melita66: (ship)
I sampled Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and then hurriedly bought and inhaled it. Set in a multi-species universe, it details the lives of a small crew who punch 'holes' that enable FTL travel between solar systems. Normally, they take on smaller jobs, but the captain is hinted at a possible well-paying job that would put them well into the black. The majority of the book details the personal lives of the people on the ship on their journey to this job.

When I was looking at reviews, I saw at least one that thought it was slow-moving. Because I'm a character-oriented reader, I thought the pace was lovely and quite enjoyed learning about the crew of the Wayfarer. Highly recommended.

I then reread (again!) Martha Wells' Raksura trilogy because I needed me some Moon and Stone. Wells is one of my absolute favorite writers with smart characters and interesting milieus. I can hardly wait for the next book! (two more are planned)

I had a last minute trip in mid-January to visit a friend who's dying of cancer (F U cancer!) and meet up with several friends from college. I remembered to take my ARC (advanced reviewer's copy) of Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane. It's part of her Young Wizards series. Nita, Kit, and Dairine are invited to mentor newer wizards as part of a giant, well, wizarding fair. The participants are to build the most amazing wizardries they can, that will benefit others. The winner gets a year-long internship with the Planetary wizard of Earth. Nita and Kit are definitely together as a romantic couple as well as a wizardly team, but are taking it slowly. Dairine is still dealing with the disappearance of Roshaun in a previous book, and their two mentees have their own issues. I liked it a lot, just as I like almost all Duane books, but I think a few of the other books are stronger.

I also continued reading the Tremontaine serial by Ellen Kushner and several other authors. The last segment was released this week and resolved some of the threads. I was greeted at the end of the segment with the news that it will resume later this year. Argh!

I'm currently nearing the end of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. I previously read the E-ARC. A lovely, character-driven entry. Stuff happens, but it's mostly detailing how Cordelia Vorkosigan and Oliver Jole are finally moving on after Aral's death.
melita66: (ship)
Whew, I just could not seem to get my act together and post.

I re-read some more Laurie R. King: The Beekeeper's Apprentice and A Monstrous Regiment of Women. I dearly love me some Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes and am very much looking forward to The Murder of Mary Russell, due out next spring.

I then scarfed down Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy. It's a quieter novel, in some ways, very domestic but with an interesting twist at the end that I didn't anticipate. I'm sorry that currently there are no plans for more Breq although Leckie does plan more stories in the Radchaai universe.

Stephanie Burgis has a short story (novelette?) out, "Undead Philosophy 101" which was entertaining (but not Kat, darn it!).

I then started, but didn't finish Zen Cho's Sorceror to the Crown. I liked it fine, but never really felt a burning desire to find what's going to happen to the characters, so it got dropped for another book. I'll try to finish it at some point.

Also started (and closer to completion at 78%), was Diane Duane's Life Boats, a novel in her Young Wizards series. Nita and Kit (and Dairine, Tom, Carl, and many other wizards from previous books) are sent to a planet who's binary companion/moon is about to blow up, annihilating anyone left on the planet. An effort has already begun to "terraform" other worlds for the natives and transport them, but a significant number are refusing to go. Nita and Kit are tasked with helping maintain the world gates that are shuttling people to the new worlds.

It was dropped (I will finish it next, likely) to read the eARC (electronic advanced reader copy, like a beta version) of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. I characterized this to someone who just whipped through the Miles books in the last year, as "the story of two people who were devastated by Aral's death and are now, 3 years later, ready to move on and see where life will take them." It's set on Sergyar and focuses on Cordelia and Jole. Jole was aide to Aral, then became Admiral of the Sergyar system several years prior. Miles, and family, does make a brief appearance.

Next up: Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn and Black Wolves by Kate Elliott.
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: (Default)
I don't follow Duane's blog, so I first read about her *very* interesting post in Teleread. Her post is here:

Since you were asking: The Door into Starlight

and here's Teleread's post:

Diane Duane will write The Door into Starlight if fans can prove interest

This series is loosely related to the Young Wizards series, but is definitely adult. There are LGBT issues, if only because everyone is bisexual. Characters may have a preference, but that doesn't stop them from loving the other gender. Anyway, this series is very character-driven. Magic users, if they can 'focus' their magic, can gloriously fight against chaos and evil but will die young in exchange. Herewiss is the first male in ages with enough magic to be useful, but can't focus. Segnbora is similar, trained as a bard and wizard, she has psychological issues that keep her from being happy and focusing. Then there is Freelorn, heir to one of the kingdoms, and currently trying to take back his throne. Can't forget Sunspark (an elemental) and Hasai (a Dragon). The first book was published in 1979, with a 2nd book in the '80s and the third book in 1992.

Duane has had publisher issues with this series, and states that the 3rd book never earned out. Several years ago, she contracted with Meisha Merlin to publish it, but they collapsed before she could write it.

The magic system is well-defined. There are consequences to actions. I like the religion too. There's a Godess who, once in your life (at least), visits you. This world has always been one of my I'd-live-there places.

Duane has made the first three books available as ebooks plus others and is currently running a sale. Use STARLIGHTGUILT and you can get 15% off the total bill. Link is in her post, near the bottom.
melita66: (Default)

I managed to read two new novels and a collection while on vacation. I also reread one book: Megan  Whalen Turner's The King of Attolia. The first book was Uncertain Allies by Mark del Franco. It's one of the Connor Grey series. Grey used to be a high-powered operative for the Guild. He's a mage in a world where the Faerie realms ended up in our world a hundred years ago or so. There are two faerie kingdoms in a cold war (Celtic and Teutonic), plus unaligned creatures. Grey lost most of his power several years ago in a battle with a fey terrorist. He still works with the police and some Guild investigators and ekes out a living.

He's getting pulled back into the politics, as he has some power, and dirt on several people. Fall-out from the last book is dealt with in this one. His girlfriend, who ended up in a magical coma, is still in it and several things are tried to wake her up.

I haven't tired of this series yet. It's nice to have a male protagonist, and he's not powering up a level in each book, like some series. There's also some movement forward in the overall plotlines.

I then read book two in a new Stargate: Atlantis series. I never got into SG1, but started watching SGA in season 2, and then backed up and watched the first season. I started watching SGA because I read an SGA novel by Martha Wells, who's one of my favorite authors. I liked the book enough that I decided I wanted to find out more about the characters. Another of my favorite authors, Melissa Scott (who hasn't been writing in the field much recently), has joined with Jo Graham and Amy Griswold to write a six book miniseries continuing the SGA story. The first book, Homecoming was by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott and I was 'eh' about it. Book two, by Jo Graham and Amy Griswold is called The Lost and I really enjoyed it. Rodney is lost and most of the book is trying to find out where he is and mount a rescue mission. As you might expect in book 2 of 6, there are complications. I'm fully into the story now and am looking forward to book 3.

Among several ebooks that I'd purchased recently was a collection by Diane Duane, Uptown Local and Other Interventions. At least two are in her Wizards series. "Uptown Local" is a Nita and Kit story. "Theobroma" is about another wizard and what's missing in a chocolatier's shop. "Hopper Painting" was written for a Janis Ian story. "The Fix" is set in ancient Rome about a slave assigned to the Coliseum and dreams of being a trainer for the gladiators. "The Rizzoli Bag" and "Out of the Frying Pan" are connected stories about gifts from a Sibyl. "Bears" is a story about Berne (several stories have Switzerland connections as Duane points out). There are 11 stories total. All have been published before.
 

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November 2016

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