Book it Chewie

I read, sometimes, then like to blab about what happened.

Red Seas Under Red Skies (GollanczF.) - Scott Lynch

Better than the first one, and not just because I'm totally weak for nautical fantasy.


Huge increase in female characters, definite increase in non-straight characters. The boys being useless and getting into shenanigans. Bad-ass mom character. More scuzzy fantasy - my favourite.


The Lies of Locke Lamora felt like it needed tightening up at the seams, and while the nautical terminology and junk (whether it's legit or not) might be a bit much to swallow for some, Red Seas Under Red Skies felt far more streamlined than the first one.


High hopes for the Republic of Thieves.

Reading progress update: I've read 63%.

Red Seas Under Red Skies (GollanczF.) - Scott Lynch

Stuff's starting to get tense between the boys.


Also, I have to say - holy shit, the sheer amount of female characters showing up in this so far, in typically male roles. Love, love, love.

The Liar's Key - Mark  Lawrence

Every time I think that Jal's going to do something to redeem himself somewhat, he turns it on my head and laughs in my face.


I can appreciate that.


EDIT:: Forgot yet again to mention that this book could use just a wee bit of tightening up at the seams; more commas, more semicolons, fewer run-on sentences (but, again, that might've been the edition I was reading). I enjoy a good rambling plot, but The Liar's Key definitely seems to have a case of the 'middle book humdrums' where it doesn't seem like it's entirely sure where it's going for a while.


Still enjoyed it, still looking forward to the next book. Also looking forward to reading The Broken Empire books now, and his short stories, if I can scrounge them up anywhere.

Three whole days before schedule
Three whole days before schedule

Five years ago, this would've been impossible for me.


I'm so tired my head is spinning, and I'm so proud that I'm spinning around the room.


10/10 would do again, though preferably with coffee next time

Prince of Fools - Mark  Lawrence

Yet another book featuring an Arrogant, Swaggering Shitkicker, though this one doesn't have a heart of gold. Maybe he did, once, but he clawed it out of his own chest, melted it down and coated lead with it, sold it off, spent the lot on gambling and hookers before falling into massive debt and fleeing the country.


Naturally, I enjoyed him quite a bit. I was keeping notes in my Kobo whenever he did something particularly scuzzy; I've never ended up with so many highlights/notes saved in a book before. Goes to show, really.


The setting was a little confusing at first, being a really-close-but-not-quite parallel of Earth as we know it, but little details dropped here and there tells us that Something clearly happened at one point - perhaps a nuclear war, going by the terms 'Thousand Suns' and 'false Ragnarok' that were used - leaving behind a shattered and changed world. I liked it, once I got my head around it.


I'm very keen to read the second book now, if only because I gotta know if Jal doesn't suddenly drop his redemption arc because of the events that happen at the end of Prince of Fools. He tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end, will it even matter?


EDIT:: Forgot to mention that my main criticisms with the book were actually technical - maybe it was just the edition I was reading, but there were some grammar mess-ups here and there. Definitely also could've used more commas and semicolons sprinkled about.

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

I have a rather unfortunate soft spot for Arrogant, Swaggering Shitkickers With Hearts of Gold (Even if it's Gold in the Sense that Cheap Christmas Ornaments are Gold) and really rather gross, slummy settings in fantasy. It's like Camorr and the Gentlemen Bastards were made for me.


I enjoyed this, but something was missing. Perhaps it was the rather vague way that the setting was presented? A bunch of interesting worldbuilding-y things showed up, and it was easy enough to visualise most of the time, but it felt...watery? Half-assed sometimes? I can't put my finger on it. It had a very debut feel to it, that's for sure.


I am running on the assumption that Sabetha becomes a more prominent character later on, because having the (presumably) only female Gentleman Bastard literally not in action at all during the entire book is kind of a joke. 


So, yes - completely weak at heart for this particular character archetype (the ASS, as I like to refer to it), and loving Gross Venice, but still definitely critical of the book. Will be wondering how it goes in the future ones.

Reading progress update: I've read 60%.

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

NaNoWriMo is keeping me from reading quite as much as I'm in the mood for, but at least I can say it's going fantastically for me so far. If I keep to my schedule, I'll be hitting 50k by the 15th, and hopefully scraping by with 100k at the end of the month.


The first time I took part was in 2011. I thought that 50,000 words in a month sounded impossible for me then, and was content to try for a half-run for my first year. I wrote 12k very early on, put off any further writing until the month had very much matured, panicked, and then Got Stubborn and wrote the remaining 38k needed for a full run in little over a week.


Perhaps it doesn't seem like much, but that was one of the headiest experiences I've ever had. I haven't done much in my life, and I've always wanted to write - it was exactly the boost of confidence I needed. Now, here I am, thinking that 50k is far too small and already wondering if a run for 150,000 next year isn't too ambitious.


