Sunday, May 15, 2016

Back to blogging, with book reviews

I have been trying to read more lately, and spend less time on computer games and Facebook. I also challenged myself to read more books by women and minorities; so far, 15 of the 21 books I have read so far this year are by women. Anyway, here are short reviews of two books I have recently finished.

Cold Magic (Spiritwalker, #1)Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is closer to a 3.5 for me. I enjoyed it enough that I want to read the rest of the trilogy, but there were some things - stylistically and plot-wise - that kept me from truly loving it. Initially, I had a hard time getting into the story, since the beginning was a bit slow - I tend to prefer a quick start. A large portion of the middle of the book is occupied with Cat and Anduvai traveling up and then back down the length of the country, seemingly to no great purpose - I mean, important plot things happen, but they start and end in the same place with lots of running around in between. And as much as I liked the mash up of cultures, I was often distracted by them, enough that I would get thrown out of the story for a bit. I am not entirely sure why this particular brand of alternate history/fantasy should do that, since I have read plenty of books set in alternate versions of our world, but somehow, the redrawn map of Europe, combined with actual bits of ancient Roman and African history, and magic, was just a bit too much.

As I said though, I do want to read the rest of the series. I like Cat and Bee, and I am interested to see where they go next.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, and read it in two days. It is like Master and Commander, but with dragons. Napoleon and Britain are at war, and both use dragons as their aerial power. When William Lawrence, a British Navy captain, captures a dragon egg from a French ship, he is dismayed to have it hatch and pick him as his companion, because the aerial corps are looked down upon by society and especially the Navy. But he is a man of honor and duty, so he does what he must to keep the dragon safe and help his country in the war. Along the way, he forges a friendship and partnership with the dragon, Temeraire, that changes his views of society and duty. While I did find Laurence a little stuffy at times, given the setting I suppose that is forgivable. And the dragons are pretty cool. Too bad it wasn't illustrated, in full color! I will be reading the rest of the series.

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