Never say never…


This week over at The Broke and Bookish the Top Ten Tuesday topic under discussion is:

‘Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read’

I found this one surprisingly difficult because it just seems so defeatist admitting that I won’t read these books because you never really know.  The books I probably won’t get to fall into a few areas – either I’ve had them for so long that they’ve lost their appeal somehow, they’re so huge that I find it daunting or I’ve seen the film already and so lost interest in the book:

  1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I did buy a copy of this and tried the first few chapters but I seriously don’t think I will ever complete it. (Big Book Syndrome – BBS)
  2. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time – which I feel bad about but the sheer scale of the series just distracts me.  There’s a lot of love for this series though so part of me really does want to go there!  BBS
  3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – this is a book that has a lot of positive reviews but I’ve seen the film and it always puts me off reading the book.  I have to read the book first.
  4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel – for the same reason as above – already seen the film.
  5. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton – this book is suffering from being sat on the tbr for too long.  I bought it ages ago and really liked the look of it but I find that the longer the book sits looking at me the more my interest dwindles.
  6. Looking for Alaska by John Green – another book that I bought eons ago!
  7. Part of a series that I’ve lost interest in – The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness.  Read the first two but don’t think I will complete the series.
  8. Tallula Rising (The Last Werewolf No.2) by Glen Duncan.  Unfortunately this was another series that I started but just didn’t work out for me.
  9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – seen the film so won’t pick the book up now.
  10. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, readalong: final week

Today is the final week of our readalong of Max Gladstone’s Two Serpents rise. Lynn over at  Little Lion Lynnet’s  is our host this week.  Without further ado lets get to the Q&A and if you haven’t read this book be aware that there will be spoilers below.

1. I think we all pegged Mal for being involved with whatever is going wrong in Dresediel Lex after the way Book 3 ended last week. How do you feel about discovering how deep that involvement goes?

Sort of disappointed to be honest – which I think just goes to show that I was really hoping that she wouldn’t be quite so bad or that somehow she’d manage to find some sort of compromise and would be redeemed.  I wound up feeling like she was just as big a fanatic as Temoc and would stop at nothing to get what she wanted.  I mean, I always had trust issues with Mal but I really didn’t expect her to be quite so extreme.

2. Caleb and Temoc have to work together to save Dresediel Lex (and the world) from certain destruction. Do you think they make a good team?

I quite enjoyed reading that element of the story and again was surprised that Temoc had such different intentions.  Clearly he’d pulled the wool over my eyes as well as Caleb’s.  I think Teo’s remarks about him not being a team player when they were running up the stairs was a good hint in that direction and also her distrust of him should have given me more of a clue but I just failed to pick it up and was really hoping that he was going to go all out to try and make Caleb’s suggestion work.  He didn’t really end up making any friends in the end.  Strangely, Mal and Temoc turned out to be very similar in the way they were prepared to go to such extreme lengths.

3. What do you think of the narrative’s overall treatment of Teo? Especially in light of her role in the finale?

I think Teo has been an interesting character to read and I was a bit surprised to be honest at her becoming such a victim all of a sudden.  Again I didn’t see that coming at all – but, she managed to turn the situation around and with Caleb working with her summon up the Red King.  I was pleased with the eventual outcome for both Caleb and Teo.

4. In the epilogue Caleb seems to have found a way to compromise between the ways of his father and the new world brought about by the God Wars. Do you think he’ll succeed in his goals?

It does seem like something of a dangerous idea but I really think he could make it work, The Red King seems inclined to help and Teo and Caleb make a good partnership.

You have to hand it to Max Gladstone for coming up with such an unusual world filled with strange creatures, magic and Gods and for managing to make his stories into something much more than you would generally expect.  I’ve really enjoyed all the discussion that this book has inspired and so thanks to all the other bloggers for making this so interesting.

