could be read as a stand alone, this one definitely is the first half of a larger story. There are some reveals at the end, one of which I had already guessed, that are a big hook for what is still to come.

Again I listened to the audio book narrated by Tim Curry. His performance is just as great as the first book.

I enjoyed this book so much I downloaded book three before finishing!

Rating:

68Narilka
Edited: Feb 16, 11:39am Top

10. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews



Magic Rises is the sixth in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Any time I need a fast paced fantasy with tons of action and an interesting take on mythology I always turn to Kate Daniels. As usual, this book delivers.

Living as a shapeshifter isn't easy. Unable to control their change, many die before making it to adulthood. Medicine exists that significantly reduces the mortality rate among shapeshifter children. It is in short supply and access is strictly controlled by shapeshifters in Europe. When Kate and Curran are offered a job to body guard a pregnant shapeshifter, with a large amount of the cure as payment if the mother and children live through the birth, they know they have to accept even though they'll be heading into an obvious trap.

At this point in the series you basically know what to expect. There is a mystery to solve, plenty of interpersonal conflict, Kate and Curran's relationship continues to be messy, many bloody battles that all lead to one action filled climax. It was great to have the characters travel to Europe, giving the story a fresh setting. I liked the world building here, showing how magic's impact on old world cities is different from how it ruined Atlanta. It's also the first time we're introduced to different Packs and that political dynamic. This time the Andrews dip into Assyrian mythology which was pretty great as I knew very little about it and ended up Googling quite a bit to learn more. I admit, the authors had me going about the relationship troubles and Curran's strange behavior even though I knew logically it would eventually end up OK since there are still four books to go in the series. My absolutely favorite parts were Kate and Hugh's interactions, especially their duel. I had two complaints. There are a couple of very random things thrown in that did not feel like it flowed with the rest of the story and the ending had a rather large deus ex machina to resolve our hero's final trouble. Those issues aside, this was another fun read.

Rating:

69Narilka
Feb 17, 5:37pm Top

11. Sightwitch by Susan Dennard



Sightwitch is a novella in The Witchlands by Susan Dennard. It is the back story for Ryber Fortiza, a side character from the main series. The story is told as a series of journal entries primarily by Ryber, with the occasional entry by her threadsister Tanzi and historical entries by the famous Sightwitch Sister Eridysi Gochienka. I find this style of storytelling hit or miss and this one ended up working for me better than I expected. One of the neat things is all the art included as part of the journal. I'm very glad I read this as a physical copy as the drawings may have been shrunk too small on my Kindle.

I enjoyed the story. Ryber's portion focuses on her life in the Sitewitch Sisters Convent about a year before the start of the main series and her original meeting with Kullen. It explains nicely what it means to be a Sightwitch and is a decent, if short, adventure story. More interesting were the historical flashbacks provided by Eridysi's journal entries. These added another layer to the world building of the Witchlands that I found fascinating. I wish there had been more of them.

Without going into too many details for fear of spoilers, I'm excited to see how this will tie back to the main series with Bloodwitch.

Rating:

70ronincats
Feb 17, 10:17pm Top

I love the Abhorsen books totally, Gale. Except for Clariel, which was a disappointment. I think Lirael is my favorite character. And I loved the first two books of the Empire Trilogy also, despite the high body count. I acquired the third book some years later and have yet to read it, mostly because I'm going to need to reread the first two to fully appreciate it, and I haven't made the time commitment yet.

71Narilka
Feb 18, 5:58pm Top

>70 ronincats: Sounds like you liked Goldenhand better than I did :) The current plan is to finish the Empire trilogy in March. We'll see how I do.

72clamairy
Feb 18, 8:35pm Top

>66 Narilka: I didn't even know about this book, and so I was really excited when I first started reading your post. But upon reading the whole review I got bit less enthusiastic. I'll probably still read it, but I might wait for beach weather.

73majkia
Feb 19, 6:12pm Top

>56 Narilka: I have the audio of Sabriel. I've never read any of Garth Nix's work, at least not that I remember. Maybe this will spur me on to read it sooner.

74ronincats
Feb 19, 10:11pm Top

>71 Narilka: Well, I liked it a good deal better than Clariel, at least.

75Narilka
Feb 20, 8:02pm Top

>72 clamairy: It's worth trying. Maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did. There is a lot of potential for the second half.

>73 majkia: I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try.

76Narilka
Feb 25, 9:00pm Top

I finished up Bloodwitch and will write a review in the next day or two. Work's been leaving me exhausted during the week so most of my reading is on weekends these days. I received a field promotion at the beginning of Feb and am now program manager for my division's whole cloud program :) Three weeks in and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm starting to get an understanding of things.

Anyway, today also marks an important moment in my reading journey. I'm starting Tigana my first GGK! I'm pretty excited :D

77YouKneeK
Feb 26, 6:18am Top

>76 Narilka: Congrats on the promotion! I look forward to finding out what you think of Tigana. :) I liked that one quite a bit when I read it, but I've found I don't remember the story well at all. Sometimes I see people discuss it and the things they describe barely even seem familiar.

