Tag: Karen Lord


Review – The Galaxy Game

Posted 12 August, 2015 by Nikki in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Galaxy Game, by Karen LordThe Galaxy Game, Karen Lord
Received to review via Netgalley

100 pages into this, I ended up giving up, at least for now. I enjoyed The Best of All Possible Worlds, and thought I remembered it quite well, and yet all the interplay of characters and cultures felt confusing here. It features a minor character from The Best of All Possible Worlds as the main character, so you wouldn’t think it, but to be honest I am wondering if it’s best to read this straight after the first, so that all the societal details are at your fingertips. I just felt lost, unable to attach to characters or events, not quite sure why X was leading to Y, missing jumps of logic.

It’s entirely possible it’s also me being stupid, but I do think this lacked the structure and tightness of The Best of All Possible Worlds. The characters didn’t grab me, either; having Grace and her husband just in the background didn’t help, because they’re already strongly formed characters, and Rafi… you don’t know much about him in the first book, and he’s grown up a bit since then.

I might pick this up again if I ever give The Best of All Possible Worlds a reread, but I’m not that eager about it.

Rating: 2/5

Tags: , , ,

Divider

Review – Redemption in Indigo

Posted 8 May, 2015 by in Reviews / 9 Comments

Cover of Redemption in Indigo by Karen LordRedemption in Indigo, Karen Lord
Review from September 27th, 2013

I’ve been meaning to read something by Karen Lord for a while. For some reason, the fact that a group I participate in a lot on GR is reading one of her other books (which I also own) next month made me read this one. I won’t question it too much, because I enjoyed this a lot. It’s a short/quick read, and it’s different: it isn’t at all your run of the mill fantasy. I read it without knowing any of the background stuff about it being based on a Senegalese story, and I don’t regret that — instead of looking for the joining places between Lord’s story and the original story, I enjoyed the whole thing.

It’s told fairly simply, in the style of a more or less oral narrative — there’s a conversational narrator, and the basic ideas are easy to lay hold of. I really enjoyed that it was in many ways a domestic story, with cooking and family at its heart. I also enjoyed that I didn’t guess every twist exactly right.

Because of the fable/fairytale-like tone, I wasn’t looking for too much from the characters: the execution matches the form, while still providing likeable/pitiable who you can, to some extent, get to know. Still, if characters, setting, etc, really matter to you, then this might not be for you. I’m normally all about the characters, but this so perfectly hit my soft spots for a) something new and different and b) something that emulates another form well that I couldn’t resist it.

Rating: 5/5

Tags: , , , ,

Divider

Stacking the Shelves

Posted 20 September, 2014 by in General / 18 Comments

I have lots of excuses for a big haul this week, I promise. Reacquiring books I want to reread but have given away, ARC requests being granted all at once, book vouchers, etc. I won’t bore you with the excuses, but I promise, I’m still actually 0/10 on my until-November acquisitions allowance, and even my partner agrees. I will probably ruin that tomorrow, going shopping with my sister. Ah well!

Library

Cover of Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn Cover of The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth Cover of Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

Because hey, Georgette Heyer. I’ve actually read two of these already — The Wild Girl is the only one I haven’t touched yet.

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor Cover of Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes Cover of The Human Age by Diane Ackerman

Cover of The Galaxy Game, by Karen Lord Cover of The Amazing Tale of Anna Himmel Cover of Bad Grrlz' Guide to Reality by Pat Murphy

Cover of Fair Play, by Josh Lanyon Cover of The Lord Won't Mind by Gordon Merrick Cover of The Younger Gods by Michael R. Underwood

A very mixed batch, I know! Some of them I really didn’t expect to be approved for, like Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters. I still haven’t read The Shining Girls… ach. But yeah, some I’m very excited about here: Josh Lanyon always works as brain candy for me, though I need to pick up Fair Game first… Such a hardship, heh.

Reacquired to reread

Cover of The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan Cover of The Novice by Trudi Canavan Cover of The High Lord by Trudi Canavan

Cover of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Cover of Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb Cover of Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb Cover of Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

Cover of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I’ve enjoyed Trudi Canavan and Maria V. Snyder’s work as light reading whenever I’ve tried it, but I gave away all my copies a while ago. Now I have them on my Kobo! And Robin Hobb, well, I haven’t given away my copies of her books, but I haven’t got the heart to get my dad to drag them all down from where I grew up to where I live now, either. Besides, having copies on my Kobo is no bad thing. Ditto for Good Omens, plus, I was reading my paperback copy to bits.

