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Yesterday I pulled a copy of The Birthday of the World (and other stories) by Ursula K. Le Guin off my shelf that I hadn't touched in a few years.

Found $240 inside.

I now have the vague idea that I might have stuck it there for concealment three years ago when the door to my apartment was broken.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Do you have any other books I could borrow??? ;-)


[Looks through his copy]


* has new idea for teaching kids that reading is rewarding *


I once hid some money (I think it was $100) in my Paranoia RPG boxed set, forgot about it, opened the box a few years later, and found the money. Sometimes, the computer IS your friend.

Anyway, last month, in this thread, I mentioned that I enjoyed the first two books of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, but not the third and fourth so much. In my effort to figure out my gripes with the fourth book, Summer Knight, I came up with the way the book grows more and more vague about the nature of the Nevernever. Maybe that was Butcher's intention, the idea being that it's beyond mortal comprehension, but I was growing sick of the place. And I never cared about any of the characters in the series. (Well, at least I still laughed at the jokes.)

I gave up on the The Dresden Files, and I only went back to it because Lord Snow replied that books 3 and 4 were his least favorite (and even shared my views on what made book 3 bad) but voiced his opinion that the series gets better starting in book 5, which, he said, starts the process of real character development for Harry.

So I forced myself to finish the fourth book, and now I'm over 99% through the fifth, Death Masks. Well, it doesn't deal with the Nevernever, at least. But I still don't care about Harry, nor anyone else. And like books 3 and 4, book 5 is long enough that by the time we find out whodunit, I've ceased to care about that as well. I hardly ever even laugh at the jokes anymore. I see no reason to move on to book 6.

Still, it's made a bit of an interesting diversion. I've never been much of a fan of urban fantasy novels (always having preferred HIGH fantasy) so the fact that I've read this far speaks well of the series.

The Exchange

Sorry for the misleading recommendation, Aaron. To me book 5 really was the point where I got invested in the series and the character. Interestingly, a lot of that might have been because I found the jokes to be really funny ("Sod works in mysterious ways" ^_^). I wonder if that might be the major difference - I kind of find it hard not to care about a character that makes me smile so often.

Shadow Lodge

Sorry to hear it wasn't for you. I can't offer much commentary or suggestion otherwise - everything you dislike about the series, especially the Nevernever stuff and the characters and jokes, is high on my reasons for loving it. Hopefully you'll find something you like better.


Oh, don't be sorry. I don't consider my time wasted. Again, it made for a nice change from my usual fare. And my son loves hearing me recount the stories (although I had to censor certain parts.)


Got hooked after re-reading Purple Place for Dying, and swiftly ate through Long Lavender Look, The Dreadful Lemon Sky, The Empty Copper Sea, and Dress Her in Indigo. Next up: One Fearful Yellow Eye.

And I'm vindicated in comparing them to the Jack Reacher books, having found an interview with Reacher author Lee Child who goes on at length about how impressed he was with John D. MacDonald and what a big influence the Travis McGee books were on him.


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On Saturday I read 'Brokedown Palace' by Steven Brust, in which all the place names are apparently Grateful Dead song titles translated into Hungarian, and 'The Fortunes of Brak' by John Jakes, which is a bit more straightforward.

Lunchtime reading is a (PDF) translation of Hanko Dobringer's fechtbook from 1389 - German longsword stuff. Rosa is making my brain ache, in the meantime.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Brokedown Palace was probably my least favorite Steven Brust novel. But I really liked almost all of the other things I've read by him. I didn't get the Grateful Dead references, and that's probably for the best. :-P


Aaron Bitman wrote:
So I forced myself to finish the fourth book, and now I'm over 99% through the fifth, Death Masks. Well, it doesn't deal with the Nevernever, at least. But I still don't care about Harry, nor anyone else. And like books 3 and 4, book 5 is long enough that by the time we find out whodunit, I've ceased to care about that as well. I hardly ever even laugh at the jokes anymore. I see no reason to move on to book 6.

