laceblade: Toby, Josh, and Donna of The West Wing, talking intensely (WW: 20 Hours in America)
I swear to God I've written this post twice before, but I keep drafting it in email and then somehow losing it. It's pretty upsetting. It's been a while since I've read some of these, so this might be short. I'm skipping most of hte comics I've read lately.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - I actually read this months ago and keep forgetting it due to a fluke in it not showing up in chronological order in my Goodreads list.
I like Nemisin's ideas and her politics. Unfortunately, I can't stand her prose.

/some more X-Men comics/

Half-Off Ragnarok and Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire - As suspected when I read the books narrated by Verity, I enjoy the books narrated by her brother much more. (And I'm anticipating Antimony's books EVEN MORE. WANT. SO BADLY. Also maybe Elspeth's :D) Sadly I really disliked Pocket Apocalypse/the one that took place in Australia. So many cliches, SO MUCH EXPOSITION, people just explaining things to each other in big swaths of dialog. Also unnecessary sentences ending chapters in ways that were just...too dramatic. Did her editor fall asleep? idk? It was disappointing, but I'll be coming back for more.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott - her first YA novel! This is like Little Women set in Egypt but also The Hunger Games. BUT SO MUCH BETTER THAN HUNGER GAMES. So well-written, imagery that was genuinely creepy, so much agency, THE TWISTS, UGGGHHHH I'm ready for the next two in the trilogy and in the meantime I'm giving this to my youngest niece for Christmas.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda - I picked this up because the editor attends my comics club. The first issue is almost 70 pages long. IT'S SO GOOD. The story and the imagery both. The only thing I can compare it to is Ashley Cope's webcomic Unsounded. Really looking forward to more of this in the new year.

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett - Full disclosure that I received an advance copy of this book through a Goodreads give-away.

City of Stairs was my favorite sf/f book last year, and this follow-up did not disappoint at all. I love Bennett's writing. The dialogue feels real, which is so uncommon in most fantasy.
I was worried about Mulaghesh as the POV character only because I loved Shara from the first book SO MUCH. That said, once we got going, it was very clear that this had to be Mulaghesh's story.

Both this book and its predecessor address what happens to the economies and political structures of societies when gods die and disappear, as well as the psyches of individual people.

Like City of Stairs, I plan to keep, reread, and recommend this book.

Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope - Sometimes the art was cool, but overall this was kind of terrible? idk? I'd found it in a list of recommended US superhero comics. I wouldn't have put it there myself, :p

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold - Yeah, I'm the last person on earth to read these books. HOLY SHIT THIS WAS GR9. Already reading Barrayar, which is in the same omnibus edition that I have. Cordelia 4 life.

Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov - Kasparov is a former chess champion from the USSR who now lives in New York and is a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin. There's a lot of review of the last 25 years or so of history in this book, which I found extremely valuable. The dissolution of the Soviet Union happened too recently to have been covered in any great detail while I was in K-12 school, and despite one of my majors being Political Science, we never studied it there either.
Kasparov has been warning about Putin for over a decade, before he started invading sovereign nations & assassinating his political enemies. Kasparov is frank in covering the failures of recent presidents, covering all of them since Reagan. His thesis is that morality must have a place in global affairs, and that in recent years it hasn't because it's easier to just say, "The Russians need to take care of their own Russian problem." He paints the Cold War as good vs. evil, which in the past would have struck me as a simplistic reduction, but he explains how governments resisting democracy are trying to control the press/other people's voices in order to continue holding their power. Anyway. He tips towards a level of American exceptionalism that makes me uncomfortable, but it's a good, if unsettling, read.
I'm still horrified by the lack of protest over the MH17 flight being shot down by the Russians over Ukraine. What is it going to take?
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Avengers Assemble, vol. 1 - I believe this was intended to be a jumping off point from the "Avengers" Whedon movie.

