May. 8th, 2010

keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Crossing Over: One Woman's Exodus from Amish Life
by Ruth Irene Garrett with Rick Farrant
192 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir

The pedestrian prose of this semi-ghostwritten memoir with an eye-catching premise does capture Irene's voice; it's only that her voice is not particularly compelling. Thankfully, I can't say the same for her story. This was a quick and enlightening read. I've always been fascinated by the Amish--I've seen buggies go by on the road, when I drive to Lancaster--and their "bubble" of traditional life in such a modern world.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
A Conspiracy of Kings
by Megan Whalen Turner
316 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/YA/Fantasy

I've been waiting SO long for this book. I loved each succeeding volume of Turner's Attolis series more than the last, up through King of Attolia (especially the outside POV of Costis), but... KoA remains my favorite. Despite mixed reviews, I still think CoK is decent, and it nicely continues the overarching plot intent of Gen ruling the continent. I thought that intention was convincingly advanced, though the unresolved romantic thread made me sadface.

As a side note, the first chapter is a wonderful reintroduction to the world, and I didn't see Gen as particularly out-of-character anywhere in the book. He has evolved into Attolis, as he had to.

For those who don't know, this is Sophos's story about what happens after his mysterious disappearance. If you don't know what that means, stop and go read The Thief, then The Queen of Attolia, then The King of Attolia. Order is not absolutely necessary--I read QoA first--but then again, I read QoA first and was horribly confused. And this is a series worth savoring.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The Fifth Elephant
by Terry Pratchett
321 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Humor

My friend, who is a fellow ardent Pratchett fan, thrust this library book into my hands with the damning words, "Carrot and Angua." I didn't have the time to read it, but I did anyway, because those two are just that cute.

This is one stop amongst many on the Discworld tour; my fannishness started with Small Gods, which I of course highly recommend. I find it difficult to describe the novel without resorting to Discworld shorthand, but let me try... Carrot is a long-lost heir who has contrived to remain lost, a six-foot-tall dwarf, and a scarily good person. Angua is a female werewolf with--interesting--familial relations. Together they fight petty crime and treason as members of the Watch, and are all-around awesome.

That's not quite right; it makes the book sound like a thriller, which it's not, though there is a fascinating mystery element of the plot. So, um, in Discworld shorthand: Carrot/Angua in Uberwald, with a healthy dose of Vimes and politics, plus a sprinkling of Vetinari on top.

I have realized what I love so much about Terry Pratchett, to the point where he deserves a place in my personal gallery next to Guy Gavriel Kay, Ellen Kushner, and George R.R. Martin: he is consistently great. (Sylvia Kelso and Alison Sinclair have the potential for greatness, with Amberlight/Riversend and Darkborn respectively, but they haven't proven consistency yet.) There are some Pratchett books that I adore, some that I love, some that I merely like... but each has enthralled me as I read them for the first time. A rare and valuable quality, consistency--few authors can I trust as I trust Pratchett to always write a worthwhile book.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card
324 pages (paperback)
Genre: Fiction/SF

Meet Ender Wiggins, child general-slash-genius. He's going to save the world, as long as his siblings Valentine (kind Val) and Peter (sociopathic schemer) don't destroy it first.

I liked this a lot. I definitely didn't love it. Why? Well, it's very male. Other than that, I can't quite say. I do like "school stories" a lot, and Ender's training takes up a good portion of the novel. I wished for more politics, especially more of Val/Demosthenes. The Val/Peter dynamic was fascinating. By the way: don't be fooled by the child protagonist. This really is not YA.

Recommended to SF readers of both genders, because this is a worthwhile classic. I would avoid researching the author, though, as his political views tend toward the akljfksjdfhdsf side.


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January 2011


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