If you don't like that one, the series definitely isn't your thing. Some books are Nevernever heavy, others don't use it much at all, but Death Masks is a pretty good exemplar of what the series in general is about.


Finished the book on the Napoleonic years. Despite the very last section being about the creation of the Byronic Bonapartist myth and its selective relationship with reality, I still feel ardent.

Will spend the rest of the week reading Hawthorne and Poe but, honestly, La Principessa's coming up tomorrow night so we can drive out to Plymouth Rock and protest Thanksgiving with Native Americans, so I doubt I'll be reading much.

The Exchange

I finished Nightblade. It was fun and distracting, but not as good as Nightglass. Isiem didn't have as strong a character arc in the sequel and despite some of the interesting things that could have been done with Ascaros' character, the plot remained a pretty standard dungeon crawl.

Now I'm reading some juvenile hist-fic: The Madman of Piney Wood, by Christopher Paul Curtis. It's a sequel to Elijah of Buxton with a split narrative (2 main viewpoint characters). Starts out with strong, distinct voices for the characters but I can already feel the plot points coming a mile away, and there was bit of awkward exposition that I didn't expect from Curtis in the first chapter.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Been mostly DVD-watching the past month to keep the To-Be-Read pile from growing too small during the "buy stuff for others" month, but finished [i]Darkening Skies/i] by Juliet McKenna yesterday.

Anyone who likes D'n'D/Pathfinder style fantasy should check out her stuff.

(Also, one of her trilogies is about commoners kicking out their crappy noble rulers, Comrade Anklebiter.)

The Exchange

Finished "The Gathering Storm" (The Wheel Of Time #12). Sort of wobbling between several choices for my next book. I might decide to read the concluding volume of the Revelation Space trilogy, or the second Dreamblood, or maybe start a new series.

The Gathering Storm thoughts:
Finally, some payoff for reading this series!

The Gathering Storm was a lot of things that books 5-11 of this series weren't. Cohesive, well paced, emotionally investing. The two major character arcs of Rand and Egwene are very well handled and actually feel epic - gone are the endless episodes of Ewgene huddling in a tent and complaining about a rickety chair, and gone is Rand's stasis of character. Ewgene replaces the endless spanking of the previous book with some very Sanderson-eqsue debates with the Aes Sedai of the White Tower where she logically convinces them in interesting arguments of the merits of her ways. Her story culminates in a gigantic battle where she gets to finally do something. After that battle she suddenly becomes stupid, resolving to attack Tar Valon with her army out of fear that Elaida rules the white tower again instead of, I don't know, sending an emissary to actually learn what's happening first. Fortunately things don't actually devolve into a war and she becomes the ruler of all Aes Sedai again.

This pattern repeats itself several times in the novel, of characters being uncharacteristically stupid (This is especially true of Cadsuane, who used to be my favorite character for her dominating presence but is now just kind of meh, and her plan of bringing Tam to talk with Rand and somehow hoping he doesn't mention her was just way too foolish).

This brings me to the obvious difference in style that sanderson brings to the table. After reading thousands of pages written by RJ in the last year, the places where Sanderson writes differently seemed glaringly obvious to me - starting from little things like choice of words (Sanderson uses the word "brain" instead of "head" to refer to people's thoughts - which is wrong. Egwene at one point thinks of the white tower as an "institution" which was very weird, and Rand uses the word "indeed" all of a sudden) and continuing to bigger inconsistencies like Cadsuane become less clever and Nynaeve becoming tolerable. I actually like Nynaeve in this book, and she used to be one of my top 3 most hated characters in fantasy of all time, so that's something.
But for the most part Sanderson did a remarkable job of maintaining the tone of the story and making the world feel similar. He mostly shed away the ceaseless wordiness of RJ (I used to think of Aes Sedai as a gaggle of clucking chickens to pass the time as I read about their meetings - now I actually care), and began to resolve long standing conflicts with daftness and remarkable economy of story.

Also, Verin's death scene was extremely touching and cool.

