jethrien: (Default)
This is why I'm down to just a line or two each for these things.

#25 The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. 3. Pluses: plus sized heroine gets underestimated and turns out to be awesome. Also, unexpected resolution to love triangle. Minuses: Apparently being awesome requires losing all the weight and not being plus size. There was no reason she couldn't have been awesome without changing. Also, magic system of god-given belly button rocks doesn't actually make a great deal of sense from an economic perspective.

#26 The Bread We Eat in Dreams by Catherynne Valente. 4. Gorgeous and haunting short story collection.

#27 Sunshine by Robin McKinley. 5. Deeply weird and creative take on wizards vs vampires, circling around a cinnamon-bun baking mage who wants none of this but gets dragged in. Lyrical and poignant and action-packed, with nary a sparkle in sight.

#28 Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. 5. This is one of those books that's hard to read in this climate, but worth reading anyway. After an economic collapse, a young woman becomes a prophet. It...does not not go well for the majority of the book. (You know from the first page that she succeeds somehow, but not how much it will cost her.)

#29 Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand. 4.5. A maybe-it's-a-ghost-story, maybe-it's-not. A folk band in the 60s retreats to an abandoned British manor house. The aftermath is told completely in "Behind the Music" style interviews.

#30 Path of Fate by Diana Pharaoh Francis. 3. Honestly, this reads like Valdemar fan fiction with the serial numbers filed off. The monarchs of the enemy country are total badasses, though. I'd like to read a book about just them.

#31 The Secret Love of Geek Girls Ed. by Hope Nicholson. 3.5. A collection of short memoirs, essays, stories, and comics loosely organized around the theme of geek girls in love. They're all female authors, so refreshingly, I had no impulse to throw the book across the room. Quality varies, but generally entertaining.

#32 What Would Cthulhu Do? by Patrick Thomas. 2.5. Bathroom reading, mildly amusing.

#33 The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch by Lewis Dartnell. 3. This book would be very useful for a writer looking to navigate characters through an apocalypse. It gives all kinds of names of useful things to figure out, and what order to do them in. It would be useless to someone actually trying to navigate through an apocalypse, as it taunts you with lists of things you should be able to do but without any of the details you'd need to be able to do them. (Build a smithy! Great! How?) Fortunately, in the event of an apocalypse, I plan to go in the first wave.

#34 Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler. 3.5. Early Butler works, generally charming (in the relentlessly pessimistic way she has).

#35 Black Light by Elizabeth Hand. 2. Trippy sixties occult novel. Unfortunately, main character spends huge amounts of it drunk or stoned and so it comes across rather like when your coworker wants to tell you a long and rambling story that makes no sense about a dream he had or that time she was soooooo drunk.

#36 Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter. 4. I'm not sure quite how to rate this. On one hand, it's unquestionably brilliant and I learned/remembered a lot and put together a lot of interesting information in novel ways. On the other hand, while he's brilliant, he's not as clever as he thinks he is, and so many of his little jokes and dialogues are so unbearably twee it drove me bonkers.

#37 Firstborn/Defending Elysium by Brandon Sanderson. 4. Clever science fiction concepts with strong characters. One features the younger brother of a Napoleonic starship admiral. The other is around a psychic phone company secret agent.

#38 Legion by Brandon Sanderson. 4. The paranormal schizophrenic thing isn't new, but this is a particularly cute take. He's a detective, and all his personalities are experts in different fields.

#39 Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson. 4. Schizophrenic detective tries to recover a literal thumb drive.

#40 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. 3. Some very good advice. Unfortunately, I was already doing most of it. :(

#41 Icon by Genevieve Valentine. 4. See, now this is what I'd wanted the previous book in this series to be! Global politics via fashion. In the Hunger Games, did you like the part where the stylists descended on them and they had to deal with Capitol politics best? The whole book is that.

#42 The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. 4. Starting up a new science fiction universe with a bang, Scalzi mostly uses this to set up the pieces for a long game. But the characters are so delightful. They all sound like Scalzi, but different aspects of Scalzi at least, and that means you're in for some hilarious snarking.
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