Mary Robinette Kowal is excellent. I am totally excited for her next book, Ghost Talkers, set in WWI about spirit mediums who get battle details about the front from the spirits of the recently deceased. OK, back to this book though. Kowal is such a good writer. She is thoughtful and creative, her characters are varied, the magic systems are interesting, and it all comes back to humanity. One other thing in particular that I love is that she works outside Western European ethnicities (e.g. Japanese-esque characters meet Norse-like characters, Pacific Islander-influenced societies). I love when SFF gets outside of Western Europe (and does it respectfully!!!)
Trying to pick out a favorite from this collection had me going, ‘Oh, that one was really good. And I can’t stop thinking about this one. Oh yeah, and this one was amazing!’ “The Bound Man,” “Rampion,” “At the Edge of Dying,” “Red Rockets,” and “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” are ones that all stick out to me, but I had already read “For Want of a Nail” (which is wonderful) and I mean, I totally recommend all of them! I keep trying to go back through that table of contents, wondering if I should add any of the other stories, but then I just end up making a list of all the stories. So just read this book.
I am now eyeing up Passenger with interest because I am a total Alexandra Bracken fangirl. She’s a bit, grittier? Gorier? Than I usually prefer, but wow she writes SO well. Ruby is a believable kid, who just does her best in the situations she gets thrown into. Her romance with Liam feels strong, but not overwhelming, which is not refreshing. The plot is packed. And Chubs. I love the friendship between Ruby and Chubs in this book. I was so afraid that Chubs was going to suffer SFF black friend ending (i.e. first to die), but I think he’s here to stay. And Vida. She was a great foil to Ruby and Chubs and Jude, all of whom were serious and (mostly) earnest. Although Bracken has a really good feel for natural dialog. Which includes the swearing. I had to keep turning off the audiobook I was listening to while cooking/driving because of my little pitchers, so be warned, pitcher parents. I am taking a little break (like a week) off before starting In the Afterlight, just so I don’t burn out on The Darkest MInds and Bracken (I’ve read 4 different works by her in Feb!), but I am excited to see where we go in this one. And to finally bump off Clancy!
DNF’d. 😦 I bought this on Book Outlet after hearing about how much people love James and her books. I got about 60 pages in, and I am coming to the conclusion that maybe I don’t really like romance books. Or maybe it’s historical romance, because I couldn’t get to the end of The Duchess War by Courtney Milan, who is another well-beloved and acclaimed historical romance writer. I am hoping to go back to The Duchess War, but As You Wish just did not do it for me. It felt sloppy, the characters felt stock, and the bits of information passed out felt contrived. I hope that this is a fluke in James’ backlog. But, I am planning to give historical romance a wide berth for a little while (although dammit, I really want to love James and Milan’s books). Maybe it’s time for a re-read of Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas, because I know that steampunk romance is my kind of romance!
Watching: The Magicians on Syfy. I am intrigued enough to want to give the books a go, although I’m not totally sure I’ll become devoted to the TV show. Seeing the magic though is awesome!