78Karlstar
Feb 26, 3:52pm Top

>78 Karlstar: I hope you enjoy Tigana! There are many more GGK to enjoy.

79Jim53
Feb 26, 7:31pm Top

>76 Narilka: Congrats on moving on up. Cloud is certainly an exciting area. As is Tigana; I think it's on the very short list of best single-volume fantasies.

80Sakerfalcon
Feb 27, 7:14am Top

Add me to those who are eagerly waiting to find out how you get on with Tigana!

81Narilka
Feb 27, 6:58pm Top

Thanks everyone!

82MrsLee
Feb 28, 11:43pm Top

>76 Narilka: Congrats!

83hfglen
Mar 1, 4:10am Top

>76 Narilka: Well done!

84pgmcc
Mar 1, 4:26am Top

>76 Narilka: Congratulations and all the best with the new role.

85Narilka
Mar 1, 5:23pm Top

12. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard



Bloodwitch is the third in Susan Dennard's Witchlands series. The story picks up immediately after book two and I am impressed with the increased level of complexity Dennard has added. We have more points of view that merge and diverge, more plots within plots and added layers of world building. This is also a case where having read the novella Sightwitch ahead of time for some history on the Paladins is quite helpful. While not strictly necessary it does make some of the conversations between characters make more sense rather than being extra mysterious.

War has come to the Witchlands. The Raider King's forces spread terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents, as part of his plan for conquest. The city of Marstock is under threat of invasion. The Carawen Monks have suffered a schism and are fighting within their ranks. Political scheming is happening in Nubrevna behind the Queen-in-waiting's back. Worst of all Safi and Iseult still don't know each other's fate, only that they're in danger.

I have really come to enjoy these characters. As mentioned earlier this book features many points of view though story's overall theme ties back to the Bloodwitch Aeduan. It was interesting and sad learning his back story. He has become more sympathetic in my eyes, more human, even if he doesn't really accomplish a lot in this installment. I also liked learning more about his magic. The story continuously jumps points of view between Iseult, Aeduan, Safi, Vivia and Merik and to a lesser extent Vaness, Esme and Kullen. Each story weaves well into a whole and I enjoyed every pov.

What I found fascinating is how almost every character has a moment where they realize everything they thought they knew was a lie and are forced to seek strength within themselves they never knew they had. This is such a powerful idea as we've all been there, whether it's discovering our parents aren't all-knowing or that adults don't have all the answers. Another common theme is the desire for freedom to make our own choices. Both of these themes are handled in such a relatable and real way that they resonated with me and made me connect even more with the story and these characters.

The last 100 pages of this book are one hell of a ride as the tension and action keeps building. The story is draws to a close with a couple scenes I've been hoping for and the payoff is wonderful. Now begins the hard wait for book four.

Rating:

86Narilka
Edited: Mar 1, 5:33pm Top

13. Abhorsen by Garth Nix



It is with a touch of sadness that I wrap up my reread (listen) of the Abhorsen trilogy. That ending gets me every time. I love this series just as much on a reread as the first time. Original review from 2016 below.

----------------

Lirael and Sammeth have escaped from Hedge the Necromancer and his Dead hands by taking sanctuary in Abhorsen's house. The time for rest is fleeting. Constantly reminded of the vision the Clayr had for her, Lirael knows they must leave for the Red Lake to rescue Nick before it's too late. However, there is a greater evil afoot, one that has not been seen in ages: The Destroyer is coming.

Abhorsen by Garth Nix is the third book in The Abhorsen trilogy. The story begins right where Lirael leaves off. Lirael and Sammeth are at Abhorsen's house, taking a short rest before setting out to rescue Nick, Sam's old friend from his school in Ancelstierre. Unknown to both Lerial and Sammeth, but quite well known to the reader, Nick has a shard of the Destroyer placed in him which allows him to be a "vessel" for the Destroyer. Nick finds himself forced to believe in the magic he considered to be pure fantasy and is leading a search for two great hemispheres buried deep in the earth as well as coming up with a means to rejoin them.

The book has many reveals, some of which were quite surprising. We are finally able to understand the full nature of Free Magic, what it is and where it came from, as well as a history of the Beginning, how the Charter came to be, what went into it's creation and just who, or what, the Destroyer is. All the puzzle pieces come together and missing information filled in for one spectacular, epic finale. All the reasons why everyone involved is involved as they are answered. The stakes for the future of both Ancelstierre and the Old Kingdom have never been higher.

Each character clearly has an important role to play. We are finally shown why Sammeth was so scared of entering Death and why his role as Abhorsen-in-waiting didn't seem right for him. He is given a new path that has a direct and meaningful impact on what is to come. Both the Disreputable Dog and Mogget are vital characters, transcending their roles of magical companions in previous books to be every bit as important as their two legged counterparts. They both retain their sly wit and fun banter through to the end, which continues to be a joy to read. Lirael's character arc is quite profound. Gone is the somewhat timid librarian as she fully embraces the fact that she'll never be a "true" daughter of the Clary and never see the future. She gives herself fully quest the Clayr have set her on and, as a result, realizes she has a much different role than any other Clayr in history, making her unique. Lirael finds herself prepared to meet any challenge, able to go toe to toe the most fearsome of the Dead.

