The Second Apocalypse

Miscellaneous Chatter => Literature => Topic started by: Wilshire on January 02, 2020, 02:03:26 pm

Title: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 02, 2020, 02:03:26 pm
Another year, another book topic.

I think I'm going to try and finish the series I didn't get to last year, and sprinkle in some new stuff. Maybe even a reread or two if there's time. 30 was pretty easy last year, and since the outlook for this year seems similar, I'll try for 40 to make it a bit of a stretch.

Happy reading.

Some books I'd like to get to this year:

Enchantment of Ravens (christmas)
Labyrinth of Flames by Courtney Schaffer
An Unkindness of Ghosts (been sitting on my shelf for ages)
Black Leopord Red Wolf by Marlon James
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie
Powder Mage by Brian McClellan
Acts of Cain by Matthew Stover
Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone
To Be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers
The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A Wolf (christmas)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (christmas gift, thus required reading)

January (4)
1) Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
2) The Gap into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge by Stephen Donaldson
3) Six Sacred Swords by Andrew Rowe
4) The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

February (6)
1) The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A Wolf
2) Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

March (8 )
1) The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
2) The Lathe of Heave by Ursula K Le Guin

April (9)
1) A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

May (11)
1) Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
2) Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover

Also, a running list of the books I've read in the last few years, organized generally by how much I liked them in relation to all the others on the list:
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 02, 2020, 07:08:19 pm
No commitments on my part but I'll try to be more diligent about recording what I read this year here :).
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 04, 2020, 04:10:05 am
Halfway through Blade of Tyshalle, which I believe sci and Wert told me to follow through on a year ago and more. Stover has some... really unprecedented prose.

I really do wonder what Stover and Bakker disagreed about in terms of writing styles given that they tread some very similarly unsettled ground.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 06, 2020, 02:12:44 pm
Hey that's one I plan to read. Hope its good... Whats this about Bakker/Stover disagreement?

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley (1)

As a standalone, it suffers without the context of the larger series. As a quasi-prequel exploring the origins of a mysterious character who plays a big role in the trilogy, its pretty good. But even "pretty good" is a disappointment by Staveley. I really enjoyed Unhewn Throne, one of my top 10 series of all time, and this doesn't hold up. Its a fun romp, but I can't recommend it to anyone who isn't craving more Annur.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 06, 2020, 04:03:04 pm
Link (https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/6366ko/r_scott_bakker_on_fantasy_philosophy_and_dooooom/dfro5p1/?context=8&depth=9).

That comment seems more in jest but I remember reading something once about Bakker and Stover agreeing about thematic intentions but disagreeing on execution in writing.

Blade of Tyshalle is turning into a great read though. Almost done. Probably burn through the other books soon, what with the fancy digital library, but I'm going to interject some of my other holiday purchases first - I've had a couple books on the go towards the end of the year that I'll list as I finish them but not count as this year's number but I'm really excited to read Pressfield's The Legend of Beggar Vance finally!
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 06, 2020, 05:53:43 pm
Interesting. Well glad that its good. I remember enjoying Heroes Die but didn't feel extremely compelled to finish the rest right away.

I got Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, and Dragon's Legacy by Deborah Wolf for christmas. The former two not by request but I'll probably read those sooner rather than later to be polite. Hopefully they're good.

First though is another Gap Cycle book. Forbidden Knowledge: Gap Into Vision by Stephen R Donaldson. It seems to be following the dark trend of the first book... Might be tough to read the whole series if it is unrelenting.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 06, 2020, 09:13:43 pm
Lol, I did not continue Donaldson after I finished or failed to finish the duology of the first two books. Though, I actually might try again through the digital library. Now that we're talking about it.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 06, 2020, 09:16:11 pm
Well I'm only on book 2 of Gap, which I'll finish but I may stop here. There's only so many pages I care to read about various kinds rape and their myriad impacts. There's gotta be a plot in here somewhere, right? ...
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 07, 2020, 12:03:13 am
Oh, right. Nah, book #2 opens up the narrative world a lot without the difficulty of the opening novel(lla). I just think at the time it was overwhelming coming right off the first piece.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 09, 2020, 02:48:28 pm
Blade of Tyshalle - Matthew Stover (1)

Honestly... this took me for a ride, though I don't think it impacted me quite as much as reading Heroes Die. Stover is an inventive fuck regarding the narrative, I'll give him that. I'm super disappointed to learn about some of his stylistic choices regarding the third and the fourth books in the series - I'm thinking I have a Hyperion/Endymion situation on my hands so I'm going to hold off on rushing into Caine Black Knife. Definitely, as well as per the Hyperion comparison, would recommend that any Bakker fan read at least Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle as a duology.

