melita66: (ship)
I didn't get much reading done over the last month or so. Nothing really tickled my fancy. I finally decided to make a concentrated effort to finish Heroes' Reward by Moira J. Moore. This is the final book in her Heroes series which started with Resenting the Hero. I really enjoyed the first book in series and eagerly awaited the sequels. The series didn't perform that well, and the publisher went back and forth on publishing the latter entries. Ace did finally publish 6 novels in the series between 2006 and 2011.

Moore released the final book in 2012. The series is set on a lost colony world (the resident know that they were colonists). The world itself is tectonically and meteorologically active. People were born (possibly genegineered?) to be Sources or Shields. Sources can affect the disturbances while Shields can guard the minds of Sources while they're 'channeling' the forces.

Source Shintaro Karish and Shield Dunleavy Mallorough are paired up when they graduate from their respective Academies. Both are talented and not happy to find their matched up. Over time, they fall in love and discover that both have extraordinary talents.

Lee finds that she can 'cast' or perform spells. These abilities are outlawed, sort of, and casters keep well-hidden. Taro can heal and cause 'incidents' as well as stop them. Because Taro is also a member of the aristocracy, they get involved with the current Empress, political machinations among the landed gentry, uprisings, etc.

I was not that thrilled with the addition of the casting a few books ago, but I was still happy to see the threads tied up and everything ending as well as could be. Perhaps we'll see more of them in the future, but Moore has other books that she's been working on (one should be out soon).

I then read a trilogy by L. Shelby aka Michelle Bottorff, Across the Jade Sea. The three books are Serendipity's Tide, Treachery's Harbor, and Fealty's Shore. They're set in a modified Earth (geography is different, but there are "Tartars" northwest of a China/Japan analog). The technology level is late 19th/early 20th century. There are some undersea cables, telephones are just getting installed into private residences in the more technologically advanced countries, and guns and cars are available.

The first book is narrated by Batiya Latikov, an apprentice engineer on an ocean-going diesel ship. The ship rescues several Shanali (Changali) men from a shipwreck. It turns out that they were attacked by what appear to be pirates. After another attack that kills all but one of the Changali, Batiya and the survivor, Chunru, end up in one of the ship's boats.

Chunru is actually an imperial prince sent to re-open diplomatic and other ties with another country. Someone doesn't want that to happen. Because Batiya has been drawn into this mess, the two end up saving each other multiple times while trying to find somewhere safe.

It is a love story, but it's also a rip-roaring adventure, and Ms. Shelby and really move the story along. I really enjoyed these books and wish there were more set in this world. I'll definitely be getting Shelby's other books.

Note: They're available as ebooks only and self-published. Another round of copy-editing would have been useful as there are some it's rather than its, missing words, wrong words, etc. Not tons, but more than I usually see in a professionally published book. Normally, errors like these bug me, but the characters and story were too interesting.
melita66: (ship)
I believe I'm missing at least one book, but it would have been a reread.

**SPOILERS for Ancillary Justice**

Yea!!! Ann Leckie's second novel, Ancillary Sword, finally came out in October. The first, Ancillary Justice, took home a bunch of awards last year--deservedly so. This book continues to follow Breq as she takes up with one of factions of her emperor, Anaander Mianaai. Mainaai has multiple cloned bodies, which have now split among how to maintain, or not, the Radchaai empire. Breq is given control of a small area--the only duty she would take because the sister of someone she killed lives there.

Once there, she finds several other mysteries and, of course, problems that she will try to fix or figure out. As many other reviewers have said, it's a much more interior book. Breq appears to have had a very solitary existence for about 20 years after losing her AI and other bodies and has to now re-adjust to dealing with a lot of contact. We find out more about the aliens through a very, very strange translator who shows up. Anyway, recommended, recommended, recommended.

I also reread Patricia Wrede's Magician's Ward which is set in an alternative Regency London. Kim has been rescued from the streets by an aristocrat and made his ward. Kim has the ability to become a wizard, and Merrill (Mairelon) will help her. A sweet, fun little story.

I then felt in the mood for more historical fantasy and reread Guy Gavriel Kay's A Lion in Al-Rassan. Set in an alternative almost-Reconquista Spain, it follows a young Kindath (Jewish-analog) doctor as she gets caught up in the struggle between the Jaddites (Christian-analog) and the Asharites (Muslims) in Spain. Rodrigo Belmonte is "El Cid" and Ammar ibn Khairan is a "renaissance man" (so to say!) among the Asharites. It's my favorite Kay book and the one I reread most often. The characters are beautifully done.

I'm still in the midst of Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr. This one is set just before and while Alexander the Great conquers Egypt. Meriamon, a priestess and daughter of Nectanebo, comes to Alexander to ask him to becomes Pharaoh.
melita66: (ship)
Ouch, it's been that long since I posted? Well, I haven't been able to settle to much recently when it came to books. I was working on sorting through my comics (over 20 boxes) to try to get rid of at least one-third and another box or two of books and other stuff because I had 11 boxes of my father's books arriving in early September.

