Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

Discuss SFF books and authors here.
User avatar
By ScarletBea
#135
Yay, our monthly threads are back!

Please come and tell us what you read in the last month.
This isn't a competition, some people read just one and others a lot more - we just like to know :happy:
User avatar
By ScarletBea
#136
In January I only finished 2 books because I've been reading several at the same time, plus magazines...

Monstrous regiment - Terry Pratchett
What a great book about gender roles, war, friendship and finding your place in the world! I definitely wasn't expecting that when I got it…

The dragon's path - Daniel Abraham
I started re-reading this series, which I loved. Banking and politics, coups and evil religions, it's great!
cherie liked this
By Peat
#138
I have missed this thread so much! It's too hard keeping track of everything without it for some reason

Anyway, this month I have mostly been reading... well... brace yourselves

Fantasy

Murder in LaMut by Raymond E Feist and Joel Silverberg - Very misleading title regarding the amount of murders, not enough enjoyable action

Jimmy the Hand by Raymond E Feist and SM Stirling - By the numbers fantasy adventure with insufficient motivation

Penric's Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold - The good stuff if you're willing to forgive the cliffhanger ending, but not as good as the other Penrics

Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold - Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Less a novella and more a book's murky middle released by itself; the characters get irritating; and an extremely iffy (and straight up case of sexual assault by UK standards) sexual scenario plays out with a feeling of being played mainly for laughs. I love this series but I don't want to even try to to love this book.

Ravenheart by David Gemmell - So I reread one of my favourite books to get the taste out of my mouth, and it succeeded because Ravenheart is a book with an indomitable and kind spirit

Stormrider by David Gemmell - So why not complete the series as well? Alas this book, while very good, dips a little thanks to story choices and a painful atmosphere

Talon of the Silver Hawk by Raymond E Feist - Back to the Midkemia readthrough, in which a fascinating idea (a young man struggling with the loss of his culture and reshaping himself into a tool of revenge) becomes a standard fantasy book only not much happens

King of Foxes by Raymond E Feist - The next book, in which he becomes a superspy, but stops superspying after a bit to do less interesting things

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson - So much to say here. Very thoughtful book. The language is far too ornate for me, and the story is underused, but there's so much good in the thoughts and minor characters. Curate's egg.

Exile's Return by Raymond E Feist - In which a fascinating idea, a villain grappling with being brought low and whether he was really right to act as he did, becomes a standard fantasy story, only quite disconnected

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett - All time goodness, despite there being some bits that go by real fast

Flight of the Nighthawks by Raymond E Feist - It was at this point I remembered I can do a Feist in about four hours, and I'm always fascinated by the mix of great ideas and slapdash craft that is Feist's later Riftwars. This one doesn't even have a great idea.

Into A Dark Realm by Raymond E Feist - This one does though. The descent into a world of murderous maniacs intrigues me, and you know what, he mostly executes here

Wrath of a Mad God by Raymond E Feist - Then he gets a bad case of PathOfDaggersitis and it's okay but not what it could be. Also a number of bewildering retcons.

Rides A Dread Legion by Raymond E Feist - The characterisation is getting worse, the villains more ridiculous, the "newer greater threat" thing is getting worn out

Sci-Fi

Ancient Light by Mary Gentle - The prose is, while at times striking, fractured and with no natural rhythm. That, along with the huge cast and numerous made up language words, made this a really hard read. I've enjoyed having read it, but Mary Gentle is not very gentle.

Mystery

The Jupiter Myth by Lindsey Davis - Fun but something missing

Comic

Red Sonja: Berserker by Nancy Collins and Fritz Casas - Nice short introduction to an iconic fantasy comics character

Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Dick Giordano - 60s spy action with an intriguing female lead. Very nice for a retro kick

Non-fic

The Seven Faces of Darkness by Don Webb - Little research for some ancient-ish fantasy writing
User avatar
By cherie
#139
I only finished two books in January as well.

Don't Fear The Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
Slasher horror, and the sequel to My Heart is a Chainsaw. Lots of blood, gore, and trying to work out if the serial killer that's conveniently escaped near the town is really the one responsible for all the rather incentive deaths.

Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald.
Typical teen with dangerous abilities thrust into intrigue and danger. Basic setup is tried and tested, but likeable characters and interesting powers. Enough so that I picked up a signed/limited copy, plus book 2 from The Broken Binding (which arrived today, so I'll be able to start on book 2 soon)
User avatar
By Henry Dale
#157
I'm super slow, I didn't finish anything yet this year :p
Still reading Tian Guan Ci Fu (Heaven official's blessing) volume 8. It's the final book in a chinese series about some gods and demons set in a fictitious ancient china.
ScarletBea liked this
User avatar
By cupiscent
#161
Peat is Spiders Georg. Really, he's selflessly ensuring no one gets anxiety about how much they read by blowing the competition out of the water. :lol:

I had a bit of a grumpy and picky December/January in terms of reading, which isn't so much borne out in my stats because there were some books that I didn't DNF, I just... got them from the library, looked at them, and then took them back without ever actually getting started. Or didn't even get them, just saw them at the top of my library list, and went, "...actually, I am not excited about this one anymore."

