Jun. 12th, 2016

melita66: (iceberg)
Stephanie Burgis, of Kat, Incorrigible fame, has published an adult novel, Masks and Shadows. It's set in Hungary at the Eszterhaza palace which was built by Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. The main character, Charlotte, is newly widowed, and has come to visit her sister, Sophie, who is the prince's mistress. Sophie is the heedless, fun-loving younger sister while Sophie had married for duty, but had come to appreciate her husband. Meanwhile three visitors arrive--Carlo Morelli, an acclaimed castrato, a probable Austrian spy, and a famous alchemist. Sophie finds Carlo disturbing but strangely appealing as she gets to know him. Meanwhile, Carlo appears to be disarmed by a relatively straightforward aristocrat who's calm and intelligent and an excellent musician. Both become aware of strange doings and have to work together to uncover what's happening. It's set in 1779, and I'm complete unfamiliar with the setting. For instance, I didn't know that Haydn worked for the prince for over 30 years. I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the next, unrelated *as far as I know) book that's out this fall: Congress of Secrets, set in Vienna in 1814.

While checking around for backlist books to buy as ebooks, I realized that some graphic novels are available. While I was good and put some on my wishlist, I did buy the four volumes of Appleseed by Shirow Masamune. I had read these when they were originally released and were probably the first manga that I'd read. Appleseed is set in post-apocalyptic world. Deunan Knute is the daughter of a special ops man and had been raised with in-depth training. She ends up teaming up with a colleague of her father, Briareos Hecatonchires, a cyborg (I have a memory that he was human and became cyborg after an injury, but it wasn't in the manga that I reread. Wiki does agree though). Surviving in the badlands, they're recruited to go to the half-mythical Olympus, a near-utopian society run by bioroids (cyborgs/androids) although with a substantial human population as well. Deunan and Briareos take jobs doing what they're good at--police and later SWAT work. While there's definitely a focus on police work with hand-to-hand combat, car chases, bombs, giant robots, etc., there are also philosophical discussions on whether bioroids and humans can get along, how to stabilize society, and so on. Written in the early 80s, it's somewhat dated with references to a successor to Russia and other 80s preoccupations. There's even a global warming reference which surprised me. I really do love this series even though I can see more faults now.

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November 2016

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