Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald, Land of Mist and Snow
I picked up this because the sequel, Lincoln’s Sword
, just came out (Jim posted about it on Making Light
) and I’d never even heard of this before. Light fantasy-universe Civil War? With boats
? I’m there. I didn’t actually enjoy it as much as I expected to, and I’m not sure why; I liked the main characters well enough, and the basic plot (Union supernatural ship versus Confederate supernatural ship, with undertones about slavery and how far it’s acceptable to go when fighting evil), but it felt a little thin. I’ll still probably pick up Lincoln’s Sword
when I have a moment.
Tamora Pierce, Emperor Mage
Third in the Immortals series, and I think possibly the best. This is where Daine does most of her growing, empathy-wise, and while a lot of it happens a little bit in the background, I think that’s a valid way of trying to get across some complicated things. Rather than the European-fantasy world most of this series takes place in, here we are in Carthak, a kind of North African-fantasy world. (Not entirely Egyptian, but not really Middle Eastern, either. I like it a lot.) I love the depth this setting adds to the world; Carthak is just as complicated a place as Tortall, in the end.
The Walking Dead, Compendium One, Robert Kirkman
This is the first eight graphic novels of The Walking Dead all in one massive book, and I have to say, don’t read this unless you have a surface to rest it on. My wrist ached for days. Anyway — I read volume one of this series sometime last year, when I still thought I was writing a post-zombie apocalypse novel. I’ve since gotten rid of the zombies, but I remembered kind of enjoying the graphic novel, so I got this from the library when I was feeling like something post-apocalyptic. This series is the graphic novel form of everything I liked about 28 Days Later — it’s less about the zombies than about what people can do to each other when their support structures fall apart. It’s pretty much relentlessly horrible (they have a little party when it’s been a month since someone died, about three-quarters of the way through the book), so I can’t recommend it unless you really like that kind of thing, but I sometimes do. There’s only one graphic novel out past this compendium, and I’m a bit relieved I don’t have much more to catch up on.
Caitlín R. Kiernan, Low Red Moon
I honestly do not know why I finished this book. I made a deal with myself sometime last year that life is too short to read books I hate, but I think that by the time I decided I hated this book, I was within fifty pages of the end and it seemed like a waste not to keep going. The plot was all right, and I rather liked the antagonist — Narcissa Snow, a woman with just enough supernatural in her to make her not-human, but not enough monster in her to make the mosters accept her, which was driving her crazy — but the protagonists were obnoxious and tedious, and their marriage was even more so. I’m a little disappointed, I wanted to like Kiernan’s stuff, so I might try out The Red Tree anyway, but this book…ugh.