Couple of spoilerific questions for those who read at least up until this point in the series:

Spoiler:
1)So in Mat's story this book they talk as if a scene happened where Thom told Mat that Moiraine is trapped in some tower and they decided to go rescue her - at which I felt extremely bemused, because I can't recall reading that scene. Is it something that happened in this book? In previous books? It just came out of nowhere.
2) So there are now male Aes Sedai bonding female Aes Sedai and vice versa. But, since we know that when a a man is bonded to a woman they got all sorts of physical capabilities - such as enhanced awareness and greater stamina and all that - doesn't it make sense that when male and female Aes Sedai decide to bond they both bond each other?

Scarab Sages

Working my way through A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms - George R. R. Martin's Dunk and Egg collection. Pretty cool.


WoT Stuff:

I'll do my best to keep things to informatin available as of the end of TGS.

1) I think this is a reference to their scene toward the end of Knife of Dreams. Thom has his letter from Moiraine out. Mat's seen him with it constantly and finally asks. I think there's some thing where Moiraine made Thom promise not to show Mat the letter until he asked about it. So Thom's been waiving it in his face waiting for the big question. Once Mat asks, Thom lets him read it and they agree to hie unto the Tower of Whatever.

2) There's a discussion of bonding mechanics in this old FAQ, including all the permutations. It doesn't discuss whether a female channeler gets warder physical buffs. We know that the male recipients do because they save Rand's bacon now and then, but it's not clear that it works the same way for saidar users bound with saidin. It might be one of those asymmetries that Jordan likes. I don't recall any mention of the bonded Sisters noticing the buffs, but then they're not on stage very often. Maybe they don't get anything like that, though it's not conclusive.

Even if they did, it might be one of those things that's Just Not Done. A good 90% of WoT's plot hinges on unexamined cultural practices, most of which remain unexamined well past the point of insanity and in the face of clear self-destruction. An Aes Sedai willingly accepting bonding would put herself into a subservient and male role, both of which the series in general and Aes Sedai in particular seem utterly horrified by. Of course it's fine when they bond others. They always know best.

The Exchange

Samnell wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks. I'm shocked that I missed that scene in the answer to question 1 - nothing like that ever happened to me before. Current working theory is that I accidentally pressed the "move to next chapter" instead of "move to next page" in my kindle and never even noticed the lost pages. Makes sense as both my eyes and brain were pretty much glazed by the end of book 11.

Shadow Lodge

Just finished Embassytown. The ending shocked me, mainly because I never expect Miéville to provide a happy ending.

Also read Alanna by Tamora Pierce, on the advice of a friend of mine. I'm trying to learn more about writing children's books, and understanding how to structure a story simply yet intriguingly was important.

The Exchange

Finished listening to Pandora's Star (Commonwealth #1) by Peter Hamilton. Next up will be Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

Pandora's Star thoughts:
Audio was NOT the correct format to experience this work. About half the point (and about 80% of the actual words in the book) is all about the worldbuilding - Hamilton has constructed a gigantic, sprawling and utterly convincing version of the future - but that also means that for the page count, the book is very light on action. The average 3 hours of audio featured so little events of consequence that it felt like nothing ever happened. For a frame of reference, I have been listening to this book since the beginning of August. I'm absolutely certain that I would have enjoyed the book much more in text form.

As it is, I found most of the book rather dull. In what almost seems like a twist to me, Hamilton chose to focus in this story on the upper classes of future society. I'm so used by this point to grim visions of the future that focus on the plights of those least privileged by the new norms of society, that I've actually never read anything quite like this. All characters are on the scale from upper middle class to filthy rich, everyone is young and handsome and awesome at sex (of which there is maybe a bit too much for my tastes), and the society and new worlds of the future seem to be for the most part divided between pleasant metropolitan areas and incredible tourist traps. There is something honest about this kind of story - it delves really deeply into the more normal and daily aspects of the future, and probably reflects the life experience of the author. On the other hand, there isn't nearly as much conflict as when the characters are more downtrodden.