Also, the first book I've ever read on a fucking phone ;).
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 09, 2020, 03:37:43 pm
Congrats on reading a phone-book ;).
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on January 09, 2020, 04:00:10 pm
On a fucking phone, man! :(

Trending toward Seppuku.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 14, 2020, 01:35:32 pm
The Gap into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge by Stephen Donaldson (2)

Ugh. I want to like this book/series. There's a lot of narrative progression and worldbuilding potential, cool aliens and deep state politics, cyborgs, etc. All the trappings of entertaining scifi... But for fuck's sake does every POV character need to spend the majority of the book being raped repeatedly? If you took out all that in the first two books you'd probably not have enough narrative left to publish a book. There are only 2 POV characters, and both spend the vast majority of the time being treated violently - physically, emotionally, and sexually - both in "present time" of the book and in "the past".

Its exhausting to read, and I'm probably going to abandon it at this point. Its not a bad book if you can get past all the needless assault, the writing is pretty good and there's enough of everything else to make it worth reading. So I'm not going to say its not worth people reading, but I think I'm going to tap out.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 16, 2020, 01:09:36 pm
Six Sacred Swords by Andrew Rowe (3)
Not his best book, but largely because its not a true sequel. It tells the story of one of the side characters, but it felt too inconsequential to be engaging. True to form though, its funny and a fun quick read, but skip-able in the grand scheme of the series.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on January 23, 2020, 02:19:52 pm
The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (4)

Not the biggest fan of the setting, theme, or hook. Modern day fantasy, murder mystery, ivy league secret societies, respectively.
That said, it still was a very well written book that was enjoyable to read. I can understand why it got the attention that it did last year (2019), though I don't think it deserved to be goodreads "best fantasy of the year". The prose is great, and is what makes it worth reading. Bardugo was able to keep me interested in the book despite what I said above, and I think that's pretty impressive.

So if you like the setting/theme/hook above, definitely check this out. Its also set up for a sequel which could go an interesting direction, and I think I liked Ninth House enough to check it out whenever it gets released.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on February 02, 2020, 06:51:23 am
I'll shoot for 30 books this year.  Some things I might get to:

The ninth Expanse book.  I don't like to start a series too long before it is finished.  I read these expecting it out late 2019, but I guess it will be this year some time.

Terry Pratchett, specifically the City Watch arc of Discworld.  I've never read him before.

Bradley P. Beaulieu's Song of the Shattered Sands.  I enjoyed his previous trilogy.  I'll probably start it later in the year, as the sixth and final book is a 2021 release.

Josiah Bancroft's Books of Babel likewise will be wrapping up in 2021, so I imagine I'll get a jump on it in anticipation.

Peter Watts's Blindsight and Echopraxia.

Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower.  The Ancillary books were good, Provenance less so.  We'll see how she does with fantasy.

I'm toying with trying out the graphic novel Saga by Brian K. Vaughan.  If it wasn't a comic book, I'd be more certain.

I expect some rereads of K. J. Parker, maybe dip into Gormenghast if the mood strikes.  And of course, I'll continue slow rereads of TSA in between all else.

January (3):
The Light of All that Falls by James Islington.  Pretty good debut trilogy.  Ended nicely wrapping things up.  I'll read the next thing he writes.
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley.  I expected better, despite not liking her God's War books.  I read a couple chapters of the next in the trilogy, but decided there were better things to read like:
The Warrior Prophet.  Excellent of course.  Fun to reread since knowing what comes after.

