||[Sep. 29th, 2018|11:53 pm]
The Feather Thief - Kirk Johnson
Everything Trump Touches Dies - Rick Wilson
Fear - Bob Woodward
Artificial Condition - Martha Wells
When Katie Met Cassidy - Camille Perri
The Governess Game - Tessa Dare
Red Sister - Mark Lawrence
Grey Sister - Mark Lawrence
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
I was saying recently that I don't read much true crime because it makes me feel voyeuristic and just plain icky. I do have one big exception, and that's crimes where no-one gets hurt, and that are esoteric or just plain weird. The Feather Thief is everything I want in a true crime novel and more. It's the story of a classically trained flautist who as a child became obsessed with ye olde Victorian art of fly tying and ultimately knocked off several filing cabinets worth of centuries old preserved birds from the British Museum in order to maintain his hobby. It's weird and fascinating and awesome.
For a Scot I sure have read a lot of books about US politics this year. I read two this month. Fear doesn't really contain any revelations that are new to people who follow the news, or have, you know, eyes and ears. It's basically a drier, better researched version of Fire & Fury. It's also pretty obvious who talked to Woodward (Bannon, Porter, Cohn & Graham), and I know that if we wait for a boy scout to blow the whistle on this administration we'll be waiting a long time, because there isn't one, but I am super not interested in anything that lets wife beating Rob Porter paint himself as a hero. In the end Fear was mostly interesting as yet another Watergate comparison in an administration that could really live without them. Rick Wilson is a republican operative who I'm pretty sure I disagree with on literally everything except for the fact that Trump is the worst. Anyway, he hates Trump, is hilarious, and I think I enjoyed reading Everything Trump Touches Dies more than Fear.
The second Murderbot novella Artificial Condition was as good as, maybe better than the first - Murderbot makes friends with a spaceship! They're exactly as charming as everyone says they are. The only thing that sours me on them is the way they're being released as four novellas - four expensive novellas - when they'd easily make one long novel, or at least a duology. I'm not saying it's a money grab, but it feels like a money grab. Still planning on reading the rest of the series, though.
When Katie Met Cassidy; or, why do all lesbian romances suuuuccck, part a million. It's a slap-slap-kiss romance between two corporate lawyers (belch). And while it's nice that Cassidy, the lesbian character, is butch, she pretty much veers into parody, and the other character Katie is basically an amalgamation of every straight girl having a gay awaking. And, by the way, the book could have been about half the length if it had ever used the word 'bisexual'. Basically, ugh.
Tessa Dare's id - brainy heroines and grouchy rakes with hearts of gold - works for me so much more than I would have expected it to if you described it to me. The Governess Game is more of the same, and I really liked it.
A few years ago I read the first book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, which was notionally about assassin nuns, but was in reality a sort of meh YA fantasy romance. Where, I have been wondering since then, is my boarding school story set in assassin nun school? And if that seems like a weirdly specific request, I'll have you know that it was more than satisfied by Red Sister and its sequel. And if the fact that it's a boarding school story set at assassin nun school isn't tempting enough for you, let me leave you with the first line: It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men. Highly fucking recommended.
In The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter Mary Jekyll, daughter of the doctor of the same name, meets Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein for adventures. Sherlock Holmes is there. As is Renfield. It felt like the author was too busy jamming in every victorian and gothic reference she could think of that she neglected to write an actual, you know, plot.
I really like the Cormoran Strike series. I liked Lethal White, and I'm sure I'll like the inevitable BBC adaptation even more. But holy smokes, it reminded me of the later Harry Potter books in the sense of really needing a good editing. I don't know if they just don't care, or know it'll sell like hotcakes anyway, but it was six hundred and fifty pages long and I feel like a good two hundred of them were superfluous. I also got a little snagged on the mentions of the Olympics and it being set in 2012; it didn't ruin it or anything, but it was a bit jarring in a book that came out just last week. Rowling can write the hell out of a mystery though.
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