Other bloggers taking part:

Lisa – Over the Effing Rainbow
Lauren – Violin in a Void
Anya – On Starships & Dragonwings
Heather – The Bastard Title
Lynn – Little Lion Lynnet’s 
Ria – Bibliotropic
Susan – Dab of Darkness

Hexed (The Sisters of Witchdown) by Michael Alan Nelson

Posted On 3 May 2015

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 11 responses

Just finished reading Hexed which was a really entertaining start to what promises to be a great new series of urban fantasy books (at least I hope there are going to be more books!)

This is a fast paced story with plenty going on.  We get off to an immediate start after a young girl called Gina is abducted following a stop over gone wrong at the local spooky derelict house.  This is no normal abduction though, Gina has been literally grabbed and pulled through a mirror by a witch – it doesn’t bode well!  Her father, who witnessed the whole thing and is now only too aware of the supernatural world that exists around us, has been given a name for somebody who may be able to help retrieve his daughter.  Clearly, calling the cops isn’t going to help – Gina’s father Buck is only too well aware of that as he is one.  This is going to require a different touch.  And this is how we’re introduced to Lucifer.

Lucifer is a thief, not of jewellery or other valuables, but of mystical, magical, enchanted things that she takes from people who would use them unwisely.  She’s had a rough start in life which has resulted in her knowing how to handle herself.  And, she’s been hexed.  Unfortunately, Lucifer went too far and stole from the wrong person – The Harlot or Keeper of Secrets – not somebody you really want to get on the bad side of.  On top of that Lucifer is low maintenance – the most girly thing about her is her bag of tricks and her soft toys – and I think we’d all love a bag of tricks like that!

So, why did I love this book.  The writing is so readable.  It’s the type of writing that just makes it look easy to write when actually it isn’t.  Nelson definitely has a way with words and the ability to conjure a scene.  On top of that he’s taken the ‘witch’ theme and come up with some really creative ideas.  Possession by filcher demons, the harlot, the whole history behind Witchdown, the witches themselves and how they got to be so powerful – it’s just a really good story, well told.

The plot is literally about trying to recover Gina from the aether before it’s too late.  She’s been dragged to Witchdown by one of seven all powerful witches and clearly they’ve not dragged her there to exchange beauty tips.  Getting her back is going to involve a little bit of detective work, a little bit of thievery and a lot of near death encounters.

Lucifer is the main character.  The name, which I’m sure you’ll be wondering about, is a nickname made up from the two names of her grandmothers Luci and Jennifer.  Okay, maybe she could have come up with something a little less devilish but there it is and to be honest it kind of suits her (just as well though that her grannies weren’t called Penny and Issy, or Diana and Blossom, for example!). Then we have David, Gina’s boyfriend, who is also anxious to find her and keen to help with the search, although, his motives start to seem a little dubious as the book goes on!  In that respect, I’m just going to throw in here that there’s an ‘almost’ love triangle coupled with a little bit of ‘instalove’ – yes, the most hated tropes of YA and urban fantasy, but, before you all run for the hills I will just say that it’s not really annoying in this instance – in fact there’s a sort of method in the madness going on here and not only does it serve to demonstrate how very much Lucifer longs to be just a ‘regular’ girl with a boyfriend, a fact we all tend to forget when we’re reading about the next kick ass female, but, also, it is used later on in the story to good effect.

I didn’t really have any criticisms – I did have a moment where I wondered why Lucifer would put herself into such dangerous situations to recover a girl that she doesn’t even know but I think that’s cleared up later in the book.

Overall a fast paced, amusing, highly creative and fun, alternating with scary, read with a very good ending.  I sincerely hope there will be more.

I received a copy through Prometheus for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

SPFBO Update

This is my latest update on the SPFBO.  A quick recap.