However, in September, two fun books arrived. Martha Wells had a collection of stories set in her Raksura world published with the imaginative title of Stories of the Raksura, volume I. It contains a story set post-The Siren Depths where Moon and Stone have to find what has happened to Jade and some warriors after they disappear while on a trading mission. The second story tells of Indigo and Cloud. We had found out that Cloud (a consort) had been stolen by Indigo from another court in an earlier book, but not the details. The third story, "The Forest Boy," is previously published and is about Moon as a young boy trying to survive. Loads of fun, and highly recommended for anyone who liked the Raksura novels.

The second book was Exo by Steven Gould. A direct sequel to Impulse, it focuses on "Cent", the daughter of Millie and Davy. After finding that she could jump in the previous book, now she plans some very high-flying achievements now that she's extended the capabilities of her father. They're also still trying to track down the shadow organization that's been after all jumpers for years. Full of orbital mechanics discussion, so if you don't like a some math in your books--too bad!
melita66: (AK blue)
I re-read the 3 books that have been released in the Tale of the Five series. It's had a long, fraught history. The first book, The Door into Fire, was published in 1979. I think I read it around 1985 when the second book, The Door into Shadow, was released. I might even have read book two first. I can't remember anymore. The third book, The Door into Sunset then came out in 1994. The books have been released by multiple publishers.

The series is a fan favorite, but according to the author, Diane Duane, has never done well commercially. A fourth book, The Door into Starlight, was planned, but hasn't been written. Duane writes what sells and furthers her career, as she should.

The world is wonderful. It's medieval-ish, with two types of magic: sorcery and Flame. The Flame is Godess-given, but must be focused through something. Normally, it's a wand, but one of the characters, Herewiss, is trying to focus through a sword. Herewiss is the son and heir of a noble house. He has the Flame, as no man in centuries has had, but can't focus it. As part of the training, he's been studying sorcery and is quite good. It's word/true name-based. He's also in love with the heir of a neighboring kingdom. That man, Freelorn, ran away from a palace coup when his father died and has been trying to get up the support (and gumption) to take back the throne. Part of his crew is Segnbora, a sorceress and bard. She hasn't been able to focus her Flame either and has ended up throwing her lot in with Freelorn.

The religion is very practical and loving. The Goddess visits everyone at least once in their life, but you may not realize it. There are also dragons, who came from another world. This series is related to her Young Wizards series, we see the world-gating, and Herewiss shows up in the one of the Young Wizard books.

There's a lot of psychological aspects to the books. The characters all have faults that they have to work to overcome before being able to achieve their goals. Greatly recommended.

Duane polled people a few years ago, to see if there were enough people to warrant self-publishing (well, writing first) The Door into Starlight, but nothing so far.
melita66: (ship)
After finishing the Jaran series by Kate Elliott, I turned around and read the Highroad Trilogy by Alis Rasmussen aka Kate Elliott. They were re-released in the last year or so as ebooks. Jaran is set in the same universe, but takes place a few generations before--complicated by the fact that some people have access to longevity medicine.

The Rift is a set of worlds that were colonized by Earth with ships using the "low road", slow interstellar travel. A faster method was invented/stolen/adapted after they left, but meanwhile the path had been lost to most. A few people have made it to the Rift, hiding from the government and other enemies. The main character is Lilyhae Ransome, the daughter of a mining house on a barely inhabitable world (basically, sealed underground). She's restless and has been studying martial arts with a man called Heredes. Then Heredes is kidnapped, and Lily decided to rescue him.

Reading it directly after the Jaran books made it much easier for me to catch the connections, name drops, etc. Lots of fun to try to piece together the connections while the main story (and it's complicated) unfolds. Definitely an early work by Elliott, but quite enjoyable even so.

"The old man is dead."

I then finally picked up a new book, The Sea of Time by P.C. Hodgell. It's the seventh (is that all? alternatively, already??) of Jamethiel's story. Jamethiel is a Kencyrath. The Kencyrath has been fighting a loosing battle against evil (Perimal Darkling) for thousands of years. They've been on their current planet for about three thousand. Meanwhile, there was treachery, the fall by her relatives, so she and her brother, Torisen, were raised in a kind of exile. Both have made it back to the main society, but are causing quite a bit of turbulence and mayhem in their wake. In this book, Jame has survived the randon (military) academy is assigned to the Southern Host. A good chunk of the Kencyrath have been hired as mercenaries for a fabulous trading city.

We get some more answers in this book about her and Tori's past which is great. It feels less like a diversion as some of the previous books seemed to me. I know that they're not really, everything is important, but...

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November 2016

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