melita66: (ship)
Mild spoilers for the first book in the Elemental Blessings series, Troubled Waters.




After a drought, I managed to finish two books fairly quickly. Sharon Shinn's new Elemental Blessings book, Royal Airs, continues the story of the people of Welce. In this country, people have an affinity for an element. For instance, coru is blood and water while elay is air and soul. A person is given three blessings at birth by strangers drawing tokens from a container in a temple. People will then drawn more tokens later to see what might be upcoming in their lives. Each trait/family has a prime who has extended powers. The new book, Royal Airs, takes place several years after the first book, Troubled Waters. In Royal Airs, the princess Josetta has settled into a life of good works by running a shelter in the slums of the capital city Chialto. She encounters a card shark (with a heart of gold), Rafe, after he rescues her step-sister (kind of, it's complicated), Corene.

Rafe has never had any blessings. His mother married a farmer when he was young and died with the birth of his half-brother. While Rafe thinks she was not from Welce, she never revealed where she was from or who his father was. When he or someone else pulls blessings, he always gets 'ghost coins', tokens that are so worn the blessing can't be read. As he gets more involved with Josetta, his past gets revealed.

Josetta was a minor character in the first book where the main character was Zoe Lalindar Ardelay, who ends up being the coru prime. She does appear in this book and it's nice to catch up with her. Rafe and Josetta are appealing characters, and Rafe's post-gambler profession is quite thrilling. I definitely look forward to more books in this series! After finishing it, I reread the first book which I had mostly forgotten.
melita66: (AK blue)
What with family issues, a thanksgiving trip, and more family issues, I've only now finished another book. Joel Shepherd published 3 science fiction books, the Cassandra Kresnov series, several years ago. Starting this year, another few books will be released. The first one, 23 Years on Fire, is the continuing adventures of Sandy Kresnov. She's a GI, an artificial person of extremely high designation (very smart and capable, designed to be an elite commander of forces by the League), and 23 is how many years she's been alive. Now working security for the Federation, after abandoning the League, she's also been helping other League GI defectors to adapt to freedom in the Federation. She hears about trouble on a set of unaffiliated (to League or Federation) planets called New Torah. It turns out to be serious trouble and reveals big issues with GIs and the League. I guess I'd have to call the series a mil-SF one, but it focuses more on personal combat, SWAT-style fights, on the ground action, and boy is it fun. Shepherd does a good job with the action.
melita66: (japanese fruit)
Just finished the fifth collected volume of Piled Higher and Deeper, aka the PHD comic strip. I had the first three volumes for several years and then found out that there were two more. And, that I could get them signed plus a doodle for a bit extra. This volume has a Slackenery doodle. The strip is the trials and tribulations of several grad students scattered across various fields including one in the social sciences. Beyond the specifics faced by the students, there are general ones like a plot of how much you have to do versus how much you're procrastinating. If you've been in grad school, plan to attend, or just had/have to deal with grad students, it's a lot of fun.
melita66: (AK blue)
I had another trip, so I managed to read most of Fearsome Journeys, a collection of short stories edited by Jonathan Strahan on the plane. I don't read much short fiction, but wanted a book that could get thrashed and I wouldn't care. It also had several stories by authors that I really like (Kate Elliott, Ellen Kushner, Ysabeau Wilce). I then managed to score a great copy of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Mouse and Dragon and decided to reread it. The copy got mangled. Argh. M&D is the direct sequel to Scout's Progress. Aelliana Caylon has escaped her clan and is taking up with Daav yos'Phelium, as her co-pilot (he's a ex-Scout, pilot, and delm/head of his clan). Her clan exiles her half-brother who was torturing her, but now realizes that they want her and her spaceship back.

I also finished Razor's Edge, a Star Wars novel, by Martha Wells. The second half really picked up steam and I charged through it.

Currently reading Neil Peart's Ghost Rider. He's the drummer of the band, Rush, and begins when he starts off on an epic motorcycle journey. The journey is a reaction to the death of his daughter, then his wife within a year or so. He decides that he can't do anything else but to keep moving. The first several chapters detail his trip from near Quebec to upper Alaska, then down to Vancouver and over to Glacier National Park in Montana. It will continue with him traveling down into Central America.
melita66: (ship)
I kept holding off on posting hoping that I'd get another book read, but it's taking longer than I expected. In early October, I finished The Emperor's Agent by Jo Graham. It's the sequel to The General's Mistress which came out last year. The series is a fictionalized account (or maybe secret history) of Ida St. Elme aka Elzelina van Aylde aka Maria Versfelt. She was born in the Netherlands and married young. She ends up abandoning the marriage and becomes the lover of General Moreau in France. Later she becomes Marshal Ney's longtime lover. This book focuses on early love affair with Ney and how she becomes an imperial agent for Napoleon. She's quite an interesting character: bi sexual, a cross-dresser on occasion and can even get glimpses of the future. There are a few sex scenes if that matters to you.

Graham has connected Elza to her Numinous world books--Elza was also Gull (Black Ships), for instance. This closely connected worldbuilding of reincarnation after reincarnation gives depth to the book.

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November 2016

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