I’ve given up fan fiction for Lent, which I’ve done for the past two or three years. Since fanfic is my primary reality-avoiding coping mechanism, during this season I usually 1)
Feel ALL the feelings, and 2)
Read A LOT more books. Sometimes I feel ALL the feelings about
the books! I have very little free time but I’m a very fast reader, so in the last seven days I’ve devoured five(-ish) books. No major plot spoilers below, but general impressions.Prisoner
(second in the Werewolf Marines series), by Lia Silver: I really liked DJ from what we saw of him in the first book (Laura’s Wolf
), and I like him even more after getting a look inside his head. I’m glad the next book is being released shortly, because this one ends on a bit of a...not exactly a cliffhanger, but a major obstacle is unresolved.
One thing I find really refreshing about Silver’s romances is the absence of that super-annoying trope you often see: people who don’t talk
to each other when it would make sense for them to do so. Usually it’s because the writer can’t figure out how else to stop them from immediately falling into bed with each other. Silver’s characters TALK to each other. They work things out. They don’t assume
the other person is thinking this or that; they ASK when it makes sense to do so. The obstacles they face are real and not just in their heads, and that makes their resolution much more satisfying.
Also I really love the mythology of the werewolves she’s created. Scent names! Born wolves and made wolves! Special powers! Pack traditions! I just want to roll around in it all like a puppy.Hawk
, by Steven Brust: The latest in the Vlad Taltos series. A Brust book is always a pleasure, and I enjoyed being back in Adrilankha, spending time with some of Vlad’s old friends and enemies. I feel as if I’ve been reading this series forever—in a good way!—and I look forward to seeing where it goes next. (Ha, and I sort of have
been reading it forever. I just looked it up: Jhereg
was first published when I was ten years old. Wow, that’s impressive, isn’t it? Keeping a series going with a major publisher for more than 30 years!)Low Midnight
, by Carrie Vaughn: The latest in the Kitty Norville series, sort of. It’s the first one from the POV of Cormac, the bounty hunter Kitty met in her first book. He’s just so low-key and unimpressed by most things that the book never gained much momentum. Kitty has such a forceful personality; I really missed that. No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar
, an anthology edited by Mercedes Lackey: Oh, Valdemar, land of my teenaged-girl heart! I will always love you, even though I’ve given up on reading any of the novels past, oh, The Mage Winds trilogy. But I still like picking up these shared-world anthologies, and I enjoyed this one, though there was nothing particularly memorable in it. Except for, oh! that one where it ended horribly. UGH. I closed the book at that point and complained to my husband, and he said the good guys have to die sometimes! Then he quoted Batman from the Lego Movie, which I have yet to see, but apparently this is sort of a meme now? “DARKNESS. NO PARENTS.” All right then!
I keep meaning to look for more good Valdemar fanfic. There’s a series I came across that I’m really enjoying; it could fit right into one of the published anthologies (except for being, ha, novel-length at this point): MueraRashaye’s “Friends Across Borders”
, about the unlikely friendship between a Sunpriest from Karse and a Herald. Good stuff.Foxglove Summer
(Rivers of London series), by Ben Aaronovitch: Peter Grant! I love how repressed you are, and how good you are at being a cop, even if you keep having to ask yourself, “What Would Lesley Do?” (Oh, my heart!) I enjoyed this, even though it meanders quite a bit. Other people have talked about the pacing issues, and yeah, but it still held my interest nonetheless. It felt like it was setting up a lot that will pay off later, but I wish the next book was out NOW so we could get on with things. Not enough Lesley! Not enough Nightingale! But I enjoy Beverly, and I liked the cop Peter hung out with.
I also made an aborted run at Meghan Daum’s book of personal essays, The Unspeakable
, but after reading the first two I gave up. I don’t think I was in the right mood for it. And I couldn’t help but compare her essay “Matricide,” about her relationship with her mother and her mother’s death, to Roz Chast’s Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
, which I connected with a lot more readily and found very moving. Eh, well: sometimes I circle back round to things and they speak to me the second time. I bounced hard off the first Rivers of London book the first time, but when I came back a year later I really liked it.
Now I’ve started reading Stranger
, by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. Post-apocalyptic societies are my jam, and this one has lots of cool world-building so far. I do wish the publisher of the hardcover had not chosen to use a different typeface for each POV (especially a sans serif one! woe to my eyes!) but that’s a tiny distraction. I can tell already I’ll be wanting the second book as soon as I’m done with this one.