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Reading fox with 2020 vision

The Green Dragon

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1reading_fox
Jan 4, 11:39am Top

As ever full reviews for everything I read (more or less!) from the book pages or my profile. If you've specific questions please ask!

A good start to the New Year!

American Gods thanks JerryMM my santathing Santee. I've avoided reading if for years as Gaiman is oft too dark and too weird for me, but this worked very well - immigrants over the centuries brought their gods to the US, and forgot about them, but they linger and feel the need to revive themselves against the competition of the internet and the freeways.

Equations of Life What you get when you multiply a mathematician by a teen-aged warrior nun and a Quantum AI, add the police and divide by three gangs. It's great fun. I came across Morden by chance as an ER author (one of the few who are previously published) and will seek out the rest of his work as this was great.

2libraryperilous
Jan 4, 1:28pm Top

I had an unpleasant experience with Gaiman myself, but American Gods sounds very interesting.

Equations of Life sounds fun!

3Narilka
Jan 4, 5:50pm Top

Happy New Year and happy reading!

4YouKneeK
Jan 4, 6:14pm Top

>1 reading_fox: I’m glad you enjoyed American Gods! I liked that one quite a bit also, but I’ve always fared pretty well with the Gaiman books I’ve read. I tend to give his books 4 stars, so they aren’t exactly my favorites, but I still enjoy them quite a bit.

5clamairy
Jan 4, 6:37pm Top

Happy New Thread, and may all your books be at least 4 stars this year. (Okay, maybe 3.75 stars...)

6Peace2
Jan 4, 7:35pm Top

Happy New Year, may your reading time be filled with many wonderful books!

7Sakerfalcon
Jan 6, 4:58am Top

Happy new year! I hope it is a good one for you in every way.

8reading_fox
Edited: Jan 10, 4:29am Top

Victory Day the conclusions to my friend's Rachel Churcher excellent YA dystopia. Very Brexit relevant! Doesn't go at all where you might think though. I was greatly impressed as I have been by the whole series. Great characters, great imagination, tension, drama and politics. It's wonderful.

Victory Day

(anyone remember how to force a touchstone? It's something like ||24087134 booknumber but I can't get it to work)

One Man One Pan late 1980s caving trip to China, organised by a bunch of lads. In some respects it went off without a hitch and they discovered a lot of new cave - 20km or so. In others they were woefully unprepared (as most of us back then would have been) for just what life was like in the Chinese mountains. They stayed for nearly six months!

ETA to force the touchstone - Thanks Pilgrim!

9-pilgrim-
Jan 9, 12:56pm Top

>8 reading_fox: Forcing a touchstone is booknumber::title-that-you-wish-to-display (all within the square brackets), IIRC.

10Busifer
Jan 12, 7:49am Top

Happy new year!

I didn't dislike American Gods, but I was surprised when it was made into a TV series. But good that you had a good time reading it!

11reading_fox
Jan 18, 11:27am Top

>10 Busifer: it must have been a vast TV series, or severely truncated. I suspect I won't bother finding the time for it.

The letter for the king
Not as good as I'd hoped - a santathing gift that I was looking forward to. But it was a very simple YA without some of the complexity that can make simple fantasy stories enjoyable. I suspect int he 60s when this was written it would have been very different, and unique, but it has been surpassed by more complex tales, and doesn't quite have the connection to make the naive and innocent charm shine through. A boy goes on a Quest to deliver a letter through various obstacles.

Blood and gods an ER book. OK ish, nothing special, grand ideas not backed up by the plot. A boy leads a barbarian troop against the city and a corrupted priest
.

12reading_fox
Jan 23, 3:42pm Top

The sacrifice part of the storybundle Faerie fantasy collection - apparently the start of a long series. Some fairly non-traditional Fey invade an island and meet more than they were expecting when the priests discover the properties of Holy water. The elves don't have any of the other normal weaknesses attributed to the Fey, but this has a much more powerful effect than expected. Long! but works well, even if you're never that sympathetic to the Fey characters.

Shadow Captain part two of Reynolds' more YA space opera. Not very YA! as they land on an increasingly violent world. The characters just about keep it ticking along nicely. I just like everything Reynolds has written and this world-building is on par with everything he's done.

13reading_fox
Jan 23, 3:42pm Top

The sacrifice part of the storybundle Faerie fantasy collection - apparently the start of a long series. Some fairly non-traditional Fey invade an island and meet more than they were expecting when the priests discover the properties of Holy water. The elves don't have any of the other normal weaknesses attributed to the Fey, but this has a much more powerful effect than expected. Long! but works well, even if you're never that sympathetic to the Fey characters.