While it's a crossover event with Guardians of the Galaxy, I was able to follow the plot decently well despite being unfamiliar with the GoG.

This book is high on action but low on characterization, making me feel kind of "meh" about it. Clint Barton constantly cracking jokes about his own stupidity, Hulk did nothing for me, etc.

I don't regret having read it, but I'm glad I got this from the library & didn't buy it. The art didn't do much for me, either. I have higher hopes for DeConnick's run, which I believe follows this one.


Anne of Green Gables - I know I read this at some point in my childhood, but it was never a favorite series for me, even though my sister had them on the shelves.
It was my sister's copy that I borrowed; I picked it up while sitting in her living room during some family function.

I loved it, all of it. Anne herself is a critique on the silliness of Victorian society, & she also grows up into an understanding and gracious woman.

I'm really excited to read the next books in the series - I can't remember ever having read them, & I'm eager to see what Anne & Marilla do next.


The Kingdom of Gods - I'm having a hard time figuring out why I disliked this book so much, especially considering that I enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy quite a bit.

The dialogue, the endless exposition, all of it - I got two-thirds of the way through & just cannot stand it, cannot finish it. I think it's the pacing that's throwing me off, or perhaps Sieh's voice, I'm not sure.


Saga #21 - I miss Lying Cat.
laceblade: Sokka verbally comforting Toph on cliff-edge, sunset in background (ATLA: Sokka & Toph)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 & 4 - Wow, a crossover event that I didn't hate! This may be a first 0:)
People are fighting HYDRA - does this make Ultimates part of the same universe as CA:TWS?
Didn't care for the death at the end of the fourth volume, although I understand they're trying to mirror Peter Parker's story. I DO really like Mary Jane & Gwen Stacey. Maybe I need to see the Spider-Man movies with Emma Stone in them.
Anyway, I love Miles and I wish the wait at the library for volume 5 weren't so long.

The Broken Kingdoms - I feel less critical about this than other reviews I've read. While it's the second in a trilogy, there's a new protagonist with a completely different perspective on events, societal structure, and characters in the first book.

The Golem and the Jinni - I think this might be my favorite book of the year so far. Beautiful writing, lovely characters, interesting insights into Christian Syrian & Jewish immigrants living in New York City, in 1899.

One Piece, vols. 4-6 - What a ridiculous series! Even the omake pages are absurd and heinous. I love Nami.
Boring shounen fights are more tolerable in the omnibus format.

The Killing Moon - While many of the elements of this book sound like my catnip (ninja priests, political intrigue, people's closely-held truths turning out to be manipulative lies), but I just did not dig this book at all.
The last third improved due to action. Even the writing bugged me. Maybe I prefer Jemisin when she writes in the first person?
At any rate, there's enough here to make me willing to try the sequel, because I know it's from a different perspective.
laceblade: A curved dirt road in the middle of a forest (Up North)
Heidi - As a child, I imprinted on the movie version of Heidi, which had Jason Robards & cast Jane Seymour as Fraulein Rottenmeier. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I devoutly watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, every week (yeah, I know).
Heidi is a book about miserable people whose mental & physical woes are cured by the fresh air & impressive views of the Alps. Or possibly, faith in God.
There's a weird trick with this one. Despite the fact that I really don't believe in, "God has a plan, so everything will work out, you just need to trust him" & also tend to abhor the "person is paralyzed and then magically cured!!", it works for me in this book because the "cure" works first for people who are sad & visit the mountain. They eat good food, they get stronger by being outside. And after Heidi comes back from Frankfurt & becomes a little more "learned," people become less crabby/fearful both because they reconcile their relationships with God & also because they meet one another through Heidi, & are able to help solve one another's problems.
Peter's grandmother can never sleep at night because their house is rattling, & she's afraid it'll cave in. Heidi's irritable grandfather comes & patches it all up before the winter, & so Grandmother is able to sleep & grow a little stronger.
Also, Heidi's able to pull strings with her rich friends in Frankfurt to supply the Grandmother with soft bread she can eat (rather than the cheaper brown bread she can't really handle), & also transport the bed she herself slept on in Germany so that the Grandmother's head can be elevated at night.
It all works out, like some kind of feminist utopia. The book was written in 1880, so ymmv. I really liked it.

