The Book Thread: July 2017

Only 11 days late…

Finished Fall From Grace. David Raker is definitely a top notch series! I ordered the next three from the UK since
Amazon does not have them yet.

Started A Murder of Clones, a Retrieval Artist “Universe” book. Same universe but without the actual Retrieval Artist.
An interesting approach.

I started the original Dune for the first time. I’m reading it very slowly.

I just read John Scalzi’s first foray into Fantasy - an 18 page fantasy known as Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City: Prologue
As you maybe can tell from the title, its not entirely serious. In fact, its downright hilarious, and one of the best things I’ve read this year - So much fun!
I actually really want him to do more in this genre, but I kinda think he did this as sarcasm.

Still - its very much worth a read, and its asking price, which is 1.5 dollars I think it was.

I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (the “Author’s Preferred Text” edition). Taking it slow, but I really like the way he writes.

I finally went and finished up the Breakers series by Edward W. Robinson, which in this case means reading Relapse and Blackout; books seven and eight of the series, respectively.

Book 7 was nothing special, but the last book wrapped stuff up in a fairly satisfactory way.

Overall, it was pretty well-written, mostly gritty, post apocalyptic sci-fi. There were a fair number of times in the series where “plot armor” saved a protagonist: the first book was pretty good about knocking off a main-line character or two, but as the series went along you know that nothing TOO terrible was going to happen to a POV character. Beyond that little quibble, I liked how Robinson wrote his people: most of them had some fairly deep flaws and at least a couple of them were objectively lousy human beings, at least at first.

The Breakers series books 1-3 are free on Amazon right now. I’m going to try to link but I’m on my phone. If it doesn’t work, can someone put a link up with the Qt3 credit thing?

Link worked for me, nice catch!

Enjoy. It is very very good. Word of advice though, after you finish do NOT go and read the sequel straight away. Just enjoy the sweet sweet after glow of Dune.

I’m not sure I’m gonna read any of the sequels actually. So many have told me to only read the original.

Wise man. I wish I hadn’t. Although I hear they get decent again after book 4 or something.

IMO they’re a steady downhill continuum and stop being worth reading after book 4. Or at least that’s as far as I got.

Dune 1-3 is a steady downward slope. But weak as the sequels may be in comparison to the first book, the whole trilogy is at least readable, even if books 2 and 3 are disappointing.

And then I read one of the later books, one with the crazy sex witches from outside the galaxy or whatever the hell they are. That was truly awful. All these profound, masterful, mentally powerful people with their complicated agendas and involved histories and intrigues and everything, not to mention the power of prophecy and pathfinding through infinite alternative futures, and these wacky space hookers conquer them because their sex technique is superior. I honestly don’t remember the book well at all; it was too traumatic. But I know I felt like it was self-parody, like someone had bet the Herberts they could write whatever garbage they liked and it would sell if it had the word Dune on the cover.

I bought and binged through The Delirium Brief, the fresh off the press latest Laundry Files novel.

I liked it more than the last one. It’s an interesting novel in that it really changes the series dynamic going forward into what feels like the series’ climax, and makes you really want the next novel. Definitely recommended to fans of the series that wanted things to move forward with CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN. A lot of the Chekhov’s guns laid out in the first seven books fire off in this one in what I found were some satisfying ways.

I think there are between 2 and 4 more books scheduled until the series wraps up, which means about 10 years of waiting at the worst, 4 years at the minimum…

I like the series a lot for what it is (fast, easy to read comedy/thriller/horror) and would recommend it to people that have not yet read it, but starting from the beginning. The first two books are setup (and some of the best in the series) and so far books 3 to 8 have been really good at creating a coherent long term narrative while also being self contained stories (the latest book is by far the least self contained of all).

Finished Hall of the Dead, Pendergast series(a good one).

Reading The Aeronaut’s Windglass, first of a new Jim Butcher series.

I’m slowly working through Iain M Banks’ Culture series and I just love Matter so much. So many of the books in the series are great, but Matter has been the pinnacle in terms of sheer enjoyment. I’m really demoralized by the fact that there are only two more.

At the end of last month, I received a book I forgot I preordered. Amatka by Karin Tidbeck. In fact, two copies showed up. I checked to make sure I didn’t pre-order it twice (which has happened before) and I hadn’t.

I ended up enjoying the book. A little bit of a dystopian/authoritarian future novel set in a not-quite-earth world.

And today another book I forgot I pre-ordered showed up today.The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu the follow up to “The Grace of Kings”, which I thoroughly enjoyed over the winter.

I read House of Spies, the latest by Daniel Silva. It did not have the punch of the last book, but was still good. I also read Drama City, by George Pelecanos.

I’m trying to branch out and read more nonfiction, and just wrapped up Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic. The characters and broad strokes were familiar to me from podcasts and other sources, but this did a good job of showing the timescale of the events taking place, and multiple generations coming and going through the scene, reacting against or building off the previous ones.

I have managed to find some more time to read lately, so have knocked off the following:

The Aeronaut’s Windglass. Butcher’s strengths have always been his characters, and the same is true here. Even the cat grew on me.

All the Flowers Are Dying. In the last thread, the Matthew Scudder series came up, and I indeed did find some at the end of the series, on Amazon, I had not yet read. Lawrence Block is an old pro, and some of the twists surprised even me, who does not get fooled very often in mysteries anymore.

Search & Recovery. Another Retrieval Artist Universe Novel. The last one was good, but nothing much happens in this one, and it seems like filler.

Started The Redeemer, a Harry Hole mystery. I enjoy this series but it appears that the author is getting cute in his narrative, at least at the start. The beginning and ending of each section are similar scenes with different characters. For example, a guy in Paris steps off the subway, and the next section begins with Harry stepping off a subway in Oslo.

I just finished Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane. That man does twisted well.