10. Friedman, C.S. Crown of Shadows (The Coldfire Trilogy, bk. 3) (525 p.)
11. Crane, Stephen. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, and Other Short Fiction (192 p.)
(Contents: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets; The Monster; The Blue Hotel; The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky; The Open Boat)
February total: 717 pages
2016 YTD total: 3,288 pages
I said most of my bit about The Coldfire Trilogy last month. It's good. It's really good. Each volume shows how to have an epic fantasy story that finishes in one volume, then the next volume raises the stakes and expands the scope. Then does it again in the next volume.
The titular Maggie is a peek into life in the tenements in late 1800s New York City; somewhat similar to O. Henry's stories, though a little darker, perhaps by way of Upton Sinclair. If anything, the short stories are somewhat similar to the stories that accompany Kate Chopin's The Awakening. My only previous familiarity with Stephen Crane is with The Red Badge of Courage; these stories show that that one wasn't a fluke (despite being a 21-year-old writing about a war that took place before he was born), he really was an excellent writer. All of the stories here are quite good--examinations into the dark corners of human psyche, though not constantly as oppressively bleak as one might think from that. Highly recommended, especially the other four stories.
Feudalism: Serf & Turf