Again I listened to the audio book narrated by Tim Curry. Curry's voice acting is superb as always.

This is one fast paced, action packed book! The plot is tightly focused and the ending delivers quite a punch. The final battle has a beautiful, cinematic quality to it, one I would love to see on the big screen. It was a wholly satisfying end to the series.

I have greatly enjoyed The Abhorsen trilogy. This series is one I will reread in the future.

Rating:

87Karlstar
Mar 2, 10:34pm Top

>86 Narilka: Maybe an unfair question, but what other author's style would you compare to Nix? From the short stories I've read, it seemed a bit Vancian?

88Narilka
Mar 3, 8:25am Top

>87 Karlstar: Hmm. I like the books because they are so different from normal YA :) I've not read Vancian so can't compare them. In some ways it reminds me a little of Amulet of Samarkand in style, though I enjoyed the Abhorsen books more.

89Narilka
Mar 3, 11:45am Top

A friend sent me a link to a video of GRRM interviewing Stephen King. It's pretty great: https://youtu.be/v_PBqSPNTfg

90Karlstar
Mar 3, 3:43pm Top

>88 Narilka: Hi, are you saying the Abhorsen trilogy is YA? The short stories I've read didn't seem YA and the blurb on the author didn't seem to indicate the full length novels were. For whatever reason I think all of the short stories I've read were Hereward and Mr. Fitz stories though.

91Narilka
Mar 3, 5:47pm Top

>90 Karlstar: Yep, the series is technically YA though the first and third books read more adult. The story is slightly darker as it deals with necromancy and (un)dead things but not grimdark in any way. Hope that helps.

92Karlstar
Mar 7, 2:29pm Top

>91 Narilka: It does. Undead are fine, its grimdark that's really scary!

93Busifer
Mar 7, 3:26pm Top

Congrats on the promotion!

I'm chiming in with what other have said about Tigana. It was my first Guy G Kay, and I read it as part of a GD group read here in the pub, ages and ages ago.
A Song for Arbonne, The Lions of Al-Rassan, Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors are all very good as well, if you end up liking his style.
Personally I think the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy inferior, but if one reads the others that trilogy adds a dimension.

I'll offer some blue wine.
It has been far too long since we brought out that bottle!

94hfglen
Mar 7, 3:36pm Top

What >93 Busifer: said! But Busifer, I'd go a tad bit further and suggest that his Chinese stories written after the Mediterranean ones were disasters (opportunity for cheap pun: one is River of Stars, but the star was a disas-star). And I tend to regard Fionavar as an extended apprentice piece.

95Busifer
Mar 7, 3:51pm Top

>94 hfglen: I certainly agree with you, on all points, though my great reading hiatus had as a consequence that I've only read Under Heaven, which was so and so (it was better than Ysabel, which I finished but didn't enjoy, so maybe that was why Under Heaven felt at least halfway good): I started on River of Stars, and got stalled about one third in. At the time I wasn't sure if it was my mood or the book.
I have not given it a second try.

96Darth-Heather
Edited: Mar 7, 4:25pm Top

>93 Busifer: Coincidentally I just started The Summer Tree a few days ago. I have tried it and put it down a couple times before, but finally it has clicked for me.

It doesn't quite seem to be in the same league as others of his that I have loved, but now that I'm halfway through I am starting to see where he is going with it. Somehow the writing style is a bit less graceful than I am accustomed to from him, but I think I saw somewhere that this is his first book so maybe it's just learning curve bumps?

I see that he has a new one coming out in May, titled A Brightness Long Ago, but I didn't see any description.

97Busifer
Mar 7, 4:51pm Top

>96 Darth-Heather: Yes, it was his very first, and as such is not bad. The wandering fire wasn’t too bad, either. I think it was the last one, The Darkest Road, and the way he wrapped the story, that did it for me. All in all the trilogy ended up reading like an academic exercise in High Fantasy With Arthurian Themes, which is fine. It’s just not my kind of story: I didn’t like Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence either. Just as an example.
Which says more about me than about the book ;-)

98YouKneeK
Mar 7, 5:22pm Top

>96 Darth-Heather: I liked The Summer Tree pretty well. I could see a lot of flaws in it, but it still managed to grab my interest and I enjoyed reading it. The next two in the series, on the other hand, I liked less and less. Too many coincidences and deus ex machina reveals and too much melodrama, with an increasing focus on the Arthurian plot whereas I was more interested in other characters and events. I remember it less favorably than I rated it.

I enjoyed Tigana and Lions of Al-Rassan much more. I intend to try Under Heaven sometime, maybe this year or next. I haven’t ready any of his other work yet.

99Busifer
Mar 7, 6:36pm Top

>98 YouKneeK: Sounds like we had similar experiences with Fionavar.