The next six on my list are as follows:

  • Andrew Rowe – Forging Divinity – checked out the first few chapters and intend to read further
  • Janice McKonly – Welcome to Mystery Interior – an interesting idea, I read about 15% of this but decided ultimately it wasn’t for me.
  • Scott Decker – Gemstone Wyverns – checked out the first few chapters and intend to read further
  • Cindy Young-Turner – Thief of Hope – checked out the first few chapters and intend to read further
  • Jake Scholl – Blade of the Broken, read about 30% of this book and was quite intrigued and may return to it.
  • Ruairi Cinead Ducantlin – Verum – Exercitum ex Nihilo- I couldn’t get into this one unfortunately, I gave it a good shot at around 21% but was unable to really get into the story.

To the authors of Welcome to Mystery Interior, Blade of the Broken and Verum.  Thank you so much for submitting your books for review.  Like I’ve previously said it’s difficult to eliminate certain books off the list and it’s not necessarily because I disliked them but at the end of the day there’s only one book going forward and so I have to narrow down the choices along the way.  The three I will continue to read and review are below with descriptions from Amazon:

Forging Divinity by Andrew Rowe:

Some say that in the city of Orlyn, godhood is on sale to the highest bidder. Thousands flock to the city each year, hoping for a chance at immortality.

Lydia Hastings is a knowledge sorcerer, capable of extracting information from anything she touches. When she travels to Orlyn to validate the claims of the local faith, she discovers a conspiracy that could lead to a war between the world’s three greatest powers. At the focal point is a prisoner who bears a striking resemblance to the long-missing leader of the pantheon she worships.

Rescuing the prisoner would require risking her carefully cultivated cover – but his execution could mean the end of everything Lydia holds dear.

Gemstone Wyverns by Scott Decker

Under Guardian William’s rule, people huddle in castles, dreading the next attack of the Gemstone Wyverns. As Josh Wyrmherd admires a large uncut diamond, which awaits the next king to claim it, a wyvern crashes through the window and steals it from the castle. Accused of assisting the wyvern, Josh is exiled from the kingdom and begins a journey that will change his life.

Thief of Hope by Cindy Young-Turner

Sydney, a street urchin and pickpocket in the town of Last Hope, has managed to evade the oppressive Guild for years, but there is no escaping fate when she’s sentenced to death for associating with the resistance.

After she’s rescued by a wizard, Sydney is forced to accept that magic—long outlawed throughout the Kingdom of Thanumor—still exists, and the Tuatha, a powerful faery folk, are much more than ancient myth and legend. When the wizard offers a chance to fight the Guild and bring Willem, bastard prince and champion of the Tuatha, to the throne, Sydney embraces the cause as a way to find her own redemption.

But Sydney’s fear of the Guild, distrust of authority, and surprising connection to the Tuatha threaten Willem’s success. Can she untangle the strange threads that entwine her life not only to the fate of the kingdom, but also to Willem himself?

Out of 12 books so far I’ve eliminated 8, reviewed one and chosen 3 more to continue reading (and which I will definitely review).  From the number overall I have a further 13 (or 15 if I have time to include the two extra books).

‘The night’s as hot as hell. It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town….’

This week over at Tough Travelling Nathan from the Fantasy Review Barn is taking us once again through the tropes of fantasy.  The topic this week is: THE BIG CITY

There has to be somewhere in Fantasyland where everyone comes together. All roads lead to Rome after all. A place where traders prosper, politicians scheme, and criminals thrive.

The Emerald City – all the yellow brick roads lead there after all and it has an all and powerful wizard in residence.  The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum

City of Stairs by Robert Bennett – I guess the clue is in the title but in this book we visit the City of Bulikov and it’s certainly impressive.

London Below – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a very interesting take on London City – what lies beneath and through the gaps, particularly of society.

The hundred thousand kingdoms by N K Jemisin – The City of Sky – this is an awesome book with great world building.

Gotham City – holy urban landscape! – Sorry, I couldn’t leave off Gotham City.

Hon mentions:

Minas Tirith – Lord of the Rings

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