I know that some professional writers scoff at the idea of NaNo, and that others back it 100%. All I know is that I'm not a pro, but I have a ton of fun doing it and will always recommend anyone who wants to get into writing (or to refine and learn more about their own writing) to give it a go.


(This turned into a NaNo post instead of actually updating about the book. Oops)

Reading progress update: I've read 11%.

The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien

It's been so long that I last read LotR that I have legitimately no memory whatsoever of the books, except for a vague sense of thinking that they were a bit dry to my young tastes.


Let's see if I still feel that way about them.

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Everyone is terrible, the only (somewhat) decent fellow gets murdered, and we get to witness the utter chaotic destruction of a man due to vanity and selfishness.


I loved it. Lord Henry in particular. He was the worst and I couldn't get enough of him. That's probably not a good thing.


Not a book for someone who enjoys reading about pleasant people.

Reading progress update: I've read 58%.

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Everyone is abysmal. I love it.

NaNoWriMo '15

So, in the week leading up to November - when theoretically I should be getting ready for the big writing leap - I want to do nothing but read old books and discreetly ignore the fact that I'm doing a 100k push this year, instead of the usual 50k. I'm going essentially blind into this project.


This should be fun.

The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells

Still my favourite book, still good after the umpteenth reread.

The Dragon Reborn  - Robert Jordan

It's not boding well for a book when I can say that I power-read half of it in one day and can sincerely say that I remember very little of it.


It was boring.


Not that I disliked it, per se. It was fun, for what it was worth, but the writing and tone was so surprisingly bland. The narrative felt sterile, watered-down almost, and everything was written so very safely. It grated on me a little. Not to mention the constant exclamations of "Light!" "Burn me/you!" "*random analogy about fishing and/or boats*" gets kind of obnoxious, kind of fast.


It does not help that, for some reason unknown to me, I cannot picture Ba'alzemon as anything other than that Sun Baby from Teletubbies.



Shai'tan, Father of Lies. I can't stop laughing.


(He's also a pretty stellar Digimon.)



I think the reason I don't remember a huge amount is because I don't think that much actually happened this book. The Dragon crew slowly made their way in the general direction of Tear, hijinks along the way, and Rand gets Callandor and blasts a dude or three.


My fondness for Faile is balancing on a knife's edge. The fact that all of the female characters seem to have to be paired off, or at least fall ~*~helplessly in love~*~ with a bunch of scruffy dudes is making me want to chew off a table leg. It's infuriating. Min? Rand. Nynaeve? Lan. Egwene? Rand/Galad. Elayne? Rand. Faile? Perrin. No, no, no. Ugh.


I'm hoping the story starts picking up soon.

Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 699 pages.

The Dragon Reborn  - Robert Jordan

Back to scheduled fish analogies and internal exclamations of "Light!"


...can't say I missed the latter. It gets obnoxious fast.

The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

How do I even approach this one?


It's not a large book. Not a long read, but certainly not a light one either. There's a lot going on and if you're not keeping up with it, you're going to have no idea what the living hell is going on at times (as I learned the hard way). I did, however, appreciate the no-nonsense attitude about that. It felt more authentic to me, more real and much more tangible, which is something I think is hugely important considering the nature of the book.


It's worth pointing out that this is my first Le Guin novel, and of course that means I haven't read any of the other books in the Hainish Cycle - though as far as I know, it's not necessary to actually read them in chronological order at all.


This book was written in 1969. From what little I know, The Left Hand of Darkness is a sci-fi classic, still holding up and being recommended nearly half a century later and all the more relevant for the questions it put forth back then - questions still being asked today, matters and problems still being confronted and talked about.


What is gender, and why does it play such a massive and apparently immovable role in society? I'm not a very academic person and most of my questions relating to gender have been more personal than anything. I have to say, a lot of the questions/speculations/answers/etc actually presented in the book now definitely seem outdated and even incorrect. Which, in my opinion, is not only important to see but actually a good thing. Maybe it puts the steps we've taken as a whole into a clearer light. Maybe it shows we've not stepped far enough ahead. I don't really know. Big-scale thinking isn't for me.


Reading the author's foreward in the 40th anniversary was really enlightening and refreshing for me. I'm aware that Le Guin is a writer who is very much into exploring, questioning, and playing around with themes like gender, sexuality, race, religion...lots of stuff. SFF is an absolutely brilliant platform for this, and she clearly takes advantage of this with gusto. It's clear that had this been written much more recently, it wouldn't have been the same book. Not even remotely.


Which is...kind of amazing. The Left Hand of Darkness was such a poignant slice of the times and of the questions being asked those decades ago; tree-rings of past understanding and ignorance that become more prevalent and more talked-about with every passing month, it seems. It's fantastic.


I'm not really sure what else to say. This was a great book and I can't wait to read more of Le Guin's work.

Reading progress update: I've read 28%.

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

Made the mistake of zoning out for a minute while reading - nearly lost all track of the entire chapter. Wow.

Currently reading

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The Fellowship of the Ring
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