If you enjoyed Tigana and Lions of Al-Rassan I’d recommend A Song for Arbonne and the Sarantine Mosaic (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors) rather than Under Heaven.
They’re written in the same style, and in much the same general universe, even if they’re not officially connected.

100Narilka
Mar 7, 8:06pm Top

I have stalled a bit on Tigana. My workload frying my brain plus the slow moving story means I fall asleep after a page or two. I think this is going to become my weekend book so I can dedicate bigger chunks of time to it. I do like the story though! Just don't be surprised if you see a few other reviews before I finish it.

101Narilka
Mar 7, 8:07pm Top

I also have Lions of Al-Rassan in my TBR. I think that's going into my rotation next year.

102YouKneeK
Edited: Mar 8, 6:29am Top

>99 Busifer: Thanks, I’ll likely try all his work sooner or later based on my experiences with it so far. I enjoy trying different styles. I’ve been fitting him in about once a year in recent years.

>100 Narilka: I’ve had months (years) like that. It becomes really hard to enjoy a book with any sort of complexity because you can’t read it with enough energy to keep track of what's going on. The first time I tried to read The Wheel of Time several years back, that was why I stalled out after book 4. I hope things stabilize for you soon so you have more free time and the energy to enjoy it!

Edited to correct post reference so it doesn't look like I'm talking to myself...

103Narilka
Mar 8, 9:31pm Top

>102 YouKneeK: I just got some bad news about my mom's health so I'm not hopeful at the moment. I may need to put Tigana on pause until I can appreciate it more. I'm going to give it another go this weekend and see.

104YouKneeK
Mar 9, 6:20am Top

>103 Narilka: I’m very sorry to hear about the bad news.

105Busifer
Mar 9, 7:14am Top

>103 Narilka: Sorry about the bad news.
Sending strength across the seas.

106MrsLee
Mar 9, 10:24am Top

>103 Narilka: I am sorry about your mom, and I heartily recommend putting the book aside for now and reading fluff. I tried to read one of Janny Wurts novels during my father's health crisis and found that not only could I not read it then, but couldn't ever pick it up again to this day. It makes me too sad.

107hfglen
Mar 9, 10:39am Top

>103 Narilka: Wishing you much strength. May your mom's news improve.

108Karlstar
Mar 9, 11:01am Top

>103 Narilka: Sorry to hear about your mother, I hope she gets better soon.

109Narilka
Mar 9, 5:49pm Top

Thanks everyone for the support! I really appreciate it. I'll put this behind spoilers so you can decide if you want to read it or not. Here's the short version. Last summer mom was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. It was caught as part of a routine exam, was super tiny, fully removed with surgery, didn't need chemo though she did a couple weeks of targeted radiation just in case. Last night she called me in a panic. Her eyes have been bothering her and it took her a month to convince a doctor to take her seriously. She was diagnosed with dry eye previously and I think they thought it was more of the same. After the exam they now think she may have a tumor on or next to her eyes but they aren't sure. She's scheduled for an MRI at the end of the month so they can get a better look. I spent an hour and a half calming her down then spent the rest of my night trying really hard not to think about it too much since there's not enough information yet. They also put her on antibiotics just in case, which I have mixed feelings about. It's good if the spot they saw ends up being a bad infection though antibiotics are pretty hard on a system has recently recovered from radiation.

I'm going to take MrsLee's advice. My audio book about zombies on the moon is hitting the spot where Tigana isn't. I'm going to put Tigana on hold until I can give it proper attention and pick something else for a bit.

110quondame
Mar 9, 6:08pm Top

>109 Narilka: Sorry to hear about your mother's problems. That is so scary. My best wishes for a good outcome!

111AHS-Wolfy
Mar 10, 7:17am Top

>109 Narilka: It's sad to hear of anybody's health issues so my thoughts go out to yo and your mother. Hope the MRI brings good news.

112Busifer
Mar 10, 8:47am Top

>109 Narilka: My thoughts go out to you and your mum, I'm holding my thumbs for the MRI to be a bringer of good news.
The zombie books seems like a wise choice.

113Narilka
Mar 10, 11:59am Top

14. Mouth Care Comes Clean by Ellie Phillips, DDS



Dr. Ellie Phillips challenges traditional dental thinking in her book Mouth Care Comes Clean. There is a lot of great information in this book, some of which is a bit shocking given the typical recommendations we receive from dentists in our average office visit in the US. Her approach deals with balancing the bacteria in the mouth to control acidity and end gum disease, tooth decay and endless painful trips to the dentist for procedures we may not need. As with any part of our bodies your mouth can heal if given a healthy environment to do so. She recommends a multi-pronged approach of small dietary changes, the use of the correct products that support oral health and continued trips to your dentist to track progress. As I read I constantly Googled many of her ideas and there's a lot of sound science behind them.

