Something clever I'll change later

I like fantasy. The end.
The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes This book had a great premise, but the tag line is more exciting than anything that actually happens in the book. It was kind of boring, and while I'm fine without pages and pages of exposition, a LITTLE explanation wouldn't have gone astray.

Mostly just a police procedural, and there's a reason I don't read mystery. I like my sci fi. But the fantastical element in this story really didn't do or matter much. The whole book, while well written and a page turner, left me feeling unfulfilled.
Lud-in-the-Mist - Hope Mirrlees, Neil Gaiman, Douglas A. Anderson Want to read: more pre-Tolkein fantasy. It seems so interesting.
The Oracle's Queen - Lynn Flewelling This book was an okay conclusion to what was just an okay series. I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary fluff in every book that only served to bog the story down rather than propel the characters forward, and this book was the most guilty of that. Not that much really happened, even though it was supposed to feel like the climactic ending to a series. Instead, it just fell kind of flat. I mean the big bad baddy of the series died by being pushed out of a window. I mean really?! That's the best you could come up with? At one point a character even says something like "Hm, what an ordinary way to die for someone who was so feared." Yeah, no kidding.

There is an author's note at the end about the evil bowl that has been in the whole series but never played a serious role. She says it figures a major part in her other series, that starts with [b:Luck in the Shadows|74270|Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner, #1)|Lynn Flewelling||2495].

Do I care enough to go to that series? Right now, not really, but maybe at some point in the future.
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer Original rating from when I read this in 2007 was 5 stars.

It is interesting how my view has changed in the years since I originally read (well, listened) to this book. I know a lot more about myself, religion, my own views on religion, but most of all, I know more about Jon Krakauer. And honestly, the last is the most important piece of the puzzle.

He is an excellent non-fiction writer, there is no doubt about that. Practically all of his novels have been best-sellers, and for non-fiction, that's pretty astounding. But Into Thin Air is widely acclaimed as bullshit - how can I go from knowing that, to taking him at his word about Mormons?

Well, I can't. There was a lot in this book that I thought, "Wow Jon, you're really spinning this to tell the story you want to tell." That's not to say that Mormonism, and the story he spins here, isn't extremely compelling, because it is. I could hardly put this book down. But there were a number of times when he would present the reader with a fact, but then never fully explain it, while other facts that he is able to completely justify in his Mormons-Are-So-Evil story, he went into excruciating detail. It was practically like he was saying, "See!! See that thing I said earlier! This totally justifies it!"

Yes, I find Mormonism scary. This book compounds that.

I just don't think it was actually a good book.
Legend - David Gemmell So I liked this way more than I thought I would.

It was chock full of fantasy tropes, but for some reason it just didn't bug me. The story wasn't even all that interesting - old and new soldiers arrive at a city that is about to be sieged by a horde of a bajillion tribesmen. The siege happens. The end.

There was even a two page passage in the middle told from the point of view of one of the tribesmen that actually brought tears to my eyes. What!? Crazy. I never cry. (I also always tell the truth *shifty eyes*)

I was totally surprised and even though it was a little silly, I really liked this book. Will be checking out the sequels and praying not too many things get retrofitted.
Monument - Ian  Graham I love that when I was younger and everyone always said "Don't judge a book by its cover!" and I listened. I think I actually enjoy books with terrible covers more than awesome ones, it's like it sets the bar slightly lower for me so when the book is good I'm pleasantly surprised.

That being said, this book looks awesome! That wizard is giving me such a smugly skeptical look. Must read.


So the cover has NOTHING to do with this book. It's mostly about a drunken lout with a vague background that is only ever hinted at (and a page of explanation about 3 pages from the end of the book) who kills and kills and kills. Lots of rather boring violence; I ended up skimming the last half of the book.
You - Austin Grossman So, I haven't read Ready Player One, which just about everybody seems to compare this to. Austin Grossman has a really interesting Wikipedia page, where I learned he has been involved in such industry gems as Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows, and Dishonored. He's also been involved in the amazingly bad Jurassic Park: Trespasser (highly recommend the Let's Play) and the game that killed the Tomb Raider franchise, Tomb Raider: Legend. AND it told me that not only does he share a last name with Lev Grossman, author of [b:The Magicians|6101718|The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)|Lev Grossman||6278977], but they are twins! WOAH!

The point is, Austin Grossman has a lot of experience in the actual video game industry, and he has a twin who has written one well-received and one not as-well-received book.

This book was just BORING. I didn't care about any of the people, and I really didn't care about the fake history of a fake video game company. It started with an ASCII game and went on up, describing the play and the story and where the characters were in their lives. Then it described a Civilization 1-esque game. Then it described the next few games in the franchise. Then it described the first person shooter. Then it described the space colonization game. And then, finally, thankfully, there were no more fake games to describe.

So, so boring.

Also, even though he was a "writer and game designer" on multiple video games, I'm not actually sure he knows the limits of what video games are capable of. For example, he's trying to cross a moat, so he cuts down a tree and makes a bridge. There is no game I know of that is capable of this (especially in 1998) unless the programmers SPECIFICALLY wanted you to do that. Or maybe Minecraft, where you can repurpose the wood however you like. That is a small example I realize, but is a microcosm of how games are talked about for the entire novel. Most of the things I was rolling my eyes at were totally anachronistic for how video games actually work.
The Fox Woman - Kij Johnson Both of these novels (I'm including Fudoki) were just a little flat for me. I thought the medieval Japan was really cool (and a little terrifying - I mean the ladies could never leave their house, like, ever. Kill me now). But I never felt like any of the characters actually loved each other.

