Showing posts from March, 2017

[Book Review] Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone / Anne Bishop Previously Reviewed: Vision in Silver Marked in Flesh Etched in Bone marks the fifth installment of Anne Bishop's novels of the Others and picks up right where Marked in Flesh left off... and I like where it goes for the most part. The book seemed to focus more on the inter-species politics than the first four... and by that I mean actual attempts at politic and civil resolutions (instead of just eating the offenders).  We have the humans who want to work with the Others to ensure their own survival, the Others who have come to care for their human pack (and some of the technologies they've never bothered to master on their own), the humans who court extinction, and the Others who are only just starting to pay attention to the events going on in the world at large. One thing I can say for Bishop is that she knows how to write characters that you love to hate, especially manipulative, self-important, abusive men.  There are times when

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 8

The Sundering of the Shire stood out more than anything else in this trilogy when I read it as a kid.  Something about the hobbits rising up and taking back the Shire made it one of my favorite parts. There should be little surprise at the actors in the play here.  Lotho Sackville-Baggins, Bill Ferny, Saruman, and Wormtongue.  These players clearly know their roles and trade, managing to effect change without provoking revolt.  At least until the war-weary hobbits return and encounter the absurd totalitarian state fallen over the Shire.  Not that absurdity indicates a lack of danger or threat, merely that the transformation of the sheltered Shire and the rule it suffers under truly stand as examples of shocking absurdity.  Our company brazenly stomps through the road blocks by dint of their expectations of their home, their unfamiliarity with the changes, and their transformative experiences.  The ruling powers fail to effect authority over them as they rely on fear and respect, ne

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 7

If there is any single chapter that pulls on Tolkien's experiences serving, this one stands out the most to me.  Tolkien could have gone the route we see Jackson choose in the film, with a clean return back home and even if they are dramatically changed from who they were, the seeds of how their lives will grow going forward plain to see.  He could have gone even more traditional happily ever after, and I think one of the strongest points of this story is the handling of coming home. "There is no real going back.  Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same.  I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden.  Where shall I find rest?" I don't know enough about Tolkien's personal experiences serving, but he's at least speaking from close, if not personal experience, when he writes about coming home from war.  The hobbits have gone through changes and injury that will never fully heal. But it's n

[Book Review] The Thing About Love

The Thing About Love / Julie James Six years ago, Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd got off on the wrong foot... repeatedly.  What he considered encouragement and motivation she took as insulting and demeaning.  Then she might have come across a bit more vindictive than intended, and it all got even more tangled up from there.  But Agent Harlow has come home to Chicago after a failed marriage and been assigned to work with the newly single Agent Shepherd on an undercover mission before he leaves to join the Hostage Rescue Team.  Working together brings old grievances to light, and gives a chance for explanations and mending. Of course, once they no longer exist in states of perpetual irritation with each other their not-so-latent attraction rears its head.  Things proceed about as expected (clothes on the floor and the two of them even sometimes on the bed).  Only, John's leaving , which may have assuaged the initial concerns about co-worker romance... but what if they could b

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 6

The time has come for the Fellowship to disband and our adventurers return to hearth and home.  The shadow smited, Gondor stands in glory with Aragorn and Arwen on the throne and the White Tree growing once again. Perhaps for the first time Arwen's choice is explicitly  stated here.  She has made Luthien's choice, the elf-maid who chose mortality to be with her mortal love.  Interestingly enough her im/mortality, perhaps due to her role as a half-elf, functions almost like a ticket.  With the gift of a token she gives her place on the boats to the Grey Havens to Frodo in exchange for his actions and sacrifice.  Perhaps life itself is the only way to properly repay Frodo for bearing his burden. The exchange between Gimli and Eomer regarding the beauty of Galadriel and Arwen is possibly one of my favorite moments.  It stands as an aside that Tolkien had no need to include, but it suits so well in light of hope and friendship across the pages here.  It also reminds me of some

[Book Review] Signal to Noise

Signal to Noise / Silvia Moreno-Garcia Signal to Noise is an all-to-realistic piece of magical realism.  It took me quite awhile to actually get to starting this book, languishing on my to-read list for over a year.  So I made a deliberate choice to include it as a book club pick and read it, hence it's place as my February read. While the book gives a coming-of-age magical realism front, the story eschews many of the all-to-common patterns.  Moreno-Garcia's prose possesses a rich lyricism that fits well in a story so filled with music.  The story has its bright spots, but much of it is harsh and scrabbling, a story of friends struggling to overcome the hands they were dealt, a story of consequences, and a story of resentment.  For all of that, the story is beautifully told, but one that I personally felt reluctant to read at times, a result of seeking extra escapism in reading than normal as of late. From Wikipedia: " Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in s

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 5

Of course, whilst everyone it out on their various daring adventures, there are those who are left behind.  And with their leaders dead, their heirs wounded, and their heroes far away facing a terrible enemy. I really can't help knocking Eowyn as a romance figure.  It annoys me because both in various interpretations and in the source text it always seems to take away from her as a person of power.  Not that powerful women can't be romance figures, but in how she's handled always seems to reduce her.  I suppose the bright light in their romance is that Faramir sees and respects her, "For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten."  Yet she is considered "tamed" and that just doesn't sit right with me.  She shouldn't need to be tamed, even if Gondor is now at peace. To me the bonding of Eowyn and Faramir is less of a romance, at least in the traditional sense, but rather a bonding over shared tr

[Book Review] Silence Fallen

Silence Fallen   (Mercy Thompson #10)  / Patricia Briggs Previously reviewed: Fire Touched In which Mercy, through no fault of her own, gets in a whole heap of complications... and largely on her own gets back out, whilst everyone else runs around in a panic because they know  things are likely end well for anyone (except maybe Mercy). Vampires really  like politics and power games.  Which means when Wulfe tells Iacapo Bonarata, the Master of Italy and the vampire that banished Marsilia to the US, that Mercy Thompson is the most powerful person in the Tri-City's area there are all sorts  of games afoot. Also, Iacoapo maybe should know better than to take anything Wulfe says at face value.  Because really, it's Wulfe . So Mercy's out seeing if vampires and werewolves can get white hair from stress as she says "no, thank you" to captivity, while at home the troops rally... requiring Marsilia and Adam to work together as they travel to Europe to extract

[Book Review] Magic for Nothing

Magic for Nothing   (InCryptid #6)  / Seanan McGuire Previously reviewed Chaos Choreography (InCryptid #5) TL;DR review: go read this book, it's loads of fun. Read on for actual details. At the end of Chaos Choreography , Verity Price fought off a summoned snake god on live television as a competitor on the reality TV show Dance or Die (turned out this special season was taking that title a bit too  literally).  And if that wasn't enough to blow the Price family cover... once Verity realizes the fight was broadcast live and her disguise is ruined, she tells the Covenant of St. George to stay the hell out of North America. So now the Covenant is gearing up for war against the Price family, and looking to purge as many 'monsters' living in North America as possible while they're at it.  Oh joy. The youngest of the Price children, Antimony isn't the one to make waves or seek out trouble (she leaves that to her older siblings).  She hasn&#