As to the plot itself, it is amazingly big and ambitious and I'm curious to see where it goes, even if a lot of the book seems to rely on unbelievable coincidences (the savage boy who went on to become one of the most elite operatives of one of the factions just happened to have stumbled into the camp of one of the more influential women in the Commonwealth and they fell in love, which is a major plot point, for example, and this is but one of many examples). Having already read "Fallen Dragon" by Hamilton and strongly disliking the ending there, I am weary of the plot going all stupid and revealing that all the slow build and intrigue isn't some intricate master plan but some rather stupid and loose twist ending waiting to happen.

I never really felt connected to any of the characters - most of them are cold and distant and have subdued emotional responses due to being hundreds of years old - and the fact that some characters spent the entire book doing *nothing* (there's some dude named Mark who becomes a hippy, and for the most part that's it, yet there are over a hundred pages of him in the story) really didn't help.

However, there are certainly some highlight beyond just the worldbuilding. The exploration of the namesake star system with it's incredible barrier was really cool, the journey of one character through alien worlds following the unfathomable paths of the Silfen to solve a great enigma lead to some great scifi of a completely different kind from the rest of the book, and the war scenes at the climax included some really awesome and innovative stuff, even if said climax did arrive somewhat out of nowhere. There's just something very appealing to me about humans beating back alien invasions by shedding their usual greedy flawed selves and becoming stupidly, irrationally brave, I guess.

Overall, Pandora's Star was an impressive and at times fascinating book, yet it was also deeply flawed. I enjoyed it more on an intellectual level than on a visceral one, and hearing it in audio spread over almost half a year didn't help. I will certainly be reading the second half of this book, probably in the coming months after I finish The Wheel of Time.


This Saturday, I read 'Dr Syn Returns', a ripping tale of pirate smuggler vicars.

I also have 'Renaissance Swordsmanship: The Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut and Thrust Swords' by John Clements, which is excellent - he makes it incredibly clear what you need to do and why. I look forward to putting it into practice tomorrow...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Finally finished Mistborn by Sanderson.

Started Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone.


'Kajira of Gor'. The rot set in some time ago, but really, these books are now nothing but 300+ pages of pretty much identical slave-girl blather with a tiny bit of plot tacked on either side as an afterthought. Rubbish porn and no thrilling planetary adventures either. Bah.

The Exchange

Finished The Madman of Piney Woods. It was entertaining, but not as good as the first book in the series. There were some loose plot threads at the end, mostly about the guy who

Spoiler:
shoots the madman of piney woods... and whom we never hear about again; you'd think there'd be consequences, but no.

Now I'm continuing with The Hare with Amber Eyes.. The plot (what there is of it for a biographical non-fiction book that covers four generations) seems to be picking up, now that the netsuke have reached Vienna and the family drama is becoming more intense.

One of my coworkers loved this book; my mom didn't even finish it. I'm on the fence - it's too good to stop reading, but not so good as to not be able to put it down. It's one of those "in-between" books: the kind you read in-between other books, and on trips to the dentist and such.


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Limeylongears wrote:
'Kajira of Gor'. The rot set in some time ago, but really, these books are now nothing but 300+ pages of pretty much identical slave-girl blather with a tiny bit of plot tacked on either side as an afterthought. Rubbish porn and no thrilling planetary adventures either. Bah.

Don't say we didn't warn you.


Sissyl wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
'Kajira of Gor'. The rot set in some time ago, but really, these books are now nothing but 300+ pages of pretty much identical slave-girl blather with a tiny bit of plot tacked on either side as an afterthought. Rubbish porn and no thrilling planetary adventures either. Bah.
Don't say we didn't warn you.

Quite so. If the definition of stupidity is doing exactly the same thing each time and expecting a different result, I've got an Int score somewhere around absolute zero after getting up to volume 19 and thinking things would be different this time :(

The Exchange

Finished reading The Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company #1).

