Showing posts from September, 2022

The Grief of Stones

The Grief of Stones Katherine Addison, 2022 Premise: Sequel to The Witness for the Dead . Thara Celehar thinks his life in Amalo is becoming routine when he is presented with a possible murder, an unexpected assistant, and a secret message asking for help.  A few days after I finished this book I went back to the beginning and read it again. It's been a while since I liked a book enough to do that.  I love this world and these characters and this style. What a fantastic series. And this one adds just a touch of subtle pining. Thara is still too raw after his personal tragedy to think of pursuing any kind of romantic entanglement, but surely his friendship with the flamboyant and brave opera director, one of only a few people who seem to care about Thara for himself, will remain only friendship... so our protagonist tells himself, anyway.  There's a moment that's going on my list of top all-time emotional literary moments, is all I'm saying.  More tangled plots and subte


Redshirts  John Scalzi, 2012 Hugo Winner - 2013 Premise: Andrew Dahl and four other new crew members on the starship Intrepid soon learn there is a reason no one wants to go on away missions... Reading this book in 2022 instead of 2012 comes with one gigantic problem: I've already seen two seasons of Star Trek: Lower Decks. And it's hilarious and fantastic. So Redshirts now has a bigger challenge to convince me that these characters are worth caring about. And that's actually the only place it fails. There's a smart stylistic choice made here that is both necessary for the plot and the only big flaw in the book. The characters are largely featureless and interchangeable, exactly the way minor characters tend to be on shows like Star Trek. In fact, this very fact is important for some late twists in the plot. However, being smart and necessary doesn't actually keep it from feeling like a flaw. It means the book is more philosophical exercise and intellectual puzzle

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society and The Whispered Word

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society and The Whispered Word Ellery Adams, 2017, 2018 Premise: Nora loves her bookshop, but doesn't really have many friends until a customer turns up dead. I have been really into series and cozy mysteries in the last few years, so when this one caught my eye I decided to try it out. The description I got really emphasized that the books are about a group of female friends, and that sounded like something I was in the mood for. Unfortunately, that wasn't really what I got.  Instead, these are fairly by-the-numbers cozies, with their wacky minor characters and their main character with a crush on someone in law enforcement. The group of friends (the society in the title) become close in the first book because they're all interested in a murder in their town and they're all women with some sort of secret in their past. So they decide to fast-forward their bonding by spilling their backstories one after the other like they're playing

The Singing Hills Cycle Books 1 and 2

The Empress of Salt and Fortune When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain Nghi Vo, 2020 Premise: These lightly linked novellas follow Chih, wandering cleric from the Singing Hills, in their capacity as collector of histories, stories, and the space between the two.  Perfect. Divine. Breathtaking. If you love fantasy, if you love stories, stop what you're doing and read these.  They can be read in either order (and there are more to come in the series), although I think starting with the first ( The Empress of Salt and Fortune ) might give a better introduction to the world.  And what a world! Deeply fantastical and deeply Asian-inspired, it's a marvelous place to visit, if dangerous to live there.  Each novella includes a frame story about Chih and a secondary story being told by one or more characters. In The Empress of Salt and Fortune , an elderly handmaiden cleverly reveals to the cleric the secrets behind recent power struggles in the empire of Anh. In When the Tiger Comes Dow