huh. longer ago than i thought since i last posted. here is my most recent reading:
city of stairs - robert jackson bennett - there has been a curious shift in some of the recent fantasy novels - where they are full of magic and gods, but much more informed by the political and economic impact on people's lives. the magic kingdom has collapsed, the gods are dead, and the slave territory is now in charge of their masters. an academic in the magic kingdom is murdered and agent of the new regime comes to the city to investigate, and find that magic still leaves its stamp on this land. a fun, interesting, enjoyable read for its cultures and approach to the material.
three parts dead - max gladstone - a re-read, very similar kind of territory to the above. humans have discovered they can harness magic, god power, so why do they need gods? post-war there are few territories where gods still exist. here with the sudden death of the fire god a conspiracy is afoot and necromantic lawyer accountants are called in to sort the mess out. much more fun and engaging than that might sound.
strange and norrell - suzanne clarke - had this damn slab since it was published, but never read it till watching the BBC tv series. while traditional fantasy in some ways bores me, the ideas of magic and the potential still fascinate me. on the down side, this is a slab, it is at times very slow. but it does build momentum and is on the whole quite enjoyable reading.
this is life - dan rhodes - i've read a couple of rhodes novels, they tend to be reasonably light hearted, don't want to say comedy because his slice of life drama has more gravity than saying they are humour novels might suggest, but they are funny too. this one was on special for kindle, so bought and read. set in paris: a young art student finds herself left with a stranger's baby, japanese tourists tour the city with her best friend, and a famous controversial artist returns to his home city after years in exile. great.
leviathan wakes - james s a corey - again a kindle deal, and conscious of this becoming a syfy tv series. not sure how that'll convert, given the book seems to be reasonably faithful to the laws of physics that TV sci-fi always seems determined to ignore. outer colonies of the solar system find themselves at odds against the inner planets after the destruction of an ice hauler. switching between the view points of one of the survivors of the destroyed ship and a colonial police officer, building through the escalation of events. a reasonably enjoyable big SF read, less subtle than something like mcauley's "quiet war", which was the last of the books i read in this kind of territory.
jagganith - karin tidbeck - selection of short stories from swedish writer translated into english, sold as part of jeff vandermeer's weird bundle a while ago. the 1st story put me off a little, elements of sort of steam punk that didn't work for me. but the remainder of the stories are steeped in swedish folk lore, strange encounters, appearances and disappearances. which bare some resemblance to similar british fairy tales.
wolves of london: obsidian hearts - mark morris - the first of a trilogy, which turns out to be somewhat frustrating, as the next doesn't come out for another couple months. the narrator was involved in armed robbery as a young man, went to prison, turned his life around, now teaches at a university in london. however, his daughter from a useful indiscretion gets in trouble, and he can only see old contacts as a way out. so, obvious set up, he needs to do one last job to save his daughter. except things escalate shockingly, the body count rises sharply, his younger daughter is abducted, and there are screaming horrible things in the night. this really is a trip, ripping from one place to the next. great. except by the end it rips the carpet from beneath your feet and then leaves you hanging in the void with no resolution and then gut punches you with a twist. yay?
the field of the cloth of gold - magnus mills - mills' latest novel, picked up at edinburgh book festival after seeing him do a reading for the 1st time. similar to rhodes on some level, read a number of novels, always enjoyed, should really close the gaps. on some level this reminds me of his novel i enjoy the most - three to see the king. the narrator arrives with a tent at a huge field by a great river, there is one other tent. over the course of the book other tents arrive, the residents interact, get on and don't get on. as the book progresses there are the scattered tents of the original loners vs the organised large scale newcomers. mills tends towards simple plots, mundane set ups, but in the process works well with characters, a level of humour, and the absurdity of the ordinary. mixed feelings about the end, but worth the journey.
the other wind - ursula le guin - only read shorts be le guin, for some reason never read any of her novels. though i have at least 3 somewhere in the mountains of ToBeRead. this one was a gift and i gather at least part through a sequence of earthsea novels. in someways i'm enjoying that this is late in a sequence, there are lots of references to things done, the past, and characters kind of shamble through, talk and reflect, and not necessarily a lot happens, at least not quickly. and that just appeals to me. a wizard dreams of the wall between the living and dead, the dead want to return. there are dragons in the west burning things down. so it goes.