And finally, what you were all waiting for…

New acquisitions

Cover of Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear Cover of Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas Cover of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Yep, I finally gave into the hype. Sarah J. Maas and Stephanie Perkins better be as much fun as you guys tell me! Mind you, Throne of Glass was only 99p on the Kobo Store, so it’s not like it was a major investment, particularly for a book everyone seems to adore.

What’s everyone else been getting their hands on? Link me, chat to me, let me know what you’re thinking. (Aside from the bit about my blatant addiction to books. You don’t know the half of it, guys.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 26 August, 2014 by in General / 24 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a la The Broke and the Bookish, is “top ten books you really want to read but haven’t got yet”. Which is difficult, for me: I tend to pick up what I want right away, because I am terribly prone to needing instant gratification. Still, I’m doing better lately, and there’s some books I haven’t got as ARCs despite all my hankering after them.

  1. Maplecroft, by Cherie Priest. I’ve enjoyed most of Priest’s work, and even when I haven’t loved it, I’ve thought it was interesting. So I’m very much looking forward to this one.
  2. The Just City, by Jo Walton. I love the sound of it; the whole concept of setting up Plato’s Republic for real and seeing how it works? Yeaaah. Plus, it’s Jo Walton: I’ll read anything she puts out.
  3. The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin. I don’t even know what it’s about, I just know I want it when it comes out. Jemisin’s never let me down yet.
  4. The Galaxy Game, by Karen Lord. I wasn’t totally bowled over by The Best of All Possible Worlds, but I did enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Lord develops the minor characters of the first book, and where she goes with developing the universe she’s set up.
  5. Dreamer’s Pool, by Juliet Marillier. I generally enjoy Marillier’s work, and this sounds like an interesting one. In a way, I think I can kind of predict what’s coming, but I still think it sounds interesting, and Marillier’s writing and characters are an important part of the package, too.
  6. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab. This is the first one on this list where I haven’t read anything by the author before! I’m intrigued by the summary, the various parallel Londons it mentions. I may be kind of a sucker for alternate Londons like Neverwhere and Un Lun Dun.
  7. Batgirl, vol. 1: Silent Running, by Scott Peterson & Kelley Puckett. I like Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl with Barbara Gordon; I’m interested to dig into other characters, though, particularly as Cassandra Cain has specific limitations. Although, what’s with Batgirl having disabilities and being magically healed?
  8. Heraclix & Pomp, by Forrest Aguire. I’ve been interested in this since reading Dan’s review.
  9. Dangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas. Everyone makes this one sound amazing. I’m hoping to win a giveaway for this book sometime soon, but otherwise, I’m definitely looking to pick it up somewhere.
  10. Hammered, by Elizabeth Bear. I like the idea of the middle-aged heroine, the world sounds interesting, etc. I may not end up picking this one up if I don’t like the work by Elizabeth Bear I’ve already got somewhere, but for now I still have my eye on it.

What about everyone else?

Tags: , , , , ,

Divider

Review – The Best of All Possible Worlds

Posted 12 April, 2014 by Nikki in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen LordThe Best of All Possible Worlds, Karen Lord

The Best of All Possible Worlds is not a perfect book. I can sympathise with various of the lower-star reviews out there. It’s a quiet book, contemplative, and ultimately despite the backdrop it’s basically a romance against a sci-fi, post-disaster backdrop. It’s not quite Ursula Le Guin, but I quite liked the slow progression. It had the feel of something unfolding, rather than a roller-coaster ride, and that’s just fine by me.

I think some potentially problematic things are brought up by the plot and dealt with varying degrees of success. The domestic abuse by telepathy ties in with the plot in a couple of ways, so I don’t understand people saying that doesn’t fit. I’m very tired of the whole “you included this [minority] character just to get brownie points” idea. Maybe there are some people out there who do that, but I don’t see why a character has to be fully explored with all characteristics plot-relevant to be included. Finding a big long explanation for a gender neutral, essentially asexual character isn’t necessary, if that’s the way the character works. And Lian worked fine in that sense, for me — and I think that aspect of their identity was relevant, in some ways.

I mean, you don’t include other stripes of queer characters and then look at them with a magnifying glass to justify their inclusion. Some people are just queer, why can’t characters just be queer? And why oh why do you need to know what’s going on downstairs for trans* people?

