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Druid Squirrel

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Recent Reading List [Jun. 3rd, 2007|07:14 pm]
Druid Squirrel
Since I just mentioned that Not Before Sundown was the best book I've read this year, I figured I should list the other candidates. Actually, I'm not really organized enough to keep track of when I read which books, but these are the ones I see stacked up in piles next to the bed.

His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, by Naomi Novik: Seems like I read these ages ago. Probably wasn't actually this year, after all. Also, I'm getting the distinct feeling I wrote about these in a previous entry.

The Gypsy, by Steven Burst and Megan Lindholm: got this used from (I think) Madeline. It was ok. The collision of fantasy and reality kind of reminded me of Gossamer Axe by (??? can't remember).

Unquenchable Fire, by Rachael Pollack: was actually somewhat disappointed. I guess my expectations were too high after Godmother Night. The endless myths kind of bored me after a while.

Stable Strategies and Others, by Eileen Gunn: after I started reading this, I realized I had read many (if not all) the stories before. Bummer.

Air, by Geoff Ryman: almost lost be a couple of times with the slow-ish pacing, but ultimately a very satisfying and enjoyable read.

Life, by Gwyneth Jones: kind of the opposite of Air, in that it really had me engaged the entire time, but the denouement was kind of a let-down. Still, overall, this is an excellent commentary on gender politics.

Always, by Nicolla Griffith: probably my least favorite Griffith novel, or at least that was what I felt after I got far enough into the book to grasp the "scope", but the more I read the more I liked it. I wanted to be bored by the detailed descriptions of, for example, martial arts training sessions or self-defense classes, but I ended up being mesmerized. Also, the way the secondary plot (the "incident" in Atlanta) was slowly revealed made it almost like a mystery novel in a weird way. So, yeah, I still like absolutely everything she's written.

Protector of the Realm, by Gun Brooke: really bad sci-fi. Almost didn't finish.

All seven books by Jane Fletcher. They are divided into two series, as follows:

The Temple at Landfall, The Walls of Westernfort, Rangers at Roadsend, Dynasty of Rogues: this is a sci-fi series about a planet colonized by humans, where all the men die off, but they learn to reproduce using a special genetically-engineered technique that allows certain gifted individuals to merge the DNA of two women to create a child. The world is absolutely fascinating, and I was completely hooked by the "big" stories: politics, rebellion, religion, etc. The small, personal part of the stories were more run-of-the-mill, and I was even bored at one point by a murder mystery that I didn't really care about. Still, overall, this is an excellent series and I'm looking forward to further volumes.

The Traitor and the Chalice, The Exile and the Sorcerer, The Empress and the Acolyte: another excellent series by Fletcher. This one is fantasy, as opposed to sci-fi, and it is absolutely brilliant. The story is excellent, but -- again for Fletcher -- it's the world that's the most interesting part. The main population of the world live in a culture where everyone is bisexual. To be attracted exclusively to people of only one sex is, as one character puts is, as strange as being attracted only to people whose favorite color is blue. Then, into that culture, we plop down a woman who comes from a strict matriarchal culture (where women are super-strong due to an ancient magic) and homosexuality is punishable by death, and there are numerous opportunities to examine assumptions about gender and sexuality. Still, as I said, the story is what really drives this one. Also, Fletcher is clearly a better writer than many of the others on these pulpy lesbian specialty labels, and I could see her doing more ambitious writing in future.