February (3):
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Blindsight by Peter Watts
Prosper's Demon by K. J. Parker

March (3)
Echopraxia by Peter Watts
My Beautiful Life by K. J. Parker
Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

April (3)
Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

May (2)
The Masters by Ricardo Pinto
John Dies at the End by David Wong
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on February 03, 2020, 02:58:31 pm
I read my first Prachett book last year, decided to go with the first published (Colour of Magic). He's a pretty entertaining writer. Definitely something to pick up if you're looking for something fun and jaunty.

Blindsight I loved, and I suspect any fan of Bakker would be a fan of Peter Watts. Echopraxia, the quasi-sequel, was disappointing to me though.

I read the first two Books of Babel, enjoyed the first, found the second lacking and decided to not read the third. There seems to be a significant shit if style and focus from book 1 to book 2, and I didn't appreciate it. Still worth the read though to see for yourself - its well written and unique.

How's the Expanse series? I read the first book and am not a huge fan of the whodunit mystery solving style, but the universe seems interesting. I think I might pick it up again this year if time allows.

The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A Wolf (5)
Eh. Its OK. At times great, at times boring. Fairly typical fantasy setup, with atypical cultures smashed together. Something like tribal africa, scottish highlands, and eastern china, thrown together in adjacent kingdoms. This setup was jarring initially but doesn't actually detract from the story and I got over it. My biggest issue was that most of the POVs I found uninteresting, and the ones I preferred had the least amount of screen time. Probably wont pick up the sequel(s), but  I might.

Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on February 04, 2020, 01:39:44 pm
The Expanse is worthwhile.  After the first book, they aren't too much in the whodunit genre.  Things escalate and the scope gets significantly bigger.  The books aren't in the realms of timeless classic sci-fi, but they are enjoyable.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on February 08, 2020, 09:53:48 pm
Finished Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.  Enjoyable, certainly, but as I told my wife, I prefer my fantasy to be more grave.  It's a good change of pace, and I'll certainly read more.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on February 10, 2020, 01:48:48 pm
Finished Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.  Enjoyable, certainly, but as I told my wife, I prefer my fantasy to be more grave.  It's a good change of pace, and I'll certainly read more.
I imagine all Pratchett's books are like that. Well written, he does interesting things with punctuation and shapes of words to create sounds in the reader's mind, which I find very impressive... But normally the tone is not something I'm looking for.

There's a couple authors that I think do "grave" fantasy in a unique way:

Robin Hobb. She strikes a nice balance between grave and light. The Farseer trilogy has an extremely melancholy vibe without striving into depressing territory. Also probably one of the best writers in fantasy imo, worth checking out if you haven't yet.

Also, Poppy War by RF Kuang. Dark and violent, but what's interesting is she strays into territories usually skipped over. Violence of war, sure, but she also deals with depression, emotional/relationship abuse, and bigotry/racism. These things lend a visceral and "real" quality to the books that can be lost when books try to be too dark/violent just for the sake of being edgy.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on February 13, 2020, 05:01:17 pm
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (6)

Great book, really liked Kay's writing. The premise was great and the plot was fun to follow to its resolution. Major downside is that there are functionally only 3 women in the story and their entire purpose was to be sexy and sleep with a variety of men... So look elsewhere for strong female roles, however it is otherwise worth reading.

Next up, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Been some time since I've read a book with dragons (dragon's legacy early this year doesnt count because there aren't actually any dragons), and the book have gotten a lot of hype in the last year or two.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on February 17, 2020, 04:21:25 pm
I enjoyed Hobb.  I read the Farseer trilogy in the mid 90s.  In 2018, I decided I read too many male authors, so spent the dedicated the whole year to female authors.  A decent portion of the was Hobb's entire Realm of the Elderlings.  The way she ties together the disparate stories over decades of plot is impressive.

Poppy War is on my list, I think it's one I need to wait until the trilogy or whatever is closer to done.  Oh crap, just looked it up, and book three is due in May (according to Amazon)?  Guess I'll short-list it.

Just finished Blindsight.  It was pretty good, but seemed to be lacking something...  It was suitably creepy.  The vampire thing was a little jarring at first, but was well-done (including the video presentation).  I don't know if I just expected the blindsight condition to figure more in the story or what.  It was still enjoyable, and I'll pick up Echopraxia at some point.