The writing was beautiful and evocative, and everything was totally imaginable even if it was so foreign to me.
The Winter Prince - Elizabeth Wein I didn't think this was rave awesome awesome like a lot of the reviewers on here, but it was alright. I generally love Arthurian stuff. I've read a shit ton, and this was an interesting take on Mordrid. The part at the end where they're walking through the woods as prisoner/generic douchebag drug on for way too long and I got bored of it.
Les Misérables - Victor Hugo, Norman MacAfee, Lee Fahnestock I did it. I have more to say, but after 8 solid months of commutes listening to this audio book, I'm just kind of exhausted.
Written on the Body - Jeanette Winterson Finished JUST in time for book club, which meets in about....6 hours. Yikes!
Parasite - Mira Grant I got to attend a reading with Mira Grant as part of the SFWA Northwest Reading series, which was at a pub and I was a glass of wine in which really made it even more awesome. She read a really great short story, was funny and charming, and it made me feel guilty for never going back and finishing the Newsflesh Trilogy. Not bad enough to actually DO so, of course.

Anyway, the point is, I have a copy of this coming in the mail. WHATTUP. Thank you Goodreads First Reads!
Dragon Avenger - E.E. Knight 1.5 stars

It starts off exactly the same as the first book, with dragons hatching, but from the point of view of AuRon's sister, Wistala. So the beginning of the book is a complete rehash of events we already know. Then the rest of the book is really, really boring. I liked the first one alright but will not be continuing this series. Besides, I have heard nothing but terrible things about the last book in the series, so there's not much point in getting there.
A Unicorn is Born - Trinie Dalton, Kathryn Ayer, Kathrin Ayer "Oh sure customer, I'll help you find that book. It should be right about OH HEY UNICORNS."

Cut to me flipping through a book about unicorns (with bonus intact stickers YES PLEASE) instead of helping a poor gentleman find his book.

We never did find that other, obviously inferior, book.
The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper 2.5 stars

The overall concept was familiar to me, but although I knew where it was going to end up, there were some twists along the way. I've dubbed it "lady sci-fi," and I put [b:The Handmaid's Tale|38447|The Handmaid's Tale|Margaret Atwood||1119185] by Margaret Atwood as the shining example of this genre I made up, with something like [b:Native Tongue|285563|Native Tongue (Native Tongue, #1)|Suzette Haden Elgin||2866090] by Suzette Haden Elgin and [b:A Gift Upon the Shore|149840|A Gift Upon the Shore|M.K. Wren||144627] by M.K. Wren to be lesser known but no less viable alternatives.

It is interesting/different in that the women are the ones in charge after the men blew up the world. And of course the men are still maligned and they just want to take over and have sex. There are also Christian fundamentalists out in the woods treating women like cattle (this is no surprise, this is a common theme.)

It never quite got there for me. Maybe because I'm not a mother, and a lot of the themes of the book have to do with losing one's sons. The "climax" of the book, so to speak, as I'm not really sure there was a climax, seemed like it was supposed to be heart-breaking, but...I didn't care much.

Sometimes I get really tired of the lady sci-fi genre thumping the reader over the head with the ideas. Men are bad, Christianity is bad, you can only rely on women, etc.

Also there was a supernatural element and I HATE that.

And how could I forget. There was one really bizarre passage about how the women had isolated the "gay gene" and managed to eradicate it so we could all be breeders.


Yeah. No problem making people telepathic BUT NOT GAY ANYTHING BUT THAT.


Dune  - Frank Herbert This was, I believe, my 4th time reading this book. I'm relatively sure I read it 3 times in high school, the last time being when I was 17 or so.

This was a very different reading experience than it was back then.

I'm much more well-versed in the genre now, and also a much more astute reader. I have also read the Wheel of Time a couple of times. I thought I was mostly joking when I dubbed the Aiel "Fremen" to help differentiate all the WoT factions for my partner. Yeah wow no. They are Fremen, through and through. The obvious desert setting aside, they are also constantly quoting prophecy as it pertains to Paul/Rand, there's one guy who's not impressed with Paul/Rand and gets all angry and wants to fight (Jamis/Couladin), the love interest turns out to be a Sayyadina/Wise One, she is put to train Paul/Rand in their strange desert ways and gets angry/embarrassed when he messes up, they have a saying "God created Arrakis to train the faithful"/"The Three Fold Land."

I'm probably missing some, I should have kept a list as I thought of them.

Don't get me wrong, I love Wheel of Time, and the Aiel are only a small part of the story, it was just impressive how much was lifted.

So...Dune. The climax was not nearly as climactic as I remember it being. I never got excited to read the book, really. I was wondering if maybe because it is told from an omniscient narrator and even today that is hard to pull off, let alone in the 60s. It takes away most of the suspense when you know exactly what all the major players are thinking at all times. I also got really sick of everyone within hearing distance of Paul saying/thinking things like "Wow that was an astute question," "Damn that kid is smart," "He sure acts older than his 15 years." Geez we get it, he's a kid, he's soooo special, can we move on?

I still liked it, of course, but I don't think I LOVED it, like I did when I was younger.

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