30 March 2012

What I am Reading: March 2012

This month will be quite light on reading: even though I spent quite a bit of time flying and relaxing, I spent most of that time either watching movies or reading my way through the 5 pounds of magazines I took with me (and left behind like Hansel and Gretel's trail). I had a month's worth of magazines waiting for me (Businessweek, Economist, Money, Newsweek, Time usw.), so my load wasn't much lighter (although more current) on the way back.
  1. Blood (9/2011) by K.J. Wignall: (Book one of the Mercian Trilogy) Making my way through ARCs, I pulled this one. An interesting cover (in ARC form) of white with splattered blood and raised black print. The protagonist is William of Mercer, changed at 16 to what he calls" the undead", for lack of a better term. For 750 years, he has not known why or who changed him, only that it took place at the time of the burning of seven women accused of witchcraft. Only later does he realize that the "witchcraft" was almost certainly due to the actions of whatever made him what he now is. William sleeps and wakes for long periods of time, but when he wakes now: things are different. He discovers people with knowledge and foreknowledge of him and connections to those who are responsible for him. He meets a girl who seems fated to b e part of his future and strands weave William and Eloise and others together- all pointing toward his ancestral home, where a boarding school is now sited. I thought this would be gorier than it was, which explains (I think) why they changed the cover to a more decorative., ornate (and bloodless- wait, that was the UK cover, the US had bare chest and blood) one and now I am, on the one hand, sorry that I put off reading it and on the other hand, glad that I did because it means that I have less time to wait until the next installment, Alchemy, is published this year.
  2. Ashes by Ilsa J. Blick (Sep 2011): THis is an ARC that seemed to be yet another of the zombie books that are the new (-ish) rage and it dropped to the bottom of my TBR pile. But as I was flipping through my pile, trying to decide what I wante dto read and what I didn't, this caught my interest. I have always been a lover of after the apocolypse stories. Since Nevil Schute's On the Beach (oh my heavens, was I a depressed child after that), Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon (fabulous book), King's The Stand (although the religious nonsense damaged the book), and many others. This book, rather than being silly, actually falls within the genre. There is a war. Of some kind. And massive EMPs that destroy all electronics and either kill one immediately (the middle-aged), change one (into what is a form of zombie- young people) or leave one alone (the old): based primarily on age. But there are a few who are either unaffected by what normally happened to their age groups or positively impacted (Alzheimer's patients wake up improved and active). The protagonist, teen-ager Alex, was dying from a brain tumor when it happened. But now she is well and improved, in a word where almost everyone her age is a Changed. It could happen to her as well. She is now an asset (to those who look to have the world continue), and a hated vision (to those who saw their loved ones killed by other young folk) and a reminder of what has been lost. There's a strange disconnect between the two halves of the book, important characters appear and disappear, but I enjoyed it tremendously, and am waiting the next book in what is a trilogy. I won't be certain until then whether this disconnect was required or a result of poor editing: in either case, I want to see what happens and the writing is great. The ending is one heck of a cliffhanger: the next will be Shadows, it will be out in 9/12, and I can't wait to read it.
  3. Echoes of Betrayal (2012) by Elizabeth Moon: How unfair is this? When I started reading the new series by Moon (Paladin's Legacy), revisiting the world of Paksenarrion for the first time in 20 years, it was supposed to be a trilogy. Now, it seems that it will be 5 books. This is terrible (I want to know what happens)! This is great (I am enjoying every word of each book- I have read this twice since getting it)! This is terrible (two more years- at least- until I know what happens to everyone)! As you can tell, I am torn. Here I am in the third and now I need to wait another year! I don't actually want to talk about the plot- as the third in what seems to be a 5 book sequence, how could it not be a plot spoiler? Just to say, I loved it, I enjoyed the ride, I can't wait for the next.
  4. Intruder (March 2012) by CJ Cherryh: Finally got the (awaited) book 13 in the Foreigner series. I enjoyed reading last year's book only a week ago so much that it makes me consider hording the next for a year (I won't, but that's because I couldn't make myself not read it). (I did order a few of her older books used in the US and brought them back with me to fill the void.) I loved that Cajeiri had a significant portion of the book's POV: I like him more than Bren, I think. Since he is an atevi who has been, almost, raised with humans, his POV is fascinating. He is almost a Third Culture Kid and I hope he remains an important protagonist as he integrates back into his own society, allowing the reader to integrate with him.
  5. Fair Game (March 2012) by Patricia Briggs: An Alpha and Omega book. Charles is feeling the weight of his use as "deadly enforcer" in the new world with werewolves outed to the public eye. As the child of a Native American shaman and the only "born" werewolf, he is susceptible to the weight of the ghosts of the lives he has taken and he is crumbling under it. Thrown in a serial killer who appears to be targeting fae and half-fae and a look at the interactions of the federal agencies who deal with the paranormal and it's another great read.
  6. The Cloud Roads (2/2011)and
  7. The Serpent Sea by (12/2011) Martha Wells: The first was a freebie from Amazon and it served its purpose- hooked me in so that as soon as I finished it I ordered the sequel and read it in the airplane on the way back. It reminded me a bit of Tepper's Mavin Many-Shaped (the True Game series ), with an amnesiac Changer. It also reminded me very much of Dawn Cook's Truth series (Cook now writes as NYT best selling author Kim Harrison). Great books, I'm glad the third in the trilogy will be out within the year (because David Gerrold and GRRM have burned me greatly on series) and I greatly enjoyed them (it's super to really enjoy the book you have on the airplane). I read it rather than watch the tedious second shift movie (the remake of Footloose. Mehh.) and immediately looked (as I was standing in the immigration line) for the not-as-yet published third. I will read Wells' other books while I am waiting.

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