Shadow Captain part two of Reynolds' more YA space opera. Not very YA! as they land on an increasingly violent world. The characters just about keep it ticking along nicely. I just like everything Reynolds has written and this world-building is on par with everything he's done.

14libraryperilous
Jan 23, 4:33pm Top

I really need to get to the one Reynolds book I have on my shelf. I think I'd like him a lot, but he gets compared him to Peter Hamilton, whom I dislike. Fingers crossed!

15reading_fox
Edited: Jan 23, 5:07pm Top

>14 libraryperilous: - nothing like Hamilton. I mean they are both space opera. But vastly different. Reynolds doesn't have exposition, you learn all about his worlds and universe as the characters show you, rather than being told. It does mean they can be confusing to start with as the characters don't feel the need to explain the everyday realities of your life, but it reads so much better. He also has a smaller character mix, so you can empathise with them more (even the nasty ones) and a wider properly galactic setting. Also as he used to be a physicist all of his technology is possible (oft time unlikely) but not actually wrong. There's no FTL for example. I've only read the first two of Hamilton's Commonwealth and felt that was enough. Reynolds although not short books are distinctly shorter than that.

16Kanarthi
Jan 26, 2:48pm Top

>13 reading_fox: Oooh, so, The Sacrifice sounds interesting. Does it have a satisfying ending or more open-ended? I'm always scared of starting any sprawling series....

17Busifer
Jan 27, 5:10am Top

>11 reading_fox: I wouldn't know about the TV series, I haven't watched it (and probably won't). It's on Amazon Prime Video, and I believe Gaiman was at least somewhat involved in it.

18reading_fox
Jan 27, 10:40am Top

>16 Kanarthi: yes it wraps up well enough. It's not a complete closure, but it ends the current round of conflict. As I say in the full review, a couple of characters we'd been following are left unresolved, hopefully to be picked up in the next books, but ti's not an obvious cliff-hanger. I believe the full series is complete and no more are planned.

19libraryperilous
Jan 29, 4:25pm Top

>15 reading_fox: Thanks, this is very helpful.

20reading_fox
Feb 7, 6:19am Top

Secrets of the Wild Wood more naive fantasy but much better than the first volume. The action is contained to the Wild Wood so it doesn't feel like a contrived Quest, and the opposition has a bit more character cunning and depth. Plus it's playing 3-4 parties against each other so there's more interaction and politics too. Still a little simple for complete enjoyment, but better and fun. I don't believe the author wrote any others though.

The Changeling 2nd of the Fey above. Does pick up nicely and continues the story of the beleaguered Islanders and the hardly better off Fey. Opens with an assassination of the King so a little more bloodthirsty to start with, but the ramifications are well explored. Was very pleased to see that the characters left unresolved before are neatly gathered in, good attention to detail like that is something I really notice and enjoy.

Foxglove Summer re-read to catch up with the series. Feels a little out of time as it's obviously set in AUgust not the current frosts we have. Fun one of the better ones in the series, doesn't take itself too seriously and develops the Lore appropriately. Peter goes on an excursion to the countryside.

21reading_fox
Edited: Feb 21, 5:53pm Top

Long update - I've done a fair bit of travelling UK and a quick business trip abroad (boring and annoying don't do it unless you have to) hence lots of reading and not much reviewing.

Furthest station Hanging tree lies sleeping which catches up on the Peter Grant story until more are released soon. LS feels very final and he could have closed the series there, but I believe that's not the case. All fun, but I think Foxglove is still my favourite.

Primary Fault
Not a bad storybundle urban fantasy, but not really faerie fantasy it was billed. There's an otherworld in Koln, and an intrepid Texan woman brushes against the edges of it as she spends some time with her brother - whom she has to save when he gets arrested for crimes she's sure he didn't commit. Bit of science in there too, but not really quite enough for lablit.

The Rival
Third of the Fey. I think I'll probably stop here, although it doesn't end the series at all. Still fun still balanced on the Isle, but I feel she's inventing new magics on a whim and it doesn't quite sit right with me.

Spinning Silver
Very good indeed. I loved Uprooted at a GD suggestion and this in a similar vein - not quite a Fairy Tale, but based on familiar concepts. Jews in Lithuania(alike) in some early time, famring market communities and the deep wood. Harsh winters being driven in by fey incursions. Three human girls (and their families') lives intertwine through acts of kindness and strength. You can just about see where it's all going ahead of time but it takes some convoluted paths to get there. Very well done.

22libraryperilous
Feb 22, 2:34pm Top

I adored Spinning Silver and was so pleased that I loved it. It sounded like a book I would love, but I was kind of disappointed in Uprooted. So I wasn't sure how it would go, but I devoured Spinning Silver in one evening.

I hope your UK travels at least were fun!