While I was reading it, I stumbled across a series called Ruseel's Attic. It's about a "superhero" with the "superpower" of doing calculus really fast (alongside some super reflexes to make it count). Essentially, she dodges bullets by figuring out their trajectories before they are even fired. The books have math themed names.

It's as if someone wrote a book specifically for me. I snatched up Zero Sum Game by S.L Huang and am tearing through it already.

Black Company thoughts:
By all accounts I should have liked this book way more than I did.

I didn't like it almost at all, though.

I like many of the concepts - the chronicles of a mercanary company as told by their doctor and annalists, Croaker. It has a grimdark falvor but does something with the genre that I haven't seen yet - it is actually pretty high fantasy. Great sorceries destroy armies and landscapes while supernatural beings crush mortals in their struggles. Pretty cool stuff.

I had two pretty serious issues with the story though. First, a case of mismanaged expactations. I thought I was going into a military fantasy, but really for the most part battles are skipped over in favor of long descriptions of the quiter moments of soldierly life, inspections of the secrets and motivations of both soldiers and leadaers, and talk of strategy. Not bad (though most characters weren't very interesting), but not what I was expecting, which took me time to figure out.

Second, the overly brief writing style. It felt more like reading the outline of a story than the story itself - this reminded me of Jack Vance, whom I tried to read but gave up on for this very reason. This style just doesn't jive with me. At one point a scene ends with the company being ordered to storm and take over an enemy fortress. This is followed by a short paragraph saying, "so we did. We attacked at night."
That's just not enough for me. The whole point of reading a story is sinking into it, and I can't do that when it feels like I'm reading bullet points with connecting sentences.

Interestingly, this is the opposite problem to the verboise, overbearing and annoying endlessness of The Wheel Of Time. It appears I dislike both extremes, but shockingly, not to equal amounts. Reading 200 pages of Black Company took me about as long as reading 900 pages of Wheel of Time (even the really bad parts). It seems I'd much rather have too many details than none at all.


Lord Snow wrote:
this reminded me of Jack Vance, whom I tried to read but gave up on for this very reason. This style just doesn't jive with me.

Can I have your copy? As my nom de boards can attest, I'm a Jack Vance fanatic!

The Exchange

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
this reminded me of Jack Vance, whom I tried to read but gave up on for this very reason. This style just doesn't jive with me.
Can I have your copy? As my nom de boards can attest, I'm a Jack Vance fanatic!

It's an electronic one ;)

I dunno. Can't say it's objectively bad. Just really not enjoyable to me. Doesn't the lack of detail bother you?


Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company #1).

While I was reading it, I stumbled across a series called Ruseel's Attic. It's about a "superhero" with the "superpower" of doing calculus really fast (alongside some super reflexes to make it count). Essentially, she dodges bullets by figuring out their trajectories before they are even fired. The books have math themed names.

There's a character like this in the web serial Worm, though he's fairly minor (well, more accurately, he's a very important character, but only shows up a couple of times). He partners with a woman who has a similar power (She "Sees the path to victory", and then she takes it. Sort of like Combat Precognition, but applying to EVERYTHING).

They're neat.

I recommend the series, as well as his current series (Twig). There was another between these two (Pact) but it wasn't nearly as good IMO. Not good enough for me to unequivocally recommend it.

Fair warning, Worm is as long as roughly 11 novels.


Rynjin wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company #1).

While I was reading it, I stumbled across a series called Ruseel's Attic. It's about a "superhero" with the "superpower" of doing calculus really fast (alongside some super reflexes to make it count). Essentially, she dodges bullets by figuring out their trajectories before they are even fired. The books have math themed names.

There's a character like this in the web serial Worm, though he's fairly minor (well, more accurately, he's a very important character, but only shows up a couple of times). He partners with a woman who has a similar power (She "Sees the path to victory", and then she takes it. Sort of like Combat Precognition, but applying to EVERYTHING).

They're neat.

