Mini-reviews #7

Now I’ve finally got myself a tag cloud on my layout, I could easily figure out what number Mini-Reviews post I’m up to. Yay me! I’m still on a McMaster Bujold kick, and while I’ve almost finished the Vorkosigans (a couple of short novels in omnibus versions, and another collection of shorts – most of which I think I’ve already read in omnibus editions – to come), I’ve moved on to the fantasies 🙂 Also reading some Neil Gaiman and paranormals, and have some new review (and hopefully judging!) books on the way. Busy!

For interest, my spreadsheet is divided into a number of tabs, such as Borrowed Books, Purchased Books, eBooks, Review/Judging Books etc, so they may appear below in a different order to how I read them. And so far this year, I’ve read at least 63 novels/graphic novels/collections etc. I say "at least" because some of the entries in my spreadsheet cover multiple books (ie: batches Preacher comics under one entry…). And so! On to recent reading…

Bloodlust, Alex Duval, 219pp. – I was never really into Beverly Hills 90210, which is pretty much the level these books are on, but they are still a quick and painless read. I can see why the kiddies like them. Doesn’t rate too highly with me for two reasons – the first is the Beverly Hills factor – everybody’s gorgeous, everybody’s wealthy blah blah… Poor little rich kids. This book starts off pretty slowly, with the vampire element not being introduced til halfway too, so that was a bit odd. The second thing that turned me off was the weird vampire rules. Hereditary vampireness, no apparent negatives to being vampires (with no real reason why…), the whole blissful blood drinking thing … perhaps the paranormal side of the world building needs a bit more oomph for me.

, Alex Duval, 215pp. – Same as for the first book, although this one was a little better – more exploration of the vampire systems was good. I don’t mind the tension between the main character and the girl, and some of the interactions between friends are fun. I will give the next book a go, because Duval seems to be heating things up a bit and I’d really like to know more about WHY his vamps can go swimming and sunbaking at midday…

Star Trek: the manga
, Shinsei Shinsei – Just trying out a bit of Star Trek without any real commitment of time. Was okay, although the font size was incredibly hard to read at times. Short stories represented in graphic form. An … interesting … experience.

The Curse of Chalion,
Lois McMaster Bujold, 442pp – First time on Bujold’s fantasy writing after a thoroughly enjoyable SF reading experience, and totally not disappointed! The Curse of Chalion is finely crafted, character oriented writing, and it’s excellent. I loved the believably flawed characterisation, the realistic "feel" of the story, and the exciting and powerful story. Have started on the sequel already, with another two fantasies waiting in the wings!

The Ghost Brigades,
John Scalzi, 374pp – I didn’t think the sequel could be as good as Old Man’s War, but it was! Scalzi somehow manages to add a dash of humour to otherwise serious subject matter, blending believable and interesting characterisation with hard science fiction (which I normally don’t enjoy), creating a book that is exceptionally readable. I really enjoyed this!

The Last Colony
, John Scalzi , 324pp. –  Again, wonderful characterisation makes this relatively hard SF book readable and enjoyable – the pacing is superb, and I think Scalzi permits himself more humour in this one, particularly in the character of John. It’s a clever book. I’ve now ordered Zoe’s Tale, and I’m looking forward to it!

Diplomatic Immunity,
Lois McMaster Bujold, 367pp. – I have one more of these books to go before I finish the entire series (so far? – Oh how I hope there will be more!), although there’s still a couple of shorts to catch up on. Shoulda just bought all the omnibus editions. *sigh* Anyway, this one was brilliant, drawing in elements from previous novels all over the place, and showing a bit of how far Ekaterin has come, while still giving me Miles, Miles and more Miles and his eccentric, hyperactive brilliance! Bujold is, quite simply, marvellous.

Falling Free
, Lois McMaster Bujold, 307pp – Maybe it’s because this wasn’t a Miles adventure, being set some 200 years before his birth, but this book just didn’t hit me the same way as the other Bujolds in this world. To be honest, it felt very Anne McCaffreyish in lots of ways, which, a few years ago, would have been a GOOD thing, but these days, is a bit of a let down! I particularly didn’t enjoy the female characters in this – wasn’t sold on the characters at all actually. Overall, a bit flat – still a good read, and if I’d STARTED here, maybe I wouldn’t have been so disappointed, but off the back of Diplomatic Immunity, well, no.

Currently reading Paladin of Souls (Lois McMaster Bujold), the latest Karen Chance, and a couple of Neil Gaiman kiddie books. And listening to those in the car too!


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5 responses to “Mini-reviews #7

  1. Anonymous

    I want to write like LMB. My books are a bit like Paladin of Souls (my favourite)

  2. Anonymous

    are Bloodlust and Initiation Vampire Beach stories?

    • Anonymous

      Yep, book 1 & 2 of Vampire Beach (recently rereleased in a single volume).

      • Anonymous

        oh let me express how much I *hate* Vampire Beach…
        one of my students requested it, and I said “nope”
        I really hate the way they have been repackaged it too look like the Twilight series. As much as people are critical of Twilight etc, it is so superior to Vampire Beach!

  3. Anonymous

    I think we must be telepathic or something. I’ve just finished Young Miles, and I bought Joe Scalzi’s Old Man’s War last Thursday. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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