23 October, 2014

Catching Up On Reviews - Kinda - Among Others, Bitter Seeds, The Crown Tower

There's no arguing I've been slacking lately. Suddenly my schedule blossomed and I've got hearing after hearing in court the last couple weeks and the next couple as well. I do family law and I have a really hard time turning anyone away and everyone's got a story.

Anyway, here are some catch up reviews. It's ... been a while since I read them. I've been on a good roll the last couple days and I plan on keeping it up for a bit. This will not be the last of these.

Among Others by Jo Walton

This book got rave reviews when it came out, even won the Nebula Award, which I can see. However, I didn't absolutely love it as seems to be the norm.

What I loved:

I did love a few things. I loved that I really wanted to go back and read all the classics of science fiction and fantasy. Walton writes with such a love of the genre that you can't help but become enamored yourself. 

I loved that if you are a fantasy nerd like me and the main protagonist Mori (and it may be safe to assume, Jo Walton), then you can completely relate to living two lives. One in a fantasy land you never want to leave and one in the "real" world where you don't quite completely fit in ... whatever that means.

What I thought was more three stars out five:

This was really a love note to SFF with a story at the far background, if any. It's obviously there, but only mildly mentioned and then all of a sudden some stuff happens in the end. 

I think I expected more of a blend of the two; references to classic SFF stories and a story itself as opposed to more of the former and less of the latter. 

It's still a decent story, but not really a classic. I see why it won the Nebula, it's essentially a love letter to the Nebula Award and, therefore, a dead-ringer from the get-go, but it didn't quite work for me.

I'll leave with a couple great quotes for your nerdy heart:
"Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization."
"Glory Road is deeply disappointing ... I love Heinlein but he clearly doesn't get fantasy. It's just stupid." (I felt the exact same way reading Glory Road. Starship Troopers is amazing, but I don't know if I'll attempt his fantasy again)
3 out of 5 Stars (Recommended with reservations)

Bitter Seeds (Milkweed Triptych #1) by Ian Tregillis

I don't always get behind alternate histories. There's something in me that screams for the truth. These are definitely not the truth, look in a history book.

Yeah, that's from the guy who reads 99 fantasy books out of 100.

Oh and one of my favorites is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though that's much more magical and fairyland-ish). But once you change the past, that just throws me off too much. I don't know why. Still haven't read a thing by Harry Turtledove.

But throw superheros into an alternate World War Two and for some reason that just clicked with me.

I had a great time with this book. I guess it doesn't hurt that I lived in Germany for a while, speak German and all that. It did kill me during a part where the English-speaker gets by speaking flawless German (which is just close to impossible without speaking it as a child), but otherwise, I enjoyed this from start to finish.

I got this as a review copy on audio, but publishers have this problem with not sending the sequels ever. I know, wo is me, I have to buy a book, but that explains why I haven't made it any further. Got sidetracked with other books while waiting for the sequel.

Kevin Pariseau did an excellent job on the narration, did a fine German accent, which is what really counted in this one. :)

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

I love Michael J. Sullivan and this book's no exception. Before The Crown Tower was released, I'd read that Michael was wary going into a prequel series, because let's face it, they rarely go well, but that he would only do it if there was something good there to write about. I.e., he didn't want to beat a dead horse.

I'm so glad he went for it. The Crown Tower ranks up there with the best of the original series (that I've read, still two more if you can believe it!). Michael writes fun fantasy that's hard to put down. What more could you ask for? There's always room for more of his work. What need I say more? Definitely no more of these questions?

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)