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[Book Review] Sparrow Hill Road

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Sparrow Hill Road(The Ghost Roads #1) / Seanan McGuire

Some ghost stories we've all heard, or heard some version of.  Sleep over stories, campfire tales, urban legends.  They change, they fade, but they still make the rounds, even as new stories like the Black Eyed Kids or the Slenderman take root.

In Sparrow Hill Road we get the story of one of those undying ghost stories, in the form of Rose Marshall, the phantom prom date, the vanishing hitchhiker, the girl in the diner.  She died in 1952 when she was run off the road on prom night, and hasn't been able to truly go home since.  Riding the roads, both  mortal and dead, ushering those to their final exit, or helping others find their way home.

Even the dead have something to fear, some of the living have power over them, the Crossroads where bargains are made, and sometimes those who well their souls at the expense of others.  Rose is not only the vanishing hitchhiker, but the girl who got away, her death to pay for another&#…

[Book Review] Brief Cases

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Brief Cases(Dresden Files) / Jim Butcher


So.  Imma make a recommendation here.  Stop reading my review, and just go pre-order the book, or place a hold at your library.

Go on, I'm not going anywhere.

The Dresden Files cast and setting has expanded a lot since the first few novels, and the first few collections of stories.  In Brief Cases we get stories of Dresden's adventures and debacles, but there is also so much more, and the additional voices are fantastic.

Things kick off with a weird West story featuring Luccio and an introduction about how Butcher has an idea for a full series based on this short story.  Let me just say I'm so ready for this.

The stories in this collection span the range from fun to touching to sad.  We learn how Molly got in good with the Svartalves, the price she's paying as a Winter Queen.  We get three stories about "Bigfoot," one about Butters as a Knight, and even get to hear both Maggie and Mouse.

Usually anthologies include a few…

[Book Review] The Sheep Look Up

The Sheep Look Up / John Brunner

I almost put this book down several pages in.  Narrative voices, even those true to the character the story is focusing at the time... can be a challenge, and in this case the book slapped me in the face with racism that made me concerned for the whole story.  The story is a lot more than one character's bigotry, that being a single piece of a multi-faceted puzzle shaped together by different and divergent experiences throughout.  Warring ideologies and biases are central to the overall plot.  The picture it paints of a potential future pulls uncomfortably on many things that resonate as much today as they did when the book was written.

In terms of outlook and despair it puts me in mind of Peter Watts' work, a destructive nihilistic view of humanity's future.  An interesting book, and one that I'm not sure I would have picked and read on my own, were it not for a chance discovery and impulse.
Discussion Fodder: As a book set in a future …

[Book Review] A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time / Madeleine L'Engle

I went with an "easy" read for March, shorter than many of my picks and by and large considered accessible to children.  Going in I remembered the concepts surrounding a tesseract, that the children were helped by something like angels, and there being some dark force that they had to combat.

I actually re-read this in two formats, the graphic novel adaptation as well as the traditional novel.  The graphic novel adaptation is very well done, and I highly recommend it.  The religious aspects of the story stood out starkly to me, which is something that I often struggle with encountering.  At the same time, other concepts stood strong on their own, both of metaphysics and philosophy, and I definitely enjoyed both of those.  Worth the reread, and I wish I had read this when I was in the target audience range.

Discussion Fodder:
What do you think of the attitudes towards Meg and her mother?  What about attitudes towards Charles Wallace?  …

Silmarillion Blues : Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

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For a lot of us, this final chapter is what we started this journey for.  This is the final pieces in the set up for the story of the One Ring that leads us to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Sauron, long sided with Morgoth, claims to repent of his deeds under Morgoth, but not his pride.  So when summoned to Valar for a sentence he departs to hide within Middle-earth and fall back into his old ways.  Meanwhile, life goes on in Middle Earth.  Cultures rise, cities succeed and fail.  Men multiply and "most of them turn to evil."  Middle Earth seems forgotten by the Valar, at least to Sauron, so he moves forward with his plans and manipulations.

With his One Ring he perceives all things done by the lesser rings, but the Elves were aware of his use of the Ring and so removed theirs and hid them away, refusing to hand them over when he demanded them.  Thes were imbued with the power to ward of the toll of time, and were forged by Celebrimbor, untouched by Sauron even though…

March Read: A Wrinkle in Time

Look.  I made a mistake.  I thought it would be great to re-read the book the month the movie came out.  I know better.  But I have a copy in hand, and it shouldn't take too long to read.

I never read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid.  My first foray into the story was at 17, shortly before going off to college.  It was a neat odd little story to me then, one that I left being well aware that certain parts didn't make sense but that I enjoyed it overall none the less.  So giving it a go again while I play catch up on the rest of my life, the reasons for which are a whole different post!