Sunday Status Update: April 28, 2019

Lots of great books this week!

Bill: This week I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s fantastic A Brightness Long Ago, which was just as compelling and moving as when I read it the first time two weeks ago.  I also read Tad Williams’ Empire of Grass, an excellent if overlong continuation of his OSTEN ARD series.  In media, what a weekend.  The family and I saw Avengers: Endgame and despite some quibbles, I would have happily stayed straight through the following showing. And GoT’s night battle we all thought wonderfully tense, though the issues were more substantial in this one. I also watched The Magicians season 3 finale, which had a great ending, and I’m looking forward to watching Season 4 after postponing doing so to watch with my son. In audio, I finished Mark Miodownik’sLiquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives (very highly recommended) and have begun The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years by Rober M. Hazen which is informative but so far a bit more flat.

Jana: This week I finished some books, made a huge dent in my to-be-reviewed stack, and grass-stained some pants while culling dandelions. (It’s a Sisyphean task, but I also don’t like stepping on honeybees when I’m in the yard, so.) I finished both Ashok K. Banker‘s Upon a Burning Throne and Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor‘s Mostly Void, Partially Stars: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes Volume 1, meaning that I then dove right into The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes Volume 2. (Reviews to follow.) I also read Brooke Bolander‘s Hugo-nominated story “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” to be reviewed. I have plans to read Charles Soule‘s The Oracle Year and Seanan McGuire‘s Middlegame next, and I’m excited about both because I’ve heard really good things about them. And at some point I’ll get my act together and watch some of those “Marvel comics” movies I’ve heard so much about.

Kat: I’ve read three books since you last heard from me a couple of weeks ago. Mercedes Lackey‘s Sanctuary, the final book in her DRAGON JOUSTERS trilogy, was kind of disappointing, but not surprisingly so. Inspection by Josh Malerman has a fascinating premise (a couple of mad scientists hope to inspire genius by raising boys and girls separately without knowledge of the opposite sex) but was ultimately unsatisfying. Golden State by Ben H. Winters also has a fascinating premise (a future California has criminalized lying) and was quite an exciting read that I would recommend, especially in audiobook format. Reviews of all three books are coming soon.

Marion: I finished Tyrant’s Throne, the satisfying conclusion to Sebastien de Castells’s GREATCOATS series, and got back into Bernd Heinrich’s Ravens in Winter, a delightful nonfiction book about Heinrich’s studies, both official and unofficial, of ravens in Maine.

Rachael: There is a reason I’ve been quiet on FanLit these past few months, and it comes in the form of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. I decided to reread A Game of Thrones and accidentally got sucked into the series again. Now, four books deep, I’m having a breather with a couple of shorter reads. I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde for the first time, and am about to start on Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin. I’d like to think I’ll get back to my TBR pile after that, but realistically, the Wall is calling…

Sandy: Moi? Earlier this year, I reported on two marvelous releases from DMR Books: The Sapphire Goddess and The Thief of Forthe and Other Stories. Now, DMR has released another volume from the Golden Age of sci-fi, and by one of my favorite authors, too. Thus, I am currently in the middle of Henry Kuttner’s Lands of the Earthquake, which originally appeared in the pages of Startling Stories magazine in 1947 and has been only reprinted once since then. It is a marvelous fantasy tale, and I hope to be able to have some more words to say about it very shortly….

Tadiana: This last week I finished Finder by Suzanne Palmer, a fun SF deep space adventure with a heist type of plot. I also picked up The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, but ended up skimming most of the second half. I enjoyed the Chinese-inspired setting and characters, but grimdark fantasy isn’t my thing. I’m almost done with Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago, a prequel of sorts to one of my favorite historical fantasies from 2016, Children of Earth and Sky. Kay’s writing is, as usual, excellent. And after a hiatus, I’ve picked up Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things short fiction collection again, and am almost done with that one as well.

Terry: I read both of Fran Wilde’s novellas set in THE GEM UNIVERSE, The Jewel and Her Lapidary and The Fire Opal Mechanism. I enjoyed the first and found the second rather murky, but still fun to read. I also read Bryan Camp’s The City of Lost Fortunes, which is an especially fine urban fantasy, with some really lovely writing. I’m eager to get to the second in his CRESCENT CITY series, Gather the Fortunes.


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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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7 comments

  1. Rachel, did you pick up on the “additional details” during your last re-read of “A Song of Ice and Fire”?! I know I did!

    Jana, I’m SO excited for “Middlegame”! I wasn’t able to get an ARC, but I would have paid for a copy no matter what!

    Tadiana, how was “Finder”? I enjoyed “The Poppy War”; and, I think it’s because I’ve read a lot of stories with battle sequences (and I’ve played “Fire Emblem”)! Checkout my review here: https://mistyaquavenatus.com/2019/03/04/why-you-need-to-read-the-poppy-war

    • Yes! So many extra details! It’s incredible really, like reading a whole new series. I remember reading an interview once in which George Martin said his books were made for rereading. No truer words were ever spoken

  2. Finder was fun, Lois, focused on the action but with some depth to it as well. The Poppy War was too bleak for me but then, so was A Song of Fire and Ice, so it’s a matter of personal taste.

    I got the ARC for Middlegame and am just starting it! Jana, let’s coordinate!

  3. Also, excellent review of The Poppy War, Lois!

  4. April /

    I’m reading The Afterward which is the story of what happens when the band of heroes who have successfully completed their quest go home to their normal lives. Not too bad. I have some quibbles with the way the plot is visibly manipulated to suit the story (ie, characters do things that make zero sense to fill plot holes) in some cases but overall lots of good characters and an interesting story.

    Also listening to Behemoth, the second in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series. I read this series way back when so it is kind of fun to remember bits and discover how much of it I forgot.

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