Book Review Backlog: Winter 2014
Almost a month ago, I said I wanted to catch up on my book reviews “in the next couple of days”. Ha! Well, I’ll just try again…
1. Trudi Canavan, Priester (Priestess of the White) (reread, German),
2. Trudi Canavan, Last of the Wilds (reread, English), and
3. Trudi Canavan, Götter (Voice of the Gods) (reread, German): I often have trouble with books in which gods are a real power in the world, instead of just a myth. This is the one exception, in which it really works for me. I also enjoy this trilogy more than Canavan’s Kyralia books, because there is more wilderness (not as an important part of the story, but there is some) and there are more fantastical creatures, both of which are high on the list of reasons why I read fantasy.
4. Jay Kristoff, Stormdancer (new, English): out of all the books from WFC 2013, this was the only one I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t remember it in as much detail as I would like, but as I said, fantastical creatures are high on my list of why I read fantasy, so having a griffin as such a central part of the story is a big plus. And I loved the human characters just as much – Yukiko and Kin in particular, but even if I don’t remember the other characters as vividly, I still remember they felt very believable and “real”.
And then there’s the setting… I’m not really into steampunk, but there was also a nice bit of wilderness, and I rather like stories of the “technology is destroying the world, we have to stop it” variety. But what’s more, it’s set in a world based on Japan, and one of the things I find myself wanting more and more is fantasy stories not set in a quasi-European world.
I never quite felt like the world was real, the dirty city and the red fields of blood lotus feel a little too… larger than life is the closest I can come to putting my feelings into words. But it was still the best book from my WFC book bag.
5. Arto Paasilinna, Der Sohn des Donnergottes [The Son of the Thunder God] (reread, German): My father had lent this to me over a year ago, and I kept putting off returning it because I wanted to reread it and copy out some of the funniest lines. Which I suppose I did, because I returned the book when I’d read it. It was still as hilarious as it was the first time around.
6. Col Buchanan, Farlander (new, English): one of those books from the WFC book bag, and oh my god, this book annoyed me so much. I don’t know why I even finished it. I spent the entire time I read it trying not to throw things against the wall. It’s probably a good thing that a year has passed since I read it, because I know I had this whole list of things I disliked about it, but I never wrote it down and now I’ve forgotten the specifics. And don’t really want to rant about the terrible books – I want to spend time saying good things about the books I enjoyed. (But, for some odd reason, that is so much harder.) I doI mostly remember some over-the-top fight scenes. And the fact that the main character should have died about five times in the first chapter (or prologue or whatever it was) alone.
7. Erika Johansen, The Queen of the Tearling (new, English): I seem to remember I liked this book in the beginning (although, since this was right after a book I hated, I’m not sure how good my judgement was), but I think by the end, I felt pretty indifferent about it.
8. Gwyneth Jones, Grazing the Long Acre (new, English): I have the feeling that this might be a good book for some people, but it wasn’t the right book for me, since I don’t really care for short stories or science fiction, and certainly not both combined.
9. Kaaron Warren, Walking the Tree (new, English): The sixth WFC book, and I picked it up mostly because the idea of a book set on an island called Botanica amused the garden geek in me. But I have to say… it seems to me like the author just thought, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cool to have a tree so big it takes months to walk all the way around?”, had a lot of fun with worldbuilding, but never came up with a proper plot. Walking around a tree isn’t a plot, not even if it takes years. And there weren’t even any interesting botanical references. (At least not that I remember. And if they’d been interesting, I’d remember them.)
10. Käthe Recheis, Die Gespensterburg [The Ghost Castle] (reread, German): I was behind on my reading again, so in my desperation to reach eleven books before the end of three months, I reread another children’s book. But Käthe Recheis is always good. And I know I said I don’t care for short stories, but these were nice.
11. Thomas Brezina, Sieben Pfoten für Penny: Was ist schon ein Hundeleben? [Seven Paws for Penny: What’s a Dog’s Life Worth?] (reread, German): I must have been really desperate to sink so low as to reread Brezina…I know I was obsessed with them as a kid, and I suppose at least the Penny books are less unrealistic than the Knickerbocker Gang… it’s not that they’re bad books, not in a way that makes me hate and want to criticise them…they’re just so formulaic and forgettable.
I started this “reading my height in books” thing on February 1st, 2013. With these books (the last of which I read on March 20, 2014), I’ve almost reached my height. The picture doesn’t really show it, but I’m still about three or four centimetres taller.