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review 2019-10-02 22:51
Days of Air and Darkness / Katharine Kerr
Days of Air and Darkness - Katharine Kerr

The city of Cengarn is under siege. Armies both astral and physical are massing for and against the goddess Alshandra, who seeks to prevent the birth of one fate-bound child. It falls to the dweomermaster Jill and her allies to protect the child's human mother, Princess Carra--and Deverry's already foretold future--by magic and by might. But as the warrior Rhodry wings toward the battle on dragonback, he cannot know that soon he will face his ancient enemy, Alshandra's high priestess Raena, who will use any means to destroy him. Their confrontation could turn the tide of the siege--and change the fate of Deverry forever.


This is a very odd series, just for the combination of features that the author uses. Celtic history and language used in a rather realistic way, but liberally salted with Magic, the ethereal plain and it’s otherworldly beings, and now Dragons. I have a difficult time knowing what to write about because of this scattering of elements.

I find some of the dialog tiring because of the way that Kerr phrases it. I realize that she has chosen her form of “Bygone-ese” and is sticking with it, but I find it gets in my way while I’m reading. Your mileage may vary.

I must admit, however, that I find Rhodry’s strategy when partnered with his dragon in battle was ingenious (and as realistic as possible regarding dragons). This despite admitting that I don’t really like Rhodry much as a character, which is a bit dismaying since he’ll be continuing on in the next book and Jill won’t be. Not that I was entirely sold on her either, mind you.

I’m not sure why this series makes me a bit cranky, but it does. I’ve already purchased the next two volumes from my used book store, so I’m pretty sure that I’ll read them, but prepare yourself for more whining when I actually do.

Book number 327 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2019-08-03 23:21
American Dervish
American Dervish - Ayad Akhtar



DNF @ 65%


It's not like me to DNF a book, particularly one which was chosen for my book club.  But I just couldn't face any more of this novel right now.


It's summer and dysfunctional family drama just isn't on my reading menu at the moment.  I attended book club last night, Rice Krispie square in hand (it was much too hot to bake), and confessed that I hadn't finished the book.  This is a first for me.


Several other people really enjoyed it, so I chalk this up to my own reading mood.  


Life is too short to read books that aren't delightful.

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text 2019-07-20 22:16
Reading progress update: I've read 54 out of 780 pages.
City of Golden Shadow - Tad Williams


Started this book while waiting in the laundromat yesterday.  Two chapters in, and both have made reference to Jack & the Beanstalk.


So, so different from his Dragonbone Chair series!

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review 2019-07-19 21:08
Stone of Tears / Terry Goodkind
Stone of Tears - Terry Goodkind

In Wizard's First Rule, Richard Cypher's world was turned upside down. Once a simple woods guide, Richard was forced to become the Seeker of Truth, to save the world from the vile dominance of Darken Rahl, the most viciously savage and powerful wizard the world had ever seen. He was joined on this epic quest by his beloved Kahlan, the only survivor among the Confessors, who brought a powerful but benevolent justice to the land before Rahl's evil scourge. Aided by Zedd, the last of the wizards who opposed Rahl, they were able to cast him into the underworld, saving the world from the living hell of life under Rahl.

But the veil to the underworld has been torn, and Rahl, from beyond the veil, begins to summon a sinister power more dreadful than any he has wielded before. Horrifying creatures escape through the torn veil, wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting world above.

If Rahl isn't stopped, he will free the Keeper itself, an evil entity whose power is so vast and foul that once freed, it can never again be contained.

Richard and Kahlan must face Rahl and the Keeper's terrible minions. But first, Richard must endure the ministrations of the Sisters of the Light, or die from the pain of magic that is his birthright and his curse. While Richard undertakes the arduous journey to the forbidden city of the Sisters, Kahlan must embark upon a long and dangerous mission to Aydindril, citadel of the old wizards, where she hopes to find Zedd and the help only he can lend to their desperate cause.

