April Reading Thread

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Rodders

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Don’t down play tie in books, there were some great Star Trek novels.

I have that one on my shelves, although I have read it, I don’t remember the story on that one. (The price you pay for getting old. )
 

kythe

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Don’t down play tie in books, there were some great Star Trek novels.
This can be true. The thing is, Star Trek: The Original Series was uneven in quality as a show. It had about 15-20 fantastic episodes and marked some of the best sci fi TV and spawned multiple spinoffs over the next 50 years. Yet, TOS also produced some of the most cringeworthy material out there, both in quality storytelling and in feeling dated.

The books, on the other hand, are much more consistent in quality. Not many are truly "great" (though personally I find Diane Duane's Rihanssu series fantastic), but you don't see the flops out there either. Most Star Trek novels are written by established authors who know how to spin a good story with even pacing. ST novels tend to lack character development since they can't change anything about the established canon, but they are fun adventure stories set in a familiar "world" with characters we know and love.
 
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Parson

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Started the classic Don Quixote I'd never read it before, and found it boring and predictable. A nice message: Be good to people and you will bring out the best in them." But 1000 pages! I just couldn't commit to that much quite unenjoyable reading just because "it's a classic."

In the last 2 days I've read The Orion War: Destiny Lost and Set the Stars on Fire by M. D. Cooper. I found them to be quick reading, pretty exciting, and much better than the truly awful cover suggested that they would be. I don't think I would have bothered because of that very amateurish cover, except that it had 256 Reviews with an average 4.5 stars. That sparked my interest, and I will be reading more of this series. In the meantime I think I'll read The Enigma Cube by Douglas Richards.
 

Foxbat

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Finally finished volume 6 of Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet and wondering how long he can string this story out given it ends with the alliance facing a new enemy. Very awkward writing when it comes to personal relationships and enough battles throughout the series that they all get very similar in content despite Geary constantly looking to do the unexpected.

All in all, very average time filling reading.

I might read on some more if I can pick the subsequent volumes up in a kindle sale but I certainly won’t pay full price for these.
 

Dave

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I finished Brian's book. I might talk about it in his forum here, but I know it was heavily critiqued already and can't face reading through all of that. In not so many words, I liked it, and was surprised at how much.

I didn't get a chance to re-read any books as my new books were delivered yesterday. I decided to start with the second Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth, the first book still fresh in my memory. I can answer my question about sequel or prequel now. It is also a bit of a tome, so going to take a while. Then again, I'm so busy at the moment. Afterwards, it will make a good doorstop.
 

kythe

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I finished Brian's book. I might talk about it in his forum here, but I know it was heavily critiqued already and can't face reading through all of that. In not so many words, I liked it, and was surprised at how much.
Ah, you too! After all these years, I just started it this morning. :)
 

Extollager

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Just finished rereading Silverberg's Conquerors from the Darkness for the second time I think, the first having been over 50 years ago. I was surprised by how violent it was, for a book aimed at kids in the 1960s. But then I thought of the battle of the roundhouse in Stevenson's Kidnapped, with the blood sloshing around on the roundhouse floor as the ship rolls with the waves, etc. Silverberg could've pointed to that as a precedent.
 

Brian G Turner

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I finished Brian's book. I might talk about it in his forum here, but I know it was heavily critiqued already and can't face reading through all of that.
If you desperately want to ask something, you're welcome to - but don't feel you have to feel obliged to say anything. :)

In not so many words, I liked it, and was surprised at how much.
That would actually make for a wonderful one-line review on Amazon, if you'd be so kind as to consider it. :D
 

Foxbat

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Just started David Weber’s The Short Victorious War. I enjoyed the first two Honor Harrington books so hoping to enjoy this:)
 

The Judge

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Not a great deal of reading done this month again.

I continued with A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham, the first book in The Long Price Quartet fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of intrigue in a faux-Japanese setting where the unwanted sons of city-state rulers vie to become poets controlling andats – thought-forms made flesh who can perform magical tasks such as freeing the seeds in cotton, making the city-states powerful and rich. Good dialogue, description, world-building and characterisation -- I particularly liked Amat, the lead female character who fights for justice -- though the actual ending seemed something of a let-down.

