shinyjenni: Cass sits cross legged, wearing her Batgirl costume, reading a book and rubbing the back of her head (cass)
incorrigibly frivolous ([personal profile] shinyjenni) wrote2017-01-04 05:24 pm

Books and comics read in December 2016

In the Ruins - Kate Elliott
Dead in the Water - Dana Stabenow
Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman vol 2
The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
As I Descended - Robin Talley
Hellblazer: Staring at the Wall
New Avengers: Standoff
Ms Marvel: Civil War II
All New Wolverine: Civil War II
H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald
Dragons At Crumbling Castle and Other Stories - Terry Pratchett
Star Trek: Articles of the Federation - Keith R. A. DeCandido
Siege: Battleworld
Railhead - Philip Reeve
Crooked Kingdom - Leigh Bardugo
The Graveyard of the Hesperides - Lindsey Davis
Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok
Jolly Foul Play - Robin Stevens
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid

As I Descended it turns out I'm not into high school AUs in a pro context any more than in a fan context. I wanted to like this - it's a modern retelling of Macbeth with a female lead and a diverse cast - but it just didn't work for me. I felt like I could see the story straining to fit itself into the plot of Macbeth, rather than following its own truth, and it led to none of the characters really feeling real to me. I never felt entirely sure that they would have acted in the same way if they weren't acting out Macbeth. That being said, I definitely didn't hate it (I did finish it, after all) - it was an interesting experiment, even if one that didn't quite come off.

I really enjoyed this: it's a children's/YA sf story set in a world where different planets are connected by semi-sentient trains, which is a great concept. The world isn't as rich and inventive as the Mortal Engines books, but still full of great details. I also enjoyed the gentle push towards casual diversity (it's definitely not all the way there yet, but it's clearly trying), though pretty disappointed that the main character seems to have been whitewashed on the inside cover. :/

Crooked Kingdom
What a satisfying conclusion! (And I'm not just saying that because I was rooting for two characters to kiss and they did indeed kiss, though that helped.) The plot was entertainingly twisty without ever being overly convoluted or clever-clever, and I just loved spending time with all the characters. Multiple narrators is a risky gamble but it definitely paid off: every time we switched PoVs I wasn't sure whether to be happy or sad.

Didn't finish: Aurora - Kim Stanley Robinson
I was absolutely here for the premise of this book - generation ship heading to a new world! - but sadly did not get along with the execution of it. I struggled to connect with the characters, and once the ship took over the narration after the first section, it started to read like a textbook, and I know Kim Stanley Robinson can do better than that; I really loved the Mars trilogy. Plus, I looked up some reviews on Goodreads and started feeling deep trepidation about where it was all heading - one of them used the phrase "punching idealism in the face" and... no, that's not what I want to read, especially not right now. Maybe one day. But not today. (Also, the reason I went review diving: two characters, one of them a cis woman, having a conversation, apparently in all seriousness, without correction from the aforementioned narrating AI, about whether living on a moon with effectively eighteen day months will affect women's menstrual cycles. Mate. We're not werewolves.)
ext_3965: (I Prefer Reading)

[identity profile] 2017-01-04 05:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm curious to know what you thought of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and H is for Hawk?
ext_23287: (silk)

[identity profile] 2017-01-06 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Really liked both of them! H is for Hawk was so raw and strange and kind, I loved it. (And I'm pretty sure I read it on your recommendation, so thank you!) Watchmaker I had a couple of issues with, but the world was so interesting, the writing was wonderful and I liked all the characters a lot - Thaniel in particular I had a lot of feelings about.
ext_3965: (Books - Too Many Books I Need To Read)

[identity profile] 2017-01-06 07:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Raw is exactly the word for 'H is for Hawk' - excellent choice. And yes, I probably did recommend it as I've been doing that a lot since I read it.

I got muddled at the ending of Watchmaker, but I put that down to my stupidly exhausted brain - I think I read it when I first in the throes of my infernal insomnia and I was half asleep or something when I got to the end. I plan on re-reading the book soon-ish though - hopefully it'll make more sense the second time around!
ext_23287: (buffy and willow)

[identity profile] 2017-01-08 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Fingers crossed!