I have two issues with this book. First, the book is highly repetitive and the narrative tends to meander. A couple more passes by an editor would've fixed this and kept all the information intact. Second, Dr. Phillips pushes the use of xylitol on almost every page, which I found odd until I discovered she also owns a xylitol company. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, and it appears she's been promoting xylitol long before her company started, but it does come across as more of a sales pitch than it might have otherwise. Xylitol is a controversial artificial sweetener that has potential oral health benefits, more clinical trials are needed, and a lot of drawbacks if you have digestive issues or pets (it's deadly to dogs in small amounts). Do your own research before blindly trying.

I won a copy of this book in a GoodReads giveaway.

Rating:

114Sakerfalcon
Mar 11, 7:12am Top

I'm sorry to see the bad news about your mother. I hope the MRI results will bring good news.

115-pilgrim-
Mar 11, 10:02am Top

I am sorry to hear your bad news also. You are right to encourage her not to assume the worst until the results are back; I hope you have someone who can give you the same support.

116Narilka
Edited: Mar 13, 2:56pm Top

15. Dead Moon by Peter Clines



Dead Moon is the third book in the Threshold universe by Peter Clines. Yes "universe" and not "series". While taking place in the same universe as 14 and The Fold, this story is completely unrelated to those books with only one very loose connection. Dead Moon definitely works well as a stand alone and won't spoil any of the surprises from the previous two books should you want to pick this one up first. With that out of the way....

The year is 2243. The Moon has become the largest graveyard in the solar system, the perfect solution to over crowding on Earth. It's also the perfect place for someone like Cali Washington to go to escape her troubles. Signed up to be a Caretaker, a lunar grave digger, Cali travels to Luna City to begin her new career. Just as she's starting to get the hang of how to use the grave digging equipment a meteor hits the Moon, causing the largest dust storm ever recorded. It's only after the dust begins to settle that everyone realizes that there's something very wrong and the dead have become restless.

It's zombies on the moon! I never expected to enjoy this book so much, with it's B-movie premise and pulpy delivery. This book is straight up a scifi/horror and it gets to the main point almost immediately. When I realized I had 10 hours to go and the action was already happening, I let go of all my preconceived notions and just enjoyed the ride. As you might expect, the body count is high and there is some violent action. While character development is on the lite side, Clines still gives us people to root for as they all fight for their survival. There are also some neat ideas in this book which made me think about physics on the moon. I'd love to see this translated to the big screen just to see how those effects would play out.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Ray Porter. Porter gives a stellar performance as always. I'm looking forward to the next Threshold installment.

Rating:

117Karlstar
Mar 13, 3:24pm Top

>116 Narilka: Are you saying that should have been titled Moon Sematary?

118Narilka
Mar 13, 3:39pm Top

119Narilka
Mar 13, 8:12pm Top

16. Awaken Online: Retribution by Travis Bagwell



Awaken Online: Retribution is a Side Quest (novella) in the Awaken Online series by Travis Bagwell. The story is told entirely from Riley's point of view and occurs in the few days time between books two and three while Jason is dealing with some real world problems.

Riley thought that after her confrontation with Alex things would get better but they've only gotten worse. The girls at school torment her and she feels powerless to stop them. After receiving a message from Jason that he would be gone for a few days Riley decides now would be the perfect time to follow up on the quest she received when she obtained the strange bow from the dungeon near Peccavi. If nothing else perhaps it will distract her from her own troubles with the girls at school. Grouping up with a new band of adventurers it's not long before they all learn that this quest is a lot more than they bargained for.

It was great traveling with Riley for a while, learning more about her character and motivations both in game and out. I continue to enjoy the game world and how much it helps the characters learn to be better versions of themselves while taking a non-traditional path to get there. The city of mages was such a really cool idea. I wouldn't be surprised to find a similar version in a future game! The quest itself is quite a mystery for Riley to solve, taking us all over the magic city, and it ends with one heck of a boss battle. About the only thing I didn't enjoy was the group of characters Riley ends up traveling with. They were pretty bland.

Overall the story was a good addition to the series.

Rating:

120Narilka
Mar 24, 11:32am Top

17. Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell

 

"Gentlemen," I said to Kest and Brasti, "I'm of a mind to attempt something rather daring and heroic."

Brasti grinned. "I assume this preposterous venture of yours is doomed to fail?"

"Assuredly. But we're going to do it anyway. You know why?"

Kest had a broad smile, one I'd rarely seen before. "Because preposterous heroics are the only things we've ever been good at."


And that is pretty much The Greatcoats in a nutshell: preposterous heroics saves the day. Fortunately for me I happen to love this brand of heroics, especially since the author has moved away from the grimdark edge and ended the series firmly in swashbuckling fantasy. While book 3 is my overall favorite, it's with this final installment that the series gives me the most Three Musketeers vibes which is what hooked me on this series to begin with.

Falcio val Mond is close to achieving his goal of putting the dead king's daughter, Aline, on the throne and restoring a rule of law to Tristia. Unfortunately things are never that easy for the Greatcoats. First Falcio must unite the Dukes in supporting Aline's rule, most of whom would rather secede from the kingdom than be ruled by a young girl. As if that wasn't enough war is brewing in the mountain kingdom of Avares. Avares has never posed a true threat before, being too unorganized to field an army, but that has changed. There is a new Warlord of Avares, who has united the the clans under a single cause - to take back the ancestral lands the Tristians had stolen.

