I’ve Been Reading…

That blogging urge, it comes and goes.  But why have a blog if I don’t actually blog? So let’s talk books, specifically books I’ve bought and read recently:

 

51cK3p09dL._SL160_Diana Peterfreund’s “Morning Glory”: The first book I’ve bought via my Kindle!  I did the Kindle sampling thing, and liked (surprise, surprise), so hit the Buy It Now button.  Seconds later, the entire book was on my Kindle.  So the same way I remember Catherine Asaro’s “The Ruby Dice” as being the first ebook I read, “Morning Glory” is now the first ebook I’ve downloaded wirelessly onto my reader.

I know, I’m a geek.  Moving on swiftly…

It’s slightly strange reading a book knowing that it’s a novelisation – I read a scene and then wonder how it gets played out on screen.  I think it’ll wear off soon, I’m only a couple of chapters in at the moment.  Ms Peterfreund says on her blog that “Morning Glory” has a similar, snarky tone to her Secret Society Girl series – I’m tending to agree at the moment.

 

511JdeLKGvL._SL160_ Sharon Shinn’s “Troubled Waters”: Ahhhh.  I really enjoyed this one – I find it so easy to completely immerse myself in Sharon Shinn’s writing.

Estara asked if this was similar to her Twelve Houses fantasy books – answer is yes, IMO, though this reviewer thinks “Troubled Waters” is less action-packed.  Certainly I thought this book was more akin to Twelve Houses than her previous two YA fantasy releases (“General Winston’s Daughter” and “Gateway”), which – and I’m not sure whether this is because they were specifically YA books or not – were more “issue” books to me.  Don’t get me wrong – I liked them, but I felt the way the messages in the books were conveyed was just a bit too heavy-handed.  Do YA books have to include a message?  Discuss*.

Back to “Troubled Waters”, I tend to love elemental-type magic systems, so was fascinated by the elemental/corporeal blessings incorporated here.  I’m stating my bias upfront, because I don’t know whether another reader would find the emphasis on the blessings slight overkill, but it worked for me.  And it’s Shinn, so yes, there’s a rather lovely romance.

Jennie’s review @ Dear Author is pretty reflective of my thoughts, though I probably found Zoe more sympathetic from the start, and would grade the book a notch higher.  I would so love to read more stories set in this world, though we may have to wait longer as I think her next project is an urban fantasy (I am very curious about how this will pan out, I suspect it will be a very good read).

Something else: In the short book intro on her site,  Ms Shinn mentions her favorite scene, which was actually one that stuck in my mind – it’s interesting she says

It doesn’t do anything to advance the plot, but it’s just so sweet, and it really illustrates the power of the blessings.

Completely agree, and when reading it, I actually thought that scene would make a great short story or teaser for the book.

 

612xamlJyjL._SL160_Mercedes Lackey’s “Intrigues”: I read “Intrigues” just before “Troubled Waters” (yes, making good progress on my October must-reads) and it was interesting to compare the two.

The worlds and writing styles are very different, but the plots are essentially similar: Young girl/boy slowly discovers his/her place in the world with the help of conveniently-placed friends and conveniently-discovered skills (albeit the Lackey story is spread over three books as opposed to the one book for Shinn).  What I was pondering were characters – how Ms Shinn avoids Zoe falling into the Mary-Sue trap, whereas Ms Lackey’s Mags so obviously is one.  Oh, and if you’re talking heavy-handed messages, Lackey is the writer for this.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it sounds as though I’m picking on the Lackey book, but it was a decent read, even though I really shouldn’t have bought the hardcover.  I am a complete sucker for white Companions and anything Herald-related.  And even the annoyance of Mags’ dialect being spelt out all the way through (“… ye’ll be wantin’ me t’ find ye a silk‘n’velvet blanket ‘cause wool just don’t show off yer coat good ‘nough” – ack) didn’t negate the secret thrill of meeting one of Vanyel’s descendants in this book.

Err okay.  Must. Grow. Up.

 

**************

*That was slightly tongue-in-cheek.  Only if you really want to.  I’m well aware this is a topic raised now and again in blogland.

My personal take?  Books are like food.  You have M&S Percy Pigs on one end (i.e. zero nutritional value, but you know, still good) or umm… blueberries (superfood!) at the other.  I’m inclined to think YA books tend to be more heavily-clustered at the superfood end (oh, this is a bad analogy and I am really not sure where I am going), but better a good message than a bad one.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “I’ve Been Reading…

  1. I like to know what you’ve been reading :P

    Are you planning to go see the movie? :P Wonder how it’ll compare.

    Just wondering, the Sharon Shinn is YA right?

    I think that with the YA explosion of books and authors, there are a lot more books with more entertainment values than “issues” and “messages.” Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary. So many of these YA books are not read by YA… but I think publishers and authors prefer them to have a message in it. When I was at RT, during one of the YA talks, there was a librarian that asked if the authors knew of any YA with a homosexual main character that could serve as role model… so I guess that’s why issues and messages are preferable. I think that sometimes, it’s a bit too heavy and obvious, but I guess it’s because I’m not longer a YA :P LOL.

    by the way, good job on making it through your must read list :P

    • Hey Nath – I’m not a massive movie person, maybe I’ll wait for the DVD ;-) But yeah, curious now.

      No, “Troubled Waters” isn’t YA, though the protagonist is young-ish – I can’t remember if her age was ever explicitly mentioned, but I would say late teens/early twenties at a guess.

      I don’t mind “issue” books – all books have a message, really. I just prefer not to be hit over the head with what is right and what isn’t. Some authors do it well, others less subtly!

      And I’m still jealous of your RT experience :-D

  2. Estara

    Okay, now it has your seal of approval, I shall buy the ebook of Troubled Waters: you may have hit on the head what I didn’t like about Gateway, too.

    I’ll definitely buy the Lackey only as paperback ^^ – or rather, when the ebook price goes down to paperback levels.

    • Oh, the pressure :-D I hope you like “Troubled Waters” – it certainly kept me up late over several nights!

      I really should have waited for the “Intrigues” paperback, but caved in a weak moment…

      • Estara

        I hope in a not teary way? I ask because I was just reading the sf-that-tears-you-up thread on Tor.com, and thinking about the fact that I love cathartic reads but can no longer indulge without interruption because my eye problems make it imperative that I don’t cry continuously for an hour or more.

      • Heh – I know exactly what you mean, sometimes you just need a book that allows you to sniffle away.

        But no, I don’t recall shedding a tear over TW. It started off slowly, allowing me to (very) reluctantly lay the book aside a couple of nights, then hit a point when I just had to keep on reading to know how it would finish.

      • Estara

        Goodie. That suits me just fine. I have heard Cryoburn will be quite teary.

  3. Pingback: 2010: Recap of My Reading Year Part 3 | Me and My Books

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