Next up, I realized K. J. Parker snuck a couple novellas through my radar in the past few months.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on February 17, 2020, 04:32:17 pm
Ah, too bad you've read most of my suggestions, but hope you enjoy Poppy War. I'll see if I can't think of others.
FWIW, I'm really not a fan of Lawrence's Broken Empire. Maybe Joe Abercrombie's First Law.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on February 18, 2020, 02:47:57 pm
Prosper's Demon by K. J. Parker

Parker continues to be a master of the short form.  His longer work can occasionally get tedious, but I don't mind a couple pages for a crash course in bronze-casting in a tight story.  Wry humour, quotable lines, the inevitable twist.  Classic Parker.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on March 04, 2020, 02:57:45 pm
The Prior of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I was underwhelmed by this. It turns out to be a rather generic fantasy plot - big bad evil awakens, needs stopped by the heroes. The major standout feature of the book is that... There's a matriarchy instead of a patriarchy, and some of the women are lesbians (or bi, its unclear).

There's a Monk, a Queen, a dragon rider, and some bumbling soldiers as supporting roles, who spoiler alert - slay the big bad evil and live happily ever after. The writing itself ("the prose") is fine, if a bit bland for my taste. The dragons are lame - which one has to work pretty hard to make dragons lame imo, but being defeated by some chloroform is just... lame. The standard arrow-through-the-damaged-scale bit is also rather tired.

Can't say I recommend it.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on March 05, 2020, 02:44:31 pm
Echopraxia by Peter Watts

I was kind of let down by this one.  Maybe I didn't understand a lot of it (likely), but its plot seemed a lot less focused than in Blindsight.  I do enjoy all the different takes on cognition and the various paths of post-humanity.  The inclusion of faith and God (or the idea of God) in hard sci-fi was pretty well done, too.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on March 05, 2020, 03:02:43 pm
Echopraxia by Peter Watts

I was kind of let down by this one.  Maybe I didn't understand a lot of it (likely), but its plot seemed a lot less focused than in Blindsight.  I do enjoy all the different takes on cognition and the various paths of post-humanity.  The inclusion of faith and God (or the idea of God) in hard sci-fi was pretty well done, too.

Yeah this was pretty much my take as well. Blindsight was so good in a lot of ways, and Echopraxia just wasn't. The narrative/plot just didn't work out very well, and it felt more like an exposition/extrapolation of research rather than a cohesive story.

I did love the conversation, and the expansion on it in the glossary, of porche the spider, along with many other topics.

Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on March 06, 2020, 04:21:52 pm
My Beautiful Life by K. J. Parker

This one was middling as far as other Parker novellas go, but still very good.  The intro claims it is basically the story of an actual historical 11th century figure.  I did some deep diving in to wikipedia and found the guy (Michael IV the Paphlagonian, ftw).  Parker merged some co-regents and eliminated some family members for cohesion, added some narrative embellishments, but this is the closest I'll get to reading actual history.

(Quick aside to Echopraxia, I probably enjoyed reading the notes at the end more than the actual story)
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on March 09, 2020, 07:45:20 pm
The Lathe of Heave by Ursula K Le Guin 8

Pretty fun. Le Guin is just a great writer of classic scifi. This one is about the is-ought gap, and is a bit more temporal than some of her other novels because of the at subject.  Its a great book, would recommend to someone looking for a quick, tight scifi story that leaves you thinking.

(Quick aside to Echopraxia, I probably enjoyed reading the notes at the end more than the actual story)
I think I agree with this, at least for the most part.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on March 11, 2020, 04:48:47 pm
Boom!

Surprise, Kill, Vanish - Annie Jacobsen (2)

Finally, I can report actually finishing a second book :).

I like reading about history fairly indiscriminately so I liked it. Mildly biased but no more than a few moments that were really off-putting. I'm told Jacobsen is a journalist before a historian but the research and writing training really should trend toward similarly unbiased either way.

