shinyjenni: Hermione from Harry Potter hugging her satchel; text reads "♥ books" (hermione hearts books)
incorrigibly frivolous ([personal profile] shinyjenni) wrote2016-01-02 04:32 pm

Books and comics read in December 2015

Quarter Days - Iona Sharma
Silence: A Christian History - Diarmaid MacCulloch
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
Uprooted - Naomi Novik
The Paradox - Charlie Fletcher
Star Wars: Shattered Empire
The Burning Stone - Kate Elliott
The Sibyl in her Grave - Sarah Caudwell
All-New Ghost Rider: Engines of Vengeance
The House of Eyes - Patricia Elliott
Wolverine and the X-Men: Death of Wolverine
Legends and Liars - Julia Knight
Ultimate Spider-Man: Silver Sable
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear
The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Operation S.I.N.: Agent Carter
Star Trek DS9: Hollow Men - Una McCormack
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne Harris
The Dragon Keeper - Robin Hobb
The FitzOsbornes at War - Michelle Cooper

Didn't finish: Charm - Sarah Pinborough. Retelling of Cinderella with a rather unlikeable main character and added horror elements. Not terrible but not really my thing and not good enough to make me continue regardless.

I loved a lot of things about this book! It was mostly really enjoyable to read, I loved Agnieszka and Kasia (I wanted SO MUCH MORE KASIA), I really liked the world it was set in, and the way themes of roots and uprootedness resonated throughout was pretty great. But I really hated the romance. I knew going in it was going to be a hard sell for me, to be fair - I am basically fed up of reading about het romances, and I particularly dislike older man/younger woman pairings - and although I did quite like Agnieszka and the Dragon learning to work together, I just could not forget how awful he was to her at the beginning of the book, and how badly he'd treated all the other girls before her. He felt like two different characters, the monster and the love interest, and I didn't buy the transition from the former to the latter at all. I mean... he might have had a good reason for it, but... he still took teenage girls from their families and kept them in fear and servitude for ten years. :/

On a separate note, I was pretty uncomfortable with the gender implications behind the Dragon being the main proponent of ordered, logical magic whilst Agnieszka's magic was intuitive and based on what felt right. (NB this might well be leftover Mists of Avalon rage rather than to do with this book in particular.) I don't think this was intentionally meant to be a statement on how men and women do magic in this world, but there wasn't a huge amount of evidence to the contrary, and it was a pretty gender-divided world overall. (Also, a world apparently devoid of queer people. :/) So whilst there was a lot to like about this book, and I will probably try the sequel if there is one, I couldn't wholeheartedly love it.

Star Wars: Shattered Empire
This comic, picking up just post Return of the Jedi, was... fine. I think high expectations slightly ruined it for me, because I was expecting Star Wars + Greg Rucka to result in something amazing, and it didn't quite. I mean, there was nothing actively bad about it, and it had some really good bits (Leia's storyline was great, though I wasn't as keen on the art for that section), but it never really came together for me. I think the problem was that it was just too short - only four issues and a lot of ground to cover, so there really wasn't any space to do anything except cover all the plot. Alas! (NB I read this before I saw The Force Awakens, so my reactions to it weren't affected by the subsequent Cloud of Sadness.)

The House of Eyes
This was a really fun historical mystery-type kid's book - it lost a star for using phonetic dialogue to mark the working class characters, but otherwise I liked it a lot. The heroine, Connie Carew, is appropriately spirited, determined and charming, and her allies - dead posh suffragette Lavender, music teacher Arthur, and Robert, the boy next door who is pleasingly impressed by her daring adventures - were great too.

Star Trek DS9: Hollow Men
Really excellent. All the regulars were really well characterised, and the A and B plots balanced each other beautifully: the former featured Sisko and Garak on earth, dealing with alliances, consequences and morality, though not without lighter moments; the latter involved everyone else back on the station dealing with various shenanigans, which also touched on the same themes as the main plot.

The Gospel of Loki
This was well written, but the gender politics were basically "women amirite" and, let's be honest, Agent of Asgard has basically ruined me for other Lokis. :/
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)

[personal profile] raven 2016-01-02 04:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Seeing Quarter Days in lists like this is giving me the best kind of cognitive dissonance. :) Also, I nodded a lot while reading your thoughts on Uprooted! I really wanted to love it, and I did like it, but. *hands*
muccamukk: Creedy and Quinn reenacting a lightsaber battle. Text: "Bedtime Stories" (Reign of Fire: Stories)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2016-01-02 04:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Those were basically my feelings about Uprooted. I mean, she tried to have a woman who was good at ordered magic (the smith character), but she mostly seemed to be there to get her ass kicked. Which didn't really help?

I really, really don't understand why it wasn't a femslash romance, with the Dragon as a much more ambivalent character who she learns to work with. I'm surprised at how disappointed I am in NN about that.
mllesatine: two women taking swigs from their beer bottles (Default)

[personal profile] mllesatine 2016-01-03 11:02 am (UTC)(link)
That's your reading list for December? o_0 Looks like mine for the whole year.