War, suffering, torture, and deceit lie in their paths, and nothing will save them from a destiny of violent death, unless their courage and faith are joined with luck and they find the elusive...Stone of Tears.


Let’s call this 2.5 stars for my reading experience of this volume. I was quite shocked, as I had enjoyed the first book enough to give it 3.5 stars. But reading this one just wore me down. Just as the first volume dwelt lingeringly and lovingly on Denna’s torture of Richard, this volume seems to document the brutality and misogyny of the Imperial army in the same way. 

Finally, just over 80% of the way through, I reached a point where I just couldn’t take any more and resolved to set the book aside until I could face that level of hatred & violence again. Now, I get that Goodkind is setting the bad guys up as truly evil with these attitudes of theirs, but I am a woman and when I read all this violence and vitriol against women, it grinds me down. I hear enough of this shite in the news each day and reading it in this extreme form in literature too just feels like masochism. 

Last night, feeling buoyed up by my Sherlock Holmes summer project, I resolved to finish this book. I am pleased to report that the hiatus did the trick--I was able to finish the novel without noticeable distress. And now Richard and I have learned the Wizard’s Second Rule--you may do things with kindness as your intention, but these acts may lead to unexpected negative consequences. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

I have planned to read the third book in this series before the end of the year. I have to say that I’m kind of dreading it and that I am already planning to use my new strategy for reading it. The Blood of the Fold are another bunch of misogynist assholes, so I’m planning plenty of breaks while I read that sucker. I can’t guarantee that I will finish it, but I will give it an honest try.

Book number 324 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project. 

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review 2019-07-16 20:21
They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded / John Alan Gardner
They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded - James Alan Gardner

Only days have passed since a freak accident granted four college students superhuman powers. Now Jools and her friends (who haven't even picked out a name for their superhero team yet) get caught up in the hunt for a Mad Genius's misplaced super-weapon.

But when Jools falls in with a modern-day Robin Hood and his band of super-powered Merry Men, she finds it hard to sort out the Good Guys from the Bad Guys--and to figure out which side she truly belongs on.

Especially since nobody knows exactly what the Gun does . . . .


A fond homage to the comic book superhero. The books feature four young women who have accidentally acquired super-powers. The first book featured Kim/K/Zircon and this second book is all Jools/Ninety Nine. I loved Jools in the first book, so this one was a treat.

Jools is the jock who had been drinking too much and flunking out of university up to this point. Now she has some kind of mental link to the internet and mad inventor skilz. Previously, her main aims in life are to play hockey and absorb booze. Now, Jools must find out what her life as a Spark is going to look like. I really like her snarky humour and her outlook on both her old and new lives.

”My family lives in Edmonton and I went to see them for Christmas. Ten days of R&R with my father and four snoopy sisters. Fortunately, their questions were all “Do you have an actual boyfriend yet?” rather than “Have you accidentally acquired superpowers?”

“‘Invie’ is short for ‘The Inventor’; what he invents are gadgets above and beyond physics. They’re what we call ‘Cape Tech’ because ‘Mad Genius crap that defies the laws of God’ sounds judgy.

“I’m fine now,” I say. “I could model for Elle. Or at least Horse and Rider.”

A handful of super-smart inventor types have managed to stay sane, but dozens of others spend their time prancing about in jackboots and building armines of giant zombie dinosaurs. Whenever I tell myself I’m strong enough to resist that temptation, a voice in my head says, “You can’t resist Cheezies. You think you’re gonna resist going evil?”

Maybe I’ll make a fanny pack with useful odds and ends. Or a utility belt! I could build a utility belt! Cuz nothing says “super” like someone whose belt weights ninety-five pounds and sags down to show her butt crack.

I could just go on quoting--there are too many scenes where Jools has something amusing to say.

I am assuming that the remaining two room-mates will get their own books soon. At least I hope so. I am very much looking forward to hearing this author speak at When Words Collide next month!

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