I recommend the series, as well as his current series (Twig). There was another between these two (Pact) but it wasn't nearly as good IMO. Not good enough for me to unequivocally recommend it.

Fair warning, Worm is as long as roughly 11 novels.

I haven't read it, but from everything I have heard it is also VERY dark.


It starts off gray and eventually ends up as a shade of black so deep no light can escape, but it's well worth the read. It's not "grimdark" by any means though.


Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong (same guy who did John Dies at the End)


Lord Snow wrote:
Doesn't the lack of detail bother you?

Vance lavishes detail on sociological concerns, but the fights are quickly sketched out. I do like that. His mastery of the language and use of exactly the precise word for each thing he's trying to say also helps him keep the word count down without (to my reading) sacrificing immersion or sufficiency of detail.

The Exchange

Rynjin wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company #1).

While I was reading it, I stumbled across a series called Ruseel's Attic. It's about a "superhero" with the "superpower" of doing calculus really fast (alongside some super reflexes to make it count). Essentially, she dodges bullets by figuring out their trajectories before they are even fired. The books have math themed names.

There's a character like this in the web serial Worm, though he's fairly minor (well, more accurately, he's a very important character, but only shows up a couple of times). He partners with a woman who has a similar power (She "Sees the path to victory", and then she takes it. Sort of like Combat Precognition, but applying to EVERYTHING).

They're neat.

I recommend the series, as well as his current series (Twig). There was another between these two (Pact) but it wasn't nearly as good IMO. Not good enough for me to unequivocally recommend it.

Fair warning, Worm is as long as roughly 11 novels.

I have heard so many recommendations for Worm already that it's kind of dumb I haven't got to reading it yet. I hear it's smart and well written.

I encountered characters of the type before, too - there's one in Brandon Sanderson's "Steelheart" (very minor), for example. Specifically I like the use of math for the flavor of the ability in these novels. The character thinks in vectors, probabilities and angles. From what I've read so far she also has a knack for doing real smart things with the power other than being good at combat, getting out of a myriad of different situations with some very cool and interesting tricks of applied physics that rely on her superhuman ability to calculate.


Still "reading" Rise of American Democracy. It's been a few days since I touched it. There are occasional good insights, but generally it's just awful. Given the popularity of this kind of book in the academy is basically zero, it'll probably be the standard text for a generation. Nobody wants to write straight political history anymore.

Among the greatest hits:
1) Indian removal was clearly bad and wrong, but Jackson meant well and his hands were totally tied, guys!

2) There was essentially no downside to turning the civil service into a giant piggy bank. One guy made off with a few million, but that was one guy.

3) You can't be proslavery unless you're the most radically proslavery it's possible to be, but as much as vague good intentions or a declaration that you're not actually that radical totally exculpates you. Even when you work very hard to suppress even the most ineffectual antislavery politics with unprecedented extremity and basically did nothing else on the issue.

4) Nobody had any decent reason to be apprehensive about a Jackson presidency. They were all just shameless elitists. The old man himself had done nothing to earn any suspicion.

I'm six hundred sixty-odd pages in and have no confidence this will get better. Wilentz seems to have anticipated his critics and worked very hard to make them right. I'd say the book is about 25% history and 75% pro-Jackson and pro-Democracy hackery. The patronage thing is especially risible, as Wilentz clearly expects his readers to just not know about the grievous harm that Jackson's practices did to the apparatus of state and very conspicuously elects not to inform them. I have the sense that he'd do the same with indian removal and slavery except that he couldn't get away without saying something about them.

And that's with my also thinking that the book's main competition is at least a hair too fond of the Whigs and evangelical reformers. I came in primed for an alternative to read against it, but this is not that book.


The Chaplain's War
by B. Torgersen


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Samnell wrote:
Wilentz seems to have anticipated his critics and worked very hard to make them right.

I love this quote.


Kung Fu Joe wrote:
Samnell wrote:
Wilentz seems to have anticipated his critics and worked very hard to make them right.
I love this quote.