I'm just glad I'm through it so I can move on to finishing other previously started books (this year*, as I won't count finishing ones I started before the New Year) - this one was really getting in the way given the attentional constraints around here.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on March 19, 2020, 01:08:31 pm
The Legend of Bagger Vance - Steven Pressfield (3)

Very impressed by it but I think that's mostly because I was once hit and miss with perennial philosophy and I've resumed being an avid and terrible golfer in the past half decade. I've been convinced in the past two years that everyone needs to find and read at least a handful of Pressfield's books in their lifetimes though, even if I don't necessarily agree with his underlying esoterics.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: BeardFisher-King on March 20, 2020, 04:52:16 pm
Smoke, by Dan Vyleta

Very enjoyable. The setting is an alternate Victorian England, with some strange metaphysics involving the physical manifestation of good and evil. Recommended.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on April 07, 2020, 12:27:55 am
Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett

I liked it much better than Guards! Guards!  The clown funeral actually gave me an audible chuckle.  Pratchett seems too be too coy at times with the movements of minor characters.  Having a section where a character is doing something important but not introducing the reader to that character until much later kind of jars me out of the flow.  It would probably work well if i was reading the book over the course of a couple days instead of a couple weeks, but so it is.

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson

Ugh.  What a tedious book.  I actually attempted to read it long ago (19 years actually, made it to chapter 3 according to the bookmark).  I persevered this time.  Am I getting old because i found the most interesting part to be the beginning before Covenant goes to The Land?  Once there, it's just a tiresome succession of boring events mainly showcasing what a jerk the main character is.  I don't mind unlikable characters, and I suppose this was revolutionary 40 years ago, but I really had to force myself through this.  I did not care at all what happened.  Maybe I just don't get what Donaldson is trying to convey through it all.  There was one interchange between Covenant and the Giant I really liked, the rest was forgettable.  Maybe I'll add the quote to the Quotes thread.

Update: Ah, I knew it was familiar from somewhere when I read it.  It was actually already posted here:http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=768.msg17388#msg17388 (http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=768.msg17388#msg17388)
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on April 07, 2020, 12:28:06 pm
I think i can quote myself in this instance, from 2018 when I read Lord Foul's Bane. It is, I have to say, one of the worst fantasy books I've ever read.

To me, what Donaldson appears to have done is taken wholesale some (now) worn out Tolkien tropes. He doesn't so much re-purpose them as recycle. From the Ring, to the names, quasi sentient horses... the entire thing reads like all the fantasy I've read from that era - unimaginative derivations of Tolkien.

You can follow the link to the rest of the discussion. BFK does quite like it, and I tried to figure out why... But I don't recall ever coming to an understanding.

I really liked Donaldson's Gap Into Conflict, but read the second book and it seemed to somehow be following the same path as Lord Foul's Bane. He's just not the author for me.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (9)

This was a pretty fun book. The magic was interesting and used well, the characters a bit tropy but still entertaining. It definitely felt like it was setting itself up for some sequels, and I'll probably check them out. Worth the read if you're looking for some quick and fun English/London Magic type books with a darker shade to it.

Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: BeardFisher-King on April 07, 2020, 03:14:50 pm
I think i can quote myself in this instance, from 2018 when I read Lord Foul's Bane. It is, I have to say, one of the worst fantasy books I've ever read.

To me, what Donaldson appears to have done is taken wholesale some (now) worn out Tolkien tropes. He doesn't so much re-purpose them as recycle. From the Ring, to the names, quasi sentient horses... the entire thing reads like all the fantasy I've read from that era - unimaginative derivations of Tolkien.

You can follow the link to the rest of the discussion. BFK does quite like it, and I tried to figure out why... But I don't recall ever coming to an understanding.

I really liked Donaldson's Gap Into Conflict, but read the second book and it seemed to somehow be following the same path as Lord Foul's Bane. He's just not the author for me.

I remember trying to persuade Wilshire to give the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant another chance. He essentially responded, "Too many books, not enough time." The link presents my case for Donaldson, so no need to repeat it. Hey, at least Wilshire thought Donaldson was better than Brooks! And I seem to have persuaded MSJ to give Donaldson a try.

The quote that The P mentions by itself lifts "Lord Foul's Bane" into the precincts of literature.

ADD: This goes back two years! Tempus fugit ...
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on April 14, 2020, 01:57:06 pm
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

This was a good one.  Ann Leckie dips into fantasy and continues to play with unusual narrative framing, in this case the story told in second person to one of the characters.  It was immersive and worked out well.  She also plays around with gender, but again manages to do it without being preachy or agenda-driven (I mention this mostly because I recently read Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire).  With Leckie's books, it is just part of the character/world/story, whereas Hurley seems to constantly be shouting, "Look how woke I am!"

