Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Short reviews

So far for 2016, I've read five books. Rather than let them pile up into a force of unknown strength and then collapse on top of me. I see you coming, books. I have your number.

First up, The Gunslinger, book one of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I am Determined to read this series this year. De-ter-mined. It will happen.

I read the first three many years ago; I have vague memories of heartbroken me after my first marriage broke up lounging on the couch and reading The Gunslinger. (I also read Dune at that time.)

The upshot is I remembered almost nothing, so it was just like starting over. And. So far so good? I found it a bit of a slog, to be honest, especially for such a short book, but. This is my quest. My 2016 journey. I will do it. I will take the Ring to Mordor. *clenches fist*.

Next up was The Distance Between Us by L A Witt. Ethan and Rhett are splitsville after 10 years, but they own a house together and selling it wouldn't make the money they need. Enter Kieran, to help speed the process up (aside: Kieran is my brother's name. It was VERY STRANGE reading about someone called Kieran being banged six ways to Sunday.)

So. Anyway. Kieran moves in and he's like, super-hot and both Rhett and Ethan start banging him (of course) then someone has the idea of sharesies! And so threesomes happen and ... uhm.

I enjoyed it, I did, it's a fast read, uncomfortable associations aside, but I thought Rhett and Ethan needed a better emotional payoff for a reunion than "let's bang the hot room-mate until inconvenient feelings resurface."

(I'm reading book 2 now; there's five total in the series, each one focusing on different characters. Book 2 focuses on Kieran. Good times, good times.)

Then we're on to Dragon Age: Magekiller 2, written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Carmen Carnero. In book two of this five-book graphic novel series, mercenaries Marius and Tessa - who have made it their life mission to eradicate blood mages - have been tricked by the Archon of the Tevinter Imperium into doing a job for him, involving a cult called the Venatori.

It's all very fast-paced and kind of chasey-chasey and it's set juuuuuust before Inquisition - actually, the end of book #2 lines up with the start of Inquisition, and I'm excited for issue #3. I like it a lot - especially Tessa, who's narrating the story, and catching glimpses of the Imperium is super-cool. (Especially given the distinct possibility DA4 may be set there.)

Fourth for this year, is Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon, book one of the Second Sons trilogy. Oooh, I liked this. I liked this very much of a lot. Intrigue! Magic! SCIENCE! Dodgy cults! Dodgy cultists! Likeable characters! Unlikeable villians! I'm a simple girl, and I like it when fantasy does what it says it's going to on the tin. (Don't get me wrong, I also like it when fantasy looks at the tin, says "I LAUGH AT YOUR TIN" and then goes and builds a new tin .. I'm getting off track). Lion of Senet is about the second sons of, well, the Lion of Senet (VILLAIN) and the second son of the Duke (GOOD GUY BUT NOT ACTUALLY THIS PARTICULAR SECOND SON'S FATHER /SCANDAL/) who become friends, and there's a king in hiding (who IS the other second son's father ... DUN DUN DUN) and a madman who's also a genius and clever people and the Age of Shadows is coming ... and this is not very coherent but I liked it a lot.

Fifth, so far, and very much NOT the least of them, is Shadowshaper, by Daniel Jose Older.

Sierra is your typical 16-year-old - she hangs out with her friends, she paints giant murals on abandoned buildings ... at least, until one of the murals starts crying. Then, Sierra discovers a whole world out there she knew nothing about, despite it being steeped far in her family history.

If anyone reads this post and  you read one book from this list, read this one. It's so, so good. Sierra is a fully realised character and watching her come into her own shadowshaping power is an amazing thing. It's visually stunning (I mean, for a book? You know what I mean) and the story is solid and the cover is beautiful, and look. Just do yourself a favour. Read it.


  1. You know what else I liked about Shadowshaper? I thought it was so great that Sierra has such a large TEAM around her. She's got her family, her friends -- she's never isolated, even when she learns about these powers and starts using them. It was a refreshing change from all the very isolating Chosen One sorts of stories where they face the villain all alone at the end.

  2. Jenny - yes! I loved that she had support the whole time, and also wasn't scared to ask for help when she needed it. It was a great, warming story. :)