:)

Wilentz deserves it. I wonder if he used something he found in the archives during his historian-in-residence duties at Bob Dylan's website and used it to time travel.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just finished Three Parts Dead and immediately started Two Serpents Rise, both by Max Gladstone.

Both are set in the same world of corporate wizard-attorneys, driverless carriages, suntanned vampires, devout gargoyles, even more devout technician-priests, undead CEOs, parkour, cardsharps, the ashes of a Gods War, human sacrifice, and international news criers.


SmiloDan wrote:

Just finished Three Parts Dead and immediately started Two Serpents Rise, both by Max Gladstone.

Both are set in the same world of corporate wizard-attorneys, driverless carriages, suntanned vampires, devout gargoyles, even more devout technician-priests, undead CEOs, parkour, cardsharps, the ashes of a Gods War, human sacrifice, and international news criers.

What did you think of Three Parts Dead? It's on my list.

Am I right in thinking it's the same world as Two Serpents, but a different part? Not the pseudo Mayan setting of Two Serpents?

Interesting bit of trivia I just found googling around: The chronological order of the books is indicated by the number in the title. Though they're not necessarily intended to be read in that order.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Neat.

Three Parts Dead was pretty good. A neat combo of urban fantasy, legal drama, and bizarro eteampunk. There's a neat twist in the end that I caught pretty early in the novel, so it made me feel clever. :-P

And then there was another twist I didn't see coming in the epilogue. :-)

So far, I think I like the characters in 2 better than 3.

The Exchange

Now reading The Girl with Ghost Eyes, by M.H. Boroson.

Do you like Kung Fu movies?
Hayao Miyazaki's crazy-looking sprits, goblins and ghosts?
Kick-ass heroines who thirst for vengeance against evil wizards?

Then this book may be for you! I know I'm enjoying it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Zeugma wrote:

Now reading The Girl with Ghost Eyes, by M.H. Boroson.

Do you like Kung Fu movies?
Hayao Miyazaki's crazy-looking sprits, goblins and ghosts?
Kick-ass heroines who thirst for vengeance against evil wizards?

Then this book may be for you! I know I'm enjoying it.

Just requested it from my library. :-D


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Red Heat by Alex von Tunzelmann. (About the Cold War in the Caribbean.)


Just finished reading The Rising of the Shield Hero, a translated Japanese novel (that was originally a web novel). It's basically a "normal person is summoned to another world to be a hero" story... except the world in question really, really hates him and tries at every opportunity to screw him over and make him suffer. It... gets pretty dark. Definitely an interesting fantasy story, though, and worth checking out.


Kajehase wrote:
Red Heat by Alex von Tunzelmann. (About the Cold War in the Caribbean.)

Dang. For a second I thought it was a novelization of the old Schwarzenegger movie!


Finally finished Rise of American Democracy. Wilentz might have improved his ratio of 75% pro-Jackson shameless hackery unbefitting his education or station in life to 25% history writing, but only as Jackson receded into the rear view mirror for a fairly conventional history of the late 1850s. There's one point in there that I might look a bit farther into as I understand it's the subject of some legitimate debate, but holy s@~% this was an awful book. It's so bad I intend to advance my plans to read more early republic stuff just to make sure sleights of hand he slipped past me get corrected before having chance to take root. The thing as a whole is every bit as mendacious as the editorial he crapped out a few months back that had the history blogosphere take a few moments out for a collective evisceration.

Wanted to pick up Excession and get my Culture fix, but it's not available as an ebook in the US. Dammit. Bought Old Man's War again. I can't decide if I like it or not so far. Started in a bad mood and the first few chapters are largely an exercise in an old man mourning and saying goodbye to his old life. Not the greatest time. The narrator reminds me a lot of my grandfather and I'm not sure if that makes me uncomfortable or nostalgic. It also feels very much like something written with a Sixties kind of scifi sensibility, which isn't really my thing.

Dark Archive

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Just re-read Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart, and it was as fun the second time as it was the first. Fun stuff set in an over the top 'mythic China.'

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