Things I did read:
  • Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri - There are ways I enjoyed this - harem politics! explorations of lady-agency within systems! a romance of bruised hearts! - but a lot of ways that I didn't. For a book that stands alone in many ways, the worldbuilding and sidelong references really strained my memory from the first, and I was often confused.
  • Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells - I accelerated my Murderbot reading (I have previously been saving and savouring them) so that I could better appreciate the Murderbot essay at Speculative Insight. And it's no hardship to enjoy more Murderbot! I had a moment of confusion over how Network Effect fit (or didn't) into the timeline.
  • Servant Mage by Kate Elliott - I think this might be the last Elliott I try. She's a wonderful author, but her style just doesn't work for me; she lingers on things I don't find important, and elides the stuff I like most. The themes and special physics in this novella were fascinating and thoroughly explored; the characters were thin commentaries on tropes and thematic elements.
  • He Who Drowned The World by Shelley Parker-Chan - Oof, the emotional turmoil! The unflinching weight of the bad time everyone (except Zhu, mostly) is having is honestly a masterclass; Parker-Chan gently but ineluctably pushes through all the character consequences of the scenario established in the first, breaks everyone, throws in some audacious action sequences, and still puts together hope on the other side.
  • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones - I read so much DWJ as a kid and have no memory of 90% of it, so I wanted to revisit this classic that's been so formative for many of my peers. And for good reason. It has that DWJ balance of whimsy, truth, and sensible, though occasionally it was a little too twee for my current tastes.
  • Soulstar by CL Polk - This rounded out the Kingston Cycle of fantasy romances very nicely, bringing everything to a satisfying conclusion and featuring a gentle but sharp-edged romance. There was so much going on, though, that I felt it sometimes moved too quickly through things.
In non-fiction, I read How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain by Ruth Goodman, which was an absolute delight, really digging into how societies build, maintain and police themselves through expectations and behaviour, through copious amusing examples of annoyance. Including the original "swashbucklers", who are basically bravi. :beaming:
By Elfy
#162
I’ll put my list up later, but I think I read 17 books in January. Amazing what you can do with leave and sport on tv in the background.
By Elfy
#163
Peat wrote: February 1st, 2024, 18:51
Fantasy

Murder in LaMut by Raymond E Feist and Joel Silverberg - Very misleading title regarding the amount of murders, not enough enjoyable action

Jimmy the Hand by Raymond E Feist and SM Stirling - By the numbers fantasy adventure with insufficient motivation

Talon of the Silver Hawk by Raymond E Feist - Back to the Midkemia readthrough, in which a fascinating idea (a young man struggling with the loss of his culture and reshaping himself into a tool of revenge) becomes a standard fantasy book only not much happens

King of Foxes by Raymond E Feist - The next book, in which he becomes a superspy, but stops superspying after a bit to do less interesting things

Exile's Return by Raymond E Feist - In which a fascinating idea, a villain grappling with being brought low and whether he was really right to act as he did, becomes a standard fantasy story, only quite disconnected


Flight of the Nighthawks by Raymond E Feist - It was at this point I remembered I can do a Feist in about four hours, and I'm always fascinated by the mix of great ideas and slapdash craft that is Feist's later Riftwars. This one doesn't even have a great idea.

Into A Dark Realm by Raymond E Feist - This one does though. The descent into a world of murderous maniacs intrigues me, and you know what, he mostly executes here

Wrath of a Mad God by Raymond E Feist - Then he gets a bad case of PathOfDaggersitis and it's okay but not what it could be. Also a number of bewildering retcons.

Rides A Dread Legion by Raymond E Feist - The characterisation is getting worse, the villains more ridiculous, the "newer greater threat" thing is getting worn out


Comic

Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Dick Giordano - 60s spy action with an intriguing female lead. Very nice for a retro kick.
I read a lot of Feist when he was THE thing, and I still think Faerie Tale is underrated, but I gave up on his Midkemia books eventually and before many of the ones listed here. I remember reading an interview where he said there was this point where he was churning the books out to make money that he needed after his messy and expensive divorce.

I love Modesty Blaise! It is a great shame that they've managed to mess up the 3 attempts to bring the character to screen, because Modesty would dominate it if given the chance.
User avatar
By lejays17
#164
Faerie Tale is my favourite Feist by far. Much better than most of Midkemia books. It might be the only on on our bookshelves here. Unless @Elfy has snuck back the copy of Magician from the garage :lol: