Sunday, April 10, 2011
Reading in April
April was a rather slight month for me when it comes to quantity. In part, that's due to the length of some of the books, but, more, it's the result of me reading a large number of magazines (Weird Tales, Asimov's, Analog, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine) in the middle. In an attempt to make my short story coverage more sensible, I'm no longer going to keep track of the magazines so much as the stories themselves, something that's taking far longer to do than I thought and will have to wait till next month to debut. But enough about things that nobody besides I and my I-should-be-using-Excel word documents care about. Let's get to some books…
Cold Hand in Mine was my first experience with cult horror author Robert Aickman, and it wasn't a disappointment. Aickman writes understated but magical stories, tales that aren't horrific in the slightest but are, instead, unsettling and profound from start to finish. Review coming up.
Great Expectations surprised me. Though I've often heard Di-ckens described as a clever writer, I was still expecting a dry "classics" read. Instead, I got prose that sang with wit, even if it was often bogged down. I found that the middle dragged fiercely, but the book was still quite enjoyable over all.
This is the conclusion to the Malazan series, a series that – as longtime readers know – I have quite an affinity for. I would not say that The Crippled God is my favorite volume, nor would I even say it is particularly close to that honor, but I did find it a quite satisfactory conclusion, filled with the grandeur, tension, awe, and depth that I expect when I begin one of Erikson's tomes. If there were to be no more Malazan novels, I would be sad but would not feel cheated. I will be rereading Malazan in the future, and will be covering it in some fashion, though I'm unsure exactly what shape that coverage will take.
Kiernan's writing is dark, lurid, and vivid. Her stories are composites of desire, lust, and decay, and they're filled with lush imagery that begs to be savored. Review coming.
The Wise Man's Fear functions in much the same way as The Name of the Wind. The prose is lyrical and fantastic, the story is as involving as could be, and the plot stutters and staggers over little ground. Review coming.
As always, Scalzi is amusing here. The novel is a mixture of wit, pulse pounding action, intrigue, and insightful social commentary. All that being said, there's still something holding me back from fully loving Scalzi, and I don't think it's a quantifiable thing. His writing and ideas are slick and enjoyable, but they're not something that I can fall for unreservedly. Still, this is recommended and, I think, highly unlikely to disappoint.
The Other is a powerfully written and involving horror novel. The characters and setting come to life through Tryon's prose. The reveal in the third act, and the climax, are breathtaking, though the tension before that does, perhaps, rise too slowly to be wholly effective. Still, this is an interesting and powerful read that's well worth checking out if it sounds interesting to you.