In any case, I certainly recommend this and any other Leckie (with less emphasis on Provenance).  I hope she writes more fantasy in the future.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on April 14, 2020, 02:13:11 pm
I like Leckie. Well, kind of lol. I read Ancillary Justice and thought it was pretty good. Ideas were interesting, the prose was pretty unique, and the execution of al it fit nicely together. Shes an interesting author, but not someone I can read a lot of. I think Raven Tower will make it onto my list though - it should be interesting to see what she does with a fantasy setting.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: H on April 22, 2020, 02:54:07 pm
I don't even have a realistic target for the year.  But I did finish The Last and First Men yesterday.  It was a pretty interesting book.  Honestly, it was a bit long, in the sense of drawn-out, but it is interesting especially in the beginning, to see how someone writing in 1930 saw humans progressing historically in the future.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on May 12, 2020, 01:57:44 pm
I finished The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco a couple weeks ago.  It is a decent book.  The setting and world are pretty unique.  The chapters are framed by some guy seeking out the bone witch, with the bulk of the story consisting of her telling him about her past.  I was pretty interested by the "present" story, as it seemed the bone witch was gearing up to do some crazy cool stuff.  But that part of the story was only a few paragraphs every chapter.  Her training was a lot of dresses and jewelry and dancing and a little witchery; very "geisha-ey."  The writing was fine, and the world was unique, but I just wanted to get through to the interesting things happening in the "present."

The last couple weeks, I've been reading the sequel The Heart Forger.  It's more of the same.  More interesting things are happening in the "present."  The related "past" bulk of the story is more interesting, too, but I reached a point (about halfway) where I realized I didn't care much at all about most of the story.  I doubt I'll finish it.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on May 12, 2020, 08:23:38 pm
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (10)

Much humor, a standard fantasy book in the theme of "old guys get the band back together and save the world". It doesn't stray very far from well worn fantasy tropes, but the writing is good and the humor is spot on - I found myself actually laughing out loud from time to time. The world is well imagined, with some classic heroes and monsters as well as some well-imagined new comers.

I'll probably skip the sequel(s), but I wouldn't turn them down if I happened upon one by chance.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Wilshire on May 26, 2020, 12:29:48 pm
Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover (11)

This was a really good book. A bit strange right now to be reading a book set (partially) in Earth future where a pandemic directed the course of human history. Stover explores a lot of the same themes as Bakker throughout his books, and does a good job all around. The two worlds he has built (Future Earth and Overworld) are both well imagined. The intertwined histories are explored more in this sequel, and the woldbuilding for both is interesting. His writing is compelling, though I think  at this point in my reading career a lot of the "horror" elements kind of just pass by. Theres only so many times you can read descriptions of rotting corpses and dying men before they all kind of run together. The writing seemed to improve between the books, not that the first one was bad, so I'm definitely going to keep Stover near the top of my list. I'm looking forward to continuing this series and his other books, and highly recommend him to anyone looking for a good fantasy to read.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: Madness on May 26, 2020, 12:58:49 pm
You've come a long way since Salvatore ;).

Glad you read it, though I've tried to start the third book a number of times now and I'm feeling a Hyperion/Endymion split, as far as my appreciation goes.
Title: Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
Post by: The P on May 27, 2020, 06:59:59 pm
The Masters by Ricardo Pinto

This is a reworking and tightening of the trilogy Stone Dance of the Chameleon, which I hadn't heard about until recently.  The setting is pretty unique, kind of a Mayan stone-age vibe.  The society is pretty brutal, with the ruling elite treating all the other races/people as no better than animals.  I am very interested to learn more about the world, specifically what makes the elite the way they are.  Hopefully it goes in a more supernatural/mysterious vein.  Going forward, I expect there to be a strong theme/plot of the "lesser" races rising up against the oppressive ruling class.  I hope there is more to it than that.  There are certainly hints of some supernatural oddities, though it remains light on the magic and mysticism so far.  More to come; the first three are out, and the remaining four are scheduled to come out over the course of the rest of the year.