Wandered into the bookstore yesterday while in town, came home with The Black Count by Tom Reiss, Kraken by China Miéville, The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin, The Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan and Dial H by China Miéville and Mateus Santolouco. I’ve recently finished some books which are on my tablet, as well: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin, The Princess Novels, The Stepsister Scheme, The Mermaid’s Madness, Red Hood’s Revenge and The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C. Hines, Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines and Redshirts by John Scalzi.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin was a wonderful, fast paced read. The world building was very good (something which I’ve begun to give up on with a variety of authors), the characters engaging on both the positive and negative sides, and the prose beautiful and deeply descriptive. It was with a laugh of delight that I read the protagonist’s self description on page 12 of the book: “I have Amn eyes: faded green in color, more unnerving than pretty. Otherwise, I am short and flat and brown as forestwood, and my hair is a curled mess. Because I find it unmanageable otherwise, I wear it short.” It’s amazing just how nice it is to have a female protagonist who is not tall, leggy, lithe, amazingly beautiful and pretty much perfection personified. The gods in the book were very interesting, and there was a good undercurrent of just how evil people can be when they are simply jaded and walking around with way too much privilege.
I greatly enjoyed Jim C. Hines Princess novels. Again, the world building was very good, with a fair amount of small details which added to the richness of the narrative. Out of the four books, Red Hood’s Revenge and The Snow Queen’s Shadow were my favourites. The Snow Queen’s Shadow was terribly poignant. The only problem I had with this series was one undercurrent of trying too hard, and that had to do with sweat. Yes, sweat. Of course women sweat, that’s hardly news of any kind. However, the way these women are described throughout the four books, it would be something of a miracle that they were ever in a state of dryness. I kept getting this nagging thought in the back of my mind that this was the primary way of describing these women to be, in every way, the equivalent of men. I’m probably wrong about that, but it bugged me.
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines was sheer, undiluted fun. It was a thrill to find that Smudge the fire spider* has found a home in this new series. A fast paced, action filled book about books. And magic. And there’s a dryad. There is also a subtext exploring character development in books, which is both fun and thought provoking. Best of all, there’s the development of a non-traditional relationship which will be continued in the next book, out this August. Yay!
Redshirts by John Scalzi was a fun, fast read. It was vaguely unsatisfying in the end, though, mostly because the characters felt restricted and the world building was on the fuzzy side, given the premise of the book.
*Given all the animals running about in the Caine zoo, otherwise known as her house, a couple of fire spiders would be a must, along with the monster dogs, cats and rats.