23clamairy
Mar 1, 3:50pm Top

>21 reading_fox: & >22 libraryperilous: Novik's skill has greatly improved, IMHO. Looking forward to whatever she comes up with next. I preferred Uprooted to Spinning Silver, but only slightly. I felt she dragged the second book out just a bit too long, but I loved the magic systems in both of them.

24libraryperilous
Mar 1, 4:31pm Top

>23 clamairy: I think what separated Spinning Silver for me was that the sociocultural aspects felt very timely. Uprooted seemed more a straight fairy tale, but I did like it, overall. I was disappointed by the cringey romances in both books, fwiw. Have you read the Temeraire books? A few people have recommended them to me.

25clamairy
Edited: Mar 1, 5:23pm Top

>24 libraryperilous: I read the first one and did not love it enough to keep going at the time. And then they slipped entirely off my radar. I did not mind the romance in Uprooted but the one in Spinning Silver did not work well for me. I though she was going for a Elizabeth Bennet & Darcy thing, but it didn't quite work for me.

26reading_fox
Mar 3, 4:50pm Top

I've avoided Temeraire as they're supposedly somewhat historical fantasy which I never really care for - either it's history in which case it's constrained by known facts, or it's not, in which case why not invent something more interesting.

la belle sauvage - Pullman's prequel. Fun but I didn't really think the mythic introductions to the plot aided anything, and only added confusion as to why Lyra never encountered them. Her world is rich enough already without adding more. The daemons were only bit parts, and the pointed social commentary that caused such a fuss on the originals was lacking. A readable story but doesn't add anythign to the originals and would have been better off on a separate world.

the falcon throne Karen Miller is back writing grown-up fantasy. She does passionate characters very well, even if you don't always like them as people very well. Interesting world with just a touch of magic in it. Two families of brothers each compete to be ruling duke of their once united kingdom. Women get short shrift.

27reading_fox
Edited: Mar 25, 6:23pm Top

Not much reading done - a long collection of ER short stories Metaphorosis of which the best bit is probably the title. None of them were bad, but few were memorable either. I also had a fair chunk of non-book non-fiction magazines etc to catch up on.

Windmaster's bane was one of the last of the storybundle faerie fantasy offerings, but better than many of the others. I've not come across the author before, he died shortly after completing this series and didn't write much else. It was well crafted Sidhe reaching the Appalachian mountains and a teenager with Second Sight, but no angst.

Bands of Mourning the Adventures of Wax and Wayne, part 3. I needed to have re-read the series more than I have done, as I couldn't remember the antagonist at all. It also links back to Mistborn which I really need to re-read as it was much better. I enjoy these, but they aren't special. Six books into this magic scheme it's going a little stale. Brandon's best for his inventiveness.

Like much of the rest of the world I'm working from home now. I had hopes of this being an enforced vacation, able to get all the DIY and gardening done. But so far I've been stuck at the keyboard pretty much all day. I do take frequent breaks, and have enjoyed a 'commute' in the sunshine to try and keep the exercise going.

28Busifer
Mar 26, 7:01am Top

I find that getting exercise is the hardest part of working from home. Time take the bike out of winter storage, I think.
I'm trying to take long walks, but feels like I'm skipping out on work obligations if I do, even if it's just reading an article or answering emails.

29reading_fox
Mar 27, 7:52am Top

We're (nationally) having a bit of discourse over what's permitted exercise whilst maximizing containment and isolation. Driving to remote spots for a walk seems common, but appears not to be as wise as it first appears. Biking from home (while the weather's good) seems better. I do like being able to schedule the commute to when the sun's shining. Next week may be more hunker down and avoid the rain.

30Busifer
Yesterday, 5:59am Top

I have yet to take out the bike. Sudden storms of sleet and snow, and a harsh drop in temperatures, isn't encouraging...

At least in the cities people are out walking a lot. And when I checked in at our local bike shop and repair place (to see how long the wait would be when I drop my bike off for an annual checkup on the gears) they reported a rise in business, above what's expected from spring.

31reading_fox
Yesterday, 1:51pm Top

A quick storybundle Faerie fantasy One dark Summer night which just got weird/horror rather than faerie. Once they started blowing up the entire town I kind of lost interest.

and then because I'm at home now, so hefting huge tomes isn't such an issue Cyteen

It really is as good as I remembered it. The start is quite slow (as oft with Cherryh). And then you get immersed in the characters and their world. Its very complex, but utterly gripping. Hardly any action at all, until right at the end, but the complexity of the politics, the subtle social maneuvering the relevance to society today is just superb. Really is one of the best books she's written. I would recommend Downbelow and 40k to set the scene a bit, but it is readable as a standalone, none of the characters overlap.

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