Catching Up: Books Read, June 2012
A Star Shall Fall, by Marie Brennan. This series continues to improve as it moves further from the original Elizabethan Faeries time period. The really delightful thing is that, while the first book centers around a Fae-mortal romance, the faerie queen in question continues to take mortal consorts, with whom she will never have romantic relationships, as part of the magical agreement that bound her to the first one. They all have different motivations, different backgrounds, different reactions to the consortship--a little as if the Doctor-Companion relationship were contractual and included formal requirements. In this case one requirement is that the consort be a noble born within the old city walls of London, a requirement that gets harder to fulfill as time passes... This particular installment also has Haley's Comet, a dragon, alchemy, and a giant magical clock. It's good.
Dead Reign; Spell Games; Bone Shop; & Broken Mirror, by T.A. Pratt. Finishing up all but the most recent installment in the Marla Mason series. This is urban fantasy in the older sense, with very little in the way of romance--the titular character attempts two relationships over the course of the series, neither of which especially works out. But she has plenty of interesting friendships, professional connections, and enemies.
This isn't "vampires and werewolves"--there are magic-users in a variety of flavors, along with gods, demons, and et cetera. The plots focus largely on politics between the magic-users, who are to varying degrees scheming, ambitious, and manipulative in the pursuit of esoteric knowledge/power. Marla runs a small city, and is absolutely ruthless in its defense. Her ruthlessness is probably the most interesting thing about the series, and she uses it to get out of several nasty situations in ways that make me wince... and Pratt manages to pull off making her pay for it (as eventually seems inevitable) without making her pay for being a ruthless *woman*. Pratt actually plays around with gender expectations quite a lot, including things like a male character whose entire magical power is being sexy. Highly recommended--but with the warning that the series is funny enough that it takes a while to notice just how dark it is. The body count gets a bit Martinish.
Range of Ghosts, by Elizabeth Bear. You know how most epic fantasy takes place in Not Medieval Europe? This takes place in Not Central Asia Just After the Death of Ghengis Khan. And is awesome.
Ad Eternum, by Elizabeth Bear. I plead inability to review this book rationally, on the grounds that I am in it.
How Much For Just the Planet, by John M. Ford. I so did not appreciate this book sufficiently when I was fifteen. And when I was fifteen, it was one of my favorite Star Trek novels. I now catch about three times as many of the jokes as I did twenty years ago. When I'm in my sixties, I wonder if I'll finally be old enough to appreciate Ford properly. (For the three people who haven't read it yet, it's Star Trek musical comedy. It has a Neil Gaiman cameo and also a pie fight. You should read it.)
Other Media Consumed: none. It was that kind of a month.
Total Books: 8
Recent Publication: 2/8
Recommendations: Marla Mason books recommended by rushthatspeaks.
New Music: None.
New Media Created: Y'all will forgive me if I now have trouble remembering what I wrote in July. I should start keeping Thud posts again if I'm going to fall this far behind on book reports.