I then went straight on to its sequel, A Betrayal in Winter set some 13 years after the first book where Otah, the main character of the original, finds himself caught up in a power struggle during his father's final illness. Plenty of intrigue again, but for me the absence of Amat left a void that was only partly covered by the introduction of Otah's sister, Idaan, and the lack of suspense over the whole conspiracy -- details of which are revealed early on -- meant that I wasn't quite so caught up in the action. I also felt there was something lacking in Otah himself and I was never convinced by his new lover, but both the poet and his andat were far more interesting in this one. Also interesting, the exploration of misogyny in the culture and how this affects the female characters. So despite my cavils, I immediately ordered the next in the series.

While waiting for that, I turned to another fantasy, Malice by John Gwynne. This has rave reviews at Goodreads, which just reinforces my belief that I'm out of step with most of reading humanity. An interesting-ish but slow prologue was followed by a long, involved and boring “extract” of someone's writings in which backstory was just dumped on the page. In Chapter1 we get a teenage boy and his equally annoying friend talk, mock-fight and dump more backstory, and in Chapter 2 we have yet another POV of yet another teenage boy moping. I like to give stories a chance but after 28 pages of poor writing, terrible dialogue, a complete absence of intelligence, and no character which created any interest at all, and faced with another 600 pages and no likely prospect of improvement, I gave up.

Still waiting for Waterstones to deliver -- oh, how I miss just going out and buying books -- I turned back to Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb, the third in The Farseer Trilogy which I started back in February. I'd come to a halt when Fitz starts out on his own as I'd got to the stage where I didn't particularly care what happened to him or anyone else he came across. I got back into the book only by jumping ahead, finding that some other characters I liked from the previous novels came back into the plot, and I read disjointedly for a while, hopping between scenes and chapters, then made myself go back and read the in-between bits, and ploughed through to the end. Great ideas and description, and I loved Kettle and the Fool.

And finally Waterstones came through, and I've just started An Autumn War, the third book in Abraham's LPQ, but the jury is at present out on how I'll get on with it.
 

tobl

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Just started David Weber’s The Short Victorious War. I enjoyed the first two Honor Harrington books so hoping to enjoy this:)
his a series i quite like. it gets dramatic but its great
 

Reid Butler

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I'm late to this thread but here's a quick recap I can sneak in right before May starts!

On audiobook:
Ninth House (Leigh Bardugo) - A first foray into "adult" fantasy for a previously YA fantasy author. I thought it was an excellently realized urban fantasy that tied in with the Ivy League secret societies (in this book Yale) which is a topic I was already fascinated by though I couldn't be farther from. It was a quick and compelling read that blended a revenge plot, a detective thread, and anti-establishment vs. upper crust elements but didn't fully flesh out or deliver to the fullest extent on any those in my opinion. Having read her YA series first it appeared to me she was trying very heavily to make the transition to "adult" painfully obvious in some places. It includes very graphic sexual content/abuse, drug usage, and physical humiliation to an extreme I have not encountered before. If you can handle those it's a pretty solid read though I'd recommend her YA duology (Six of Crows) over it. It should be noted though that I am wholly biased in my love for ensemble cast/heist novels which is the primary style of her duology.
Bonus: it has a female and a male narrator for the two POVs which cut down on a pet peeve of mine when a narrator does a poor job of imitating the voices of the opposite sex.
Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch) - I read this hard copy almost exactly four years ago and it has since been one of my All-Time Favorites. I got in the queue on Overdrive to get the audiobook since it had been long enough to be fresh again and since I had seen rave reviews of the audio production. It did not disappoint in the slightest.
Smoke Bitten (Patricia Briggs) - This is the twelfth installment in the Mercy Thompson series and in my opinion one of the weaker ones from an overall story point of view. However; I'm going through some particularly hard times right now and immersing into a cast of familiar characters was like visiting with long lost friends and it brought a significant amount of comfort in that aspect. Also being a weaker installment in a stellar series still meant the book was solid.

I am a huge fan of these episodic fiction series, particularly urban fantasy and detective series can anyone recommend any additional series that I should pick up?
The series I have read and loved are: Harry Bosch, Mercy Thompson, Dresden Files, Rivers of London, Iron Druid
(I recommend them all)

Hard copy:
The Road (Cormac McCarthy) - Quite timely amidst a world-shaking pandemic but truthfully I found it a little lackluster. Not much occurred plot-wise and the ending was quite a bit of a Deus Ex Machina in my opinion, though I know the point was to show more of a character tale than anything else. My expectations were very high since my first foray into McCarthy was No Country for Old Men.

-Reid
 
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