July 17th, 2013


Books that I read in June

Gah! How did it get to be the middle of July?!

40. Niles, Douglas. War of Three Waters (Watershed Trilogy, bk. 3) (374 p.)

41. Peretti, Frank. This Present Darkness (376 p.)

42. Peretti, Frank. Piercing the Darkness (441 p.)

43. Christie, Agatha. Ordeal by Innocence (254 p.)

44. Stover, Matthew Woodring. Iron Dawn (402 p.)

45. Levin, Ira. The Boys From Brazil (268 p.)

46. Taylor, G.P. Shadowmancer (300 p.)

June total: 2,415 pages
2013 YTD total: 16,156 pages

Half-way through the year, and I've completed one reading goal for the entire year and am just shy of completing the other? Must have been doing a lot of reading. (It's something I easily could do while watching MLE, which is why there's been so much of it the last few months, but now that she's walking, there probably won't be quite as much of it for the next few months.)

I somehow managed to read books 1 & 3 but not 2 of the Watershed Trilogy, which colored my reaction to volume 3 somewhat--except that, even with more than 10 years since I read volume 1, I didn't actually need to have read either of the previous books to be able to follow volume 3. It's... okay, with some interesting ideas, and an obvious shout-out to a renamed Switzerland's geography transplanted into a fantasy world, but that's about as far as it goes.

The Peretti sequel is better-crafted than the original, but the original is a significantly better story, and recommended. Even if you take the religious aspects as fantasy, I think it's still a good story. (Though I still mentally laugh at the person who, in a discussion of Michael W. Smith's (also excellent) song, "Ashton", seemed to be reacting to This Present Darkness as if it were pure nonfiction.)

Christie is normally good. This one's better than her average. It isn't so much a mystery (though it is that) as a investigation of the psychology of the innocent people in a locked-room mystery where all but one are innocent but everybody suspects everybody else.

Iron Dawn is a low-magic fantasy set in otherwise real-world Bronze Age Palestine, with nigh-unkillable zombies as the only actual fantastic element. It has a kick-butt female "barbarian" protagonist, and for most of the story it looked like this might be one of the few major-publisher female-protagonist fantasies that doesn't use a particular triggery trope either during the story or in a heroine's background as a shortcut for characterization, but then it pretty much went there anyway. (Kind of like an anti-Bechdel Rule.) It's otherwise fairly readable, and the protagonist uses her brains as much as her brawn in ways I'd otherwise applaud and exhort other authors to follow suit regarding if I hadn't then been soured by that particular inclusion. (It looks like the sequel starts with Our Heroes going to help defend the city that eventually would be known as Jerusalem against the invading horde of Hebrews. I don't think I'll be tracking that one down.)

The Boys From Brazil is flat-out excellent and highly recommended, though these days it has to be interpreted as historical fiction rather than the "this could be happening right now" setting it was intended to evoke when written.

Shadowmancer wants so hard to be The Golden Compass except with more quasi-Christian trappings, and it just isn't anywhere near that level. A few somewhat interesting ideas one could glean for DMing a role-playing gamem but otherwise not worth the slog.

Feudalism: Serf & Turf