I've been trying to spare my hands, in part by using pens and my keyboard less, for the last few weeks, and have read a lot of books (compared to my pattern over the last few years). Books finished since the beginning of June:Lunar Activity
, by Elizabeth Moon. Collection of short stories, which I read over several weeks during visits to adrian_turtle
, because I tend to wake up before she does. Fun, some with a good sense of place, A Closed and Common Orbit
, by Becky Chambers. This is a sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
: it has some of the same warm emotional feeling, which I was looking for, but I don't think it was as good as the first book. There are two timelines, one starting right after the end of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
[spoilers for that book] ( spoilers for that book )
I enjoyed this, but I liked the first book better, in part because we get to spend more time with interesting aliens. In the Labyrinth of Drakes
and In the Sanctuary of Wings
, by Marie Brennan: volumes 4 and 5 of Brennan's "Memoirs of Lady Trent" series, set in an alternate world that contains many species of dragons, and the relics of an ancient, lost "Draconean" civilization. I recommend these, but read them in order unless you don't care at all about spoilers, because it's a continuing narrative, though with natural break-points: each book is about a different major expedition, what was discovered, and the adventures along the way.
It's an odd sort of alternate world: the geography is visibly not that of Earth, but is very similar to it, as are the cultures: Scirland is very much based on Britain, the Akhians are desert nomads, and so on. These aren't presented as an alternate history—there's no divergence point along the lines of "what if Lincoln hadn't gone to the theatre that night?"—so I didn't find myself objecting to the "wrong" degree of similarity with our actual history, but I know different people's tolerance for that sort of thing varies. (If you can buy Novik's Napoleonic Wars with dragons, you'll probably like this series.)
I was a little disappointed by In the Labyrinth of Drakes
because it felt as though there was more archeology and politics, and fewer dragons, than in the first three volumes of the series. In the Sanctuary of Wings
gave me plenty of dragons and natural history, along with the politics. (There's politics throughout the series, and that's part of what I like about it; I just felt the proportions were a bit off in volume 4.)Tremontaine, season 1
, by Ellen Kushner et al. This is an episodic, because written for serialization, prequel to Kushner's Swordspoint
. Each chapter is by a different author (though some people wrote more than one, nobody did two in a row). A lot of this takes place in and around the University (though we do see both Riverside and the Hill. If you liked Swordspoint
, give this a try (N.B. Nobody here is as bloodthirsty as Alec). Crocodile on the Sandbar
and The Curse of the Pharaohs
, by Elizabeth Peters: mysteries against a background of Egyptology, or maybe vice versa, set during the beginnings of archeology as a scholarly pursuit. Fun, relatively light fare, with detective plots I was satisfied by,and I gather her Egyptology is basically sound. (The main characters' relationship isn't one I can imagine being happy in, but I can believe that they are, and don't find it unpleasant to read about.) This is told as first-person narrative, by an Englishwoman who took up Egyptology, and then detection, more or less by chance.Georgiana Darcy's Diary
, by Anna Elliott: a "what might have happened next" fanfic set after the end of Pride and Prejudice.
It's competent enough that I finished it, but not enough to make me want to read the next volumes, because the author (wisely) doesn't even try to pastiche Austen's narrative voice/style, and I'm not nearly invested enough in that book to otherwise care much about the doings of Darcy's sister and aunt, or Elizabeth Bennett's family. (I got this free via the web: a lot of what I've read in the last few weeks was either from the library, or free or low-cost "try one, maybe you'll get hooked" ebook offers.) If Death Ever Slept
, by Rex Stout. A Nero Wolfe mystery novel I don't remember having read before. It's from the mid-1950s, and well done (within the pattern of the series in general). Archie Goodwin's attitude toward women can be more than a little annoying, but there isn't too much on display here. (One reader's opinion, probably based in part on my mood a week ago, YMMV.) Welcome to Bordertown
, edited by Ellen Kushner and Holly Black. I found this because after reading Tremontaine
I decided to ask the library what else it had by Kushner: it's a (relatively) new Bordertown anthology, set in the same world as the previous volumes (edited by Terri Windling). Bordertown has dealings with the human world as well as with Faerie; the book deals with the gap in real-world time since the previous books by having Bordertown cut off in the interim (under a version of Elf Hill) so when the border reopens the residents are dealing with new tech (what's a blog?) as well as people in the World looking for long-lost relatives.