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As the third book in a trilogy about con artists, I can't tell you anything about this book without spoiling it.  Not plot-wise, at least.

I can tell you that the payoff to a series never winds up being quite as good as you expected -- and in this case, it was better.  I can tell you that I never knew what was coming next, but the moment I saw the words on the page it was all perfectly clear, perfectly logical.

I can tell you that nobody's the good guy (but almost everyone is trying to be) and almost nobody's the bad guy.  And when the characters have their emotions spilled out on the page, I felt them as if they were my own.

Favorite book so far this year.  I'd have to check, but I think Red Glove was my favorite last year.  And I'd have to check again, but I'm almost 100% sure that White Cat was my favorite the year before that.

If you haven't read White Cat yet and you like stories about grifting, impossible moral choices, and a villain with a heart of gold, go get it.  Go get it right now, and then come back and discuss it with me when you're done.

Thanks, Holly.

matt_doyle: (Default)
Whoever authorized the outline for this terrible, shitty, misogynist book that undermines everything the KOTOR games were about and kills any lingering joy from them should be fired.

Likewise, whatever soulless drone edited the manuscript should be fired as well. Seriously, who allowed this 298-page monstrosity? No inner character depth or development is revealed. The main perspective character is a Sith on a futile mission we don't give a shit about. All female characters are either hindrances or compassionate but ineffectual assistants (including the Jedi Exile herself). And no Jedi ever contemplates any alternative towards violence, nor ever uses a Force ability that is not directly combat related.

Worst book I have read so far this year.


Nov. 29th, 2011 01:05 pm
matt_doyle: (Default)
Just finished The Magician King.

The characters do in fact learn not to be huge douchebags.

I cheered.

Still some deeply problematic shit here and there, but all in all redemptive enough and interesting enough that if/when the next one comes out, I'll pick that up too.

Comments may contain spoilers as people discuss.
matt_doyle: (Default)
Today I am thankful for fantasy writers who put lush, flavorful worlds around noir-influenced criminals. Just finished Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick, which is being touted as a new Lies of Locke Lamora, but is I think closer to a new Jhereg. Less humor and more hardboiled sensibility than TLOLL, though certainly there are parallels. Anyone who's either a fan of Lynch or Brust will almost certainly enjoy, and the thieves' cant dialogue used by the main characters is linguistically delicious besides. Anyone who enjoyed Maledicte will probably get a kick out of the world-building, too.

For that matter, I was also forcibly reminded of my playthroughs of Oblivion and Dragon Age 2.

Maybe I just get too much into this particular subgenre.
matt_doyle: (Default)
So. I just finished reading Collegiate Harry Potter Goes To Narnia Only Instead Of The Kids From Harry Potter We Used The Cast From RENT.

AKA The Magicians, by Lev Grossman.


I am not going to know whether I liked this book or not until I get my hands on the sequel.

Thus endeth the review. Please to discuss in the comment threads, por favor.
matt_doyle: (Default)
Oops, missed one of the books I read over the weekend!  A Red Death by Walter Mosley. 

As ever, I love the Easy Rawlins novels, and the way they negotiate law and ethics as two entirely separate fields, which, given the setting and subject matter, is appropriate.  While this one is a more formulaic sort of noir plot, the emotion poured into the story is what makes it stand out as incredible.  Easy is blackmailed by the FBI into helping them nail a suspected communist spy, who quickly becomes a close friend, someone Easy loves and admires.  Negotiating the question of treachery in about four different directions at the same time, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a solution Easy can live with, especially as a growing spree of killings surrounding the case builds its body count; with no seeming motive or link between the victims except their connection to Easy himself -- making him the prime suspect. 

With his personal life increasingly entangled in the case, and just as messy, the final solutions are equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Highly recommended.

I'm back!

Oct. 23rd, 2011 09:10 pm
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I got 2447 words of fiction written, mostly on the next couple chapters of The Hellion Prince, but also including three (mutually exclusive) openings to my Cthulhu Christmas story.  I also read a lot, though I didn't nearly make it through all 17 books.  In fact, I almost exclusively read graphic novels, but some of them were big enough to take up novel-length stretches of time.

I read:

Amulet, Volume 3: The Cloud Searchers
by Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Volume 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi

This series continues to be fantastic and far more nuanced than a first glance at it appears.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Volume 2, Flashpoint  This was a re-read, because I can never keep track of which volumes of this I have read and which i have not, but it was still enjoyable.

Superman: The Wrath of Gog  Like most Superman stories, this was one was crap.  In my not-so-humble opinion, Superman stories are only worth telling when the author puts an ethical dilemma center-stage:  the kind of problem that power cannot solve.  Otherwise, Superman has a tendency to turn into a blustering slugfest finished either with a Dramatic Punch or a deus ex machina.

Kill Shakespeare: Vol. 1 by McCreery, Del Col, and Belanger.  I've heard a lot of good things about this series, and it's intriguing to me, with its metafictional concept; but the writers are frankly sloppy at crafting good Elizabethan dialogue, especially when it comes to grammar, and in other ways the execution is imaginative but so far fairly directionless.  Still, I'd read the next volume in the hope that it improves.  They better stop mixing up thee, thou, and thy; however.  That shit is unforgivable.

Justice League of America:  When Worlds Collide.  Written by Dwayne McDuffie.  Meh.  Not great, not terrible.  not one of McDuffie's better efforts.

Castle Waiting, Volumes 1 & 2, by Linda Medley.  Frankly fantastic.  An entertaining but original remix of folklore with a spectacular and diverse cast of characters (and boy are they characters) and an intriguing, if slow-building, plot.  The plot moves well through Volume I and nearly stalls entirely in Volume II, but watching the characters interact with one another was well worth my time.  Still, when I get my hands on Volume III, a little more better happen.

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson.  Actually the second book in the Mistborn trilogy, and I have not read the first, but it does a good job of standing alone.  I was relatively impressed by the worldbuilding, very impressed by the magic system and the plot twists.  Some of the characters were one-dimensional but others were incredibly nuanced, and the prose was uneven but better than average on the whole.  I'm definitely going to track down the first book in the trilogy, and almost certainly the third as well.  'Original' is not something I say often about epic fantasy series; but I'll say it about this one.

Alex Rider:  Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz.  This series is more or less equivalent to James Bond, but centered around a modern teenager; and this is apparently the final title in the series.  The series as a whole is a great adaptation of the unique Bond blend of action-excitement, techno-gadget porn, cheesy names and plots, and genuine drama; and the last book fully lives up to the promise of the series.  At times, certain scenes were so evocative that my brain actually conjured the James Bond soundtrack to play in my head.  I can only hope that Horowitz will get Conan-Doyled into continuing these books.

Seven titles to go, and I expect I'll get to them later this week.  With luck, I may even review them...

matt_doyle: (Default)
Yesterday I read a fantasy novel - the start of a series - called The Warded Man. It was excellent, readable, and enjoyable, though as usual I was irritated by the cliche of having the one main female character as the Healer, when the main male character got to be the Badass Warrior. There's a secondary male character who is much less badass than the Healer, so that was sort of okay until a spoiler made me apoplectic. )

Has anybody read this book, and would you care to discuss it? I will NOT be getting over that plot point, but up until that stage it had a great many virtues and cool ideas worth talking about. I honestly don't know if I'll continue with the series when the next book comes out.


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