It's safe to say that de Castell has cemented his formula for what makes The Greatcoats series great: witty character banter, a cast of heroes and villains you both love and hate, a bit of moral ambiguity, an interesting if undefined world, overwhelming odds and the preposterous heroics needed to save the day. Falcio faces his toughest opponent yet when he's forced to face his own ideals in order to save the country. It was a bold choice by the author and one I was glad to explore. What do you do when adhering to your own rules means sacrificing everything you believe in? Falcio does not have any easy time working through this latest set of problems.

My favorite thing from this series are the characters. Falcio, Brasti and Kest's friendship is a joy to read. I would happily buy these guys several rounds of beers in the nearest pub. I also truly loved the solution to the big problem and the epilogue for these characters. It felt right and true to the world de Castell has built.

As with the previous books there are some flaws with this one. I never really was onboard with the Falcio/Ethalia romance. I wish it had been dropped in the last book with the whole saint thing. The reveal of Ethalia being pregnant at the end was cheesy and eye roll worthy. Since de Castell has found his formula, it made the book feel slightly repetitive and it was easy to guess several of the big reveals, though there were still surprises mixed in. We are still left with some mysteries in the world, specifically around magic, which is frustrating, though leaves things open for the author to explore in the future if he wanted to.

Overall it was a good ending to the series. Be sure that you read the Acknowledgements as de Castell works in some fun facts about his characters as he's thanking everyone.

Rating:

121Narilka
Edited: Mar 24, 12:07pm Top

18. And on that Bombshell by Richard Porter



And on that Bombshell is a look back at the golden years of Top Gear from 2002 to the disastrous events of 2015 by the series script editor Richard Porter. As a big fan of the show I enjoyed the book immensely. As you might expect from a show writer, the book is just as witty and silly as the series was as it dives into the history of the show and how it became a global phenomenon. I loved hearing about the origin of the Stig and how the show managed to put stars in their reasonably priced car. It also answers the one question I always had about the series - yes the three presenters are basically the same in real life as you see them on tv. Overall it was a wonderful, nostalgic look back at Top Gear that made me want to go watch some reruns. This is definitely a must read for fans of the show.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Ben Elliot.

Rating:

Edit: Thanks Hugh for the book bullet!!

122hfglen
Mar 24, 1:31pm Top

My pleasure! I still cackle at the story of Stigmacher (among others).

123Narilka
Apr 2, 5:18pm Top

19. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett



What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.

Moist von Lipwig's life of crime has finally caught up with him. With his neck in the noose, Moist watches the hangman pull the lever and wakes up... not dead and offered a job? Lord Vetinari offers Moist the chance at redemption by being named Postmaster and getting the old Postal Service back up and running again. The mail must be delivered.

Going Postal is the 33rd book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. This is the first book to feature Moist von Lipwig and the fourth in the Industrial Revolution sub-series. It's interesting that for a 33rd book in the series you can almost use it as an entry point without missing out on much more than a couple character cameos.

For a character that should have been despicable, I found Moist to be quite likable and sympathetic. Pratchett does a great job of letting us see that Moist has a underlying decency when dealing with most people at an individual level even though technically he's a con man. Moist also has some of the most wonderful conversations with Vetinari, which highlights just how brilliant a character Vetinari is. I'm glad he's given more page time in this installment. The supporting cast we're introduced to is enjoyable and quirky and human, even the golem Mr. Pump.

As with most Discworld novels my favorite part is how Pratchett deftly works in deeper themes into his books while still keeping them funny. This time he plays with the idea of Hope and its opposite, fear, corporate greed, collecting mania, doing the impossible, pokes fun at professional wrestling in the most highly organized bar brawl ever and more. Pratchett was a genius. His creativity is sorely missed.

Rating:

124YouKneeK
Apr 2, 5:51pm Top

>123 Narilka: I’m glad you enjoyed this so much! It was among my favorites of the Discworld books. I had always liked Vetinari and he was awesome in this book, so that definitely influenced things. :)

125quondame
Apr 2, 5:57pm Top

>123 Narilka: I do love Going Postal. Moist von Lipwig is an inspired invention.

126NorthernStar
Apr 2, 6:47pm Top

>123 Narilka: etc. Going Postal is probably my favourite Discworld book so far. My sister (tardis) has been a Pratchett fan for years, but I have just been getting into them in the last few years.

127mattries37315
Apr 2, 11:08pm Top

>123 Narilka: Loved Moist von Lipwig, Going Postal and Making Money were highlights of late non-YA Discworld to me.

128reading_fox
Apr 3, 4:41am Top

I always felt Moist was a little bit too over the top even for pTerry. One of my favourites is the chronological next one thud but that's about the peak before the decline into the last ones where (perhaps with hindsight) his illness started to effect the writing.

