Haven’t posted any book reviews lately. Shame on me! Must remedy this…
First up, The Secret History of Moscow [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] by Ekaterina Sedia. From the synopsis:
“Galina is a young woman caught, like her contemporaries, in the seeming lawlessness of the new Russia. In the midst of this chaos, her sister Maria turns into a jackdaw and flies away – prompting Galina to join Yakov, a policeman investigating a rash of recent disappearances.”
If you’re looking for quick-paced, action-heavy fantasy, this probably isn’t the book for you. If you’re looking for deep characterization and a much richer cultural background than your average American fantasy novel, I’d definitely recommend it.
Not a cheerful book, but I enjoyed it a lot, particularly the characters from Russian folklore. I think the Celestial Cow was my favorite. Sedia has a beautiful writing style, and it’s so refreshing to read something different.
Next up, CodeSpell [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] by Kelly McCullough. This is the third book about Ravirn, descendant of fates and magical hacker extraordinaire. CodeSpell continues where the last book left off, with Raviern working to restore Necessity while trying to survive a new and powerful enemy.
These books are in many ways the yin to Sedia’s yang. Short, fast, and fun. I zip right through them, enjoying the ride immensely. With that said, I didn’t think this one was quite as good as the previous book, Cybermancy. Cybermancy felt like it had a clearer plot, and the issues surrounding Persephone made that book far more powerful to me. In CodeSpell, I didn’t feel as emotionally invested in saving Necessity.
I did enjoy seeing Ravirn’s development. It was interesting to see McCullough show how his growth affected his relationships. Zeus was fun to meet in this one, and of course I always enjoy Melchior the webgoblin.
If you like my goblin books, I think there’s a good chance you’d like this series. And if you enjoyed the first two Ravirn books, go pick up CodeSpell. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in #4.
Currently reading Michael Jasper‘s book A Gathering of Doorways [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy]. Like much of Jasper’s work, this is a modern-day fantasy with a cast of vivid, flawed, gritty characters. No pretty quests here. Gil and Melissa are a farming couple whose marriage is already in trouble. When their son Noah goes missing in the Undercity, they each set out to try to save him.
I’ll have more thoughts on this one later. For now, I’m enjoying learning about the Undercity, though I wish I could have gotten more information earlier in the book. The strained relationship between Gil and Melissa is painful, but believable. I don’t think it’s my favorite Michael Jasper work (I’d probably reserve that for The Wannoshay Cycle), but I’m most of the way through and hoping to finish it up before heading to ConFusion.
Your turn. If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And what else has everyone been reading lately? Any recommendations for the rest of us?
January 21, 2010 @ 10:50 am
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book so far, Jim! I’m not sure I could read that book again, now that my son is the same age as the missing Noah in that book. Shudder…
I also enjoyed “Secret History of Moscow,” and your description of its depth and cultural immersion is very apt. That’s a book I’d like to read again. Great stuff.
And I really need to read McCullough’s books — the mix of tech and magic sounds right up my alley…
January 26, 2010 @ 7:07 pm
I recently finished reading The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia –that was the other book that tempted me when I chose to purchase The Mermaid’s Madness instead. Very well written and I can see why, what with Ms. Sedia’s own life experiences. A marvelous story.
Just waiting for it to be re-re-released in something smaller than a trapper-keeper before I buy it. Barnes & Noble is very tolerant of in-store reading.
Jim C. Hines
January 26, 2010 @ 8:56 pm
McCullough’s fun. I meant to pick up #4 this weekend at the con, and it totally slipped my mind. D’oh!
Jim C. Hines
January 26, 2010 @ 8:57 pm
One more book to add to my wish list 🙂