Calendar Girl (kirilaw) wrote,
Calendar Girl

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Books 2013!

If I do nothing else, it seems I will continue to blog my reading for another year. Here we go!

1. The Door Into Shadow (Diane Duane)
It's a strange experience, rereading something I read as a kid.  I didn''t remember any of the details of this story -- and I couldn't tell you what happens in the third book -- but it all felt oddly familiar. Anyway, there's a complexity to this book that I'm quite sure I missed when I was younger, and I rather like the dragons. But I'm not sure about the forgive-your-childhood-molestor-because-he's-hurting thing -- that might be too idealistic for me. Still, the dragons! ****

2. Murder of Angels (Caitlín R. Kiernan)
I think it's fair to say that this book is unlike any other fantasy I've ever read. Addiction and mental illness mean the Fantasy Chosen One has to navigate a world where it's even more impossible than is typical in fantasy to distinguish the real from the imagined. Deeply unsettling, but interesting and unique and worth reading, even if it did leave me feeling somewhat perturbed. ****

3. An Artificial Night (Seanan McGuire)
I've seen other review of this book that noted it has much more of a fantasy quest feeling to it and that it's less of a traditional urban fantasy than some of the other books in the series. And that's true; Toby is not so much solving a crime/mystery as she is undertaking a quest. It works well, though. ****

4. It (Stephen King)
Considering how enormous it is, this is a surprisingly quick read. I suppose that's part of what makes King a bestseller -- his ability to catch the reader up in a story. There are plenty of nits I could pick with this story, with the plot and some of the way things unfold, but overall it's a pretty darn good read. ****

5. Bring up the Bodies (Hilary Mantel)
Like Wolf Hall, this book has a very distinct style that would probably be off-putting if it weren't so effective at sucking me in. It's a tight third-person -- we're very much in Cromwell's head -- but there's something about the writing that contrives to be distancing at the same time. It's an odd effect, but one I stopped noticing after a while, since I was absorbed in the story. And there certainly is plenty of story -- more so than in Wolf Hall. This is a much more dynamic book, and of course it ends with executions (it's not a spoiler if it's history!), so the stakes feel higher.  ****

6. A Slight Trick of the Mind (Mitch Cullen)
This is an example of a book that's better in theory than it actually works out to be in practice. It's about an elderly Sherlock Holmes, coping with memory loss and (possibly) dementia. It involves a trip to post-WWII Japan and memories of a long-ago case. And despite that promising setup, it just doesn't hold together for me. The protagonist doesn't read like a Sherlock Holmes to me -- not even a failing Holmes whose previous exploits had been embellished a bit by Watson-as-storyteller. The various pseudo-father-son relationships didn't read credibly, either (also, I am bored of father-son relationship stand-ins). And the "old case" didn't work for me emotionally, and is only notable for teaching me that the armonica was a real instrument. *

7. Late Eclipses (Seanan McGuire)
This one is depressing. Poor everybody! There are basically no happy endings for anyone in this book, and it's just chock full of horrible things. Still a good read, don't get me wrong, but a bit of a downer. ****

8. Busman's Honeymoon (Dorothy L. Sayers)
This is more than a detective novel; in fact, it's not much of a detective novel at all. Sure, there's a mystery. And suspects, and red herrings. But mostly, it's about Peter and Harriet and their relationship -- how they settle in to being a married couple. The mystery is really more of a catalyst for the emotional story than it is the story itself. There are some downright funny bits at the beginning -- I was giggling quite cheerfully throughout the whole setting-up-housekeeping bit -- but it gradually takes a wholly serious turn. And it does so completely gracefully and naturally. *****

9. One Salt Sea (Seanan McGuire)
So Toby's been powered up, so naturally the next thing she has to do is basically international diplomacy, averting a war between sea and land by rescuing some kidnapped kids. It goes about as well as you'd expect. I'm conflicted about this one; there's one thing in particular that seems to happen mostly to make Toby brooding and angsty, and there's more long-game setup than I'm used to. But then there's the riding a mermaid queen in a wheelchair down a hill and jumping into the ocean, which is wonderfully absurd. ***

10. Ashes of Honor (Seanan McGuire)
There are parts of this book that made me almost yell "finally!". And it also re-introduced some characters we haven't seen much of for a while, which is nice. It's also got quite a lot of setup for what I suspect is the story's long game, and things aren't really completely resolved, even on a superficial level, for what may be the first time. Also, I'm pretty sure I've figured out who Quentin's parents are -- Seanan has been dropping hints for a while, and it finally clicked for me. ***

So, what about you? Read anything good lately?

Tags: books

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