with 'fantasy' tag

thud! by terry pratchett was a disappointment, as far as discworld books go. the pacing is pretty stiff, and the satire just isn’t all that biting.

a feast for crows by george r. r. martin was a bit of a slog. i think i’m starting to like this series more in theory than execution. part of the problem is that this is really half a book (even if it is over 750 pages). the next book in the series will be set at the same time as this one, and fill in the blanks for all of the characters not in this book. yikes!

hence the weeping

i decided to see the chronicles of narnia: the lion, the witch and the wardrobe because the books are the first substantial series i remember reading (or actually, having read to me, in part, if i remember correctly). the movie was pretty good — the effects were just a notch below the lord of the rings trilogy, the acting was good to great (particularly the girl who played lucy), and even if the world is a bizarre mash-up of mythology and animals, it comes together well.

i suppose you can’t avoid talking about the christian subtext of the plot, but frankly it sailed right over my head. if anything, i think the “magic loophole” that brings aslan back to life comes off as trite.

wyrd sisters by terry pratchett is the discworld riff on shakespeare, and is also very funny. an astute observation: “ninety per cent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.”

the family trade by charles stross is book one of a new fantasy(ish) series, and it unfortunately is the sort of book one that totally fails to resolve anything significant. the central idea seems a little well-worn, but the execution is very tight, so it works anyway.


sourcery by terry pratchett is the fifth discworld book. the story sort of collapses at the end, and it feels like some elements (plot and characters) are sketchier and not as fully realized as they could have been. but it is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, and that makes up for a lot.


a storm of swords by george r.r. martin is the third book in the a song of ice and fire series, and i think it is the best of the series so far. it is more clear how each of the threads of the plot are coming together — or if not how they are coming together, at least that they are coming together. unlike a clash of kings, the second book, i think this one also is better for being a little more self-contained, and coming to a more natural conclusion. but still a cliffhanger of a conclusion, to be sure.

apparently the series is going to be six books long, and with each book weighing in around a thousand pages, that’s a hell of a lot of story. and there are times when i wonder if any of the characters in the first book are going to be left by the end of the last.

the fourth book is already out, although the library doesn’t yet have any copies and there’s a long-ish hold list.

(yeah, i spent most of my weekend reading a 900+ page fantasy book. the more things change, the more they stay the same.)

a clash of kings by george r.r. martin is much like a game of thrones was, with an intercut story of court intrigue. i think it suffers a bit from middle-novel syndrome: it doesn’t really doesn’t have many complete stories of its own. but it is a good middle novel — it pushes forward on all the major plots in the series so far, does a good job of backfilling more of the backstory and details about the world, and introduces some interesting new characters and twists.

it is even more graphic than the first novel. so for novels that feature a lot of younger characters, it’s not entirely suitable for younger readers. a previous reader had helpfully underlined a couple of salacious bits in the library’s copy of the book.

someone comes to town, someone leaves town by cory doctorow is his longest book yet, but somehow still manages to be a really quick read. i started it yesterday after finishing massive change, and just finished it.

i like this one a great deal more than eastern standard tribe, and have the feeling that is going to be clawing around in the back of my mind for a while. it is pretty supremely strange.

i really love the feeling of catching up on the books i have checked out from the library. it reminds me of going to the library was i was younger, and the way i used to just chew through books. but now that i don’t have any due dates hanging over my head, i think it may finally be time to catch up on some of the books i own but haven’t read yet.

speaking of the library, the docent training is ten weeks, starts in mid-october for six weeks, takes a holiday break, wraps up in the new year, and is currently scheduled for wednesdays during the day — they’re thinking of possibly doing it also or instead on saturdays, because they are really interested in getting some younger docents on board. and apparently not everyone is as flexible to blow off work reschedule their work day as i am.

a game of thrones by george r.r. martin is a book that rick had spoken highly of (or perhaps it was one of the other books in the series).

it is a pretty amazing fantasy book — a huge cast of characters, and a densely woven plot full of intrigue. each chapter is told from the point of view from a different character, and though the plot is densely woven as a whole, it takes time for some patches to actually get filled in. the back story and setting is doled out in small doses, to great effect.

i am trying very hard to not see any connection between spending most of my weekend reading this book and the film i also saw.

going postal by terry pratchett is the latest of the discworld books, and it is brilliant, of course. it’s the story of a con man who is is appointed postmaster general instead of being executed, and how he applies his talents to revitalizing the post office even in the face of the signal tower (“clacks”) monopoly. it is very funny, although it doesn’t have quite the heart that monstrous regiment did.

the color of magic by terry pratchett is the first of the discworld books, but it is fairly unlike the other books in the series that i have read. it is basically four interlocking short stories. i thought it started sort of weak, at least compared to the other discworld books. it has some very funny bits.

i don’t know that i would recommend starting the series with this book — i certainly don’t feel like i lost much by not having read this until third or fourth.

i’ve got another discworld book up next, because my last trip to the library was pretty much a bust. it was one of those trips where the books that the system claimed were on the shelf were not.

myth-taken identity and myth alliances by robert asprin and jody lynn nye are the latest additions to the long-running series of myth books (originally just by asprin).

a long time ago, i was offended because someone else was buying a book in the series at the same time as i was, and referred to it as a “popcorn” book. but now that i’m older and wiser, i can sort of agree with that assessment. but asprin and nye manage the continue the fun cross-breeding of pop culture satire and fantasy conventions that make the series great.