Tag: Maria V. Snyder


Tough Travels – Law Enforcement

Posted 29 January, 2015 by in General / 8 Comments

The prompt this week for Tough Travels is this:

Seems odd to think that in fantasy cities in which entire economies revolve around crime there is room for the men in blue (or crimson, or whatever). But the law does the best it can, even when faced with magic, mystical creatures, or rogue deities.

So I thought about this and for some reason my mind was totally blank. I mean, there’s various forces of law and order in fantasy, of course, but I couldn’t think of specific ones. In a lot of what I read, they’re just in the background — the king’s guardsmen, the city watch, whatever. Anyway, I’ve done my best to think of some of the forces of law and order that we don’t normally associate with the men in blue, as such. Like…

  • The Avengers (Marvel comics). You’ve never met a more law-abiding, law-enforcing person than Steve Rogers! And, admittedly, he does wear a mostly blue uniform.
  • The wizards on Roke (A Wizard of Earthsea). They’re pretty insular a lot of the time, granted, but if there’s a problem out there in the world, they’re probably the only ones who can solve it. And Ged is very aware of that fact. There’s the short story in Tales from Earthsea where he goes after a disgraced wizard, and then there’s the whole plot of The Furthest Shore
  • Valek (Poison Study). The Commander might be the centre of power, but he wouldn’t be that way without Valek keeping people in line.

And for a guy who does represent the boys in blue, though this is not strictly fantasy (it’s alternate history)…

  • Peter Carmichael (Small Change trilogy). Because he tries to do his job even when it’s hard. Because despite all the risks to himself and those he loves, he subverts the regime he’s in, and supports real justice.

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Review – Poison Study

Posted 12 January, 2015 by in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Poison Study by Maria V. SnyderPoison Study, Maria V. Snyder

It’s been a while since I first read these books — longer than I’d thought, even! I’m not entirely sure what tempted me to revisit, since I generally think of Snyder’s work as light entertainment. I’m not so keen on the romance elements, especially where they come across as kind of creepy (there’s an age and power dynamic between Valek and Yelena which is completely weighted toward Valek the entire time), and I didn’t think that much of the fantasy setting. But… I think I’ve actually changed my mind. The relationship is signalled better than I remembered, even though on Yelena’s side I’m still a little concerned about Stockholm Syndrome, and Valek’s not off the hook for being an assassin and playing mind games.

And the world is more interesting than I remembered, too: what I remembered as a fairly run of the mill dystopian post-revolution world was not so simple. Commander Ambrose has done horrifying things, particularly in the cause of getting into power, but there’s a flexibility there — for example, when a teacher brings a girl to him wanting her to be punished because she’s found a different (actually better) way of doing things than he’s taught her, and the Commander sends him away and gives the girl a job doing something she wants to do. The characters are better drawn than I remembered, with a lot of shades of grey.

The Commander is particularly interesting because he’s a transgendered character, and that’s dealt with pretty well: the character and narrator believe that he’s male, full stop. There are a couple of slip-ups where he treats his ‘female self’ as contemptible or is controlled because he sees that self as weak, but otherwise neither the characters nor the plot lean on gender stereotypes. He’s not male because he can do male-coded activities; he’s male because he just is, and he doesn’t see women as any less capable. Women can be soldiers as easily as men, in his world; it’s not about gender, but ability.

There were a lot of difficult topics explored here other than that, too — rape, coercion, conflicts between liking someone and betraying them, good people doing bad things, or people doing bad things to achieve a good result… Most of it is handled pretty well, without prurient detail. My main issue is the whole shortcut evil=rape=evil thing. It happens with a couple of different characters and it’s lazy, lazy stuff.

This really wasn’t quite the bubblegum I remembered; I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy attentively too.

Rating: 4/5

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 2 December, 2014 by in General / 6 Comments

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is “top ten books you’re looking forward to in 2015”. Now, I actually don’t keep a very good track of this, so I might not manage the full ten, but we’ll see how I do…

