January Reading

Look at all the books I read this month! …

… a regency romance and a comic. Putting words into my eyes is currently not a thing I enjoy at all. I’m taking some time off in February, and am hoping I’ll magically find myself inhaling and wanting to talk about books as a result.


Loretta Chase, Dukes Prefer Blondes: Hm. I’m not a big fan of the Dressmakers series–Chase is always going to be a good writer, but what I value most in her is her humour, and these books are relatively short on that. This was a nice evening’s read, but I can’t imagine wanting to return to it as I would many of her other books. It’s also rather suggestive of the limitations (boundaries? Limitations sounds inherently negative) of the form; the minute you discover that the un-titled, not-rich hero has a titled cousin, you just know he’s going to inherit the dukedom, even if the title hadn’t (why that title? it’s a poor title) pretty much told you this anyway.

Woods NiobeSebastian A. Jones, Amandla Stenberg, Ashley A. Woods, Darrell May, Hyoung Taek Nam, Joshua Cozine, Niobe: She Is Life #1:  I don’t read comics enough until they’re pressed on me by friends who know what I’ll like, and when I do they’re usually a) in trade form and b) things for which I already have some context. So it’s possible that my general sense that I have no idea what is happening in this story is normal for people who start reading new series in single issues that are so short that there’s not much time to find out. I’m only really reading it because the thought of Amandla Stenberg doing a fantasy comic intrigued me. However.

I’ve written elsewhere, I think, of how often reading fantasy in India in the 90s was a process full of gaps; you’d start a series in medias res, would quite likely never read the next (or the last) book, and if your interest in fantasy is in estrangement and being unsettled (and not in the Learning All The Things And Filling In All The Gaps) this is a great initiation into the genre. Reading Niobe reminded me very much of that feeling–it’s proper epic fantasy; there are a lot of people (and gods?) with important ancestries and destinies being very angry about things I don’t understand yet, but I am entirely sucked in, am planning to read Jones’s The Untamed (which, I understand, is set in this world and to which this is a sort of sequel), and am looking forward to the next issue (which I’m told will be out at the end of the month). Plus Ashley A. Woods’s art is gorgeous.



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