All in all, I didn’t love this the way I enjoyed Redemption in Indigo, but I’m glad I got round to reading it. (Finally.)

Tags: , ,

Divider

An update on my reading list

Posted 21 December, 2013 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

So! I have been somewhat successful since 8th December in finishing some books from the currently reading stack. I’ve managed to finish the following books:

  • Alan Bradley, A Red Herring Without Mustard.
  • Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders.
  • Adam Christopher, Hang Wire.
  • Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness.
  • Patricia A. McKillip, Alphabet of Thorn.

5/50. So I get £5 from my mother, woo! But, on the other hand, I’ve remembered a few books that I missed off the original list, and some that I’ve started since…

  • Chris Wooding, Retribution Falls.
  • Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells.
  • Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds.
  • Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising.
  • James Renner, The Man from Primrose Lane.

So… we’re still running about even. And it’s about to be Christmas and I know I’m getting books, not to mention the books I’ve bought during the last few days (oops).

And let’s not even talk about the number of books I’ve started but also finished since I made that list. (Again. Oops.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 17 December, 2013 by Nikki in General / 1 Comment

Some other blogs I follow do this meme, every Tuesday, and it seemed like a good idea. So! This week the top ten theme picked by The Broke and the Bookish is “top ten new-to-me authors in 2013”. This is pretty hard — I’m rubbish at picking top tens — but hey, with this one I just need to use Goodreads and look among my four and five starred books for this year, and hopefully I should be able to figure something out. They will not, I warn, be in any particular order.

  1. Cassandra Rose Clarke. I loved The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, which reminded me of a more daring, personal The Positronic Man (Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg). All sorts of themes which I love, and there’s something so powerfully sensual about it, too — there’s a physicality to it that surprised me and moved me.
  2. Georgette Heyer. I think I may technically have read one or two of her detective novels in 2012, but I kept away from her Regency romances, because I thought that was obviously not my thing. How wrong I was! The Talisman Ring, The Reluctant Widow and The Grand Sophy were probably my favourites. Heyer’s romances are actually way more fun (for me) than her detective novels, and often wickedly funny too.
  3. Karen Lord. I’ve only read part of The Best of All Possible Worlds, but I’m enjoying it, and I really loved Redemption in Indigo. Folk-story type narration and structure, awesome female characters, etc.
  4. Martha Wells. I’ve only read City of Bones, but I loved it. Non-traditional gender stuff, avoids the easy way out, lots of tasty, tasty world building. I think I’ve bought almost all the rest of her books as a result.
  5. Franny Billingsley. Oh my goodness, Chime. Just, oh my goodness. I loved the narration, the magic, the things it said about abuse and surviving and living again. I also enjoyed The Folk Keeper and Well Wished — less so, and they’re less touching/heavy subjects, but they’re a lot of fun too.
  6. Arthur C. Clarke. Yeah, I know, I’m a bit late on this one. But I really enjoyed 2001: A Space Odyssey. I didn’t realise that I’d enjoy his writing style so much — I had him sort of filed away as maybe like H.G. Wells, interesting for ideas but not quite entertaining. Wroooong.
  7. Lord Dunsany. Yeah, again, I know. I read Time and the Gods and am determined to spend more time reading his stuff: it’s just the sort of mythic, rich stuff I can really dig into.
  8. C.J. Sansom. I’ve been meaning to read his stuff for quite a while, but this year I finally got round to it. I enjoy his writing style, and while there are bones I have to pick with the Shardlake books, I do enjoy his way of portraying that time period and his choice of protagonist.
  9. Chris F. Holm. About time another Angry Robot author showed up, doncha think? I love Dead Harvest, etc: it’s funny, it’s a good pastiche of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett et al., and the covers are amazing. I just had so much fun reading these books.
  10. David Weber. He and Aliette de Bodard fought a fierce battle for this last spot, but he won. I loved On Basilisk Station, despite many flaws I could find in it. I mean, ten pages of exposition slap bang in the middle of an epic space chase/battle. WHAT. But still. I love Honor and I’m looking forward to reading more of the series.

I’m being good and sticking to the letter of the law: only a top ten. The top ten books I read in 2013 is coming up not next week but the week after: goodness knows how I’ll manage with that. But for now, off I go to bury my nose in the pages of I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Alan Bradley).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Divider