  1. Jo Walton, The Just CityYeah, I know I have an eARC and I’ve borrowed someone else’s ARC, but I’m still looking forward to it being out and getting to discuss it more widely.
  2. Maria V. Snyder, Shadow StudyMore Yelena! I still need to do my reread, but these are totally my popcorn books and it’ll be nice to have more to look forward to. I might actually manage to read the Avry trilogy when I know there’s more awaiting me…
  3. V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of MagicI don’t know that much about it, but it sounds awesome, and I keep being recommended Schwab’s work.
  4. Joe Abercrombie, Half a World. I still need to get round to reading Half a King, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it, and this is another in the same world.
  5. Catherynne M. Valente, RadianceFrom reading the summary, I’m not quite sure about it, but I adore Valente’s way with words, so it’s going to be worth a try.
  6. Naomi Novik, UprootedI remember enjoying the Temeraire books, and I love reading retellings of myths/legends/folktales/fables, so this sounds right up my street.
  7. N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season. Gimme! Gimme!
  8. Marie Brennan, The Voyage of the Basilisk. I need to read the second book, but still. Still. Badass Victorian lady!
  9. Nicole Burstein, Othergirl. Just spotted this on someone else’s list of upcoming 2015 books. Sounds like fun, and there’s superpowers, sooo. I’m a sucker, I know.
  10. Brandon Sanderson, Firefight. Another one where I still need to read the previous book, but shush. Superpowers!

Oof, I managed it. What’s anyone else looking forward to?

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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.)

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 19 August, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is ‘top ten books everyone’s telling me to read’. Which really isn’t hard, because everybody’s always on at me to read something, heh.

  1. Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch. I love Scott Lynch’s first two books, and I actually got this one back when it was an ARC. I’m just terrible. I’ve bought it since and still… Mum and my partner both reaaaally want me to get on with it.
  2. The Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold. Again, so many people want me to read these. I’ve actually read Cordelia’s Honor, and I wasn’t that impressed? But I was also cranky and feeling a bit harassed. If nothing else, Jo Walton’s recommendations mean I should really get on with it…
  3. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas. I read the prequel short stories way back before the first book was out, and wasn’t really interested enough to read more. But I hear so much about the trilogy, and Leah was urging me to read it, so.
  4. Pantomime, Laura Lam. I’m going to read this reaaaally soon, or that’s the plan at least. It’s the only book I can think of, other than arguably The Left Hand of Darkness, with an intersexed protagonist.
  5. The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff. This has been recced me a couple of times, and it’s the book I happened to pick up for Tanya Huff to sign for me at Worldcon, so there y’go.
  6. A Song of Ice and Fire, G.R.R. Martin. My first rec for this came from Robin Hobb when I was about fourteen, and I still haven’t got round to it — and the recs are mounting up. It’s actually one of the books in a reading challenge I’m doing, so I’ll get round to it soon.
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve been meaning to read it since it came out, and now there’s a whole trilogy. Also in my challenge list.
  8. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell. I’ve read part of it. I have the special edition, signed. I’ve read Attachments and Eleanor & Park. And yet. I’ll get there eventually. Sorry, Leah, and everyone.
  9. Yendi, Steven Brust. I read the first book of the series at Jo’s recommendation, promptly bought a whole bunch of the omnibuses, and then… got distracted by so
  10. The Healer trilogy, Maria V. Snyder. I like Snyder’s work as a casual fun read, and my sister will kick me if I don’t hurry up and read these. And probably many other books too; she likes kicking me.

What’s on everyone else’s lists?

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Another bibliophilic problem

Posted 8 December, 2013 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

A while ago I confessed that I have a problem: I buy too many books. Well, I’m actually doing okay with that at the moment, I think. Possibly I’m blanking out epic shopping trips, but I think the joy of getting people stuff for Christmas is mostly keeping me in check (that and the fact I have most of the books on my more recent wishlists). No, my other problem is… starting a ton of books and never finishing them.

Well, not never, but suffice it to say there’s half a dozen on each ereader, about seven stacked by my bed, a library book I should be reading on the floor…

I need to incentivise clearing my currently-reading list, and then I need to incentivise catching up with my ARCs. (Come on, Harlequin MIRA, I want to read Taste of Darkness. If you approve me for that I will probably read the whole trilogy in a glorious rush. That’s what I do with Maria V. Snyder’s trilogies. I don’t want to wait any longer!)

Any ideas?!

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 27 November, 2013 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
A lot of Spider-man comics. I’m trying to read all twenty-two of the Ultimate Spider-man comics before I leave my partner’s and head back to Britain. I’m on volume thirteen. I don’t know if I can do it.

I also read a book from the local library, Tanith Lee’s White as Snow.

What are you currently reading?
Uh. Spider-man! And… more Spider-man. I’ve still got Molly Beth Griffin’s Silhouette of a Sparrow partly read: I thought I’d finish that easily, but there have been so many distractions.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, I know I need to read The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury) for my SF/F class this week, so that’ll probably be next. There’s also… a ton more Spider-man!

Books acquired:
I don’t think there’s been anything since last week! I’ve been tempted, but I’ve been good. Nothing on Netgalley yet, either, though I’m hoping for the latest Flavia de Luce book, and the conclusion of Maria V. Snyder’s current trilogy. Fingers crossed!

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