129Narilka
Apr 3, 12:37pm Top

Great to hear Moist is a fan favorite :)

>128 reading_fox: I'm reading them in sub-series order so I jump around a bit from the chronological order. I think I have one more Watch book before Thud in my order. I need to check. That or my next in line Rincewind will likely be my next Discworld when I cycle back to this series.

130Busifer
Apr 3, 3:15pm Top

Vetinari is one of my favourite Discworld characters.

I did not particularly like Thud, but I agree with reading_fox that the later books weren't that good. Going Postal is probably the last one to be a real fun read, but I never liked Monstrous Regiment, it was too literal to me, and that one is earlier, chronologically speaking.

That said Discworld is one of my absolute favourite series!

131YouKneeK
Apr 3, 5:51pm Top

Of all the Discworld books, Raising Steam, the second-to-last in publication order, was the one I was the most disappointed by. I had a couple complaints, but my biggest one was that Vetinari was out of character.

132ronincats
Apr 4, 12:17am Top

Loved Going Postal, felt Making Money was a little derivative.

133Busifer
Edited: Apr 4, 1:47am Top

>131 YouKneeK:, >132 ronincats: After having read and enjoyed every ”main” Discworld book I stopped after Making money, exactly for the reason you give. Then, I thought they had been on the decline since somewhere around The Truth. Of the post-Making Money books I eventually got Unseen Academicals on audio, and found Snuff in a charity shop book box. Neither of them deserves a mention, and I never regretted not not having a complete series.

134Narilka
Edited: Apr 4, 1:33pm Top

20. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie



The city of Vastai in the country of Iraden is watched over by the Raven, god of Vastai. Governed by the Raven's Lease, who must eventually sacrifice himself for the god in exchange for his power, and the Mother of the Silent, the representative for the god of the Forest, the city and region has known relative peace, protected from disease and incursions from neighboring countries. Suddenly summoned home, Mawat, heir of the Lease, finds the city in turmoil. The current Raven has been killed, his father is missing, his uncle has assumed the bench and foreign dignitaries are demanding to be allowed to cross the merchant waterways controlled by the Vastai. Something is very wrong.

The Raven Tower is a stand alone fantasy novel by Ann Leckie. This is my first time reading anything by the author and I'm highly impressed. Written in an epic fantasy style, this is a story less about moving armies on the battle field and more about the political maneuvering of court intrigue between men and gods. Yes, the gods in this world definitely involve themselves in the lives of their people. There is also one huge mystery to solve. I enjoyed it all immensely.

The story is told alternating between second and firsts person points of view from our narrator. I honestly can't say the last time I've read a story from the second person pov. I can see readers either loving or hating this choice in narrative style. For me, Leckie makes it work. I had no problem connecting with the main character and found the whole story engrossing.

The world building here is quite nice. Leckie gives a different twist on gods and how their power works. I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilers other than I liked the simplicity and ingenuity of it. It makes the deliberate and careful phrasing used throughout the story all the more poignant once you realize the reason behind it.

Fair warning, this book is a slow burn. Trust in the author. It all builds and layers together beautifully. I didn't fully grasp the scope of the story until right at the very end. It was brilliant.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Adjoa Andoh. She does a fantastic job, using a full array of accents and voices for each character and a great delivery of the text in general.

This book is going on my favorites shelf. I hope the author decides to revisit this world again some day. I'm going to have to give Leckie's Ancilliary series a try in the future.

Rating:

----------

Edit: Book bullet from jillmwo :) Thanks Jill, that was a satisfying read.

135quondame
Apr 4, 3:23pm Top

>134 Narilka: Great. This is on reserve at 2 of my local libraries - and I doubt I'll see it this month.

136Narilka
Apr 4, 8:57pm Top

>135 quondame: I hope you enjoy it whenever it comes in.

137Narilka
Apr 5, 7:54am Top

That's convenient - The Raven Tower is $2.99 on Kindle US today!

138quondame
Apr 5, 4:37pm Top

>137 Narilka: I could not resist! That means another reader gets a copy a week or so sooner.

139Narilka
Apr 5, 4:57pm Top

140ronincats
Apr 5, 5:45pm Top

And I did the same! I have the library copy home but it's due in 4 days with readers waiting and I want to take my time and savor Leckie's writing.

141NorthernStar
Apr 5, 6:50pm Top

I picked up a copy too, from Kobo, at $2.99 Canadian, I've been reading such good things about it, and I know I won't be able to get a copy by interlibrary loan for ages!

142Busifer
Apr 6, 6:57am Top

>134 Narilka: I just finished The Raven Tower last night, and while I'll not give it a 5 it' s still a 4+. I was a bit wary going in as fantasy is not my favourite genre, but after having read her Ancillary books, and then Provenance I pre-ordered her next book without knowing one bit about it: such is my trust in Leckie as an author. And she did not disappoint.

143Narilka
Apr 6, 9:20am Top

>142 Busifer: So glad you enjoyed it!

144Jim53
Apr 6, 12:24pm Top

>134 Narilka: count me among those who have taken a bullet on this one.

