September Reading

Not many books, but some good books.


Aliette De Bodard, The House of Shattered Wings: I have a whole separate post that I’m not sure what to do with about reviews/responses to this book and The Present Moment in Genre; this is probably not the place for it. Suffice it to say (for now) that I disagree with, for example, Mahvesh Murad in this review (chosen in part because I edited it, and in part because talking to Mahvesh about the book helped me clarify my own ideas to myself) that this is “more importantly … also a story about imperialism, about displacement and belonging,” but that I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism of the book. A thing I do criticise about the book is the pacing, which feels off to me at the beginning. But I really enjoyed the haunting/murder mystery when it got going, and I am very glad of the moment towards the end when Philippe is allowed some proper  Plague On All Your Houses anger.

N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season: I’m less able to do the balanced “I liked this, I didn’t like this” with The Fifth Season. It starts out dizzyingly, intoxicatingly good, sometimes lives up to that through the rest of the book, often is unflinching and nauseating, sometimes is only quite good (which itself is infuriating, considering what it is when it’s at its best), there’s a lot of playing with perspective and style. There are things it does brilliantly, there are other things I really wish it didn’t do at all, and when I attempted to rant about it to a friend I found myself arguing against the novel as a form, which says something about the book, probably. Also, I have a fondness for inexplicable obelisks as an SFFnal trope.

John Gordon, The Giant Under the Snow: Work, and enjoyable. It pleases me that the protagonist is called Jonk, and that it (like so many surprisingly powerful books from its era) feels so oddly rough and unfinished. Also, the leather men things are terrifying.

Zen Cho, Sorcerer to the Crown (and also a Spirits Abroad reread): Reviews of both forthcoming (in different publications, no less!); I genuinely enjoyed them both.

Phillipa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden: Work, still enjoyable, I’d forgotten how central the sibling relationship was to the whole.

Mavis Doriel Hay, Death on the Cherwell: 1930s crime novel set in a fictional women’s college in Oxford. It is no Gaudy Night and its murder is very solveable; on the other hand, it is funny, and has idiotically plucky undergrads (of both genders) amateur-detecting, and refusing to actually buy books in Blackwells when they could just sit there and, like, read them, and boys nagging their friends to buy their self-pubbed poetry chapbooks, and in short I was charmed.

One Comment to “September Reading”

  1. Zen Cho, indeed! I noticed one of the blurbs (by de Bodard, I think) said it was a mix of Wodehouse etc, but that’s just silly, other than the occasional use of ‘dash it’. What do you think?

    Also: do you think it’s going to be a trilogy? I’m a bit tired of logies. But I liked this enough that I might grab the next one on offer..

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