17 books read during March, which was completely dominated by my Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody glom!
I read ten Amelia Peabody books during this month – here are my thoughts on the series as a whole.
WARNING: Minor spoilers in the next couple of paragraphs, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know *anything* that happens as the series progresses…
The series started off well – I rated the first book “Crocodile on the Sandbank” a B+, and was intrigued enough to pick up the next few books in the series. They’re all now blurring into each other (since I read them in such quick succession – this is not a criticism!), but I know there was a point, maybe in the third or fourth book, where I felt as though the series was flagging somewhat. However, I continued reading – Amelia’s voice was very engaging and Ramses was an adorably precocious kid.
When Ms Peters introduced Ramses’ viewpoint into the series (Book 9 – “Seeing a Large Cat”), the series came completely alive for me. I didn’t realise how limited it was having just Amelia’s viewpoint – not that I don’t like her, but well, I love Ramses. And it means we get to know Ramses and Nefret a lot better, and they become main characters in the story.
For instance, here’s one scene that I loved. From Amelia’s viewpoint, Ramses appears from the shadows of a dark garden, slightly dishevelled, with blood running down the side of his head and carrying in his arms an unconscious Dolly Bellingham – all he says is:
“I beg your pardon for being so long,” Ramses said. “I assure you the delay was unavoidable.”
Wonderful scene in itself, and the reader is left thinking of Ramses as a suave James Bond-type character. Yet when the scene is repeated from Ramses’ viewpoint, well, he actually feels like a bit of a fool and is completely embarassed by having his entire family present:
Since it was clear that God was not going to do him the favour of striking him dead on the spot, he tried desperately to think of something to say that would not make him appear more of an idiot than he already felt. “Er – I beg your pardon for being so long. I assure you the delay was unavoidable.”
And so Ramses becomes that much more human, and more loveable! My favourite books were The Falcon at the Portal and He Shall Thunder in the Sky, which brought Ramses and Nefret’s love story to a perfect conclusion. Heart-wrenching at times, but a wonderfully happy-ever-after ending.
Sigh. The only book I haven’t read yet is the 18th, “Tomb of the Golden Bird” – that’s because it’s only available in hardcover at the moment, and Amazon is quoting delivery times of 4-6 weeks. Or I could wait until the mass market paperback at 1/3 the price is released in May – tough one, eh? Well, to be honest, if I’d come across the hardback in a bookstore, I’d have bought it instantly. As it is, I’m practising patience…
The last series I loved as much was Lois McMaster Bujold‘s Vorkosigan series, and I think before that, it was Georgette Heyer‘s books. It’s funny how some authors just work for you, isn’t it?
Apart from Elizabeth Peters, I did manage to read some other books during March, but I’ll be honest – none came close to Amelia. Authors I usually love didn’t even get a look in – for instance, Anne Bishop‘s “Belladonna” has been languishing in my TBR pile for about two weeks now, when normally, I’d finish it within a day of getting it. I did start reading the first chapter, but put it down when I realised I just wasn’t in the mood for it. I picked up “Guardian of the Horizon” instead…
I mentioned in a previous post that my addiction to Amelia Peabody this month probably meant I didn’t enjoy some books as much as I would normally have. Mmm… I need to figure out how to mentally change gears now. Maybe I’ll re-read the Vorkosigan books – Rosario’s post reminded me how much I love Miles!