||[May. 19th, 2016|02:04 pm]
We had a brief heatwave here last week and I discovered that my dog likes licking sunscreen off my skin; other things she likes the taste of are: perfume, hand lotion, antiseptic cream, soap, and shower gel. An oft heard refrain in out house is: "Stop licking me, I've just got out of the shower!"
It also meant that I got quite a bit of reading done in various gardens (mine; assorted beer).
The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
Armada - Ernest Cline
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo
Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
Day Four - Sarah Lotz
In the Labyrinth of the Drakes - Marie Brennan
The House of Shattered Wings is set in Paris after a magical WWI equivalent; the broken cityscape is controlled by fallen angels who are both powerful rulers and, basically, currency because their body parts are the source of magic. The worldbuilding is fascinating, the writing is gorgeous, and there are a lot of background same-sex relationships, and I just... could not get into it.
I think it was a combination of revolving POVs and not immediately sympathetic or likeable characters. I never warmed to Philippe the way I did to Selene and Madeline, and every time the narration switched back to him I would stall out. Filed under: things I wanted to like more I did.
Speaking of things I expected to like more than I ultimately did, having eaten Ready Player One up with a spoon I was disappointed in Ernest Cline's next offering. Armada is about a video game where the player fights off an alien invasion, and being a hotshot at the game comes in handy when oddly similar aliens come knocking at earth's door.
The good: it was a quick, fun read, and like Ready Player One there was a lot of geeky joy to be found in 'I understood that reference' moments.
The bad: it was lazy. Literally everything about this book was lazy. The protogonist's father really had faked his own death to become a highly classified war hero. There was a manic pixie geek girl who our hero picked up in five minutes flat using his word perfect knowledge of Aliens quotes. Being a hotshot pilot in a videogame automatically translated to being a hotshot pilot in the real world. The alien invasion plot was painfully lazy, and I kept waiting for a twist that never came.
It was like someone was trying to smoosh Ender's Game and Galaxy Quest together, and if you think those sound like two tonally inconsistent things then you'd be right.
I turned to a nordic thriller from the library for a change of pace. The Redbreast was, er, fine, if a little slow; it was six-hundred pages long and nobody died until page two-hundred. Well, it flashed back to the eastern front during WWII, so obviously lots of people died, but it was page two-hundred before anyone we cared about died. And 'he had multiple personality disorder all along...' I don't think has ever been a satisfying conclusion to anything, and makes the book feel more dated than it probably is.
Sweet Disorder is a regency romance with a plus-sized heroine, and the hero is saved from being yet another wounded soldier with a heart of gold by his hitherto undiscovered submission kink. The historical romance genre continues to provide me with more hits than misses.
Day Four is a horror set on a budget cruise liner, which in addition to the inherent horror of being on a budget cruise (A+ use of setting) has a murder, ghosts, an outbreak of noro, and being adrift at sea. I... wasn't sure about the ending. Not that I'm necessarily against the surprise alternate universes, I just thought it could have used more groundwork. But I understand that this is kind of a duology with The Three, so maybe it'll work better for me once I've read that one.
I continue to adore Marie Brennan's chronicles of a pseudo-victorian lady dragon naturalist, but as much as I'm enjoying them I was quite pleased to discover that The Labyrinth of the Drakes is book four of five, because I feel like the series is coming to its natural conclusion (Isabella finally became Lady Trent in this one); plus I'm just grateful when fantasy writers know when to call it a day.
This entry was originally posted at http://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/162602.html with comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.