Review the First: Libyrinth [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], by Pearl North. This is a postapocalyptic YA novel which opens in the Libyrinth, a library so massive it’s almost a city. Opposing the Libyrarians are the Eradicants, who seek to destroy the written word. What starts out with a Fahrenheit 451 feel gets more complex when Haly, who has the ability to hear books, is captured by Eradicants.
There’s a lot I liked about this one. The written word vs. oral tradition conflict taken to such extremes was both fascinating and highly disturbing. The random excerpts Haly hears from various books throughout the story added a layer of surreality. And of course I enjoyed her little goblinlike companion Nod.
My one problem with the book comes from Clauda’s story, which felt too neat. Without spoiling the ending, the wing felt too much like a deus ex machina on two levels. Overall though, a good, thoughtful read.
Next up is Spellcrash [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], by Kelly McCullough. If you liked the other books, you’ll like this last one. If not, don’t read it. You definitely need to read the first four to understand this one, which takes all of the open plot threads and brings them together in one raven-shaped snarl.
These are fun, fast reads, and I’ve enjoyed them all. I liked how McCullough wrapped things up, though occasionally it almost felt too neat. Overall, a very satisfying ending.
One aspect bugs me. I appreciated McCullough’s take on the Persephone myth in book two, which is treated as rape with no excuses or minimizing. Persephone is back in this book … and her treatment made me uncomfortable. Our hero Raven is a trickster. It’s his nature, and McCullough stresses how these mythological figures are incapable of denying that divine nature. Yet Raven is ever serious with Persephone. She is his maiden in a tower, very much on the pedestal. While I appreciate McCullough’s awareness of the trauma and pain the character has been through, it felt like she’s defined by her victimhood.
It’s still a better treatment of rape than in many books I’ve read, and I did enjoy this book a lot, but I’m continuing to try to sort out my reaction to that particular aspect.
I received The Guild [Amazon | B&N], Seasons 1 + 2 for Christmas. The Guild is a web-based show about a group of online gamers, and it’s very much geek humor. I wanted to like it, but I’m afraid it didn’t really work for me. My biggest problem is that I just don’t like the characters. They have their moments, and Felicia Day’s character comes closest to being sympathetic, but I wasn’t invested in them.
The second season was better than the first, so I may check it out online to see if it continues to improve.
“A host of award-winning female novelists, academics and actresses come together to celebrate the phenomenon that is Doctor Who.”
As a new fan, this was an interesting read. I think the more of a fan you are, the more you’ll appreciate the book. For me, there were some essays that I had to smile and nod, as they referred to doctors I hadn’t met yet, or storylines I didn’t know. But there’s something neat about making that sense-of-wonder connection, which is what you get in a lot of these essays. A fun read for fans, but don’t hand it to someone unfamiliar with Doctor Who.
Your turn. If you’ve read/watched any of these, what did you think? Or if you want to talk about another recent read, feel free. I can always use more books for my wish list!