The weekend’s finally here – thank goodness! Let’s put it this way – it hasn’t been one of my better weeks, but it’s over now…
On to book-related news, Jo Beverley‘s latest newsletter is out, and she’s just put up excerpts from her latest book “Lady Beware” (June 2007). This is part of her Company of Rogues series, and the book excerpt appears to explain the striking cover with the heroine in a red dress. I admit I’m not a great fan of Ms Beverley’s fantasy novellas, but I love her historicals. They’re richly detailed and you can sense the research that has gone into each one of them. IMO, her Malloren books, which are set in Georgian times, are even better than the Rogues series, but then again, I’m a sucker for the Georgian time period.
I’ve been reading more SF than romance lately. I re-read Lois McMaster Bujold‘s “A Civil Campaign” just because – it’s one of those feel-good books that I could re-read over and over again. Apart from the rather painful dinner-party scene which I skimmed over! Also, two new books I’ve recently read:
Old Man’s War (John Scalzi) – Military SF. I bought this sight unseen because I like John Scalzi’s blog, so that would be the power of the internet for you! It’s written in the first person, and the main character sounds very much like the author on his blog, or maybe it’s vice versa, which makes sense in a way. Slightly disconcerting though.
Anyway, it’s a rather original plot and a very readable book too. Mr Scalzi’s ten-words-or-less description of this book is “Old people get new bodies and fight nasty aliens”. That’s probably a very concise and accurate summary *grin*. The main character, John Perry, signs up to join the Colonial Defense Force (CDF) on his 75th birthday – the idea being that the CDF will sort out your old and creaking bodies, in return for you doing a two to ten-year stint in their forces, helping protect Earth and its allies against hostile aliens.
If you don’t normally read SF, this would be a good introduction. It’s more hard / traditional SF than Ms Bujold’s Vorkosigan series or Elizabeth Moon’s “Vatta’s War” series (see below), but not too hard-core. Although it is part of a loose trilogy, it reads very well as a stand-alone novel. The characters are very likeable, and I closed the book wanting to read more about them and their world. I’ll be buying the next book set in this universe, which, I believe, is “The Ghost Brigades”. Grade: B
Command Decision (Elizabeth Moon) – Military SF; fourth in the Vatta’s War series. I’ve said previously that while I like Elizabeth Moon’s books, I don’t fall in love with her characters. Maybe that’s the difference between this series and, say, Ms Bujold’s Vorkosigan books. I don’t think this book’s changed my mind, but I did enjoy it – it is an entertaining series.
The main character, Ky Vatta, is trying to organise a multi-ship force of her own to go after her family’s enemies. While doing so, she ends up in a planetary battle. Elsewhere, Stella (Ky’s cousin) is continuing her efforts to keep the family’s shipping business going. Which actually vaguely reminds me of Pat Rin in Sharon Lee and Steve Miller‘s “I Dare” in their Korval series. Which was probably one of my favourite books in that series and another of those feel-good books I can re-read over and over again. But I digress.
There’s lots of action and politics in “Command Decision”, and while I still haven’t fallen in love with Ms Moon’s characters, I finished the book in one sitting – can you tell I’m so on the fence on this one? It’s slightly frustrating – I think Ms Moon could very easily move to my auto-buy list, but it’s not really happening with this series. I will get the next Vatta book though – no news yet as to what it’ll be called or when it will come out though.
Oh, and although her website says this is in hardback, it was published in mass market paperback in the UK. Grade: B-