Catching up on my reading

With Lady of Temia complete and off to the editor, I have had time to catch up on my reading. Well, not the New Yorkers or the Atlantic. I’m only one person; there’s only so much I can do.

So. Books. Since just about everyone I know has had a book out from Nightshade this year, I’ve basically dropped most of my money there.

Never Knew Another by JM McDermott.
Demons walk in Dogsland, and stalker shapeshifter priests go after them. But the demons are human, and excruciatingly vulnerable, even though they spread disease and death, and they are wholly sympathetic. One doesn’t like a JM McDermott book, but it’s not meant to be liked. Liking is for sissies, and this book isn’t. Beautifully written as always.

Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht.
1970s Northern Ireland, the Belfast punk scene, and the Good Folk combine in a rough and tumble novel. Gripping, hyper-real, dirty, as in you can feel the dirt of the city streets that Leicht describes.

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells.
I loved this book. This has Wells’ signature worldbuilding and wholly real character development, and her wry voice shines through. I can’t even explain how real the world felt, in which each race and city and culture had such well-drawn back story that they lived on even outside the main plot. My favorite was the city on the wheel that slowly turned…Wells could draw on the world she has created for all the rest of her novels and never run out.

Revolution World, by Katy Stauber.
The post-apocalypse has come and it’s pretty cheerful. Okay, Homeland Security are a bunch of douchebags, but the message that science saves and true love conquers all is darn convincing. I wanted to go there.

Not Nightshade, but Tor:

Deathless, by Catherynne Valente.
A Russian fairytale and the Siege of Leningrad. Beautifully written and un-put-down-able. You know how in the UK they bet on the Booker Prize? Well, I will bet that Valente wins the Nebula for this book.

Narnia for grownups

One of the things that I’ve always had trouble with was how to describe my own book. I managed to come up with this description while in the bar at Apollocon, with Chris Roberson, Space Squid * Nemesis Mikal Trimm, and a bunch of other people who I don’t remember. (probably John Picaccio, Matthew Bey, JM McDermott, and Lou Anders, but I couldn’t swear to it.)

Chris was like, “just say it, just say it!”** and I blurted out, “Narnia for grownups!” and he was like, “see, that works.”

So it’s all Chris’s fault.

 So if you stumble across this site after looking at the book and you think it’s about this chick and her horse, well it is — but it’s also Narnia for grownups.

No Aslan though.

 You can read a few reviews and interview stuff in my appropriately named reviews and interview page.

* They still haven’t updated their web site.

** He probably didn’t say it exactly like that but that was the effect it had on me.

Airplane reading

Besides the aforementioned Atlantic, I also took three books on my recent sojourn to the North.

John Moore’s A Fate Worse Than Dragons, which was pretty hilarious. John had mentioned it during the YA panel at Armadillocon and I was intrigued. I had already read Bad Prince Charlie and knew what to expect from John’s demented brand of fantasy satire. Well worth it.

Deborah Chester’s The Pearls, the beginning of a new series. Quite good, but I wished that the main character, the woman, wasn’t so…good. I mean, she was good and wise, and young and beautiful, and of course she has a soulful relationship with the really bad anti-hero. While I liked the book, it made me think about my own female heroes. I realize that I have a hard time writing women who are not so soulful, or men who are not stalwart. So the book made me look at my own writing style and approach to characterization. But it looks to be a good series. By the way, check out Deborah’s website, especially the trailer for The Pearls. Neat!

J.M. McDermott’s Last Dragon. I’m currently halfway through, and I am blown away. The world is fully realized and the plot unfolds against a backdrop of intrigue and war. I love novels in which you realize that world goes inside even when you close the book. This is one of them. And it is hands down one of the handsomest books I’ve seen in a long time. The nonlineal technique isn’t easy, however, and it does require a great deal of attention because of the intricacies of both the story and the structure. Still, worth a visit.