Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reading in October

Generally a good month, starting some interesting series and wrapping up some others, as well as quite a few collections and stand alones. No Breaking New Ground books this time around, but I haven't abandoned those and will fit in some more next month.

Daniel Abraham is fast becoming, in my opinion, the ultimate unsung hero of epic fantasy. Tor never published a paperback version of The Price of Spring, and yet The Long Price was a series almost unmatched for its decisive pacing and marvelous, evolving characterization. Leviathan Wept, a collection of Abraham’s short fiction, lives up to the lofty expectations any reader of his previous work no doubt has. Review coming.

Close this tab. I’ve heard that Barker – close this tab – is a master of horror for years, and this (closethistab) is the first work of his that I’ve read. I’m closethistab more confused than awed, though. As far as I can tell shutoffyourbrowser this is a fairly standard, meandering and unexciting novel, albeit occasionally an amusing one, that’s rendered almost unbearable by the book’s nonstop begging (don’t read the rest) for you to put it down, putting you in the mood to do nothing so much as throw the book at the wall and yell (one last chance, close this tab): Alright, Mr. Barker, I think I will!

Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell is a beautifully written novel. It’s more than a little meander happy, but excellent nonetheless. This is one of the very rare books that I can seriously call delightful every time I open it up. Not perfect, no, but dazzling enough to make up for that.

The Passage, at least in terms of marketing, seems like this year’s big novel. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it. Review coming.

My first Sherlock Holmes story is a success. Despite some pacing problems, I’m already looking forward to reading more of Doyle’s stories. Review coming.

The Halfmade World ran roughshod over my expectations. I was expecting good, very good even, and it delivered great. Comparing The Halfmade World to Thunderer is like comparing night and day. And that’s coming from someone who really liked Thunderer. Review coming.

I really, really love some aspects of Hamilton’s writing. And I really, really hate some other aspects. Judas Unchained seems to have magnified just about every good and bad tendency of its creators, and my opinion is mixed, though I did enjoy the read. Review of it and Pandora’s Star coming.

I always find M.R. James’s writing to be engrossing, but the reason isn’t the scare factor. There is something about James’s style, part formal antique and part colloquial, that makes me feel like the man is sitting across from me, telling me his experiences first hand. That isn’t, by the way, to suggest that these stories are tame. There are a few that the reader desensitized by the loudness and often excessiveness of modern horror will, sadly, find a bit hard to feel the horror of (I think the modern standard is for the doll’s to brutally murder at least three people; wood replaying old tragedies in the night simply isn’t bloody enough), but there are no weak stories here…

Except for the first tale in the collection, The Residence at Whitminister, which, for some reason, I found almost impenetrable. I’m not sure if this is a result of James’s writing or simply me being unused to his style after a long hiatus, but a reread did not solve the problem, and I’m left with a collection of out of order facts and occurrences without the slightest emotional thread to tie them together.

Newton’s debut is ambitious, well written, and not without the occasional flaw. Review here.

I loved The Folding Knife, and I went into The Engineer Trilogy with very, very high expectations. Devices and Desires is very good, and has quite a few very interesting elements, but it also has a few aspects that I’m more hesitant upon. All the same, I’m looking forward to starting Evil for Evil in a few days. Review coming when I finish the trilogy.


  1. MAN, you have fitted an impressive amount of reading. Wish I could say the same. :_ BUT it's been a really busy month on so many levels. With NaNo and revisions. I doubt I will do much more reading. :D

  2. I'm actually really worried about November. Between blogging, schoolwork, and writing I'll have my plate full, to say the least.

  3. Yeah... Homework is kicking my butt at the moment...