ATLA FCBD offering - I was so excited to read this because Faith Erin Hicks did the art!! GO FAITH!!! An excellent story for Free Comic Book Day, & we got to see Suki be a badass.

Journey Into Mystery featuring Lady Sif, volume 1: Stronger Than Monsters - borrowed from [personal profile] garrideb through our comics club. Sif is kind of like a lady-version of Thor. No prior knowledge of Asgard/Thor stuff is needed, which is good, because I've never seen his movies & am only aware of him as he appears in the Avengers movie. This was pretty decent! I put volume 2 on hold at the library, although I think the story was canceled after just two volumes.
It'll be interesting the next time I reread my beloved Runaways, as I've now read other stuff by most of the authors!

Sea Change - Continuing in my quest to read books from the 2013 Tiptree Award Shortlist. I'm going to be lazy & crib the Tiptree Award's description:
This debut novel tells a dark, fairy tale-like story of a young girl and her best friend, Octavius, who is an eloquent, intelligent kraken. When Octavius is captured, Lilly sets out to rescue him, bargaining with a greedy circus master, a witch, and a pair of gay bandits. She is transformed by her quest, giving up everything she has known, including her gender, to save her friend.
And it does pretty much that! An okay read, but this writing style didn't really grab me.

Angel & Faith, s10 #2 - Still okay-ish?! I'm feeling Faith's plot more than Angel's at the moment. I hope they team up again.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - This was a reread, although I didn't remember much of my first read except that I liked it, lol. AND I STILL LIKE IT. The gods, Yeine, political intrigue up the wazoo, this is just great. I know some people have griped about the writing, in how the narrator is flashing forward and back sometimes, but it really works for me as an honest first-person perspective, and that's how I feel when I'm reading it - not at all like I'm uncomfortable in the hands of an inexperienced writer.
I reread it so that I can read the rest of the trilogy. N.K. Jemisin is one of the Guests of Honor at this year's WisCon, which is why I'm try to hustle through some of her books before Memorial Day weekend. I'm really looking forward to the next one, especially because it gets away from the uber-privileged people of the first book. I'm eager to see what this world looks like from someone else's perspective.
I was stopped by two strangers - one on the bus & one on the street - who told me how much they love this book.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I'm generally bad at book synopses to begin with (which is why I don't often blog what I'm reading), but I'll do an especially poor job in this post because it's really difficult to write about this book without giving things away.

This is the book that [livejournal.com profile] nojojojo referred to in a post you might remember from RaceFail, We Worry About It, Too.

After the death of her mother, Yeine Darr heads south from her homeland to the city Sky, where she is sucked into a world filled with paranoia and political scheming. She wants to find out how her mother died, but she soon has enough problems trying to stay alive. Yeine is a competent and bad-ass heroine, and I never tired of her throughout the book.

I tend to prefer science fiction to fantasy; I get really tired of keeping track of the names of people and gods and races and lands and etc. And I struggled a little bit with this book at first due to this tendency of mine, but the fantastic prose hooked me and kept me going, and so did the suspense. It seemed that with every page, Yeine learned more about her own past, that of the people surrounding her, and that about the history of her world and the gods who made it. I highly recommend this book.

The premise of the sequel (book two in a trilogy) sounds interesting to me, but it will be written in the first person from the perspective of another character. I'm a little nervous that it will be difficult for Jemisin to pull off a separate character's voice while maintaining the first-person perspective. However, her writing was so masterful in this first book that I will happily give her the benefit of the doubt.

Also, the cover is gorgeous.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms will be released on February 25, 2010. Look forward to it!

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
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