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review 2018-03-17 06:36
I feel like a book about mass poisonings, satanism and an inquisition should have been more exciting.
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris - Holly Tucker

Maybe it just lacked focus? Maybe it was taking on a topic that in the end was too broad and too murky?


The basic storyline follows the investigations of a police chief into an escalating and expanding series of poisonings, plots, satanism, and possible human sacrifice (the last never completely confirmed). I think the problem comes from how unconnected a lot of the suspects were, and how the implications to high politics were always vague at best.


Thus we end up spending chapters on one noble woman methodically assassinating the majority of her family, whose plot is only to prime the later panic, but doesn't really have much else to do with the book. We also spend chapters and chapters on everyone Louis XIV was sleeping with, which was a lot of people, man, only two of whom were actually relevant to the whole poisoning/satanism issue.


I'm all for setting up background, but it seemed to be a lot of background to actual investigation ratio going on in this book. Which might of been a good thing, because the investigation involved very little gumshoe shenanigans and a heck of a lot of torturing the fuck out of people. Which was graphically described. So.


The writing itself was fairly good; a lot of the slice of life period detail was interesting, and I always like Kate Reading's narration. I dunno, Vive la révolution, I guess.

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text 2018-03-16 23:00
Kill Your Darlings (Yellow team)
Countdown City - Ben H. Winters


77 days left til the end of the world as we know it and he feels fine.

LOL  Couldn't resist.


An old baby sitter from his childhood wants him to track down her missing husband.


People are just up and dropping everything to do wish fulfillment stuff, but she thinks Henry can track this guy down because she thinks he's just off doing something silly and noble and he just needs to be asked to come home.  


He isn't even on the police force anymore.


Henry is way too nice for his own good.

I don't think the word no exists for him unless he's talking to his sister, and even then it's iffy.




Guess for Cause of Death:  shot with an arrow


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review 2018-03-14 22:06
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty

Recently, I seem to be bouncing off (or at least struggling with) books that other people really love and The City of Brass is sadly no exception to that rule. First off, it's a hefty tome even in paperback and it felt like it was taking forever to read because the first half of the book really dragged, to the point where I considered putting it down permanently.


It's a real odd mix of a book, in my opinion - fantasy but one where the main (supernatural and otherwise) characters are Muslim, set in a geography that is essentially (in parts) the Middle East and Central Asia of the 19th century. So we start off in Egypt as ruled by the Napoleonic army and end up in Daevabad, the djinn city of the book's title, then it's all sprinkled heavily with as much terminology for local colour as we can manage - nobody gets to wear a robe, it has to be a dishdasha, and so on.


Anyway, the story is told from the point of view of two characters, Nahri and Ali, the former once a street urchin now turned hustler and the latter the second in line to the djinn throne. When Nahri sticks her nose in somewhere it doesn't belong once too often, she ends up running for her life with another of the djinn, who reluctantly agrees to take her to Daevabad since he's actually a historic enemy of the folks who now rule there. Meanwhile Ali is trying to better the lot of the half-djinn in his city despite everyone telling him it's a bad idea and discovering just how little head he has for politics. 


I'm still not completely convinced as to whether The City of Brass is YA or not, especially since Nahri in particular is a teenager, and also because of the incipient love triangle. At least that wasn't overwhelming but it was also pretty hard to ignore and it doesn't really do much for me at the best of times, especially when one of the participants is a mass-murdering war criminal. I know girls like a bad boy but that seems a bit extreme. Unfortunately, Nahri as a character leaves something to be desired when it comes to sensible decision making anyway, which gets worse as the book goes on, so I guess it's in keeping with the rest of the things she thinks are a good idea!


Anyway, I finally finished it, the pacing issues started to work themselves out towards the latter third of the book though I still think it could have done with a tighter edit in places. It will come as little surprise that there's a sequel coming out (The Kingdom of Copper) at some point next year. Hopefully the author will sort out some of the first book issues but I have to say I'll probably be looking for a library loan rather than laying out cash. 

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text 2018-03-06 21:46
Kill Your Darlings - Red Team Tuesday, March 6th guess
Omega City - Diana Peterfreund


Using this book to guess Lydia Bennet as a victim



Author's first name begins with D, oh and there is a character who repeatedly touches things without knowing what they do... not too bright.

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review 2018-03-06 21:31
Omega City
Omega City - Diana Peterfreund


Some secrets are small -- the size of a battery, or a button, or a scrap of paper. Other secrets are so big they can bury a man alive, or tear apart a family ... or even destroy the world. Omega City was both.


Gillian's dad is a historian who specializes in Cold War conspiracies and wrote a book about Aloysius Underberg, a brilliant Cold War engineer. But Dr. Underberg is missing and Gillian's dad has been discredited. When Gillian is faced with an opportunity to solve Underberg's greatest mystery and prove her dad right, she can't resist. She enlists the help of her brother Eric, best friend Savannah, a NASA obsessed boy from school (Howard), and Howard's brother Nate. Others are searching for Underberg's secrets too, and they will stop at nothing to get them first.


This is an adventurous mystery with a strong female protagonist. Gillian's team faces life-threatening situations, including nerve gas in an elevator, goons with guns, and scuba diving in unknown waters. I think middle-grade readers will enjoy this thrilling adventure. (for fans of Luck Uglies or City of Ember). Grades 5-8


I am using this book to play a guess for Red Game victim: Lydia Bennet


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