Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

Books read, late June.

Elizabeth Bear (matociquala), Grail and The White City. The drawback to paperback originals is that I tend to hoard them for plane trips. I must have reached for Grail a good dozen times and made myself put it back In Case Of Travel. And then last month I finally did travel and said, "Hah, take that!" to my obsessively prepared tendencies. It did not disappoint. I compared the two previous books in the series to Roger Zelazny, but I think this one went beyond what Zelazny's influence could have done for it. This is the kind of clash of diverged cultures that has my heart (in a jar on its desk), and it's a very worthy ending to the trilogy. You'll still want to start at the beginning, though, with Dust. As for The White City, same deal: read what comes before, before. The characterization is lovely as follow-on but would not have quite as much power as stand-alone. Spearpoint theory and all that.

Marie Brennan (swan_tower), With Fate Conspire. Discussed elsewhere.

Felix Gilman, Thunderer. If somebody put the cool bits of fantasy religions and fantasy street children on steroids, the result would be Thunderer. I respected The Half-Made World but did not like it, so I'm relieved that I like this one and do not feel that Felix Gilman is Not For Me.

Douglas Hulick (swords_and_pens), Among Thieves. And to continue the "fantasy [thing] on steroids" theme, this was the fantasy gangs/criminals. On...various fantasy drugs that had more subtlety than most fantasy drugs, actually, rather than steroids. I'm not quite sure how the rest of the world around the empire works, but I'm hoping that this will be a sort of spiral structure of series, where we get a good fix near-in and then get more of the wider stuff as the thing goes on.

F. H. King, Farmers of Forty Centuries. Kindle. Unintentional hilarity abounds. This is a 1911 book about East Asian agriculture, written by an American Sinophile. So it misses some of the more obnoxious 1911ish American attitudes about East Asia...in favor of making up its very own obnoxious attitudes! Hurray! I mean, this is a seriously useful book if you're interested in worldbuilding. It's highly specific about how a great many practical things were handled and relative prices and labor and all sorts of things. It's just that it's interspersed with the blithe certainty that the peasants in China could not possibly be happier, that the Chinese had it all figured out for sure, and that we should import some of Imperial China's personnel policies. Um. There were just spots where it was absolutely horrible and completely lacking in self-awareness. But there was also a great deal of detail about and respect for East Asian agricultural practices. Also, free is a good price.

Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex. Second volume in a three-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt, who turns out to be a vastly entertaining historical figure. There are places where he was trying very hard to do the right thing and then places where he was not really even apparently thinking at all, and sometimes those intersect quite weirdly. Also there is a pet badger.

Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Sun Over Breda. Okay, this is the book that tells me I really don't know what Perez-Reverte is doing with this series. Because suddenly, wham, there we are in the Netherlands during the wars of Dutch Independence. Previously there was swashbuckling. This is not swashbuckling. This is a war story with lice and sapping and stuff. So...was this just somewhere he felt was a necessary stop on the bildungsroman road? Dunno. I'll keep reading, but this is not a favorite point in the series.

Project Itoh, Harmony. What an extremely Japanese utopia/dystopia. In many other places in the world, even strict external attention to health within particular parameters would not result in uniformity. (Nor would it in Japan, but it's easier to make the error that it would.) I mean, not that that is the only iffy thing in this book, but...yah. Well. Still a quick read, though, and I'd call it a fun one except that the number of suicides involved is not really my idea of a good time. Let's call it interesting, then.
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