145Narilka
Apr 7, 11:42am Top

21. The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron



Eli Monpress is the world's greatest thief and also a wizard. With the help of his partners, a dangerous swordsman and a demonseed with strange magic of her own, Eli plans to grow the bounty on his head by pulling off his greatest heist yet: he's going to steal a King.

The Spirit Thief is the first book in Rachel Aaron's The Legend of Eli Monpress series. This was a fun, light read. I got definite Heartstriker vibes while reading. I'm glad I read that series first as I can see where she's grown as an author.

The magic in this world centers around spirits. Everyone and everything has a spirit. For example, that door you just used has part of the original tree spirit in the wood it was made out of. Wizards perform their magic by getting spirits to do things. This concept has great potential and there's a lot of room for Aaron to play with this idea.

The story is a classic heist gone wrong, with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. The pace moves along nicely and has a lot of humor without feeling obnoxious. The action scenes, both magical and mundane, are engaging and a lot of fun to read.

I do have a couple complaints. First are the characters. We are given general introductions to everyone and they all are interesting enough but lack the depth needed to make them feel fully formed. Hopefully this is something that Aaron works on in the next book as I think it could be easily fixed. Second, there is a lot of telling and not enough showing, especially in the early chapters when the magic system is being explained.

The book has a lot going for it and a ton of potential. I'm looking forward to continuing on Eli's journey.

Rating:

146Narilka
Apr 7, 11:55am Top

22. Bound by Mark Lawrence



Bound is a short story in The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence. It gives us a day in the life of Nona and friends in the Convent when there isn't a major world shattering event happening. The novices do have a small mystery to solve and there is the beginnings of a little romance, which was charming and awkward and funny. This story was a great way to get me ready for Holy Sister.

Rating:

147Karlstar
Apr 7, 12:08pm Top

>134 Narilka: Thanks for the review, I'll add Raven Tower to my list!

148Narilka
Apr 13, 8:33pm Top

Hopefully everyone checked out the Treasure Hunt for Library Week: https://www.librarything.com/hunt_2019-04.php

>147 Karlstar: I hope you enjoy it when you try it!

149Karlstar
Apr 13, 10:40pm Top

>148 Narilka: I never got any kind of a notification about it!

150-pilgrim-
Apr 14, 4:00am Top

>149 Karlstar: No, there were a lot of complaints in the St. Valentine's Day Hunt chat thread about the announcement banner appearing on one's screen "whether I want it or not". So I think hunts now only get announced in the LT blog. I only found out about it because of a comment in another thread.

>148 Narilka: I got my participation badge the day after I got my first 5 "cards" i.e. while the hunt is still open. Did you do too?

151AHS-Wolfy
Apr 14, 8:13am Top

>150 -pilgrim-: The participation badges updated the night after you first solved a clue. There will be a seperate draw for winners of additional prizes after the hunt ends. Winners to be announced on the 16th.

152Karlstar
Apr 14, 8:31am Top

>150 -pilgrim-: Ok, you folks know more about this than I do, I would have never heard of it if you hadn't mentioned it, where should I be watching? I looked at the blog, or what I think is the blog and I don't even see a mention of it. Bring back the announcement banner!

153Narilka
Apr 14, 9:27am Top

>150 -pilgrim-: I completed the challenge with a little help from google. It was fun :)

>152 Karlstar: I briefly saw an announcement banner and then it vanished. It's in the news on the my homepage too.

154-pilgrim-
Edited: Apr 14, 11:00am Top

>153 Narilka: Two to go for me (without looking at the hints thread). Thanks for the nudge to go back to them... ;-)

ETA: Now completed. Thank you again for reminding me of a welcome distraction for a Sunday afternoon.

155AHS-Wolfy
Apr 14, 2:41pm Top

I'm gonna miss those banners too. Don't know why people complained so vociferously as you could just turn them off if you didn't want it to re-appear.

156MrsLee
Apr 15, 9:08am Top

I would say that there must be a middle ground on the banner thing. As >155 AHS-Wolfy: says, the little "x" to turn them off should appease. Ah well. I think they usually announce it in the group "Talk About LibraryThing."

I enjoyed this hunt, but only did the search for those which I could solve easily on the first two days. I didn't feel like going to the group thread for the hints. Fun stuff.

157-pilgrim-
Apr 15, 1:30pm Top

>155 AHS-Wolfy:, >156 MrsLee: Apparently people were complaining that the banners reappeared on next login. Whether this was an issue specific to the browser that they were using, or they had blocked cookies, I don't know.

158Narilka
Apr 15, 9:11pm Top

Oh man, it was hard watching video of Notre Dame cathedral burning :(

159MrsLee
Apr 17, 9:04am Top

160Karlstar
Apr 17, 3:09pm Top

>158 Narilka: Agreed, that was hard to watch.

161Narilka
Apr 17, 8:06pm Top

Time for a new thread.

This topic was continued by Narilka reads in 2019 - Vol 2.

Group: The Green Dragon

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Touchstones

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