Sunday Status Update: June 5, 2016

Character update on break this week.

Bill:This week I read Saint’s Blood, the third book in the GREATCOATS series by Sebastien de Castell, which I’d call one of the most out and out fun fantasy series going (though with its many emotionally wrenching moments). I also read The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley, the concluding book in his UNHEWN THRONE series, which took a nice jump up from book one to two and is brought to a satisfying conclusion here.
 

Jana: This week my reading pace is slow thanks to the fantastic weather I’ve been having; there may be a few potting-soil smudges on my review copies, but it’s all in the name of creating a comfortable reading space outside. I’ve made progress with Alex Marshall‘s A Blade of Black Steel and started Sharon Gosling‘s The Sapphire Cutlass; I’ve been trying to read a little of both in the evenings, but now that I’m nearly finished with plantings and seedlings, I should have more time during the day to read.

Marion: I finished Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon, which was enjoyable and left me wanting to read more stories in that world. Which, apparently, I can, because there are bunches of them! So that’s good.   I finished Colin Duriez’s The Oxford Inklings, which is well-written and quite accessible. I usually only think of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams when I think “Inklings,” and Duriez’s book expanded my horizon. He includes brief descriptions of the many scholars and writers who considered themselves part of that influential group. The Oxford Inklings is a perfect companion to Diana Pavlac Gyler’s Bandersnatch. I also read Make Me, a JACK REACHER thriller by Lee Child.

Stuart: This week I listened to C.J. Cherryh‘s 1982 Hugo Award winner Downbelow Station, which I’ve had on the TBR list for 3 decades. It was an intense, claustrophobic, gritty space opera with a huge cast of hard-nosed characters battling to survive the Machiavellian intrigues of freelance Merchanters, Earth forces, Company representatives, Pell station administrators, outer world Union forces, and cuddly Downer aliens. It’s a big, complex story, and not easy to follow on audio, but I liked it. I’m going to move directly on the Cherryh’s 1989 Hugo Award winner Cyteen, which is also set in her Alliance-Union universe. It’s a hefty 36-hour audiobook, which should come in handy since I’ll be going on family holiday in London for 2 weeks from Friday. It’s been 25 years since I last visited England, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Tadiana: I finally picked up speed with Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest historical fantasy, Children of Earth and Sky, and finished it in a rush after a rather slow start. It’s a great novel and now I have the urge to go dig out those other Kay books on my shelves that I’ve never managed to get to yet, and binge on them. I also belated read Magic Bleeds, the fourth book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS series. I say “belatedly” because I’ve already read books 4.5 (Gunmetal Magic) and 5 (Magic Slays). My other SFF reads the past couple of weeks were Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, and a boatload of short fiction, focusing on some Jo Walton short stories. Check Monday’s SFM feature to see what goodies I found!

Tim: This week, I read a good portion of John Scalzi‘s Old Man’s War, and also read a lot of the Marvel comics “Secret Invasion” event. The former was light and entertaining. I thought that the alien invasion in the latter was fun in the build-up phase, but began to get a little tired by the time it actually commenced. Finally, I discovered (entirely by accident) a manga written by an American author as a sequel to Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. It’s called Ravenskull, and it’s all about how the villainous templar from the first book, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, is pulled out of hell by the prayers of Rebecca and becomes a monster-hunting badass doomed to wander the world. It is simultaneously the worst and the best thing I’ve seen in a while.


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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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3 comments

  1. I too only think of those three Inklings Marion, though I knew there were others and semi-Inklings. On the wishlist!

    • “Semi-Inklings!”

      Tim, you make Ravenskull sound pretty interesting.

      • Marion, speaking of the Inklings, I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit Oxford on June 14th (my birthday) and plan to check out two important Tolkien sites: the Eagle and Child Inn (dating from the 16th century, where the Inklings met to discuss manuscripts, also known as the Bird and Baby), and the Bodleian Library, which apparently houses a Tolkien Archive (not sure if it’s open to the public). This article definitely got me excited:

        Bodleian Libraries acquires rare map of Middle-earth annotated by Tolkien (http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/news/2016/may-03)

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