52. McCann, Jim & Janet Lee. Return of the Dapper Men (128 p.)
53. Waid, Mark & Mirco Pierfederici. The Victorian Guide to Murder (Ruse, series 2, vol. 1) (96 p.)
54. Cook, Glen. Bleak Seasons (The Black Company, chronicle 6) (316 p.)
55. Cook, Glen. She is the Darkness (The Black Company, chronicle 7) (470 p.)
56. Pratchett, Terry. Wyrd Sisters (Discworld) (233 p.)
57. Robinson, Spider & Jeanne. Stardance (152 p.)
58. Brust, Stephen. Dzur (Vlad Taltos series) (285 p.)
59. Brust, Stephen. Jhegaala (Vlad Taltos series) (300 p.)
October total: 1,980 pages
2011 total to date: 17,160 pages
Return of the Dapper Men is beautiful & surreal. I'm still debating whether it's really good and I just don't quite grasp it, or whether it misses the mark. (I'm told there will be further volumes, which might cause the story to make more sense.) McCann seems to explain in great detail some things that didn't need so much explanation, and leave vague some things that really could use at least a teensy bit of explanation, but I still came away feeling like it was a really good book. Weird, but good.
Ruse was one of the original CrossGen series that I really enjoyed, so I'm happy to see it back as a going concern. Now track down Barbara Kesel & bring back Meridian, already!
I generally like the Black Company stories, but Cook needed to edit these down quite a bit, and needed to find some way to include an actual ending in each book or at least every other. I know real life continually ends with "to be continued", and that's part of the point of a journal/chronicle as these are supposed to be, but the filler in between the few chapters that incrementally shift the main plot ahead a notch isn't good enough to make me want to keep inflicting that on myself. Supposedly there's an actual ending after two more books, but sheesh; what's here could've been told--and ended up as a stronger story--in half the space or less.
Pratchett parodying Shakespeare is definitely a good time.
Stardance definitely deserves the awards it's won, but since it's so deeply rooted in a dancer's need to dance, I can appreciate the art, but it doesn't speak to me as deeply as it probably would some other people I know.
Two more Vlad Taltos books read, and each shows that it really is possible to tell a complete, compelling, and enjoyable story in 300 pages or less, and still also tell an overarching story across the entire series. A definite contrast to the drawn-out slog that the Black Company books turned into. (And despite similarly comprising a whole-series page count in the multiple thousands, pretty much the opposite of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.)
Feudalism: Serf & Turf